ALAN Owens selects his top five Limerick acts to watch out for in the year to come.
LIMERICK is blessed with a heaving and healthy music scene, despite - and maybe even helped by - the recessionary times we live in.
Last year saw top releases from Protobaby, Senekah, The Cranberries and Windings - the latter surely being a top tip for the Choice Music Prize, the shortlist for which is announced next Wednesday - while Out On A Limb records released the excellent sophomore album from Owensie (no relation) and are set for a big year to come, with releases from Rest, Crayonsmith and the very exciting Hidden Highways.
Our list below of acts to watch out for in 2013 is by no means complete, or indeed all that surprising, but it contains our strongest contenders for breakout success, in our humble opinion.
1 Mynameisj0hn - John Lillis
ALTHOUGH strictly speaking a Clare man - Lillis hails from Ennis - as alter-ego and top scratch turntablist Mynameisj0hn, the producer plies his trade and is based in Limerick city, thankfully for local music fans.
We have been following Lillis’ career with interest since 2011’s 9-track release There Is A Policeman Inside All Our Heads and follow-up EP The Thinker and The Prover, both of which marked him out as a top producer, making progressive, eye-opening music through turntables, laptops, mixers and samplers.
In December Lillis released The Focusing Effect, a step-up again in terms of sampling, stuffed with hip-hop tinged electronica and paranoid psych rock and adding to the DJ Shadow comparisons we first heard in his earlier work.
Coupled with his live DJing skills, Lillis should blow a hole in 2013 - and is our top tip to watch out for this year!
2 Hermitage Green
THIS is certain to be a big year for harmonic folk-rock quintet Hermitage Green, with a debut album and a string of top gigs to add to the Limerick band’s burgeoning reputation.
The excellent EP The Gathering, released in October and featuring the imprint and influence of mastering whizz Richard Dowling, confirmed their potential, but industry buzz had already been building about these boys throughout 2012.
Sold out gigs Whelan’s, Cypress Avenue and Monroe’s were followed by storming showings in Dolan’s - they became the only Limerick act after the Rubberbandits to sell out the Warehouse - and coupled with the steering influence of MCD has seen the five-piece already rise to national prominence.
Major label interest in their debut album should see a major breakthrough this year, which starts for the band with gigs in Australia, South Africa, America and Abu Dhabi - all before March.
Hermitage Green are also set for a top Riverfest gig in Limerick in May.
See Hermitage Green.
3 Leading Armies
YOUNG bucks with bags of talent and attitude, Leading Armies are our top tip to emerge from the legions of young bands based in Limerick.
Fronted by musical chameleon Conor Ryan, this six-piece rock outfit also already had a big year in 2012, winning a trip to Canada and a headline slot at Indie Week, plus a prized spot at the Hot Press backed Jägermeister Freezer Sessions in Dolan’s at the end of the year.
The band, made up of Glen Scully, David Hinchy, Ryan, Mike Hogan, Cian Daly and Noel Mooney, are all established musicians and their fresh faced enthusiasm and rocking live performances are quite an intoxicating proposition.
New material to come in 2013 also, we hope.
4 Moscow Metro
THIS Limerick band already had some year in 2012, gracing festival stages at Liss Ard and Body and Soul as well as opening proceedings on the Cosby Stage on the Saturday of the Electric Picnic.
That was all without even releasing a record, but demo Spirit of a City has already earned the band favourable comparisons to The National and they are already a four piece with a line in shoegaze rock and a clearly visible flash of genius, despite their tender years.
Debut album should follow in 2013.
5 Bleeding Heart Pigeons
WE DON’T know a huge amount about this trio, except that they are teenagers with an expansive sound - falsettos and synths present in spades on their early, homemade recordings, some of which are available online.
What we have heard has however made us very excited indeed. Watch this space.