Fontaines D.C. are a punk band from the “back-arse of nowhere” in Dublin – and their debut album Dogrel wears those hometown influences proudly on its sleeve. To mark its imminent release, drummer Tom Coll gives us a guide to the city’s record stores, venues, artists and best Sunday night residencies.
DUBLIN is a city steeped in a rich musical history – from the beginnings of The Dubliners in O’Donoghue’s on Baggot Street to the mid-noughties singer-songwriter scene that ambled the likes of Glen Hansard and Damien Dempsey out the front door of Whelan’s on Wexford Street.
The last couple of years has seen the city explore more alternative independent movements – whether it be the likes of Girl Band’s inspirational noise rock debut Holding Hands With Jamie, Villagers’ own brand of alternative folk, or Kojaque’s definitively Irish hip-hop album Deli Daydreams. The city’s counterculture movement is certainly something to be very proud of right now.
Over the past five years there has been a real resurgence in more guitar driven music in Dublin and that’s been really exciting to have seen it grow into what it is now. I remember when we were starting out playing small shows in Dublin, we found it really hard to find bands to play with and it’s so encouraging to see a really healthy scene these days.
In recent years, there has been a horrible trend of music venues being shut down in favour of building hotels and apartment blocks in their place which is a real cultural loss. Just recently, the historic Tivoli Theatre shut its doors.
This was a place where bands like Oasis and The Prodigy played their first Dublin shows, and we ourselves had the privilege of playing there when we were on tour with Shame last November. For such a creative city, it’s horrible to see these really important venues being shut down.
In saying that, there are some amazing venues left in Dublin doing great work. The Workman’s Club was the first venue where we really cut our teeth as a band and it’s the only place in Dublin you can hear Radiohead into Girl Band into Sleaford Mods on a Tuesday night.
Whelan’s is another small venue institution in the city, and Mick Pyros Blues Cartel on a Sunday night in there is probably the best residency in the city. Larger venues like the Button Factory, Vicar Street and the Olympia are all amazing spaces and are very special to us. Dublin is home to many amazing record shops.
Tower Records on Dawson Street has the most expansive collection of new vinyl in Ireland probably, and The R.A.G.E. and Freebird Records are two absolute gems well worth spending time in. Spindizzy Records in George’s Street Arcade is great for more obscure record finds.
The Yellow Door is a relatively new rehearsal space in the city located out by East Wall. It’s lovely to have a rehearsal space that’s clean, well run, and a joy to spend long days writing and rehearsing in. It’s such a nice creative hub for Dublin-based artists and bands who share this space.
The Chocolate Factory is a three storey art/performance space, coffee shop and recording studio. The basement in Darklands Audio was where we recorded all our early singles. We have such fond memories of the place.
We have to give an honourable mention to the Garage Bar. In a way it’s a spiritual home for a lot of us. It’s ran by our manager Trev and it’s one of the only places in Dublin where you can hear proper ’50s/’60s rock’n’roll/garage tunes and ska on Sundays.
The DJs are amazing and proper music nerds. For me, the smoking area of the Garage is the only place worth mentioning when it comes to a “Dublin Scene”. That’s it.
Noise/shoegaze act from Dundalk who are coming on tour with us in the UK. Their debut album Wednesday is an incredible piece from start to finish.
Melts is a Dublin-based Psych-Rock band – and ‘Skyward’ is a six-minute long belter.
First official release from The Murder Capital. Coming to a town near you.
Cork-based, Anton Newcombe-endorsed psych band. The On My Tongue EP is great.
Traditional Irish music signed to Rough Trade. Radie Peat’s voice in this tune is beautiful.
Hip-hop with Irish colloquialisms is hard to pull off but Kojaque does it very well.
Paddy is an eccentric character on the Dublin music scene and his songwriting and arrangements completely live up to his personality. Frankly, I Mutate is his second album, produced by Girl Band’s Dan Fox. It’s a proper songbook.