Tweet A few of my friends are going to see an adaption of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis tonight in the Olympia. For those not familiar with it, the Metamorphosis is the story of a young man called Gregor who works hard to support his family. One day he wakes up to find himself transformed into a giant bug. Things sort of go downhill from there. Unlike say, spiderman, poor Gregor has no super powers, only the ability to lie feebly on his huge back, watching his family trying to get by without him until he dies at the end. At this point, he is mostly surrounded by people who are thankless and oblivious to the sacrifices he made for them in his pre-bug days. It's bleaker than a late '80s Eastenders storyline featuring Pat Butcher. According to reviews I read, the adapted version in the Olympia this week is fantastic, full of clever lighting, acrobatic tricks and soundtracked with some original music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. If you are going, enjoy. I missed out on getting a ticket for a nice seat near my mates, and as I am tightening my belt, I'm staying at home to deal with my own bug problem. Namely, these creepy crawly little fuckcritters. Weevils. They make me itchy just looking at them. Here's one up close (courtesy of the delightfully functional website whatsthatbug.com). So what's going on with the weevils? I have an infestation of them in my food cupboard. It is teeming. They are in the spaghetti, the rice, the flour, falling out of packets, reproducing in the dark, and scuttling blindly over each other in a shadowy, growing, insectoid mass that I don't quite know what to do with. You see, I was away from my food cupboard for a long time this Summer. In the meantime, my flatmate bought a packet of pesticide free organic rice that must have had a few of these little scuttlefucks in it. They migrated into my cupboard from his. It now looks like the infested pantry of a 16th century Dutch schooner after a year at sea. So much for 'go organic!'. I'd rather flirt with the risk of growing a third testicle and happily eat pesticide for the rest of my life, than clean out a cupboard full of these gruesome yokes. Although, with the economy the way it is, maybe their added protein content will soon be a welcome addition to dinner in the coming winter of discontent. MP3: Philip Glass-Metamorphosis 2
Tweet I need a bit of zoological advice here. What's the story with mosquitos in Ireland? It's been bugging me (fnar fnar) for a while. Ever since the Calvin Jonson gig in the hideaway house to be exact. A few days later, three massive bumps, consistent with mosquito bites I experienced before, grew out of my arms and ankles. They were as hard as golf balls and nearly as big. In Kells I sleep with the window open, hoping that the ambience of the estate will lull me to sleep (blissful nocturnal breezes punctuated by the distant growl of turbo charged Honda Civics and the odd shrill whistle of hoodie communication in the darkness). The downside of this is that the odd insect finds its way into my room. I don't mind daddy longlegs (indeed, I feel sorry for them. If ever there was proof against the existence of God, it's this raggedy looking blunder of natural selection who has its best craic in life as a maggot), or even moths, though my girlfirend hates them. Anyway, t'udder night I heard an unmistakeable whine in my ear. I last heard it on holiday in Italy. It was a mosquito. When I squashed it sure enough a spurt of someone else's blood spattered on my arm. Whose was it? My next door neighbour's? a member of Ham Sandwich's? A dog's? All I know is it wasn't my blood and it was in my room. Mosquitos have always been in Ireland in small numbers I believe, but something to do with the weather is surely causing them to multiply. I am very afraid of biting insects. Midges are a nuisance but horseflys scare the fucking bejesus out of me. Now in between, there is the mosquito, which pretty much scares the fuck out of me too. Where are they laying their eggs? In old tractor tyres? Garden ponds? Any zoologists out there care to enlighten me? Here's ET and Eliot on their bike, bless 'em. And here are a couple of Arvo Part choral compositions taken from 'Te Deum'. MP3: Arvo Part-te deum iii magnificat MP3: Arvo Part-te deum xi berliner messe agnus dei I am bingeing on this composer's work at the moment. The later (current) part of his career is mostly a series of quite religious minimal choral works. Religious to the point of mysticism in fact. Now, I am an avowed atheist, so the Christian element is pretty much lost on my Richard Dawkins-fellating head, but the gliding, stratospherical sense of ecstatic disembodiement in these tunes is freakishly beautiful. They are like ice skating across the upper reaches of a frozen atmosphere with space above you and earth below. Or climbing a ladder into celestial, layered dome of voices that fill the sky around you. Part definitely hears angels in his head. I hear the beautiful extremes of what the human voice can do. With musical this sublime, we can agree to differ.
Tweet I'm partial to a bit of twinkly, autumnal guitar pop with a side helping of introspection this time of the year. The sort of music that mopes around in a duffel coat and couldn't fight its way out of a bag because of its underdeveloped wrists. The Clientele fit this brief perfectly. Get this, they formed at school because the lead singer Alasdair McClean noticed that the boy who would later become the band's bass player, James Hornsey, had 'Felt' written on a pencil case. How spectacularly fucking soppy, indie-schmindie is that? It's amazing, like one of the more simpering anecdotes that crop up in Los! Campesinos' songs from time-to-time, except in real life! Anyway before I continue along this line and make them sound about as appealing as something wet that got sneezed out of Belle and Sebastian, I'll get 'round to the music. The Clientele make slow-burning albums of mournful, dreamlike pop. Their music is heavily influenced by latter-day yank shoegazers Galaxie 500, except the thick, tarry guitar work of that band is supplanted by something a little more loose fitting and jangly (think the Byrds growing up in a dreary London suburb). They have breathy, reverby vocals and McClean sings with a sonorous poeticism that makes his voice one of my favourites in rock. There's something a bit French about it. Like he sits outside cafés sucking on unfiltered fags, hoping to catch a cold before he hits the recording studio with the lads. I mentioned earlier in a blog about Animal Collective that I am not much of a lyrics person, preferring the nature derived abstraction of Animal Collective to the well-worn themes of love, loss and life in lauded lyricists such as Bob Dylan. The Clientele are another one of the few bands I utterly and completely get lyrically. Their lyrics and music combine to form a very impressionistic and consistent body of work that deals with a sort of foggy, half-lit nostalgia. Light and shade are a big part of it. The light in their songs is often changing from day to evening, with streetlights turning on, and the sky changing colour (one of their albums is called 'the violet hour' another 'suburban light'). Shadows fall across country lanes, balloons hover frozen in a bright sky, the evening paints the street. Time also, is central to The Clientele's mysterious lyrical charms. Songs continually refer to the passing of seasons, the death of the day, and dates are repeatedly mentioned. So much so, that listening to one of their records can be like getting trapped in the TV show 'Quantum Leap' constantly moving between points of significance in one man's past. Imagine slowly flicking through an album of blurry Holga photos of time gone by, the smell of the old pages, smiling faces now grown old. It's a bit like that, a bit Proustian. Its the musical equivalent of that not-quite-real moment around this time of year when you walk out the door and, in the dim light, realise for the first time that the season has changed. There are love songs too, but for me they are secondary to their sensual backdrops. Afterthoughts. I got dumped so I'm going to wallow in the deep, evocative backdrop of my relationship's messy end. OK I've shited on enough. The last thing I can say is that yes, they are a bit samey on first listen. But as Mark E. Smith knows, if you can repeat something so perfect and idividual, why change? I love The Clientele. So much so that I'm going throw five of their songs at ya! MP3: The Clientele-My own face inside the trees MP3: The Clientele-the violet hour MP3: The Clientele-Rain MP3: The Clientele-Reflections after Jane MP3: The Clientele-House on Fire Finally, if you are going to fight like apes this week, enjoy it yis jammy bastards. Betchya it's going to be a lock-down for Irish gig of the year. Ch-ch-check out this rowdy video for stonker choon 'Jake Summers'! The bit with the lift is inspired.
Tweet Much excitement brewing about the New FLapes long-player. There's a play by play analysis over here on Analogue. Ch-ch-check it out. Loreana did the artwork. I'm very proud of her. It looks smashing, 'specially on the big promo posters around town. Look at the ghostly trio of eighties rejects in the top left corner. They watch over us all, they do. Between this skeletal scrap of a post and something more substantial falls a 10 hour sleep and Saturday Kitchen.
Tweet ...so you will never have to. Ever. Why? Because it was lurking in my fridge and I was curious. You microwave it. According to the package it goes from 0 to tasty in 70 seconds. More like 0 to toilet bowl. I got 2nd degree burns on my fingers trying to hold the thing. It both tasted like and had the texture of a sponge scooped out of a communal bath-tub in a nursing home. (I guess, seeing as I don't normally dunk for edible surprises in old fogeys' bilge water). Someone in my family bought this thing. My Dad. He will buy any sort of product containing animal protein as long as there is a big yellow sticker on the front screaming "Reduced!" Curiosity killed the cat, and it is likely to kill me, because next week, I'm going to have a go at a strange box of german turkey meatballs. Like the burger shaped item of doom above, they are pre-cooked and only need heating. They look like those lumpy dry balls of safari poop that dung beetles roll around for the craic/mating purposes/a bit of a work-out. Honey, I'm home from Aldi! I posted some reviews of the Hard Durpee Durp Shit Name/ Good Bands Festival over here on Analogue. Does anyone know how well it sold? The entire weekend felt a tad underwhelming in terms of crowds. Speaking of Analogue. The issue 5 party night is going down in Pod this Saturday September 20th for a tenner if you say Analogue to the door monkeys. It will feature Nouveau Noise, Storkboy Choons, Colours Move and DJs Aero and Moro. Pogo are putting on Marcell Dettmann in the other room. Banging. A good chance to fiddle like a bunch of ridiculous crickets while the world's financial system crumbles apocalyptically around us. See you all there!!
Tweet So the Hard Working Class Heroes weekend is nigh. What is the story with that fucking title though? It makes no semantic sense at all, either as a clumsy pun, or as some sort of social commentary on the acts' backgrounds? It sounds like a Billy Bragg style socialist-folk convention, or a weak, wistful nod back to the time when most Dublin bands were on the dole, as opposed to middle class, internet savvy, self-financed, meeja monkeys. And what's this about Heroes? As much as I admire a few of the bands playing, how many of them would pull a drowning granny from the Liffey? Eh? Eh? Is playing a Button Factory gig to 40 odd people somehow heroic? Let's face it. We got used to the title. Look at it objectively, though. Think about it. It's utterly meaningless on so many levels. But most of all, it's a clumsy mouthful and it has nothing to do with music. In short, it fucking sucks. Good job a lot of the bands don't. Here are a few of my picks for the weekend that's in it. Friday Dublin Duck Dispensary: The Academy @ 9.30pm They are Ireland's only dedicated duck dispensary. Dispensing ducks is not a round-the-clock business, because in between shifts of dispatching their feathered friends to a perplexed city, they make lovely lo-fi punkish ditties that are this fuzzy... David Turpin: Dame Lane @ 10.55pm David might not be to every body's taste. He looks like this... He makes intelligent indie-pop that wreathes itself delicately around thoughtful lyrics in a suggestively electronic fashion. Sure what else would such an intense and meticulously posed dandy, replete with a symbolic object perched proudly on his shoulder, do? David is a very interesting interviewee as you can see from Ciarán's Analogue post here. Saturday Sure it's only all going down in Meeting House Square on Saturday. Grab a few cans of your favourite brand of piss from the fridge in Spar, wrap them in brown paper, and as your drink goes lukewarm and flat in your sweaty paw, check out this terrific triple bill. Fight Like Apes Will their new album be as polished as Ryan Tubridy's nob? Or will it be the rough'n'ready, monster Irish release of the year? Here's your chance to find out. I didn't jump for joy at the new 'Lend me Your Face', but wow, the new 'Jake Summers' is fairly fookin' stonking! Expect lots of screaming and hair. I'm waiting for the inevitable gig where Jamie and MayKay involve themselves in a horrid hair-knotting accident and have to be ambulanced to James's hospital to get their skulls separated. Bats Thrillingly complex and noisy post-punk riffage. Their spidery song structures change direction quicker than a particle can get around that big accelerator yoke in Switzerland. I didn't mention that by accident. Bats love scientific things more than they love girls (the big geeks). Their lyrics also have a wonderfully odd scientific/rationalist bent, eschewing the usual rock'n'roll themes of pussy and coke for sub-atomic particles and atheism. They are the Richard Dawkins's of prog-metal. Wow, I never thought I'd say that about a band. It's true though. Halves These guys are sorta the flipside of Bats. They create dreamy post-rock, with electronic and orchestral flourishes. Super music for downing a bottle of cough syrup and reading romantic poetry on a canal bank until you pass out and wake up in a pile of Autumn leaves. Halves also make lots of other nice things such as beautiful CD cases and a groovy bag for lookin' hip while buying yer biscuits and coke down the shop like. The attention to aesthetic detail in all this is manifest in their meticulously crafted music. Frightened Rabbit Nakedly, unashamedly Scottish in that weird confessional way only that nation's ginger whey-faced spawn can be (I jest). Like Arab Strap, and to a lesser extent the Twighlight Sad, this is the musical equivalent of a wrinkled Durex and a burnt piece of tinfoil lying on a damp mattress, or the shadow of an alcholic Dad lurking in your bedroom doorway with a belt. In a good way. Is it possible for that to be in a good way? I think so. Searing folk that could be the highlight of the weekend. Their glamourous subject matter covers such diverse topics (and, ahem, not at all stereotypical if you're a Scot) as huffing glue, sloppy unprotected sex, taking loads of ecstasy, and getting fucked up drunk and maudlin. Trust me, they handle it well. Sunday I will not be knocking around on Sunday. But if I was, I'd check out So Cow. Moo! Come check me out ya hipster fuckbags! Lots of goodies. Some shite too no doubt. But, with something like this, it's definitely worth checking out bands you never heard about before and I will certainly do that. Finally, miss Loreana Rushe, and another 26 talented Dublin photographers will be exhibiting in the photography exhibition in the Button Factory tomorrow. A wholesome Richie Egan chomping on an apple is wot Loreana did. Nice. View the flaxen haired tyke enjoying his fruit here. See yis around Dublin!
Tweet I walked from one end of Kells to the other after twelve tonight. While I may have undertaken this journey about ten thousand times, I very rarely did it sober. Apparently nobody else does either. I was followed home at a distance of about 10 yards by a bandy legged dude eating curry chips. The night was so balmy and still that I could smell the curry at that distance. He was singing that rotten, monotonous Fratellis bum chunder-fest to himself, the one that goes 'derp derpee derp derpee derpee derp', except in a slurry Kells accent so there were lohhhts of long vowehhhhlllsss on the derps. Every pub I walked past was having some sort of lock in. The chipper was full of swaying people looking at themselves in the polished metal bit over the counter. People always do that when they are waiting for their chips. They look at lumpy, shiny visions of themselves in the slightly dinted and polished metal. For some, its an exercise in self loathing, "there ye are, polluhed on Sunday as usual, filling yerself with chips and work in the morning, ye useless fuck." For others, it's an exercise in self love, "here I am, lookin' class, gehhin' me chips, and work in the morning. Jaysus I'm a legend." I sometimes wonder how much of Ireland actually runs on drink? Drink certainly lubricates Kells; its ebb and flow, its cycles and stories. I remember being a townie in fifth and sixth year at school, and at that stage, being a seasoned weekend regular in the somewhat alternative local pub (at the time) The Chaser. For me, the big night out was a Saturday, when I would skull a pile of pints with like-minded geeky friends and play Stone Roses songs on the jukebox like we were the first people who ever heard them. Then I'd come into school on Monday morning, fresh faced and ready for double maths. Yet, all around me, loads of lads from out the road would be sitting at their desks rubbing their heads and moaning melodramatically about headaches. "Look at the head on Corrigan! Hard night was it?". "I'm fucked lads. I've some head." Head. Me head. The head on him sir! The head on me. That's some head. Fucking heads. Of course, half of them had never even been near a pub at that stage, (the ambulance-tastic Debs quickly demonstrated how many of my classmates had drank before) yet they saw the hangover as a badge of honour. Some of the sadder teachers went along with the charade, "Sure I know why those French verbs aren't done" *wink wink, "had one too many at the Drumbaragh dinner dance did we?" Looking back, it makes me a bit sad. Why was having a pretend hangover the ultimate badge of culchie coolness on a Monday morning? It is so dispiriting to think that now, some of the same lads are going to be nursing real uncool hangovers after swaying sadly from pub to bookies, and from bookies to pub all day every Sunday, before stuffing their faces with chips and getting a cab home to a bland four-bedroom pile of bricks two miles outside the town. And doing this same thing a la 'Groundhog-Day' every weekend for years in a forever advancing boozy timelapse, while their waists bulge, their youth withers, and 'the craic' turns into a mulchy grey memory of the past. Have you ever noticed how, as you get older, how 'the craic' is often something that invariably happened before? Once you hit your late 20s you'll find people saying things like "last night was great craic. We spent the whole night talking about the craic we used to have". That is more depressing than a faded photocopy made out of a black and white print of a picture of something that might have been beautiful before the toner started to run out in the printer. I'm guilty of all this too. I chase rainbows. I get maudlin and I definitely drink more than my fill on plenty of occasions. So, I guess what I'm trying to communicate is that there is something a bit bleak and empty in towns like Kells that seems to reveal itself at the drinking hour. Especially on a Sunday. We used to call it second chance Sunday. There is a breed of person who haunts the town on a Sunday. They go out early and home late. If you were to spend a Sunday in Kells you'd know what I'm talking about. It's a strange and not very pleasant buzz. The nightclub (Vibe) is half empty. It plays '80s music. The clientele seem older. There are cougars, messers, out of towners and career alcoholics. It's like the town is enveloped in a big shadowy bandy-legged bubble that smells of piss and drink. And it's not just Kells. The odd Sunday I venture into Whelans I see three or four of the same depressing heads, creepily hanging in corners of the smoking area, wearing the same stringy clothes and facial expressions, nursing warm beers and most likely discussing the craic they used to have. The only time these guys (in their thirties) flicker into life is when a young woman who never met them before strays in front of their decreprit, cynical radars. Meh. Okay, time to yank this doomy outpouring onto something positive before bed. An MP3. MP3: Jurgen Paape-So Weit Wie Nacht Nie. I often feel like a bit of a quack when I blog about techno. This is because the people that really know about it REALLY know about it, and definitely look down on CD surfing techno tourists like me, especially when the stuff I blog up is about three or four years old. I know about as much about drum programming and the delineations between dance music subgenres as a chimpanzee knows about existentialism. What I do know, though, is that I love the honest, human heartbeat simplicity of the 4/4 rhythm and the amount of character, soul, humour and yearning emotion that many German techno artists put into their work. It knocks the shallow posturing of a lot of current indie outfits into a cocked hat. I find it baffling that people still see the Germans as cold. Possibly because of dusty old stereotypes? They are the most progressive, warm, welcoming, open-minded and romantic people in Europe as far as I can hear. Most of the music I've swooned to recently has been German techno. The bare sample at the end of the above Jurgen Paape track is so hair-raisingly evocative I ration it out to myself in case I wear it out. According to my pidgeon German the title means that "so far tonight (or now) is like never before" Try this oldie out too. Magic abounds. MP3: Heiko Voss-I Think About You
Tweet Scuppered by the weather. My excitable plan this weekend was to trek into the woods around Kells (the grim, dark depths of Headfort Forest) and go hunting for edible mushrooms among the empty bulmers cans and used condoms. I was going to bring a basket with me and all. Sadly, the apocalyptic turn in the weather will undoubtedly have reduced my potential fungoid haul into slimy slug fodder by now. Pah. Had I gone on my mushroom hunt, I was hoping to get my mitts on a few of these yum-yums. Chicken of the woods: Looks like something that might grow out of a sick camel's backside, but it's really a yummy, meaty chicken-like meal-on-a-tree. The Morel: These are very prized and hard to spot. They grow in towns and cities. If you ever fell asleep on a compost heap you might wake up with a few of these crowded around your snoozey head. Delicious on toasted brioche or in a risotto. The Giant Puffball: These huge things grow randomly in lay pasture, poking out of the ground like the baldy heads of buried giants. They grow massive before releasing their spores. You could feed a family off one of them. Cut it into slices and fry in butter parsley and garlic. Ahem, The, err, Liberty Cap: Not as nutritious or flavoursome as the other mushrooms above, but allegedly it's worth throwing between 40 or 50 of them on a pizza and dusting off the 13th floor Elevators Vinyl... MP3: Times New Viking-Call and Respond Prolific mentalists Times New Viking already have a new EP screaming into the slipstream of their magnificent long-player 'Rip it Off'. Pitchforkmedia stuck this tune on their Forkcast. It's fupping brilliant, as chewily choonful as you'd expect, reminiscent of The Clean and bouncing with their usual blend of immediacy and life.
Tweet I dunno what happened over the last while there but I became a bit blog allergic (either of reading others or writing up my own). It seems to have passed though. I'm going to start mucking into this again over the next few evenings and posting up lots of nice MP3s. Starting with this molten missile of space-dance. MP3: Lindstrom-Grand Ideas Lindstrom always looked toward space for inspiration. On his new album 'Where I go, you go too', he stops looking toward space and goes M.I.A there. You can imagine his brain streaming out of his ears like comet vapour and evaporating into the depths of the Nordic sky never to be seen again. The album's title track is a gloriously self-indugent 28 minute science fiction voyage of the sort that hasn't been seen since Tangerine Dream's 'Rubycon'. Sure, just look at yer man Lindstrom on the album cover. All beardy, cosmic and flaxen-haired, like he was frozen in time in 1975 and thawed out last week. Or like a 1970s geography teacher who brings his hottest looking sixth year pupils back after class for a special 'grind' involving his shag rug, a bong and a spin of his favourite krautrock records. Finally, look out for Analogue Magazine Issue 5. It's coming soon!!