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.

BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2016)

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Yes. It is that time of year again, lists, lists and more lists. Well, not be out done, here are my 13 (lucky for some) albums of 2016.

There was lots of great music in 2016 but I decided to keep it to a short list this year. Also, I’m hoping the festive period will provide some time to catch up on some records I’ve missed throughout the year, so feel free to recommend some listening material.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2016:

There is also a Spotify playlist of all the albums, to save you time and hassle, and it is here.

13. Amber Arcades – ‘Fading Lines’

Amber Arcades‘ – Dutch-born musician Annelotte de Graaf – debut album is a dazzling blend of ‘60s tinged psych, lush jangly guitars, floating pop melodies and an abundance of propulsive, hypnotic krautrocky moments. [Listen here]

12. Tuff Love – ‘Resort’

Glaswegian scuzz-pop aficionados Tuff Love, combine a terrific trilogy of EPs into an LP of dazzling, fuzzy indie pop with sugar-sweet melodies and crunching choruses and shoegazey guitars galore. [Listen here]

11. Underworld – ‘Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future’

A first proper Underworld record in half a decade, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith deliver a stomping electronic record that is up there with the best of their work. [Listen here]

10. The Coral – ‘Distance Inbetween’

Distance Inbetween – their eighth LP and first in over five years – saw The Coral rediscover their roots, mojo and discover their dark side and add a harder edge to their brand of psychedelic indie. It’s an evolution of the Wirral five piece’s sound into a cohesive, weird and imaginative psych-rock record, and one that grows with time. [Listen here]

09. Mr Huw – ‘Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr’

Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr is album number five from one of Wales’ finest, Mr. Huw and with it, he has delivered an irresistible set of inventive, electrifying indie. Sang in his native tongue, these are melodic songs with a spiky edge. Post-punk riffs and snappy drum-machine punctuate infectious pop melodies, mild psychedelic leanings and Huw’s affable Welsh lilt. A magnificent collection of soul consuming tunes which provide proof if proof be needed, that we should never underestimate the power of great music to overcome a small matter, like a language barrier. [Listen here]

08. Jinx Lennon – ‘Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets’

2016 saw Jinx Lennon return with two new albums – Past Pupil Stay Sane and Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets – with each offering distinctly different brilliance. Magic Bullets… is the pick of the pair but in fairness, both find the folk punk poet at his uncompromising best. Recorded with Liverpool experimentalists Clinic, it is a collection of instantly catchy tunes that boasts a meatier, more beat-driven sound, combined with Jinx’s raw truths kicking back against the humdrum bullshit of modern life. Jinx Lennon is a unique talent, a national treasure to be exact and this is him at his inherently brilliant best. [Listen here]

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Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 Preview: 8 Must See Acts

 

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Hard Working Class Heroes takes place in venues across Dublin this week.

Running from Thursday, October 6th to Saturday, October 8th and it will showcase well over 100 of Ireland’s most promising emerging acts. One of HWCH’s biggest draws (and festivals of its ilk) is rambling around, seeing acts you have previously been unfamiliar with. That said, there are a couple of names that immediately jump out and come highly recommended with the much sought after BarryGruff seal of approval*.

The full line-up / stage times for Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 is here. And as always, feel free to share your own recommendations in the comments section below. *May not be much sought after.

Eoin Dolan: Thursday, 19:40 – 20:10 @ Tengu Downstairs

Galway-based singer-songwriter Eoin Dolan is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest finds from the past 12 months. Dolan has a real flair for twinkly and whimsical, good old fashioned pop gems, with a healthy dose of Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett and Lennon/McCartney (moments) threaded through the fabric of his sound. His brand of surfy psych-pop is totally charming, entirely irresistible, easy-going and timeless. Dolan’s self-titled debut album was released last month, for a taste of that & what to expect at HWCH, check out ‘Dear Brian'; a playful blend of woozy, soothing sounds, sinuous melodies, SFA-esque synth work, giddy-pop-playfulness and reverb-drenched vocals. Not to be missed.

New Pope: Thursday, 21:40 – 22:10 @ Tengu Downstairs

Galway-based New Pope – fronted by Dave Boland – deal in truly beautiful, timeless and carefully crafted acoustic folk sounds. Passing with a whisper rather than a roar, New Pope’s songs are delivered with warmth and tenderness, as Boland’s distinctive vocal creates a warm, lush atmosphere – and an overwhelming sense of sense of nostalgia. Last year’s YOUTH EP & LP are wonderful and New Pope were excellent at Electric Picnic this year, and if that doesn’t entice you? Check out the layered, lush and beguiling beauty of ‘Love’ below:

Slow Riot: Friday, 20:10 – 20:40 @ The Hub

Limerick trio Slow Riot‘s ferocious, tense and searing post-punk, has marked them out as one of Ireland’s most promising guitar bands in sometime. Taking classic post-punk influences – Gang of Four, Television, Wire – and infusing them with more contemporary ones such as Girl Band and Future of the Left, they create an irresistible and thunderous modern take on a classic sound. Still need convincing? Check out the intense, insistent and menacing ‘Trophy Wife’ below. Peerless.

