Tweet In a few hours I'm going to Primavera in Barcelona with Lolo and lots of headcases mostly drawn from Kells. One last party in the shadow of a PhD which thrashes on the horizon like the Kraken. I'll be writing updates over the weekend on State. MP3: Funzo-Arrested Development Anyone knocking around Dublin this weekend should really check out a band called Funzo, who are about the brightest and poppiest thing in town right now. Funzo's music is very chunky if that makes any sense - like it's made out of Duplo blocks. Stompy happy-go-lucky psych rock that tips its hat to pop wizards like Harry Nilsonn and Macca but sometimes comes on a bit ska-inflected too. They wouldn't sound out of place on Elephant 6. Definitely a band for those (sensible) people who prefer the Beatles to the Stones ;) Funzo launch their album at 8pm in Radio City (Isaac Butt) on Saturday May 30th. Adios Amigos!
Tweet There's a pub in the centre of Kells I hate to walk past. The outside of it is falling to shit. Diseased flaps of maroon paint peel from its sign and even on the warmest days streaks of dampness taper from below its windows. The outside walls are full of worryingly deep cracks which make me think the building itself is fucked beyond repair. It depresses me and symbolises something about the whole town at the moment. A shabby hopelessness. One out of five are unemployed in Kells these days. We are a cliché from a David McWilliams essay, the failed commuter town. Kells Angels - that's the hideous little catchphrase he used to describe people (sorry Pope's children) working in Dublin but living in the towns in the adjacent counties, and who are now rapidly becoming jobless. In the new estate nearby, lights only come on in half the houses at night. A sign with bleached bunting from 2007 hanging uselessly from it still advertises show houses. To top things off, I'd swear there are more magpies around the place. I see them and hear them rasping everywhere. You know that poem "one for sorrow, two for joy...?" Well what happens if you see 12 of the beaked bad omens? Because that is how many magpies I counted perched at various levels in the hedge adjacent to the Gael Colmchille centre recently. Carrion birds and flaking paint. Thank fuck I'm off to Primavera next week. Séamus's freckles rendered his tattoo somewhat redundant. Righto. Irish bands part 1. Parts 2 and 3 are coming soon. MP3: Subplots-Poltis Subplots On Myspace When I first heard Subplots I thought they weren't my cup of cocoa. "Too lush and slick with all that OK Computer style counter-melody and sweeping production", I pretentiously muttered, lashing another Jay Reatard C90 into a knackered cassette player. I was wrong. They are fab. The best songs on the Nightcycles record share a spooked beauty. Poltis is a real nocturnal summer song. Soft darkness, night-scented garden plants and concrete walls still cooling down from the heat of the day. MP3: Super Extra Bonus Party-Mark Hughes Top Corner SEBP On Myspace I can't exactly put my finger on what this instrumental romp from the new Super Extra Bonus Party album "night horses" reminds me of - The Go Team maybe? Anyway, the resplendent trumpet riff running through it celebrates a Welsh soccer player booting home a goal. Exhilarating and childlike (as opposed to childish) goodness. MP3: Hunter-Gatherer-You're Dead After School Hunter Gatherer On Myspace This is tonal, otherworldly electronic stuff that never loses sight of its unnerving melody. The hissing effects on this track from Hunter Gatherer sound like distilled anxiety and the image which accompanies the track is of someone holding their creased brow in their hands. A bully once told me he was going to kill me after school. He stuck to his word and split my nose open with a fist encased in a leather BMX glove. On a cold day. And on that note I'll be off.
