Swear I'm not Paul: 30/08/2009

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Friday, September 4, 2009

List: Top 15 Pop Songs of the 00s

By now, you'll have read Pitchfork's list of the top 500 songs of the decade in their P2K feature. You've probably even downloaded the torrent with all 500 songs zipped. And then you've complained about what's missing or things that are ranked too highly.

I'm not going to attack the list here. You'll find countless other blogs have done that. What I am going to do is list my top fifteen pop songs of the decade (2000-2009), complete with videos. These are out and out pop tunes, none of this commercial cross-over and R&B stuff, so don't expect Rihanna' 'Umbrella' or any Beyonce or Justin Timberlake solo/featuring stuff on here. And please oh please, comment and tell me what I left out.

15. Miley Cyrus - 'The Climb' (2009)
Fifteenth was a tough choice, as I wanted to include one of those US teens who go down so well over there. JoJo's 'Too Little, Too Late' is one of the best of these tween hits, but with 'The Climb', Miley Cyrus has moved out of her dad's shadow, and it shows she could well be an artist in her own right.

14. Leona Lewis - 'Bleeding Love' (2008)
Alexandra Burke's win last year on the X Factor has somewhat tarnished the show. Although it's not everyone's favourite, the winners of these talent shows are always very talented. No-one ever doubts whether they can sing, just whether they're a natural performer. 'Bleeding Love' was the song with which Leona left the "X Factor winner" tag behind, and moved on to be a superstar up there with Beyonce. Oh, and I could only get a live version of the video - blame Simon Cowell.

13. Katy Perry - 'I Kissed A Girl' (2008)
This was the song that really launched Katy Perry into the mainstream, and although 'Waking Up In Vegas' may be technically a better tune, this song is far more important. It's straight-up pop with some semi-controversial lyrics, but in this day and age where every soap seems to have some girl-on-girl action (even Fair City), the controversy come second to the tune. And what a tune.

12. Jewel - 'Standing Still' (2001)
Jewel's 'Intuition' was her only 00s UK number one, but in all honesty that's a terrible song. 'Standing Still', which hit number four, is a million times better. She's since moved in a much more country direction, but this song is unashamedly pop. Bet you can't help yourself from singing along. I couldn't find the proper video for this one, but this live version is fantastic.

11. Vanessa Carlton - 'A Thousand Miles' (2002)
Vanessa Carlton has long since disappeared, but she could have had a career as good as Norah Jones. This song is a splendid piano ballad, with a video up there with U2's 'Sweetest Thing', except there's no elephants and no apologies in this one. The record company won't allow embedding, so here's another live video.

10. Natasha Bedingfield - 'Unwritten' (2005)
Natasha's brother got into the charts first with his DJ tune 'Gotta Get Thru This', and then moved up a division with 'You're Not The One', but Natasha is in a whole different league with 'These Words' and the stunning 'Unwritten'. Credible artists are jealous of this song, and unlike most of the pop tunes out there, this is actually written by the artist themselves. It also reached the top ten in the US, and was even covered on American Idol.

9. Alphabeat - 'Fascination' (2006)
'Fascination' is one of those songs that once you hear it, will be stuck in your head all day. Irish people know nothing about pop music, as it only reached number 23 over here when released two years later than Scandanavia. Also, Irish people buy a lot of dance and R&B rubbish, so I never bother with our own chart. In the UK, on the other hand, it was in the top 100 for six months. Not bad. Say the word.

8. 'N Sync - 'Gone' (2001)
Justin Timberlake was always good. You just never realised it. At the time us over here just saw him as Britney's fella, he was making fine pop tunes with 'N Sync, of which this was the finest. If you ever get a chance to hear the John Mayer tribute, I'd highly recommend it. Every heartbroken lover can relate to this fantastic song.

7. Gwen Stefani - 'What You Waiting For?' (2004)
Okay okay, Gwen's band No Doubt weren't pop-pop, but her solo career definitely veered that way. Apart from the bizarre references to Harajuku girls (where did that come from), this was an amazing pop song with an even more amazing video. If only Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland project is as good.

