Archive for August, 2009

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Sickboy- Whelans July 09

August 31, 2009

Hadn’t really heard of any of the groups before heading up to Whelans but a friend had tipped one of the supports so wanted to catch them.  Decent sized crowd and always a good sign to see band members from other bands in the audience.  Surprisingly for me though also a group of lads from work there- not sure that is a good sign or not!

Arrived after The House of Dolls had already started so had missed a few of their tunes- what I did hear was quite good.  When they use the synth they have an excellent sound and vibe- the tunes without the synth and just the guitars aren’t quite so catchy but still a good group to keep an ear out for.

Funeral Suits were up next with a good sound- clear and direct although sometimes muddied with too much heavy guitar work.  The pared down numbers really showed the quality of their tunes though and Now We’re Moving, Now We’re Free and Modern Urban Pleasures were excellent.  The only downside with their set is that they ended most of their tunes rather abruptly- hopefully they will work on the endings to keep the vibe going!

Sickboy were finally up and they certainly have a more polished sound which was a bit of a weakness actually.  Plenty of shoegaze guitars at work and strong vocals even if not always on key.  Recognized the A Tune but the problem with their polish is that they don’t stand out from so many others with the same sound.  Not sure what the last tune was but it was a cracker- long and more instrumental and had a great vibe.  Unfortunately they didn’t say it was their last tune until it was over and they didn’t come out for more no matter how much the audience clamored for it.

A good night but more for the supports than the main and will be keeping an ear out for Funeral Suits.

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Electric Picnic 2009- Maps

August 26, 2009

[EDIT] Set list times now here.

Busy life this year and not much time for the lead-up to Electric Picnic…so just a quick post with some maps of the areas.  Nothing printer friendly just yet since all of them have the black backgrounds but will update when I have a chance.

Camping- click on the image for bigger size and pdf here.
EP2009Camping

Arena Site- click on the image for bigger size and pdf here.
EP2009ArenaSite

You can find more maps here– not all there so check back for updates.

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Owensie

August 16, 2009

I probably shouldn’t post this today as I have heard the name Michael Owens all over Twitter- evidently he is a famous footballer who has committed some act of treason recently.

Thanks to the guys at Thumped (@thumped) I have come across another Owen but this one has some delightful folk tunes and a beguiling sound.  Even if Owensie has that recent Irish affliction of adding ‘sie’ to a word it doesn’t affect his  simple guitar plucking and a vocal performance that is close to but not quite falsetto.

He only has a few tunes up on his MySpace with a little bit of history so head over there for a look!

Owensie

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V?V!V

August 16, 2009

I knew it wouldn’t be long before an artist came along after the post on iterations…but damn that was quick!

V?V!V is the moniker and I’m not sure if you should say the V’s with the intonation associated with the punctuation or if you should just verbalise the punctuation.  No help on his MySpace on that front since his url is 3VVV and on his page he has Vquestionmark…oh dear.

Anyway, unpronouncibility aside, on the tune front he has my ear- an electric French artist with some down and dirty remixes up on his player.  Surprised by the first remix up on his player…or not given that the it’s the cracking track No Surprise from one of my favourites this year James Yuill.  There are also some good remixes of the Nigerian artist Femi Kuti’s You Better Ask Yourself and La Cause from the French group La Phaze.

Not much other information and no videos so while you’re pondering how to say the name head over there and give them a listen!

VVV

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The Octopus Project

August 13, 2009

Quite a few excellent groups from Texas these days:  the post-rock boys Explosions In The Sky, the rather powerful and excellent Ume (mentioned here) and new to my ears The Octopus Project with a genre spanning sound- some great post-rock tunes along with some rather catchy jangly twee ones.

Wet Gold falls into the latter with some excellent female highlighted vocals…although the video is reminiscent of H.R. Pufnstuf which I had happened to see a few days before when following links from Land Of The Lost– yep quality childhood theme tunes still available in cyberspace!

Wet Gold

You can stream their new ep Golden Beds along with their previous ep Hello, Avalanche from their label Peek-A-Boo Records and if you head over to their official site you can grab some of their mp3s from recordings going back to 1999.  Some great tunes there so hopefully they will be doing a tour in Europe soon!

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Mason Proper

August 13, 2009

Another day another new group that has my ear- Mason Proper have a melancholic almost haunting sound which is perfectly captured in the tune Safe For The Time Being.

The song opens with ethereal backing sounds, a lone pounding bass drum, simple guitar finger plucking and a powerful falsetto vocal punch from the lead singer Jonathan Visger that is just pure bliss on the ears.  All of which visually translates in the excellent video below…

We filmed this last summer in an unbelievably hot warehouse
with our friends Hott Garbage
and many extras who were also quite hot by the end
and it was so hot
that the film melted
and it took nearly a year to restore to it’s original glory
but here it finally is

Safe For The Time Being
Vodpod videos no longer available.

You can get the Safe For The Time Being remix ep here which has the titled tune along with two remixes as well as a remix of another tune Lock And Key.  If you head over to their official site and you can also get some of their original tunes from the albums Olly Oxen Free and There Is A Moth In Your Chest- Life’s Cornucopia is a must listen and is just sublime.

As if that wasn’t enough- from a link on their MySpace they have the huge FREE mason proper collection– and they certainly aren’t joking about it being huge!  Some tunes from each of their albums, covers (the Kayne West vs LCD Soundsystem has to be heard),  solo work,  spoof interviews, links to YouTubes…pretty much every angle covered!

Life’s Cornucopia– live performance so ignore the chatter.

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kIM NOVAk

August 13, 2009

The French know how to do many things extremely well but for some reason rock has never been their foray and the majority of the music that I would listen to from there would have more than a tinge of electronica to it.   There are exceptions of course and although I am a bit late to the fray hearing their tunes from their 2007 album,  a friend request from kIM NOVAk really peaked my ears.

While I am one to shy away from comparing groups- mostly because of my deplorable memory for names- there are obvious comparisons to Interpol and Editors and yet they do have a slightly different vibe which makes them unique.

When I first went to their official site there was a widget was playing the very catchy Love Affair but that seems to be gone now unfortunately…so have a listen to Swallow which is catchy as well or head to their label Le Cargo‘s site for snippets of each tune.

Swallow

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JJ, XX, ZaZa…And Of Course UUVVWWZ

August 10, 2009

Ok- there seems to be some sort of epidemic recently with the names of bands and iterations!

None of the groups have the same sound or indeed come from the same place so it must be global epidemic along the lines of Influenza A(H1N1) and there will probably be longer iterations than UUVVWWZ to follow…and even more un-pronounceable!

JJ have gone the electro Swedish route of completely hiding who they are so it’s difficult to find any information whatsoever.  Not even a MySpace to link to but when I also hear about them from Irish electro artists then I know there must be a cult following afoot.  Understandable when you hear them though- ear grabbing electro tunes with female vocals and the hint of calypso and kettle drums.   You can find their albums  jj n° 1 and  jj n° 2 over at their label Sincerely Yours where you can download From Africa To Malaga or have a look at Obscure Sound or RCRD LBL.

The XX hail from the UK and have some good tunes- subtle vocals with electro goodness.  The best is Crystalized which you can hear at their official page or at the moment you can stream their entire album at We7.com.  There is also a good piece by Obscure Sound where you can grab a couple more of their tunes- all of them don’t hit the spot but a group to check out.

ZaZa are a Brooklyn based duo with falsettos and drums galore.  First heard Sooner Or Later over at Gimme Tinnitus and its a doozy.  RCRD LBL are the only ones that have Repetition at the moment and which has a great punch as well if a bit dreamier- really looking forward to hearing more from these guys.

UUVVWWZ– yep that’s a mouthful for this Nebraskan group!  Not pronounced U-U-V-V-W-W-Z but Double-U-Double-V-Double-W-Z…egads.  They have a great punk tinged sound with jangles all over the place and a great dramatic voiced lead female- oh yeah!  There are two tracks currently doing the rounds all over the place but just head to RCRD LBL for your hit of jangly goodness- Shark Suit and Jap Dad.

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Adam And Darcie- California Trail

August 6, 2009

I can’t say that I have knowingly listened to any band from Utah…a place better known for canyons and gorges and the Mormon religion than its music.   The only group I do know from there are the Osmond Family which ‘may’ have graced these ears when I was 5… but that is better left unsaid and certainly the only time you will see that name in this space.

Indiecater to the rescue then with the release of Adam and Darcie– a collection of folky lo-fi tunes with some sweet harmonies and great instrumentation.  In fact almost every track has such a great mix of both that the tunes are more akin to chapters in a book than to tunes by themselves and something that has to be digested as a whole rather than individually.

It starts off with the slow burner The Fox, Hare, And Doe which transforms into a great pace with the introduction of the xylophone, guitar and drums about halfway through.  Never Been A Pilot follows and is just sweetness personified- delectable harmonies that are perfect for any sugar-eared person and in the later half some excellent instrumentation that ends on a great vibe.

