Archive for October, 2010

October 30, 2010

Have a spooky Halloween with the evil Yeh Deadlies…

by sweetoblivion26

Now you see them...

It’s Halloween tomorrow – All Hallow’s Eve, the night where all sorts of spooky happenings and evil deeds are done.

It’s also a night where folk from around the country get dressed up in costumes and facepaint and meet friends to imbibe substances which may cause them to have an out of body experience….or wake up the next morning not knowing where they are. It’s dangerous out there on 31st October…

One Irish group who have captured the dark spirit of Halloween in musical format are Yeh Deadlies, who will launch their ‘The Dead Living EP’ this very evening (Saturday 30th October) on Popical Island at an invite-only gig at the Shebeen Chic.

The Yeh Deadlies – Annie, Padraig, Jonny and Dave – have released two EPs and a 7” single to date, and have also  contributed songs to compilations including 2010’s Popical Island #1.

Check them out at myspace.com/yehdeadlies and to stream their previous releases visit yehdeadlies.bandcamp.com.

The band say the EP “explores loss, self-determination, pop music, spookiness, and the truism that you can never go home…” – and the working title for the release was ‘The Halloween EP‘. If you’re a fan of sparky, unabashed guitar-based pop with an indie sensibility, then you’ll love Yeh Deadlies – their debut album, ‘The First Book Of Lessons’, is due for release next year.

This EP sees them experimenting with a darker sound – from the spooky whispered vocals in ‘Ghost’ to the countrified elements in ‘Telstar of the County Down’, it’s a deadly blast from start to finish.

My favourite? The sweet-yet-deadly ‘Vampire!’

YEH DEADLIES – GHOST

YEH DEADLIES – THE BALLAD OF COVER ARTIST UNKNOWN

YEH DEADLIES – THE ONLY INNOCENT GHOUL OUT ON HALLOWEEN

YEH DEADLIES – VAMPIRE!

YEH DEADLIES – HELL IS THE WAGES OF SIN

YEH DEADLIES – TELSTAR OF THE  COUNTY DOWN

October 26, 2010

New Music for Your Ears: I Hate You, Just Kidding

by sweetoblivion26

Oh yes, this duo is cute: boy-girl couple Jessi Fulghum and Jeremy Brock, aka I Hate You, Just Kidding, who make cute folk-dashed indie-pop that is just on the right side of twee.  I found them via the lovely Gluttonous Vegan, who knows her shiz.

I Hate You, Just Kidding are based in Costa Mesa, California, and listening to the track My Little Dove you can just picture them sitting on a front porch in the streaming sun, strumming and singing.  The slide guitar and harmonica add a touch of country gingham while Jessi’s honey-sweet voice could warm the hardest person’s heart.

If you like handclaps (‘Sundried Tomatoes’), sugary love songs (‘My Little Dove’) , and a bit of gentle rocking out (‘Speakeasy’), then IHYJK are the folksters for you.

Find them on Myspace, Blogspot, Facebook and Twitter

October 25, 2010

For Your Ears: Elliott Smith Mixtape

by sweetoblivion26

Can it really be seven years since Elliott Smith passed away? Every year that his anniversary rolls around, every 21st October, I’m still taken aback  by how long it has been. If he were alive now, he would be in his forties. Would he still be making records? What would he be doing? We can only wonder. I like to think that he’d still be rocking out and as creative as ever. But what we do know is that during his 34 years he made some of the most vital and beautiful records we have had the joy of hearing.

Whether you’re an old fan or a newcomer to his music, it’s likely you were drawn in by the hushed vocals, the raw lyrics sung by a voice as fragile as a spider’s web. To me, Elliott always seemed like a sensitive, emotional soul, one for whom this world bore too many pains and not enough pleasures.  But even when he was singing about addiction, depression, or death, he did so in a beautiful way.

His own death robbed the music world – nay, world - of a very special musician.

Here’s a mixtape I put together to mark his anniversary this week. It’s in chronological order and contains songs from his albums Elliott Smith, Roman Candle, Either/Or, XO, Figure 8, From a Basement on the Hill and New Moon. If you like what you hear, and you don’t own the albums already, why not purchase them at your local independent record store? Alternatively, you can wait until 2 November, when Domino Records/Kill Rock Stars releases An Introduction to Elliott Smith, a best-of compilation.

