shelf-reading at bandcamp: county antrim

Shelf-reading has two purposes: one, to make sure everything is in its right place; and two, to discover works you would not necessarily have though to look for, left to your own researching devices.

I decided to take purpose #2 and apply it to Bandcamp’s tagging system, generally, and the Irish music section, specifically. I then decided to use the counties of Ireland (North and South), arranged alphabetically, as a framing device for the experiment.

I begin today with County Antrim, which contains Belfast, which has large, thriving scene, so this time my selections do skew dramatically towards one geographic location.

I’ve also noticed that, as one would expect, artists from further out in the countryside have drifted Belfast-ward, which muddies the waters a bit. With one exception (David C. Clements) I’ve tried to confine myself strictly to artists who have tagged their work “County Antrim.”

Without further waffle, here is what I found that I liked, drawing both from Belfast as well as the county at large:

I last wrote about Mr. Clements back in January. Since then he has added five songs, one of which I haven’t yet extracted from Bandcamp’s clutches (a cover of Devil Town) and the other four which, together with the first two that I wrote about, I listen to on endless repeat for thirty minute stretches at least once a day.

Update Nov. 2013: He’s removed some tunes and moved others, and The Longest Day in History is now a four song ep. Here is my favorite tune:

Next up: Paulie J Fox, who describes his genre as “country experimental surf.” To me it sounds a bit Twin Peaks-y, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Less experimental and more indie-folk is Ram’s Pocket Radio, aka Peter McCauley, who is from Lisburn, just outside of Belfast.

This is his contribution to a compilation called, of all things, Small Town America (Public Service Broadcast 10), which features a totally European cast of characters, all of whom look worthy of further investigation:

This one is from Trajectories, a three EP box set of only his work:

Jumping up the coast a little bit, there’s static white sound, from Ballymoney. They’re heavier and darker, and to my ear draw from the shoegaze tradition but incorporate some of the spirit of Metal Machine Music, in the sense that you can hear them noodling and experimenting and exploring some intriguing musical thoughts.

Also they get an A++ for page design, by virtue of featuring a picture of a cat who has clearly been interrupted in the act of investigating someones pedals.

And then, finally, last but absolutely not least, there is Roysta (also here), aka Lee James. The Facebook blurb for one interview described him as a “Belfast’s mutated version of John Waters, Charles Bukowski, GG Allin and Ice-T.”

The formal name for the result is “dirtcore”; obviously I had to find out what that might sound like. Below are two tracks from Hurrmaster (translated from the broad Belfast accent: Whoremaster). As you would expect, his language is salty and his imagery can be, uh, startling, but he’s got some good beats:

If you’d like to hear more, he’s helpfully uploaded his entire back catalogue (!) to bandcamp.

Or you can explore the County Antrim tag on your own time!

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