Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Sometimes Zeitgeist has a habit of hanging in the air a smidgen. Had The Chalets released this record when everybody was journo-sexxing them as the next BIG thing, then they might have done pretty well. Now, they’ll do better. The most important thing for The Chalets right now is the growing emo-pop splinter of American indie. Championed by influential US indie blog You Aint No Picasso, The Chalets have unwittingly allowed that Zeitgeist to pause airborne, just in time for them to engage in some serious passive glory smoking. Meta-narrative aside, ‘Check In’ begins stodgily. ‘Theme From Chalets’ is a better song than this mix allows, but all is forgiven with ‘No Style’. Is that Summer whizzing down towards Newport Beach in a drop top with Marissa doing crystal off a silver spoon? Yes, be very surprised if The OC doesn’t showcase a few of these tracks next season. Be even less surprised if they rip that scene opener TM me.
‘Feel The Machine’ and ‘Sexy Mistake’ are familiar and welcomed (apart from some slightly bored production changes on the latter). But the album really hangs its tongue out the car window with ‘Red High Heels’ and ‘Love Punch’ both of which shine like grit on diamante. Surprisingly, two connecting and very, very short intervals ‘Arrivals’ and ‘Departures’ work, and were worth the risk, demonstrating that a song can still be relevant at less than a minute long. ‘Beach Blanket’, the ending track, lolls like a preteen on Bulmers in a miasma of substance-induced lethargy, trying to claw back something, like the listener at the end of this record, searching? Wanting more.
The Chalets hold back. Perfectly. There’s no need for 14 over-dubs and the Dublin Gospel Choir when you can write a daisy chain of hooks, and drape them around the neck of anyone willing to listen. Boy/girl play duelling, when done in this effortless manner, is irresistible. Even more intriguing is the scene-setting lyrical content dipped in semi come down haze. Just when the sun shines too bright, The Chalets reach for your shades. A landmark Irish record.
1. Theme From Chalets
2. No Style
3. Red High Heels
4. Gogo Don't Go
6. Feel The Machine
7. Two Chord Song
8. Fight Your Kids
10. Sexy Mistake
13. Love Punch
14. Beach Blanket
Sleater Kinney @ Temple Bar Music Centre
Dinosaur Jr @ The Ambassador
Neville Staple @ Whelans
Firehouse Skank @ The Hub
Saturday and Sunday
Electric Picnic - Stradbally Castle, Laois
Be Your Own Pet
Asian Dub Foundation
Matthew Hertbert Big Band
Electric City DJ's
Dennis Alcapone & Band
The Semi Finalists
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Soulwax/2 Many Djs
Declan O Rourke
The Human League
Toots and the Maytals
De La Soul
Bob Mould Band
Bodytonic Sound System
Who Made Who
listening to: The Chalets - 'Beach Blanket'
So, HWCH was grrreat. Bleedin Bleedins rocked it on Saturday night, as did Panda Kopanda. As you can see here...:
...I didn't make it to the Sunday night bit of the festival. Plus, me and Lili had invitations to the afterparty which went to waste. Oops.
In other news, just got the new Chalets album 'Check In' from John to review it for Totally Dublin. It's awesome, although, not as awesome as the next issue of TD that has Sarah on the cover - CHECK IT OUT.
In other news, you can listen to me tomorrow on Spin 103.8fm on the Jack and Ali show talking about my bus trek to Warsaw.
OK, gotta go write the album review!
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I would hate to think y'all don't know the beauty, so if some of the peeps out there don't have these tunes from this fantastic band I'm going to see NEXT WEEKEND, then check this shit out:
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Like many buildings in Warsaw, Dworzec Zachodni bus station appears like a shell dropped from the Communist era. Corrugated steel and a peeling blue and yellow colour scheme lie underneath a thick film of dust. Countless booths selling miscellaneous meats, magazines, infinite brands of cigarettes and soft drinks stuff the floor of the station. Local buses pull in up front, but at the back of the station, queues of young Polish men and women wait for the bus to Ireland, shuffling away from their families towards the grimy grey concrete platforms.
There are a few prolonged hugs from mothers. Awkward photographs are taken while the stringy moustached conductor rips ticket receipts, and eventually the bus pulls away about a third full. Technicolor seats like autumn on acid promise headaches and the legroom is designed with Oompa Loompas in mind. Polish power ballads play as we head beyond Warsaw’s outskirts past colossal C & As, KFCs, H & Ms and various other initialled monstrosities. As the billboards advertising Presidential candidates thinned, the TV on board remained dead and I beg for some distracting film, worried that the only viewing pleasure our busload would soon be witnessing was my excessive breakfast in reverse.
The conductor garbles down the microphone like a drunkard exclaiming from a manhole, and I instantly regret my urge for telly. The rest of the passengers become engrossed in a Polish horror film on the bus’ only TV. The plot seems to largely surround a naked woman on a steel table and a guy who likes to jump through windows (in slow motion.) My silent wishes for the bus driver to pull over at the most intriguing sign so far (‘Gay Billiard’) remain unanswered, and we rocket towards Lodz.
In Lodz, the tower blocks trap the city with an expansive concrete hug. Factories that from a distance look more decrepit than Jackie Stalone, a little closer appear to be functioning places of work. The flats shed paint like eczema, covered in graffiti acne sprayed by unimaginative perpetrators and the bus station resembles a horror movie seaside hotel. Every building from Poland’s recent communist era seem not to have had a lick of paint since the Wall fell. Perhaps, their upkeep seems pointless, just dolling up the reminder of a time period that they want to crumble for good.
The numbers on the bus double at Lodz. Hot crowds gathered around the food kiosks to get a last meal. A thin mother with a drawn wrinkled face ran around the bus as it was about to leave. Trying to spot her daughter who had taken an aisle seat and wasn’t visible from the outside, she squinted through the windows before smothering her face with hands and tears as the bus finally pulled away. Most have their entire families seeing them off and an elderly couple leave their crying son behind. The man, struggling to climb the bus stairs with a walking stick keeps walking back down to hug his son again. His ascent is eventually made impossible, as his son locks hands around his father’s neck, bawling. His father turns around and gives a last forceful kiss.
The surrounding countryside is full of sights no longer common in Ireland. The land is farmed in small sections, divided into orchards, cabbage and potato lots, cornfields and wheat. Families work the land together, bailing hay, weeding and harvesting their food. The women all wear long blue floral day dresses with red or blue aprons and headscarves. Such a fractious agriculture industry is now being propped up by EU price controls.
The late 80s and 90s in Poland were characterised by falling governments, unable to stem a bleeding economy. The Privatisation Act of 1990 liquidated many of the state-run companies and a subsequent glut of privatisation has led to short-term GDP growth and a “tiger” economy, similar to Ireland’s economic resurgence in the 1990s. This burly push for economic liberalisation throughout the 90s has ensured private companies now control 70% of the economy. Such investment hasn’t eased unemployment, and the government, which once gleamed profits from most of Poland’s industry, is now forced to reduce public spending by 17 billion in the next two years. And the government has borrowed heavily, owing $100 billion to the World Bank.
The torture on my coccyx had now progressed to the equivalent of listening to Atomic Kitten demos on a dentist chair. How much more could my much prized buttocks take? Will they erode? Or will they be flattened so much as to spread out beyond the realm of my hips, like flip-out food trays on the arm of an old aeroplane seat? A train passed teasingly under a bridge we dawdled over. Its wheels sung a Polish slag directed at me, “yourassisgettingsorer – yourassisgettingsorer – yourassisgettingsorer”.
