Archive for June, 2008

Living in America

Posted: June 24, 2008 in Uncategorized
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So it looks like we are all going to have to hop on the coffin ships and head across the water to swim up the Hudson and beg for work from our American brethren again, given the imminent economic collapse we face. To celebrate, I bought myself a fat, capitalist Montecristo to smoke this dreary eve as I ponder the new era.
Here’s a dose of music in support of our collective new future, from the late, PCP-addled wife-beater, James Brown.

Living in America – James Brown

Fuck it, I really like Laura Marling’s voice. I’m a huge Joni Mitchell fan so I reckon it’s about time the up-and-coming starlets started tipping their hats to her. Listen to this and see what you reckon.

And this is Get Busy from the most recent Roots album, which is quite good. I might start posting mp3s here a bit more regularly if this all goes well. I salute those who do it all the time because it’s time-consuming as fooook.

Slaven you legend

Posted: June 20, 2008 in Uncategorized
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If I was ever going to leave my girlfriend for a man, that man would be Slaven Bilic, Croatia’s ‘rockstar’ manager. He’s got it all. Haunted war criminal eyes, the skin of a man who has smoked his own bodyweight in unfiltered, cheap cigarettes and the flippant demeanour of a man who cares so much he just doesn’t care. It’s called the ‘Brad Pitt in Fight Club’ effect. Heterosexuality is a fragile condition in this modern world, my friends. Maybe I’ll start a series: ‘Men I’d leave my lady for’. That should go down well in the Therewillbeblog Castle…

Seven songs for seven bloggers

Posted: June 19, 2008 in Uncategorized
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The song kinda version of that meme thing from a while back plopped into my lap from the always clued in ctrl/alt/delete
This is the deal:

“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre,whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.”

And here’s my selection, which I now realise is quite…em…mellow. The temptation to cherry-pick the ‘cool’ songs has been avoided.

Missing One – Bonnie Prince Billy (from Lie Down in the Light)
A gorgeous track from a gorgeous album with Oldham’s voice in the best shape it’s ever been. Try not to sing along when he sings ‘But I wouldn’t trade my life for someone’s millions’, I dare you. Melancholic gold.

re:Stacks – Bon Iver (from For Emma, Forever Ago)
The haunting conclusion to one of the finest albums I’ve ever heard. Lump-in-the-throat delicacy.

Lucky Man – Sun Kil Moon (from April)
Instantly recognisable Sun Kil Moon sound that paints the image of Mark Kozelek onstage, head back, eyes closed, demanding undivided attention. Brilliant song.

Basic Instinct – Quasimoto (from The Unseen)
Madlib’s alter ego drawling out a short track that’s a nod to tha ol’ skool. Just a cool sound to it and the album’s great for that sunshine vibe.

Paris – MSTRKRFT (from The Looks)
Banging. If you are not dancing from 2:29 into this song then you are clinically dead and should donate your organs to someone who needs them. Turn it up.

Amberscene – Halves (from Haunt Me When I’m Drowsy)
From their new mini album, this one wears its influences on its sleeve and ends up being very much their own. This lot have something very special going on.

Two-step – Low (from Secret Name)
One of my all-time favourites and one I keep going back to. They played it at their gig in the Village and didn’t play it in ALT, apparently. I had to miss the latter gig unfortunately. An amazing song in its simplicity. I listen to it an awful lot.

Download my selection here if you feel like it.And now to make with the tagging:
Sinead
Benny Nayoffherrocker
Geese
Gan ventricle
Compostheap

Packing in blogs

Posted: June 16, 2008 in Uncategorized
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There has been a few rumblings of bloggers finishing up in the last few weeks (well..two I think) and Sinead Gleeson has actually done just that. On top of that, The Butterfly Explosion broke up, Ireland voted no to the Lisbon Treaty and there is a lot of negativity in the air. I know all three of you loyal Therewillbebloggers are wondering and I promise I will not leave you stranded. Never.
My inane pointlessness – infrequently published along with some gig reviews, album reviews, domestic titbits and the like – will continue, unashamedly poisoning your eyeholes for as long as I can possibly manage. Some blogs are filled with hard work, dedication and research – this is not one of those. Instead, this is a place where the effluent runs freely, gushing from the synaptic activity of my addled mind right down into my fingertips and onto this very site. There is no retirement plan here. Keep your pantaloons on.
Not blogging was the new blogging. Now blogging is the new not blogging. That’s how I roll.

