Tweet Looks like a really cool book, but unfortunately I know nothing of it. The image was thrown up when I chucked "monkey fighting" into google. Fight Like Apes on the other hand, I know a lot about. They are the best new band in Dublin by a country mile. They operate well outside an insular and suffocating scene that is as dry as a bowl of shreddies and full of non-descript groups of bitter little men who worship joy division, stab each other in the back on internet forums and are all probably weeping inside at the rocket-like trajectory of this colourful bunch's success. Fight like apes are performing at the puzzlingly titled Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Tripod tomorrow night. Go see them. Its chaotic and crazy. Lead singer May Kay is a virtuoso screamer and microphone-shagger and Jamie is a hairy genius, his fur swinging everywhere as he thumps mammoth sheets of warped melody out of his synths. You won't be disappointed. And the song I include is brill but only provides a glimpse into how mental-asylum-er-ific they can be live. MP3: FIGHT LIKE APES-Lend Me Your Face Also, me girlfriend is curating the photo exhibition, and I'm dead proud of her. You can see her mega talents on display in and around the tripod complex all weekend. Go Loreana!! Wayne Coyne through Loreana's lens...
Tweet The night started off so well for the Applebaums and Kapowskis, filled with the heady promise of swinging car keys and a cloud of cocaine. How could they know it would end six hours later as a lone police officer trudged through the snow and a bearded head sat on a bloodied, formica tabletop... MP3:Modeselektor-Black Book
Tweet ...is one of my favourite songwriters! Tobin sprout! Thats him in the middle, situated between his English cousin prefab sprout and his poncey Belgian mate, Brussels. You may not have heard of Tobin Sprout, and it wouldn't surprise me because he is a criminally overlooked man. He recorded most of his best stuff as member of Guided by Voices, which is to say blinking out from under the hulking shadow of Robert Pollard. I think people not familiar with them often had Guided By Voices pegged as a disposable cast of non-descript musicians lurching drunkenly around their master, the demented uncle Bob. Its true enough that people left and entered the band sporadically and the only constant was Pollard. But this was more true of later period GBV (as in crapper period GBV), and in the early days (as in the sublimest Lo Fi music ever made days) Tobin was a vital part of the band. On 'Vampire on Titus' and 'Bee Thousand', Tobin was the flip side of Pollard. He tempered that man's vomited genius, his everything-bar-the-sink profligacy with a handful of ethereal folk songs sung in that distinctive voice that could belong to a woodland half-man thing from Lord of the Rings. Sprout's songs were so woven into the ramshackle lining of early GBV that it is impossible to imagine those albums without his contributions. What they lacked in Pollard's zany spontaneity was more than made up for in feeling and craft. You got the feeling that he worried about his songs, probably spent more time on them than Bob, and cared for quality over quantity. But thats not to say they were overworked. How could they be considering the conditions and equipment on which they were recorded? No sir, they are imbued with that crackly magic, the crumpled sepia tint of all those early albums. And I believe that Tobin's departure from GBV around the time of 'under the bushes under the stars' was what kicked the legs out from under a band that from then on sporadically recorded essential songs as opposed to essential albums. Finally, does anyone else wish that Robert Pollard was their uncle? Imagine the craic at weddings! Guzzling long necks, singing Who songs and falling asleep in the corner with a growing yellow blotch on the front of his chinos. Here are two of my favourites from Tobin's peak Guided By Voices days MP3: Guided By Voices-It's Like Soul Man MP3: Guided By Voices-Awful Bliss Here is one off his second (also excellent) solo album Moonflower Plastic. MP3: Tobin Sprout-Water on the Boater's Back
Tweet There's a nice light in the evening outside. Yellow and watery. I was just on the phone to Loreana and she said its like someone pulled cling-film across the sun. Here's a tune for the light thats in it (cos its all watery and nostalgic), and for the weekend (cos its electronic). Its 'sunshine philosophy' by future loop foundation (who I don't know all that much about). It might lack depth, but its very agreeable, like a low calorie version of Boards of Canada. There's a video clip that goes with it. Its cram-packed full of flickery super 8 footage of speccy grannies, grampas, kids, buckets, spades and handkerchiefs on some northern English beach in the 50s. Nostalgia-tronica! MP3:Future Loop Foundation-Sunshine Philosophy I'm going to write about In the aeroplane over the sea in bits and pieces, because my mind seems to have fragmented like that, and I was struggling with putting it all into a megablog. In other news its 7.40pm on a Friday and I'd love to belt it out the door to hump the weekend like a drunk, screaming crazy fucker with a huge boner, but I'm working at 7am, so its bovril and bedclothes for me :( But wait... whats that coming over the horizon? Yikes, its a humungous noisy glow-in-the-dark bus full of Animal Collective, Deerhunter, Lindstrom, Gui Borato and the Field!! All playing in Dublin soon. So I'll have my fun eventually.
