Shamrock & Roll
Emerald Isle inlet
Celtic rock at SXSW 05 is more diverse than you think.
Leaning toward psychobilly's psycho side, Dublin's the Things feature throbbing bass, kick-can drums, The Munsters organ sounds, hot rod twang guitars, and the Cramps singing. Their American debut EP comes from Big Neck Records. Black-leather-wearing rock architects, Mainline builds sound structures with sweeping synth splashes, vintage space rock, big old guitars, crescendos, and languid singing. These six young Dublin lads (three of them brothers) love that reverb, too.
Before releasing his debut, Flood the Tanks, (Bright Star) last year, Iain Archer made a name for himself as Snow Patrol's guitarist, and by opening for Nils Lofgren and David Gray. Young but already getting published buzz are Dublin's the Immediate, a quartet of instrument swappers. Blending noise and melodic rock with accomplished delivery, the first pressing of their debut single "Never Seen"/"Say This," on the UK's Fierce Panda imprint, has already sold out.
Sisters Jessie & Layla were raised amidst music. Their father filmed Thin Lizzy's North American tours, and the sisters often found Phil Lynott sleeping on their sofa. Plying guitar-based songs with sampled beats, J&L craft electro-folk songs with Sixties psychedelica and sisterly harmonies, found on their self-released debut, Kinetic. Bell X1 rose out of the ashes of Juniper, a Kildare outfit that signed with Polygram in 1997. The band lost a member when Seagram ate up Polygram, and the quartet reformed with the new name. Last year Universal International released Music in Mouth, an album of close-up vocals over dreamy and chimey anthemic rock.
After splashing big in the early-Nineties, Hothouse Flowers had some ups and downs in the ensuing years, but still toured internationally and wowed audiences with their conviction and harmony. Last year, when Ruby Works released their fifth studio album Into Your Heart, Bono called vocalist Liam O'Maonlai "the best white soul singer in the world." Shamrock & roll, baby.
Bell X1 (Dublin) www.bellx1.com; Thu., 11pm, Soho Lounge
Ireland @ SXSW
The Frames (Dublin) www.theframes.ie; Fri., 12mid, Antone's
The Immediate (Dublin) www.theimmediate.tv; Thu., 12mid, Soho Lounge
Jessie & Layla (Dublin) www.jessieandlayla.com; Thu., 8pm, Soho Lounge
Mainline (Dublin) www.mainlinesounds.com; Thu., 1am, Soho Lounge
Mono Band (Limerick) www.monoband.co.uk; Thu., 9pm, Soho Lounge
The Things (Dublin) www.thethingsireland.moonfruit.com; Thu., 10pm, Soho Lounge