Another weekend, another festival for music fans to flock to in search of sonic thrills. Indiependence has been pulling the crowds to Mitchelstown, Co Cork since 2006 and, with every passing year, the event and the line-up have grown in size and stature.
There’s a ton of fans setting their GPS gadgets for the site beneath the Galtee Mountains this weekend. Here’s a baker’s dozen of acts you really don’t want to miss (provided, of course, that they’re not playing at the same time as someone else on the list).
Chlöe Howl is a teenager on a mission. When she first appeared on the radars of talent scouts a few years ago, it was bold, brazen, pop belters such as Rumour that impressed all and persuaded Columbia Records to offer her a contract. Anyone who has seen her live knows she also has oodles of chutzpah to go with those tunes. She has been working on an album with Eg White (Florence & The Machine, Adele and Will Young collaborator) so we await that eagerly. Her songs, she says, "are about being a bored teenager, 'cos I am one". We like the cut of her jib.
Chuck D and co's adventures have taken them all around the world over the years, but there's always room for another first: in this case Public Enemy playing their first-ever show in a town best known for making cheese. Last seen under an Irish sky when they lashed through the hits in a jam-packed tent at Forbidden Fruit a couple of months ago, PE's modus operandi has largely remained unchanged over the years. You get a clatter of heavyweight beats, righteous preaching and hollering, and a bevy of timeless, fierce, hip-hop hits. The original of the species when it comes to bringing the noise.
When he's not nonchalantly rescuing swimmers from possible drowning in Enniscorthy, Damien Dempsey embellishes his reputation for hard-hitting tunes delivered with heart, soul and gusto. The former boxer has journeyed a long way from his debut album – and it's worth remembering that They Don't Teach This Shit at School came out 14 years ago – and he has gained much musical heft along the way as his folk/pop sound has matured and developed. Listen to this year's greatest hits album, It's All Good, and celebrate a singer and songwriter with an unique voice and perspective who is, in the greater scheme of things, just getting warmed up. The praise and plaudits he has received from his peers, and greats such as Christy Moore, are telling.
Somewhere in the world, there's a hard drive of some sort containing the bones of the new album by Delorentos. Album number four from the Dublin four-piece will be eagerly awaited in many quarters, especially as the Choice Music Prize-winning Little Sparks moved them onto mainstream radars and tracks such as Bullet in a Gun and Care For made them radio regulars. Their recent Record Store Day release, Unbroken, Untied, had versions of four new songs that suggest the band maintain their penchant for brave, bright and emotional music. Live, they can really soar, with or without the large Styrofoam letters that often accompany them onstage and usually end up getting carted away by the crowd.
All eyes are on him. There's no doubt about it, Andrew Hozier-Byrne has had a barely believable 12 months. Last summer, few beyond a small circle of friends, family and industry observers knew much about the Wicklow singer then best known for singing with the Trinity Orchestra. The arrival of Take Me To Church and especially Feel Good Lost's Brendan Canty's winning video, changed all that and a year of touring, megabucks deals, appearances on every TV show that matters, festivals, hype and acclaim ensued. The self-titled debut album is out next month. It will be interesting to see if it contains songs as evocative, infectious and world beating as Church.
There was a time when Holmes featured on club bills up and down the country nearly every other weekend. In 2014, though, a David Holmes appearance as a DJ is a bit of a rarity so all the more reason to be noted. These days, Holmes is back home in Belfast after a lengthy stay in LA and is better known as a producer and film soundtrack composer. Of late, his fingerprints have been all over the fantastic Good Vibrations film, the music for Yann Demange's forthcoming 71 film and the last Primal Scream album More Light. It would be great to get a follow-up to 2008's fantastic album The Holy Pictures, but we reckon there might be a fair bit on the to-do list before he gets around to that particular task.
WE CUT CORNERS
Two albums in and We Cut Corners are more than ready for what's to come. Many have fallen under the spell of John Duignan and Conall O'Breachain's beguiling dark, thumping pop on the back of 2011's Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards album and this year's Think Nothing record. The latter, produced and prodded into place by northwest super-producer Tommy "Villagers" McLaughlin and mixed by Ben Hillier of Blur, Depeche Mode and Elbow fame, is a huge record, full of sweeping poise and dashing depths.
DAN LE SAC VS SCROOBIUS PIP
The still righteous Thou Shalt Always Kill introduced the masses to the work of hip-hop duo Dan Le Sac (the music dude) and Scroobius Pip (the words dude). The masses liked what they heard and the pair have become firm favourites, especially when it comes to live shows in Ireland. Since their arrival in 2007, they have produced three albums: Angles, The Logic Of Chance and last year's Repent Replenish Repeat, as well as a solo album apiece.
THE SULTANS OF PING
This fact is going to make some readers feel really old: the Sultans of Ping have been at their sardonic game for more than a quarter of a century. Where's My Jumper? is the indie disco classic with which they made their name in the early 1990s, but the Sultans have long demonstrated the width and depth (and wit) necessary to avoid being defined by that tune. They are also the only World Cup winners on the Indiependence bill, having won the BBC 6 Music Football Anthems with Give Him A Ball (And A Yard Of Grass) earlier in the summer. HUDSON TAYLOR With all the talk of Irish bands getting themselves international record deals and the like (and there's been a shed load of them in the last 18 months, including, most recently, Tvvins, also Mitchelstown-bound), many may have forgotten about Dublin brothers Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor. While the pair's debut album has long been in the works, it's not as if they've been idle, with much of last year spent on the road, doing support slots with the Rolling Stones and Jake Bugg, as well as playing what seems to have been every festival on the circuit.
THE ALTERED HOURS
Those seeking hypnotic, driving, thrilling psych-rock can pull in right here. The Cork band have been playing swirling and twirling sounds to all and sundry for the past few years. Their live show has considerable swagger, but their releases, such as the Sweet Jelly Roll EP or this year's Dig Early for Cork's Art for Blind label, have also given their evangelists something to shout about. Easily the best freak scene with guitars turned to stun that you'll witness under the Galtees this weekend.
HORSE MEAT DISCO
You dancin'? You askin'? London's Horse Meat Disco posse have spread their message of good times far and wide from their London HQ. Be it through parties across Europe and New York or a fantastic clutch of compilation albums, the Horse Meat Disco stable hands have shown a sturdy ability to throw great parties with a smashing soundtrack of old-school disco, cosmic vibes, Italo swingers, house and techno killers and those rare grooves that don't really fit in any particular pigeonhole. They've also gained a handy rep as the DJs to call on for your fashion show, though that's unlikely to be needed here this weekend.
Recently on the road as a member of David Gray's backing band, Lisa O'Neill's appearance at Indiependence is an opportunity to put her own songs front and centre. With two albums under her oxter (last year's Same Cloth Or Not is the pick of the brace), the Cavan woman is steadily carving out a niche for herself as a purveyor of folky tunes with bite. In the long run, expect to see O'Neill emerge as a voice capable of documenting the weird twists and turns of this strange land of ours. Who knows, there may even be a train to get her home to Cavan at some stage in the future.
Indiependence 2014 takes place at Deer Farm, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, August 1st-3rd