Tweet I'm a very skeptical man, and don't believe in ghosts and ghoulies but these sort of photos always give me a fit of the wuh-huhs, also known as when geese walk on your grave. Neutral Milk Hotel have a song called ghost. Its a deeply mysterious and emotive thing with tumbling lyrics that allude to all sorts of strange and haunting stuff from the rag and bone shop of Jeff Magnum's mind (Anne Frank, the afterlife, lost love), all culminating in the startling central image of a girl falling from the roof of a burning apartment block. The song is quite forceful, pulling the listener along with rattling military drums and guitars so low and fuzzy they sound somehow like mountainsides breaking apart. Its also thrilling. When the fuzz descends a few seconds in, the hair stands up on the back of my neck. When the drumbeat starts, stupid as it sounds, I feel like just getting up and running. We had it on late one night in Ian's car after a few drinks and I was psychically willing him to hit the accelerator as soon as that drumbeat kicked in. What do the lyrics mean? I don't know. I don't think anyone ever really could. They're too odd, too dreamlike to interpret definitively. Anyone who attempts to is a mug in my book. They appeal to deep parts of the brain, the parts where emotion runs high and where there is no logic. The subconscious cinema reels that flicker across your mind's eye when you have a fever and dream to much. Its a frightening, beautiful and impenetrable mystery. I am including two very different versions of ghost here. The first is the album version. The second is a bare bones acoustic version from one of the very last ever recorded performances given by Jeff. Its in 2001 and he's performing under the moniker 'world of wild beards' with his friend Chris Knox in Auckland, New Zealand. MP3:Neutral Milk Hotel-Ghost MP3: Jeff Magnum and Chris Knox-Ghost
Tweet Doesn't A.C. Newman have a really funny head? He's like a little glossy, ginger lego man. I bet his hair is completely solid and all comes off in one piece. Clicks off and on again. For a peculiar little lego man, he can fairly turn out a tune though, and I'd vouch that one or two ditties in the New Pornographers' back catalogue are among the best rock songs of our time. Their best work is invincible stuff hewed from the same pop granite that a young Paul McCartney worked with. Shame there's not much of it on their new album, though. I've indulged it, and held off judging it until now, but it sort of (ever so slightly) sucks bum doesn't it? Like its not terrible, but yeah, it comes with the faint whiff of nappy. And that makes me feel a bit glum, because I love that band so much. Regardless, A.C. is bringing the gang over to play Whelans on November 17th and its going to be fuckin nuts. A: Because Whelans is so small and the new pornographers are so big. B: Because November 17th is a Saturday. C: Because I'm going to buy him a pint and ask him what haircare products he uses to keep himself looking so consistently lego-like. Enamel maybe? For your pointy ears, here is a solo A.C. number off the slow wonder (his mega solo album) MP3: A.C. Newman: Miracle Drug Here is a golden oldie from the New Pornos' second album, the electric version. Enjoy! MP3: The New Pornographers: All for Swinging you Around
