Swear I'm not Paul: 12/04/2009

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Guest Diary: Official Secrets Act Part 3


Sat Navs are the gift of all time to bands. Letting 4 guys argue over which road is the right one to take when 3 are nursing hangovers and the other hasn't showered for 3 days and is desperate to find the nearest hot water supply is just not any fun. HOwever yesterday OSA experienced the hell that is a machine finding the fastest route to a place without the use of any common sense. Galway to Dublin via what seemed like 3000miles of winding country roads was enjoyed by almost no one in the van. We saw some lovely villages but not even rolling green fields were enough, and at one point it seemed like Belfast was a mystical floating city that we would spend all our lives looking for but never find. It got desperate. We were carrying no maps of the SOuth or Ireland in our van and all phones and apparel of that nature had gone in a EUropean huff so that was that.

Arriving in sunny Belfast at last, definitely improved feelings, though I was hung over, nauseas and not in a very very good place at all!! Auntie Annie's is a very cool place though, and they had made the coolest Penguin Cover themed poster for the gig (Our debut self release Snakes And Ladders was released in a Penguin Esque book cover design). Our name had been spelt Offical Secret Act though, without an I. Slilghtly Spinal tap, but the poster was so so cool we didn't mind.

We have some fans following us around Ireland for these gigs so we had a chat with them which was cool and got some corporate pizza. Due to sunny weather and club night action the promoters put us back to 10 o clock and we ended up pretty much playing to half the club crowd and half our fans. Despite the hangovers, the ltae stage time and all the jazz of the day, we ended up playing one of the best shows of the tour. We always give everything to every gig but sometimes something happens and it all clicks into place. It wasn't the tightest gig ever, and after 3 songs I was just sweating Tuborg, but it was glorious. People were singing and dancing and during our last song me and Tom decided to go dance with them on the dance floor. It would have been rude not to.

Afterwards we were talking to all the guys and girls running the club nights and at the gig and they were pretty much the coolest people. The DJ was spinning some of the best tunes and the only thing I could think of was the Sex Pistols gig at the lesser free trade hall. It might not have been the most rammed gig in the world but everyone who was there was either in a really cool band, managing a really cool band or a brilliant DJ. We danced and danced away and arranged for house parties later that night. Our resolutions to get an early one wereout the window and Stuart, Sabrina, Stephy and the fine people of the Belfast were whisking us off to a house in the burbs to party on.

I really don't think we've been to a city with such a vibrant scene, everyone seems to be in bands, have awesome and intersting taste in music and up for partying and supporting each other. It's like a mini Portland and we are definitely pretty eager to come back.

We're now sitting in a car park outside Belfast about to go and get breakfast and spend the alst of our sterling before re-entering Dublin. In terms of amazing crowds and cool people the gauntlet has definitely been laid down.

P.S While some of us were partying Our tour manager Mario and Alex our keyboard player came back to the van to watch a DVD and chill out. Alex is still recovering from his car accident and can't drink at the moment so it seemed the perfect way to unwind. A couple of people from the party went with them and as we left them watching the DVD everyone was settled down for a nice evening watching some Ferrel based comedy. Unfortunately it was a little bit late for Mario and he gently slipped off to sleep on the bunk half way through the movie. No problem except that he started snoring like a water buffallo and kicking out in his sleep much to the discomfort of everyone in the van. Bless Alex as a true OSA team player he tried his best to pretend it wasn't happening and continue to engage everyone in the movie. He too then fell asleep and by the time he woke up everyone else had gone to bed and he couldn't remember what house we were in and ended up sleeping on the floor of the van. It was probably more chilled out at the party.



Friday, April 17, 2009

Download: Dave Matthews Band - Why I Am live

My live version of Dave Matthews Band's 'Why I Am' was removed due to the fact it was posted alongside live versions of 'Spaceman' and 'Funny the Way It Is'. This is most likely due to the fact that whoever came across this assumed that I had posted a studio version of 'Funny...', however, this was not the case, and all were live versions from Tuesday night's show. Dave Matthews Band approve of these kinds of downloads (live recordings), as it's what helped spread the word in the first place. So here's a live version!!! of 'Why I Am' from the Madison Square Garden show on April 14th.