There are storks in Poland. Yes, I’m as mildly surprised as you are. I forgot that storks existed beyond the context of Pampers ads and Disney cartoons, where they’re relegated to reprimanding jive-talking crows. But here, driving between fields, storks hung out, occasionally lifting a leg gingerly, as though they just realised that was a cow pat, not soft ground. Three hours after Lodz, we reached Konin where the tower blocks again circled, and eventually, Poznan, where the bus was finally full. We drove by the kind of forests you get chased through and then it was fields again. I began to wonder if you have to be on a plane to get DVT.
I attempted to bond with my two-seater companion, and offered her a jaffa cake, a friend currency if there ever was one. She said something that sounded like she was coughing up a baby hedgehog and accepted one, which was the extent of our contact, despite my inviting smiles and pleasant, (if unshowered) demeanour. Other passengers were a bit more forthcoming. What I mistook for flirting about 17 times was eventually explained by my accompanying Lonely Planet: Poland guide: “The Poles’ sense of personal space may be a bit cosier that you are accustomed to. You are apt to notice this trait when queuing for tickets or manoeuvring along city streets.” Or, I might add, sitting on a bus for 84 hours (round trip, people.)
At a petrol station stop, somewhere near Germany, I got talking to Louisa who lived near Warsaw. She was travelling with a friend to London. In October, she moves to Birmingham. She has a friend there who will try to help her find a job. “maybe if you know somebody who knows somebody who knows a manager somewhere, maybe,” that’s Louisa’s version of how to possibly find a job in her home town. She has a low paying job and at the moment, can’t make ends meet. “Today, I saw people getting on the bus with families crying leaving them. It’s not fair.”
As we settled in for the second flick of the evening - a thriller; where all but two of the main characters wear balaclavas throughout, which is quite confusing (that, and the Polish element) – the moon announces its yellow prominence through the black German woodland. When you’re tired enough, you presume you can sleep anywhere, but your body will always beg to be horizontal, an impossible feat. Instead, I propped my head against the window, and tried to ignore the can in a paint mixer momentum.
Twice through the night, we stop at service stations. Nobody else buys food. Ever. Instead they smoke desperately while I’m inside, stocking up on Doritos. The next day, we’re peeled off our seats and marched through passport control at Calais before boarding ‘The Pride of Canterbury’, which I was under the impression was a cathedral and not an ugly hulk selling overpriced five-piece breakfasts. Bought one anyway, obviously. On board, a sullen anticipation came over the passengers. They were reluctant to talk, huddling instead in groups of two or three on deck. My body cried for sleep. For some, London marked the end of the journey. Others went on to Birmingham, Manchester and finally Dublin.
On the bus to Dublin, a few of those who had shared my journey from Warsaw were recognisable. The rest of the passengers had travelled from different parts of Poland. They all, I might add, exuded an appearance of content refreshment, in stark contrast with my knackered and sweat-stewed visage. Victoria Station housed us for five hours, a land of thieving pay phones and mischievous bus company officials who had merrily informed me of no less than two stations and four imaginary platforms where I should really be getting the bus from. Only when I removed one hapless booking agent from his swivel chair and forced him to lead me to (and place me on) the bus did I reach the finish line of their evil goose chase. I was, therefore, more than happy to leave the bastard station, and only wished for some dirt to toebog at its direction as we rolled out.
On the radio, a DJ informed us of nightmare traffic scenarios with all the joviality of a toddler in a ball pool. It started to rain and I spent the next hour playing the underrated game of peek-a-boo with a toothless little boy in front of me. ‘K-19’, a bloody submarine film was on. It was dubbed of course, but I had developed a concentration mechanism for filtering out the quieter original English script like a baker looking for misplaced raisins in a bowl of flour.
At Hollyhead, I dragged conversations out of the few passengers with broken English. Monika Paczesna from Pila was visiting her husband in Cork. He has worked in Ireland for a year and has seen his wife once during that time when he made it back to Poland for a few days. Her knowledge of the country is limited, apart from how expensive everything is and that “Guinness gives headache.” Peter Stanek, in his 20s, was going on holiday to Galway, but Magdalena Sadouska’s reasons were lost in translation - perhaps a holiday too.
I spoke to a lone traveller, Kasia Ogndnik from Javorna, as she shuffled in the cold night sucking on cigarettes. She’s moving here, but she doesn’t know for how long “maybe a year, I hope.” It’s her first time in Ireland, and she’s heading for Lisdoonvarna where she has a job in a restaurant lined up. “It is very, very hard to get a job in Poland,” she says, shaking her head, “you just can’t.” Kasia has heard that there are a lot of Polish people in Ireland, and that it’s easy to get work, but it’s better to secure a job before you leave. She has the right idea. One restaurant manager in Dublin said they received at least ten CVs from Polish job applicants a day.
Another family were returning to Dublin. The young parents and peek-a-boo son both worked as kitchen porters and were coming back from a visit home to spend another six months. Asked whether they liked life in Ireland, they looked quizzically before the wife replied laughing, “we have work!”
After a furiously cold night sailing to Dublin Port from Holyhead, we arrived at Busaras in a surreal lethargic haze shortly after 6am on Friday morning, having left Warsaw at 11.45pm on Wednesday. Everyone took a cautious rabbit-like gaze through the Dublin morning, and then bent over to dig out their luggage.
Yes, I set myself on fire (by mistake) on Monday night. Let's re-rewind. Called up to Sarah and Corina's at around 8. Went to Yamamouri and started slamming the aul plum sake. The Corina came in and we went to Dunnes to buy drink, but it was COLD (for some reason), the place, not the alcohol and massive Q, so we went to The Dragon. The dragon, like most dragons, was dead. So then we went to the George which was DEADER. On our way out onto the street, we met these three people who had been sitting next to our table in Yamamouri.
listening to: The Chalets - 'Theme...'
So Adam, Shannon and Simon F (these three people) led us to Sin, which was open late. Bringing on the tequila and vodka redbull ended in me leaning across the table to Sarah telling some story or making a point. I didn't know I was leaning over a candle and then Corina says, " dude, are you on fire?" I look down and my jacket was going up in flames. I don't think I've laughed that much in a long time. Hilarious.
Then Corina went and bought a bottle of wine from an Indian restaurant and we went back to their gaff. Unfortunately, SOME OF US had to work in the morning.
In other news: AOIBHINN WON THE ROSE OF TRALEE LAST NIGHT, which is the awesomist thing of all time - well done Evil!!
listening to: KT Tunstall - 'Black Horse and a Cherry Tree' (live on Jools Holland)
Monday, August 22, 2005
listening to: Arcade Fire - Power Out
DR ROBERT MOOG, the synthesiser pioneer, has died at the age of 71.
He passed away at his North Carolina home yesterday (August 21) four months after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
Born in the Queens district of New York, Moog’s instruments were made famous by bands such as The Beatles and The Doors.
Moog built his first instrument – a Theremin – at the age of 14. The electronic device can be heard on The Beach Boys’ classic ’Good Vibrations’.
He made the MiniMoog in 1964, which was described as “the first compact, easy-to-use synthesiser” and later won the Polar Prize - Sweden’s “music Nobel Prize - in 2001.