October 25, 2010

New Girls EP – plus free MP3

by sweetoblivion26

San Francisco’s GIRLS will bring out a brand new EP, ‘Broken Dreams Club’ on 22 November – and they’ve released an MP3 of the track ‘Heartbreaker’ for free download.

Simply click here and enter your email address to be sent the download link.

The song? Shimmery guitars, fragile vocals, heartbroken lyrics, and the gentle swagger we love so much – a treat.

Here’s what frontman Christopher Owens has to say about the EP:

We couldn’t have made this record without you. So this is our gift to you, our way of saying thank you for giving us the chance to work at the level we’ve always wanted to and a taste of things to come. We really couldn’t have done this record without each one of you. This isn’t Girls all grown up, but it’s certainly the next step up from Album. This is Broken Dreams Club – a record from our hearts to yours. This is your new record as much as ours. Thank you for this opportunity and as always, thank you for listening.

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October 24, 2010

Interview with Strands, aka Steve Shannon

by sweetoblivion26

This year has been an absolutely stellar one for Irish music – it’s heartening to listen to releases by Irish bands that aren’t ‘good for an Irish band’, they’re ‘damn well good for any band’ and would stand up to Pitchfork’d acts from Portland or NY or San Fran or wherever the new cool hub for upcoming bands is these days.

One of my favourite releases so far has been Strands, by Strands aka Steve Shannon. Steve is a Dublin-based producer and musician who has played with Halfset and recorded albums by Babybeef, Cap Pas Cap and Groom, and Strands is his first venture into releasing his own music.

I visited Steve at his Experimental Audio studio – which is a top-notch set-up tucked away in a suburban back garden, testament to the superb DIY ethic that Irish musicians have these days – for a chat about all things Strands.

The interview featured on the most recent Sweet Oblivion show, along with music from Strands, New Amusement, Benoit Pioulard, La Sera and more.

October 24, 2010

Cork Unplugged in the Irish Times

by sweetoblivion26

We all love writing about subjects close to our hearts, and clearly one thing I care a huge amount about is the music scene in Cork. I may not live there anymore, but I’m in the city regularly and love hearing about the new nights and events that are on. I feel lucky to be friends with many of the people who keep the local scene vibrant, so when I had the opportunity to write an article for the Irish Times about Cork’s music scene I was in my element.

It’s not possible to cram everything that is going on in Cork into 1700 words, so I chose to focus on a few elements of the scene – all very different to each other yet linked by a spirit of cooperation and a willingness to try different things.

I was on a high the day it was published as having an article of my own in The Ticket was literally a major dream of mine for many years.

What are your favourite bands and venues in Cork? I’d love to know!

This article is copyright of The Irish Times.

They’re making a hell of a racket by the banks of the Lee, where a plethora of venues are playing host to a cabal of musical adventurers. From offerings for ‘weirdos’ to electronica for the eclectica, AOIFE BARRY casts an insider’s eye over an outsider’s scene

THEY don’t call it the Rebel County for nothing: when it comes to music, Corkonians have always done things their own way.

Traditionally a haven for rock and indie music, having spawned iconic bands such as The Frank and Walters and Five Go Down to the Sea, in the Cork of 2010 musicians are taking a fresh approach.

Independent shop Plugd Records – located in the cavernous enclave of the Triskel Arts Centre’s Loading Bay space, and run by Jim Horgan and Albert Twomey – provides a hub.

Looking at the bustling shop now, it’s hard to believe that last December, after eight years in business, Plugd closed the doors to its former home on Washington Street. Customers described themselves as shocked and heartbroken on the People’s Republic of Cork music forum.

“I had mixed feelings about it,” says Horgan. “On the one hand I really wanted it to somehow work out. We had great times in our old premises and met brilliant people along the way. On the other, it was kind of a relief we didn’t have to keep struggling on in a difficult situation.”

Plugd reopened two months ago and its importance can’t be understated, adds Twomey. “I like to think it plays a vital role in the local scene as a space where folks can share ideas and check in to see what’s happening.”

