Archive for February, 2009

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Dark Room Notes- New Album We Love You Dark Matter

February 27, 2009

Noticed that Darragh from Dark Room Notes had put up a new pic on their MySpace last night along with the new tagline ‘We Love You Dark Matter 10/04/09’

Confirmed when I read The Ticket this morn:

We Love You Dark Matter will be released on April 10th, and Dark Room Notes will play The Academy 2 on April 9th, with a nationwide headline tour to follow in May. Tickets for the Dublin launch are €12 and on sale now.

[EDIT] Bulletin

DARK ROOM NOTES

ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM

WE LOVE YOU DARK MATTER

Releasing April 10th 2009

On Gonzo Records

We Love You Dark Matter was recorded in London in July of 2008, mixed in Dublin and mastered in New York.

DRN set out to recreate the energy of their live performances by recording a series of live takes of fourteen tracks.

The Album includes lead radio single, ‘Let’s Light Fires’.

Dark Room Notes will play a headline show in the Academy 2 on April 9th, 2009 to celebrate the release of the album.

Tickets priced €12 are available now from – http://www. ticketmaster. ie/search?tm_link=tm_header_search&q=dark+room+notes&search. x=0&search. y=0

‘DRN


Excellent news and will be  a great gig…alas I will be in the States at the time.

drn_posb_new_cover

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Messiah J & The Expert- From The Word Go

February 26, 2009

Wow- I have been very negligent with posts on new albums recently- I bought this at the beginning of December!

For some reason the idea of an Irish hip-hop/rap group doesn’t really sound good on paper and as its not my favourite genre of music it would take a particularly good group to get my attention:  Messiah J & The Expert do just that!  Intelligent lyrics, catchy electro, driving rhythms- you can’t ask for more and there are quite a few standout tunes on their latest album From The Word Go.

The first three tracks Year Of The Genie, Megaphone Man and Keep The Noise Down all have a great vibe and its hard not to keep the feet from tapping.  Tomorrow Is Too Late is really stunning for its poignancy and Geography has a great fast pace with interspersed singing.  The real standout though is Jean Is Planning An Escape- driving rhythms, catchy as hell and one of the best lyrically on the topic of spousal abuse.

You can download Jean Is Planning An Escape from their official blog and for the album they have been nominated for a Meteor Award- so get clicking!

Jean Is Planning An Escape

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Ume

February 26, 2009

What an excellent vibe from Ume– reminiscent of Mr. Gnome with a punk/metal/shoegaze sound with some excellent female vocals from Lauren Lawson.   Great energy and power in their tunes and at the moment you can get two from RCRD LBL– while Sunshower is my fav, the other tune The Conductor is damn fine and has a great edge!

The Conductor

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Polly Scattergood

February 26, 2009

Polly Scattergood may be her actual name but with the scatter-gun approach of great artists she can be compared to, Scattergreat would be more appropriate.  There is unquestionably a  PJ Harvey/Tori Amos/Kate Bush/Joanna Newsom/Björk  influence on her tunes and yet they are more than mere replications- she has a fantastic voice and the songwriting along with the composition of her tunes is simply ear-pleasingly excellent.

Her single Nitrogen Pink which was released last year is one of those infectious tunes that will bounce off the insides of your skull for days at a time and her new single Other Too Endless is a slow building number that is just pure bliss.

Her debut self-titled album will be released on March 9th and it’s definitely one to look out for.

[EDIT] From her MySpace she will be in Dublin at Crawdaddy on the 21st of April…back that morning from the States so just might make it!

Other Too Endless

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Bell X1 On Daytrotter

February 26, 2009

As always Daytrotter seems to have some magic and the tunes that Bell X1 have done for Daytrotter are quite spectacular, low-fi and poignant tunes that will have you reaching for the repeat button.  The group have also released a new album Blue Lights On The Runway and while I was never a big fan before I heard The Great Defector on Phantom and its pretty damn catchy.

So go and have a listen to their Daytrotter session!

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School Of Seven Bells- Whelans Feb 09

February 26, 2009

Was I in the correct venue?  Whelans packed on a Monday?

Packed it was and there was even a big crowd for the support Crayonsmith.  It was a busy night for me as well since I had been chatting with the band I Am Not Lefthanded who happened to be on in the Upstairs venue- a big crowd for them as well so it really was a Friday vibe on a Monday.