A message on his official website moogmusic.com said: “Bob was warm and outgoing. He enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. He especially appreciated what Ileana (his wife) referred to as ‘the magical connection’ between music-makers and their instruments.”
No public memorial is planned, though friends and fans can express their sympathies at caringbridge.com/visit/bobmoog.
Moog’s family has also established The Bob Moog Foundation dedicated to the advancement of electronic music in his memory.
Many of the late pioneer’s long-time collaborators including musicians, engineers and educators such as David Borden, John Eaton, Wendy Carlos and Rick Wakeman have agreed to sit on its executive board.
Moog had received both radiation treatment and chemotherapy to help combat his brain disease. He is survived by his wife Ileana and five children.
listening to: Babyshambles - 'Fuck Forever' (live)
listening to: The AM - 'Utopia'
I'm in a total shit mood today, so here's some party music! Sarah who is an equally shit mood is gonna come over and watch the highlight of the year
Here is her biog:
"Aoihinn is 22 and has recently received First Class Honours in her Theoretical Physics Degree from UCD and plans to continue her post graduate studies in Bio-Physics. Her impressive academic achievements include a student placement in 2004 at CERN (Centre European de Research Nuclear) in Geneva, awards in the international Mathematical Contest in Modelling, an Entrance Scholarship from UCD in 2001 and scholarships from Bord Na Gaeilge. This native Irish speaker loves singing and also plays concertina, piano and guitar. She has been a member of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for many years and has awards for sean-nós singing, Cómhra Gaeilge and Grúpa Ceoil. Aoibhinn has won national awards for short-story and poetry and is an enthsiastic singer-songwriter. She has five younger brothers, loves travelling and fishing on Lough Carra."
xxxxxxxGOOD LUCK EVIL!aka Aoibhinn!xxxxxxx
Oh yeah, the party music, I almost forgot:
listening to: The Bravery - 'Honest Mistake'
So, the Hard Working Class Heroes Festival is on this weekend: 100 Irish bands across 6 venues in Dublin for 3 days and tickets for the WHOLE weekend are only 28 euro. All the scheduling etc is here, as are tickets: www.hwch.net
I thought I'd post up some choice tunes from some of the better bands playing.
The Bleedin Bleedins
Saturday, 11.20pm @ The Hub
The Mighty Stef
Friday, midnight @ The Hub
Friday, 10pm @ The Olympia
Friday, 10.40pm @ The Olympia
Saturday, 8.40pm @ Temple Bar Music Centre
there's so much more, so visit www.hwch.net to check it out.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
listening to: Hole - 'Doll Parts'
The Cribs @ Whelans, Wexford St.
Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters, Maroon 5, Jem @ Landsdowne Rd.
Weezer @ The Point
Seven Deadly Skins @ The Mezz
Carnival Saloon @ Whelans
Adam Green, Chuzzle @ Whelans
Saul Williams @ Crawdaddy
Republic of Loose @ The Village
The Marshall Stars @ Voodoo Lounge
Jurassic 5 @ Vicar Street
HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES FESTIVAL (www.hwch.net)
Holy Ghost Fathers, Vamos, Ashley Sheehan and The Mute, Lotus Lullaby, Junior 85, Blood Red Mountain Band, Red Kid @ Eamonn Dorans
Jenny Lindfors, Bill Coleman, Niall James Holohan, John Leo Carter & Co., Scott Maher,
Duke Special, Paddy Casey @ Pravda
Sickboy, Polar, Porn Trauma, Fair Verona, Cartoon, 66e, Stanley Super 800 @ Spirit
Dead Girls and Boys, Matt Lunson and the Last Hurrah!, The Rags, The Radio, Fred, Sack, Rulers of the Planet @ Temple Bar Music Centre
Soft Cuddly Toys, v/formation, Stellarband, Giveamanakick, Defect, Celest, The Mighty Stef @ The Hub
Hybrasil, Delorentos, Stars of the City, Mainline, Idlewild @ The Olympia
Daara J @ The Purty Kitchen
HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES FESTIVAL
ITO, RiRa, Sundogs, Boss Volenti, Zealots, Stagger Lee, The Flaws @ Eamonn Dorans
House of Mexico, Gary Dunne, Justin Corr, Duped, Sinead Hand, Owen Brady, The Ruby Tailights @ Pravda
Dirt Blue Gene, Dark Room Notes, Me in the Park, Skuzzi Port Sound System, The Rotators, The Chapters, Pony Club @ Spirit
Ann Scott, Dry County, Exit: Pursued by a bear, Valerie Francis, Jape, Neosupervital, Messiah J And the Expert @ Temple Bar Music Centre
The Rubens, Bailer, Sanzkrit, Panda Kopanda, Eskimo Convention, The Bleedin Bleedins, Betamax Format @ The Hub
David Hopkins, Joe Chester, The Walls, Mundy @ The Olympia
The Bleedin Bleedins @ Tower Records
HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES FESTIVAL
Air Strip One, Jack and the ', Those Pesky Kids, Gatsby, Envelope, Screaming Skies, Ginseng @ Eamonn Dorans
Red Sirus, 8 Ball, The Things, Turn @ Spirit
Miriam Ingram, Aaron James, Chris Morrin and the Mucky Kids, Barry O'Brien, Jamie Lawson, Mick Duffy, Tadhg Cooke @ Pravda
Subzero, Renko, Fast Emperors, New Vegas, Gavin Glass, Leya, Sylvia Saint @ Spirit
Communal, Andalusia, The Urges, The Guggenheim Grotto, The Amazing Pilots, Chuzzle, Mono Band @ Temple Bar Music Centre
The Shakes, Corona, Molasha, Remma, Jaga, Funbobby, The Maladies @ The Hub
listening to: JJ72 - 'Everything'
Hunter S. Thompson's final bang took place on Saturday at his fortified estate in Woody Creek. As he wished, his ashes were blasted out of a Gonzo fist shaped cannon. Johnny Depp financed most of the ceremony, while Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn also attended. HST's widow said there would be no crying, only celebration.
listening to: Bloc Party - 'So Here We Are'
listening to: The Futureheads - Hounds of Love
yes, Courtney is preggers with STEVE COOGAN'S baby. yes, you heard right - the comedian known as 'Alan Partridge' and in the shit Around The World in 80 Days movie with Jackie Chan. Does the world get weirder than this?
Here's the report:
Rock singer Courtney Love is pregnant by Alan Partridge star Steve Coogan, it was reported today.
Love, 41, widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and former lead singer with the band Hole, discovered she was expecting the British comedian’s baby three days ago through a home pregnancy kit, according to the News of the World.
She told the paper: “Yes, I am pregnant with Steve’s baby, but I’d rather not talk about our relationship.”A friend of the singer said the baby was conceived during a two-week fling while the pair stayed at the Sunset Marquis hotel in West Hollywood.
The unnamed friend said the pregnancy could not have come at a worse time for the singer. The troubled rocker, who has an 11-year-old daughter Frances Bean, from her marriage to Cobain, is currently undergoing a 28-day drug treatment programme.
She was ordered into rehab last week after admitting using drugs while on probation.Love is on probation in three separate drug and assault cases and will be sentenced for the violations on September 16.
“She hasn’t made any decisions about whether she should keep the baby or not,” the friend told the paper.
Coogan’s marriage to Caroline Hickman came to an end last month after she divorced him on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.
