Incoming: A Quick Chat With Oh Boland

Oh Boland by Sean McCormack

Oh Boland by Sean McCormack

Oh Boland shall be brewing up a storm of a mastercful raw, noisy garage pop in BRÚ House, Newbridge on Friday, December 1 – fresh from doing the same across the other side of the Irish Sea.

This is the second in a series of collaborative shows between Broken Home & I, as we aim to bring some of our favourite musicians and artist to Newbridge – of which this line up comes up trumps for both of us.

Galway trio Oh Boland are one of the brightest talents to emerge from these shores. Their early EPs are superb and their 2016 debut LP, Spilt Milk is a treasure – and one of the finest records of recent times. The trio truly provide  a masterclass in raw, noisy garage pop that is ragged but irresistible, blasts of lo-fi goodness. Tunes trash, screech and rumble rumbustiously along, while brash it is, it is supremely catchy and mashed with earworm hooks. Here in lies the brilliance of their sound, traversing the space between brash and beautifully catchy. Oh Boland create something unique and special, perfection through imperfection if you will. Just superb.

Oh Boland join Silverbacks and Luke Redmond in BRÚ House, Newbridge this Friday, December 1, for what is a rather formidable lineup – Doors @ 9pm | Tickets (€5/€7) available here.

Ahead of the weekend’s show I caught up with Niall from Oh Boland for a quick chat….

Tell us a little bit about Oh Boland. How did it come about? And what is the essence/inspiration behind the project?

Hi Barry, how are you? Oh Boland are three wholesome shrubs from the verdant plains of Tuam county Galway. Roughly five years ago, I was a gormless dropout working in my Dad’s pub filling swill for fossils. I’d known Simon and Eanna since we were in our teens and so when their band broke up we started hanging out a lot and playing at the weekends in Simon’s house. All of this is probably an intolerable cliché so with any unfortunate reader in mind I won’t elaborate much further. Yeah, that’s how we started playing. With regard to essence or inspiration, I’m not sure. At this point I guess we try to make drunken, poppy, noise music or noisy, drunken, pop music. Those are the three constants in our lives.

After a long time trying to make it work, we finally got you to Newbridge. Are you excited to bring the Oh Boland show to town?

My grandfather is from Newbridge so I’m really excited to get back to the flesh and blood. Stephen of course who’s putting the show on has worked with us on some videos and is a good friend, looking forward to seeing him. My memory’s useless but I’m fairly sure this is our first time playing with Silverbacks too. We have seen them a few times and they’re super good and I’m really excited to be playing with them too.

What can we expect from an Oh Boland show?

Hmmm. Tough one. I think it’s got to the point where we barely know what to expect ourselves. Expect a healthy amount of new material at this point for sure. We’ve a new LP almost ready to go and the live set is often how we get the new stuff together. Otherwise, you can expect a slobbery gurgling bubble-gum punk mess. There’ll be a lot of oohs and aahs and unnecessary soloing. We’ll inevitably end up sounding like a cranked up showband trying to play the national anthem, slowly going down with the ship.

On the issue of touring, you toured the US last year; it would be interesting to hear your perspective on the differences (if any) between touring Ireland and the US?

I suppose it’s the same landscape you have to navigate in both instances. Ireland is way more manageable relatively speaking because it’s such a short run. It’s the blatantly obvious issue of size I suppose. In Ireland there are really only four or five towns to play all within four hours of each other. With America or the UK, you’re looking at stupid ferry routes, 13 hour drives etc. It only takes one day or one hour to break you when you’re crammed into a car with three people fermenting at a rapid pace with little food or sleep. I love touring though. For all the brutality you get to play every night which is the ultimate reward as well as meet every manner of sweetheart and weirdo the particular town has to offer. That makes the bodily aromas and marathon roadtrips easier to swallow for sure.

You’ve shared the bill with a number of legendary bands such as the Sonics and The Undertones, did they offer any sage advice or words of wisdom? What was it like to be that close to the origins of punk?

We’ve been really lucky over the last few years to be able to play with a lot of groups that have influenced us a lot over the years. Though none of the groups we’ve played with really spoke to us that much watching them play at such close quarters was more than enough. Standing barely off the stage watching Gerry Roslie scream is something I never thought I’d ever see.

In my humble opinion, Split Milk is one of the finest records of recent years. Tell us a wee but about making the album and were you happy with how it was received?

Thanks man. Glad you like it. At this point Spilt Milk is actually quite an old record in terms of the recordings themselves. We did the whole thing over Halloween weekend 2014 amazingly. The record was made with our long standing saviour Mark Chester of Ginnels, No Monster Club and Lie Ins fame. Everything since Delphi we’ve done with him and he’s always been really easy to work with. He listens to the same stuff as us and knows how we want to sound and how to get there. As for our approach to recording we like to do it pretty quick. This is mainly due to money and time, between getting time off work and not being able to fork out heavy currency for a studio. It also has a lot to do with the sound and performances too, to be able to just bash them out really quick with little time to be precious and second guess what you’re doing. I think though there is obviously a difference between onstage and recording the heart of a recording has to maintain a similar energy to the performances onstage. The heart of everything is cut live. The three of us in a room trying to wobble through the tune as best we can. I’ll add some extra guitars and that’s it. We do most of our recording as of late out in a cottage in Carraroe out in the wilderness. So that was it, two days out there running through the ten tunes and out the door again, sadly nothing worthy of a BBC4 documentary.

