Swear I'm not Paul: 2009

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Album News: Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can

Laura Marling's second album I Speak Because I Can will be released on Virgin on the 2nd of March 2010. It'll be produced by uber-producer Ethan Johns and will be a more rootsy album than her debut.

Lead single 'Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)' came out last week and gives a hint of what to expect. Have a listen below.

Laura Marling - 'Goodbye England'


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Setlist: Madness, O2 Dublin, 28 December 2009

Suggs brought the Madness to Dublin's O2 on Monday (see what I did there), for one of the last big gigs of 2009. It went down a treat with all their longterm fans (somehow I doubt there were many new converts), as they played a mix of old and new.

1.One Step Beyond 4:12 Min.
2.Embarrassment 3:47 Min. (with Help interpolation)
3.The Prince 3:04 Min.
4.NW5 4:40 Min.
5.My Girl 3:13 Min.
6.Dust Devil 3:54 Min.
7.Sun & The Rain 4:30 Min.
8.Johnny The Horse 3:26 Min.
9.Shut Up 3:47 Min.
10.In The Rain 2:32 Min.
11.Clerkenwell Polka 4:55 Min.
12.Iron Shirt 3:51 Min.
13.MKII 2:05 Min.
14.Bed & Breakfast Man 3:00 Min.
15.That Close 4:12 Min.
16.Ernie 2:25 Min.
17.Forever Young 5:21 Min.
18.House Of Fun 2:47 Min.
19.Wings Of A Dove 3:11 Min.
20.Baggy Trousers 2:26 Min.
21.Our House 3:51 Min.
22.It Must Be Love 6:27 Min.
23.Tarzan's Nuts 2:17 Min.
24.Madness 3:48 Min.
25.Night Boat To Cairo 4:52 Min.

Set thanks to Mad.Irishman on the Madness Central Forum.

Watch 'Ernie' live in Dublin:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Download: Ryan Adams - Exit Inn Bootleg with Gillian Welch

Ryan Adams - Exit Inn

Fantastic early Ryan Adams solo show which has Gillian Welch on guitar and vocals in the latter half. Recorded October 28, 1999 at the Exit/In, Nashville, Tennessee.

Transfer & Mastered by Joel Swaney (ryanadamsarchive@gmail.com)
Lineage: SBD > DAT(clone) > M1(Digital Out) > Adobe Audition 1.5(T-Racks) > WAV > FLAC

[Disc I]
01. Born Yesterday
02. Funny How I'm Losing You
03. Memories Of You
04. Oh My Sweet Valentine
05. To Be The One
06. Hey There, Mrs. Lovely
07. In My Time Of Need
08. Onslow County
09. Folklore

[Disc II]
01. Revelator*
02. Dancing With The Women At The Bar*

1st Encore:
03. Helpless*
04. Return Of The Grievous Angel*
05. 16 Days*

2nd Encore:
06. Nighttime Gals
07. Statuettes With Wounds
08. Avenues

Ryan Adams (Vocals / Guitar / Harmonica)
Gillian Welch (Vocals / Guitar)*

Ryan Adams - 'Return of the Grievous Angel'
Ryan Adams - 'Hey There, Mrs Lovely'

Full Show

Saturday, December 26, 2009

RIP: Vic Chesnutt

Sad sad day yesterday, Vic Chesnutt (not Chestnutt) died after lapsing into a coma on Christmas Eve. Here's the message from his record label.

Surrounded by family and friends, Vic Chesnutt died in Athens Georgia this afternoon, Friday 25 December at 14:59.

In the few short years that we knew him personally, Vic transformed our sense of what true character, grace and determination are all about. Our grief is inexpressible and Vic’s absence unfathomable.

We will make more information available according to the wishes of Vic’s family and friends.

Don and Ian

Watch 'Flirted With You All My Life':

Album News: Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds - Live in Las Vegas

Tim Reynolds has always added a lot when he plays with the Dave Matthews Band. His guitar fills and riffs are excellent, and when Dave and Tim play acoustic shows they are even better. He brings out the best in Matthews. Live at Luther College is one of the best live releases of the 90s, and D&T are to start of the 10s with a new live album. Recorded over three nights in Las Vegas, NV earlier this month , the record is due on February 9th, 2010.

