Kate Bush fans are already rejoicing with the news that the reclusive singer will likely release some music in 2011. While it's been almost six years since she released her last album, Aerial, her influence is in line with the current zeitgeist of strong, definitive and somewhat kooky artists, including Florence & The Machine, Bat For Lashes and Marina & The Diamonds.
You can gear up for the inevitable Bush renaissance by exploring 42 of her unreleased and rare demos, which a fan has uploaded to Soundcloud (bit.ly/katebushdemos). While most of them are straight-up piano demos, there are some surprises in there including a beat-box version of Babooshka.
Live music video content is continuing to grow with sites such as yourstru.ly and Spinner shooting regular and engaging live performances. Applause also for 4AD, the legendary indie label who have, to date, published seven episodes of their 4AD Sessions (www.4ad.com/sessions).
These sessions take an artist from their roster, which so far has included Efterklang, Deerhunter, Ariel Pink and Stornoway, among others, and they have captured their studios performances with excellent cinematography.
What makes these performances stand out is the HD quality of the video and the up-close angles of the artists, not to mention the songs themselves. The latest session sees Twin Shadow's live chops impress and, if you're persuaded by that, the band will play Dublin's Crawdaddy on February 19 with support from Solar Bears.
If you're looking for a great place to stream full albums officially and legally, hop over to Dutch site 3Voor12, which as well as being a radio station also serves up a plethora of album streams every week (bit.ly/fullstreams). Forty-five albums are currently available from mostly independent labels including new releases from Iron & Wine, The Decemberists, Joan As Policewoman, Deerhoof and Cold War Kids.
Two great Irish-developed iPhone apps launched recently that deserve some recognition. Firstly, My Artists is your iPod re-imagined with context, links, photos, videos and bios. My Artists puts all this extra information alongside your songs, as well as YouTube links to other albums not on your phone. Ingenious and very, very useful, it is currently available as free and paid versions (€1.59) myartistsapp.com.
Lastly, BreakingTunes.com is an Irish music portal for Irish bands, funded by the Arts Council and developed by First Music Contact, which allows bands and artists to promote themselves to industry and fans alike. It's got a clean and intuitive interface far removed from the clunk of Myspace.
Breaking Tunes have just launched an iPhone app version of the site which takes advantage of the mobility of smartphones. There's a listings section that shows you gigs taking place nearby you as well as displaying what gigs are on around the country. It's a great way to discover Irish music as the browse section means you can search by county and stream songs, see photos, read a bio and see upcoming gigs. The free app is another fine addition to the promotion of Irish music home and abroad.
Day & Night