Swear I'm not Paul: 15/03/2009

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Album Preview: Bob Dylan - Together Through Life

Bob Dylan - Together Through Life album cover

Official cover for Bob Dylan's new album Together Through Life. Also a preview from this month's UNCUT magazine:

We now know that the new Bob Dylan album, which unexpectedly will be with us on April 27, is called Together Through Life. We know also that it was written and recorded quickly.

Dylan had been asked by the French film director Olivier Dahan, who made the Edith Piaf biopic, La Vie En Rose, which Dylan had apparently liked, to write some songs for his new movie, My Own Love Song. Dylan duly came up with a ballad called “Life Is Hard”, and was so inspired the next thing anyone knew he’d written nine more new songs and not long after that – bingo! – here’s Together Through Life in all its rowdy glory.

What’s it sound like? Well, early reports have hinted at a mix of Dylan’s beloved Chicago blues and the loping border country feel of, say, “Girl From The Red River Shore”, the latter courtesy of Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, whose accordion features on every track, alongside Dylan’s formidable current touring band and as yet unidentified guest musicians.

Both musical elements are indeed here, brazenly matched on nearly ever track, Hidalgo either providing lyrical lilting counterpoint to the band’s hard driving blues muscle or flinging himself headlong into the fray with pumping riffs, as on the jumping “If You Ever Go To Houston” (“keep your hands in your pockets and your gun-belts tied”).

The broad template for much of the album would appear to be, let’s say, “Thunder On the Mountain” and “Rollin’ And Tumblin’” from Modern Times, but in truth these tracks are, overall, much punchier, a raucous edge to everything in sight. Only the noble “Life Is Hard” is in the crooning style of something like “Beyond The Horizon” and even here there’s a ragged edge to things that wasn’t apparent on Modern Times, a rawness – emotional and musical – that separates it from that album and its immediate predecessors, “Love And Theft” and Time Out Of Mind.

Together In Life gets in your face immediately – with the wallop of the cheerfully-titled “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’”, which is driven by spectacular drumming and massed horns, a trumpet prominently featured – and over the course of its 10 tracks doesn’t back off, doesn’t appear to even think about doing so, Dylan’s voice throughout an unfettered roar, a splendid growl.

The album broadly is preoccupied with themes of mortality, lost love, grief, the passing of time, memory, waning days and lonely nights. The mood of these songs, however, couldn’t be more different to the mordant reflection of, for instance, “Not Dark Yet”. Together Through Life is a rowdy gut-bucket, by turns angry, funny, sassy, Dylan heading noisily in the direction of that last good night.

“My Wife’s Home Town”, “Shake Mama Shake” and the stingingly ironic “It’s All Good” – an hilariously-wrought litany of personal and national woe – are all eventfully robust, heartily defiant.

“Forgetful Heart”, meanwhile, is set to a measured stalking beat that recalls “Ain't Talkin'”, while the cantina drift of “This Dream Of You”, with accordion and fiddle taking lead instrumental spots, is fleetingly reminiscent of the first version of “Mississippi” on last year’s Tell-Tale Signs. Elsewhere, there may be things about “Feel A Change Coming On” that will remind you of “Workingman’s Blues”.

On first listen, then, a great album that when it comes out and goes on repeat will get better and better.

Live: U2 first two Croke Park dates sell out

Bad news ticket searchers, the first two dates (and now the only confirmed ones) U2 are to play at Croke Park are now fully sold out. Perhaps extra tickets will be released, but it's most likely that the 26th will be added as a third date. I'll inform you as soon as I hear more.

Watch: First Aid Kit - You're Not Coming Home Tonight

I mentioned First Aid Kit a good while ago when hyping their excellent Drunken Trees EP. They should have a full-length out sometime this year hopefully (no official news yet). But as for now we'll have to do with the EP. Here is a track taken from it, recorded live in woods near their home in Sweden.

Watch 'You're Not Coming Home Tonight':

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Setlist: Lily Allen, The Academy, Dublin, March 16th

What better way to celebrate Patrick's Eve than with some glorious sunshine pop from Lily Allen. Nice set with a fantastic encore, ending with a cover of Britney's 'Womanizer-izer-izer baby'. Glorious.

Everyone's At It
I Could Say
Never Gonna Happen
Oh My God >
Everything's Just Wonderful
Who'd Of Known
Dance Wiv Me (tease)
Back To The Start
He Wasn't There
Fuck You
Not Fair
Littlest Things
The Fear

Fan video for 'Womanizer':

Setlist: The Gaslight Anthem, The Academy, Dublin, 4 March 2009

Forgot to post this setlist due to all the Choice shenanigans. Pity I couldn't go to both. Typical that two must-see gigs clashed.

1. Great Expectations
2. High Lonesome
3. Old White Lincoln
4. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
5. We Came to Dance
6. The '59 Sound
7. Film Noir
8. Miles Davis and the Cool
9. Meet Me by the River's Edge
10. Here's Lookin' At Your Kid
11. Senor & The Queen
12. The Navesink Banks
13. Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?
14. 1930 Play
15. Boomboxes and Dictionaries
16. Drive
17. The Patient Ferris Wheel
18. The Backseat
19. Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts
20. I'da Called You Woody, Joe
21. Cassanova Baby

Album News: Seth Kauffman - Floating Action

I hadn't heard about Seth Kauffman before, but when I read this part of the press release: "Seth Kauffman returns this April 21st with his second release for Park The Van Records", I had to check it out. Park the Van Records! What a name. His new guise is under the Floating Action moniker, and the record is set to be a multi-instrumental lyrical feast. Check out the first song, '50 Lashes' if you don't believe me.

