Ho ho ho. Merry effing Christmas and a sappy new year. We’re donning our Christmas jumpers here at the freezing cold Fort Chops (which became Popical Island headquarters in ‘12) and reminiscing about a bumper year of Popical activity. A lot has happened. We’ve been across to Galway, up to Belfast, over to Limerick and down to Cork plying our pop-wares to eager listeners. We’ve played festivals galore and some of us have been across the water in both directions. We’ve made records, videos and home-made album covers, and we’ve put on a LOT of gigs. Some of us were nominated for awards.
Our curated night, Popicalia, continued this year with some outstandingly notable performances from the likes of So Cow, No Monster Club, The #1s, Little Xs for Eyes, Skelocrats, The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, Dott and Tierannieaur, as well as some amazing record launch parties from Walpurgis Family, Ginnels, Grand Pocket Orchestra and Mumblin’ Deaf Ro. Popical Saturday happened again in July and it was probably the best fun of the 3 editions, and certainly the best attended. We still have our Sick of Christmas Party to come on the 29th of the month.
Oh and did we mention the records? There were eight releases from Popical Island this year, which also saw the final instalment of our compilation series in Popical Island #3, a 23-song compendium of our own efforts and some of our favourite music around. We tried to flog these records (sometimes we succeeded) along with plenty of others at gigs and record fairs via our Shopical Island megastore.
To wit: we shall state once again as we did last year. We are not a label, and we do not have a budget. We are a collective of musicians and bands, each of whom put out their own records with the support of the collective. And in this time of crowd-sourcing, funding drives and other types of web-based pan-handling, we’d very much appreciate if, instead of us going down that road, you enable us to make more records the old-fashioned way: by buying the records we’ve already put out. We have much in store for 2013, with releases from Lie Ins, Tieranniesaur and lots more. So to remind you of what we just made up in 2012, read on.
January WALPURGIS FAMILY: ‘DAWN’
"The lasting impression of a band kneeling at the altar of great music while keeping an eye open for more out-there opportunities" - The Irish Times
February GRAND POCKET ORCHESTRA: ‘RONALD & SYLMA’
“A set of sublime teenage symphonies, sounding like they were put together in a garage, mixed with a barrage of pleasing no wave elements and bursting at the seams with pop hooks… This is an album that’s impossible not to love. A triumph" - We Are Noise
May DOTT: ‘Button EP’
"There is an innate sweetness to the retro-pop on offer with knee-bending melodies, heart-warming harmonies and earnest lyrics" - We Are Noise
July ’POPICAL ISLAND #3’
“With this latest release, the Popical Island collective have once more gifted indie pop fanatics with something truly wonderful. Whether it’s the soft meandering of ‘River Valley Girls’, or the infectiously feel-good bop of ‘A Great Bunch of Lads’, the latest, and greatest, Popical Island compilation will leave you begging for more. Shame we won’t get it.” - State.ie
August GINNELS: ‘Crowns’
"The notion of ‘the producer’ has mutated in the past couple of years to a point in both commercial and underground dance and pop music where we talk about the person behind the laptop the way we now do football managers: the architects, the strategists, the auteur. Ginnels’ Crowns brings that conversation into the indie sphere, and its that victory, and not geographical concerns that place it so highly in our end-of-year list." - Totally Dublin
September MUMBLIN’ DEAF RO: ‘Dictionary Crimes’
"These über-personal songs depict topics such as the gravity of serious illness and the anxiety of parenthood with an astonishing, sometimes brutally honest lyrical clarity… Another beautiful, intimate album from a hugely underrated songwriter." - The Irish Times
November ‘PLUNDERPHONICS - A Tribute to Big Monster Love’
"Having seen the Swords-based musician Big Monster Love live a couple of times, I could understand why you would want to make a tribute album to him. His songs are brittle, beautiful things charmingly played on acoustic guitar and relayed with what could be called a trademark Irish humour: cheek, slang terms, honesty, tenderness and truth.” - Nialler9
December SKELOCRATS: ‘The Complete Skelocrats’
"Possibly inadvertently Skelocrats are now the best thing on Popical Island (That’s not faint praise, by the way.)" - Thumped