Saturday, 23 March 2013

Northern Ireland Tunes - Round-up #13

It's very rare that the blog does two local round-ups within the space of a month, but there's a competition that is running on Northern Irish music website Chordblossom which has given the blog a chance to discover some rather nice new artists.

For the past month, Chordblossom has invited unsigned Northern Irish artists to submit their best song for consideration in their Kickstart competition, which is designed to give several local artists the push they need to have a career in the music industry. There's a smorgasbord of prizes on offer to the overall winner, which includes time in a recording studio, getting a single professionally printed and distributed, a slot at the annual Glasgowbury Festival, as well as getting the single played on Radio Foyle.

Given the overall value of the prize, as well as the fact that last year's winner SOAK was given a massive boost through it, there were over 130 entries to the competition, which has now been whittled down by the website to 20. There will be a public vote over a two week period to whittle those artists down to 10, after which a panel of music experts will decide the overall winner and runners up.

It's encouraging to see so many local names that have featured on this blog have made the final list. Favourites such as The Jepettos, Kept Under Glass, Pretty Child Backfire, Hologram, Those Ghosts & The Clameens are among the artists up for contention. However, it is even more encouraging  to see several artists that I hadn't come across before have made the longlist. Therefore, The Metaphorical Boat has picked out five of the most interesting artists that made the list that haven't appeared on the blog to date. I do however encourage you to listen to all the finalists before deciding on who will get your vote when the public vote opens on Monday 25th March:

August - Counting Hearts

August is a Derry based musical trio fronted by Jonny Everett, who also fronts local alt-rockers Furlo (the same band that spun off another blog favourite - Ruairi & The Owls). Their debut single, "Counting Hearts", is a wonderful piece of otherworldly folk, which has already been picked up for use in an upcoming local film.


Sara Crockett - Hide & Seek

Many moons ago, Sara Crockett was the lead singer of the Paramore-esque Goodbye Pluto, who sadly split up before they had the chance to make a mark. Sara is now recording under her own name, and having provided guest vocals on a trance track last year, she has now re-established herself as a country-pop singer . The first song to come out of this is "Hide & Seek", a charming, well polished tune, one which sounds as if it's been ripped straight from the soundtrack of an Ally McBeal compilation album.


Team RKT - Good Morning

To protect the world from devastation,
To unite all peoples within our nation.

To think there's a generation of kids who won't know Jesse & James' epic poem off by heart, given that they didn't watch Pokémon every afternoon at 4pm on ITV1. They don't know what they're missing. Sigh.

But anyway, one duo keeping their legacy alive is Portstewart based Team RKT (letters presumably removed for legal reasons). Self-describing themselves as "chiptune rock", the band sound like a mix between the most tolerable aspects of Owl City and 3OH!3. A new E.P is forthcoming, but for now enjoy the self-produced "Good Morning", which was released last summer.


Andrew Martin - Outside These Harbour Walls

Now on to the other 'Port', with Portrush based Andrew Martin. "Outside These Harbour Walls" is taken from his nautical themed debut E.P "The Lighthouse Sessions", and is a great modern interpretation of 'classic' folk, underpinned by his great vocals, which showcase such depth and maturity that it seems hard to believe that the person providing them is only eighteen.


Novo Rapids - Curiosity

Finally, some straight-up rock from Belfast's Novo Rapids. "Curiosity" is a great track because it strips rock music right down to its core. There's no 3 minute guitar solos, no gimmicky guitar effects and no vocal aerobics. It's just an honest-to-goodness riff-led rock track which should be savoured for its simplicity.

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