Musical Rooms

April 3, 2009

50 Best Irish music acts right now (who contributed to Musical Rooms)

davidholmesMyself and three Ticket colleagues (Jim Carroll, Tony Clayton Lea and Lauren Murphy) were each recently asked to compile a list of the ’50 Best Irish music acts right now’. As expected there’s lots of debate about it over on Jim Carroll’s blog. There were lots of bands I voted for that aren’t on the list, and some I didn’t vote for that made the final 50. Either way, it’s great to see a light shined on so many bands and the list proves that Irish music is in a fairly robust health. Well done to David Holmes for bagging the No. 1 slot.

Here’s a list of those included in the Top 50 who have contributed to Musical Rooms so far. Watch out for upcoming contributions from Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, Ann Scott and Dark Room Notes.

(49) David Turpin
(46) Mick Flannery
(38) The Jimmy Cake
(29) Julie Feeney
(23) Messiah J &The Expert
(20) Oppenheimer
(19) Chequerboard
(13) RSAG
(8) Adrian Crowley
(6) Villagers
(5) Lisa Hannigan
(4) Fight Like Apes
(2) Jape


May 2, 2008

Musical Rooms Irish Times column: The Jimmy Cake

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 9:01 pm
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“It’s difficult to pinpoint any specific creative space for The Jimmy Cake. During the writing process, it’s quite rare for us to find ourselves in the same room. Over the past eight years, we’ve developed a unique approach to collaborating. Assembling a track can actually be quite frightening, as the sheer size of the band requires an unusual level of organisation.

“Our new album uses a string quartet, a brass band, electronics and a second percussionist, in addition to our already sizeable nine members, so I’m sometimes faced with arranging hundreds of separate recordings.

“Although most of the band are based in Dublin, I do all the production work here in my studio in Tipperary. It’s quite a simple, quiet area in a converted attic in my home, and is something of a haven. It has only one small window, but has a fantastic view over the Shannon. There is no telephone line, television or internet here, so it’s an amazing place to just get away from it all and immerse myself in making music.

“I’ll often use specific spaces around the country to record various instruments, but in the end, everything ends up here. This room is only used for composing and production, so everything revolves around the computers and control devices. I do a lot of work for film so there are plenty of screens and a big surround-sound system here. I’ve been immersed in music technology since quite a young age (when I was 10, Phil Lynott gave me a tour of Windmill Lane studios while I perched on his head), and as a result of that exposure, I don’t tend to imbue studio equipment with any sort of magical qualities. In fact, removing equipment from the creative space is often the most fruitful course of action.

“The computer is probably the most important tool here, and I could probably work anywhere as long as I had that and a good set of speakers. Without a doubt the most thrilling aspect of this room is watching all the individual recordings mesh together and come to life. Sometimes that does actually feel a little like magic.”

The Jimmy Cake’s third album, Spectre and Crown, is out now on Pilatus Records. For more, see

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Musical Rooms in The Irish Times

dawn2From today, I’m delighted to say that the Musical Rooms will appear as an occasional column in The Ticket, in The Irish Times. People have been very supportive of the series since it started on the blog back in November. Musicians who read it confess that it’s a bit like Through the Keyhole for them, without the nasally guided tour by Lloyd Grossman of course. Here’s some background on how it all started, and a full index of all the contributing acts to date.

Particularly recommended are Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip’s toilet, the
kitchen antics of this year’s Choice Music Prize winners Super Extra Bonus Party, James Yorkson and his stuffed heron, Adrian Crowley’s attic hideout and Dawn Landes’ New York recording studio.

The first Musical Rooms piece, featuring The Jimmy Cake, can found here in today’s Ticket.

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