There’s a vibrant intensity to Kíla in person that you quickly get the sense reflects their extreme passion for what they do. It’s best summed up in the closing seconds of our interview.
“One more thing for this, before you go,” frontman Ronan O’Snodaigh says as we finish up our chat in Dublin’s Library Bar on a quiet Thursday afternoon. “If you’re going to write about us, write about what we are now. If we’re not good enough for that, we don’t deserve to be written about at all.”
Let’s touch on that particular message first. Alive Beo – Kíla’s latest release, recorded during the band’s 2016 tour – is breathless, seamlessly diverse, fresh, freewheeling, spontaneous and a great advert for their show. It’s the album of a band at the peak of their powers. They didn’t tell me to say that.
It’s hard to tell if O’Snodaigh is particularly proud of the Dublin world music act’s newest output, or simply sick of features on Kíla that largely harp back to their roots in the early 90s. The band are happy to reference their huge body of work – they’ll be doing so in their 30 year celebratory mini-festival, Féile Kíla, at the end of the year – but also feel they’ve come a long way since the days of hit 90s release Tóg É Go Bog É.
“We’ve had to relearn some of the music for touring that album, actually, because there are some people in the band who weren’t around when we wrote it,” bandmate Brian Hogan explains. “We had a time, back then, when the rehearsal studios were just full of crap. Some of it great crap, and some of it useless crap.”
For the May 2014 edition of Music Alliance Pact, I’ve returned to one of the Irish acts I’ve raved about the most since arriving here six years ago – the ever exceptional We Cut Corners. This duo’s first album ‘Today I Realized I Could Go Home Backwards’ sounds like it has far more complexities than could possibly stem from a two-piece, yet they reproduce it flawlessly live. It’s crammed with details, it’s witty at times and it’s emotionally raw at others. In short, it’s very, very difficult not to love. The follow up THINK NOTHING came out over the last month or so (buy it here), and they’ve kindly lent me the use of ‘Blue’ for the purposes of this wonderful monthly music collection. I haven’t had a chance to delve through other contributions just yet, but if past months are anything to go by, it’s definitely recommended!
Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 27-track compilation through Ge.tt here.
IRELAND: Hendicott Writing We Cut Corners – Blue
Dublin duo We Cut Corners have contrasting loud and quiet streaks. Set up like The White Stripes, only with the singer on drums, the pair’s garage rock with quirky pop melodies have won them a nomination for the Choice Music Prize (“Ireland’s Grammys”) and near universal admiration in a crowded scene. Blue is the fourth single from just-released gorgeous second album Think Nothing, crammed full of their usual brand of sharp lyrics and heart-on-sleeve brashness. A real hidden gem.
ARGENTINA: Zonaindie Shaman y Los Pilares De La Creación – Tierna Oscuridad
Tierna Oscuridad is the opening track on Shaman y Los Pilares De La Creación’s second album, released by Concepto Cero, one of La Plata’s finest independent labels. You can hear the whole album via the band’s website. The song is also on the soundtrack for the film Arriba Quemando El Sol, so the sound prevails over the notes, creating a deep atmospheric musical environment.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They? Yeo – Kobe
A little over a year ago, Melbourne’s Yeo gave his acoustic guitar the flick and turned to a new friend, the keytar. He had some success in 2013 with the dark, whirring Girl and now he’s back with Kobe, the second single from his forthcoming EP. It’s a big step up for the producer: a shining, ambitious pop song with brash synth stabs, jittery percussion and confident R’n’B vocals. Yeo played Canadian Music Week and some US shows this month. If he doesn’t break the North American market first time round, we reckon he’s got a promising future penning tunes for Justin Timberlake.