Archive for May, 2009

Powerful stuff

Posted: May 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

….as drop-d moves to new pastures. I usually hate reading my stuff but I actually enjoy reading this review of Mudhoney’s last album. Sorry for this somewhat self-serving post but anyway..

With the grunge era now a nostalgic bong water stain on the ripped jeans of yesterday, all we veterans can do is snaffle up Nirvana albums on vinyl if we stumble across them, watch Pearl Jam get fat and old and reminisce over Youtube footage of Alice In Chains’ mesmerising MTV Unplugged performance from back in the day.

Mark Arm and his elder statesmen of that fruitful musical period, Mudhoney, have crawled out of the sticky dirt to crank out a new album, 20 years after giving the world a grunge classic with Touch Me I’m Sick, and thankfully they have summoned the spirits of their scuzzy, raw, anthemic youth to make an album that is as relevant now as it would have been in the early 90s. It begins with the cocksure sexual swagger of I’m Now, a song many of the pubeless indie cretins of today’s ‘alternative indie rock’ bands would lop off their fringes and pointy-shoe-clad feet to have penned.

Inside Out Over You crackles with feedback and psychedelic twiddlings over a Jefferson Airplane-style bassline while the title track grooves along to a chorus of “The lucky ones are lucky they’re not around.” – a wry take on grunge’s casualties.

Other highlights are the blues-kissed What’s This Thing, the garage rock musings of And The Shimmering Light and the screaming teenage delight of Tales of Terror.

This gem was recorded in just three and a half days and the confident brevity of the uncomplicated songs would definitely corroborate this, with most of the tracks around the 3 minute mark. There is a lusty, noisy, filthy, punk vibe fused into every song – with a side order of garage, blues and The Stooges – and a sense of urgency that makes it difficult to believe these gents are on their 8th album and 20th year together. It filled this writer with joy to be aurally transported back to a time when Sonic Youth, Bleach, lumberjack shirts and Seattle were at the forefront of my mind and here’s hoping that Mudhoney bottle the energy they harnessed for this recording and churn out many more albums as enjoyable in the coming years. This is how it is done. Indie pretenders take note.


Posted: May 23, 2009 in Uncategorized
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I ill-advisedly clicked on a youtube link to watch a Marianne Nowottny clip earlier, got The Fear immediately and so had to watch this to regain some semblance of mental balance.
This is one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite artists.
As Jools Holland might say, by way of introduction, “Hapablap habahappahap habbaplapppppp Joanna Newsom blap”

What’s the plan now then?

Posted: May 21, 2009 in Uncategorized
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And so another printed publication hops on the escalator to the great shredder in the sky….Plan B is no more.
While we lament the demise of print journalism (and as a print journalist,aswell as an online one,I will join the ranks of those wailing the loudest) the fact of the matter is that the magazines you have loved, and still love, are supported in a major way by advertising revenue from independent record labels – labels that can barely afford to function anymore let alone take out a 10×3 advertisement space in a glossy, shiny, lovely-smelling magazine.

Add to that the fact that no-one has yet entirely figured out how to make impressive advertising revenue from any online publishing ventures and it’s clear we are in a state of media limbo.
Personally, I enjoy a combination of reading about movies, music, pop culture and bestiality online as much as in print. True the online reading has addled my concentration levels – at times, I believe, severely – but it’s nothing permanent and I still sit around with books and a ton of newspapers to dig in to every couple of days.

Things are grim as fuck these days in the print world and will only get grimmer. Those of us left with jobs should count ourselves lucky. And with regard to the always interesting, often brilliant, Plan B, let’s hope they find a way to continue their writing either in other decent publications (i.e. the Observer Music Monthly about 2 years ago via a time machine or Wire magazine) or they manage to work out an online presence without the quality of the writing being affected.

I tip my cap to you Plan B.

End of the occupational road for some..

Posted: May 18, 2009 in Uncategorized
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This week my father (top right) retires from the civil service after 40 years of service, a lot of which has been spent as a Principal Officer in the Department of Defense, based in Galway.

Much to the chagrin of my friends (who still refer to him as Major Dad due both to his perceived occupation and his resemblance to Gerald McRainey {bottom right} who once played Major Dad in the sitcom of the same title), he is not a highly-trained killer; half-man, half-wild dog. It’s an office job. It was an office job.

And it’s a little strange how his job has plotted the direction for my life.

In 1989 my parents left Aylesbury, Tallaght with young moi and my sister in tow, to head to Galway, the city that the decentralisation plan at the time had decided was to be the new Department of Defense’s HQ.

