Noise Annoys: Owen Lamont, Los Reyes, The Bonnevilles & Output 2018
Christmas is almost here, but Noise Annoys hasn't quite managed to get excited about it yet. Perhaps some Christmas music will help...
WELCOME to the final Noise Annoys of 2017, which will be entering your brain via your eyes mere days before Christmas.
To be honest, despite having already done pretty much all my Christmas shopping (for once) and enjoyed three full Christmas dinners over the past wee while, your humble Noise Annoys-ist was still not feeling terribly festive at time of writing these words.
Luckily, Belfast troubadour Mr Owen Lamont had done his darnedest to whip up our Christmas cheer with a new seasonally themed song and video Lovely Time of Year.
"I'm really just trying to get people to relax," enthuses Owen of his new festive ditty, the clip for which begins with him gamely being belted in the face with real life snowballs.
"It's a nice time of year and you should try to enjoy it while the going is good. Make memories. Have fun. Be happy. Ho-Ho-Ho."
Admirable sentiments, and indeed this jaunty little cowboy-country ballad – which also features the vocal stylings of Katie Richardson (more about whom in a moment) – is practically guaranteed to thaw the cockles of even the most miserable Scrooge.
Put on your Santa hat, pour yourself a nip of eggnog or whatever slightly less emetic Christmas tipple floats your boat and have a look/listen at FB.com/owenlamontmusic.
Who knows? Afterwards, you might even be in the mood to check out the Time To Be Proud Xmas Party at The Pavilion in Belfast tomorrow night.
If so, you'll be treated to live sets by rockabilly rumblers The Sabrejets and surf-trash instrumentalists Los Reyes.
Indeed, the latter lot are hijacking the party to launch their brand new EP, How To Hurt People, due out any second now via Time To Be Proud (naturally).
Having purchased and thoroughly enjoyed their self-titled debut LP, I for one am certainly hoping that Santa stuffs a copy of their latest effort deep into my stocking.
Anyway, doors for the Xmas show are at 9pm and admission is a mere £5.
Looking beyond Christmas, Ireland's premier punk-bluesters The Bonnevilles have a special album launch gig coming up on December 30 at The Speakeasy, QUBSU.
No, it's not the follow-up to the awesome Arrow Pierce My Heart: rather, Chris and Andy have finally issued their fine 2012 collection Folk Art and The Death of Electric Jesus on vinyl, courtesy of the good people at Blues For The Red Sun.
With a bit of luck, said record will be available to purchase on the night, which will also feature exciting heavily amplified live turns by The Crossfire Hurricanes, The Groundlings and Electric Blue.
Tickets are £8 via Tinyurl.com/tblplaunch, while doors on the night will be at 8.30pm.
Onwards to other local music news: independent charity Help Musicians NI has announced the six local recipients of its awards to help facilitate new creative collaborations.
The lucky artists in question are Mark McCambridge, Julie McLamon, Alana Henderson, Danielle Carragher, Katie Richardson and Koichi Samuels, who will be receiving money from the first ever Help Musicians Fusion Fund.
As previously reported, this is a newly developed scheme offering grants of up to £5,000 designed to "support musicians' collaborations with non-musical disciplines and recognising each nation and region's unique creative contribution".
Arborist man Mark McCambridge highlights how the award has helped him pursue something a bit different from his usual songwriting: he will travel Northern Ireland's coast while collaborating with singers on an album of sea shanties.
Mark will also produce a documentary and host a launch event in Portaferry as part of the project.
"It's a slight side-step from my usual musical output," he explains, "so is probably not something I would be able to pursue to any great level without the support of Help Musicians.
"I think it shows their commitment in supporting artistic pursuits no matter how left-field or obscure which can only be a good thing."
Artists were selected by a panel of music industry types including Kirsten Kearney, chief executive of film therapy charity ESC.
"It was a real honour to be included on the panel for Help Musician NI's first Northern Irish Fusion Fund," she says.
"The quality of the proposed work that we considered was really impressive and reflects a healthy and growing innovative creative scene in Northern Ireland. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of those projects come to fruition and wish all the artists great success in their efforts."
Looking forward to the new year, music showcase and conference event Output Belfast will return for its fourth year on Thursday February 8.
Organised by Belfast City Council and Invest Northern Ireland's Music Business Support Programme, the conference will include panel discussions, music sessions, workshops and networking events, plus keynote speeches from musicians and music managers.
Based at The MAC and Oh Yeah, Output 2018 "will address the challenges and opportunities that the music industry presents, highlighting the key role that music and performance plays within Northern Ireland's buoyant creative industries sector".
Confirmed guests include:
:: Everything Everything man Jeremy Pritchard on recorded music and streaming in 2018
:: Peter Bradbury (Head of Music, Sky) and Nicky Bignall (Head of Music licensing, BBC) on placing music in UK television;
:: Legendary mastering engineer John Davis (U2, REM, Jimmy Page) and Rocky O'Reilly of Belfast's Start Together Studios on tips and techniques for bedroom mastering
:: 'Cracking the media in rock and metal' featuring Remfry Dedman (The Independent), Adam Reiss (Metal Hammer), Simon Glacken (I Like Press) and Becky Laverty (Pioneer Press);
:: 'How to break open Ireland as a territory' featuring Shane Dunne (Music Cork), Ed Smith (Today FM), Niall Byrne (Nialler 9), Michael Roe (Faction), Beoga manager Sarah Casey and lawyer William Ryan.
Full information available at Outputbelfast.com.
Right, that's your lot for 2017. Best of luck with the whole Christmas and New Year thing, with a little luck I'll be seeing you all on the other side, AKA 2018.
THIS WEEK'S MOST ANNOYING NOISES: CHRISTMAS MUSIC SPECIAL
Christmas Island – Bob Dylan
Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Christmas Shopper's Paradise – Carter USM
Christmas Steps –Mogwai
Step Into Christmas – Elton John
Lonely This Christmas – Mud
Blue Christmas – Elvis
Last Christmas – Wham!
No Christmas – The Wedding Present