Dave Matthews Band - 'Why I Am'

Video for the song's second performance on 15th of April:

Album News: Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar and Other Love Songs

Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar and Other Love Songs

June 23rd sees the release of Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood's second solo album Murdering Oscar and Other Love Songs. The album will be released in regular formates, with a vinyl only edition containing three bonus tracks. These are 'Uncle Phil and Aunt Phyllis in the Month After the Election' 'Playboy Mansion', and 'Sam's in the Ground'.

01 Murdering Oscar
02 Pollyanna
03 Pride of the Yankees
04 I Understand Now
05 Screwtopia
06 Granddaddy
07 Belvedere
08 The Range War
09 She's a Little Randy
10 Foolish Young Bastard
11 Heavy and Hanging
12 Walking Around Sense
13 Back of a Bible

Guest Diary: Official Secrets Act, Part 2

16th of April


So Galway, wow. after a 13 hour commute we finally bedded down in the palace of joy that is the travelodge. We try to tour on the most tightest of budgets (For reference see the awesome documentar "We Jam Econo") and it's rare we even have a hotel for the night, prefering instead the pleasures of friends couches, but we've never been to Ireland before and we haven't made the relevant connections, and it's 10 past midnight....so travelodge it is. I don't think i've ever slept so well in my life.

Back in Galway we are walking through town when a finely attired gent come up to us and asks if we're in Official Secrets Act. His reasoning being that he knew we were in town and no men in Galway wear boots with such high heels. Turns out he is from a local band Disconnect 4 and his guitar player is playing with us in the support band tonight. It really is a small world once you get out into it. He points in the direction of a good pub and we settle down to sample the famous Irish Guiness.

One of our most reliable couches in Britain is in Brighton at the abode of one Matt Harfield, journalist, librarian and all round hero. His Girlfriend is from Galway and by pure chance they are here tonight. They come and join us in the pub and we discuss W.B Yeats, the availability of good oysters, and Aoife (for that is his girlfriends name) teaches us fokl songs about Galway (The Galway Shawl). We have to say that we're rather keen on Galway by this point.

In Britain, venues treat you with varying degrees of respect, but in Europe, and Ireland definitely has a continental feel to it, it's so different. One of the main things you notice is the band flats that are sporadically made available to you. There were some beautiful ones in Germany, but the riverside flat we get given in Galway is pretty lush too. We load the fridge with beers, crack open the buckfast and head down to the Roisin Dubh to play our show.

Despite malfunctioning keyboards it's a great set and we keep to our band law of not saying stupid things about the country your in. (How many british bands must go to Amsterdam and make jokes about how cool it is you can get stoned....BORING, grow up). Alex also debuts his plastic crow which will now accompany him around Europe, sitting safely on his keyboard stand. A big Thank you to everyone who came down,w e really made some good friends and definitely intend on being back soon.

Then it was back to the flat to listen to Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper (Voted best song ever by Lawrence Diamond in a poll taken just now) and drink till 5 in the morning. Buckfast is a dangerous thing. A many dangerous thing.

April 17th, Galway/Belfast

I sit at the kitchen tabel, hangover in hand and type this to you. we have a 5 hour journey to Belfast begining the minute i finish typing. We are heading North by the coast road and fully intend on getting some fine oysters and maybe reading some Yeats to each other (ALex wanted to go to Cole Park-please correct me if i'm spelling that wrong) but we partied a bit to long and our culture has suffered. Till Belfast....

Kind Regards



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Guest Diary: Official Secrets Act

For the duration of their three stop Irish tour, Lawrence from Official Secrets Act (OSA) will be writing a tour diary for my lovely blog here. It starts today! Enjoy!

Wednesday April 15th

So our dear old transit Denise died at the weekend. After a year of pretty much no stop touring her head gasket went boom, and the end of a long and fruitful love affair was upon us. Crawling back from Milton Keynes at 30mph we all shed an OSA tear for our beloved girl and prepared for a Deniseless future.

