11 October 2009

Celtic Ray

[Note to Readers: On occasion, Celtic Ray sends TNOP a note from County Clare, weighing in on various aspects of the Irish music scene.]

Dia dhuit! TNOP Readers,

County Kildare's Bell X1 have had an eventful 2009, releasing their fourth record, Blue Lights On The Runway (YepRoc). It contains one of our favorite singles of the year, the Talking Heads-infused "The Great Defector." The single reached #3 on the Irish charts and can be downloaded for free at Or enjoy a live performance earlier this year from Dublin here. Bell x1 also opened for U2 at their first tour date this summer at Croke Park.

The aforementioned local heroes Paul "Bono Vox" Hewson, Dave "The Edge" Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr have come a long way from originally recording on Windmill Lane in the Docklands area of Dublin. Embracing "biggest band in the world" status yet once more, the boys are lugging a 170 ton, 360-degree stage around the world which requires transport assistance of 120 trucks. A recent lengthy cover story in Rolling Stone follows the latest exploits of U2 on the road. While the critics were all over the map in their reviews of No Line On The Horizon, the raves are everywhere for the live show (Jon Pareles in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune rock critic Greg Kot are good examples).

Meanwhile, word has come that erstwhile head man of The Frames, Glen Hansard, has reteamed with Marketa Irglova for another record as The Swell Season. NPR Music reports the tentative track listing and also provides us with a performance of some of the new material, to be released under the title Strict Joy, out on October 27.

Finally, if you are looking for some enduring entertainment, give a (re)viewing to the fine indie film Waking Ned Devine, if only for the opening shots of The Isle of Man and musical background from "Fisherman's Blues" by The Waterboys.


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