Coogan, 39, who is best known for his role as Alan Partridge, married Caroline in December 2002 shortly after they got back together after splitting up when he had a fling with a lap dancer. The marriage lasted 16 months.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Here are some nice songs to enjoy on this rainy day.
listening to: Prince - 'When Doves Cry' (live)
Here are a few interviews I've just come across from an old website I had. They are old and thankfully, my writing has improved, but there are a few big names in there, so I thought I'd share my cringes.
listening to: Ash - 'A Life Less Ordinary'
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Hailed as saviours of rock and roll on the release of their debut record, BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB have kept the ante up with their second LP, ´´Take Them On, On Your Own´´. Una Mullally woke up bassist Peter Hayes in his London hotel room to chat about rebelion and rock ahead of their gig in Dublin´s Ambassador...
´´Ermm ugh fhurrgh ahhwgh´´. This is the sound a rockstar makes waking up. Which is what Peter Hayes was doing when confronted by a phonecall from the Event Guide. This is also what one third of the most celebrated rock band around sounded like for the next twenty minutes; mumbling mostly, occasionaly laughing uncontrolably and mainly making very little sense. Well, it was early in the morning (2PM).
Picking up from where The Stone Roses and Jesus and Mary Chain left off, BRMC injected an authenticity into rock when their epynomous LP came out. Their sound was instantly picked up on by the industry and the press and endorsed by most of their fellow musicians. So what did it feel like to be immediately touted as the commanders of `the new rock revolution´? “I take it seriously” mumbles Hayes, “we can only do our part. I don´t know if we spearheaded it. It takes more than one band and it takes fans of music.” Pausing awkwardly for a few moments, he adds, “hopefully we can be able to give a voice to people”.
Trying to write ´rock classics´ is usually a cliched experience, but BRMC manage to do it because for them, the rock comes from the heart and is without a doubt the essence of their material. Who´d of thought a song like ´Whatever Happened To My Rock and Roll?´ could be written with such authenticity and without a foundation of irony common to many so-called rock bands around at the moment. “I don´t care much for innovation”, declares Hayes, “I care about the spirit behind it”.
BRMC seemed to be obsessed with maintaining this authenticity of rock and roll. Like their music, they themselves constantly refer back to what has gone before them, “Rock and roll used to be pretty idealistic. In a way, it did everything. Rock has its enemy, but a lot of bands have lost sight of that.”
Despite their success, BRMC have turned away from the commercialism associated with today´s industry. Most recently, they turned down a six figure sum for a TV commercial. Were they trying to make a specific statement? “Yeah...I´m not sure what the statement was. It´s pretty easy to do ads, then everyone goes crazy for one song and your get albums sold”. Bohemian like who?, “well, we try to make it on our own”.
This self-sufficiant attitude extends all the way to the studio, where BRMC take care of production and engineering themselves, “it´s not really about independence, but if we do it all on our own, it feels a bit more honest in a way. It gives people more to hold onto than if it was done by somebody else”.
In Hayes´ rock opinion, a lot of bands have sold out when it comes to maintaining the rebelion that was once the centre of rock and roll, “It used to be ´us´ and ´them´ and I think that´s healthy. Now it´s ‘ok’ to do ads”. This is where, Hayes just goes a wee bit weird, “Republican/Democrat, Protestant/Catholic, all those lines are being blurred to make everybody happy and watered down”
This defiant attitude comes across more than ever on ´Generation´, a track on their current LP. Where The Who endorsed their peers, BRMC are rejecting theres, “we´re asking questions, ´where the fuck are we?´ Is it that generation they´re calling us? Do we love all this music being shoved down our throats? Is that really true? I don´t think so.” Not fans of Britney then, “We´re innundated with pop that doesn´t have a lot of purpose it´s the same crap over and over again. The American public is not given much variety. As far as I´m concerned, that´s the government controling it. If you control the art, you control the people”.
Whatever about their gripes and strange, hungover rockstar mumbles, live, BRMC continue to hit the g-spot of rock over and over again. Authentic, weird and pissed off - in other words, what rock and roll is all about.
The Fiery Furnaces
Meet The Fiery Furnaces, a ‘genuine’ brother/sister duo clocking up critical acclaim everywhere for their new LP, ‘Gallowsbird’s Bark’ released late last year on Rough Trade Records. One half of the band, Matt Friedberger got up extra early to chat to Úna Mullally about Franz Ferdinand, driving across the US and that unique brother/sister relationship.
Matt Friedberger is sitting in room 217 in a Texan hotel consoling his sister, Eleanor, who’s too sick to do the interview. They’re tired - and so they should be, as they’re just nearing the end of one mighty ‘road trip’. “It’s just me and Eleanor and our buddy who plays drums driving a van all over the US. We’ve no rock and roll tour bus or anything like that. But when we get to the UK, it’s going to be complete luxury coz there will be people helping us drive”. This really is DIY stuff, and that’s how The Fiery Furnaces have got so far, well that and a wee bit of luck.
“We’re very, very lucky, the way it’s turned out”. Matt is referring to their association with Rough Trade, who released their demo as an album, almost as soon as the siblings had posted it off, “we had to come up with the money to record our demo, so we borrowed money and did 16 tracks. I mean we were really lazy about it. A friend told me Rough Trade were looking for some new bands, so we just posted it off and, well, yeah, we’re lucky”.
It’s not all luck though, there’s how the music sounds as well, “um, a mix of 50’s washboard blues and tambourines of bad 60’s pop and third rate Tears For Fears stuff I guess”. Along with that, The Fiery Furnaces possess an eccentricity that would put The White Stripes to shame, “to be eccentric is a necessity. We need to do that because we don’t have a ‘rock and roll message’. So many other records are just dull, so we try to be playful”.
Matt had been in more bands than he’d care to mention before finally forming one with his sister (“I was in loads of bad bands with lots of bad experiences”). He was living in New York when Eleanor returned to the Big Apple after travelling around Europe. She brought back with her, a whole range of travel log lyrics she had written and the seeds of The Fiery Furnaces were sown, “when we were younger, I prompted her to play” explains Matt, “and then as I got older, she encouraged me, she’s been keen and supportive. This is her first band, so it’s still fresh for her”.
I sense a good deal of brotherly love… “well, of course we drive each other crazy. But you expect that. At least in a band with your sister you know that’s going to happen, which is not as bad as fighting when you’re in a band with friends or just other people”.
The Fiery Furnaces first taste of European touring came when they supported Hot Hot Heat (I’m not joking). Franz Ferdinand completed the bill. “We were playing in front of a bunch of 16-year-olds who were just staring at us it was really funny. And we shared a tour bus with Franz Ferdinand, which was pretty unpleasant – cramped and smelly”. Matt then goes on an amusing tangent of anecdotes involving the tour, “I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that I remember that they (Franz Ferdinand) wouldn’t want me to say (giggles). But, what was really funny was, every night, Steve from Hot Hot Heat would get up to sing ‘Take Me Out’ with Franz Ferdinand, and he thought it was great, but Franz Ferdinand didn’t. They were never very pleased with that”.
Gossiping about that tour left aside, Matt talks about their own gigs some more, “I mean we’re just lucky to play music for people. People are coming and not booing. They’re not throwing things at us, which is good. I still can’t believe people take time out of their schedules to come see us, I really appreciate that”.
So, The Fiery Furnaces, they’re not The White Stripes, their sound is mental, but great, and if you want some good gossip on Franz Ferdinand, you know where to go.
TAKING THE RAP What do you get when you combine the toughness of 50Cent, the wit of Eminem, the flow of Jay-Z and then showcase it all on hip-hop’s most innovative label, Def Juz? His name is C-Rayz Walz and he rapped his way through an interview with Úna Mullally, proving his skills as one of the finest emcees around.
UM: Hi this is Úna from the Event Guide, I’m calling from Dublin…
CW: Yo I’m doubling too. UM: Um, are you ready to do the interview now?
CW: I’m so up/I’m so ready/Foot’s on my chest makes my breath so heavy.
UM: How are the shows going?
CW: I stay doin’ shows/I’m the type of cat that go and fill/If I’m on the grill with skill/Who you know that the show better?/My flow vendetta is health/I’ve got a show with atmosphere on February the 12th/I wish you was here coz I would definitely invite you/you’d come to the front row and I’d light you.
UM: So that’s good then?
CW: Sound good/I got a good ten/From the hood then/But I got skills that makes the wood bend.
UM: Have you done any of the overseas dates yet?
CW: I only went to Europe for just like a little bit/And I smashed it/I think it was with Fat Milk-fluid/My man Bo reppin’ that/I came through with the weapon locked under the hat/You know the flame that’s insane in the core of my brain?
UM: How do the audiences compare to those in the States?
CW: Well the States is a typical situation – it’s real rude/We don’t appreciate music here like we don’t appreciate food/That we waste and abuse doin’ things we use/But when I go over places, it’s like, so cool/Coz they show respect like no neglect.
UM: How did you get involved with Def Jux?
CW: With Def Jux I’m keeping my rap style healthy/Brother to that cat, El-P/I was on Cannibal Ox record, it was first for years/And El started in the same studio, the same place we were at/That’s where El started doin’ his tracks/When he had music without words, and I was spittin’ that fire/And I had most cats callin’ me solid/Said, I want you to spearhead the movement/I said, no doubt, why not?/Sign the dots/So here I am, spittin’ is slim/Doin’ the interview on the phone with my female friend from Dublin.
UM: You were meant to sign with Sony and Def Jam. What happened?
CW: Oh yeah man, but they blew up the towers/The World Trade Centre has been and gone/And the label wasn’t interested in even the dopest song/They say, ‘we can’t hire you because it’s scary/We’re goin’ through a fight with Mariah Carey’/I’m like, ‘What up Tommy Matola?’/So Def Jam died, and Sony was denied/So I had to go back to the street life/And I was so caught up like Mariah on that deal/My hustling did me wrong – I did 6 months fo’ real/And still, I aint drop nothin’. But then every other month, I dropped a single. I said I need Def Jux.
UM: How do you feel about your album, Ravipops, now that it has been out a while?
CW: I think Ravipops is the ultimate testament/The one where I was most able to experiment/It’s who I am from a hip-hop point of view/It’s crazy, in fact/I’m right here doing an interview and I’m on track.
(At this point, C-Rayz disappears to the sounds of what seems like a large-ish party in the background. Bear in mind that it’s 11am New York time. He returns and apologises, gives his reasons, and his rapping skills deteriorate slightly for the rest of the interview. )
UM: What would you be doing if you weren’t an MC?
CW: To be real, I’d be right downtown with a gat.
UM: Who do you look up to as emcees?
CW: The real artists, all the cats like Bizmark-E.
UM: What can the Irish fans expect from the show?
CW: The Irish fans expect and respect the show and I’m feelin’ that. We’ll kill it. It’ll be like the whole IRA army is there. I’m about to go thirty songs. I’ll be called marathon man. Reason. Hitting them with the rhyme right.
Sean Daley, aka Slug, one dimension of the powerful and respected underground hip-hop collective ATMOSPHERE, took time out to chat to Úna Mullally…
Una: Minneapolis is hardly a stronghold of hip-hop, but how did your hometown influence you as an artist?
Slug: In a few different ways. First of all the fact that it was not the Mecca of hip-hop. In a sense I think makes a lot of the kids that are trying to do this a little bit harder ‘cause they know they’ve already got strengths against them just where they are based geographically. Secondly, the winters we get here – I dunno what kind of winters you guys get – there’s six feet of snow. It’s super cold, and so you end up spending a lot of time in your house. There’s not much to do, and if you’re an artist, that’s good for you.
Una: You once said you had ‘a natural disdain for the universe’, do you really feel like that?
Slug: I was probably just really stoned that day when I did that interview! ‘A natural disdain for the universe’ – maybe I was just in a bad mood. Maybe honestly I do have a natural disdain…are you sure I said that? What a weird fuckin’ thing to say! I guess, uh, I’m not mad a the universe today, but it’s still early here, so who knows what’ll happen.
Una: Was it a conscious decision to be seen as an ‘anti-gangsta’ type of artist?
Slug: I don’t think I’ve ever made a conscious decision in my life. I think that everything is pretty much freestyle and I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m just playing my way, there’s no strategy. I have common sense, but other than that, I can’t say it was a conscious decision. I just kind of watch the chips fall and try and pick ‘em up afterwards.
Una: What do you think of the state of mainstream hip-hop, a lot of more underground artists are pretty cynical about it?
Slug: I mean, I’m not cynical of it at all. I have an understanding. Maybe I’m a little older than your average underground artist, I’m not sure. But I feel like having watched where this music has gone for the last 20 years, I’m not surprised that this is the direction it went. Let’s face it, America itself has got this fascination with drugs and guns and sex, period. And so, you can see that come across in all types of facets of its culture and its arts, whether it be in movies, music or even books for that matter. Right now, rap is probably the dominant music genre in America, especially with children. I guess if this was all still something not many people knew about, then there wouldn’t be an issue because nobody would know that there was tonnes of guns because it’s not on TV. Ten, sixteen years ago, there was guns in rap, it’s just that nobody really cared because the powers that be had no idea what was goin’ on. Now the first people to complain are the other members of the culture. You got underground rap kids complaining about what mainstream rap is doing. Personally, I’m not mad with what mainstream rap is doing. I am mad with what American culture is doing. Mainstream rap, I believe, is following right along those lines, and that’s too bad, but I can’t be mad at them. If you never taught a child how to read, then you can’t really get pissed off that he didn’t stop at the stop sign.
Una: Four albums down the line, do you feel you’ve achieved a lot of the things you set out to do?
Slug: I think I’ve still got a lot to achieve. Once in a while I can reflect, but the bottom line is, I’m still hungry to do more. I’m not sure yet what that is but, I can continue making music which is probably what I’ll do out of nature. Shit man, I’m like everybody else, I don’t think I’ve discovered what I’m here for yet.
listening to: Sleater Kinney - 'The Fox'
So Eminem has cancelled his tour. I don't feel let down by that, I feel let down by this...
Rapper Eminem is being treated in hospital for addiction to sleeping pills, his publicist revealed.The Grammy-award winner abruptly cancelled his European tour earlier this week blaming exhaustion.But in a brief statement, his spokesman said: “Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, is in the hospital under doctor’s care. He is being treated for dependency on sleep medication.” There was no indication as to when he would be released from the facility.Eminem, 32, is said to be tired of the controversial persona he has cultivated and is keen to step away from the spotlight to focus on his daughter and producing other acts.