As for the reactions to the LP, yeah I’m fairly pleased. We are all really happy with how the record sounds and the experience making it and though I can’t really get my head around it people have been into it and that’s been really nice.

For me anyway, the brilliance of the Oh Boland sound is it simultaneously traverses a space between brash and beautifully catchy – is this a conscious thing or did it just sort of happen?

I suppose it’s somewhat conscious, a reflection of the weird extremes in our record collections. There was never a conscious decision to cross this with that. We were just bashing out what felt good in Simon’s garage. We all love 60’s music and 70’s power pop music. So you definitely have that element, but on the other hand we also love really loud abrasive sounds and it needs to be said that we’re also pretty sloppy musicians, particularly when we were starting out. So I suppose we started unwittingly trying to resolve the two extremes in the music and being so loose as musicians it just sort of came out the way it came out. As we’ve become tighter together musically it’s become more of a conscious thing.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I am listening to The World, Flesh World, Day Creeper, The Cowboys, the new Protomartyr LP, Rays, Arthur Russell, The Necessaries, Game Theory and Terry Allen in that order.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017 and 2018? Can we expect a new record soon?

We’ve a lot planned for next year. We are planning some trips over to the UK and a European tour in late spring as well as a return to the US late in the summer. We’ve also got a new LP almost finished which is going to be called Cheap Things and you can expect that sometime in the summer too.

And lastly, in all the interviews you’ve done is there anything you’re eager to address but no one ever asks you?

I can’t really think of anything right now. Leave that one with me.

Incoming: A Quick Chat With A.S. Fanning


Berlin-based, Dublin-raised, singer/songwriter A.S. Fanning will be bringing his Irish tour to BRÚ House, Newbridge on Saturday, October 14 – and the tour coincides with the release of Fanning’s debut solo album Second Life.

This is the first in a series of collaborative shows between Broken Home & I, bringing some of our favourite musicians and artist to Newbridge – of which Fanning fits the bill for us both.

Previously the frontman and chief songwriter of Dublin bands The Last Tycoons and Porn Trauma, Fanning’s songs are often lyrically driven, taking inspiration from Irish literary tradition and folk music as well as from ‘60s psychedelia and gothic rock n roll. Fanning’s finest attribute is his profoundly brilliant songwriting and storytelling abilities, and observational eye, which enable him to depict vivid tales such as his meaty debut single ‘Carmelita’.

As a multi-instrumentalist he has played with acts such as Dublin troubadour The Mighty Stef, Berlin Industrial Electro outfit Suzies Ashes, and Irish songstress Candice Gordon, most recently producing and playing on Gordon’s debut LP, Garden of Beasts.

Support on the night comes from the equally wonderful Appo & the Disappointments & Rory Hughes – Doors @ 8.30pm | Tickets €5/€7.

Ahead of the weekend’s show I caught up with A.S. Fanning, to chat about the project, touring and all things music.

Tell us a little bit about A.S. Fanning. How did it come about? And what is the essence/inspiration behind the new project?

When I moved to Berlin I was working on my my own a lot. The Last Tycoons were still going at that point but we weren’t playing very often except for the occasional tour in Germany so I just started working on stuff on a laptop. That combined with being surrounded by electronic music in Berlin led to the songs taking on a kind of electro incarnation for a while.

I eventually stripped that back quite a bit, but I never really wanted to be a solo guy with an acoustic guitar. I always heard the songs having quite a full sound and having a kind of intensity in them, so I started building the songs around an acoustic guitar and vocal and adding in bits of synthesizers and organ and other atmospheric stuff to fill out the sound.

You’ve just returned from some shows in Ireland – how does it feel to go back after relocating to Berlin and starting a life there?

It feels kind of strange to be honest. Just because I haven’t played here very much in the last 5 years or so, and it’s a strange feeling to come on tour to somewhere I’m so familiar with, but which has obviously changed a lot in the last 5 years as well. But I feel like this album is largely about moving away from here so it’s nice to be able to come back to launch it, it feels like a sort of closing of the circle.

And on that, what are the biggest differences in being a musician in Berlin compared to Dublin? (i.e. audiences, opportunities etc.)

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Incoming: A Quick Chat With The Burning Hell


THE BURNING HELL is the alter-ego of Canadian songwriter Mathias Kom, and the band has been on the road in one form or another since 2007, playing everywhere from the chaos of Glastonbury to the loneliness of the Arctic Circle, popping up in bars, festival tents, living rooms, abandoned bunkers, and a mental asylum in rural France along the way.

Musically, the lineup and sound of the Burning Hell has been ever-changing, running the gamut from introspective folk to hyperactive rock and roll; meaning no two Burning Hell records sound alike.

In the company of incredibly witty, humorous lyrics and a real knack for storytelling, listeners are treated to a vivid adventure through hooky, upbeat pop songs, dark ballads about pet euthanasia, and anthems for barbarians, economic conferences, and love.

