interview & live session as in an instant perform new single 'something right and something real'

by 14:57

 In this exclusive interview with Encore NI, Bangor's most exciting young electronic four piece In An Instant discuss their new EP 'Light You Know and Love', their earliest influences and plans to take over the world (and support U2 in the process!).

The boys also revealed the launch date for the EP, the loving craft behind each of their songs and the hopes and fears which have helped drive the deep feelings behind their music.

Charming and polite as ever, In An Instant radiate an enthusiasm and genuine love of their musical journey and even agreed to perform a rare, live acoustic performance of the fantastic new single 'Something Right and Something Real'.

The interview was very kindly filmed on location at The Pavilion Bar, Belfast and Encore NI would like to take the chance to thank the hardworking staff that created such a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere for the duration of the session. We have a feeling we'll be back very soon...

Taylor Johnson

For all official In An Instant news, follow the links below⁞►

& Be sure to catch the band live on the 29th of May at Hidden Machine in Voodoo Belfast.

For news and future gig events in The Pavilion check out their official website here⁞► 

To hear the exclusive interview please click here.

To hear the acoustic live performance of 'Something Right and Something Real' please click here.

'Light You Know & Love' will be released on the 29th of May with a new single steaming soon...

wonder villains debut album 'rocky' now up for pre-order

by 10:22

Today marks a significant step towards one of the countries most eagerly anticipated debut albums since A Plastic Rose's 'Camera.Shutter.Life', as masters of the melodic and all things positive Wonder Villains announced their debut album 'Rocky' is now available for pre-order.

Through the wonder of iTunes, fans of the four piece pop outfit can now also hear samples from the finished product, every whimsical hook and dance evoking key board solo drenched in a colourful vibrancy befitting a band of such beloved enthusiasm.

The twelve track LP, complete with standard Wonder Villains uplifting artwork, contains many of the hits that helped forge their reputation, with 'Zola', '33' and the highly charged opener 'TV' all making appearances. Alongside these now near classics we all also see a more reflective side to the four-piece, the softer croons of 'Baby Don't Look So Sad' sounding particularly promising; an 80's tinge flowing from the minute of audio we're given in what is, deliberate or not, a suitable nod to the album's title.

Soundtrack to the Summer? It certainly sounds like it.

Taylor Johnson

To keep up to date with all official Wonder Villains news see the links below...

encore quote used in uk wide poster campaign alongside noel gallagher ~ echo raptors announce new liverpool date

by 12:27

Encore NI are proud to announce that a quote from one of our reviews has been chosen to sit alongside a UK wide poster campaign by Liverpool's popular gigging hotspot, The Korova Club. Situated on Hope Street, it has been at the heart of the Northern scenes rich indie rock heritage since 2009 and played host to a variety of beloved and respected UK bands since it's opening. On Saturday the 10th of May it will hold host to our very own Echo Raptors alongside other major British talent, in what is sure to be another sell out for the Belfast lads.

The gig, hosted alongside XFM Radio, has generated major interest from celebrity and music promoter alike and the gig poster itself also features quotes from Oasis's legendary guitarist Noel Gallagher, Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno, highly respected London newspaper The Evening Standard and the might of BBC Introducing. To be considered in the same light as such giants of the music industry for this campaign is incredible and a credit to the Northern Irish music scene which has supported us so wholeheartedly from day one. We would love to take this opportunity to say thank you for reading, sharing and taking such an active role in the development of what is a completely independent music website.

Echo Raptors also announced a launch night for the release of new single 'Real Livewire' in The Menagerie  on University Street on June 6th. It should give a tasty insight into what's in store for a band with two highly regarded EP's already under their belt. Be sure to get down for that one!

Taylor Johnson

live review ~ volume control ~ the empires, serotonin & making monsters ~ oh yeah centre, belfast

by 19:44

Tonight Encore NI found itself in the Oh Yeah Centre for another finely tuned night of rock and roll, led by it's ever reliable Volume Control team. Here Taylor Johnson gives his verdict...