He had just completed a 23-date US tour and was due to begin the European leg in Hamburg, Germany, on September 1. The gigs were part of his Anger Management 3 tour, due to end in Dublin on September 17.Some 80,000 tickets for the headline gig at Slane Castle sold out in less than two hours.Organiser Lord Henry Mountcharles was angry at the late cancellation and said the star would not be welcome back to the famous venue. He did not rule pursuing him for compensation.
SLEEPING PILLS? Dude, you're kidding. Does no one do Class As anymore, come on dude, you have the money. Did you really get all that fame, money and adoration to get addicted to SLEEPING PILLS? Where's the coke. SO. Let. Down. Em, also, I wonder if there's any link between the fact that he's suffering from 'exhaustion' and addicted to sleeping pills? Might be on to something there I think.
listening to: Maximo Park - 'Going Missing'
Torture Garden (link over there, look! --->) just posted this old Arcade Fire song along with some Devendra Banhart, JJ72, Chalets and British Sea Power. Check it out.
+ Coldplay - Rolling Stone
Modern Age is bitching about Coldplay on the cover of your favourite music catalogue
+ Regnyouth has posted some Miles Davis
+ Gemma Hayes is releasing her second album
"Gemma Hayes returns to Dublin on October 19 for a see-the-whites-of-their-eyes show in Whelan’s. Prior to that comes the release of her second album entitled The Roads Don't Love You, which was recorded in Los Angeles with Beck and REM producer Joey Waronker.
It was one of the last sessions to take place in Cello, the legendary studio where the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds was assembled. Guest musicians include Alanis Morissette keyboardist Zac Rae and 4AD stalwart Lisa Germano."
+ Bush is unpopular - no shit
+ Clap Your Hands Say Yeah play Philly
+ JJ72 Street Team goes from strength to strength
listening to: Arcade Fire - 'Rebellion (lies)'
last sunday Sarah was the subject of a photoshoot: shot by Lili, interviewed by me, styled by Corina. I had to leave for Poland that night, so the bitches blogged about it before I got the chance. So, instead of risking repetition, here are the links to their posts.
listening to: U2 - 'City Of Blinding Lights'
Click on the links, the tracklistings will appear and then you can download tracks individualy (right click 'save target as' - Macs, do your own thang)
Miles Davis - 'Some Kind Of Blue'
The Editors - 'The Back Room'
(the best tracks here are 'Munich' and 'Bullets' and 'Blood', but the whole album is worth downloading because it is fucking awesome)
Hard Fi - 'Stars of CCTV'
(Regarding the new crop of nu-ska/indie stuff, Hard Fi are the best at it, MILES better than The Departure, The Cribs, Arctic Monkeys, The Ordinary Boys or any of those heads. My favourite tracks are 'Cash Machine', 'Tied Up Too Tight' and 'Hard To Beat')
Kaiser Chiefs - 'Employment'
(Yes, kill me, I'm still listening to this, especially now that 'I Predict A Riot' is being re-released)
Maximo Park - 'A Certain Trigger'
(Just in case you didn't get the last post of this. 'Gone Missing' is sublime)
Sigur Ros - 'Brackets'
The Coral - 'The Invisible Invasion'
The Dresden Dolls
GOD I LOVE THIS BAND SO MUCH!!! have done so since I stumbled across them in Boston last year.
Here is 'A Is For Accident' - http://alchemistic.org/mp3/The%20Dresden%20Dolls%20-%20A%20is%20for%20Accident/
and'Dresden Dolls' -
The Futureheads (debut)
The Go! Team - 'Thunder Lightening Strike'
The Magic Numbers - 'The Magic Numbers'
(most huggable band ever)
The White Stripes - 'Get Behind Me Satan'
The Paddingtons - 2 Tracks
The Cribs - 'The New Fellas'
Ordinary Boys - 'Brassbound'
Muse - 'Absolution'
U2 - Vertigo Tour in France
It's also worth checking out www.cpu.ie for new tracks from Irish bands. There's an awful lot of shit on there, but some gems shine through if you trawl (The Bleedin Bleedins, The Subtonics, Niall James Holohan to name but three)
Here is a prize post, an awesome collection of Turntablism: http://violentnation.com/fipilele/
That's about it for the mo, other stuff I'm listening to that's worth looking up if you like some of the music I do is: For Stars, Of Montreal, Fruit Bats, JJ72, Jeff Magnum, Neutral Milk Hotel, Mylo BBC Radio 1 Sessions, The Ponys, Devendra Banhart, Laura Veirs, Surfjan Stevens, and yes, Mariah Carey. You all fuckin love her, ADMIT! Oh, and obviously Arcade Fire, the only band bar Nirvana and Jeff Buckley that I crusade to find every track by ever, obsessively.
And speaking of 'Coming Home'...
I would say more, but right now I need to wash bus, boat and animal cracker smell offa me.
listening to Coheed and Cambria
Sunday, August 14, 2005
The Wonderstuff @ The Village
The Wonderstuff @ The Village
Chemical Brothers, Sonic Youth, Phantom Planet @ Marley Park
Basement Jaxx, Underworld, Mylo @ Marley Park
Phil Lynott Tribute @ The Point
Arctic Monkeys @ Whelans
listening to: Babyshambles - 'Kilimanjero'
Yes, I love the Swedish guy with the Mexican name. I have done so since I heard 'Crosses' on 2fm months ago. But my love for him was re-enforced this week when I heard his cover of Kylie's "Put Your Hand On Your Heart". It's beautiful.
I can't find any mp3s to give you guys right now. In the meantime, buy the Crosses EP and I'll find some stuff to download
Yesterday, I interviewed Sarah for an article in Totally Dublin magazine. It was so weird! How do you interview somebody you know so much about? What do you not say? Anyway, we managed to chat weirdly a bit on her couch, and we got questions and answers. The best information came when we were just talking as friends later that evening, me drinking warm Heineken, her drinking whiskey out of a shark cup getting ready to rehearse for a radio tour next week. Today, me, Lili, Corina and Sarah are heading to Bray to do the photoshoot that the interview is going with. Yay!
listening to: My Chemical Romance - I'm Not OK (I Promise)
So, good look with the aul 10 cities in 72 hours dude!
While Sarah is serenading indie stations in Sheffield, I'll be on a bus to Warsaw. Yes, a 42 hour bus from Dublin to Warsaw. I leave this evening, get in Tuesday afternoon, stay Tuesday night, leave Wednesday morning and get home Friday morning, just in time to write all about the journey for my Sunday Tribune deadline. I'm scared! It has just struck me that I don't really want to get on a bus to Poland on my own :(
listening to: For Stars - How It Goes
Roll on Warsaw
Monday, August 08, 2005
Deathcab For Cutie - Plans
Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger
Radiohead - Hail To The Thief
Foo Fighters - In Your Honour
and in honour of Ibrahim Ferrer who died at the weekend, here's Buena Vista Social Club
listening to: The Veils - 'More Heat Than Light'
no, the above subject topic is not a lyric from that Butthole Surfers song on the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack (speaking of the 'Surfers, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love first met at one of their gigs), it's actually about a real dream. My friends are bored of hearing about my dreams. It's one of those things that can occasionaly be hilariously interesting, but often mundane and mind numbing.