I have no doubt that my knackery, mulleted little pre-teen self might have ended up doing horrendous things had I spent my teen years surrounded by the glories of joy-riding, glue-sniffing and coal-eating (Fact: a family up the road used to eat bits of coal they found on the street. I don’t know why. Mineral content? It’s a bit fucking Angela’s Ashes isn’t it?)

There are a few photos of young me knocking around at the family home from my Tallaght days and it’s clear that in my final year there as a 10-year old, obsessed with guns, violence and becoming a member of the SAS, I may have soon butchered my first small domestic creature and moved gradually onto drifters and/or prostitutes.

I base this theory entirely on my haircut and attire at the time, which was part Stefan Edberg, part hi-visibility hooligan.

Ah yes, I seem to have dodged a life of crime and now I work in the newspaper that reports on that same crime in that same area. A place that has drunken miscreants telling the gardai they will eat all the houses on the street and enter strangers’ houses through the front window to bum a cigarette. True stories.

Oh Lady Irony, why do you mock me?

I leave you with Wilco (The Song) by Wilco from Wilco (the album).

This is for you, Pop.

Wilco(the song) – Wilco

Havat you, you scoundrel

Posted: May 16, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Arse life

Posted: May 14, 2009 in Uncategorized

I truly am a picky bastard.
I can’t find somewhere comfortable I like to sit in our new place.
There’s a chair and a couch. The couch I like lying on to watch TV but, alas, it is not particularly good for balancing the laptop on my stomach and trying to type for any length of time.
I imagine that were an independent observer to poke their beak over the garden fence and observe me trying to type anything longer than a Twitter update on the brand of sausage I had just ingested while carefully trying to control my stomach ‘muscles’ to balance the laptop, they would see what looks like an overgrown, overweight idiot doing what appears to be an impression of a fighting spider (Thiania bhamoensis)perched in the Crane position and hammering away at the keys in short, uncomfortable bursts.
And so it is to the bedroom I retire, Laz-E-Boys proving too expensive, and it is in the bedroom I’ll have to remain if I want to shake the pins and needles from my poor poor legs. Comfort is an important part of bloggage, dontcha know?
I feel it’s time to start paying more attention to the blog and so expect more frequent posting, more wine coverage, more music and more film reviews..and just more blogging in general.
Also, have you seen the The Hills Have Eyes remake? It was on Film 4 the other day. Fuck me it was hardcore. Goggle,goggggggggle.

Blasphemous post

Posted: May 14, 2009 in Uncategorized
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As part of a movement I just read about, to draw attention to our new blasphemy laws, I have to post something blasphemous. I think I’ll go with ‘Catholics enjoy bestiality’ (is that blasphemous?), ‘Fuck you, Christian God’ aaaaaaaand more later maybe…..
I was going to go with a picture of an inverted crucifix but I think this one says it all.


Posted: May 13, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Beam me up

Posted: May 2, 2009 in Uncategorized

Samuel Beam and his Iron and Wine moniker will always have a special place in my cold, black heart. I’ve loved him since first hearing the Creek Drank The Cradle many moons ago on some dodgy old CD-R given to me by a tramp.Or was it a Vietnam vet?

But that said he has easily put on two of the most disapponting live gigs I’ve ever seen, one in the Olympia and one in the Ambassador.

With a penchant for tweaking his songs live, the so-fragile-it-might-snap vibe of his albums and EPs are totally discarded on stage and Beam, with his rag-tag bunch of very talented musicians, likes to expand and ruin every bloody song to the point of noodley boredom. Bonnie Prince Billy is the master at doing this kind of twiddleage and foostering well – I’ve seen him do fantastic versions of much-loved, usually sparser songs and they sounded great.

I do, however, hear that Bob Dylan effectively bends his popular songs over the piano and forces himself into them after administering some form of prescription medicine/alcohol cocktail to ensure the songs black out and remember nothing.
For shame.

Anyway, in a few weeks arrives the Iron and Wine double album, Around the Well (Sub Pop), a 2-CD/3-LP collection of rare tracks ranging from out-of-print to never-before-released. I’m reminded of the shimmering delicate beauty of Beam’s music, the lyrics that have a firm foundation in his cinematography and film-tutoring background. Beam’s words are some of the most poetic I’ve heard with the same kind of bucolical leanings of Bill Callahan but without the sometimes startling obscurity – Beam is more Terence Malick to Callahan’s David Lynch.

One of my favourite Iron and Wine songs, and one that features on this upcoming album, is his cover of The Flaming Lips’ Waitin’ For A Superman so here it is.

Waitin’ For A Superman – Iron and Wine