Archive for April, 2010

April 30, 2010

IMRO ho-ho

by sweetoblivion26

Update: Cast of Cheers and MIA Sparrow have pulled out of an IMRO gig at The Academy tonight.

There is a Facebook group set up if you support the bands.

By now you’ve probably all read about the ongoing IMRO vs Irish music bloggers debacle – if you haven’t, check out Nialler9 and On The Record for the low-down on the showdown.

I’ve left my own comments on both of these – hugely comprehensive – blog posts, along with most of the blogging fraternity in Ireland, so I won’t repeat too much of what I’ve said. The latest news though is that Nialler9, Darragh and Shane are meeting with IMRO next week, and I am seriously hoping that IMRO are willing to engage with them openly and honestly – because in a way the three guys are representing all Irish music bloggers in that meeting. Eh, no pressure then. But seriously, they all run popular blogs and are all representative of different styles of blogging, which I think is a great thing.

Sadly, it seems that the idea that music blogging is different for every blogger and blog has bypassed some people. Although it may feel like an invention that has always been part of our lives, the internet is in actuality a rather new phenomenon, and so the ‘rules and regulations’ of blogging in particular are not yet set in stone. In one way this is great – it shows how the internet opens up the world of communication to different people who want to communicate in different and often disparate ways.

The great thing about blogging is that you can do whatever the hell you want with it, and go as far as you want with it.  Myself and Niall are both huge music nerds and we both express our love of music differently through our very different blogs. I’m over the moon if 100 people visit mine a day; there’s no question that 1000s visit his. Yet we both co-exist happily in the Irish music blogging scene.

Blogs benefit both their owners and their readers – people have gotten book and film deals from blogging; legends like Roger Ebert have found a new voice – literally – through blogging; and bands have gained fans, record deals and gigs thanks to being promoted on blogs.

As I’ve tried to illustrate here, every blog is different – yet reading an article like this one in Hotpress could make some readers think that many bloggers make quite a decent amount of money, and perhaps are being a bit petulant in going up against IMRO in their calls for bloggers to pay fees to host music. While both sides of this debate are represented in this article, it still left a sour taste in my mouth. I’ll leave it up to you readers to decide what you think about it, but for me it says a lot that the final three paragraphs, of negative opinions about music bloggers, are ascribed to an unnamed musician: (I’ve taken the liberty of putting some choice comments in bold)

Comments another IMRO songwriter member: “Look, it isn’t exactly a popular thing to say, but the fact is that bloggers are part of the real economy. In lots of cases they’re looking for and accepting payment for advertising. And to generate the traffic which attracts advertising they’re indiscriminately using other people’s music – often international music and often by big name artists.

“I’m all for people being able to waive any royalties they might be due, if they want to. I might do it myself. But that’s different from someone deciding they’ll take whatever music they want, and do whatever they feel like with it with no permission from anybody.

“People take a simplistic view of things because it suits their own commercial agenda,” he adds. “If bloggers are allowed to indiscriminately use music free, then radio stations will be next, saying, ‘Why should we pay?’ There’s far too much at stake in the world of copyright to allow the vested interests of a few bloggers – not to mention a few hairdressers or publicans – to dictate.”

Bloggers, part of the ‘real economy’? If this person means that bloggers help some bands sell more records and get a few more heads at their gigs, then yes, they are contributing to the economy. But how many music bloggers really make a huge amount of money – or money that isn’t immediately eaten up by their server fees?

As for the intimation that all bloggers routinely take music without permission and post it on their blogs? Of course there are plenty of blogs out there worldwide that illegally take albums and offer them for downoad – and I am sure there may be some Irish blogs that do that too. But the main blogs in Ireland, and any that I am aware of myself, do not do that. They either host songs that were given to them by labels or bands (even a small blog like this gets offered songs every day of the week) or songs that were linked by other websites.

If we’re talking about Irish bands and Irish music here, then I am angered that an Irish musician could think that blogs do anything but promote Irish music. I take umbrage at the fact this – nameless, of course – person could suggest that bloggers take music, use it as they please, and then refuse to acknowledge or reward the band in some sense.

Let’s get things straight – any bloggers who have commented on this IMRO situation do not resent the fact that bands or musicians own their own music and should be able to protect their copyright. None of us want to leave bands out of pocket or mis-use their music. And guess what? The bands that are featured on the top Irish music blogs are generally not big-name bands that make a lot of money. In turn, many of us run our blogs on our own time, make no money from them, and are offered music by these bands who know that by giving the music to us, they may reach a bigger audience (no matter how humble the blog). If I thought that by putting a song by Squarehead (and yes, I do have a song by him that I have ready to put up here) on this blog then I could make him a few quid, I would gladly pay it. But from what I can see, I have no guarantee that if I pay €175 to IMRO this year that any of this money will go directly to him.

This situation needs to be clarified, and fast. Because many of us are confused about these fees and are at a loss as to how a blanket fee could be applied to blogs of different sizes, who offer different music and have differing levels of readership. There isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to this. The only thing that is clear is that there are many musicians out there who are happy to use blogs to promote their music, and many bloggers who are happy to promote these bands. Neither wants to pull a fast one on the other.

