Swear I'm not Paul: 08/11/2009

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Preview: X Factor 2009 Live Finals, Week 6

Queen week this week on X Factor, and here are all the songs the remaining finalists will be singing tonight.

Stacey - 'Who Wants To Live Forever'

Joe - 'Somebody To Love'

Lloyd - 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love'

Danyl - 'We Are The Champions'

Jamie - 'Radio Gaga'

Olly - 'Don't Stop Me Now '

John and Edward - 'Under Pressure'

Album News: Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back

Peter Gabriel always seems to have some sort of project on the go. This time it's a compilation of covers that will be his first proper album in seven years. What makes it special is the fact that everyone Gabriel covers here will be returning the favour and covering one of his tracks on the follow up to Scratch My Back, which is most likely going to be called I'll Scratch Yours. The album is due to be released on January 25th 2010.

Composer John Metcalfe tells the BBC that the album will be recorded acoustically, and that Gabriel will stick with orchestral instruments rather than drums or guitars. Says Metcalfe: "The songs are not simply covers. They are major reinterpretations of some famous stuff. It's quite radical ..."

Tracklist:
01 Heroes (David Bowie cover)
02 The Boy in the Bubble (Paul Simon cover)
03 Mirrorball (Elbow cover)
04 Flume (Bon Iver cover)
05 Listening Wind (Talking Heads cover)
06 The Power of the Heart (Lou Reed cover)
07 My Body Is a Cage (Arcade Fire cover)
08 The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields cover)
09 I Think It's Going to Rain Today (Randy Newman cover)
10 Apr├Ęs Moi (Regina Spektor cover)
11 Philadelphia (Neil Young cover)
12 Street Spirit (Radiohead cover)

Stream 'The Book of Love':

Album News: Tindersticks - Falling Down a Mountain



Falling Down a Mountain will be the eight album from Tindersticks. There's two release dates floating around, one is the US release: February 16th 2010, and the other is the UK one: January 25th. No idea why the gap is - that'll just lead to downloading in my opinion. I was introduced to these guys only last year, and I'm catching up on their back catalogue at the moment. So new material will mean I'll have even more to listen to. Great!

You can download an mp3 of the album track 'Black Smoke' below.

Tracklist:
01 Falling Down a Mountain
02 Keep You Beautiful
03 Harmony Around My Table
04 Peanuts
05 She Rode Me Down
06 Hubbards Hills
07 Black Smoke
08 No Place So Alone
09 Factory Girls
10 Piano Music

Download:
Tindersticks - 'Black Smoke'

Friday, November 13, 2009

Album News: Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Swim Until You Can't See Land single cover

Frightened Rabbit have announced details of a new album, set for March 2010. Lead single 'Swim Until You Can't See Land' will be out on Monday, but hopefully they'll play some more of these new songs when they support Modest Mouse at the Academy on the 7th and 8th of December. Those are going to be fantastic gigs.

Tracklist:
1. 'Things'
2. 'Swim Until You Can't See Land'
3. ‘The Loneliness & The Scream'
4. 'The Wrestle'
5. 'Skip The Youth'
6. 'Nothing Like You'
7. 'Man/ Bag Of Sand'
8. 'Foot Shooter'
9. 'Not Miserable'
10. 'Living In Colour'
11.‘Yes I Would'

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Setlist:: CODES, Olympia Theatre, 11 November 2009

CODES supported the Airborne Toxic Event at the Olympia Theatre last night and were sure to win many new fans with their splendid dose of electronic-rock. If you missed it, and are down the country, they'll be playing the Forum in Waterford on the 28th of November.

Setlist:
Malfunctions
This Is Goodbye
Starry Eyed
Memorial (Daragh solo)
In Algebra
You Are Here
4 Winters

Here's a clip of them last night:

Album News: Eels - End Times



E and Eels are back in January with a new album. End Times will be out on the 19th of January. You can stream 'Little Bird' on Spinner, below. Mark Oliver Everett ('E') has written and performed 'Little Bird' entirely himself. There's not much more info, because 'E' doesn't want to give anything away.