6. t.A.T.u. - 'All The Things She Said' (2002)
Katy Perry wasn't the first, at the turn of the century we had these faux-lesbians from Russia. Their secret men and children may have since been revealed, but this song still holds up. The video was banned all over the place, and the Eurovision viewers feared for the worst, but God could these fakes make good music. Kind of like Milli Vanilli.

5. Carrie Underwood - 'All-American Girl' (2007)
'All-American Girl' was a single from American Idol winner Carrie Underwood, and one of the first songs that showed she could write as well as sing. She co-wrote the song along with veteran tunesmiths Ashley Gorley and Kelley Lovelace. I considered 'Before He Cheats' for this spot also, but as Carrie has a writing credit on this one, it has the edge. Plus it's a glorious story of song. More pop songs should tell stories.

4. Amy Diamond - 'Don't Cry Your Heart Out' (2006)
Of all the people on here, Amy Diamond is probably the one you haven't heard of. She's also the youngest act on here, making pop songs women twice her age wish they could do. Amy is from Sweden, which is the home of brilliant pop. She's like a one woman Abba when it comes to singing saccharine sweet ballads. As she's not well known outside her home country, I couldn't locate a proper video for this song. Also, I was disappointed that 'Hello' was never released as a single, because that truly is one of the songs of the decade - pop or not.

3. Will Young - 'Leave Right Now' (2003)
Will Young is the perfect example of why talent shows are actually good for the entertainment industry. Big Brother has absolutely no use, but Pop Idol, X Factor and the like are valuable resources. If it wasn't for shows like this, Will Young might never have made it, and his outstanding voice would never have been showcased on the big stage. This song is writtern by veteran songwriter Eg White, and is probably his masterpiece. It's Will's finest hour too.

2. Take That - 'Patience' (2006)
This decade saw a lot of comebacks. Some were succesful: Blur, The Verve, The Specials. Some were not: East 17, All Saints, Spice Girls. However, none was more succesful than Take That's reunion. They came back not just for the money, but to make genuinely good music. Such as 'Rule the World', 'Shine', 'Greatest Day', and this phenomenal pop song 'Patience'. Oh, and it was number 1 in more than a dozen countries, but only made number 2 here. For shame.

1. Kelly Clarkson - 'Since U Been Gone' (2005)
'Since U Been Gone' is the decade in pop's finest hour. Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of American Idol, and no talent show has gotten off to such a good start. Anyone remember Steve Brookstein? Everyone will remember this song, even decades from now. It was an instant classic, and has spawned hundreds of covers from artists of every genre. Check out Ted Leo's cover or even Kerri Hilson's. The original is still the best though.

Live: Fleetwood Mac at the O2 Second Night Added

Fleetwood Mac

Great news MacHeads (or whatever Fleetwood Mac fans are called, although I do know 'MacHead' is the name of a rumoured lost Dave Matthews Band song), Fleetwood Mac will be playing a second night at Dublin's O2 on October 25th. Tickets for the show are on sale now, and may well sell out very quickly. Tickets range from 86-126 euro, but are definitely worth the admission fee.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Live: Fight Like Apes at the Academy (Once a Month Club)

As part of the Once a Month Club, Fight Like Apes will be playing the Academy on Thursday the 10th of September (that's next week folks), along with Bitches With Wolves, The Brilliant Things and the absolutely splendid Holy Roman Army.

Tickets are an excellent €5 and are on sale now from all ticketmaster outlets.

Here's some info on the splendid Once a Month Club:
The Once A Month Club is brought to you by The Academy in association with FMC. Taking place on the second Thursday of every month the club has already presented some of Irelands best live acts including one of the last live outings in the capital by Limericks Giveamanakick.

Set up to provide Irelands rising talent with a platform to perform with a band who have a dedicated live following The Once A Month Club also benefits two very worthy causes - Special Olympics Ireland and Pieta House - Centre for the Prevention of Self-Harm or Suicide with all profits from the club being donated to the charities.