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Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 Line-up Announced

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The line-up for Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 festival has just been announced today.

The annual festival will return to Dublin once again, running from Thursday, October 6th to Saturday, October 8th in venues across Dublin, incl. The Workman’s Club, Wigwam, The Chocolate Factory, Odessa, Tengu and The Mezz, with more to follow.

Having been away for the past few years, I’m excited to check out a whole host of acts I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing yet. And of course, discovering some new music too. On a first glance a couple of names immediately jumped out; Oh Boland, New Pope, whenyoungEoin Dolan, A.S. Fanning, Adultrock, Galants, EXPLODING EYES, R.S.A.G, Slow Riot & Rusangano Family.

The full line-up for Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 is as follows:

HWCH 2016:

A.S. Fanning / Adultrock / AikJ / Ailbhe Reddy / Alana Henderson / BARQ / Basciville / Beach / Birds of Olympus / Bitch Falcon / Black Wing Bird / BlueMusic / Brian Casey / Buffalo Woman / Callum Stewart / Chris Kabs / Clarence & The Winters / Comrade Hat / Cormac O Caoimh / Craig Gallagher / Cult Called Man / Dammy Ari / Damola / Daniel McDermott / Davina and the Messengers / ELE / Elephant / Ella Naseeb / Elm / Eoin Dolan / Erica-Cody / Evvol / Exiles / EXPLODING EYES / Fangclub / Fontaines / Galants / Ger Fox Sailing / HAIL THE GHOST / Half Of Me / handsome eric / Harbouring Oceans / HAWK / Hiva Oa / JAFARIS / Jealous of the Birds / Junk Drawer / Kid Karate / Le Boom / Loah / Maija Sofia / Maria Kelly / Miles Graham / moossmann / Naoise Roo / New Pope / New Portals / New Valley Wolves / Nocturnes / Oh Boland / Oh Joy / Orchid Collective / Paddy Dennehy & The Red Herring / Paddy Mulcahy / PALE RIVERS / Participant / Patrick Freeman / Paul Creane / Peppy / Petty Youth / R.S.A.G. / Rocstrong / Rosie Carney / Rusangano Family / Samyel / SARAMAI / Search Party Animal / Slow Riot / Soule / Stephen Robinson / Strength / Super Silly / swords / Tablets / Talos / Tara Lee / Tebi Rex / The Blizzards / The Ocelots / The Shaker Hymn / Tiz McNamara / TOUTS / Train Room / Tuath / Video Blue / Vulpynes / Wake America / Wastefellow / We, the Oceanographers / whenyoung / Whim / WOLFF / Wyvern Lingo / Yonen / Young Earth

Early bird tickets to HWCH 2016 are €35 via DICE until August 10th. After that, weekend tickets will cost €45.00 & €20 for nightly tickets (excl. booking fees).

Oh Boland announce debut album ‘Spilt Milk’, share ‘Jane Russell’

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Galway trio Oh Boland – Niall Murphy, Éanna Mac Donnchadha and Simon McDonagh – having been delighting our ears with their raw and unpolished, noisy garage pop for quite sometime now.

Now is the time to rejoice, Oh Boland have announced their debut LP, Spilt Milk will be released via Californian label Volar Records in October. And as if that were not enough to get us excited, the trio have shared their superb new single ‘Jane Russell’. It’s a sub-three-minute masterclass in ragged, raw and unpolished, blast of lo-fi garage-rock. While ‘Jane Russell’ trashes, screeches and rumbustiously rumbles along, it is supremely catchy and mashed with earworm hooks, continuing a trend of magnificence set out from square one. Here in lies the brilliance of their sound, traversing the space between brash and beautifully catchy they create perfection through imperfection.

Such is the high esteem in which they are held around these parts, they were hardly in need of an introduction. Needless to say, you should check out ‘Jane Russell’ below and you can pre-order the new record here. Go on, you know it makes sense.

Oh Boland also play Whelan’s Upstairs w/ Hot Cops, on Friday, August 19th – all you need to know here.