Mario our tour manager and all round OSA hero bartered and haggled and got us a rather tasty Merc splitter in which to get to Wales and Ireland, and now here we sit, traffic surrounding us on a trunk road into the promised land of Wales, en route to Holyhead to catch that fabled ferry over to Ireland. We've never sailed across that salty wind swept sea before and anticipation is high. We start in Galway tomorrow night at the Roisin Dubh (16th of April), then hit Auntie Annies in Belfast (17th) before finishing in Dublin at the Academy 2 (18th).

When we got talked about among the great and the good we always get called a North London band, but this is confusing for us as we all met in Leeds, formed the band in a deep dark squat in Manchester one rainy summer a year and a half ago, and half of us come from Scotland. Factor in that we've been to 11 countries in the last 2 months and we feel like we come from nowhere. So after 2 days in Galway we'll probably start putting down roots, it'll be the longest we've stayed in one place for 6 weeks (Leipzig is a beautiful town but it's hardly home).

Here are hopes for our short stay in Ireland.
1) To play some lovely shows and bring some star shining escapism to the stages we grace
2) To not be total tourists while we're traversing the lands of the emerald isle (Using the phrase "emerald isle" probably immediately puts us in that category!)
3) Make some friends for life, cause we plan on coming back many many times.

At times like this you end up sitting in the van making up stupid lists about the places your going (The famous Belgians list is always the hardest, especially if we ban sports stars). The big in Germany list is pretty normal, famous Scottish female actors was good fun (CLARE GROGAN I STILL LOVE YOU!) and bands from Birmingham lasted a very long time. (Ocean Colour Scene, Black Sabbath, half of led zeppeling, sort of). Actually bands from London is a much harder list than you think, so many people move there but so few are actually from there. Even half of Blur come from the south coast. We'll work on some Irish Band Lists, but it's pretty easy cause like Scotland and Wales it's always produced so many amazing bands and singers. (Our scottish band list started last december and is still going so the gauntlet is thrown).

We're stuck in a traffic jam somewhere near Birmingham at the moment so we'll love you and leave you till tomorrow.

Love and Respect of Soviet Proportions

Lawrence Diamond


Watch: Dave Matthews Band - Why I Am

Dave Matthews Band Madison Square Garden poster

Live at Madison Square Garden last night, another of the new songs from Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King. I hope to get a download up shortly.

Watch 'Why I Am':

Album News: Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King tracklist

Now we have a proper tracklist too: (I promise to get back to non-DMB posts soon!)

1. Grux
2. Shake Me Like A Monkey
3. Funny The Way It Is
4. Lying In The Hands Of God
5. Why I Am
6. Dive In
7. Spaceman
8. Squirm
9. Alligator Pie (Cockadile)
10. Seven
11. Time Bomb
12. My Baby Blue
13. You and Me

Download: Dave Matthews Band - Spaceman

No, no, it's not a Babylon Zoo cover, unfortunately. It's one of the new songs Dave Matthews Band played last night from their upcoming album Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King. And for you all now, I have the lyrics, a video as well as the mp3 download of the song. (I'm not sure which taper this is from, but if you could let me know, please do, as I want to give credit and also point people in the direction of the FLAC/lossless download.)

Dave Matthews Band - 'Spaceman'

'Spaceman' lyrics:
Probably get it wrong just to get it right, girl
Your probably gonna move, But I caught you now
Now I’ll just have to bow down now
Cause I love the way you move me
I love the way you move me

I like most liquor, but I don’t like gin
Don’t always like the skin I’m in
Where we’re gonna go, I want to start again
But I love the way you move me
I love the way you move me

Oh ah, ah ah Yeah
All the freaks are on parade
I wanna fill my belly, so I gotta get paid
Doesn’t everyone deserve to have the good life
Don’t always work out
Cry cry baby, if you must
Just remember

Just remember..I love the way you love me
I love the way you move me

I’m not all there, I’m a faithfull sinner
I might get lost, but I’ll be home for dinner
If God don’t like me, he can hand me to hell
But I love the way you love me girl
I love the way you move me

I pray to heaven to keep my place
Till I look to the mirror and saw the Devil’s face
And I’d be a dog, for a tail to chase
But I love the way you kiss me baby
I love the way you talk to me
I love the way you talk to me