With the new, larger space comes the potential for in-store gigs. Sun Araw will play there on November 27th, for instance, co- promoted by the Black Mariah gallery.

“The Cork music scene is as strong as I have seen in my three years here,” says Twomey. “There are lots of new clubs and promoters to satisfy most tastes. Venues such as Cyprus Avenue are putting on some incredible shows, like Swans and Mudhoney.”

Horgan agrees: “For its population, Cork has all the bases covered, from folk to jazz, techno to noise and everything in between. Despite this, it’s also an ego-free, tight-knit community. Cork has developed a fresh DIY ethos over recent years. People are taking risks and evidently it’s paying off.”

Promoter Shane Scollard co-ran the Ping Pong club night, which brought a wealth of underground bands to the city. He argues that the Cork scene, though finding things tough at times, “has bettered anywhere else over the last few years”, largely thanks to free shows by local promoters in venues such as The Quad and Crane Lane. “All this was inspired by the recession.”

With people organising everything from all-day events to shape-note singing classes in unusual venues such as the Unitarian Church, and with Cork Campus Radio, UCC’s student radio station, broadcasting 24 hours a day, the Cork scene is keeping its rebellious spirit alive. Funds may be tight, audience numbers may fluctuate, but inspiration is high and there’s a spirit of collaboration.

THIS BEAT IS ELECTRONIC


THE ELECTRONIC music scene is buzzing in Cork. Legendary house DJs Greg and Shane have spawned a whole new generation of young guns, such as techno stalwart Jamie Behan of Bastardo Electrico; Kevin Blake, Warren Knowles and Hans of Electric Underground and Submerge in the Liquid Lounge; and a host of other innovators.

DJ Hans praises Cork for its choice of venues and promoters, but believes there’s no “big money” here: “It’s a healthy scene, but there’s huge competition for resources and customers.” Alongside the competition is collaboration, something that was discussed on Cork Culture Night at a talk run by Electric Underground in new arts space Camden Palace Hotel.

One essential venue for electronic music is An Réalt Dearg, formerly the Gateway pub on Barrack Street, which was reopened by Macroom man Mark Cronin in January 2009. The venture was a risk. “I renovated it myself,” says Cronin. “There was never any music there before. To start out we wanted to have something once or twice a week, and then it just grew.”

Cronin says that, in Cork, “people are willing to do different things”. He points to Moons, a night at An Réalt run by Jack Buckley, which has hosted some of Europe’s most exciting new producers; and Workshop, run by Kim Keating, an all-day event featuring DJs from house, disco and even metal backgrounds.

Another of An Réalt’s biggest draws is Sunday Times, a monthly all-day event run by DJs Barry Walsh and John Hennessy. “We wanted to do something free. You have to make it a bit unusual to get people to go,” says Walsh. This means a mix of music, a mellow vibe and even free sushi.

DJs Shane Linehan and Sean Galvin run the House Is a Home night. “I think the house and techno sides of things are on the up,” says Linehan, who credits social networking sites with easier promotion. “There are probably more small nights happening now than there were two years ago.” He notes that the past two years have meant lower door prices and “more recession- friendly clubbing”. Almost all of An Réalt Dearg gigs are free.

BLACK SUN SHINING

VICKY LANGAN is a proud Galwegian who nonetheless embodies the rebellious Cork spirit. She performs as Wölflinge and with La Sociétes des Amis du Crime, among others, and she also curates the Black Sun events along with Paul Hegarty and film-maker Max Le Cain.

In June, Black Sun celebrated its first anniversary of bringing “unusual” artists to Cork. The night “aims to present exciting performers to an Irish audience and give local ‘weirdos’ an opportunity to play in a really cool setting,” she says. It also includes an experimental film programme curated by Le Cain.

Black Sun was first held in the Granary Theatre, and it examplifies how Cork promoters are not afraid to put on left-field events.

“Most people are coming into this blind,” says Langan. The positive reaction has blown her away. “It shows that experimental music doesn’t have to be this dry thing. It’s just as much about punk and humour, the absurd and irreverent, spontaneity and joy.”

In December she will curate the grand finale of ArtTrail festival (arttrail.ie), whose theme is “Multiple Endings”. Slated to perform are free-improv jazz group Borbetomagus, Usurper, Ali Robertson and Malcy Duff; Edinburgh cartoonist Duff will also host a comic workshop.