Hands-Mind, Festival, and I Need To Let Go Of What I Won’t Miss all have some good instrumentation and vocals that will leave you in a relaxed frame of mind but it’s Nowhere, No One which peak my ears next- with some simple plucking and delightful female vocals from Darcie it really is a delightful tune.

All I Ever Do Is Fall follows with some good vocals from Adam and goes into National Forest which is really the standout track on the album for me- excellent guitars and beats with such sweet sweet harmonies halfway through that I wish it would continue for another few minutes.

After that the album is a come down from the sugar high and returns to dreamy vocals and subtle instrumentation with Before It’s Better, California Trail, Grass Valley and the two instrumental only numbers Steep Hollow and Gold Hill which starts off in an almost lamenting fashion but brings out the beats for a vibrant and engrossing end.

So if you are feeling sweet deprived, head over to Indiecater and get California Trail for just  €4.00- considering you can forgoe your sugar hit for today that is a very good buy indeed!

AdamandDarcie_Front-Cover-150x150

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Alela Diane- Crawdaddy July 09

August 5, 2009

There are some gigs where word of mouth seems to pack the place in and this was one- was a little early and couldn’t believe how many people were there before the support was even on!

First up was Peter Delaney on the ukulele(s).  Excellent playing with a lovely soft almost haunting falsetto slightly reminiscent of Sam Beam- Dent May take note!  I should also note that ever since Tiny f’n Tim I have despised the ukulele but Peters playing was impeccable and I have a new found respect for the instrument…ok maybe not enough for the Ukulele Hooley Festival but will have to check him out again.

After some tooing and froing- two women finally came on stage and I was quite surprised to see a shorn Alela Diane introduce Alina Hardin who I had actually mistaken for Alela at first with her long flowing hair.

The majority of the set was from To Be Still but they started with a new tune which was unfortunately a false start with some loud rumbling sounds from the guitar.  Once that was sorted they continued with the tune and moved onto Tired Feet from the first album which sounded good with the simplicity of the guitar and their harmonies.  They were then joined by Alela’s father on guitar (and mandolin), an Appalachian hatted drummer, and a bassist with a 70’s fashion statement- it would have been great if Matt Bauer was touring with her as he did quite a bit of the backing work on her album before going off and doing his own (mentioned here).

The three added quite the punch to the next tunes Dry Grass And Shadows and White As Diamonds which were quite catchy.    They moved onto The Alder Trees and another tune, but for the first time that night the crowd lost a bit of interest and there was some chatter.   Every Path was up next and while a good slow number she only regained the crowd with My Brambles and The Ocean with some excellent subtle drumming and beats.

The title track To Be Still followed with a more country feel and then back to just Alela and Alina for Matty Groves which was a  tune that her folks sang to her when she was young.  For the encore they were all back out and again some sound issues with the guitar before they went into Oh! My Mama, Lady Divine and a great end with The Pirate’s Gospel.

Throughout the set she was quite chatty between numbers as well as the bassist who was quite humorous.  Alela mention that there was only 20 odd people at her last gig here and I think she was pleasantly surprised by the packed house.  A very diverse crowd it was with young and old- even the Silver Fox who was at Ane Brun was there to give details of zero deaths for the train crash when it was the Harcourt station.  She said that at least there wouldn’t be any ghosts haunting the place but with her excellent voice haunting the place already, I think that was enough for the night.

Overall an excellent gig which was complimented by the fact that the crowd were fairly respectful and quiet during both the support and main acts- something which I have noticed recently at quite a few gigs.  If it is down to the recession and people only going to the acts that they really want to see then long may the recession continue.  That being said there were reports that there was a lot of chatter in the back which I didn’t hear.

I did manage to grab a setlist at the end but unfortunately it slipped out of the pocket on the run into town in the lashing rain- while I am not always insistent about getting the setlist correct it is a niggle when I had it in front of me and didnt even take a look!

1   New one
2   Tired Feet
3    ?
4   Dry Grass And Shadows
5   White As Diamonds
6   The Alder Trees
7    ?
8    Every Path
9    My Brambles
10 The Ocean
11  To Be Still
12  Matty Groves
13  Oh! My Mama
14  Lady Divine
15  The Pirate’s Gospel

Thanks to LongmanOz for filling in a couple of blanks!

Also came across setlist.fm which is a wiki site for setlists-was very close to the one in Frankfurt.