Thursday 17 October 2019

New sounds, second comings and a host of hot gigs


Tunesmith: Conor O’Brien of Villagers, who has a new album out and plays the Metropolis festival next month
Tunesmith: Conor O’Brien of Villagers, who has a new album out and plays the Metropolis festival next month
Neneh Cherry
Suede, The Blue Hour
Kylie Minogue
John Meagher

John Meagher

With Suede making a comeback, Kylie touring a fresh sound and slew of new albums, there’s plenty to look forward to this autumn


The Blue Hour (out September  21)

Suede's second coming has exceeded the expectations of many and Brett Anderson and friends are truly firing from all cylinders. This eighth album is the first to be produced by Alan Moulder - famed for his work with Arctic Monkeys and The Killers - and the trio of singles so far released suggests the band's impressive run continues. It's been quite a year for Anderson: his memoir, Coal Black Mornings, has been widely acclaimed.


The Art of Pretending to Swim (Out September 21)

Conor O'Brien is one of our great tunesmiths and he has kept the standard consistently high since that first Villagers album, Becoming a Jackal back in 2010. This is his fourth studio album and it's a sophisticated collection of keenly observed songs, some of which are destined to become future classics.

Féile classical Semple stadium, Thurles, co Tipperary (September 21 & 22)

Twenty one years after the last Féile - then but a poor shadow of what had started in 1990 - comes this grown-up version. Some of the most popular Irish bands of the original Féile run - Something Happens and An Emotional Fish, among them - are back, but this time the accompaniment is from the Irish Chamber Orchestra.


Tivoli, Dublin (September 22)

Best album of the year? Be the Cowboy from Japanese-American singer-songwriter Mitski Miyawaki is certainly a contender: the songs are difficult to categorise, but they leave quite an impression - and anyone who thinks confessional songsmithery isn't what it used to be needs to hear it. She's no stranger to Dublin and this gig in the newly reopened Tivoli could be very special indeed.

Arctic Monkeys

3arena, Dublin (September 24 & 25)

If the Sheffield band were mere kids when they burst on the scene back in 2006 with an extraordinary debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, they've certainly grown up since then. And their latest album, Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino, is the sound of a group willing to take significant risks with their sound: it's very different to anything else they've released.

Julien Baker

Vicar Street, Dublin (September 27)

The Memphis troubadour has been much praised for a pair of albums, the most recent of which, Turn Out the Lights, was one of last year's most enduring releases. Her beguiling songs could have been tailor-made for Vicar Street - and she's familiar with the venue having supported Belle and Sebastian on their pair of dates here earlier this year.

Cat Power

Wanderer (out October 5)

Chan Marshall - aka Cat Power - has carved out a distinct furrow in her 25-year career and this album, entirely self-produced, has been inspired by the nomadic life of a musician, going from city to city. It's the first of her albums to be released by the seminal UK label, Domino.

Kylie Minogue

3arena, Dublin (October 7)

She may have turned the milestone age of 50 this summer, but Australia's biggest pop export is keen to demonstrate that she's ahead of the pack. Her latest album, Golden, marks a distinct shift in sound: largely recorded in Memphis, it has a strong country pop flavour. The change in direction is not unusual for Minogue - she's been keen to keep her sound fresh for decades now.

John Grant

Love Is Magic (October 12)

The ex-Czars' man's first album in three years has been inspired by the business of being in love. "Love's a shitshow that requires work," he said recently. "It's not all lollipops and rainbows and '67 Dodge Dart Hemis and STDs and macaroni and cheese and John Carpenter. But nothing can distract from the fact that, in spite of it all, love is still magic." We'll take his word on that.

Okkervil River

Grand Social, Dublin (October 13)

The Texan outfit remain critical darlings despite, largely, staying in the margins. By rights, they should be well-known enough to play somewhere like Vicar Street, but the converted can at least console themselves that they will see Will Sheff & Co in a venue as intimate as this.

Neneh Cherry

Broken Politics (Out October 19)

The Swede follows up her excellent 2014 comeback album, Blank Project, with a record that she's describing as "quieter and more reflective". It's produced by Kieran Hebden - aka electronica musician Four Tet - and lead single, the bewitching 'Shot Gun Shack' augers very well for the album.

David Byrne

3arena, Dublin (October 24)

A contender for gig of the year? It's been several years since the Talking Heads man last played Ireland - 2013's Electric Picnic, while touring with St Vincent on the Love This Giant project - and he's got a fascinating album in tow: the wonderfully eclectic American Utopia is his first solo album in 14 years, and it sees him join forces with regular collaborator Brian Eno.


RDS, Dublin (October 27 & 28)

Billed as an "indoor, winter music festival", Metropolis returns for a fourth year - and the line-up is the best to date. Róisín Murphy, Blood Orange and Mac DeMarco are among the highlights and the bill also includes Villagers and Young Fathers, the hip-hop electronica trio who were surprise winners of the 2014 Mercury Music Prize.

Dead Can Dance

Dionysus (out November 2)

Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and ecstasy - which sounds good to us - and also provides the title of the first Dead Can Dance album in six years. Lisa Gerrard and Ireland resident Brendan Perry favour a quality over quantity approach and their work is all the better for it. A European tour is lined up for 2019, but no Irish dates - as yet - have been scheduled.

The Prodigy

No Tourists (Out November 2)

Fresh from their headline appearance at Electric Picnic earlier this month, Keith Flint and pals release their seventh album. It includes the single 'Need Some 1', which got an airing at Stradbally, and was entirely produced by Prodigy co-founder Liam Howlett.

Badly Drawn Boy

Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin (November 7)

Damon Gough arrived with considerable acclaim with his Mercury-winning debut, The Hour of the Bewilderbeast, and he followed it up with a marvellous soundtrack for the Hugh Grant-starring About a Boy. If his work has been patchy since then, there's still a huge amount of quality and the setting - largely off the Dublin live-music circuit - should help enhance the intimate feel.


Simulation Theory (out November 9)

Subtlety has never been Muse's thing and this eighth album sounds as outlandishly over-the-top as anything they've done. It's apparently a science fiction-themed concept album that explores themes of simulation inspired by pop culture of the 1980s. Frontman Matt Bellamy also claims the songs are motivated by today's tempestuous political climate in America.


Olympia, Dublin (November 18, 19 & 20)

After a remarkable debut and follow-up album, the New Yorkers seemed to lose their mojo. Recently, though, they've been revitalised and latest album Marauder is the sound of a band that's found its voice again. There's an urgency to the music now that should bode very well for when they play here.

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