01 50 Lashes
02 Marie Claire
03 To Connect
04 Unrobbed
05 Edge of the World
06 So Vapor
07 Don’t Stop (Loving Me Now)
08 Cinder Cone
09 Cinder Cone (part II)
10 Dying Punch
11 Could You Save Me
12 Say Goodbye
13 Tide of Green
14 Pills to Grind

Floating Action - '50 lashes'

More info/Buy:

Stream: The Van Allen Belt - Meal Ticket to Purgatory

Van Allen Belt - Meal Ticket to Purgatory

Another great offer from Indiecater. Now they're offering up The Van Allen Belt's wonderful Meal Ticket to Purgatory for a bargain basement €4. It's been described as cerebral indie, but you'll have to hear it to see whether that's accurate. I'm not sure exactly how to describe it. Listening works so much better...

The Van Allen Belt - 'Baby Boomer Backstroke'


Live: Woodpigeon at the Academy

Canadian folkies Woodpigeon come to Ireland to play four date off the back of their amazing second album Treasury Library Canada. If you haven't heard Woodpigeon, check out the video below. They're a bit like a Kinks-infused Sufjan Stevens. That's just my opinion.

Irish dates:
May 18th – Galway, Roisin Dubh
May 19th – Belfast, Auntie Annies
May 20th – Dublin, The Academy 2
May 21st – Cork, Cyprus Avenue

Tickets for the Academy gig are €13 and are on sale now.

'Oberkampf' live PULP sessions:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

News: Meteor Irish Music Awards 2009 Results

Full results of last year's awards where Westlife won once again! Great to see Mick Flannery and Imelda May getting the credit they deserve.

Best Radio DJ - National*
Ray Foley - Today FM

Best Radio DJ – Regional*
Dermot, Dave and Siobhan - Dublin's 98fm

Best Irish Band*
The Script

Best Irish Pop Act*

Best Irish Album*
The Script - The Script

Best Irish Female*
Imelda May

Best Irish Male*
Mick Flannery

Best Irish Live Performance*
The Blizzards - Oxegen 2008

Best Traditional/Folk
Damien Dempsey

Best International Live Performance
Leonard Cohen – IMMA, Kilmainham

Best International Band

Best International Female

Best International Male
James Morrision

Best International Album
Only by the night - Kings of Leon

RTE 2FM Hope for 2009
Wallis Bird

Most Downloaded Song
Galway Girl by Sharon Shannon and Mundy

Lifetime Achievement Award
Sharon Shannon

Industry Award
Niall Stokes Founder of Hotpress

Humanitarian Award
Fr. Shay Cullen, Preda Foundation

* denotes public vote award.

Best male, Mick FLannery performing 'Wish You Well' on Other Voices:

Review: New 2fm Website

Along with loads of other bloggers, I've had a chance to look around the new and improved 2fm website. It is far and away more pleasing than the old format, and is even better than the revamped 6.01!

"RTÉ 2fm is officially launching its new website tomorrow on RTÉ 2fm’s Colm & Jim-Jim Breakfast Show with a competition to win annual membership to The O2 Premium Club as well as a pair of tickets to every gig at The O2 for an entire year from April 08 to April 09. Anyone who registers on the site by Friday, 27th March automatically goes into the draw for the prize."

With the new site, you can stream the shows as expected, but also see what song is being played right now, and what songs have been played earlier in the day. This is all on the frontpage. Many times have I been listening to the radio and thinking "What's that song?" and waited for the DJ to name it at the end, but missed it for whatever reason. Now that's no longer a problem, as album cover and track title appear instanteously. Also, each tune is linked to videos and bios from the artists, which is the best new feature. (So expect lots of links to Lady Gaga and U2 bios!)

Each presenter now should have a unique blog, which should make it very interesting. Imagine the nonsense Gerry Ryan will blog? Sure to cause a furore!

It'll be interesting to see what happens when it all goes live tomorrow, but so far I'm loving it.

Download: One Percent Free - The Invisible Circus

I love when bands make entire albums available for free. Candian band 1% Free have done this with their new album The Invisible Circus. So instead of One percent free, you get one hundred percent. Clever isn't it?

Try it for yourself, here (both Wav and 320kbps mp3):


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Album News: Bloc Party - Intimacy Remixed

Bloc Party are known for their remixes, some of them are pretty damn good. See all those 'Flux' ones to see what I mean. Expanding on that, they're set to release a remix album of Intimacy on May 11th. There will even be a triple vinyl limited edition. Triple vinyl?

1 Ares - Villains remix
2 Mercury - Hervé Is In Disarray remix
3 Halo - We Have Band Dub
4 Biko - Mogwai remix
5 Trojan Horse - John B remix
6 Signs - Armand Van Helden remix
7 One Month Off - Filthy Dukes remix
8 Zephyrus - Phase One remix
9 Talons - Phones RIP remix
10 Better Than Heaven - No Age remix
11 Ion Square - Banjo or Freakout remix
12 Letter To My Son - Gold Panda remix
13 Your Visits are Getting Shorter - Double D Remix

Watch 'Signs (Armand Van Helden mix)':

Download: Kaka - It's A Longshot

Kaka - Kaka

Kaka released his self-titled debut album just last week, and to promote it I've got not one, not two, but three of the songs from the album for download. Unfortunately Kaka isn't the footballer Kaka, but a Swedish artist of the same name. Either way, both produce beautiful stuff.

Kaka - 'It's a Longshot'
Kaka - 'The Hotspurs'
Kaka - 'What a Frame'

More info: