If I have learned anything in 2011 its this: Somewhere in Ireland, a mysterious stranger is touring the pubs, whispering my name and email address to every awesome band with hopes of touring the US. “Contact Ses, she’ll get you a Saturday night on the strip,” I can hear the raspy voice say as its speaker no doubt winks, “She’s your girl in music, alright. But remember you must tell her nothing of me, ever; now swear it!”
The artist(s) swear(s), of course, and promptly email me, asking about US & LA bookings. I suspect this stranger is master-minding the first ever Irish Invasion, and have prepared accordingly: my fridge is stocked full of Guinness, and nothing else.
You doubt the veracity of my Irish Invasion rock-n-roll theory? How else does one explain the now seven Irish indie bands to come my way in 2011, all with a trick or two to teach their US counterparts? Exactly right: there is no other possible explanation.
The four-piece outfit from Cork, Ireland, is the most recent group to emerge stateside since crossing paths with the mysterious stranger, evidence that the stranger has now ventured beyond Dublin. They play LA Tuesday night at Redwood Bar, and your girl in music hopes you’re there, because even if Hope is Noise also refuses to confirm the strangers existence, or reveal my apparently pivotal role in the coming/already underway Irish Invasion, they are uniquely awesome noisemakers that could school the US on what rock really is, thank you. Plus, you have to love the name, right? According to their official PR on its origins, the name was an offhand musing by vocalist/guitarist Daniel Breen to his bandmates that took all the frustrations and joys of life in a band and distilled them into something new; something darker, and yet something revelatory (you can hear the sly ‘whatever that means’ grin forming at the corners of my mouth, can’t you?). Whatever. We’ll say this: Hope is certainly found in their noise.
Theirs is a stereo-sonic juxtaposition existing in a state torn between indie-pop & live crowd-pleasers vs. shards of distortion & melodic but feral urgency. The evolution twixt album 1 & 2 starts with a new standard for the pop template usually lazily traced around, with deceptively heavy themes on love and loss. Their next effort more thoroughly explores the human condition with an incendiary crossbreed of Nirvana and At the Drive-In, or peak-era Foo Fighters with a philosophical edge. Though they dabble in dynamic in truly glorious fashion they’re as melodic as any bublegum era big band hit.
That dichotomy keeps many curious listeners intrigued from the Dead Kennedys Jello Biafra to NME’s editors, but where they truly strike a chord (pun inevitable) is live, on stage, particularly in the sort of intimate venues they’re hitting on this West Coast jaunt, including, of course, Angel City’s own Redwood Bar.
Cathartic, energetic, and as loud and spiky as humanly possible, above all things, Hope is Noise is a jubilant celebration of our raw power expressed sonically: to inspire, to help ask questions, to make sense of it all; or simply forget it all and even in, as my brother puts it, the land of the LA arm-fold cheer/scream/sing yourself hoarse. This much I swear: if you show up tomorrow night, you’ll work up a sweat and never regret it. You can thank me later.
NOTE to indie artists: no, I cannot book your band. I am not a booking agent. If you’d like to find a booking agent, the best way is to hone your sound and stage presence, engage and connect to your audience and get yourself on reverbnation or sonicbids and use their free resources (only pay for the epk) as a complement to your self-booking efforts via indieonthemove. Then you get and play gigs and act professionally, so that the right agents, managers and industry notice and pursue you. Sorry, but its another dating game. As is everything in life.