Bands who wish to be considered as part of future bills can apply via First Music Contact, Space 28, North Lotts, Dublin 1 or info@firstmusiccontact.com

Watch Fight Like Apes 'Tie Me Up With Jackets':

Album News: The Beatles - Remastered

As you should know by now, next Tuesday marks the release of the remastered version of every single Beatles album. But you can buy them all together in one super-deluxe package. It looks amazing. Santa, I want!

The stereo box set will be retailing at approximately €250 with the mono box set retailing at approximately €300. The following are the album lists for each set. The Mono Albums are only available as part of a set, but the Stereo ones can be bought separately

The Stereo Albums
Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
Beatles For Sale
Rubber Soul
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (also includes 1987 notes, updated, and new intro by Paul McCartney)
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles
Yellow Submarine (also includes original US liner notes)
Abbey Road
Let It Be
Past Masters (contains new liner notes written by engineer Kevin Howlett)

The Beatles in Mono
Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
Beatles For Sale
Help! (CD also includes original 1965 stereo mix)
Rubber Soul (CD also include original 1965 stereo mix)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles
Mono Masters

And over on Culch.ie, it's Beatles week, check out this monumental post: What's Your Favourite Beatles Album?

Watch The Beatles remastered promo video:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Download: Radiohead - Live at Reading 2009 Bootleg

Reading poster

Radiohead headlined Reading last weekend, the 30th of August. They put on a splendid show, and I have the bootleg for your listening pleasure. This is the BBC3 Radio Broadcast of the show, unfortunately some of the songs are edited, but who needs Thom Yorke blabbering anyway?

The National Anthem
15 Step
There There
Karma Police
Wierd Fishes/Arpeggi
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Paranoid Android
Everything In Its Right Place

Radiohead - 'Paranoid Android (Live at Reading)'

Radiohead Live at Reading full show

Listen: David Gray - Draw the Line clips

David Gray - Draw the Line album cover art

David Gray's new album Draw the Line is just a week and a half away, and now you can listen to clips of all the songs on his own website. You can also follow David Gray on twitter here.

Listen to clips here:

Stream: Califone - Funeral Singers

Califone - All My Friends Are Funeral Singers album cover art

Califone's new album All My Friends Are Funeral Singers will be released on the 6th of next month, and Spinner are streaming the first single 'Funeral Singers' (you can also download it there, btw). Anyone who pre-orders the album will receive a full digital download of it a month early, next Tuesday!

The album is a companion piece to Califone frontman Tim Rutili's first feature film, which is also called All My Friends Are Funeral Singers. Rutili plans to submit the movie to festivals in 2010, while the band will play a live soundtrack to the film during their upcoming tour.

01 Giving Away the Bride
02 Polish Girls
03 1928
04 Funeral Singers
06 Buñuel
07 Ape-Like
09 Evidence
10 Alice Marble Gray
11 Salt
12 Krill
14 Better Angels

Stream here:
Califone - 'Funeral Singers'

Live: Julian Plenti at the Academy

Interpol frontman Paul Banks will be playing Dublin's Academy under the moniker Julian Plenti on Tuesday the 1st of December at 7 p.m. Banks released the album Julian Plenti is Skyscraper last month. The album is a combination of Banks's work with his band as well as more laid-back folky numbers. The show itself promises to be pretty good too.

Tickets go on sale this Friday, and are priced at €33.10.

Watch 'Games for Days':

Download: Electric Picnic 2009 Stage Times

The official stage times for Electric Picnic have been announced, and you can now download a printer-friendly timetable to put in your wallet for the weekend. The file is .PDF format, so you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open and print them.

Friday Stage Times
Saturday Stage Times
Sunday Stage Times

Muzu.tv have set up a nice little EP preview channel, check it out here:


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stream: Drive-By Truckers - The Fine Print

Drive-By Truckers - The Fine Print

If only all albums were this good, and if only every band was the Drive-By Truckers. Even their B-Sides are fantastic. They release B-Sides collection The Fine Print this week, which includes such live classics as 'Goode's Field Road' and the Jason Isbell penned 'Thank God for the TVA' renamed 'TVA' on here.