Oh ah, ah ah Yeah
All the freaks are on parade
I wanna fill my belly, so I gotta get paid
Doesn’t everyone deserve to have the good life
Don’t always work out
Cry cry baby, if you must
Just remember

The way you move me


Not coming home till the good day’s gone
Working as hard, as the day is long
Working men watch me, when I get home
Cause I love the way you talk baby
I love the way you move

Oh ah, ah ah Yeah
All the freaks are on parade
I wanna fill my belly, so I gotta get paid
Doesn’t everyone deserve to have the good life
Don’t always work out
Cry cry baby, if you must
Just remember

We’ll remember
All the freaks are on parade
I wanna fill my belly, so I gotta get paid
Doesn’t everyone deserve to have the good life
Don’t always work out
Cry cry baby, if you must
Just remember

I love the way you love me girl.
I love the way you move.

Watch 'Spaceman':

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Song Review: Dave Matthews Band - 'Funny the Way It Is'

Dave Matthews Band - 'Funny the Way It Is'

The first thing you notice about the debut single from Dave Matthews Band's new album Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King is that it's more like the live DMB of recent years rather than the studio DMB of Stand Up or Everyday. This is definitely not a bad thing, as Dave Matthews himself said that they wanted their studio material to be as interesting as their live shows. And from this first single, their new album could well be.

It's instantly recognisable as a Dave Matthews Band song, and everything that represents, while being pop enough (thanks to Tim Reynolds' guitarwork) for radio, and not too saccharine to alienate those who dismiss everything since 'You Never Know'.

One thing that is really surprising about 'Funny the Way It Is' is that there is a full-on guitar solo. Not just the usual Dave Matthews riffs, instead a full-blown guitar solo. I'm not sure whether this is Dave or Tim Reynolds, but either way, it's fantastic.

'Funny the Way it Is' is (is is) lyrically sturdy, but also features those Dave-isms: "Sirens pass in fire engine red / Someone's house is burning down on a day like this". The chorus is immediately memorable, and no doubt the crowd will be already singing along to every word at the song's first live performance tonight (I would assume it'll be played live tonight).

Review: Jason Mraz, The Academy, Dublin, 9 April 2009

Let me get this out in the open, right from the start: I never expected Jason Mraz to be so funky live. Nor did I realise his band were this excellent. When he released We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things as well as three acoustic EPs of the same songs last year, I preferred the rawness of the EPs. They were Jason at his best, or so I thought.

Jason Mraz with a backing band, this backing band, is him at his best. He thrives in this situation. The brass trio are phenomenal and really bring the songs out to their fullest. The show opened with the bluesy 'Make It Mine', which immediately set the tone for the entire evening. 'Only Human' started without the brass section, but when they arrived back halfway through it totally changed the song. It became funky and bouncy. Their absence really shows what they bring to the music.

A cover of Steely Dan's 'Peg' was an unexpected highlight, 'Unfold' featured an excellent solo from Carlos, and the extended jamming really got the crowd dancing. Yes, an Irish crowd dancing at a gig. Usually they're content to chat over the band playing, but not tonight. This was probably the most appreciative crowd I've ever seen and really got into every song. 'Lucky' featured support act Marit Larsen (formerly of Norweigan popsters M2M) on vocals, and she did a great job accompanying Jason.

'Live High' was another highlight, with the brass band disappearing and then reappearing up beside me on the balcony, much to the shock of the people downstairs! The crowd also went mental for radio-hit 'I'm Yours', and their singing nearly drowned out Jason and the band. The song had a nice little Bob Marley '3 Little Birds' interpolation too which I really enjoyed. Jason also took the opportunity to use a polaroid camera to take photos of the band, the crowd and himself. These photos were then thrown out to some lucky crowd members, including one of Jason drinking a Guinness, which was brought to him midway during the song by Marit Larsen.

The instrumental 'Copchase' was delightful, and the encore of 'Never Too Late', singalong classic 'Life is Wonderful' and 'Butterfly' ended the night perfectly. However, 'I'm Yours' wasn't the biggest highlight of the show. Instead that was 'The Dynamo of Volition' with its "high fives/low dough/high ten" chorus that involved a lot of audience participation, and was so much fun. Usually audience participation is a horrendous, laboured activity, but not with Jason's instruction and his funky jams. Perfect.