Disc: 1
1. Eh Hee
2. Dancing Nancies
3. Squirm
4. Grace Is Gone
5. Alligator Pie
6. One Sweet World
7. Loving Wings
8. Grey Street
9. Kundalini Bonfire
10. Oh
11. Christmas Song
12. Funny The Way It Is
13. Stay Or Leave
14. Shake Me Like A Monkey
15. Lying In The Hands Of God

Disc: 2
1. Bartender
2. Kashmir
3. So Damn Lucky
4. Little Red Bird
5. Save Me
6. You & Me
7. Crush
8. Some Devil
9. Typical Situation
10. Sister
11. Two Step

Here's a video of 'Squirm' from night two:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas from Swear I'm Not Paul

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Watch: Paul McCartney, O2 Dublin, 20 December 2009

Watch all the songs from Paul McCartney's show at the O2 in Dublin on Sunday night. Thanks to all the tapers and uploaders. I went for length and audio quality ahead of video quality, and will add the missing songs when they're uploaded.

1. Magical Mystery Tour

2. Drive My Car

3. Jet

4. Only Mama Knows
5. Flaming Pie

6. Got To Get You Into My Life

7. Let Me Roll It
8. Highway

9. Long And Winding Road

10. (I Want To) Come Home
11. My Love

12. Blackbird

13. Here Today

14. Dance Tonight

15. And I Love Her

16. Eleanor Rigby

17. Something

18. Mrs Vandebilt
19. Sing the Changes

20. Wonderful Christmas Time

21. Band on the Run

22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

23. Back in the USSR
24. I've Got a Feeling
25. Paperback Writer

26. A Day in the Life > Give Peace a Chance

27. Let It Be

28. Live and Let Die

29. Hey Jude

30. Day Tripper
31. Lady Madonna
32. Get Back

33. Yesterday

34. Helter Skelter

35. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) > The End

If more videos are uploaded, please let me know...

Live Review: Paul McCartney, The O2 Dublin, 20 December 2009

Paul McCartney Good Evening Dublin

I saw a Beatle. That's not something you get to say every day. Probably not something you'll be saying for long more. At 67, Paul McCartney is well past retirement age, but from his lengthy live show, you'd never guess it for a second. He's still as sprightly as most forty-year-olds. In fact, he's probably far more energetic than me.

Seeing your heroes is sometimes disappointing. Like when a kid meets Roy Keane or some other petulant footballer, you're left with a bitter aftertaste. Not so with Paul McCartney. He leaves you on a high after the musical equivalent of wining and dining you for nearly three hours.

From listening to his recent live albums: Back in the World, Back in the US, and this year's Good Evening New York, you would think Paul just sings and sings, but on stage, he's actually a brilliant showman, and interacts fantastically with the audience. For Good Evening Dublin at the O2, he even threw in a few sentences of Irish here and there. When he said "Nollaig Shona Duit" following 'Wonderful Christmas Time' you would've believed his earlier quip about Liverpool being the real capital of Ireland: "only a short boatride away!"

I will admit to having looked at the setlists to give an indication of what to expect. But words on a page can't really prepare you for thirty-something fantastic songs. The set was filled with Beatles tunes, Wings tunes, Paul solo tunes, and even two from his Fireman project. The ones that got the best response were obviously the Beatles songs, but each song got a magnificent welcome from an awestruck audience. It probably was the best audience I'd ever seen at a concert. There wasn't your drunken louts, it was a dignified communal dance in time to the music. A bit like this?

After a long video intro (which was played alongside remixes of his own music in many guises - ballsy to come out to your own music, isn't it?), Paul and his fantastic backing band took the stage around twenty past eight, and kept going until eleven p.m. They opened the same way as the rest of their shows with 'Magical Mystery Tour' and 'Drive My Car', two Beatles classics that let you know you were in for a marvellous night's entertainment. The Wings song that followed, 'Jet' really got the crowd going with its fantastic rock riff. He then played the standout song from his most recent solo album Memory Almost Full; 'Only Mama Knows' maybe a newer song but it was as warmly received as the rest. There were many die-hard Macca fans in the audience.

I was never a massive fan of the title track from Flaming Pie, but live, it was pretty good. 'Got to Get You Into My Life' and 'Let Me Roll It' were much better though, the latter ending the same way it has all tour with a nice piece from Jimi Hendrix's 'Foxy Lady'. Paul also told us a wonderful story about how Jimi covered 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' only two days after its release, and afterwards he (Hendrix) wanted Eric Clapton to come on stage to re-tune his guitar.

'Highway' from the Fireman and later 'Sing the Changes' were the least known of any of the songs, and caused some people to use them as a bathroom break. I stuck around throughout, and must say I loved both tunes. 'Highway' especially, with its fantastic chorus. I had listened to the new album once or twice when it came out, but totally forgotten it since. I may have to go back and revisit it.