Crayonsmith had some good tunes on and it was good to see him with the guitarist and keyboard player…from memory the last time I had seen him support Yeasayer he was playing solo.   He does really have a great dark electric vibe for most of his older tunes and the two new tunes he played still had the electrics but a bit on the lighter side with more syncopation.

Ran Upstairs to chat with the rather delightful Kathryn and Daniel from I Am Not Lefthanded and came back just in time for the School Of Seven Bells to kick off.

It was certainly more of a minimal setup on stage than I was expecting- with only Claudia on a synth at one side, Alejandra on a guitar at the other and Ben Curtis on another guitar in the middle.  With the large sound that they have I really was expecting for there to be more keyboards and synths.  Saying that simplicity is a good thing and with no distractions other than the rather striking twins (and Claudia’s coy smile) it was easy to concentrate on the sublime harmonies emanating from their small frames.

They started off with Face To Face On High Places and followed by the excellent Iamundernodisguise and Wired For Light before conversing with the crowd…about the delights of Swords Village…yeah go figure- the nightlife must have improved since I was last there.  There was then a big guitar intro for Chain and the definitely some movement on the floor for the instantly recognizable and my fav Connjur.  The very eastern sounding Prince Of Peace was up next with White Elephant Coat and the excellent Half Asleep following.  A very big sounding My Cabal was up- definitely better live- before another mention of Swords- Alejandra was definitely giving the place a plug!  They ended on Sempiternal which had a great vibe and alas there was no encore…not surprising since they played most of their tunes but it was only when I got the cd that I realized they had two bonus tracks they could have aired for us!

Overall an excellent set and my favourites Connjur and Half Asleep sound great- their other tunes actually sound better live as well since they seem to have a bit more of an umph than the cd versions.  No matter though, the twins voices are excellent and maybe its a twin thing (Heathers , Tegan & Sara) but there is just something special about the harmonies they weave that is so enticing.   Hopefully they will be doing the festival circuit this summer and I will catch them again soon.

Place was being cleared out fairly quickly and ran back upstairs to I Am Not Lefthanded and managed to catch their last tune Long Goodbyes which was pretty damn good.  Expect to hear more from this trio and Kathyrn said they would be back in April so you can catch them then!

Of course with the School Of Seven Bells having a bit of buzz there were a few gig people I knew…hadn’t caught Tayna and Sinead in a while…and Aoife Mc who played a SVIIB tune at Soundcheck last Thursday!

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Neil Gaiman And Amanda Palmer- Chapters Feb 09

February 25, 2009

Did you ever wonder what an organized mob looks like?  If you were in Chapters for the Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer signing then it would give you a good idea!  I arrived at about half four with the youngest son and thankfully I got there then- there was probably about 250 people there at that stage and after some manoeuvring I managed to find a spot where Cillian was able to see the button-backdrop festooned stage.

Then the wait…there was a woman in front with a rather interesting tattoo so that helped while away the time but it was a little bit late kicking off and when Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer came out he apologized- as the book he was reading from is not yet in print it would have been helpful if he had printed off some copies before he had left.  A very good spirit in the crowd though and at this stage he said there were over 500 people there.

So they kicked off the event with Neil reading from the book Who Killed Amanda Palmer (which should be available for pre-order shortly) with the story about the death of Amanda Palmer and before he began Amanda did some cat-walking of the pics that will be in the book.  He has a great cadence when reading and thankfully you can hear it for yourself with a video from an avid fan…

[EDIT] Check out Cheryl Morgans post with all of the videos and pictures of the event- top quality as she was just behind the stage and you can hear and see everything as if you were there…or even better depending on where you were standing!

Neil Gaiman’s Readings #1

Amanda Palmer then did the cure tune In Between Days on the ukulele and followed up with some more pics before the second of Neils readings which was an excellent story of a young Amanda going off to get drugs for her mother- hopefully a video of that will surface soon.

Amanda’s second song was the same as the one last night about her mother selling the family home- House That I Grew Up In and another catwalk with a picture of a dead 2003 Amanda Palmer on the ground with the 2008 Amanda Palmer standing over her sword in hand!

Neil’s third reading was then quite obviously about the future Amanda going back in time to kill herself- hopefully a video will surface of this as well since there was really some good lines there especially the bit about the future Amanda preparing a kick-ass-speech for the past Amanda about why she had to die…alas she didn’t ask so the future Amanda never had a chance to say it.

The real life breathing Amanda then did a third tune which was a cover of Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees an was then followed by a Q&A session with some good questions being asked.  One directed to Neil was about working with Tori Amos and I remember Neil saying quiet humorously when he first met her ‘I made you up!’  There was also a question directed at Amanda about giving away her ukulele to the questioner…she gave the history behind the $19 instrument and said that even with one of her friends buying her a $600 dollar one that the sound from her original cheap one was better and that unfortunately she was going to hold onto it.  There were a few other questions that I don’t particularly remember but the memory of how approachable they were will stick with me longer.

So then the wait for the book signing began- the staff had to move everybody back into some organised line that snaked around all of the bookshelves and thankfully myself and Cillian ended up about halfway through.  The que didn’t move for ages but at least it was a chance to talk to some of the people and have a look at the books.  At one stage we were in the modern history section and one of the guys up front had noticed Mein Kampf and wondered what the reaction would be if he had presented that for signing…yes waiting in a que for over an hour really can go to your head!

Eventually we got up to the table and I have to say it was worth it- even after an hour and a half of signing both Neil and Amanda were friendly and chatty and Cillian even had a very special picture done in the front of his book along with the signature.  Alas I only had the ticket from Amandas gig last night so I had that signed.  When she asked if I enjoyed the gig- I of course said I did but added that it wasn’t quite what I was expecting…when she asked for elaboration I had said it was excellent because it was so unrehearsed!  Yeah que-brain-deadness is not a good thing and I should have said spontaneous!  Neil elaborated though and said that Amanda is very good at being unrehearsed and that it takes a lot of rehearsing to actually appear that way!

As it has been over a week there have been a few things put up- from Neil’s blog there is a link to Cheryl who was videoing at the side of the stage- her post is here and she will hopefully have the videos up soon. [EDIT] All videos up here. There is also a YouTube user called Miholik who has put up some videos of the readings and tunes.  For some pics and other words on the event check out Amanda’s blog- read some of the other posts as well since she really puts all of her thoughts up there and it is excellent to be able to get into her thinking as well as her tunes.

I am never one for bringing a camera to these events or gigs but I did take a quick phone pic of the picture Neil did for Cillian’s Graveyard book…if he didn’t have a fan for life before he certainly does now!

graveyard_cillian

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Amanda Palmer- The Sugar Club Feb 09

February 24, 2009

When I arrived outside the Sugar Club I was just a wee bit surprised…I knew that Amanda Palmer was popular given her sold out shows but I didn’t know she has such a cult following!  It has been a long while since I have seen a que outside of a venue and people actually queuing up just to see if there were any tickets still available.  Once inside it was just as crazy and I was lucky to get a spot along the wall where I could stand!

As this was going to be an intimate gig I wasn’t sure if there was going to be any support but the very humorous Rohan Theatre came on…except it was only Rohan Kriwaczek himself with having a falling out with the theatre members…a deadpan sense of humour is definitely his foray!  From the very first song he set the tone with a nice goth feel and his chats about the Guild of Funerary Violinists were amusing- the lyrics of his songs are definitely comical and he does actually have a good voice with kind of a Shane McGowan vibe going.  A nice light way to open up the night especially for those with a dark sense of humour.

Amanda Palmer came on after a short bit and a surprising entrance it was in her old Victorian style dress.  Once the cheers eventually died down she broke into a good sean nós version of The Wind That Shakes The Barley (nobody will ever beat Lisa Gerrard’s version in my book).   She then ripped off the dress to reveal the Amanda I was expecting- tights, knickers and a tshirt and now at the keyboards she broke into the brilliant Astronaut.  She certainly does have a cult following but I didn’t realise how fanatical they would be…Amanda was getting cheers for every movement she had on stage- something she commented on when she stretched her arms and hands…I daresay that if she passed wind that there would have been a cheer for that as well!

She then broke into the excellent Ampersand which was followed by the excellent tune by Momus I Want You But I Don’t Need You- extremely humorous lyrics and done well with Amanda’s voice.  Of course there was going to be a Dresden Doll tune in there somewhere and Bad Habit was up and followed by the complete antithesis with My Favourite Things- looking back at the titles of the tunes they do suit each other but trying to picture Amanda as some sort of alternative Julie Andrews with a wicked looking habit helps.