As The Burning Hell prepare to release studio album #8, they have embarked on a ferocious tour across Europe & N. America, and this Saturday, September 23, they roll into Newbridge town, for an intimate and special Broken Home show, with support from local indie merchants Fresco Future.

Ahead of the weekend’s show I caught up with The Burning Hell’s Mathias Kom, to chat about the project, touring and all things music.

Tell us a little bit about The Burning Hell. How did it come about? Where did the name come from?

“Ages ago, some lunatic religious zealot handed me a tract with a shitty-looking devil on the front that said “The Burning Hell” on it in fiery letters, and it was all about how good deeds won’t save you from Satan’s jaws, et cetera. At that exact moment I had been wondering what to call this new folky recording project I had started; the name seemed perfectly inappropriate, and it’s been that way ever since.”

Your lyrics are all incredibly witty, humorous and you’ve a real knack for storytelling? Is that something that’s particularly important for you to get across when writing the songs?

“Thank you, and yes—I find it amazing how many songwriters treat lyrics as an afterthought, since to me there’s not a lot of point in singing intelligible words if they’re not going to be compelling or at least not completely asinine. To paraphrase Thumper the cartoon rabbit: if you can’t sing anything interesting, don’t sing anything at all.”

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2015 According to Mr Huw

Mr Huw Du Llun

One of my proudest achievements on the blog this year, or any year for that matter, is the release of GruffWuff; a 19 track compilation of new, previously unreleased and exclusive recordings from some of my very favourite acts over the past 5 years of blogging.

It was a truly fantastic way to mark 5 years of BarryGruff and I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved and the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response. As 2015 draws to a close, I have enlisted help from people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and up next is Mr Huw.

Welsh maestro Mr Huw is an artist to be treasured, cherished and of course, enjoyed. Welsh lends itself to music rather well, regardless of whether you can understand it or not, and he is one of the most prolific and finest exponents of Welsh language music out there. Huw’s rough and unpolished, DIY style indie/post-punk has a glorious Half Man Half Biscuit aesthetic to it and generally packed with powerful rhythms, pointed riffs and broached with some infectious melodies and peppered with hooks you could hang your hat on. Mr Huw is an absolute gem! 

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out his sublime Du Llun EP (which roughly translates as ‘Black Monday’), and Mr Huw’s GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Bai Neb Ond Fy Hun’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

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Cian Ciarán | Interview


Last week the wonderful, the magnificent and the legendary Super Furry Animals, announced they shall be gracing Vancouver in the new year, when they play at Imperial on February 4th, 2016. I for one, CANNOT FUCKIN’ WAIT!

With that in mind, there’s no better 0r more apt time to share this, an interview I did with SFA’s Cian Ciarán, earlier this year. Originally published with GoldenPlec on July 5th, 2015 – here it is:

Cian Ciarán is best known as Super Furry Animals’ resident electronic and keyboard wizard. Aside from illuminating our lives for the best part of two decades with one of the most enigmatic, creative and downright brilliant psychedelic pop bands of our time, he busies himself with various other stellar side-projects.

Most recently he has released two superb solo albums, ‘Outside In’ (2012) & ‘They Are Nothing Without Us’ (2013), an LP with his other band Zefur Wolves, a stack of collaborations and remixes, and all the while running his own Strangetown Records label. That’s no mean feat by any anyone’s standards.

Ciarán is currently in the midst of intensive touring with SFA and readying his third solo-record, which he hopes to release later this year. Taking time out from his hectic schedule he spoke to Barry about his solo plans, running his label, politics and the small matter of the SFA reunion.

The amount of musical activity you’re associated with is staggering – Zeruf Wolves, solo work, running Strangetown Records and the small matter of Super Furry Animals. How do you find the time and balance between different projects?

Cian Ciarán: “I don’t to be honest – I have to put things on the back-burner constantly. I document everything or try to and revisit things when I have the time. I have to go with the flow, it can be frustrating but I’m happy as long as things get done eventually. There’s an outlet for the music, that’s the main thing, and I’m lucky to be surrounded by talented musicians and creative people that keep me busy and on my toes. I never stop learning and the buzz is still there when I go to the studio so there’s no complaints. The only pressure, if that’s the right word, is self-inflicted. It’s still a labour of love.”

The new solo record [‘Hero, Leader, God’], is another protest album. Does it follow a similar path to ‘They Are Nothing Without Us’? Talk us through what we can expect.

CC: “Again this is music that’s been bubbling for years, but I wanted to bring on board other lyricists and vocalists. The music is completely different to my previous two outings, or the Zefur Wolves album. It’s mostly electronic-based and down-tempo so it lends itself well, I hope, to spoken word, poets etc. The intention was to release it around the UK election but the content is still relevant here and everywhere else in the world. It will probably, unfortunately, be more concerning as our situation becomes increasingly driven by the powers that be and their blatant disregard to the rest of us and the world we live in. It’s too depressingly long a list of issues that we’re subjected to but we have to persevere. As was shown during the water wars in Bolivia, there is strength in numbers.”

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