Angst pouring from every riff and crashing cymbal, The Empires certainly wear their hearts on their sleeves, a precious trait in a live capacity no less than explosive at all times. Tearing through a repertoire of inventive covers and passionate originals, front man Danny Smartt's confidence was never in question, as the Hollywood trio unleashed a torrent of heavy malice and intricate guitar work. It was the bands ambiguous liaisons between the deafening roar of their metal chorus's that saw them truly in motion, at times with the raging intensity of an early Muse or Radiohead at Thom Yorke's most introspective. A hit with the gathered crowd, The Empires are a band with potential in a metal scene devoid of any major breakthroughs in recent years.

As The Empires left the stage in a typical storm of channeled aggression, local stalwarts Serotonin returned once more to reclaim a venue they're well acquainted with. Having worked tirelessly to amass a back catalogue of impressive, atmospheric rock songs and fans respectively, (indeed, several members of the front row cheer deliriously at the very mention of their debut EP) expectation for the five piece has risen dramatically over the past year. To have achieved what they have in a considerably short space of time takes a desire and dedication which many simply lack and ultimately, becomes their undoing. All the while these five, headstrong as ever, have consistently went their own way and thankfully this comes across as impassioned live as it does on the compelling Gestures EP.

New, unreleased track 'Pain's punky undertones and infectious hooks mark it out as a real anthem, whipping the rapidly growing crowd into sporadic fits of fists in the air and reckless dancing. An alt-rock stripping of Britney Spears 90's pop chart topper '...Baby One More Time' see's vocalist Lucy Loane's powerful range in full flight, justifying the bizarre choice with trademark Serotonin enthusiasm. It's Gestures spell-binding 'Cold Coffee' that really elevates this quality performance to one worthy of the memory banks, as it's beloved riffs spark new levels of spontaneous insanity. It may be a very long time before another song ignites such a floury of abandon, emotion and for some, (in the words of Blink-182...) the unrelenting need to take off their pants and jacket. Okay, perhaps no undergarments were removed, but shirts were thrown and heads did bang. Just as well, Serotonin's energy deserves such stark admiration. Goodness knows they've worked hard enough for it.

Headliner's Making Monster's have had no problems in earning the respect of their metal peers and fans alike, however for the first 15 minutes or so of their et they had to fight to win back a crowd heavily dispersed after Serotonin's live-wired performance. Songs like 'Instinct' with it's dark ambiance and reverberated solos commanded the venue, years of experience showcased through the bands perfectly sequenced time signatures. It is this meticulous edge which may prove to be Making Monster's finest quality; beneath vocalist Emma Gallagher's impressive screaming and the ground shattering breakdowns lies a focus that continues to tie the set together. Listen closely to songs like 'Limits' and there lies an unmistakable precision that many metal bands lack. As the final heavy riffs ring out to the crowd, it is Making Monster's definitive professionalism at the eye of their heavy storm that leaves the lasting impressions.

Overall, it was a resounding success for what is increasingly becoming one of the capitals major gigging hotspots. For a venue only opened in 2007, that is no mean feat and one that surly lies with it's brilliant Volume Control team. With nights of this quality, long may it continue.

Taylor Johnson

For all official news from The Empires, follow the links below...

Official Website

For all official Serotonin news, follow the links below...


For all official Making Monsters news, follow the links below...


& finally, for all official Volume Control news, views and updates click here.

live review ~ hidden machine ~ new ancestors, silences & his new atlas ~ voodoo, belfast

by 20:49

Tonight Encore NI found itself in Voodoo for Belfast's newest exciting gig night 'Hidden Machine'. Ran by Blast FM's  awesome 'Through The Wall' team James Magill and Nikki MacRae, tonight saw the promotion of some of the countries best acoustic tinged rock acts, including the highly anticipated return of New Ancestors, formerly The 1930's. With a great venue, stunning line-up and exquisite atmosphere all was in place for a memorable night, though would the bands live up to their billing? Taylor Johnson had the chance to see...

