by Celtic Ray (TNOP Correspondent, County Clare)
Our periodic review of up-and-coming Irish music artists reveals four more contenders for your consideration:
The Holy Roman Army
Chris and Laura Coffey, a brother and sister team from Co. Carlow, are starting to make their mark. Their brand of trip-hop "indietronica" is quite affecting. Their self-produced 2009 CD, How The Light Gets In (Collapsed Adult), yielded some fine and interesting moments, in particular "Stagger Gently Home":
Now, The Holy Roman Army has stepped into the limelight again with an EP of covers titled Desecrations. But the pleasant surprise is the project is not your typical stop-gap between records. The song selection is inspired and the interpretations are truly unique, particularly Bon Iver's "Skinny Love." Even better, you can download all five tracks for free! A great little EP for the iPod.
And So I Watch You From Afar
Don't be surprised if this Belfast instrumental quartet breaks out after storming SXSW in Austin, Texas this week. ASIWYFA released its EP The Letters to local acclaim about a year ago and have been trekking across the UK and the Republic crafting their trade since with thrilling live shows, much to the delight of fans like BBC Radio 1. A lengthy tour of Europe will commence at the end of this month, starting in Dublin and Derry.
Galway singer-songwriter Crowley rang the bell this past month when he was named recipient of the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year. Season of the Sparks is his fourth proper release and continues a soft, spell-binding style accented by deft playing of hollow-bodied electric guitar. Ryan Adams proclaimed in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2005 that Crowley was "one of the best songwriters no one's has heard of."
One of TNOP's favorite albums of 2009 was Hannigan's Sea Sew. (It was nominated for the Mercury Prize as well as the Choice Music Prize.) The Co. Meath multi-instrumentalist made her bones through her pivotal singing role on Damien Rice's classic O. The combination of Joni Mitchell and Nina Simone influences result in a winning style.
Beannachtai na Feile Padraig!