Interview with Beach Slang...

Hailing from Philadelphia, punk rock four piece Beach Slang are a badly needed shot of adrenaline for a stagnant music scene devoid of any real excitement. Keith McGouran caught up with lead singer James Alex ahead of their Dublin gig in the Workman’s Club on Monday 23rd January.

Interview: Ryan Óg – Kolibrí...

One of Ireland’s most talented new musicians Ryan Óg aka Kolibrí talks to betweenthebars.net about his new EP ‘Eulogies’.

Cactus World News: Frank Kearns talks about new album ‘Found’...

Cactus World News emerged in 1984 as the Irish band most likely to follow U2 on the road to international success. They had all the right connections but more importantly, had the songs and the sound that made them ideal candidates for graduating to the major leagues. Debut single ‘The Bridge’ was an impressive opening shot – stirring, anthemic guitar rock and debut album ‘Urban Beaches’ served only to cement the impression that CWN were a band ready to make a big leap forward. Released on MCA Records, the album sold well, but a change in label personnel led to a familiar story – the band didn’t find favour with the new regime and follow up album ‘No Shelter’ sat gathering dust before being released many years after it was recorded. Now, some 25 years after their last release, the band have compiled a collection of rare and unreleased tracks, another chapter to the CWN story that is sure to satisfy their loyal fan base. Guitarist Frank Kearns took the time to talk to us about the band, their history and the upcoming release of ‘Found’ following a pledgemusic campaign.

Marissa Nadler talks about her beautiful new album ‘July’...

We are just a third of the way through 2014 and already we have been treated to potentially this year’s most beautiful album. July by Marissa Nadler is a lush and dreamy exploration of regret, loss and yearning, a collection of songs of shivering, ghost-like beauty. Over the course of the last 10 years, Nadler has been honing her craft as a songwriter to the point where it feels like July is her most mature, fully realised and accomplished record to date. We caught up with her just after the announcement of a Dublin show on the 5th September in the Button Factory. First off, congratulations on the new album Marissa – it’s a really gorgeous record, one of the very best of 2014 so far. You must be immensely satisfied with the response to it? Thank you! That’s very nice of you to say. I’m very happy with the reception of the record so far. There are few things more satisfying than sticking to something for as long as I have and then feeling this kind of reward back. July feels like a giant leap forward for you both sonically and thematically. It is really beautifully produced and arranged and it feels like your most personal record to date. It’s absolutely my most personal record. When I was much younger, trying to write songs about life with any weight felt a lot like dress-up. So, in my early records, I tended to deal more with surreal imagery and fictional storytelling that were informed, but not entirely, by real life. I feel that I just have more real life experience and more grit from which to draw inspiration now. I think it’s just a natural progression for me as a writer, now that I...

Julianna Barwick talks about her album ‘Nepenthe’...

Louisiana born singer Julianna Barwick released one of the very best albums of 2013 with ‘Nepenthe’. Recorded in Iceland and produced by Alex Somers of Riceboy Sleeps, it features contributions from members of Sigur Ros, Amiina and Mum. It is a stunningly beautiful record, and a natural progression from her 2011 release ‘The Magic Place’. We caught up with her last week on the eve of an extensive tour of North America.

Talking Joy Division & New Order with Peter Hook...

Legendary bass player and founding member of one of the most influential British bands of the last 40 years, Peter Hook took the time out of a busy touring schedule to talk frankly about all things Joy Division and New Order. Hook continues to tour with his band The Light, offering his re-interpretations of his former bands classic songs.   Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Peter. So, you have been a busy man the last couple of years – your book Unknown Pleasures was published to almost universal acclaim and you have been touring the Joy Division and New Order albums with The Light. What has the reaction been like from live audiences to albums that are regarded with such reverence? The reactions so far from all of the audiences have been absolutely fantastic, I have been completely blown away by it all at times. I understand that the albums are held in very high regard so the band and I try to reproduce it all as respectfully and accurately as we possibly can. Playing the Joy Division records is a very different experience to playing the New Order ones but I love playing them all. Our current tour is performing Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies by New Order which is a really great live set, we have been fortunate in that the records have translated very well into the live environment.   Was there any trepidation on your part in taking on the vocal duties and interpreting the words of such an iconic vocalist and lyricist as Ian Curtis? Absolutely, I am not a frontman by trade so at first I found it very daunting and I was extremely nervous, but as we did more and more gigs I got a lot more comfortable with it all and now I would like to think that I do a good job in that role. Obviously I will never be Ian and I would never try to be, but I just try to do the best job I can. Next week we will play our 200th live gig so I have had a lot of experience and now I am a lot more confident with it. Your book ‘Unknown Pleasures – Inside Joy Division’ was a fantastic read. It did a great job of demystifying the band and showing that you were just four blokes who happened to make this incredible music. Was that part of your goal with the book – to strip away some of the myths that had built up around the Joy Division? Yes I would say so, there is a lot of myth that surrounds Joy Division so I guess I wanted to bring across that other side to us all. I was sick of reading books about Joy Division by people who were not actually there, and who were just speculating in my eyes as to what went on. So it was great to be able to set the record straight with my own book and I have been absolutely delighted to see that people have taken to it just as they did with the Hacienda book. Speaking of books, have you read Morrissey’s book yet? Do you think The Smiths will ever reform? They are the last ones left, aren’t they… The Stone Roses got back together, even “New Order” is back now, albeit not properly, obviously… So the next in line would be the Smiths reunion. Personally I hope it doesn’t happen as it’s all Manchester has left! I haven’t read Morrissey’s book and I doubt I will to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of his.   As a matter of interest, have you ever thought how Joy Division would have sounded two or three albums down the line if Ian hadn’t died? Do you think you would have taken the more dance orientated path...