news, technology

Welcoming Spotify

3 Comments 25 February 2009

This past week I’ve been getting to grips with Spotify; a new piece of software that looks set to compete with the likes of iTunes, and Imeem.

It’s an impressive little application that allows you fast, free music streaming and the ability to create playlists (most of its rivals require supscription or make this rather awkward).

It’s very user friendly, so far I’m impressed – though there is a catch:

Spotify isn’t offically available in Ireland yet – though it’s hoped to be launched here later in 2009. For those of you who wish to ignore/bypass this limitation, the service can be accessed by using a UK proxy.

Further reading: 10 reasons why Spotify rocks, Play on demand.


Weekend round-Up

3 Comments 20 February 2009

The Irish Blog Awards are on this weekend. Good luck to music category finalists, Jim Carroll, Nialler, Kevin & Darragh – each a site worthy of victory!

More sad news for Irish music this week, as the Delorentos announced that they’ll part ways after the release of their second album.

The Killers have been added to this year’s Oxegen festival lineup. We’d be tempted to go along to see Blur and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but not so much for Brandon Flowers & Co…

Jim Carroll hinted that this year’s Electric Picnic lineup is about about 80% complete, with one less stage than before. Expect an announcement soon.

Anvil: The Story of Anvil was shown in Dublin last night (after originally premiering in Galway last year). The documentary tells the story of the forgotten 80’s metal band’s continuing musical quest… It’s a great movie and recommended viewing for when it gets a proper release this Spring. Check out the trailer.

The Brits happened. U2’s performance of Dirty Boots was visually amazing (even if Bono looked like Satan)… wish we could say the same about the song.

Legendary Chicago-based indie label Touch & Go is in trouble. Downsizing will see the label relying on it’s back catalogue, but cutting staff and limiting future output.

The legal action against Swedish torrent portal ThePirateBay began during this week – charged with being responsible for the illegal downloads that are found via the site; it already looks like the prosecution are set to fail. Arr!

Gigs this weekend

Cork <3’s God Is An Astronaut who play 2 dates in Cyprus Avenue this weekend, tonight and tomorrow – €15, gigs start at 8:30 tonight, 9 tomorrow.

Slim pickings on the live front Leeside this week after a particularly good set of shows in the last week (missed Fight Like Apes but hope to have something on the Villagers and RSAG sets up soon), but Armoured Bear are amongst the artists contributing to a fundraiser night for The Irish Lebanon Project in The Pavilion on Wednesday. The night will also feature sets from John Spillane and Mick Flannery who have been announced as new acts for The Marquee this week…

…which brings me nicely onto the line-up launched for the series of shows in Cork this summer (seamless linking I tells ya). Joining Spillane & Flannery are Blondie, Simple Minds, Bell X1 (who have announced extra dates for Vicar St on April 8th & 9th), Crosby Stills & Nash, Anastacia and Des Bishop. Meh.

Bits & bobs

New gigs announced by Dan Deacon, Doves, Wire, and Dirty Projectors. users can get acquainted with this year’s Primavera Sound line up on this event radio.

Another great new Fever Ray video, this time for When I Grow Up:


Primavera Sound ’09 line-up revealed

4 Comments 18 February 2009

We had an almighty time at Primavera Sound ’08 in Barcelona’s Parc del Forum setting on the Mediterranean and we, along with a huge number of Irish music fans, promised to make the return journey this year.

Today at noon local time the organisers of the event announced some more of the final line up for the festival that takes place May 28-30, which includes some true music legends:

Sonic Youth, Neil Young, Aphex Twin, Yo La Tengo, Ghostface Killah, Bloc Party, Andrew Bird, My Bloody Valentine (2 shows), Squarepusher, Spiritualized, Sunn O))), Simian Mobile Disco, Kimya Dawson, Bat For Lashes, Michael Nyman, Uffie, Phoenix, Art Brut, Girl Talk, Deerhunter, Damien Jurado, El-P, The Bad Plus, Shearwater, Lightning Bolt, The Jayhawks,  Gang Gang Dance, The Jesus Lizard, Shellac, Michael Mayer, Dan Deacon, Alela Diane, Black Lips, Chad VanGaalen, A Certain Ratio, The Bug, The Mae Shi, Throwing Muses, The Vaselines, Fucked Up, Oneida, Jarvis, Vivian Girls, Bowerbirds, Joe Henry, A-Trak, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Tallest Man on Earth, Women, Plants and Animals, The Drones, Magik Markers, Crystal Stilts, Spectrum, The New Year, Karl Blau, Ponytail, Ariel Pink, Wavves, Crystal Antlers, Mahjongg, John Maus, Girls, Zombie Zombie, DJ Medhi, The Extraordinaires, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, lemonade, Carsick cars, Ebony Bones, The Secret Society, Joe Crepúsculo, Extra Life, Skateboard, Angelo Spencer, Jason Little, Veracruz, Magnolia Electric Co, Sleepy Sun, The Soft Pack, Rosvita, Extraperlo, wooden ships, the lions constellation, Cuzo, The Bus Lines.