Paul then switched to piano for 'The Long and Winding Road'. For this, and some of the softer songs like 'Blackbird' and 'Yesterday', it was actually hard to hear Macca singing at all, due to the fact that 14,000 others were singing along at the same time. It was a wonderful experience, and his solo rendition of 'Blackbird' has made up for all the times I've played the opening riff while tuning my own guitar - now every time I do it, I'll remind Gill of this concert, so I won't be asked "playing that again?"

'I Want to Come Home' and 'My Love' are lovely little tunes, and provided that slow dance feel to the evening. I know I've mentioned it already, but 'Blackbird' was absolutely fantastic. 'Here Today' is a gorgeous tribute to John Lennon, and although the place was packed, felt quite intimate. The mandolin playing of 'Dance Tonight' was wonderful, and set us off dancing again. 'And I Love Her' always sounded to me like a song the Who never recorded (check out that opening vocal), maybe it influenced Pete and Roger, who knows?

'Eleanor Rigby' was another standout. Perhaps the highlight of the night for me as far as Beatles songs go. Absolutely amazing. Then Paul pulled out the ukelele for a fantastic version of 'Something' which was introduced with a little tease of 'Oh Me, Oh My' and a great story about George Fornby beforehand. 'Mrs Vandebilt' is another of those essential Wings tunes (complete with synthy keys), and is great live due to its singalong refrain "ho eh oh, ho eh oh"! 'Sing the Changes' is a Fireman song which sounds like Fleetwood Mac. That can't be bad, right? It wasn't either. Damn good live.

'Wonderful Christmas Time' was only played for the second time this tour, but it wasn't at all rusty. The graphics on the screens behind and the sides were also fantastic. Not many people get to hear that McCartney classic, so we all should feel even more special. 'Band on the Run' was gorgeous, especially the breakdown section (Franz Ferdinand wished they could do it that well). 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' was never one of my favourite Beatles tunes either, but I may well be converted now. However, everyone loves 'Back in the USSR', with its old-school rock and roll feel. Gorgeous. "You don't know how lucky you are".

We didn't get 'I'm Down' on Sunday night, which wasn't a huge disappointment, nor was the lack of 'Michelle'. But like everywhere else, we got...'A Feeling'. See what I did there? A nice song to slow things down before the fantastic final run of 'Paperback Writer', 'A Day in the Life', 'Let it Be', 'Live and Let Die', and 'Hey Jude'. All magnificent songs. The last three especially. 'Live and Let Die' was a major highlight due to the pyrotechnics. What a show. (The fact that it's a Bond theme helps too).

Paul took a break before coming back on for the first encore: 'Day Tripper', 'Lady Madonna' and 'Get Back' are all classics. 'Lady Madonna' was gorgeous, and 'Get Back' was another singalong highlight. Wonderful.

The second encore gave us a lovely quiet 'Yesterday', a rip-roaring 'Helter Skelter', and the usual 'Sgt Peppers/The End' ending. At thirty-six songs, it never went on too long, and everyone in the Point that night could have gladly stayed on for another thirty-six more.

The best gig of 2009. Without a doubt. If you missed it, I really feel for you. Amazing in every way.

Watch 'Live and Let Die' live in Dublin:

List: Nialler9's Top 30 Albums of the Year

He's got some fine choices on there, but props to selecting The Holy Roman Army. An excellent album from some fellow Carlovians. It's the best thing to come out of Carlow this year until today, when the M9 opens between Carlow and Kilcullen!

Anyhow, check out Nialler9's list here:

I'm not going to spoil it for you. (P.S. He has downloads of mp3s from each of the top twenty - nice!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Album News: Midlake - Courage of Others

Midlake - Courage of Others

The follow-up to Midlake's splendid The Trials of Van Occupanther is due out on the second of February. It's influenced by Nick Drake and Fairport Convention, so should be awesome.

01 "Acts Of Man"
02 "Winter Dies"
03 "Small Mountain"
04 "Core Of Nature"
05 "Fortune"
06 "Rulers, Ruling All Things"
07 "Children Of The Grounds"
08 "Bring Down"
09 "The Horn"
10 "The Courage Of Others"
11 "In The Ground"

Setlist: The Prodigy, O2 Dublin, 18 December 2009

The Prodigy played the Point/O2 in Dublin on Friday night and were said to have played a fantastic gig.