Tracklist:
01 THE BEGINNING
02 GONE MAN
03 IN MY YOUNGER DAYS
04 MANSIONS OF LOS FELIZ
05 A LINE IN THE DIRT
06 END TIMES
07 APPLE TREES
08 PARADISE BLUES
09 NOWADAYS
10 UNHINGED
11 HIGH AND LONESOME
12 I NEED A MOTHER
13 LITTLE BIRD
14 ON MY FEET

Stream:
Eels - 'Little Bird'

Interview: The Dutchess and the Duke

The Dutchess and the Duke

The Dutchess and the Duke are one of the best young bands around these days. They've followed up the excellent She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke with the even better Sunrise/Sunset. I was lucky enough to get the chance to introduce the Duke himself, Jesse Lortz. Here's what he had to say.

How is Sunrise/Sunset different to your quasi-self-titled debut? Do you feel that you have honed your craft?
We did a month long tour playing acoustically with no vocal microphones or anything to hide behind or separate us from our audience, and I think that made us alot more confident with eachother and our songs.

You've supported Fleet Foxes in the past, but now you're having more and more headline shows. Are there any acts that you'd love to have support you, or that you'd love to support?

We would love to do a Dutchess and the Duke / Gris Gris tour. But for now we'll just have to settle for having half that band with us onstage. We would tour again with Fleet Foxes in a heartbeat. When we went on that tour we had literally played 4 or 5 shows, and I dont think we appreciated or took advantage of it as much as we maybe should have.

Pitchfork gave your first album an 8.2, getting something like this must be a real boost to the band. Do you feel that things like this have helped you gain a wider audience?

Definitely. This is our first experience in being in a band with any sort of label behind it. So seeing how the machinery of the music industry works has been pretty interesting.

Are there any reviews that really hit home? Do you concern yourselves much with what is said about your records and shows online?
We read it and its interesting, but for the most part it doesn't really matter much. I like reading reviews that say our record is difficult to listen to, because that means it is doing it's job. It's making people react. And not to just noise or offensive lyrics. They are reacting to the way our songs make them feel about their own lives.

So have you ever got any really bad reviews that made you want to write a strongly worded letter to the editor?
Why bother? then they just know they have gotten under your skin.

Your album also featured on some Best of 2008 lists, and no doubt the new one will appear on many more next month, do you pay any attention to these?
If it helps sell some records, sure! And its nice to be appreciated.

The 00s are coming to an end, do you have a standout indispensible naughties album, one that if a gun was pointed to your head, that you could say "this is the best album of the decade"?
No!

Jesse, you have a beard, and in this month's Q Magazine, they categorised their best albums of the year in "With" and "Without Beards" categories. How integral are beards to indie folk?
Beards are about an unwillingness to shave. Folkies are lazy? I dont know. I have better things to do that shave.

Every band has a different approach to songwriting, what's yours?
I keep track of melodies on my cell phone. Something will come to me on the bus or walking around or something. Then when its time to do a record, I listen to them and add the rest of the parts. I then make demos on an 8 track in my garage while chain smoking and drinking tons of coffee until 3 or 4 in the morning. Then we go record and I give Kimberly her lyrics. She learns the song through a pass or two and then we record it. Done!

You guys grew up together. Do you find sometimes you're like an old married couple? Or Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon?
No, we keep it fresh by seeing other people.

Live shows take up a lot of artists' time these days, do you find it tiring? Especially being away from your families and significant others? Or do they ever travel along with you?
Fuck no!

Any plans to record new material in the near future? Perhaps an EP on the horizon? Or are you going to tour and take a break before anything new?
We will when we have to. I am working on a side project right now that I am gonna record with Greg from Gris Gris in the spring hopefully. We are touring the S/S record at least until March and possibly beyond that. Doing 3 two week tours regionally in the states. Then we will hopefully do the third album.

So hopefully we'll have two records from Jesse next year. 2010 is going to be great!

Live: Leona Lewis at the O2 Dublin

Keep reading, keep keep reading...Cause I've got news of Leona Lewis at the o2 in Dublin (formerly the Point Theatre). The X Factor winner will be playing in Dublin on the 27th of June 2010. You'll want to clear your calendar now however, as tickets go on sale on Friday the 27th of November (this year) at 9 a.m.