I think I've just recovered from it now. Thank God the pubs were closed on Friday, or we'd all still be buzzing now. I think I still am a little actually.

'I'm Yours':

Download: Conor Oberst - Nikorette

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band

Yes yes, it's Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, but sometimes I'm lazy right. Anyhow, this one is up there with his best work under the Bright Eyes guise in my opinion. He doesn't sing lead vocals on all the new album, so Outer South is a Mystic Valley record. However, the excellent 'Nikorette' is all Conor. Glorious.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - 'Nikorette'

More info/album stream here:

Download: Dave Matthews Band - Funny the Way it Is

Today is the day! First single from the new Dave Matthews Band album Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King as well as the start of the new tour. This morning, Dave used the very modern medium of twitter to put up a link for a free download of 'Funny the Way It Is'. It's only a 128kbps mp3, but free is free after all.

You need to enter your email, mobile/cell and zipcode to get it, but for those of us outside the US, just enter anything. I always enter 90201 as a postcode? Doesn't everyone?

Download it here:


Monday, April 13, 2009

Album News: The Ambience Affair - Fragile Things

The Ambience Affair - Fragile Things

Fragile Things is the name of the new EP from Dublin duo The Ambience Affair. It's available on Indiecater for the recession-busting price of €2.50. Bargain. The four track EP was originally released in February, but now you can download it via Indiecater it should get the attention it deserves. Together with Tenaka's EPonymous, this is a great year for Irish debut EPs. I just can't wait for the full albums!

To get a feel for the EP, stream it in full here:
or download the title track:
The Ambience Affair - 'Fragile Things'

Download: Say Hi - Hallie and Henry demo

'Hallie and Henry' is one of the best songs on Say Hi's stellar Oohs and Aahs, and I have an unreleased demo version of the song for download, which I'm delighted with.

They've made this available to coincide with some US tour dates supporting Cloud Cult, whose Feel Good Ghosts was my 34th favourite album of 2008.

05-08 SEATTLE, WA - Neumo's
05-09 VANCOUVER, BC - Biltmore
05-10 PORTLAND, OR - Wonder Ballroom
05-12 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Independent
05-13 COSTA MESA, CA - Detroit Bar
05-15 SAN DIEGO, CA - Casbah
05-16 TUCSON, AZ - Plush
05-17 PHOENIX, AZ - Rhythm Room
05-19 DENVER, CO - Bluebird Theatre

Say Hi - 'Hallie and Henry (demo)'

More info:
More info (via a cleverly named MySpace):

Album Cover: Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King

Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King album cover art

The entire cover has been revealed, and it looks like this. Also, expect the first single from Dave Matthews Band's new album Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King to go live tomorrow. I hope to have a mp3 of a live version of some of the tunes for download from tomorrow.

Oh, Dave drew this album cover himself.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Setlist: FRED, Dolan's, Limerick, 9 April 2009

Setlist and show review found on IndieLimerick, as well as some great photos from the night:

Set List:
Good One
Damn You
Lights Are With Us
Keep Me Clear
The Lights
4 Chords
Mr. Blue Sky (ELO Cover)
Capitol Song

Download: Justin Townes Earle live at the Cactus Cafe

Justin Townes Earle's Midnight at the Movies is one of the best records I'v heard this year. It's a contender for album of the year. Yes, it's that good. Listening to it (and his fantastic debut The Good Life) has made me check out his live show. Hopefully there will be an Irish appearance sometime. Please, pretty please.

Archive.org has a good few of his shows from last year available for free download, and from what I've listened to, the best of them is from the 14th of December at the Cactus Cafe.

Two songs to give you a treat of what you're in for are 'Ghost of Virginia' and his cover of the Replacements' 'Can't Hardly Wait', which he makes sound like a standard.

Justin Townes Earle - 'Ghost of Virginia'
Justin Townes Earle - 'Can't Hardly Wait'

Download the show in full here: