Swear I'm not Paul: 21/03/2010

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Links and stuff

This is just a brief interruption to regular programming to point you in the direction of some other things I've been up to recently.

Tomorrow night the 2010 Irish Blog Awards will take place in Galway, I've been nominated for Best Music Blog, against some worthy opponents: Nialler9, Torture Garden, Faith No More 2.0, and Goldenplec. Good luck to all the nominees.

Also nominated for Best Pop Culture Blog is Culch.ie, where I've been known to hang out, writing book, television, and gaming news/reviews etc. In the Best Blog of a Business category, online PR firm SimplyZesty have been nominated - on their website today, you can find a guest post from yours truly about how bands have started using social media to their advantage. So if either of those wins tomorrow night, I expect to take full responsibility, and no responsibility if they don't win. Fair deal?

One last link for today. In the Day and Night magazine in today's Irish Independent, Swear I'm Not Paul has been selected as one of the top ten music blogs in Ireland. Not bad eh?

Album Review: Oliver Cole - We Albatri

Oliver Cole - We Albatri

Today's review of Oliver Cole's debut album We Albatri in the Irish Times awards the solo record from the Turn frontman five stars. An impressive feat, but what stood out for me reading the review was that when some of the songs were mentioned by name I found myself singing the lyrics in my head. This is the true test of a great pop tune. If someone says the title of 'Can't Get You Out of My Head' or 'Just Dance' or 'Hey Ya', you find yourself immediately humming the tune. The same with many of the songs here. As soon as I read 'Moth's Wing' in that Irish Times review earlier, the chorus popped into my head.

That applies to most of the songs on the record. Opener 'What Will You Do?' is guided by a fantastic piano riff, and has a chorus that sounds eerily like a lot of Jon Brion's Meaningless - and I don't compare anyone to Jon Brion unless I really mean it, the man is a musical deity. This is a fantastic pop song, and the perfect way to begin an album.

All the songs on here are fantastic pop tunes. Single 'Oh My Girl' is irresistibly catchy, with a hook that could win any listener's attention. 'Too Many People' is one a lot of people have heard before, written by Cole for the Cake Sale album, where it was performed by Glen Hansard. Cole's doesn't differ too much from that version, but is sparkling nonetheless. Perhaps an Oscar could be somewhere in the future for Ollie? I could definitely see him scoring movies anyway - there's hints of Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson in here.

There are highlights galore on here. The smooth soulful 'Close Your Eyes' is a gorgeous song, the title track is a sweet piano ballad which requests multiple listens, and 'Little Bad Dream' is an instantly memorable singalong song. Fans of Turn will definitely not be alienated, but new fans will also be captivated by the brilliance of 'Drug Song', probably the album's highest point.

It's impossible to find any flaws with this album. It's a perfect pop record. Not tween/teen pop, but pop for grown-ups. Pop that people raised on the Beatles or the Beach Boys, or even ABBA, can appreciate. Wonderful in every way.

Oh, and after the album has ended, I'm still singing 'Moth's Wing' in my head. I will be all day...

Live: Bonnie Prince Billy at Whelan's

Will Oldham, also known as Bonnie 'Prince' Billy will be playing Whelan's in Dublin along with the Cairo Gang on June 28th. The Bonnie Prince will be in town to promote his new album For the Wonder Show of the World. This new album is a much more stripped down album than his previous record, Beware, but stands strongly beside everything else in his catalogue.

Tickets cost €29 and are on sale now.

Watch 'I Am Goodbye' from Beware:

Download: Tallest Man on Earth - Burden of Tomorrow

Many of you may already have downloaded 'King of Spain' from the new Tallest Man on Earth album The Wild Hunt, but now I'm giving you the chance to hear another one of the album's ten tracks - all for the astonishing price of free. You can download the mp3 of 'Burden of Tomorrow' below, and whet your appetite even more for The Wild Hunt, which is due on April 9th in Ireland on Dead Oceans. He will also be playing Ireland this summer to promote the record - at Whelan's on June 10th.

01 The Wild Hunt
02 Burden of Tomorrow
03 Troubles Will be Gone
04 You're Going Back
05 The Drying of the Lawns
06 King of Spain
07 Love Is All
08 Thousand Ways
09 A Lion's Heart
10 Kids on the Run

The Tallest Man on Earth - 'Burden of Tomorrow'
The Tallest Man on Earth - 'King of Spain'

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Album Review: The Cast of Cheers - Chariot

The Cast of Cheers - Chariot

My good friend Michael is a huge fan of rock. Thus when I recommend an album to him, I always make sure that it's rocking. Definitely rocking. Last week, I recommended the debut album from Dublin rock band The Cast of Cheers. Named after Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson and co., googling this band of Irish barroom patrons will get you tonnes of links to "Where are they now pages", and if you're lucky, the link to download this album for free - legally too.

