• An A-Z Playlist of Grand Theft Auto

    With the release of arguably the most anticipated video game of a generation, Grand Theft Auto V, Shannon Delores O’Neill casts a nostalgic ear back at some of the best music from GTA – a series that vividly captures the sounds of the era in which each game is set, from the pop and funk of Vice City to the alt-rock and hip hop of San Andreas. And what better to do that than with an A-Z Spotify playlist kicking off with Alice In Chains and ending with Zapp & Roger (“who?” we hear you cry)? NB: don’t forget to do…

  • Lesser Known Pleasures: The Boo Radleys – Everything’s Alright Forever

    Lesser Known Pleasures is a look at albums that live forever in the shadow of a classic. An artist’s “other”. Great records that were possibly a little too far ahead of their time. Perhaps fame had dimmed but the artist peaked creatively outside the spotlight. Maybe a grand artistic statement was greeted by bemused critics with disdain or worse, a cold shoulder. Lesser Known Pleasures won’t be found on the latest Best Albums Ever! list. They aren’t obscure enough to be Great Lost Albums either. They are albums that are less revered than they might be and deserve a wider…

  • Radio K

    The atomic symbol of potassium, the maligned protagonist in Franz Kafka’s The Castle and the unspecified superior feature of a certain breakfast cereal: the letter K denotes and relates to many things. Tentatively established back in 2006, Radio K has steadily established itself as Belfast’s go-to weekly alternative club, set in the suitably underground surroundings of the basement of Belfast’s oldest bar, McHughs at Custom House Square. Casting our eye back to its foundations and the years that have since passed, we catch up with the club’s main players to trace the supremely soundtracked trajectory of a Belfast social institution.…

  • Getting Re-Acquainted: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Round & Round

    A year is a long time in the world of pop music, and it’s hard to believe that an incredible three years has passed since the release of Ariel Pink’s game-changing album Before Today. Before that, he’d been a lo-fi oddball, a seemingly deliberately obscure artist as likely to be responsible for a piece of unlistenable mucking about as he was for a warped slice of vintage FM pop music. Before Today changed all that, and ‘Round & Round’ was the moment when his peculiar genius asserted itself. Over a bed of hazy Hall & Oates-esque synths, Pink and the rest…

  • Twenty Months, Twelve Photos, One Glass Eye

    If you’re a regular gig-goer in Belfast, chances are you will at least know amateur music photographer Diarmuid Kennedy to see. Having worked tirelessly on his own initiative to capture  pretty much every single local gig worth going to over the last twenty months, he has very kindly selected a dozen of his favourite distinctive black-and-white photographs during this period, offering a snapshot of a small but thriving scene and the thoughts of a true champion of homegrown live music. Take it away, Diarmuid. “It is very flattering to be asked to select my favourite photographs for Thin Air.  I am a complete amateur…

  • Recap: Hello Skinny, Dig, Survival Knife, etc.

    This week’s installment of Recap – our weekly look back at the best songs released the week previous – is arguably our most diverse collection to date. Featuring three Irish acts of varying stature and attack, and a new track by a band that describe themselves as… wait for it… “post-music”. More Than Conquerors – Try-Antlers Ahead of the release of their debut album next month, Northern Irish four-piece More Than Conquerors released new tracks, ‘Jaw’ and ‘Try-Antlers’, on Wednesday afternoon. My favourite of the two is the latter – a brilliantly brooding distillation of the band’s increasingly inimitable alt-rock shtick. Dig –…

  • Trans-Europe Express #2: Austria

    Austria is a country steeped in rich musical tradition. A couple of hundred years ago it was arguably the very centre of the music world, producing a veritable conveyor belt of classical composers who, to this day, are household names: Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Mahler, and not one but five Strauss maestros, amongst a lengthy list of others. It’s a history that Austria is rightly proud of, and classical music still has a special place in the nation’s heart. But it is just that. History. Music has undergone countless reinventions since Johannes Brahms last conducted an orchestra at Vienna’s Musikverein, and…

  • Hard Working Class Heroes 2013: 10 must-see acts

    Set to take place from Thursday to Saturday 5 October, Hard Working Class Heroes – hands down the country’s leading independent music showcase – is soon set to take place right across Dublin. Over three days and nights, 101 acts will perform at 7 venues across the city for the annual event, now in its eleventh year. From Northern Irish singer-songwriters Joshua Burnside and Little Rivers to Dublin noise pop-quartet September Girls and Cork psych-rock band The Altered Hours, the very best of the country’s musical talent is represented right across the board. Go here to check our the full schedule for…

  • Birth of a Label: Broken Melody Records

    Having recently released their first ever compilation – featuring tracks from seven of the country’s best unsigned band including Seven Summits and Hurdles – Broken Melody Records is a brand new record label based in Belfast City Centre that has got off to an extremely promising start. We chat to the guys about the first few months of the imprint, what lies in store over and their passion for showcasing the very best in homegrown untapped talent. Hi guys. First off, could you tell us how Broken Melody Records come about and what is the “mission statement” so to speak? Broken Melody…

  • End of an Era: Sketchy Bids Farewell

    After eight long years and hundreds of unforgettable – and, for many, forgetful – Thursday nights at the Stiff Kitten, legendary Belfast club night Sketchy comes to an end tomorrow night (Thursday, September 5). Touching on the colourful past, present and (potential) future of the club, we speak to its founder and resident DJ Rigsy about the end of a clubbing era. As the club’s final ever flyer says: one more time with feeling, eh? Hi Rigsy. The last ever Sketchy is before us. Firstly: why’s it coming to an end? Is there “why”? In short, because it had to end some time.…