1. World's On Fire
2. Breathe
3. Omen
4. Voodoo People
5. Warrior's Dance
6. Omen Reprise
7. Invaders Must Die
8. Take Me To The Hospital
9. Poison
10. Diesel Power
11. Firestarter
12. Out Of Space
13. No Good
14. Smack My Bitch Up
15. Their Law
Watch 'Warrior's Dance' live from the O2 on Friday:

Setlist: Paul McCartney, O2 Dublin, 20 December 2009

I was at this gig last night, and it was amazing! I'll have a full review up later, but for now here's Paul McCartney's setlist from the O2 in Dublin on the 20th of December:

1. Magical Mystery Tour
2. Drive My Car
3. Jet
4. Only Mama Knows
5. Flaming Pie
6. Got To Get You Into My Life
7. Let Me Roll It > Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix cover)
8. Highway
9. Long And Winding Road
10. (I Want To) Come Home
11. My Love
12. Blackbird
13. Here Today
14. Dance Tonight
15. And I Love Her
16. Eleanor Rigby
17. Something
18. Mrs Vandebilt
19. Sing the Changes
20. Wonderful Christmas Time
21. Band on the Run
22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
23. Back in the USSR
24. I've Got a Feeling
25. Paperback Writer
26. A Day in the Life > Give Peace a Chance
27. Let It Be
28. Live and Let Die
29. Hey Jude
30. Day Tripper
31. Lady Madonna
32. Get Back (with reprise)
33. Yesterday
34. Helter Skelter
35. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) > The End

Friday, December 18, 2009

List: Top 10 Irish Songs of 2009

I originally posted this on Nialler9's blog as part of his readers' poll for the best Irish albums and songs of the year. Well here's my top 10 Irish songs of 2009, complete with videos. Enjoy!

1. The Holy Roman Army – Stagger Gently Home

What a fantastic video, created by the kids at Drumphea National School in Co. Carlow. Plus the song itself is amazing.

2. David Geraghty – Tuesday’s Feet
(No video, not even a live one online)

3. 202s – Ease My Mind

4. Duckworth Lewis Method – Jiggery Pokery

5. The Holy Roman Army – Elegy

(Recorded by 2uibestow)

6. CODES – This is Goodbye

7. David Geraghty – Watch Her Win

(also recorded by 2uibestow)

8. Super Extra Bonus Party – Comets

9. The Chapters – Videotapes

10. I am Not Lefthanded – Everybody Sleeps

Thursday, December 17, 2009

List: Best Albums of the Decade 10-1

The final part of my countdown of the top 110 albums of the decade. Do you agree with some of the choices? Or do you think they stink to the high heavens? Please let me know, one way or another. You can find 110-101 here, 100-91 here, 90-81 here, 80-71 here, 70-61 here, 60-51 here, 50-41 here, 40-31 here, 30-21 here, and 20-11 here. Finally, here's the most important piece of the puzzle:

10. Joanna Newsom - Ys (2006)
The first time I heard this album, I couldm't get enough. I thought it was the best thing ever. The most gorgeous album ever made. I've lessened the hyperbole a little since, but I still love it. A fantastic album, but not for everyone. Features excessive harp playing and shrill vocals. Be warned!

9. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America (2007)
The best bar band in America hit the big time with this album. It's a record by guys nearing forty who act like they are eighteen. Thus it appeals to the kid inside all of us. But it's the lyrics that get you to stay around. Intelligent stories that are much more than mere tales about getting wasted and going to parties. They feature excellent characters who live vividly exciting lives. We're all jealous.

8. Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch (2007)
Jason Isbell's first solo album was recorded while he was still a Trucker, but it shone in so many ways. Who could argue with the blistering rock and the excellent lyrics? Take 'Dress Blues' for example. Has there been a better song written about the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq? Somehow I doubt it. Bitterly beautiful. It also helps that Jason himself is one of the best guitarists around.

7. The Strokes - Is This It (2001)
A lot was written about the Strokes when they first came on the scene. They've tried to repeat the success of this since, but neither their band albums or solo projects have matched the suckerpunch that was Is This It. Straight-up rock like this just can't be messed with.

6. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (2005)
A concept album about the American state, this was so much bigger than Stevens' first attempt, Michigan. It features the slogan "Come on Feel the Illinoise" on the cover, which just lets you know what kind of album this is going to be. Fun and egotistical, it's Stevens' masterpiece.

5. Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)
Forget about the method of payment (you downloaded it illegally even though you could get it for free, didn't you?). This album was so much better than anyone could have expected. It's probably their most accessible album, and as a result it's their best work since OK Computer. Some of the songs are a little overblown, but who cares? That's the Radiohead style. We love them all the more for it.

4. Ryan Adams - Love is Hell (2003)
Ryan Adams has never got on well with labels. They didn't even want to release this album, so he gave them the decent Rock N Roll instead. But it was this combination of two EPs, the first which came out in 2003 that was the real success. His best work so far, it's a gorgeous album of mellow, poignant tunes. Some may not stand out on first listen (some not all), but when you let them seep in, you'll realise the glory. Phenomenal.

3. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells (2001)
No, it doesn't have a single like 'Seven Nation Army'. Few albums do. What this has is much better: Sixteen urgent quickfire songs, each one a standout on a marvelous album. It was hard to believe that only two people were involved in this record, and that there was no bass guitar in sight, but when you're as fine a guitar player as Jack White is, you need little else.

2. Drive-By Truckers - The Dirty South (2004)
The best album to come out of the confederacy since... well, ever. It's a tribute to southern United States, and an absolutely magnificent one at that. It's full of marvellous stories and imagery, such as the splendid 'Carl Perkins Cadillac' and 'Danko/Manuel', which are touching songs about the legendary musicians. The album sealed the Drive-By Truckers status as modern American legends, and is a stunning collection of songs. Simply amazing.

1. Mic Christopher - Skylarkin' (2001)
My gorgeous other half, Gill, asked me why I love this album so much. I couldn't give her a decent answer. I don't think there are words strong enough to describe the connection I have to this album. I can't help but be captivated by its beauty every single time I put it on. Released after Mic's tragic death in 2001, this was the finest hour of one of Ireland's greatest ever songwriters. Together with his work with the Mary Janes, Mic was carving out a career up there with Van Morrison's. Sadly, following a show in Holland in 2001, Mic had an accident, falling down a flight of stairs and hitting his head. He never regained consciousness and died a few days later. It was the biggest loss to the music world since the death of Jeff Buckley four years earlier. Skylarkin is just as good as Grace, if not better. The best album of the decade.

Download: Fight Like Apes - Live at Eurosonic

Today is MayKay's Birthday (got to love Christmas Birthdays), so Fight Like Apes have released their Live at Eurosonic via Soundcloud for free download. So we're getting a present for her birthday. Excellent.

You Are The Hat
Do You Karate?
Jake Summers
I'm Beginning To Think You Prefer Beverly Hills 90210 To Me
Lend Me Your Face
Lumpy Dough
Tie Me Up With Jackets

Full Show

More info:

List: 10 Reasons not to buy RATM this Christmas

SimplyZesty's Niall made an article yesterday about the importance of Blockbuster posts on your blog. It's posts like these that get the most hits, and thus the most feedback and comments. This is what I hope this post to be. One of those that generates a lot of feedback (in this case, I expect a lot of you to disagree with me!)

If you don't already know, there's a battle, nay, war going on. For control of the coveted position of the Christmas Number 1 in the singles charts (in both the UK and Ireland). It's been trending all week on twitter, as music fans "angry" at te state of the charts today make a stand against Simon Cowell and X Factor. I'm here to ask you to put down your weapons mouse, and to not buy Rage Against the Machine's 'Killing in the Name' this Christmas. Here's ten reasons why.

1. It's a One-Week Thing
The Christmas number 1 single is only for one week. What will knocking Joe McElderry achieve? One week of dominance for RATM, that's it. Are the people who are out there buying their single going to keep on clicking and buying it next week? Somehow, I doubt it. At which point, Joe McElderry will be guaranteed top spot in the singles chart. Are you going to keep buying RATM or NIN or whoever every week to stop crap songs getting to number one? Not a hope. It's a good idea, but it's a one-week special offer rather than a complete overhaul of the charts.

2. Can you name any other of this year's number ones?
Face it, you're not the kind of person who listens to BBC Radio 1 or 2fm each week to listen to the countdown of the week's top singles. You probably couldn't name more than ten chart toppers from this year. Sure Lady Gaga and Rihanna must have been up there, but who else? It's not like the charts are something you've cared passionately about before. So why become a vegetarian just for Christmas when all that uneaten turkey is lying around anyway?

3. You're facing a losing battle.
Rage Against the Machine may be ahead of Joe McElderry today, but the gap is closing. Physical CD copies of the winner's single have gone on sale, which are sure to sell like hotcakes. Especially tonight and on Friday when people get paid from work and give their kids the weekly pocket money. Even with all this campaigning, I can still see Joe being #1 this weekend. The bookies are just being cautious. They're going to lose money either way. So of course they're going to stop taking bets.

4. It's more money for Sony.
That's not really sticking it to the man (or in this case: machine), now is it? Both Joe McElderry and RATM are signed to Sony, so all you're doing by buying Rage is lining the pockets of Simon Cowell's peers. You may be annoying him, but a hell of a lot of other "suits" are profitting from your campaign. Come to think of it, it may have been some clever intern in Sony that came up with the idea of RATMforXmas anyway.