Gigs like Bonnie Prince Billy don’t pop up that often. There are plenty of bands and musicians peddling their wares around the country week in/week out but someone with the resplendent back catalogue, cultish intrigue and that real ‘I will cut my arms off with a semi-blunt knife and force feed them to myself, washed down with a pint of vagrant sweat if I don’t see this gig’ factor are rare enough. So why is it that arseholes insist on gibbering away to their mates during not just most of the set but particularly during the quietest songs and especially during songs that you find genuinely moving? And why is it that their grating voices are always complemented by their gurning, sweaty, moronofaces? Have you ever turned around to one of these dribbling shitvessels and went ‘Oh he/she actually seems quite pleasant and erudite, perhaps I’ve misjudged them’? No, you haven’t, because invariably you are going to be faced with some cuntball in a cowboy hat with a soulpatch and a t-shirt that spells cursewords with numbers (you know the ones: fuck has a 5 for the ‘f’ and so on)
Typically at last night’s gig in Vicar Street there were a few of these Troglodytes parked behind myself and Mrs Therewillbeblog. Why are they there – are complimentary tickets for gigs being bandied around to anyone and everyone these days? Is Bonnie Prince Billy really the kind of gig at which I should expect people to be answering their phones or having a full blown conversation about their pointless lives? The same thing happened at Explosions in the Sky last year. I was positioned in front of four twats, all with the same coloured shirts and haircuts, who whooped ‘up ya boy ya’ and farted repeatedly during the whole gig. They even engaged in some sort of hoe-down dance when Explosions really got into their stride..
To be honest I expect that kind of crap at big gigs where huge mixed crowds flock and pay high prices for tickets. These kind of gigs have really taken off as social events in the last few years and many people head to them for a day out rather than to appreciate the music. I’ve been at these kind of gigs and it’s fine to a point. They are mostly outdoors and it’s easy enough to cope with. But this can’t be allowed to filter down to every smaller-venue gig can it? Am I going to go to the next Bon Iver gig and have some bastard’s Crazy Frog ringtone shatter the silence as Mr Vernon opens his crushed heart to a mostly hypnotised, adoring audience (or as with last night, some guy announcing that he shaved his penis. Admittedly, that was pretty funny)?
I never want to be that guy who shushes people and of course there will be some sort of chatter at most gigs – no one stays absolutely silent for an hour and a half with a few beverages in them. But if you do go along to a gig that’s off the beaten track and is clearly going to attract a large amount of devoted fans who desperately want to hear the songs that have guided them carefully through the traumas and joys of their lives, try and have a little respect and shut the fuck up.

Depresso dag

Posted: June 12, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Chirpa looking particularly forlorn as he watches me bugger off out the door.i presume he’s thinking: ‘who will clean up my crap and urine?who will give out to me for wrecking the gaff?’ well it’s never me anyway so no worries..

Gaillimh

Posted: June 11, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I’m off down home to Galway for a day or two and then to Tipperary for my uncle’s 40th birthday celebrations which will involve archery and shotguns apparently. It’s been a while since I made it home to the West and when I’ve spoken to my mother on the phone – less often than I should – I know she wishes I kept in touch a little more.
Not that she reads this or anything but Mam, I’m sorry, I’ll be home soon ok and I know it’s Fathers Day on Sunday so I’ll get him a card. Yes. Ok. I said I’ll get it. I won’t forget. What? I did refill the kettle after I used it.
I will also get a chance to roam the wet, poorly-maintained streets that are mostly laden with bongo drummers, jugglers, dogs on strings, dole-bludgers, crusties, comedians, rockers, fishermen and Denis the Wino and I’m looking forward to having a pint in a few of the pubs I just do not get to anymore. Sometimes it’s nice to return home.
In music land, Sun Kil Moon are/is back later in the year which is great news. Kozelek’s last gig was marvellous, made all the better for his cranky comments to snap-happy audience members as they persisted in sticking a camera in his face during every song. Prince cancelled his gig (Sorry but I couldn’t give a shit), Bonnie Prince Billy is on Sunday (Woohoo) and other than that I’ve not seen a whole lot that catches my eye besides the big upcoming Neil Young, Iggy, Cohen, Waits gigs. I’m gonna miss most of Future Days (and also the Fleet Foxes/Beach House gig) unfortunately but if I was staying around, Matmos tomorrow night and Low on Friday (I put a link to a performance of Two Step by them because their Village rendition of this song was one of the most haunting experiences of my gig-going life)would be must-sees. Don’t waste your time by not going, go get tix now. I’ve just got my hands on the recent Silver Jews album and have been giving Mudhoney‘s excellent new album a decent listen. Filmwise, I know Gone Baby Gone is out. I saw it a while back and it’s excellent, if a little much toward the end. Read an interview with the hyper-talented Casey Affleck in Esquire recently and he’s a proper weirdo. Great actor though. Proper blogging should resume soon as the connection seems to be ok at the moment. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Television: the drug of the nation.