Leona's latest release is 'Happy', which she performed on the X Factor a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Album News: Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You Special Edition

Lily Allen - Special Edition

Lily Allen (she's in Neighbours today on RTE2!) will be rereleasing her splendid second album It's Not Me, It's You on November 16th (the 13th in Ireland) with a bunch of extra tunes as well as a bonus live disc. The second disc, which is a DVD of her Shepherd's Bush concert includes the excellent 'LDN/Dance Wiv Me' mix, and there will also be a cover of 'Womanizer' by Britney Spears. It's good that for once there's a re-release actually worth buying.

disc 1
o 1. Everyone's At It
o 2. The Fear
o 3. Not Fair
o 4. 22
o 5. I Could Say
o 6. Back To The Start
o 7. Never Gonna Happen
o 8. Fuck You
o 9. Who'd Have Known
o 10. Chinese
o 11. Him
o 12. He Wasn't There
o 13. Fear, The [acoustic version]
o 14. 22 [acoustic version]
o 15. Who'd Have Known [acoustic version]
o 16. He Wasn't There [acoustic version]
o 17. I Could Say [acoustic version]
o 18. Womanizer [acoustic version]
o 19. Mr Blue Sky
o 20. Count And Lily Face Fear, The [explicit version]
o 21. Not Fair [Style Of Eye Remix]
disc 2
o 1. Everyone's At It [live at Shepherd's Bush Empire]
o 2. LDN/Dance Wiv Me [live at Shepherd's Bush Empire]
o 3. Not Fair [live at Shepherd's Bush Empire]
o 4. Him [live at Shepherd's Bush Empire]
o 5. He Wasn't There [live at Shepherd's Bush Empire]
o 6. Littlest Things [live at Shepherd's Bush Empire]
o 7. Smile [live at Shepherd's Bush Empire]
o 8. Fear, The [live at Shepherd's Bush Empire]
o 9. It's Not Me It's You [track by track interview]
o 10. Fear, The
o 11. Not Fair
o 12. 22
o 13. Fuck You

List: Top 10 Sideprojects of the 00s

For every band, there's always a disenfranchised member who wants to do more. Maybe get a little more exposure, come out from behind the drums, or even hear some of his lyrics actually being sung back at him (or her). Maybe that's the problem. Maybe it's a female tired of hanging out with these smelly guys all the time. Well, how come there's no Meg White solo record? Sideprojects are predominantly a man thing. Men seem to lose it when trapped in one groove and want to move on (note, this is no way a reflection on me or my life, but men in general.) Thus they set up other bands, try to express their inner failings/feelings. A lot of them fail. Some, however, don't.

For this, solo albums don't count. Nor do new projects. For example, Gorillaz isn't a sideproject as Blur had broken up, but the Good, the Bad and the Queen is. Gettit? It also means you won't see Zwan. There's an album that should be on more lists. Here is the top ten sideprojects of the 00s.


10. Tinted Windows - Tinted Windows (2009)
Tinted Windows is perhaps most notable for being the album where the kid from Hanson became a glorified adult star. We knew he had talent; 'Penny & Me' is a great pop tune, but here he really shone. It wasn't just Taylor Hanson though. He also had Smashing Punpkins James Iha, and Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne. From opener 'Kind of a Girl' you knew you were in for something special.



9. Neon Neon - Stainless Style (2008)
Boom Bip must be the best name in music. It's even better when it's teamed up with Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals. A heavy departure from the Welsh band's own material, Stainless Style was not just one of the best side-project albums of the decade, it was also one of the best concepts. About John DeLorean and his famous heap of scrap car. Amazing.



8. The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement (2008)
Alex Turner hasn't been long on the music scene, but since his arrival with the Arctic Monkeys, he seems to be everywhere. His latest Monkeys record is awful, he would be better off spending his time with his other project and their more straightforward rock. Forget about being clever Alex, you just need to sing and play great. Like on here. Even the video is brilliant. Pure pop perfection.