Tweet Today I couldn't stop listening this visceral and barnstorming piece of minimal techno from supermayer (the Super-powered side project of michael mayer and superpitcher). When my brother hears a barnstorming 'choon' like this he describes it as A N I M A L. I suppose the spaces demonstrate how animal something is, too animal to fit into a mere seven characters. This tune is not just A N I M A L, its a big, filthy M O N S T E R. It also leaks weirdness all over the place. Check out the insidious glockenspiel bit that comes in around 3 minutes sending the entire thing down the proverbial freaky rabbit hole. If I was a DJ playing the Dublin sweatboxes, I'd be counting down the minutes til 2.40am next Saturday when I'd unleash this beast on a wound up crowd of ravers. Mega. Nyeh-huh...dodgy german puppets banging on their glockenspiels. Scary. MP3: Supermayer: Two of us
Tweet There was this gigantic army of old people on Camden Street the other evening. I was out strolling when they started popping out of nowhere. One or two became three, became four, became an entire arthritic army. It was really unnerving, there were about sixty of them, shuffling through the gloaming and exchanging the odd quiet word in what might have been Icelandic. And then they were gone. Proper fookin weird it were. Hahahaha, look at bad Nana in purple on the right. Its too funny when oul ones give the finger. Talk about a cheap laugh. Talking dogs are funny too. Note to self: script a comedy about an oul one who flips the bird and has a talking dog with attitude. I'm struggling with some demanding work for college. I'm trying to write a paper for peer review and not finding it as easy as i would have hoped. To be honest, its melting my head! My skull is all runny butter where my brains used to be and my eyes are all itchy and burnt with images of tables and graphs. I can't listen to vocal music when concentrating, so this week I've mostly indulged my love of the drone. There's droney scratchy stuff with no singing (fennesz), droney textured whooshy stuff with no singing (tim hecker) and droney droney stuff with no singing (stars of the lid). You might, in this music, find moments of revelatory celestial beauty. You might, on the other hand find it about as appealing as a JCB malfunctioning outside your window on a Sunday morning. Drone on friends, drone on... MP3: Tim Hecker: Chimeras MP3: Stars of the lid: Another ballad for heavy lids MP3: Fennesz: A year in a minute
Tweet Up pop the fiery furnaces with my favourite song title of the year so far...Duplexes of the Dead. Featuring eerie synths, creepy crawly violin and the welcome return of melody after the sheer tuneless barminess of their last record, a dead grannyfest that gave me the heebs. As ever, the lyrics are utter pretentious bobbins of the best sort. And the song stops suddenly, suggesting it might be part of an album 'suite'. YIKES but these two are pretentious. Not going to appeal to the razorlight fanbase. MP3: DUPLEXES OF THE DEAD
Tweet Pitchforkmedia.com and company are fellating Animal Collective's new album like nobody's business. The band meanwhile, are already playing heaps of newer than new stuff (not even on strawberry jam new) live, and its pretty fuckin mega too. Its their moment, and who could begrudge them? Long live Panda Bear and Avey Tare!! Two whirring, clicking, splodgey, multicoloured helpings of the 'collective... Off of the new album MP3:FIREWORKS Golden Oldie... MP3:LEAF HOUSE I've tried to overdose on fireworks. But you can't. Its too complex. You could listen to it for ever...