Langan is delighted. “It looks as though my long-held dream of Black Sun turning into a small music festival is finally happening.”

THE PAVILION


STEVIE GRAINGER is a well-respected DJ who works for Red FM and co-owns The Pavilion venue. “I personally think it’s better than it ever was,” he says of the Cork scene. “People will moan on the internet, but the options and the talent are there.”

The Pavilion, located on Carey’s Lane, dates from 1921, and re-opened as a music venue in 2008.

“Part of our aim was to give people stuff that wasn’t there,” says Grainger. “We do certain things ourselves, but you’re better off going to the promoters. Like Black Sun . It’s brilliant doing stuff like that because it gives them a platform and they can do it better than us.”

The Pavilion has hosted countless club nights from all genres, giving local DJs a chance to perform for a large crowd, while the likes of Ben Frost and Deerhoof have played there.

According to Grainger, Cork musicians and promoters are fuelled by Ireland’s political and social landscape. “You can see it in the music and the creativity of the nights. There’s a real anger out there.”

One thing that doesn’t help Cork venues, he argues, are the draconian licensing laws. “They are terrible from a tourism point of view, a jobs point of view, a street safety point of view – and from a creative point of view.”

BE OUR GUEST


THINK OF a “gig space” and a dingy pub inevitably comes to mind. In Shandon, however, you can visit a guesthouse.

The Guesthouse was set up by the Cork Arts Collective in 2007. It is run by Irene Murphy, Claire Guerin, Mick O’Shea, Colette Lewis and Billy Foley, and it comprises artist studios and a live venue.

“It’s a bit of a melting pot for artists to come and meet in a friendly domestic setting where collaborations can naturally occur,” says O’Shea. He is a member of sound art duo The Quiet Club, part of a network of experimental groups branching into noise, drone, and improvisation.

“In other places everyone is protective of their own work,” O’Shea observes. “I think there is more of a collaborative feel here in Cork.”

O’Shea also helps curate Sonic Vigil, an annual sound-art event in the sacred space of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. This year it included a turntable orchestra, co-ordinated by promoter Shane Scollard and music archivist John Byrne.

Many of Cork’s experimental events have a link to UCC’s School of Music.Both O’Shea and SAFE’s Paul Hegarty, who wrote the book Noise Music: A History, work at the university.

Other hubs of experimentalism include Stet Lab, a space for live improvised music at the Roundy pub; and MutantSpace, a group who aim to share ideas and resources. http://www.theguesthouse.ie

New Sounds Uncorked

TOBY KAAR

Young producer of some of Ireland’s most powerful electronic music.

www.myspace.com/tobykaar

BRIAN DEADY

Crooner of sultry contemporary soul.

myspace.com/briandeadyfutureretro

I’LL EAT YOUR FACE

Two-man grind band. Irreverent, in-your-eaten-face and intense.

myspace.com/illeatyourfaceireland

DROKKR

An early-1990s techno and electro fan. The life-changing experience of hearing dubstep led to his current incarnation.

ALTAR OF PLAGUES

  • Reaping praise at home and abroad for their doom-inflected metal. Their live shows are a tour de force. myspace.com/altarofplagues

FIRST BLOOD PART II

The alias of Kevin Kennedy, who is creating experimental sounds that are like nothing you’ve heard before.

JOHN DALY

One of Ireland’s finest producers of epic house and disco tracks.

 

October 24, 2010

Dam Funk

by sweetoblivion26

Modern funk maestro Dam Funk (real name: Damon Riddick- ‘Dam’ should be pronounced ‘Dame’) is a trooper – one of the most positive forces working in music today, he has an independent spirit that truly shines when he speaks about his love for music. He has an unerringly energetic and forward-thinking approach but at the same time is hugely appreciative and respectful of the men and women whose musical creations paved the way for people like him to do his thing.

If you’re not already, you should follow him on Twitter - personally I really love his attitude on there.  While he is protective of his music, he doesn’t have the petty attitude that some can have towards criticism of their art. Instead, he vocalises his belief in positive action and thoughts:

What if it was U who made a 45 min. visual statement & were being judged by millions 2day? Be careful how hard U pounce. It ‘could’ be ‘U’.

Don’t even fall into the urge 2 destroy. I’m tellin’ U…karma is some true sh*t! Each time U fu*k some1 else in the game..U get 1 owed 2 U.

Resist the urge. Just scream your distain or hate in a pillow. Opt out of destroying in public. Keep sh*t tight. U’ll be proud of yourself.

I spent a lot of this weekend listening to one of his recent releases, the 12-inch maxi single ‘Hood Pass Intact’, which has some pretty fine b-sides (and is a version of last year’s 12″ of the same name, but this time with vocals). Notably, one of the tracks features Steve Arrington, the former vocalist in the funk band Slave, who is experiencing a new creative streak thanks to his work with Dam Funk. The hallmarks of Dam Funk’s production skills are all over this new cut from the forthcoming album by Arrington, but it still retains an old-school feel.

Here’s a video Stevie G took of him performing at The Pavilion in Cork city last year – I’m somewhere in the middle getting my funk on!

One of my favourite Dam Funk tunes, Galactic Fun:

Dam Funk is signed to the fantastic Stone’s Throw records.

XLR8R have a great interview with Dam Funk here from 2009, which details the time he had to back out of a Milli Vanilli comeback band!

October 21, 2010

RIP Ari Up

by sweetoblivion26

Sad news. Ari Up, the lead vocalist for The Slits, passed away yesterday (Wednesday 20 October). According to her family (which includes stepfather John Lydon), she died following a serious illness.

The Slits will forever be remembered for their in-your-face performances, and the way they shook up the punk scene. Formed in 1976, (when Ari Up was just 14), they were notorious for their antics both on stage and off, but for me they are memorable for the way they injected reggae and dub vibes into punk music. They weren’t balls-out punk, they were more akin to the new wave sound of PiL than trashier bands like the Clash or Sex Pistols.

Then there is the cover of their album Cut, which will forever be brought up in discussions on ‘women and music’ because it features the women topless, wearing loincloths and daubed in mud.

Ari Up was no shrinking violet, and with her long dreads and somewhat unnerving stare she cut a defiant figure in photographs and onstage.

Thanks to women like Ari and her comrades in The Slits, a new chapter was opened for women in rock music, and for that we will always be thankful.

RIP Ari.

October 12, 2010

‘Dress first, music later’?

by sweetoblivion26

 

Talulah Does the Hula, performing at the HWCH festival. Pic from http://www.entertainment.ie

 

Dublin band Talulah Does the Hula has four female members and one male. The women, like many (but not all) of us females, are into fashion and make-up, and dress up when they go onstage. Their retro style often means vintage dresses, stockings, tights, high heels. Nothing outlandish, always beautifully styled and often envied by those who appreciate that sort of look.

But some reviewers seem to wonder if TDTH should dress up on stage. ‘Do their outfits distract from the music?‘ seems to be their question. 

The fact is that TDTH‘s on-stage outfits have no relation to their ability to play music – and if they choose to, they should be able to go onstage wearing dresses and heels without having a reviewer assume they care more about the denier of their tights than the guitar pedal they’re about to step on.

October 7, 2010

Stream the New Hauschka album

by sweetoblivion26

Some of us visit new countries and take home a neon snowglobe, or a plastic rendering of the Eiffel Tower; tacky, useless souvenirs consigned to a life coated in dust.  Memories are kept by tagging digital photographs, captioning them with a pithy comment.  Holidays over, on to something new.

But for Hauschka, otherwise known as German composer and pianist Volker Bertelmann, a jaunt abroad is a time to soak up, spongelike, all that your new surroundings offer.

The collision of historical forces in Alexanderplatz; the light in Madeira, children grasping hands in central parks; the bustling energy of Union Square; women brushing snowflakes from their painted faces.

Although Hauschka is a man who employs ball-bearings and ping-pong balls as nameless band-members when performing his solo piano pieces live, it was simply not enough for him to rely on these elements when evoking the spirit of countries new.

So with the help of a full orchestra, Foreign Landscapes expands on Hauschka’s sound in a natural – and welcome – way.

Join him on his travels here, courtesy of The Hype Machine. Release date: 12 October.

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