But right now we’re in murky waters: we need someone to take the oars and sail us in the right direction, and fast.

What do YOU think about this situation?

April 15, 2010

Leaking Brain Fluid

by sweetoblivion26

Well, well, well. What do we have here then? Only the brand-spanking-new single from Windings, which is released today and is totally poptastic in a Posies-meets-Go-Betweens sorta way. I love it. And you will too.

For more info and gig news: http://outonalimbrecords.com/

This Saturday is Record Store Day, and to mark that there will be a limited run of handmade “Brain Fluid” cassettes (35) available for free to shoppers at Dublin’s Road Records and Tower Records on the day. There are 4 different b-sides including “Go” (D Johnston), “The Winner Takes It All” (ABBA), “Golden Slumbers” (The Beatles), “Hard Copy” (windings) Also, for Saturday only, to celebrate Record Store Day, all OOAL back cat is available from Road Records for €5 a disc. – Ciarán Ryan, OOAL Records

April 15, 2010

Addicted to Models

by sweetoblivion26

Why get a band to advertise your music festival, when you can get models? After all, nothing says “come to this music festival, where you will enjoy some great Irish bands and spend the weekend in wellies drinking warm beer out of plastic cups” than two mannequin-esque women (straight outta a Robert Palmer video), all dressed up to the nines and pretending to play guitar.

Oh, wait.

No, that isn’t the best way to advertise your festival, Castlepalooza organisers.  It just looks stupid, and sexist.  After all, sure women can’t play guitar, right? They only pretend to. They have more pressing things to be worried about – like fashion, make-up, high heels and boys. Squee!

But I don’t think this is the image that you were trying to get across, (at least, I would sincerly hope not!) and I honestly don’t lay all the blame for this picture on you. In fact, I actually understand why you had to do this. Because, sadly, it appears that in order to get any press launch into the paper these days, you have to feature a half-dressed model in the photo.  Or at least, that’s what it seems like to me – as every time I open certain newspapers I see photo after photo of press-calls featuring models. Apparently, nothing appeals to readers more than a mute, tanned, leggy blonde (or occasionally, brunette).  Have a charity event to plug? Get a model in – plonk her (in as little clothes as possible) on a bench in Stephen’s Green, stand her next to the suited-up MD of the company, airbrush out her goosepimples and Bob’s your uncle. One photo I saw recently had a model in a bikini painted to look like a tiger, reclining on a chaise longue – to advertise a nightclub venue event with  some sort of an ‘exotic’ theme. Wow, how radical, how now, how brave. How utterly ridiculous.

My own sister has had to model at events like these and fondly refers to them as the ‘cheesy photoshoots’. She’s had to pose with penguins, against trees, with rugby stars and in nightclubs, all in the name of promoting some thing or other. That’s part of her job. And models will always be required to help promote one thing or another – (I’ll save my thoughts on the modelling industry for another day) and I’m not calling for an end to using models in adverts. I understand that it appeals to some people. Not me, but some people. But it has reached the point where, rather than come up with an exciting or innovative way of promoting a product at a press call, companies rely on models to do all the work.

Do they realise that readers are not all male; or all attracted to women; or actually give two flying fecks about a company that feels the need to use models to advertise the launch of their new mobile internet dongle or packet of crisps? Surely it’s pure laziness to just hire some models to pose in bikinis on Grafton St next to a suit-wearing man in order to promote your new back-scratching service?

But back to Castlepalooza. This is a ’boutique’ music festival, featuring a great range of bands – Mercury Rev, Robotnik, Fionn Regan, The Cast of Cheers, and  O Emperor are among them – as well as workshops, a day spa, magicians, ethical fashion, a new platform for emerging talent, and a lot more. There is so much there that could be promoted at a press call, so much that would catch the eye of a newspaper reader and get them to visit the website, so much that could be exploited to get the word out about the event. It saddens me to think that in this day and age, the only way to promote something in (most) newspapers in Ireland is to take the lazy option and hire a pretty woman to do all the work. Especially when it comes to music.

Let’s get away from the women-don’t-play-guitar bullshit and reinforcing of tired stereotypes, and do something clever that shows exactly what your product or service or festival is about. It’s what readers want. And, I’m sure, it’s exactly what people going to Castlepalooza would want.

Robert Palmer can keep the guitar-toting mannequins for himself.

April 7, 2010

I wanted to kiss you, but I wasn’t sure how

by sweetoblivion26

I love those unexpected moments when a song transports you back in time….you throw the CD on and before you know it, you’re back in the Lobby Bar or Pine Lodge or the Half Moon or even the Hideout…and Rennie’s talking about her Dali paintings and Brett’s talking about gout.

http://www.handsomefamily.com/

April 7, 2010

You’re a WINNNNNERRR! (maybe)

by sweetoblivion26

Want to win tickets for this gig?

DAVID TURPIN

Sunday 18th April
Whelan’s, 25 Wexford St, 8pm

Simply click here to enter. And if ya don’t win? (I say this as someone who never wins anything…boo!)

Tickets are €12 plus booking fee and available from WAV [lo-call 1890 200 078], http://www.tickets.ie, Ticketmaster outlets nationwide, City Discs and Road Records.

April 7, 2010

RSVP ASAP

by sweetoblivion26

The cover for 'Chariot' by Cast of Cheers

Fab music mag State.ie is holding a special event on Friday 16th April, featuring live sets by the ace Cast of Cheers, Take the Money and Run and Super Extra Bonus Party. It’s RSVP only – and you can do so by clicking here. Did I mention entry is free? Nice.

This event is part of the very first national Love:Live Music day, which, as you’d imagine, will involve lots of lovely live music gigs taking place around Ireland. It’s being organised in association with RTE lyric FM.

You can search for events happening in your area here, and so far it seems to have a pretty broad range of events, which is really cool. Follow Love:Live Music on Twitter for the latest updates.

The flagship events are:

April 7, 2010

A Site for More Eyes

by sweetoblivion26

In search of the lost chord

Ooh, lookee here! The rockin Out On a Limb record label has just launched its new website, and it’s a good ‘un.

It’s at http://www.outonalimbrecords.com/ and right there you can find out all about the label’s bands – like Rest, Ten Past Seven, Hooray for Humans, Windings and Crayonsmith.

Next up for the label is the release of the super-duper single by Windings - I can’t put it on the blog but what I can say is if you’re a fan of bands like The Go-Betweens or the Posies you’ll love it. It’s SO different to Windings’ other stuff and is a really nice departure for him (or rather, them, as Windings is now a five-piece). I will also say that the other songs on the album are quite different, and it’s an album I’m really excited about hearing properly. ‘Brain Fluid’ by Windings is out on 16th April – and will, of course, be supported by a tour. Try to get to the merch table at the gigs to pick up the cassette version of ‘Brain Fluid’….cassettes…remember them!? Brings me back to the days of mixtapes, when you’d spend days perfecting the tracklist….

April 7, 2010

Start Worrying

by sweetoblivion26

Pensively floating down a sea of worry

1 awesome record label + 3 band members + 1 smidgin of post punk + 12 tracks + 14 (approx) incidences of yelping + 3 beards = the new album from Worrier, out now on the Richter Collective label.

Now there’s some Math Rock for ya.

Download for a paltry €5 here.

April 5, 2010

Land a Lovely Free Album

by sweetoblivion26

"Three cheers for downloaders!"

Any band worth their salt these days has a Bandcamp site, and Dublin band Land Lovers are no stranger to this resource. And being the generous types they are, they’re now offering people the chance to download both of their releases from their site for free. Just click here and let the musical journey commence.

Land Lovers was formed by Pádraig Cooney in Dublin in 2007, initially as a solo project.  It has now blossomed into a five-piece band with a full-length album and EP under its belt. I admit that I am biased (I have a Land Lover of my own at home to love), but I think these are two brilliant and, dare I say it, underrated releases and Pádraig is one of the best lyricists I’ve heard in a long time. Seriously. This dude can write. Just listen:

I’m not the only one who thinks they rock, though:

“uncommonly smart pop…fresh melodies engage first, then fantastic lyrics kick in…achingly sweet…the wonderful, self conscious love song The Black Country easily lives up to the standard of Back on the Chain Gang, from which it borrows its opening riff…perfectly formed collection. 4/5The Irish Times

“Beautiful guitar hooks, the production is near perfect for what is essentially a home recording – 4/5The Sunday Tribune

“A sparky little gem from Dublin’s DIY leftfield… with a stinging lyric sheet. Vocalist Pádraig Cooney is both wounded poet and cynical dissector of modern mores and his sonic furnishings of clipped guitars and wobbly eighties synths make for a smart, no-frills backdrop. A hugely promising and highly recommended debut.” – 4/5, RTÉ Guide

Land Lovers will play a late night gig upstairs in Whelans on 30th April.

April 5, 2010

Heart of Glass

by sweetoblivion26

It may seem strange, but I truly believe that the greatest music is that which makes you feel two distinct emotions at the same time. My favourite songs make me feel happy and sad; despondent and hopeful. They make me feel, they make my heart weep and feel like it’s going to burst. They make the world shrink and time stop.  I feel like this when I listen to Philip Glass.

Of all his music – and I’m still wading my way through the back catalogue – it’s his solo piano pieces that I treasure the most. Each piece is so simple, so stark, so minimalist, and yet…yet so full, so big, at the same time. You don’t have to be a musical scholar or a musicology expert to know that his music is perfect. There is a type of mathematics behind his work, a greater scheme and pattern, but in many ways that doesn’t matter. I can’t read the musical notes on the score but I can feel the emotion of each note in my ear, and that’s enough.

Phillip Glass will play the National Concert Hall on 22nd June. It will be a solo piano gig. I’ll be sitting up in the balcony. The cheapest seats in the house – and the richest seats in the world for me on that night.

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