Chariot opens with 'Goose', and just five seconds in, you know you're on to a winner. It's territory which has been well trampled by Bloc Party, and this foursome easily could be Ireland's answer. They describe themselves as 'Robot Rock', which isn't too far off the mark, but the emphasis should really be on the rock. This album contains foot-stomping material from start to finish.

The strangely titled 'I am Lion' is more spectral than the opener, with moments of woozy melody which add an unsettling quality to the music. Unsettling in a good way though. Kind of like how Paranormal Activity is a great film. Unsettling, but great. 'Tip the Can' slides towards breathy mathrock, as it races along at a momentous pace. 'Auricorn' brings more Bloc Party comparisons, and has some great lyrics including the clever "I am not the deputy / And he was not the sheriff / We stole her identity".

There are plenty of great tunes on this album, including the gritty 'Derp', the angry outburst of 'Tigerfox', and the slow-building 'Strangers' injects a surprisingly good change of pace. All the songs are punchy, with only the closer 'Glitter' over four minutes, but this is why the album works so well. It's a fantastic one-two punch of an album which briefly sticks around, but makes enough of a mark to be memorable after the last note rings out. A fine debut from an emerging Irish rock behemoth.

Full Album

Download: Patterson Hood - Darkness on the Edge of Town Bootleg

Patterson Hood and a bunch of others covered some of their favourite songs back in 2007 (the 1st of December to be exact) as part of Underneath the Covers 2 - an AIDS Athens benefit night. Patterson Hood chose some songs from Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town, and enlisted John Neff, David Barbe, Brad Morgan, and Jay Gonzalez.

1 – Badlands
2 – Something In The Night
3 – Candy’s Room
4 – Racing In The Street
5 – Adam Raised A Cain
6 – Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Patterson Hood - 'Badlands'
Patterson Hood - 'Adam Raised a Cain'

Full Show

(Bootleg taped by Sloan Simpson)

Live: Duke Special Nationwide Tour

Duke Special is returning with a special live show The Silent World of Hector Mann & Songs from Mother Courage, which is stopping at theatres all over the country. I won't attempt to explain the show itself, as the press release does a much better job than I could (plus I haven't seen Duke in action on this tour, so haven't yet experienced it myself).

"The Silent World of Hector Mann celebrates a much overlooked treasure of the silent film era. The Duke will whisk audiences away on a magical mystery tour of train tracks, tramps, romance and violins, the silent world of Hector Mann, who only managed to make twelve silent movies before his mysterious disappearance in the late 1920’s. Duke Special and his band will present an evening of songs especially written for each of these twelve near-forgotten silent screen gems, combining celluloid and vinyl, spoken words and musical yarns, bringing to life the beautiful and sinister world of the legendary Hector Mann. Songs from Mother Courage will feature music from the new production of the Bertolt Brecht anti-war classic Mother Courage & Her Children, which ran at the National Theatre in London, and featured Duke Special and his band alongside award winning actress Fiona Shaw."

There's plenty of dates all around the country, so make sure you catch this show while you can. No doubt Duke will be moving onto totally different things when it's over. The big finale comes at Tripod on June 11th. Going to be an amazing night, no doubt.

Tour dates:
Thursday May 27 An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Friday May 28 Strule Arts Centre, Omagh, Co. Tyrone
Saturday May 29 Black Box Theatre, Galway
Sunday May 30 The Set Theatre, Kilkenny
Tuesday June 1 The Riverbank Theatre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare
Wednesday June 2 Glór Theatre, Ennis, Co. Clare
Thursday June 3 Theatre Royal, Waterford
Friday June 4 Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick
Saturday June 5 The School of Music, Cork
Sunday June 6 The Model Theatre, Sligo
Tuesday June 8 Backstage Theatre, Longford
Wednesday June 9 Waterfront Studio, Belfast
Friday June 11 Tripod, Dublin

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Live: Electric Picnic 2010 Lineup

The initial lineup for this year's Electric Picnic has been announced. It's a very pleasant alternative to Oxegen, with many legendary faces due to appear at Stradbally, Co. Laois from the 3rd to the 5th of September.

The main trio are Roxy Music, Leftfield, and Massive Attack. Very dancy headliners compared to Oxegen's hip-hop flavour for 2010. It'll be great to see Bryan Ferry and co on the main stage, as well as the return of Leftfield after a decade away from the limelight. Massive Attack are also a fantastic live band, and will be promoting their latest album Heligoland.

There's tonnes of other fantastic acts playing, including some local favourites: the Frames, Imelda May, Paul Brady, the Villagers, Messiah J and the Expert, as well as Choice Music Prize winner Adrian Crowley.

Full Lineup so far:

Album News: Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem are set to release new album American Slang on June 15th. The first single from the album, also called 'American Slang' made its debut yesterday, and can be streamed in full online. The tracklist and album cover have also been announced. The album promises to be more radio-friendly than the last (at least that's what the single is telling me), and could mark the band's transition to the big time.

American Slang
Stay Lucky
Bring It On
The Diamond Church Street Choir
The Queen of Lower Chelsea
Old Haunts
The Spirit of Jazz
We Did It When We Were Young

The Gaslight Anthem - 'American Slang'

Download: Burning Codes - Speaking in Code

'Speaking in Code' is the new tune from Belfast's wonderful Burning in Codes. They're led by Paul Archer (brother of the fantastic songwriter Iain), and have improved majestically since their debut album. Burning Codes 2 is released via Indiecater Records, and can be streamed in full over at the Indiecater site. Oh and if you like it as much as I did after hearing 'Speaking in Code', you can also buy it for €4. That's right. Less than the price of a chicken fillet roll!

Burning Codes - 'Speaking in Code'

More info/Buy/Stream:

Live: Peter Green at the Olympia

Fleetwood Mac co-founder and guitar legend Peter Green returns to Ireland on May 16th. After selling out the Academy last year (and being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame), he'll perform at the Olympia Theatre this summer. Green was ranked #38 in Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists Ever, and is known for replacing Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, as well as writing some of Fleetwood Mac's greatest tunes: 'Albatross', 'Black Magic Woman', and 'Man of the World'.

Tickets priced €33 are on sale now.

Watch Peter in action on 'World Keeps Turning':

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Album News: Karen Elson - The Ghost Who Walks

Karen Elson - The Ghost Who Walks

The Ghost Who Walks is the debut album from Mrs. Jack White, Karen Elson. She's releasing her album on Third Man Records (Jack's fantastic new label) and UK indie XL on May 25th. The album features a fine cast of musicians: Rachelle Garniez on accordion and vocals, The Dead Weather’s Dean Fertita on guitar and organ, My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel on pedal steel, Jackson Smith on guitar, as well as her hubby Jack White on drums. Jack White also produced the record, so if his work with Loretta Lynn is anything to go by, this should be amazing.

1. The Ghost Who Walks
2. The Truth Is The Dirt
3. Pretty Babies
4. Lunasa
5. 100 Years From Now
6. Stolen Roses
7. Cruel Summer
8. Garden
9. The Birds They Circle
10. A Thief At My Door
11. The Last Laugh
12. Mouths To Feed

Watch 'The Ghost Who Walks' live and acoustic:

Live: Tegan and Sara at the Olympia

If I'm being truthful, I'll tell you my first real introduction to Tegan & Sara was via Grey's Anatomy. A few of their songs from So Jealous were used on the soundtracks to season one and two. Then I got some of their albums and have loved them since.

Thus their June 15th appearance at the Olympia Theatre will be a great chance to catch them live. Plus, the tickets aren't too bad at €22 each. They go on sale this Friday.

Watch 'You Wouldn't Like Me' live:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stream: The Hold Steady - Hurricane J

"They didn't name her for a saint, they named her for a storm / So how's she supposed to think about how it's gonna feel in the morning?"

The new Hold Steady album Heaven is Whenever comes out May 1st in Ireland on Rough Trade. That's a month and a half away, but you can have a listen to the lead single 'Hurricane J' now...

Stream The Hold Steady - 'Hurricane J':

Live: Hurts at Whelan's

After coming fourth in BBC's Sound of 2010 poll, Hurts are set to touch down in Dublin to play their first ever Irish date. They'll be playing Whelan's on May 20th. Tickets are €14.45 and are on sale now.

In case you haven't heard them, they've really taken on the sound of the 80s, and are a retro synth duo from London. Which is so much cooler than it sounds. Trust me. Have a listen to the live version of 'Blood, Tears & Gold' to see what I mean...

Watch Hurts - 'Blood, Tears & Gold':

Live: Band of Horses at the Academy

Band of Horses are set to release their new album Infinite Arms on May 17th, and to promote it, they'll be playing an intimate gig at Dublin's Academy on June 4th. Expect to hear songs from that new record as well as some old favourites. Hopefully we'll get a chance to hear their fantastic tune 'The Funeral' this summer.

Tickets are €27.50 and go on sale this Friday.

Watch Band of Horses - 'The Funeral':