According to the program announcer on Scanner FM; all these names amount to “60% of the final poster, there are great things that can not yet announce on paperwork and other”...

We’re excited!

UPDATE: Neil Young has also been added!


Other Choices: Ian Whitty & The Exchange

4 Comments 16 February 2009

This is an album that may not have made many critics’ lists for the Choice Prize (then again no one thought The Script would) but Caller No. 9 snuck onto mine from very much under the radar. The whole point of the Choice Prize is to champion Irish music, and the aim of this feature is to go a little further in discussing unheralded gems – with that in mind this album fits this purpose perfectly.

The biggest joy I get from blogging is the interaction, I love when people comment on this site and in turn I love engaging with a fellow blogger when they spark my interest. It wasn’t until our poll on the Best Irish Albums of ’08, and the subsequent and all too predictable comments over our omissions that I was introduced to Ian Whitty, picking up his album on the back of Donal and sweetoblivion’s recommendations.

After numerous listens it boggles the mind as to how Caller No. 9 hasn’t received more attention, especially considering how we as a nation seem obsessed with propelling singer-songwriters into superstardom. It’s an absolutely beautiful album from start to finish, Whitty’s lyrics climb into your brain and project a faded movie reel of imagery of love, dingy pubs, shipwrecks and hope. This is indie pop supreme.

Sonically it is striking without overwhelming the story told in each track, with strings and brass used in moderation to add depth to the tunes whilst lo-fi electronic flourishes such as on ‘Not On Your Side’ keep the approach original and interesting.
City Friend’ is one of my favourite opening tracks of ’08; driving beats with a jangly rhythm guitar all kept at a breathtaking pace with uplifting strings. ‘She Knocks Me Out’ is a beautiful storytelling ballad that shows up most current writers’ love songs for the vapid Hallmark tokenisms they really are.

Whitty’s lyrics are cutting and observant, and his weary take on the Celtic Tiger in ‘Bought & Sold’ grows more and more relevant with every emerging scandal in the news of late:

“And the bank it owns my future / Yeah it owns my politics / And if I should thrive at this 9 to 5 / It’ll own my house of bricks”

Caller No 9 should be an album that gets more recognition than it does. It’s understandable that this low profile album didn’t make the Choice list. What isn’t understandable is how this great LP has slipped by unnoticed. Donal and sweetoblivion, thanks for the feedback.


Save Road Records: Fundraiser Gig

0 Comments 15 February 2009

Road Records may not be set to close up shop after all – with reports that some potential investors are looking to keep the independent store alive. Good news indeed – we’re crossing our fingers.

There’s also a benefit concert being planned for the 14th of March, to raise funds to support the store. Tickets  are on sale now for €20.

featured, news, tracks

The Most Unwanted Music

0 Comments 09 February 2009

Science and logic are two things that should rarely be applied to music, as results are generally contrived and awful (example: Microsoft’s Songsmith software). The results can be pretty entertaining though, especially when they’re not intended to be!

In 1997, Dave Soldier’s Peoples Choice Music project carried out a poll to see what music they liked and disliked the most; the results of which were then made into two songs. The Most Wanted song isn’t very interesting; a pleasant slice of radio friendly soft rock and soul – but The Most Unwanted songs is pretty amazing; a bizarre cut & paste anomaly that has be heard to be believed! Continue Reading

news, reviews

Crystal Antlers @Whelans

0 Comments 03 February 2009

It’s a rotten night in Dublin; yet the sleet and snow coming down outside isn’t enough to put off tonight’s punters for a well attended show in the tiny upstairs of Whelans.

Dublin three-piece Jogging get things started; playing one of their first ever gigs. Their songs vary between crunchy hard rock and jangley new wave guitar, with the occasional Rednecks/Battles type math rock breakdowns. There’s a few impressive moments, but not enough strong songs just yet.

From the off; Crystal Antlers show plenty of stage presence, especially the bands manic percussionist Sexual Chocolate (that’s really his name) who dances ecstatically throughout the show. Mixing elements of garage rock and psychedelia, they make quite a chaotic din. Bongos, organ and howled vocals wash over expansive wah-wah guitar; with the drums and bass just about managing to hold it all together. The sound is a bit off tonight though, with the organ a bit to dominant; most of the guitar freakouts are lost in the mix.