You must realise the context of this dream. I only dream about celebrities. Seriously. My dreams ALWAYS contain celebrities. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe because my idea of an afternoon is spending it watching E! True Hollywood Story: Lindsey Lohan, or that I'm a subscriber to Popbitch, or watch Big Brother, or am a journo. Anyway, celebrities, celebrities that's what it all about.
I've guest starred in Charlies Angels 3 with Britney Spears, I've been chased down a street in a white van driven by a derranged Madonna, I've slept with Billy Corgan. All in my celebritiy infessted dream.
listening to: Hard Fi - "Cash Machine'
But last night, my friends was something special.
In this episode of Una's Shalebrity Dreams I was organising some kind of charity benefit. I'm a bit sketchy on the details, but involved me inviting a bunch of celebrities to one place to thank them for something / raise money / commemorate something. The setting was John Travolta's 747 (thanks John) which subsequently went out to sea and we saw dolphins. The room where all the celebrities would gather was a closed off lecture hall type thing. I met some of the celebs on the way to the plan as they were queuing up to get in (Lennox Lewis, Snoop Dogg and entourage, CS Lewis, Malcom X)
listening to: Juliette & The Lick - 'Comin Around'
Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan were already inside. Paris was annoying me because she kept going to the damn airplane bathroom to do coke. And I was kind of scared Ashlee Simpson would turn up, because I wasn't sure how I could refuse her. The the casts of Cocoon, Happy Days (without the Fonz), Jennifer Anniston, J-Lo and a really fat Mathew Perry turned up. As did Sarah Jessica Parker. Wearing a tracksuit.
But what cause the most controversy at the celebrity gathering was Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow turned up with that really famous African supermodel (I want to say alex west, wae? something like that), anyway, in this dream the model was a lesbian which meant that Gwyneth was too, and everyone was gossiping about it.
listening to: Arcade Fire - 'Rebellion (Lies)'
But the crowning moment came when someone knocked on the door, and I went out to answer and it was Sloth from The Goonies. And he looked at me with the hope of getting into a room with all these big shots and said "yes?" and I said "yes". And unhooked the velvet rope.
listening to: Do Me Bad Things - 'Time For Deliverance'
listening to : The Oolahs - 'The Rapid'
Cutting his first record at 17, supporting Elvis Costello, named in Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums in 2002. Hello, Sondre Lerche. Una Mullally caught up with the 21-year-old in his new residence: Brooklyn NY.
You have been doing exceptionally well in the States, so for us Europeans who mightn’t be as familiar with your background, how did it all start?
When I grew up I nearly always wanted to be a songwriter. When I discovered old pop songs, it excited me. Burt Bacharach, Elvis all the old school. That got me started into writing my own songs. I cut my first record at 17 called ‘Faces Down’. And, since then, I’ve been touring and recording my second album. I’ve been spending a lot of time in New York. We’ve been doing well here.
It seems like you were very organised and motivated from a young age. Is it all you ever wanted to do?
It was all that excited me. I played in bands, but it was hard to meet people who shared your interests and influences. I always ended up sitting by myself writing songs. But I eventually met people who were much older than me, but shared what I wanted to do.
Mostly, when an artist gets a taste of success, they tend to flee to a big city straight away, but you stayed at home in Bergen, Norway. Why?
What was essential was the people I met in my home town. They invested their thoughts and energy into my music. They are idealistic people, and I developed a strong sense of friendship. When I was recording the second record, we had really just begun. I needed them. I’m gonna work in America with people from R n B, something entirely different, but I still feel a strong sense of community with my friends from home.
How does the so-called ‘difficult second album’ compare to your first record?
It’s very different. I was so happy with the first record that I had to find a new thing to investigate. For a lot of people, they’re not gonna hear the difference, but you have to find that new element for yourself. I wanted to make a less structured song, to make room for surprises. I’m very pleased with it and I’m very happy that it has been so well received, in America and also this time, in Europe, which was not really the case with the first record.
How do you feel about going out on the road again?
I’m just excited. I have not played Ireland before. As far as touring is concerned, it’s not something I get nervous about because I’ve been doing it so much. But I’ve mostly played in America, so I’m excited about doing stuff in Europe.
You must be looking forward to opening for Elvis Costello in the US…
Yeah, I’m very flattered and very pleased. I did some dates with him in Canada before. I’m a great fan, and it’s an excellent career thing for me, but first, for being a fan, it’s great.
listening to: Laura Viers - 'Blackened Anchor'
Download their song 'GONE' here: http://theoohlas.com/gone.mp3
or go to their website www.theoolahs.com to get way more mp3s from the 'music' page
One of the band members has an awesome photo blog here: http://ollietamale.blogspot.com
listening to: Ash - 'Starcrossed'
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Arriving in New York, Banhart hung out in squats, and, on good nights stayed in acquaintances’ apartments making music on a broken cassette recorder. Following a campaign of persuasion by his friends to allow a wider audience to hear his stream of consciousness recordings, Banhart began to increase his efforts to get more gigs. His songs eventually found their way to the office of Young God Records. In October 2002, after much record company debate over how the songs should be recorded, they were released, practically untouched in Banhart’s debut album, ‘Oh My Oh My.’ Brief, shrill and twisted into an unrecognisable folk, Banhart immediately forced attention upon his music. Amongst aching indie, it stuck out as if from another era, where beards and cobwebs rule. Since then, Banhart has consistently recorded acutely original acoustic tracks.
“They get shorter,” begins Banhart, describing the evolution of his songs. “They’ve changed,” he says slowly, before hastening the sentence into nonsense, “now they sell beer and cheese.” He stamps such whimsical irrelevance so regularly throughout the interview, that there are only a few intervals of normality. “Possibly whistles,” he chirps suddenly, while I’m asking some benign question. Sometimes I have no choice but to indulge him. “Words only come to me when I have nothing to take them with,” he reveals of his song writing, “when I am prepared, it never comes.” After ‘Oh My Oh My’, the EP, ‘Black Babies’ was released in 2003. But it was his second full length, ‘Rejoicing In The Hands’ that captured the critics in Banhart’s acid soaked honey trap. I ask him what he thinks of critical acclaim, “I have all their records. I have them all in plastic actually. I might Ebay them soon. And posters on my walls. Joey with the rat tail is dreamy.”
For a wanderer, it’s appropriate that Banhart’s gigging schedule is hectic. He plays sports during touring to stem the madness that crushes many a band stuck on the road. “Cricket. Basketball. We chant before playing shows. The mantra changes depending on the vibration of the day or the weather. I stretch. And we hug and kiss. We lick each other. There’s some fondling.” The ‘we’ is Banhart’s touring band, The Hairy Fairies. Apart from all the above pre-stage groping, Banhart insists they also twist nipples to reinforce their bond. It’s an entirely flippant rant. When I play along, he continues for minutes, adding ludicrous scenarios on top of one another like a magic mushroom club sandwich. When I get confused at the fact that I’m clearly talking to someone who sees the world in a very different way, and say ‘er, em, ooh’ and almost drop the phone, swiftly moving on the another question that sounds increasingly banal in Banhart’s context, I feel ridiculed by his lunacy.
Banhart has already written his next album, to be released on September 13th. “It’s called Purple Crow. I’m excited,” he babbles, “I’m crying tears of excitement.” He pauses for a few seconds and his voice rises in pitch, “RAINBOW TEARS. Check under your bed.” Not content with freaking out journalists or pushing records, Banhart also paints, and is “five hundred pages” through an illustrated novel, ‘Rejoicing In The Hands Of The Golden Negress’. Banhart says “visions” prompted him to put pen to paper to create the folktale. Back to the music, Banhart offers an indication of what the Belfast crowd can expect from his gig, “Bauhaus covers. And, Jamaican dreads.” I play along. Are these Jamaican dreads attached to fake Rasta hats, “oh yeah, fake Rasta hats. We throw them around like Frisbees. No, wait. Beach balls.” Before hanging up with more than a few questions unanswered, Banhart ensures me that what he will remember most from life are the many children he has had with various old men who have come to his shows. I hang up, and run to Tower Records to buy his CD.
listening to: Coldplay - Talk
On their second album, ‘The New Fellas’, The Cribs spit resentment like sporadic gunfire into the venues where their peers play, and in Gary Jarman, they have a defiant and genuine rock and roll growler, as Una Mullally found out when she talked to the bassist.
Over the passed couple of weeks, I haven’t really bothered listening to indie music. I’m bored. The British indie scene has undergone incredible reconstruction in just over a year, propelling relatively average bands in great numbers to heights previously reserved for rock veterans. I’m sick of the mimicking nature of most of them, so I’ve stayed clear. I’m sick of their attitudes towards music, as a career to be carved from NME column inches and units shifted (not that they see any of the profits, as they are busy repaying their record label advance dough.) This interview with The Cribs was in the context of a few evil and band experiences. The Kills refused an interview (“I’m having dinner in Switzerland at the moment” said the preposterously nicknamed ‘Hotel’ guitarist), Janet from Sleater-Kinney wouldn’t answer her phone, Humanzi spoke of grand plans that don’t seem to fit with their quality, The Posies were rude-ish, Aimee Mann cut me off and if I heard one more ‘I’m a 9 to 5 Rudeboy’ song from The Projected Career Paths or whoever, my teeth may have been stuck in the grating position forever. I was not looking forward to interviewing The Cribs.
The three brothers from Wakefield, West Yorkshire are about to release their second record. It’s a soundtrack of bitterness and antipathy towards their peers and an industry that fosters mediocrity. “I was just sayin’ this to our kid the other day,” begins Jarman, mangling his words with accent and force, “I think the scene’s dead. It’s dead. Indie bands are starting off with the intention of being on Top Of The Pops. I don’t buy that shit. I didn’t start this band to be on telly.” Jarman’s biggest complaint is that of every frustrated rebel. Why is everyone else such a bunch of idiot sellouts, thinking they can work the system for their own benefit when the opposite occurs? Throughout the interview, he rants about it. Angry, sometimes dejected, but always with a self-reassuring consolation that The Cribs aren’t like that. Proceed rant:
“The way it’s working now is not fair on bands who have integrity. There are lots of bands who don’t want the celebrity aspect, and they get lumped in with this indie shit clogging the charts. It’s kind of sad. You can buy Ramones T-shirts in Top Shop. It’s so depressing. I hate careerist bands. Writing autobiographically is good if it’s hones,t but I don’t wanna listen to a guy sing about his Playstation. It’s just dull. I don’t feel like we’ve got many peers. A lot of them are prepared to do stuff we aren’t. It’s not a conscious effort the way we behave – it’s who we are. We don’t play ball and we do certain things that handicap us without even knowing it. We’ve got a pre-programmed self-destruct button that stops us getting to a certain point. We’re not a safe bet and it’s nice to be the underdog. I think a lot of these bands will look back and cringe at the shit they did. We take pride in different things than other bands do. We’ve done a lot of this without the industry’s help. My goals haven’t changed since I started this band. I still feel like I’m in a band in a garage. There is no pretence with us. We have a good laugh and we’re full on. It sounds like a fucking cliché, but I don’t even know what to expect when we go onstage.”
With a few more shouts and screams and bloody good points amid frustration and rage, Jarman leaves to play a gig with his two brothers. And their music, (which I was about to dismiss) has a more meaningful air, now that I know that there’s fire burning in that band.
listening to: The Subtonics - 'Get Fucked'
Presidents of the USA @ Temple Bar Music Centre
Niall James Holohan @ The International
Polar @ Whelan's
The Rotators @ Temple Bar Music Centre
The Blizzards @ Whelan's
listening to: Built To Spill - 'Centre Of The Universe'
Ah, Sunday, land of Soduko, OC repeats and slow, slow typing, mixed altogether with a not quite complete hangover.
Today I completed my first EVER full Soduko puzzle. I've spent an hour or so every Sunday for three weeks trying to do the Sunday Tribune one, failing each time in a ball of anger, frustration and inadequacy. Today, I got the Observer one after about half an hour and then one in the Tribune in about twenty minutes. Fuck you numbers, Una wins.
Thanks to http://youaintnopicasso.blogspot.com/ alerting me to the B-Side from Arcade Fire's 'Cold Wind' for Six Feet Under. Brazil is an old cover you'll probably recognise.
right click save target as
listening to: The Futureheads - Hounds of Love (live)
Thursday, August 04, 2005
As above, Modern Age has the mp3 from Dylan and White jamming live - pretty entertaining stuff.
I was turned on to Surfjan Stevens today (where have I been living?). You Aint No Picasso has some new videos from the man himself
listening to: Hard Fi - Cash Machine
In other news, Elbow are throwing a party for their new album at 4 Dame Lane in Dublin on Monday 15th. Invite only I'm afraid folks, but maybe their website is doing some list thing. I would be going, but I'll be travelling to Warsaw on a 42 hour bus journey from Dublin for an article. Oh yeah baby.
Which reminds me of the fantastic Joy Division track Warsaw and JJ72's live cover of said song. There's a connection with everything, bitches.
MCD have just announced shit loads of gigs which I shall be trying to get to in the coming months:
The Ordinary Boys - Temple Bar Music Centre - 09 Aug
Arctic Monkeys - Whelan’s - 21 Aug
The Cribs - Whelan’s - 22 Aug
Green - Whelan’s - 25 Aug
Jimmy Chamberlain Complex - The Village - 26 Aug
Nada Surf plus The Flaws - The Village - 06 Sept
Malcolm Middleton - Sugar Club - 09 Sept
Stars - Sugar Club - 10 Sept
Laura Veirs & The Tortured Souls - Whelan’s - 20 Sept
Amadou & Mariam - Whelan’s - 26 Sept
Stephen Fretwell - Whelan’s - 29 Sept
The Paddingtons - Whelan’s - 08 Oct
Tom Vek - Whelan’s - 28 Oct
Deus - The Ambassador - 04 Nov
Tracy Chapman - The Point - 04 Nov
Ray Lamontagne - The Village - 08 Nov
Sigur Rus - The Olympia - 11 Nov
The National - Whelan’s - 19 Nov
Robert Plant - The Olympia - 09 Dec
But that in your crack pipe and smoke it. Speaking of crack, Pete Doherty has been arrested again. Dumbass
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
join all of this up, and it gets you Oxegen mp3s from Killers, Kasabian, Brendan Benson, QOTSA, Magic Numbers, Maximo Park, Razorlight etc etc
listening to: Lost - Colder
Monday, August 01, 2005
Here are a few samples from the album:
The Pioneers - M83 remix (recommended)
So Here We Are - Four Tet remix
Plans - Mogwai remix