Noise Annoys: Malojian, VerseChorusVerse & Dominic O'Neill
Noise Annoys catches up with Malojian as he returns to live music following a brief enforced break and brings you words on new albums from VerseChorusVerse and ex-Delawares man Dominic O'Neill
TONIGHT finds Malojian man Stevie Scullion tearing himself away from watching the World Cup for a solo show at the American Bar in Belfast.
It will only be Stevie's second gig since taking time out for the small matter of donating a kidney, so it seemed only right to mark the occasion with a quick mini Q&A to find out how things are going. Read on...
How are you feeling now you’re getting back to live work?
I'm starting to feel good, thanks. The operation was about eight weeks ago now. Everything seems to have gone according to plan so far, so happy days. I've already been doing bits and pieces but I'm looking forward to getting back to playing live for sure.
What have you got coming up that people should know about?
I'm playing The American Bar in Belfast tonight. Then we're in Toal's in Monaghan in July and at the Open House Festival in Bangor in August.
We've loads of stuff coming up later in the year including the rescheduled shows which I had to postpone because of the operation. All dates and info are on my website at Malojian.com.
This time last year you were finishing the mix on your current album Let Your Weirdness Carry You Home. Are you pleased with how the release went and the reception it's had from fans and critics?
Yes, almost exactly a year ago I was over in Abbey Road finishing the album. That was a bit of a dream come true.
The whole experience of making that album was brilliant, actually. It got a good reception from critics and people seemed to really like it, so all's good. I'm working on something at the minute to go alongside it, out-takes, alternative versions etc, as I'm considering putting out a deluxe release or something later this year.
Any brand new music on the horizon yet?
Yes, I'm in the middle of writing the next album. I've about half the tracks finished and demoed, so hopefully it'll be ready for release early next year.
How much does a World Cup interfere with the life of a football loving singer-songwriter: major distraction or useful inspiration? And who are you backing to win?
Haha! Maybe a bit of both, though I'd say it's leaning towards major distraction at the minute. I've watched every game so far. Loving it! No 'Hand Of God' moments yet to inspire an actual song, but it's early days.
I'm usually on for Argentina just because I've loved Maradona since I was a kid but I was actually happy Iceland got a result against them. What an achievement for them to even qualify. Brilliant!
I dunno about 'backing', but how style would it be to see them win?
What’s your favourite song in the world today and why?
My daughter Eve is learning to play the piano and every time she passes an exam she plays Blur's The Universal, so I'm gonna go with that.
One other upcoming show Stevie will want you to know about is the tribute gig for his late friend Willie Meighan, proprietor of Rollercoaster Records in Kilkenny and major Malojian fan, who sadly passed away late last year.
Stevie will be part of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out: A Celebration of Willie Meighan on August 15 at St Canice's Cathedral during the Kilkenny Arts Festival.
The line-up also features top experimental folk trio Yorkston/Thorne/Khan and sublime close harmony duo The Lost Brothers, making it worth every cent of the €25 ticket price. Book online now via Kilkennyarts.ie/booking/event/29203.
Onwards we plough to a pair of new records from two long-standing local musical talents, namely former Delawares man Dominic O'Neill and VerseChorusVerse, AKA Tony Wright, ex-of PepperBook, Zombie Safari Park and And So I Watch You From Afar.
Dominic put out his debut solo LP Dark Copper 7 back in 2014, a lo-fi collection of acoustic numbers. Billed as "a lean and powerful fantasy album, about war, witches and the woods", his newie Out of The Woods finds him playing a lot more electric guitar to create a fine set of psychedelia-tinged folk 'n' rock with a little help from friends including fellow Delawares survivors Owen Lamont, Rory O'Connor and Cully McLaughlin.
This is a record with many highlights: to name but a few, Say Nothing finds Dominic channelling his inner Neil Young & Crazy Horse to splendidly fuzzy effect, Prime is a Nuggets-y, Undertones-y short sharp three chord boogie and the grungy Gretel wrong-foots listeners with its sudden, pleasing eruption of swelling brass.
By contrast, My One and Only Friend is a wistful 'n' woozy, stripped-back ballad, No 61 is a croonsome, nostaglic unplugged ode to romantic rendezvous via Citybus and Forest is a deceptively tender murder ballad which gradually works up a good head of finger-pluckin', spooky strings-enhanced steam.
You can hear the whole thing right now at Dominiconeill.bandcamp.com/album/out-of-the-woods, which should help get you well versed in his latest songs before the special album launch show at Belfast's Accidental Theatre on Thursday June 28.
Described as "an epic two-part set, featuring a varied cast of performers Dominic has worked with over the years", you can buy your tickets in advance for £7 via Accidentaltheatre.co.uk/box-office/out-of-the-woods.
As for Tony Wright's new release, Outro is the first new VerseChorusVerse collection in about five years, though of course he's kept busy elsewhere with his David Lyttle collaboration Say And Do and bonkers swamp blues project The Tragedy of Dr Hannigan.
Indeed, the more experimental bent evident on those endeavours has clearly rubbed off on this 'surprise' new release, which appeared on Versechorusverse.bandcamp.com earlier this week.
Available on a 'pay what you want' basis, it's intended as an 'art begets art' fundraising endeavour for Tony's forthcoming book and Irish theatre tour in October.
Outro runs the gamut from the haunting hollerin' of sparse opener Leave it Alone and Category's chiming, melodic lament through the hip-hop blues lurch of Chord (Gunn Laws) and anthemic earworm No One As Lonely to the rowdy rockabilly of Shakedown Sally, Queen To Pawn's thumping stalk 'n' strum, the slow-building country sad balladry of Last Day On Earth and moody moment The Radio Plays On, which marries Tony's echoing vocals to pounding drums, sinister synths and an insistent groove.
It's an entertaining smorgasbord of styles to say the least, but at this point none of them feel like too much of a stretch for this versatile performer, who has just been appointed as the MAC in Belfast's Artist in Residence for July and August.
More news on the book and theatre tour as and when I have it.