I have to admit I can't abide Stereophonics -- particularly after interviewing truculent and deathly dull frontman Kelly Jones some years ago -- but hats off to them for going down a promotional road less travelled.
Fans keen to win signed band merchandise and indulge in a virtual Q&A with the diminutive singer need to get their hands on the new five-track Song Pack for PS3's SingStore. Then, they are to upload their own performance of one of the Stereophonics' songs to SingStar before Thursday, March 11.
The 10 best will be chosen for a virtual "meet and greet" in PlayStation Home on March 25 -- trust me, it's likely to be more stimulating than an actual face-to-face -- with Jones and his anonymous bandmates picking three overall winners, each of whom will receive additional gifts. A virtual gig is also planned for the night.
Those who wish to see them play in the flesh will have to attend one of several UK dates this month. Curiously, no Irish show has been scheduled.
Domino is one of the hottest indie labels of today, so it is fitting that one of Ireland's most critically acclaimed young bands, Villagers, has been added to a roster that already includes such luminaries as Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and Lightspeed Champion.
A single, Becoming a Jackel, is set for release on Record Store Day (which is, as we all know, April 17) with the digital download version available on April 26. An album is expected in the autumn.
The brainchild of ex-Immediate man Conor O'Brien, Villagers have already toured Ireland twice, played festivals at home and abroad and opened for the legendary Neil Young. They will be going on the road later in the month as support to Tindersticks, who now include David Kitt among their number.
Thousands of Paul McCartney fans were left disappointed when his solitary show at the O2 Dublin sold out in minutes. Luckily for them, Macca is coming back to the city's RDS and will play to 35,000 -- two-and-a-half times the O2's capacity -- on Saturday, June 12.
Tickets go on sale at 8pm on Monday with prices ranging from €70 to €156.25. They're not cheap, but if the show is anything like the one he played here pre-Christmas, it will be worth every cent.
How about this for our recessionary times? Ash have just announced a free gig at Dublin's Andrew's Lane on Saturday, March 20, with support from Republic Of Loose. The latest single in their A-Z Series, K (Song of your Desire) was released this week and M (War with Me) will be unveiled on March 26. That Motown-tinged song will mark the halfway point in the series and will signal the release of the compilation A-Z Vol 1 on April 16, which will collect the first 13 singles along with a host of bonus material. It is available to pre-order from ash-official.com now.
Speaking of Northern Irish bands, Two Door Cinema Club are making their superb debut album, Tourist History, available for the very reasonable price of €6.99 on iTunes Ireland. Cheaper than the average cinema ticket, it's well worth the investment. Meanwhile, they did a rather good version of Lady Gaga's Poker Face on Radio Virgin in France. To access the link, visit twitter.com/TDCinemaClub.
See you in the front row at their Button Factory, Dublin, show tomorrow night.
Passion Pit play a free show in Cork's Savoy tomorrow week as part of Heineken Green Spheres and it should be very special indeed. And now the excellent Foals have just been announced for the next HGS event, in Dublin's Academy on May 14. The show will be in support of their forthcoming album, Total Life Forever, to be released the same week and those wishing to secure free tickets should visit heinekenmusic.ie