7. The Good, the Bad, and the Queen - The Good, the Bad, and the Queen (2007)
Really, we all knew that it was Blur and not Oasis had all the talent. Will either Gallagher go on to do anything now that they've broken up. After Blur, Damon Albarn did everything. His main time was spent on his cartoon-group Gorillaz, but he also had the chance to break out and form his own supergroup. The results were astounding. It's an album you'd forget about, but every time you come back, you remember how good it really is.



6. The Thorns - The Thorns (2003)
Essentially more a supergroup than side-project, it still counts as all three members were still pursuing solo careers when they took time out to make this. The harmonies of Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge, and Shawn Mullins were some of the best since the Byrds. It was just as uplifting too. Pity they only made this one album together. The perfect summer album.



5. The Dead Weather - Horehound (2009)
Jack White is Mister Sideproject. I love this about him, but I also wish he'd make a new White Stripes record. His second side-project is damn good. Featuring Allison Mosshart of the Kills (who sounds like a more feminine White), this is one of the dirtiest albums of the decade, and is absolutely fantastic. Their live show is even better.




4. Works Progress Administration - WPA (2009)
Glen Phillips doesn't need to all these side-projects. Like Jack White, he's already got a fine career as it is. Neither do Sean or Sara Watkins. But when they come together (the first time on the splendid Mutual Admiration Society), they are amazing. (Oh and Luke Bulla is on board too. No Chris Thile, but it doesn't suffer for that. Chris can be very controlling anyway!) This record mixes country and pop perfectly and features some of the finest songwriting I have heard in a long time.




3. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely (2008)
Sideprojects are often one-off things. Not with Jack White. He loves the freedom. He loves making music. Imagine if 2010 had a new White Stripes, a new Raconteurs, and a new Dead Weather. Best year for music ever? I think so. This was his second album with Brendan Benson and the Greenhornes, and here they really honed their craft. It was much more consistent that the first album. That said I still love the debut. 'Steady as She Goes' is one of the best songs of the decade.



2. The Postal Service - Give Up (2003)
What makes a side-project great? When it's better than the main act's work. This is definitely true (for the 00s anyway) of Death Cab for Cutie, whose lead singer Ben Gibbard recorded this splendid electronic piece with Chris Walla of little-known DNTEL. The sum of the whole is far greater than its parts here, and in it, they've made one of the best albums of the decade - main band or side-project. It's fantastic. And those lyrics...swoon!




1. The Swell Season - Once OST (2007)
Glen Hansard's main focus, the Frames, are one of the best bands to come out of Ireland, well ever. Their newer material is far better than U2's, and they've started to build a following in the US. This has been seriously helped by the movie Once, which featured Glen and Marketa Irglova as well as all these gorgeous songs. 'Falling Slowly' was a worthy Oscar winner, and is sure to guarantee Glen will never have to return to busking again. It's just a pity Mic wasn't around to see it happen. (See also: the Swell Season's self-titled debut for many of these tracks. This brought it all together though)

Album News: Hot Chip - One Life Stand

Hot Chip will be releasing their fourth album in February. It's called One Life Stand. It was recorded in Lanark Studios in London and will be released on February 8th in the UK. No idea of a tracklist just yet, but it's sure to be great. 'Take it In' is the first single from the album, and you can have a listen to it below.

Stream 'Take it In'








Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Live: Other Voices 8 Tickets

Other Voices returns in December, and will return to our TV screens next year for season 8. Snow Patrol, Richard Hawley, The XX and Temper Trap are some of the acts already announced, but there are sure to be a lot more fantastic artists announced nearer the dates.

Tickets for each of the Other Voices recordings, Saturday December 5th to Wednesday December 9th inclusive, will go on sale on Monday November 23rd at 9am from www.tickets.ie.

Tickets for each night are €35 including booking fee.

Here's the official word on ticket info:
"As is the nature of television recording, it will not be possible to announce each evening’s line up until closer to the recordings. Early booking is essential, with only 60 tickets per night available. Historically, each show has been an immediate sell out. Booking is limited to two tickets per person and a maximum of two nights per person."

Watch Richard Hawley - 'Tonight the Streets are Ours' on Jools Holland:

Vintage Review: Weezer - Make Believe

Weezer - Make Believe album cover art

Weezer - Make Believe

Originally Posted: 7 June 2005

This is the third attempt at reviewing this album. I wanted to approach this album differently, and comprehensively compare it with the band’s previous albums. First time around, I listened to all the albums, starting with The Blue Album and making my way up to Make Believe, giving each song a little comment of analysis along the way. However, on re-reading the review I found it to be pedantic and boring. Second time around I thought I’d compare each of the songs on the new album to one from a previous album, but then it was pointed out to me: “What if the reader has never heard a Weezer album? What use is this review to them?” So now, I’m on my third draft, which looks set to be a normal, straightforward review.

Most people know what to expect from Weezer: catchy (and cheesy) choruses, backed up by bouncy, fun melodies. If that floats your boat, you’ll be glad to hear that nothing’s changed here. This is why the album is an extreme let-down for me. In my frivolous attempts to make this review somewhat innovative, I went back and listened to Weezer’s four previous albums – Weezer could never exactly be called prolific – and found out why the world once loved Weezer. In the early nineties their music found a niche – it was perfect radio-fodder in our pre-Blink 182 world. Yes, I did just compare Weezer to Blink 182, because that’s what they feel like to me now. A band that I once thought were good, but now see the error of my ways. Go back and listen to their old albums if you don’t believe me. Each contains numerous radio-friendly songs, but only about three of these songs (from all their albums, including Make Believe) will last the test of time.

Recent single “Beverley Hills” fails to inspire; fails to find that special something that made “Buddy Holly” and “Island In The Sun” such great power-pop songs. And that’s the case with the entire album. “Hold Me” and “Haunt You Every Day” are more introspective songs than what we’re used to from Cuomo, but when looking inside he should also have looked to see what was missing. The only song which shows any glimmer of hope is “We Are All On Drugs”, which has a chorus that wouldn’t have appeared out of place on Pinkerton.

So what are Weezer doing wrong with Make Believe? Well, in their opinion: nothing. However, what Rivers Cuomo & Co. need to realise is that it’s now the 00s. Maybe it’s because they only release an album every four years or so, that they’re a decade behind. The love for their style of music has disappeared. It’s been replaced by our love for throwback-80s music. So maybe if they continue at their level of productivity, their seventh album, released in 2012 will cash in on the then love of throwback-90s. At the moment, it’s hitting no nerves, and misses almost every target.

Download these tracks: We Are All On Drugs – but only if you are a really big Weezer fan. Otherwise save your bandwidth for something better.

2.3 – One song can’t make an album, but it has worked in the past. Unfortunately for Weezer, this album doesn’t even contain one song that sparkles. “We Are All On Drugs” gives a dull glow, but nothing here should make you want to invest in this album. Weezer really need to evolve, or else they face extinction.

Download: The Bravery - Spectator

The Bravery - Stir the Blood album cover

The Bravery's new album Stir the Blood will be out on December 1st. You may have already heard lead single 'Slow Poison' on the radio. 'Spectator', the second single, comes out tomorrow. It also appears on the Vampire Diaries soundtrack, which is sure to please teenage girls waiting for their New Moon fix! On another note, I just found out that Sam Endicott (The Bravery's lead singer) wrote Shakira's 'She Wolf'. Not bad.

Tracklist (not in order):
- Slow Poison
- Hatefuck
- Red Hands & White Knuckles
- She's So Bendable
- I Am Your Skin
- Jack O' Lantern Man
- Adored
- The Spectator...
- I Have Seen The Future
- Skin and Bones
- Sugar Pill

Download:
The Bravery - 'Spectator'

Monday, November 9, 2009

Download: The Beatles - Everyday Chemistry Mixtape



Everyday Chemistry is a Beatles mixtape made by James Richards who provides a very extensive back story about how the Beatles Never Broke Up. The story itself is a fine piece of fiction, but the mixtape is far more interesting. You can download each individual song as .mp3 or the entire thing as a .zip file over on his page. Before all that, you can sample a small few tunes below.

