Archive for October, 2009

Pause for thought

Posted: October 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

One of my uncles died a few nights ago.

He was my mother’s brother, estranged, and someone with whom I had no connection, having met him only once when I was very young. It’s fair to say my mother didn’t have a huge relationship with him either – much of that side of the family are that peculiar and uniquely Irish manner of estranged, a condition borne of fractured, secretive conversations, generation gaps, parental divide and the deafening silence of too little said in too many years.

I tend to blame the Church and its powerful meddling influence on Irish life in the 50s (and after that period too) for this ‘oddness’ that we, as a nation, are so used to. It’s to blame for creating a large number of emotionally stunted, bullied, oppressed, tragic people, many of whom went on to be wonderful husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, but many of whom also went on to be bastards and beasts of the foulest kind. But the Church is not solely responsible and, for whatever reasons, some people just end up…well…odd.

Whatever the circumstances, my mother has lost a brother and that gives pause for thought.

Alien vs Predator

Posted: October 8, 2009 in me
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It’s odd to come home and find everything exactly the way it was when I left.

The other half has been gone to the US since Sunday and so I have a 3-bedroom house all to myself for a few weeks. This leads to all sorts of problems, of course, but there are advantages.

Looking after the dog, by myself, is a distinct problem. He’s needy. I am too, but there’s not much he can do to appease me, if I’m honest. The neighbours, who are there all day, come and take him every so often, but in the evenings it’s a face-off.

“Dinner”, his eyes say. “Give me your dinner”

“I bloody fed you 2 minutes ago”, I snap.

“That wasn’t enough. I want more. I especially want that curry you are eating, not that stale Ryvita you just threw on the floor to try and distract me”, his eyes say.

“Jesus, I’m only in the door half an hour – let me relax”, I plead (yes, with the dog).

“Oh ho. Relax is it? ENTERTAIN ME”, his eyes say.

chirpa

This can go on for hours.

grass widow

If the whole no-fi/lo-fi thing is a bit too ‘P4k‘ for you then look away now. I’m a big fan. All the bad recording, tinny sound, hard-to-decipher vocals and homemade t-shirts/album covers/everything makes me feel like I’m back in school listening to Bleach again.
There seems to be very few bands from the Captured Tracks/ Slumberland/ Fat Possum stables that are shit these days. Every second week, there’s some lo-fi gem on tour in Europe and, more often than not, Foggy Notions or Skinny Wolves get them upstairs in Whelan’s where they put on brief, wonderful shows and then sell their own t-shirts.We get this with our local bands so it’s great to get it from bands you may only have ever read about on myspace.

As contrived/trendy/uninteresting as some may decry this lo-fi scene as, I love being in a small venue with the band close enough to touch and having them stand beside you in the crowd to check out the support. I love the noisy melodies. I love the brevity. I love the ramshackle performances and the fact that many of them have never been to Europe before. I love the drums.

There’s a rawness to bands like Vivian Girls/Wavves/Times New Viking/Real Estate et al that remains undiluted by hype and combines the nostalgic chill of twee with the pelvic snarl of teenage.

It’s fast, fun and plentiful.

What’s to snipe at? Nowt, that’s what.

Curmudgeons begone.

So now, say hello to Grass Widow, made up of Lillian, Raven and Hannah. They bring you harmonies and fuzz.
Born from the remnants of Shitstorm (the band indie-chick du jour Frankie Rose left to join Vivian Girls, whom she subsequently left to join Crystal Stilts, whom she has now ditched to form Frankie and the Outs…), Grass Widow have a self-titled 12″ LP and a 12″ EP knocking around at the moment.
Have a peep at Captured Tracks for the EP and Make A Mess for the LP.
Here they are covering Black Hole by The Urinals, a major influence in the lo-fi scene.

Grass Widow – Black Hole

And here’s one from their self-titled album.

Grass Widow – To Where