5. Why Rage? Why not someone else?
Rage Against the Machine are a well-established band. How about next year, instead of this, we take some unsigned or unknown act under our collective wings and try to make them number one. Zach de la Rocha needs neither the money or the attention (although he has to be enjoying Christmas a little more than usual this year). Imagine what it would mean to some act that usually plays to a crowd of 40 in local pubs. That would really show Sony and the major labels. They'd get none of the profits.

6. Actually, you're giving Simon Cowell more money.
You may think you're actually stopping Simon Cowell and his SyCo label from making money, but actually you're not. Has your campaign stopped any teen from buying Joe? No, you haven't changed their mind. They haven't had that "eureka" moment, where they sat up and said "I hate this pop nonsense, how about some hard rock instead?". If anything, these people who bought Joe anyway may well buy a second copy of the single or maybe even a third to counteract RATMforXmas. And who gains from that? Simon and Sony.

7. It could be worse...
You may not think it, but there are far worse things that could be number one at Christmas. Remember Bob the Builder a few years back? Mister Blobby? Even that Gary Jules' 'Mad World' nonsense. But even the most fervent Simon Cowell/reality TV hater has to admit that Joe's cover of Miley Cyrus's 'The Climb' is a million times better than Nizlopi's 'JCB Song'. Has there ever been a worse line than "I'm Luke, I'm five, and my Dads Bruce Lee"?

8. This kid doesn't deserve it.
Simon Cowell may deserve your hatred and your outrage, but does the young guy actually singing the song? Definitely not. He seems like a nice fella. He's just trying to make a living, trying to follow his dream of being a singer. Have you heard him? He's actually a damn good singer. Not an entertainer like Robbie, or Zach de la Rocha, but a great singer. He doesn't deserve your anger.

9. It's not allowing RatM to progress.
Instead of going out and creating new music, which admit it, you'd love, Rage Against the Machine are resting on their laurels. This song that you want to send to number one this Christmas is an old tune: seventeen years old, in fact. If you really want to buy a Rage song, it should be a new one. Anyone who already likes Rage will definitely have a copy of 'Killing in the Name' already. Why do you need another? You don't. A new song would be far more interesting. That's what they should be doing instead.

10. It's Christmas, save your money
Christmas is a tough time for a lot of people. Not Zach de la Rocha, not Tom Morello, not Brad Wilk, not even Tim Commerford. They're all wealthy due to touring and back catalogue sales. Instead of spending 50p/60c/whatever on downloading their song, give it to charity. Those people deserve your money. Zach has enough already. Try www.concern.net, www.trocaire.org, www.oxfam.org, or perhaps even www.bothar.ie

Give your money to someone who deserves it this Christmas. Not Cowell, not de la Rocha.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Live: 2UIBestow Christmas Party

Never mind that shoddy work Christmas Party, the real parties are ones with live bands. Luckily enough, the 2UIBestow Christmas Party features three such artists.

There's Alphastates, Junah and Declan De Barra. All worthy of your attention. What's better is the fact that it's free in.

It's on this Friday at 9 p.m. in Boyle's in Slane and is sure to be jampacked. A great night will be had by all.

More info:

List: Best Albums of the Decade 20-11

The penultimate part of my countdown of the top 110 albums of the decade. You can find 110-101 here, 100-91 here, 90-81 here, 80-71 here, 70-61 here, 60-51 here, 50-41 here, 40-31 here, and 30-21 here. Now, here's 20-11...

20. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Cold Roses (2005)
The first of Ryan Adams' albums in 2005, and also his first with backing band the Cardinals. Sadly today, Chris Feinstein, bassist with the Cardinals died. Chris wasn't involved with this album, but became a Cardinal later after Catherine Popper left the band. This is a double album with a fantastic first side. The first two songs are over five minutes each but never drag on. It's Adams' lengthiest album, but it's also the best of the 2005 trilogy.

19. Damien Rice - O (2002)
The best Irish debut this decade, Damien Rice will never make another like it. Rice's Juniper work was much more raw and aggressive, but here he paired up with Lisa Hannigan to make gorgeous slow moving songs. It's a long swoonsome listen, but every song is a classic. It's not just about the singles, but other songs such as 'Amie' and 'Cold Water' are beautiful too. Vyvienne Long's cello throughout is amazing.

18. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit (2009)
His second solo album since leaving the Drive-By Truckers, Isbell also gave his backing band lead billing. The 400 Unit are a stellar band and add a lot to his fantastic Americana. Isbell is fantastic solo, but the rest of these guys add an extra, louder dimension to his fantastic lyrics. One of the finest songwriters of our generation.

17. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins (2008)
I wrote this blurb for a forum I frequent as part of their best albums of 2008 list. It was my favourite album of the year due to its brilliant melodies and fantastic lyrics. But rather than talk about that, just enjoy this: http://swearimnotpaul.blogspot.com/2009/12/blurb-okkervil-river-stand-ins.html

16. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog (2007)
Sam Beam's best work so far, it was the album Bon Iver fans should've been listening to instead. (I've said that a few times now.) It has some beautiful love songs, and some outrageously gorgeous ballads.

15. Bell x1 - Music in Mouth (2003)
Bell x1's second album outdid their debut in every way. The lyrics became much more outrageous. I mean who could forget a line like "No you're not Maud Gonne" or the brilliant wordplay of 'Snakes and Snakes' and 'Alphabet Soup'. It's so much more than 'Eve, the Apple of My Eye' (originally a Juniper song 'Never' anyhow, like 'Tongue').

14. Drive-By Truckers - Decoration Day (2003)
Named after Memorial Day in the US, the Drive-By Truckers' fourth album is another tribute to southern America. It was the first album with Jason Isbell on board, which brought a fantastic new dimension to the band. His songwriting here is flawless: check out the fatherly advice of 'Outfit', but his involvement allowed Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley to reach new levels also.

13. Whiskeytown - Pneumonia (2001)
The swansong of Whiskeytown, this was released after the band had broken up. Like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours without the marital strife, it's an essential band breakup album. Some people may argue that their earlier work was better (although none of it is from this decade), but for me, this is the essential Whiskeytown album. It starts off brilliantly with 'The Ballad of Carol Lynn' and 'Don't Wanna Know Why', but it reaches its highpoint midway through with the phenomenal one-two punch of 'Under Your Breath' and 'Mirror Mirror'.

12. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005)
Conor Oberst's Bright Eyes released two albums simultaenously in 2005. One was an out-there electronic album, and the other was a stripped-back acoustic led record. The softer, more mellow one was the better. By a comfortable margin. Skip the random monologue at the start, that's just Oberst being pretentious. The rest of the record never exceeds itself. It's Oberst at his most reflective, where he just makes music without ego.

11. Ryan Adams - Gold (2001)
It's impossible to forget that video for 'New York, New York', filmed in front of the World Trade Center on 7th September 2001. The song became an obituary to the city as well as a gorgeous tribute (up there with Bruce Springsteen's The Rising). Aside from that, there was so much to savour. Even the shortest track, 'Gonna Make You Love Me' is a winner. But it's 'When the Stars Go Blue' that'll keep Adams' pockets lined. has he ever written a better song?

The Countdown continues tomorrow...

Blurb: Okkervil River - The Stand Ins

My 17th Best Album of the Decade. Here's why.

Just print out and play...

Download: David Geraghty - Thank God It's Christmas

David Geraghty's Victory Dance was my favourite Irish album of 2009, filled with gorgeous melodies. As a special thanks to all his fans who bought the record, he has covered Queen's 'Thank God It's Christmas'. It's a fantastic cover, which I recommend you download!

David Geraghty - 'Thank God It's Christmas'

Album News: Sam Amidon - I See the Sign

Some artists start off good and then hit a rough patch, however Sam Amidon is the exception to most rules, he gets better and better with each album. I See the Sign will be his fourth album, and comes out on March 1st, 2010. It's an album of traditional folkie tunes, and even includes a duet with Neko Case. Nice! You can also sample an mp3 of the opener 'How Come that Blood' below.

01 How Come That Blood
02 Way Go Lily
03 You Better Mind
04 I See the Sign
05 Johanna the Row-di
06 Pretty Fair Damsel
07 Kedron
08 Rain and Snow
09 Climbing High Mountains
10 Relief
11 Red

Sam Amidon - 'How Come that Blood'

Setlist: The Swell Season, Vicar Street, 15 December 2009

Thanks to Peter over at 2uibestow for the setlist, he'll have a full review of the gig up tomorrow. (He loved it!) The show was a mixture of Glen solo, Glen & Marketa, The Swell Season, and the Frames (Peter also has those exact details, if you're dying to know).

Fallen From The Sky
Low Rising
Feeling The Pull
In These Arms
The Rain
The Moon
If You Want Me
Fantasy Man
Say It To Me Now
Paper Cup
Astral Weeks
When Your Mind's Made Up
Falling Slowly
High Horses
Star Star - O Holy Night - Christmastime in the Mountains
The Stars Are Underground
God Bless Mom
Lay Me Down
The Parting Glass

No videos yet, but here's Glen covering Will Oldham's 'New Partner' from a few years back:

Live: Brendan Benson at the Button Factory

I haven't seen too much about this gig online since it was announced at the end of last week, so I thought I'd help spread the world.

Pop-maestro Brendan Benson will be coming to Dublin to play the Button Factory on March 2nd. Tickets will cost €17 and go on sale this Friday, the 18th of December.

Watch 'Metarie', one of his best:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

List: Best Albums of the Decade 30-21

Part Nine of my countdown of the top 110 albums of the decade. You can find 110-101 here, 100-91 here, 90-81 here, 80-71 here, 70-61 here, 60-51 here, 50-41 here, and 40-31 here. But for now, here's 30-21...

30. Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat (2006)
We always knew former childstar Jenny Lewis had a certain sparkle, but it wasn't until her solo debut (away from Rilo Kiley) that she really shone. Together with the statuesque Watson Twins, she soothed us with this collection of 11 (technically 12) beautiful songs. The finest part was their cover of the Traveling Wilburys' 'Handle With Care', which actually outdid the stellar original.

29. PJ Harvey - Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000)
The best work of Harvey's career, Stories from the City... is a strangely dark but uplifting album. Not a description you hear everyday, it's an urbane record but filled with a vivid nightlife feel. Thom Yorke appears as a guest, but never overshines the artist herself. How could anyone improve on 'The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore'? I doubt it's possible.

28. Kanye West - The College Dropout (2004)
Kanye West's debut was the best thing to happen to hip-hop since the arrival of Jay-Z on the scene. It featured a massive amount of guests (none of which were major stars at the time, but are now), but it was West's fantastic rhymes which made this record. West was injured in a car crash during pre-production, and felt this album was his second chance at life. His ego has overtaken since, but with songs like 'All Falls Down' and 'Jesus Walks', isn't he entitled to be proud?

27. Johnny Cash - American III: Solitary Man (2000)
It doesn't get the same attention as the fourth - there's no 'Hurt' on here - but overall it is a marvellous collection of songs. He reinvents the title track, originally by Neil Diamond, as well as Tom Petty's 'I Won't Back Down', but the highlight has to be his take on Will Oldham's 'I See a Darkness'. Cash's finest hour.

26. The Libertines - The Libertines (2004)
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat's second album (strangely the self-titled one is the second, not the first) raised the bar even higher after their splendid debut. Sadly it was their last album together, and neither have matched the dizzy heights of the Libertines since. It was the songs the pair wrote together that really shone: 'What Became of the Likely Lads', 'Can't Stand Me Now', 'Road to Ruin', and 'The Man Who Would Be King'. The Doherty penned ones were good, but Barat added an extra dimension which is much needed now.

25. The Postal Service - Give Up (2003)
Ben Gibbard's other project was much better than his main career. They've only made one album so far, but what an album it was. Created via Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello sending each other songs for the other to finish through the mail system, they came together under the obvious title of The Postal Service. But a backstory does not an album make, and it's thanks to songs like 'Such Great Heights' and the gorgeous 'Clark Gable' that this makes the list.

24. Seth Lakeman - Kitty Jay (2004)
For me, this album arrived out of nowhere. I hadn't heard Lakeman's debut Punch Bowl or his work with Equation, but when I read that a folk album had made the Mercury shortlist after its creator had paid the entry fee, I knew I had to listen. Nothing prepared me for how gorgeous it turned out to be. Filled with Dartmoor legends, here was an album that had imagery as good as any Neil Gaiman short story, and combined it with fantastic fiddle and tenor guitar playing. Fantastic.

23. Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker (2000)
The debut of the Whiskeytown frontman announced the arrival of the decade's best alt.country brat. He's been known for his tantrums ever since, but this album was a lesson in break-up albums. A bitter heartbreak record, it's filled with gorgeous tunes and some of Adams' best singing, it's a smoke-filled masterpiece.

22. Justin Timberlake - Justified (2002)
I should fell guilty ranking a former boyband member's album ahead of Ryan Adams' debut, but I don't. This album is a gorgeous danceable pop record. Immaculately produced, it features some of the finest dance-floor fillers ever. You just can't argue with 'Senorita', 'Like I Love You', or 'Rock Your Body'. Then there was the brilliant 'Cry Me A River'. The new Michael Jackson had arrived.

21. The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan (2005)
The fifth White Stripes album was yet another departure from their ouevre. Acoustic guitar and piano replaced electric guitar at the centre and gave it a less aggressive, softer feel. It was also quite funny, have a listen to the hilarious 'My Doorbell' if you don't believe me. Singles 'Blue Orchid' and 'The Denial Twist' were as good as anything they've done, but 'Take, Take, Take' was the album's glorious highpoint. Fantastic

The Countdown continues tomorrow...