"Everyday Chemistry" Tracklist:
1. Four Guys
2. Talking To Myself
3. Anybody Else
4. Sick To Death
5. Jenn
6. I'm Just Sitting Here
7. Soldier Boy
8. Over The Ocean
9. Days Like These
10. Saturday Night
11. Mr Gators Swamp Jamboree

Sample:
The Beatles - 'Jenn'
The Beatles - 'Over the Ocean'

More info/download:
http://thebeatlesneverbrokeup.com/

RIP: Jerry Fuchs, !!! (chk chk chk) drummer

Jerry Fuchs, the drummer from New York dance-punk group !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk), has died after trying to jump from a lift in Williamsburg, New York.

Jerry was 34. According to the New York Post, Fuchs was at a fundraising event around 12.30am this morning (9th November) when the lift he was travelling in got stuck. A spokesperson for the buildings department in New York told the Post: "It's a manual freight elevator, and it stopped somewhere above the fifth floor." It is thought that Fuchs and a friend then attempted to jump three or four feet from the lift to the fifth floor.

"The friend landed safely," according to the Post, "but a piece of Fuchs's clothing caught on the elevator, causing him to be yanked backward as he jumped, sending him swinging back into the crevice separating the elevator from the fifth floor."

Fuchs fell to the bottom of the lift shaft and was rushed to hospital. He died at 3.30am.

He also performed with Juan MacLean, who posted a tribute on his website: "Jerry was one of my best and most loyal friends. He was hands-down the best drummer I have ever played with or seen."

Additionally, he performed with Maserati who posted "We are humbled to have been able to create music with you for all these years, Jerry. You will be missed more than words can express. We love you, bro."

Watch !!! - 'Must Be the Moon'


Maserati - 'Show me the Season' live:

Review: X Factor 2009 Live Finals Week 5

The most dramatic week so far on X Factor Series 6! It was Movie Week where all the contestants were required to sing songs from films. Once again there was no mentor, but live performances came from the Black Eyed Peas and from former X Factor winner Leona Lewis.

Incredibly annoying Stacey Solomon opened the show with 'Son of a Preacher Man' by Dusty Springfield. She tried to look all sexy, but looked about as sexy as a cucumber in lingerie. Her performance was decent, but nothing could actually make me like her at this stage. That voice just ruins it all.

Olly Murs was once again excellent - he's the show's most consistent performer, and is rightly favourite to win. He sang 'Twist and Shout' by the Isley Brothers, made famous in Ferris Bueller's Day off.

Lloyd Daniels amazingly stayed in this week, and even missed the bottom two. This show is much too big for Lloyd, and maybe would be suited to him in a few years' time. He did Ben E. King's 'Stand By Me'. It was nothing impressive.

Jamie Archer gave the same performance as every other week, but was one of the least impressive doing Roy Orbison classic 'Crying'. Although its inclusion in Movies Week was questioned by Louis, he should have actually questioned where Jamie's ability went, as he failed to meet any potential he had earlier shown.



My (former) favourite Lucie Jones left the show after being in the bottom two. Dannii chose wrongly by giving her Demi Lovato's 'This is Me' from Camp Rock. While a lot of younger viewers would have liked it, it would have alienated a lot of older viewers, many of who would have been fans of Lucie's grown up soul style.

Danyl Johnson stayed in again, and cut his hair as an attempt to change his image. It's an awful pity he's so arrogant. His version of Prince's 'Purple ain' was good, but it'll never make me like him. It's too late for Danyl now.

John and Edward gave their best performance of the series so far, but were still in the bottom two. However, Simon saved them by sending the show to deadlock, and Lucie left the show with the least public votes. They sand Ray Parker Jr.'s hilarious 'Ghostbusters', and were marvellously entertaining.

Last up was Joe McElderry, the housewives' favourite. He sang Elton John's 'Circle of Life' and once again was very impressive. Could eventually win the show, you know.