Opening the evening came the ethereal beauty of His New Atlas (also known as teenage singer/songwriter Eoghan O'Hagan), fresh from a UK tour and sounding remarkably rejuvenated for it. Armed with a new backing band to elevate his sparse soundscapes, the County Armagh native has taken the lovelorn poetry of his early EP's and added a haunting delicacy that takes no time to fill the room and capture the gathered crowd. Older tracks such as 'Blood' shimmer like never before, flourishing under the lights of a stage you can see His New Atlas relishing. The quiet precision of his backing band provide a steadfast backbone upon which songs are given the chance to grow, his roaring vocals a mesmerising nod to Charlie Simpson at his most revealing, resting upon the post-rock splendor of US veterans Explosions In The Sky. A stunning combination indeed.

Even a major technical fault which disastrously saw two guitars simultaneously break on stage couldn't halt the youngsters onslaught of emotion, as O'Hagan simply handled the situation with a charismatic charm well beyond his young years. As an earlier track drew to a close the young songwriter had quipped with a wry smile, "That's about as optimistic as tonight's gonna get...".  He needn't worry. Desolation has never sounded so good.

Second on the bill came the ever enigmatic Silences, the Lurgan based five piece looking to give tracks from their recent 'Nevernames' EP a further run out to a steadily increasing Belfast audience. Swaggering with the burning intensity of a Parachutes-era Coldplay, Silences waste no time in bursting to life in a show of exhilarating brilliance in 'All These Crimes'. The tracks unexpected, yet welcome ejection of almost screamed delivery from frontman Conchur White leaves a resonating aftermath of awe in his wake. Latest single 'Santa Cruz' sways effortlessly, much like The Thrills classic of the same name. Newer additions to a watertight set highlighted the groups ear for harmonies, 'Chase Me Home' a prime example. It was the heartrending 'Closer' however, that acted as the highlight of a stunning set.

Finally along came the triumphant return of New Ancestors. The relentless gigging circuit of Scotland's musical mecca Glasgow has clearly helped craft their tightly knit folk-pop. At times crashing like a wave of adrenaline, New Ancestors ability to switch seamlessly from the high tempo folk of their 1930's origins, to the carefully crafted expansions of songs like 'If You Let Me' was a joy to behold.

Slowing down proceedings with pure acoustic numbers, "1930's style!", added a pinch of nostalgia to a set billowing with class. Being joined on stage by local teenage musician Gregg Reid  proved also a loving touch and further confirmation of the bands commitment to their Belfast roots. As the night drew to a close it was the foot-stomping 'Sisters and Brothers' that had the venue really dancing for the first time in a chorus of hand claps and poorly executed Irish dancing. Inevitably, a now relentless crowd demanded an encore and that is exactly what they got. A fitting end to a brilliantly ran night of local music.

Bravo Hidden Machines, a beautifully assembled line-up, expertly ran and ultimately a proud night for Belfast.

Taylor Johnson

For all official Hidden Machine news and future line-ups, follow the links below.


(New Ancestor's latest EP''s 'Dagger' & 'Rose'  are out now...)

single review ~ the clameens ~ 'don't judge'

by 08:37

Bursting with the sort of pop-vigor we've came to expect, Londonderry's 'The Clameens' continue to hit the mark with latest single 'Don't Judge'. Littered with gravitating hooks and bounce along shimmer, here we see a new side to the guitar slinging, hyperactive kids who set the air-waves alight with 'She's Got My Heart' last year. Calmer, yet no less assured, 'Don't Judge' sways through the upbeat soundscapes the lads have long since mastered, without ever really pushing the boundaries set from time gone by.

An enjoyable and welcome addition to a live set, though knowing what this band are capable of you can't help but feel slightly underwhelmed at the lack of any real pile-driving chorus. Soothing Graceland-era Paul Simon backing vocals and a beautifully integrated xylophone solo add a vintage twang to proceedings, but ultimately we're left with a track slightly tainted by it's restrained finish. Perhaps this is the fault of the producers, perhaps it's simply a tune destined to grow on the listener, as ultimately this is not a bad effort at all. In fact, it is a well written pop tune that The Clameens faithful will no doubt continue to sing and dance along to for as long as it remains in their impressive set. This, however, can't disguise the fact that this band are capable of much more. (See '#follow' & 'What's The Difference?' then judge for yourselves...)

Deep down, you know they will be back and their next single could be the big one. The track to capture the attention of a BBC Radio 1 that already has them marked out as potential saviors of the indie cause. This is a band chosen to support the transcendent might of the legendary Pete Doherty, and have inspired rooms full of men, woman and children alike to raptures before even sitting an A-Level exam. Let's just hope that this natural enthusiasm is allowed room to breath on their next record.

Taylor Johnson

If you like ~ Vampire Weekend | Kings Of Leon | Babyshambles ~ You'll love The Clameens

Keep up to date on all Clameens official news on the links below...

& Hear the brand new single below⁞►

live review ~ the late twos ~ voodoo, belfast

by 17:53

As quietly self-assured as they are riotous, Belfast's The Late Two's produced another night of infectious wonder as they took to the stage at Voodoo last night. Having meticulously crafted an impressive back catalog over their five year history, songs like 'I Don't Wanna Stop This Dance' and 'Modette to Ladette' are given a new lease of life in a live capacity, Matty Legge's dynamic showmanship taking centre stage throughout. New songs like 'High Tide' swagger effortlessly, while current single 'Never Mind' already explodes with the melodic vibrancy of a ready made classic. Despite this, it was still the self titled finale that proved the jewel in the Late Twos crown, and as the opening riffs cascaded through the venue you'd be forgiven for forgetting you were in a, admittedly beloved, but ultimately tiny Belfast venue. It seems already inevitable that these lads are destined for so much more. Rhythm guitarist Dee McMaster has taken on a greater role too on vocal duties, his new found confidence behind the mic radiating around Legge's, elevating the sound as a result.

As The Late Two's left the stage to rapturous applause you couldn't help but feel sorry for the evenings headliner, Germany's 'Monkeeman'. Despite drawing in a decent crowd, it was clear the majority of gig goers where there for the opening act.

As The Late Two's upward trajectory continues at this pace, the heady days of support slots will be nothing more than a distant memory for one of the best bands we have produced in years.

Taylor Johnson

('Never Mind' ~ The Late Two's latest single)

Be sure to catch The Late Two's live at their new EP 'Get Down Before I Pull You Down' s launch, Thursday, 8th May, Queens Student Union & keep up to date with all official news on the links below.


ep news ~ excitement grows for 'light you know and love'

by 08:41

Bangor based alternative outfit 'In An Instant' are a band in an ascendancy unlike many before them. Following in the carefully paved footsteps of critically acclaimed chart acts such as 'Two Door Cinema Club' and 'Genera Fiasco', the quartet have left no stone un-turned in their ambition to take the local music scene by storm. Gaining a fearsome and thoroughly deserved  reputation for high energy live performances, In An Instant's intoxicating melodies and ambient electronic edge has seen their fan base grow at a frightening pace. After storming their way through to the final of the prestigious 'Guinness Versus' competition and winning Chordblossom's beloved 'Kickstart' showcase earlier this year, it seems that the hype from early demo's 'All Binds Fall Undone' and 'The Mighty Hands' is proving well and truly justified.

Now with the launch date for debut EP 'Light You Know And Love' edging ever closer, it's looking increasingly more likely that Bangor may well have a new band of hero's to champion across the water in the future...

EP launch details coming soon, see links below for more information...

Taylor Johnson

Keep up to date with all official In An Instant news on the links below...

'you are someone's daughter...' ~ a plastic rose release video for explosive new single

by 10:09

Belfast's favorite friendly, neighborhood, prodigal sons today released their latest music video for new single 'Someone's Daughter'. The hard hitting track, infusing the alt-rock bends of an 'OK Computer' era Radiohead with classic APR grit, see's in it's video one young boys journey into adulthood, joined by the watchful eyes of his childhood robot toy. Humorous, well produced and with a surprisingly emotional ending, 'Someone's Daughter' is a beautiful anthem portrayed by a video which show's the four piece haven't lost their playful wonder.

Chances are if you like robots and angry, stadium sized rock, this will probably be your new favorite video.

The song also see's frontman Gerry Norman push himself to new levels of poetic lyricism, 'There's no God in my skies, just your love and protecting eyes' particularly moving. Due for further release on the band's highly anticipated second album 'Flickering Light Of An Inner War', 'Someone's Daughter' is a massive statement for a group starting to make waves around the mainland UK and abroad.

Now based in Nottingham, it seems this dynamic four piece and their APRmy will continue to march on.

Taylor Johnson

 Catch 'A Plastic Rose' live this Summer at The 2014 Spectrum Festival on Saturday, 7th June in Belfast's Speakeasy. 

Watch the brand new music video here or Stream it from here.

& Keep up to date with all official A Plastic Rose news on the links below...

Official Website

single review ~ the sass ~ 'siobhan'

by 04:42

The Sass are a band underpinned by tragedy and defined by infectious and uplifting melodies. A timeless and unfortunate combination which has blighted a group otherwise destined for recognition far beyond these shores since their inception more than five years ago. Formed by frontman Colm Donnelly, The Sass's early ear for melody and uplifting folktinged rock and roll gained them many admirers and spawned the release of several acclaimed singles. Songs such as 'Jukebox', 'Belfast' and the fantastic 'Get Around' sparked rumors of a Sass album, with a relentless touring schedule driving their claims to local heroism. Sadly The Sass bandwagon came to an unexpected and devastating halt after the loss of lead guitarist Brian McGivern last year, who's shimmering solos and resplendent creativity gave many of their tracks a distinctive edge. Now back with new single 'Siobhan', Donnelly and his regrouped men have came out fighting, desperate to prove that one of the countries most beloved cult outfits can continue to grow as they might have done...

Over the years songwriter Colm Donnelly's ability to paint pictures through his lyricism has both captivated and inspired. Wearing his heart on his sleeve at all times, the singer's ability to accurately tackle controversial issues, (such as cultural identity in a violence soaked past - IE 'Belfast') before switching to the working class freedom of modern youth ('Get Around' etc) has proved to be a rare and most promising accolade for the band. Here, we see the lighter side of Donnelly's writing, as he tells the story of one Belfast natives long suffering girlfriend who finally has enough and kicks him out of the house. Wrapped in a sweeping and emotive vocal, 'Siobhan' is a pile-driving anthem of different breed to their previous work, yet with all the infectious rhythms and singalong wonder. It's arms around your best friend and singing at the top of your lungs stuff, in many ways a perfect representation of the city The Sass have embraced so much. We even hear a piece of brilliance amongst the slowed regret of the middle eighth, as 'She says she wont let me in ever again..." is countered by a gently spoken Belfast drawl of 'and I that right aye?". Showing American pop-starlet Taylor Swift how the spoken word interlude is really done.

Free flowing and beautifully composed, for all 'Siobhan's tongue and cheek bravado, there are subtle pieces of brilliance scattered throughout that other doom-laden, tales of romantic woe would do well to learn from. Everything from the fist clenching unity of the chorus ( "Come on Siobhan, open the door, I'm gonna kick it in!") to the foot-stomping lead riff that percolates through the track, bursts with an attention to detail only found through a religious dedication to the cause.  Never one for taking themselves too seriously, the accompanying music video also shines a further light on the aggrieved Siobhan (brilliantly portrayed by Niki Alexander-McConville) and her carefree lover ending with the hilarious climax of him cradling his smashed guitar in their back-garden. "You fucking psycho!"

With the release of 'Siobhan', the rallying calls for another Sass EP will only grow louder and never has such a dedication been so richly deserved.

Taylor Johnson

If you like ~ Lloyd Cole & the Commotions | Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers | The Kooks ~ You'll love The Sass.

Keep up to date with all official Sass news on the links below...


& watch the official music video here...

A still from the new music video showing The Sass Mark ii...

single review ~ the couth ~ 'bloodbreaker'

by 02:43

For those of you who expected Lisburn's cutting edge, premier rock and roll outfit The Couth to conform to the national stranglehold of 'synth-pop' indie on EP number two, they can rest easy as the lads with guitars return to riotous form on new single 'BloodBreaker'. Showing no sings of slowing down, frontman and chief songwriter David McCrum channels the energy of The Ramones, while intertwining it with The Couth's trademark swagger and lyrical cynicism. 'Hit me up, I'm coming down you're not nice to be around!'.

Perhaps drawing inspiration from Jake Buggs mammoth hit 'What Doesn't Kill You', here we see The Couth pushing the boundaries of local punk-infused garage rock, and where Bugg fails to land the killer punches of attitude which can elevate a fast paced song to levels of hysteria, The Couth surely succeed. From it's dynamic opening, wasting no time in shaking foundations or damaging eardrums, to the masterful slowdown at it's pinnacle, 'BloodBreaker' is a testament to just how far the four piece have come, and you imagine a warning to the nation at just how far they can still go.

If 'Casual Sex at the Omniplex' was a melody driven sampler of a band still finding their feet (and what a fine sampler it was), expect a rawer, venomous follow up.

Prepare for wreckless abandon at a venue near you.

Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Couth... 

Taylor Johnson

If you like ~ The Ramones | The Clash | The Strokes ~ You'll love The Couth

Keep Up To Date With All Official Couth news on the links below...

And watch the brand new video for 'BloodBreaker' here...

The 'BloodBreaker EP' is out soon...

name change ~ 'goodbye little bear, hello pørts' & 'ancient wave' single review

by 05:56

In a move certain to baffle their carefully assembled fan base, beloved Londonderry/Derry quartet 'Little Bear' have abandoned their former moniker in favor of the ambiguous 'PØRTS', jumping on the bandwagon of modern 'all cap' band names.

Long term fans of the band shouldn't worry however, as the newly branded group bare all the hall marks of their previous identity. Front man Steven McCool's anthemic vocals trail blazing through a typically ambient soundscape as proved in the newly released 'Ancient Wave'. The only changes in their trademark sound coming through additional backing vocals and even subtle classical influences, a rising violin making an appearance alongside haunting synths. Mark O'Doherty's drumming is as tight as ever, building beautifully before crashing into life on a chorus that soars, rather than exploding senselessly as could so easily have been the case. PØRTS use of piano as a gentle opening sets the ethereal boundaries that we have come to expect, this time foreboding with a new found menace, ever so slightly darker. 'A crashing ancient wave, into the dark...". The track dips and dives in a manner only really expressed in recent years by the likes of Limerick's 'Moscow Metro', though McCool's unmistakably strong tone acts as a guiding light, ensuring 'Ancient Wave' never falls into melancholic territory, despite it's considerably fuller production.

Normally a transition of this nature can spell trouble ahead for bands as established as Little Bear, however if this single is anything to go by PØRTS will ride out this ancient wave with ease. A fine effort.

Taylor Johnson

Keep up to ate with all PØRTS news on the links below...


& hear the brand new single 'Ancient Wave' here.

exclusive interview ~ pat kirch ~ 'the maine'

by 01:24

Taylor Johnson exclusively interviews Pat Kirch, drummer of Arizona's biggest talents The Maine, back stage before their gig at the Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast on their UK Tour. 

Here we talk Warped Tour 2014, trips to Brazil & hanging out with Dave Grohl. We also exclusively reveal the mystery of the 'Pioneer' album cover...

Click here to hear the exclusive interview...⁞►

The mystery of the 'Pioneer' album cover is finally uncovered...
Keep up to date with all official news from The Maine on the links below...

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