Tweet I love yappin' on about music with a few drinks at 3 or 4 in the morning. To others, I must sound like a braying megaphone repeating the words 'guided by voices' until sunrise, but from my side its a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Hah, I remember my mother used to tell me to be quiet at night, because my voice 'carries'. Well it definitely 'carries' when Mr Tuborg and Mr ipod are on the agenda. But its a great moment late at night, when the ipod is jacked into a stereo and the enthusiasm comes spilling out all over the place as one more 'best tune ever' gets played and yapped over. Recently enough, at such an hour with my mate Frank (who's just like me when it comes to these things) we were talking about cool band and album names. But first, a shite band name. Coldplay. Go on, say it out loud. Meh, what a meaningless, dreary compound word it is, probably fretted over for ages. It falls off your tongue like wet wool. Although it serves fair warning for what you'll find inside a coldplay album, tepid puddles of grey aural poop. Now compare that to something like Guided by Voices, Olivia Tremor Control or Hello, I'm a truck. Anyway, that night we were shiteing on not so much about band names, but brilliant album names and it just hit me, "the moon and antarctica" (Modest Mouse's second album). What a name for an album. Its so evocative. A lifeless sphere of rock hangs motionless over earth's most barren continent. A perfect metaphor for an isolated state of mind, and entirely apt for Isaac Brock's odd and alienated lyrics. Its also an exceptionally beautiful mental image. Other great album names I can think of are "far away trains passing" by Ulrich Schnauss, "and the surrounding mountains" by Radar Bros and, "in the aeroplane over the sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel. Hoh, I've only noticed that they all paint a striking mental picture of a time or place. I'm a pure sucker for that sort of thing. If I had a band, I'd call it "The salt spring island beekeepers" and our first album would be "Smoking weed at the calgary stampede." The cover art would be a picture of a antromorphic moose listening to a vitrola on his lakeside porch. Today's picture is the moon and antarctica. A warmer moon hung over the med for us when Built to Spill played primavera. The big stage suited them, and Doug Martsch's guitar scraped the sky. This song in particular stood out for me... MP3: GOING AGAINST YOUR MIND Oh and I'm gonna post direct links to MP3s more often now. The imeem thingy keeps trimming songs down to 30 seconds. As ever, if ya like built to spill, go buy their stuff. 'Perfect from now on' is a masterpiece of an album and an excellent starting point.
Tweet There's a little autumn alarm deep in the skull. Every year, around this time, a curious spark in the air, the light and the sounds sets it off. Everything comes into sharp focus and for a few hours its like hyper-reality. There's a freshness in the air and the links between sights, sounds, smells and emotions get all runny and vibrant. "A bit like being on drugs?" yis say. Yeah, maybe. But without the inevitable smell of old carpet and the dispiriting green flicker of pro-evo soccer illuminating slack faces in the 5am decrepitude of a dead weekend. Tonight, I had a mad autumn moment. The alarm went haywire. The tunes on my headphones melded in the most perfect way with the twighlit atmosphere around me. I was strolling through Beaumount to visit my girlfriend (who introduced me to today's featured band in the first place). All it took were a few crispy leaves on a cold breeze and the brightly lit interior of a quarter full 16a bus turning a corner. The soundtrack to the heightened moment that followed was 'Since K got over me' by The Clientele. I know, it sounds lame, but I think its magic when the music on your ipod suddenly soundtracks and enhances a moment, making the entire world around you the most deliciously apt setting. Its what the best music videos come close to but never quite achieve. Since K got over me is proper autumn fodder. Its backbone is a slow melancholy guitar line thats insistent but doesn't quite have the jangle of a summer tune, and the lyric 'when the evening paints the streets' really brings in the long nights. The lyrics are fantastic in stiff hair on the back of yer neck kinda way. How easy to visualise this dude in an anorak blowing out clouds of breath and aimlessly walking the streets dreaming of a lost love. I just recommended the album to my mate Nev, and I know he's going to go apeshit for it, being such a fan of downbeat indie music. The song also reminds me in a big way of my favourite leaving cert poem The lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, by Eliot, which distills the melancholy essence of autumn evenings too...
Tweet So yeah, the neutral milk hotel mega blog is still gestating, due to pesky work pressures and a protracted drying out period from the all-round weirdness that was Electric Picnic. I'm putting up a tune today from Jens Lekman's new album 'night falls over Kortedala,' which is a collection of meticulously arranged sorta chamber pop songs loosely based on his hometown in Sweden. You'll either love this song or want jump into the internet and punch me for exposing your ears to something so insufferably twee. He divides people, does Jens. If they had the chance, girls I know (who lean toward the twee end of music) would probably kidnap him and keep him in a little colouredy room where they could stroke his hair all day. My brother on the other hand would likely introduce his face to the sharp end of a radiator with force. I must admit that sometimes all the trumpety flourishes in Jens' music are a bit too sweet for my tooth. But if you tore all the cute wrapping paper off his songs, you'd see how sturdy they are and how smart and layered with meanings his lyrics can be. His voice is great too. Its proper old school 80s English indie. So here yis are, for yisser ears, a new Jens song, Friday night at the drive-in bingo. And today's melancholy picture is of a crumbling bingo parlour...