Tweet The leaves are tumbling and sometimes you can smell turf burning on the breeze. I'm on mid-term break from my school job and forcing myself to find little things to enjoy during this steely grey October before the most grim and austere Christmas we will experience in a generation - what with that front-loaded budget of pain to pile-drive us all further into the murk. So, I try to look upwards. The ground is all mud anyway. And the fallen leaves in Kells are uniformly diseased. They mostly come off the trees green, which seems weird at this time of year. Until you look at them on the ground, that is, and notice that they are completely riddled with crap. Most are covered in what look like moles; they're pocked by raised black swellings, some sort of bubonic looking shit. Others curl nastily around shreds of green, seemingly burnt at edges that are brown and tracing paper thin. Hold these to the light and you will see tiny grubs within, mining through the leaf and feeding on its essence. Or don't. For your own sanity, like.
When I walked past the old Gaelic football grounds yesterday, I noticed crows (jackdaws) behaving strangely, and beautifully. The huge sheet of netting behind the goals, which was used to catch stray balls back in the day, was covered in perching crows, cut pure black against the hard sky, and assembled into two groups on either side of the net. Every few seconds or so, a crow on one side of the net would let go and swoop in a graceful inverted parabola toward the other side where it took up a new perch. As soon as it began doing this, all the crows on either side of the net followed suit, the ones on the left swooping right and the ones on the right swooping left - a synchronized show that resembled nothing less than trapeze artists swapping perches at a circus. Once the net stopped trembling another crow would decide to take a tumble and the whole process would begin again. It was mesmerising, yet odd. I stood watching this perpetual motion crow dance for a good fifteen minutes and as I left, it showed no sign of stopping. By then, I was no longer seeing crows, but their flight - perfect geometric curves described on the graphed science paper of the net.
Irish music round up part 1 - with a very short note on each group/ song.
(This is the first part of a round-up of some of the fine Irish music I have on repeat.)
MP3: Thread Pulls-Weight
Thread Pulls are wizards of rhythm from Dublin. A duo with a sound that utilises a spare frame of drum and bass, they create songs that groove and slither like things underfoot. The most obvious comparison is kraut-rock, but there are hints of psychedelia here and stronger overtones of post-punk stuff like Gang of Four and The Fall. This is uneasy music for people who like to be challenged (e.g. fans of www.thequietus.com and people who take ferry trips to see industrial Japanese grindcore bands play run-down biscuit factories in the North of England). A nightmare before Christmas.
Porn on Vinyl
Porn on Vinyl is one of the aliases of the hyper-prolific young DIY factory Aidan Wall, who also records as Hipster Youth. His new album Old Folks' Home is a bewitching riddle of a thing altogether, and I want to get my hands on the lyric sheet so I can decipher more than the intriguing snippets of dissociated-identity-disorder poetry that have floated from its mournful ground-fog so far. It's music that will delight any fan of The Microphones/Mt. Eerie and, in spite of Wall's grasp of a lovely fragile aesthetic, it's another uneasy piece of work. Is it the time of year?
MP3: Porn on Vinyl-Song for a Dead Poet
'Marriage', Groom's new album, on Popical Island, is definitely NOT uneasy. It is a sparkling, trumpety, poppy (of course), shaggy dog ode to a life's love. The star single, 'the golden age' reminds me strongly of one of my favourite 90s bands the Boo Radleys with its trumpets and 60s indebted melodic pay-offs. The album continues along the same vein, wearing its heart on its sleeve and pushing big shiny buttons in a way that only someone in love with classic pop (nearly) as much as he is with his wife can do. Check it out.
This Golden Age by groomtheband
The Holy Roman Army
Speaking of The Boo Radleys, I knew The Holy Roman Army were a band after my own heart when I heard them play a familiar pretty song one night. It took me while to work out just what it was, but when I did I laughed out loud. It was a completely obscure Boo Radleys B-Side from the mid nineties that I am sure nobody else in the room might have known. Intuitive and unique cover versions are only one facet of The Holy Roman Army's talent. Their debut album, How The Light gets in was a winner, a mixture of nuanced songwriting with Bristol (via Dublin) trip-hop beats. And look! There's new stuff on the horizon. They provided the 'heap with an exclusive MP3, an instrumental demo of some new material that will have vocals added soon. It sounds great, full of hints of Massive Attack, shoegaze, and other lush stuff.
MP3: The Holy Roman Army-Capio Nightingale