Posted: June 11, 2008 in Uncategorized
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So I have seen my first proper slice of the 5th circle of television hell that is Big Brother and once more the viewing public is being subjected to the baffling concepts of ‘realness’ and ‘fakeness’, ‘disrespecting’ and ‘recognising’. Seriously. Fuck off.
I have absolutely no problem with the idea nor with the existence of Big Brother series 8 or 9 or whichever one this is. I have watched many of the increasingly bizarre and self-referential series as well as spending one giddy summer just watching Russell Brand (a comedic genius no matter what anyone else thinks. Listen to his radio show with Matt Morgan for proof)on the Big Mouth programme, without ever actually watching the programme.
All of we humans in our souls are both assholes and angels. We are all capable of horrific nastiness and pointless, altruistic nice-making. Editing plays the biggest part in this programme – bigger than any of the actual housemates – and it does not help the people of the Big Brother house ever look in any way intelligent or consistently diverting. Nobody ever seems to sing a song that you really like or comment on films/music/books/authors/politics and so it is abundantly clear that we are being fed exactly what the television network want us to see. As with any television programme, we are at the mercy of the editors. This must be believed because having said all that, it physically pains me to imagine that this planet, the same one on which I may some day raise little There Will Be Bloggers, could play host to such a plethora of vacuous amoebic shithouses as those that have starred on Big Brother since it first ‘kicked off’ years ago.
Anyway, that’s that.
Alan Yentob’s fantastic Imagine series is back for the last few weeks and last night he took a peek at Annie Liebowitz, photographer extraordinaire. I really love the Imagine series for it’s surprising, eclectic mix of art, architecture, music, mental illness etc., and Yentob’s presentation style has always been easy to watch; a palatable blend of pretension, curiosity and aloofness yet as calm, cool and willing to learn as you like. It’s always a top quality hour and is a fine example of a programme to proudly shove down the throats of those you have ever heard proclaim in a wanky, holier-than-thou manner: ‘ I don’t watch television’. That statement has always been one that makes my blood boil in the same way Tracey Emin’s ‘art’ does, the way that Umbrella song does, or when people try to tell me that Maxwell House IS coffee (It’s fucking not. It’s freeze-dried metal and mud).
Finally the Euro 2008 tournament. It’s a pleasure to return from a hard day at the office every day and have a football match to watch while splayed out on the couch. Thank Christ we have two TVs. Yes, decadence pays off. Football also provides the perfect excuse to stock up on an unnecessarily large amount of Lithuanian beer from the local, curiously cosmopolitan off-licence and also to catch a bit of the genius Chiles on the BBC highlights packages. Ahhhh bliss.

An atheist’s religious experience

Posted: June 3, 2008 in Uncategorized
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This is an attempt to explain Bon Iver’s gig last night in Tripod (moved from an overbooked Crawdaddy, apparently). Just an attempt.
When I was a kid, Christmas Day was probably my favourite day of the year. To be honest, it probably still is. I love Christmas, but I’ll come back to that in a later post.
I usually woke first (I don’t think I ever slept soundly on Christmas Eve) and I would sneak out of my room and go to wake my little sister. We would then creep quietly down the stairs of our Galway house, usually this was at about 4 or 5 in the morning. Cracking open the sitting room door, the image that stays with me to this day is the shimmery and shiny glow of whatever presents Mr Claus had left out for us, in the same old chairs every year. That feeling in my stomach of innocent, undiluted happiness/giddiness/excitement is a difficult feeling to recapture but by Jesus it happened last night, at the best live performance I have ever seen.
Justin Vernon performs as Bon Iver alongside Mike Noyce and Sean Carey and after two abysmal support acts, they arrived onstage at around 10pm. I had received an email earlier about the gig being moved to Tripod and had been fairly pissed off about it. ‘Crawdaddy would have been perfect’ was what I proclaimed to anyone that would listen but to be fair Tripod was nicely organised with a floor full of tables and a nicely lit auditorium. Vernon set himself up to the right of the stage with an electric guitar. Erk, I thought, but I needn’t have worried.
His album, For Emma Forever Ago, was played in its entirety (with the order of the two concluding songs reversed) with nearly every song being tweaked and played with, solos inserted, guitar/percussion loudness-factor added and vocals amplified hugely. It worked amazingly well.
Other acts change their songs for touring and end up making a balls of them but this was absolutely different. Attempting to translate the delicacy and fragility of the album would have been a mistake and so new beasts were necessarily created. Vernon’s voice hit every note but had a power that I had not expected. The added electric guitar and occasionally booming percussion complemented the songs perfectly and never washed out the plaintive voices of both Justin and Mike, the latter proving himself brilliantly on guitar and singing duties.
That Christmas giddiness stayed with me from the opening note to the final standing ovation and when Vernon did Re: Stacks on his own, you could have heard a pin drop in the loudest silence I’ll ever hear. He had organised a singalong earlier for The Wolves which everyone joined in with, not a hint of shyness to be found in the room. His dry wit relaxed everyone in the middle of what are some very personal songs and finding out he had spent four months living in my hometown of Galway in 2003, selling mobile phones, just seemed to personalise the gig even more.
I blogged about him when I first started There Will Be Blog this year and it was thanks to a piece by Laura Barton (one of The Guardian’s finest and most passionate writers) that I discovered Bon Iver when I did. It’s a masterpiece and an album I’ve probably listened to every day since I first got it. The National’s Whelans gig was amazing. When I saw NOFX in the Redbox, I had a nostalgia overload. Bonnie Prince Billy, Final Fantasy, Jeff Tweedy – all were amazing. But Bon Iver eclipses all these gigs and for that I thank them..him…you know what I mean.