The group performance 'Hot N Cold' by Katy Perry was a bit of a mismatch, it suited some of the singers, but others were clearly out of their depth. I'm looking at you again Lloyd. Black Eyed Peas' new tune 'Meet me Halfway' is awful, but is sure to chart well, and everyone was on their feet (of course) for the return of Leona Lewis. Her new song 'Happy' is anything but. I don't recall the song at all, as I was too busy trying to see if she had had a nose job.

The bottom two were Lucie and the twins. Lucie did a lovely version of Whitney's 'One Moment in Time' and didn't deserve to go at all. That said, I really enjoy JEdward and their choreography-free 'Rock DJ' was hilarious once again. I didn't want to see either go, but as I wasn't a hardcore Lucie fan, I'm glad the boys stayed in.

Next week is Queen Week, and will feature a performance from the She Wolf herself, Shakira.

Live Review: Muse, o2 Dublin, 6 November 2009

Muse Resistence Tour

I've seen Muse a good few times at this stage. They are one of my brother's favourite bands, so he brought me along this time (thanks very much!) The first time I saw them was a few years ago at Oxegen (may even have been Witnness then) and I didn't really know much by them at the time. But I was impressed, really impressed. By them more than anyone else that weekend. This was down to the fact that Matt Bellamy is such a brilliant guitarist. The good thing is: five or more years on (possibly longer), he's just as good.

Muse's performance at the o2 was not as good as their show at the Point or the few times I've seen them at Oxegen. Alas, there is just one reason for this. The new album. The Resistance was released this year, and all these live shows are part of The Resistance Tour. Thus the trio play a lot of the new stuff. It's just a pity some of this new stuff is as boring as hell and is the worst material they have ever released.

They opened with new single 'Uprising', but this was okay, as the Blondie-aping single is one of the best of the new tunes. 'United States of Eurasia', the other new single wasn't too bad either, but it lacked the punch of earlier stuff. 'Undisclosed Desires' is much better live than on record, but the rest of the new stuff just inspires stagnation among the hopping, dancing, yelling crowd. 'Guiding Light' was all sorts of shocking. A terrible song that I hope never to hear again.

For that side of the show, the rest was totally opposite. It was two-thirds a magnificent concert. 'New Born' and 'Map of the Problematique' were amazing, and 'Supermassive Blackhole' really had the crowd going. 'Feeling Good' and 'Unintended' brought things down a notch, but were never boring. They just made the whole thing more intimate. 'Starlight' > 'Plug in Baby' > 'Time is Running Out' was definitely the best run of the show, and caused the crowd to go wild.

The encore was a mixed bag, beginning with yawnfest 'Overture' and then heading into so-so 'Stockholm Syndrome', 'Man with a Harmonica' and ending with the utterly fantastic 'Knights of Cydonia'. Everyone left on a high after 'Knights' and this may have rose-tinted their memories of the show, forgetting all about the poorer new stuff - probably because that was when they went to the jacks or the bar - and remembering the brilliant 'New Born', 'Plug in Baby', 'Unintended' and the rest of the classics.

The stage itself was fantastic, and the whole thing was brilliantly produced. It's just a pity there was so much new stuff. Otherwise it would have been the gig of the year.

Read my other posts on this gig:
Watch the entire thing here.
Setlist here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Watch: John Mayer - Crossroads and Who Says live

These are both from Sunrise TV on Australian television, recorded over the weekend. Both songs are from new album Battle Studies. The first, 'Who Says' is the album's lead single. 'Crossroads' is a Robert Johnson cover. I've also read that the iTunes pre-order has a cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'I'm on Fire'. That could be good.

'Who Says':


'Crossroads':

Album News: Vampire Weekend - Contra

Vampire Weekend - Contra album cover art

Vampire Weekend will be releasing their second album Contra on XL Recordings on the 12th of January 2010. It's produced by Rostam Batmanglij, the band's keyboard player.

Tracklist:
01 "Horchata"
02 "White Sky"
03 "Holiday"
04 "California English"
05 "Taxi Cab"
06 "Run"
07 "Cousins"
08 "Giving Up the Gun"
09 "Diplomat's Son"
10 "I Think Ur A Contra"

Stream 'Horchata':