Tweet I'm still moving to wordpress folks...but will continue posting here in the meantime. The Irish round-up is nearly ready, so that will be up tomorrow. In the interim here is a review of Deerhunter in Andrew's Lane Theatre t'other night. Deerhunter: ALT Phrases like “sweat box” and “sausage factory” are being bandied back and forth about the ridiculously large, mostly male, and mostly damp crowd down to check out Deerhunter in Andrew’s Lane Theatre. At a time when some of their contemporaries are seeing undersold gigs and tickets being slung around the place in giveaways, the level of devotion evident in Deerhunter’s Irish fanbase tonight is impressive. In recessionary times, it appears that a bit of consciousness-obliterating white noise is yer only man. And for the most part, Deerhunter bring the noise. Not only that, but before their encore, eccentric front man Bradford Cox throws in an uber-weird monologue about dead babies and censorship for good measure. God knows what he is talking about. The normally implacable bassist Josh Favreau – who looks like Pacey from Dawson’s Creek gone off the rails on valium - doesn’t seem to know either, judging by his impatient glances and raised eyebrow. It’s an awkward interlude, but it’s quickly obliterated by a killer encore that ends in a pulverising version of ‘Calvary Scars II’, an epic song about Bradford imagining himself as a crucified Polish boy at a Gorgoroth gig. By the time this twelve-minute, feedback riddled, sonic assault concludes, the audience members up front can go home and confidently tell their mates they know how a goose must feel when it gets sucked into the rotors of a Boeing 747 jet engine. That’s the crowd up front, though. Unfortunately, it’s a different story nearer the back. It seems that as one moves further from the front of the crowd there is an exponential drop off in sound. During a rare lull in the set, I squeeze toward the back to stand nearer a mate of mine. The difference in acoustics is remarkable - like listening to the band from the inside of a fish tank. Deerhunter are playing a blinder, but what is layered and dense a few rows ahead, sounds shot through, formless and mangled. What is to blame? The shape of the venue? It’s P.A? Either way, punters toward the back hear a bit of a mess. Which is a shame; because, in spite of looking a little disengaged at times, Deerhunter are thunderously tight. What stands out most during the gig is how muscular their music sounds in a live setting. Deerhunter are often described as shoegaze revivalists but in truth that description sits easier with Cox’s and guitarist Lockett Pundt’s expressionistic and floaty solo material. The real engine that drives this band live is a German ‘70s model. All their big songs are delivered over a clanging motorik rhythm section that never misses a beat and creates a sensation of perpetual forward motion. The band are driving the crowd headfirst into a storm, and judging by contorted and upturned faces near the front it’s a blissful experience for some. Strangely though, one of the songs that best exemplifies the band’s Krautrock motor – ‘Nothing Ever Happened’ – seems to lose something tonight. The speakers struggle with the nebulous high end guitars and the suspension of disbelief is shattered. It isn’t a hurricane after all, just guitar noise coming through equipment not made for this sort of thing. No matter, over the course of a long set there are plenty more thrills. Tellingly, the bands faces flicker into life when they get a chance to air material from their new EP and ‘Famous Last Words’ in particular is a pounding revelation. You can add to that a visceral rendition of that primal scream of a song ‘Flourescent Grey’, a bone-chilling ‘Cryptograms’ and more droning, nervy, wigged-out music than a young John Cale could shake his cello at. A success. Ian's review is up Here
Tweet qaStaH nuq? That, I am told is Klingon for 'hey what's happening?'. I don't understand why they capitalise letters in the middle of words, but then again these are a race of people with foreheads that look like the folds of pastry in a cornish pasty. Klingons are not real, though you could be fooled for thinking otherwise these days. Neanderthals were once very real though, and this week it was revealed that the first Homo sapiens enjoyed Neanderthal meat....sort of disturbing, where is the line drawn with meat for most people? I think there is an increasing chain of unpalatability that goes something like this: Chicken, cow, horse, rat, dog, monkey, chimpanzee, neanderthal, human. A few weeks ago Darragh asked myself and coLoUrS mOvE (yes, he is of Klingon descent) to put together two wee mixes for this blog. Colours Move did his stuff nicely, and if you scroll down the page it's there for download. I've finally got round to putting my own mix together. I'm off work sick you see, and I am hobbying the shit out of it. Mixtapes, songs, reading...good times all round. So anyways, here's my mix. I made it this morning and it's rough round the edges, but it's just a few good tunes that I think kind of work together. I'm going to bullet point the tracks.
- The first track is by Moderat (Modeselektor and Apparat mutually masturbating), it's called A New Error and it's easily the best track on their recent album. It comes over all Boards of Canada at first before the big Berlin sound kicks in. The rest of the album is patchy to say the least; and a very poor cousin of the much more integrated work that Apparat did with Ellen Alien.
- The second track is Euphoria by Zomby. It's more bonkers than a bag of spiders at the Berlin love parade. I love this sound. That's all I am saying.
- Almost 20 years ago LFO released Frequencies on Warp. Have a listen to track three of my mix, Simon from Sydney, and tell me that the phuture aint the past bro!
- Track four is perhaps my favourite techno track of all time. A melancholy descent into the pulsing labyrinths of mongville with Ricardo Villalobos. The majestic Dexter. I could listen to this tune forever. How did he do it? I will never know, but it is the benchmark against which I compare all other techno.
- Track five is by Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb. I'm not a huge fan of Pink Floyd, but I love this tune and it seems to be coming from the same beautiful anaesthesised place as Dexter. It was playing in the background when Christopher crashed his car in The Sopranos. Powerful stuff altogether as they say in Mayo.
- Gang Gang Dance, only got into these dudes recently. St Dymphna is savage stuff, this track (vacuum) is a pure My Bloody Valentine rip off, but it's forgivable because they are progressive and as far removed from insipid shoe-gaze revivalism as you can get. Tynchy Stryder does a nice collaboration with them.
- Finally, I only said, by My Bloody Valentine...sound like anything you just heard?
Tweet yeah, you said it charlie. You may have noticed that one of my posts disappeared recently and I had to pull it from the google cache. Well, after Hugger gave me a heads up I went through my archive and found a further three posts are missing. I will try my best to fully articulate why this makes me so angry, but rest assured I am seething...no...fucking boiling with anger. Google (who own blogger) have recently started pulling entire blog posts when the American recording industry (RIAA) indicates to them that the post contains a link to copyright material. The sneaky thing is, they do it without notification or explanation. Whup...and there goes a few hours worth of writing and a whole bunch of comments. GRRFUCK...GRRRFUCK...AAUGH!!! Now, I am fully aware that I am arguing from a bockety platform. I know that the stuff I linked to was copyrighted. I also know that I am availing of a free service. But still, I feel angry and, honestly, a bit violated. Because I invested so much time in this blog I suppose I imagine an ownership over it that in reality I don't have. And google (with a small 'g' because their motto is don't be evil - pfffnrrr) acutely reminded me of this today. All of my writing on asleep on the compost heap effectively belongs to a giant amorphous global corporation. And what means a lot to me, means nothing to google. My words are just inconsequential packing around something that obviously did matter more than a hot fart to them - a few hotlinks to songs on major record labels. I wish they notified me before whipping the posts. Is that too much to ask? I would have instantly removed the links and held on to my words. Now all I can say is fuck you google, you didn't play nice so I am heading to wordpress.
Tweet The Holy Roman Army will launch their debut album this Friday May 15th with a gig in Crawdaddy with support from Tenaka and Storkboy Choons/Colours Move. This should be a fine gig for anyone who enjoys their electronic music song-driven and finely wrought. The Holys (also known as Laura and Chris Coffey) were invented by Donal Dineen in a secret lab in Kerry and come equipped with a sack of rich and languid sounding songs that sit somewhere between Low and Portishead. Tenaka recorded a nifty free EP of bedroom electro-pop earlier this year which whirred and clicked like that really early Badly Drawn Boy and Andy Votel stuff. And Storkboy Choons/Colours Move are techno muckers from Kells. One works in a joke shop. The other is my brother. Although they make their music separately, it works well mixed together. They both love brain-damaging beats, but decorate them prettily and dose them with woozy nostalgia. Here's a brill free gift for everyone in the audience from Colours Move. He mixed a playlist of techno classics that should suit any occasion that requires rhythm, from whisking a meringue to toning up that flabby rear on your aerobostep. It's stonking. Colours Move Mix Popnoname - idCard Paul Kalkbrenner - Gebrunn Gebrunn Modeselektor - Kill Bll 4 Autechre - Eutow Underworld - Rez Aphex Twin - On Orbital - Lush The Field - Everyday Jurgen Paap - So Weit Wie Nach Nie Brian Eno - The Big Ship MP3: Colours Move-Mix Irish music round-up coming. I promise.
Tweet My post on asparagus disappeared mysteriously and my fileden account was suspended. Web sherrif? Meh. Anyway, here is a retrieved version from google cache minus your comments - sorry. I'll try link the songs again too. Asparagus is in season. The cookery writers in the English Sunday papers go bonkers this time of the year, describing the stuff in wibbly monologues. Nigel Slater - whose recipes I love - can be especially hilarious. A recipe for asparagus omelette might describe how he waits, quivering in the moonlight, for the first tender cock-like spears to rupture forth. Then, under cover of darkness, he'll harvest them, lay them gently out on his picnic table, and oil them up for the pot. As they steam merrily away, the cock-like aroma of the asparagus, its cock-like shape, and memories of rough sex from back when he was a working class lad will overwhelm poor Nigel - causing him to spurt buckets of adjectives all over the place before passing out peacefully with his hand down his trousers and the omelette burning. Something I wonder at this time of year is whether there is such a thing as fresh Irish asparagus? Like to buy? A quick straw poll I conducted on Facebook suggests not. But then, only two people responded, my mate Niamh and a Canadian. Is there something wrong with our soil? Maybe Irish soil is conducive only to the growth of lumpen and misshapen veg like the spud. MP3: Bat for Lashes-Daniel The new Bat for Lashes album is great. Though it's hard to listen to it without thinking of one of those 80s films full of animatronic creatures, and a talking wall that asks you a riddle before you can access the amethyst palace. "Driver..take me to the Bat For Lashes gig!" While we are on the subject of ethereal music here's a good 'un from Robert Fripp and Brian Eno's 'Evening Star' album. Like most music of this kind, you'll probably have heard it burbling away in the background of Prime Time at some point, or during the emotive climax of a TV3 documentary where Barry from Kent is reunited with his family after painful scrotum surgery. MP3: Fripp and Eno-Evening Star Finally, two from the wonderful Television Personalities because I am listening obsessively to 'Don't the Kids Just Love it?'. Dan Treacy's lyrics are terribly affecting and can make me well up. I think the melodies of his songs sound honest in themselves. There's a little instrumental called the crying room, which features a melodion and plucked guitar and it's just the saddest thing. It sounds like a heart disintegrating. MP3: Television Personalities-Look Back in Anger MP3: Television Personalities-The Crying Room
Tweet Hi all, because of some odd circumstances, I need to take the unfortunate step of moderating comments - a move which doesn't suit my nature as I am not the censoring type. Please write whatever you like, still - even if it is in the unlikely event that you don't think my blog is the best thing since sliced pan ;) I would never block a comment here without very good reason indeed, and vanity is not a good reason. You can try me out by telling me I smell like a diseased cat, look like a vagrant, and my writing is seven kinds of shite - or something to that effect. It'll get through my loose screening, guaranteed. Well, maybe I'll also deny the odd post from overly matey blokes with names like Bamba Xioa who 'luv this writing piece WOW! and gr8t interesting topics..fancy nipping over to my spyware infested forum for a relaxing cuppa strained from ground up rhinos and the world's last Snow Leopard? - it adds inches!' I'll hopefully take the moderation off at some point. See yis!
Tweet There's a small stretch of road near our local pitch n putt club that is a death trap for hedgehogs. Every other week, one of the poor spiny fellas gets turned into magpie fodder. Yesterday, I saw a young lad drop kick the most recent hedgehog corpse at one of his mates. It seems the youth of Kells will find plenty to keep themselves occupied during this recession. MP3: Robert Pollard-Subspace Biographies Here's an MP3 from the master of lo-fi rock Robert Pollard. It's taken from his first solo album 'Waved Out'. Robert is on my stereo a lot these days. He formed a new band called Boston Spaceships with a Decemberist among others. Although every new Bob release gets wishfully hailed as a return to form in some quarters the fact is that most of his post Guided By Voices output is hot runny shite. However, the Boston Spaceships gang sound like a proper band and their songs, while not scaling the ridiculous peaks he once climbed with ease, are solid and fun. Here's a good 'un from their new album 'The Planets are Blasted'... MP3: Boston Spaceships-Headache Revolution There's a great night called PANDAmonium! returning to Dublin after being on holiday for a while. It will in Spy on Friday and I will be DJing there intermittently. Lolo is the captain of the ship. Expect a very eclectic mix of music, old and new, from Steve Winwood to Zomby by way of Elephant six. Oh, and those ten euro bottles of wine on promotion 'til nine are far from shite...they go for around eight quid in spar and are very drinkable. A forthcoming blog will be a round up of the Irish stuff I'm listening to at the moment. If there is anything you would like to point my ears towards send it on. The email address is at the top right of the page here.