The frequent comparisons to fellow Californians Comets on Fire are fairly justified; though Crystal Antler’s approach is less intense, more soulful and organ heavy; there’s a similar firey spirit in their sound.

The set draws heavily from their self-titled EP from last year (their debut Tentacles isn’t album due until April), with the the evening’s highlight being ‘Parting Song For The Torn Sky‘, where everything seems to fit together in a suitably apocalyptic manner. Their mark well made; we hope to see Crystal Antlers back on these shores later in the year when their LP is out.


Mogwai announce 3 Dublin shows

0 Comments 03 February 2009

Post rock kingpins Mogwai have announced a run of gigs in The Academy, Dublin from Friday March 20th to Sunday 22nd March. It’s their first Irish show since their slot at Electric Picnic back in 2006. Tickets go onsale tomorrow via Ticketmaster, priced €30.

(via State)

news, tracks

Lotus Plaza – Whiteout

0 Comments 03 February 2009

On a rare snowy afternoon such as this (well on the outskirts of Dublin anyway); I found this song apt listening while out pushing cars and dodging snowballs. Lotus Plaza is the solo project of Deerhunter’s Lockett Pundt, whose debut album titled The Floodlight Collective due on March 23rd.

Lotus Plaza – Whiteout


Weekend round-up

2 Comments 30 January 2009

The big news of the week: Eircom bow to the whims of the music labels by promising to disconnect customers who download music illegally. Cue lots of discussion about online privacy and venting by irate consumers (see here and here). Latest news; rival ISPs (Smart, Magnet, Digiweb etc) have issued a statement saying that they will not be following Eircoms lead.

The first five acts of Oxegen ’09 have been announced; Kings of Leon will headline (again) with Snow Patrol, Bloc Party, Katy Perry and Adebisi Shank, err The Script.

By now you’ve probably heard that tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s  show on the 11th July at the RDS is sold out, shifting 40,000 tickets in just under 15 minutes this morning. By now the extra date with The Boss on Sunday 12th will have probably sold out too. Tickets €86.25 standing and €96.25 seated – recession? What recession?

RIP John Martyn. The British folk/blues/jazz legend passed away this week at the age of 60.

The Meteor and NME award contenders were announced this week. Both are pretty dire, with lots of repetition and not much imagination; but the Meteors took the biscuit by nominating invalid acts.

Gigs in Cork this week; take the opportunity to congratulate Fred on getting their gear back tonight at 9:30 in De Barras, Clonakilty, tickets €15. Crystal Antlers, Heliopause and Hope Is Noise play The Quad for free Tuesday night from 8pm. This week’s Bootleg in The Pavilion sees It’s A Musical, Kid Dakota and Ter Haar play for €8/€6. The Field are in Dublin tomorrow night; playing in Crawdaddy, while tonight sees organ & drum duo zZz playing in Whelans.

It was 40 years ago today… The Beatles famous gig on the rooftop of Apple Records and their last ever public performance. The session, during the troubled recording of Let It Be was broken up by the fuzz. Boo-urns.

Forthcoming Irish dates announced by MSTRKRFT, Chairlift, Q-Tip, and David Kitt.

Epic US desert festival Coachella has announced it’s 2009 lineup; with Paul McCartney, The Killers, MBV and the Cure as headliners.

The last remaining stronghold of good and proper music on MTV is on the way out. MTV2 are set to axe 120 Minutes, the late night show that showcases music non-stop from 1am- 3am. Dark days my friends, dark days…

Any guitar effects junkies in the house? BoingBoing pays an interesting visit to the Electro Harmonix factory in New York (makers of the Big Muff distortion pedal and many other legendary stompboxes). Also, check out this site for info & advice on making your own pedals.

If you can get yer mits on the English papers The Independent tomorrow (Saturday) is giving away a free Sigur Ros CD, a kinda ‘Best Of’  – nine tracks from Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust, Takk and Hvarf/Heim.

Muxtape reappeared this week, following it’s legal wrangling with the RIAA. Sadly it’s now rather limited with only a small selection of artists onboard.

Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold went on a MySpace rant (now removed) on rumours that the group had signed to a major label. Choice quote?

“Fleet Foxes will never, ever, under no circumstances, from now until the world chokes on gas fumes, sign to a major label. This includes all subsidiaries or permutations thereunder. Till we die.”

Interesting stance given that 49% of their label Sub Pop is owned by Warner Music!

Nialler has been posting some great music videos of late, including Grand Pocket Orchestra, Lykke Li and N.A.S.A.

Video awesomeness from odd metallers Goblin Cock (project by one of the guys from Pinback).

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The second single off You Can Make Sound is given the video treatment, complete with some nifty animation and special effects.

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