Another Dresden Doll tune Mrs. O came next and again a complete change of course with I Google You which was penned by Neil Gaiman who of course was there as he was in town.  The fantastic Guitar Hero was next and I have to say hearing a rather intimate version hit the spot- there was a new tune then called Trout Heart Replica but alas at this stage I can’t really recall what it was like.

Another Who Killed tune Runs In The Family was up and again the intimate version was excellent and then the ukulele came out for the tune House That I Grew Up In which has a great story behind it as well with Amanda’s mother telling her that the family home was going to be sold.  She then broke off the expected routine again by telling the crowd a poem- about food if I remember correctly.  After asking the question of what to do next, albeit probably redundantly, somebody shouted Oasis and after some hesitation she broke into that- lyrics as funny as ever!

She ended the gig with two Dresden Dolls tunes- one of which called Color Blind which I had never heard and was taken from their first EP- excellent tune which was then followed up with a long keyboard intro on Half Jack for the closure.

Of course she would have to come back for an encore, lest there be a riot, and not only did she come back out but travelled halfway up into the audience with the ukulele for a cover version of Radiohead’s Creep which the crowd joined in on.

She really has such a great relationship with the crowd- she was constantly bantering back and forth and there was such a great vibe because of it.  The other thing that I thought was great was how unscripted the gig was- while there was some format it was unrehearsed and because of that it felt more that you were in her living room than a venue and that everything was being done with spontaneity.  The stories she had in between the tunes really made a connection and even when she had to stop mid song to reboot the keyboard which had somehow changed key she was chatty with the crowd.

So all in all an excellent night and a shame that I had to leg it as soon as the gig was over…but more of Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman at the signing in Chapters!

Nicked some of the playlist from The Happiness Machine since I was missing a couple of song titles…

Wind That Shakes The Barley
Astronaut
I Want You But I Don’t Need You
Bad Habit
My Favourite Things
Mrs O.
I Google You
Guitar Hero
Trout Heart Replica
Runs In The Family
House That I Grew Up In
Poem
Oasis
Colorblind
Half Jack
Creep

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Parts & Labor- Crawdaddy Feb 09

February 22, 2009

Crawdaddy was quite busy for a Sunday and even though I wasn’t feeling the best I went along…and glad I did!

Jogging were up first and hadn’t heard of them before- I actually thought they were touring with Parts & Labor but it turns out they are an Irish band.  Musically speaking they are quite good with some nice shoegaze type tunes…however it was a let down is when they started singing.  The lead did have a bottle of wine that he was necking to keep him going and I suppose that sleeping on the floor with only jackets the previous night didn’t help his voice but thankfully the music carried it through for me.

Parts & Labor then started getting setup and I was delighted to see when the bassist BJ brought out a board of electronic gizmos…and just for even more delight he brought out a second board which the main vocal Dan was going to play- sweet!

When they came on stage they kicked straight into the excellent Satellites which is one of their stronger tunes off of their new album Receivers.  As the band has been going for a good few years there were a few tunes that I didn’t recognize then but Solem Show World and New Crimes were in there before the tune that got my attention of the band in the first place- Nowhere’s Neigh which is just a superb track that builds and builds.  The Wedding Song followed and after another older one the rather starkly titled Death.   They ended the night with one of their old tunes called Changing Of The Guard which BJ explained was written for when Bush was inaugurated for the second time- an excellent anthem like tune with a lovely long jam afterwards.  The drummer Joe was great during the set as was the rather sultry looking guitarist Sarah- I have to say though that my attention was on the vocalists Dan and BJ who not only sounded great but the attention to the replication of the sounds from the electronics on the album was excellent.

I did wait to get some merch afterwards and the main guy Dan was the one selling it- while I know its important for the band to press the flesh these day I have to say that after such a great set it is disenhartning to see people in the que treating him like a shop assistant and debating about colours and designs of the shirts and the repeated questions on sizes.  I did have a quick chat with him about the States and he said that they have been in Baltimore quite a bit and there were some great groups coming out of there- Ponytail of course and he mentioned one called Double Dagger which I will have to check out properly soon!


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Ane Brun- Sugar Club In May

February 22, 2009

Succinct bulletin from Ane Brun:

Ane Brun to Ireland

21st May The Sugar Club, Dublin

http://www. thesugarclub. com/
http://www. aikenpromotions. com/


Simply the best place to hear her in Dublin so mark it!