1. George Jones Talkin Cell Phone Blues
2. Goode's Field Road
3. Like A Rolling Stone
4. Little Pony And The Great Big Horse
5. Mama Bake A Pie
6. MrsClaus Kimono
7. Play It All Night Long
8. Rebels
9. The Great Car Dealer War
10. TVA
11. Uncle Frank
12. When The Well Runs Dry

Stream the full album here:

Listen: Alphabeat - The Spell

The new single from Danish popsters Alphabeat, 'The Spell' made its radio debut on Friday, and will be released on October 12th. The band's second album was originally titled This is Still Alphabeat, but has been renamed to match the lead single. The album The Spell will be out October 19th in the UK on Polydor. You can stream the song below.

Stream: Alphabeat 'The Spell'

(Oh and thanks to all my readers for pointing out that Alphabeat are Danish, not Swedish, silly me)

Album News: Mumford and Sons - Little Lion ManSigh No More

'Little Lion Man' is the new single from Brit folkies Mumford and Sons (think Laura Marling or Noah and the Whale except better!) The main reason I'm posting this is to tell you of their debut album Sigh No More, which will be released on October 5th. I expect this album to be all kinds of magnificent. If you haven't already, you should check out some of their EPs. They also play Dublin on the 26th of this month. Going to be fantastic.

Watch 'Little Lion Man':

Monday, August 31, 2009

Download: The Frames - Here Comes the Night Bootleg

The Frames - Here Comes the Night back cover

On the FAQ on the Frames official website, Question 6 asks "Where can I get the 'Here Comes the Night' recording?" Unfortunately, the link provided no longer exists. The new answer would be that you can get it right here!

For those of you who don't know, Here Comes the Night was a live sessions show on Today FM that ran from 1997 to 2002. The Frames played the show on New Year's Eve night in 2001 and marked the show's climax.

The picture above comes from the back cover of the CD version of the Frames bootleg. I hope you enjoy this bootleg. It features some marvellous covers. The Van Morrison opener is fantastic.

1. Into the Mystic (4:18)
2. He's a Mighty Good Leader (3:51)
3. All Tomorrow's Parties (5:36)
4. Santa Maria (7:00)
5. Lay Me Down (4:15)
6. Will the Circle Be Unbroken (4:23)
7. Listen Girl (4:10)
8. Friends (5:23)
9. Spencer the Rover (2:11)
10. Jesus' Blood Never Saved Me Ye (2:36)
11. Revelate (4:50)
12. Buzzin Fly (6:45)
13. You Ain't Going Nowhere (3:31)
14. Instrumental (4:02)
15. Races (4:04)
16. Astral Weeks (8:29)
17. Young Hearts Run Free (3:58)
18. New Partner (3:55)
19. Star Star (6:14)
20. Red Chord (8:01)

Full show

The Frames - Here Comes the Night cover

Live: Electric Picnic 2009 Timetable Stage Times

These are rumoured times for Electric Picnic 2009, but as with all these things, bands go over the allotted times, and as a result, everyone else is a bit later. Thanks to Peter over at 2uIBestow for these. Check out his blog tomorrow, going to be something nice on it!


Main Stage
10:30-12:00 Orbital
8.45-9.45 MGMT
7.15-8:15 Zero 7
5.30-6.30 Michael Nyman Orchestra
4:00-4:45 Smash Hits

Electric Arena
11:00-12:00 Rodrigo y Gabriela
9.15-10.30 Seasick Steve
7.30-8.30 Magazine
5:45-6:45 David Kitt
4:00-5:00 8 Ball

Crawdaddy Stage
11:00-12:00 Luciano presents AEther
9:30 - 10:20 Duckworth Lewis Method
8:00 - 9:00 ABC
6:45 - 7:30 Lykke Li
5:30 - 6:15 The Temper Trap
4:30 - 5:00 Peter Broderick

Cosby Stage
9:30-10:30 Dinosaur Jr
7:45 - 8:45 Efterklang
6:30 - 7:15 Richmond Fontaine
5:30 - 6:00 Jeffrey Lewis
4:30 - 5:00 Wave Machine

Little Big Tent
01:00-02:00 Japanese Popstars DJ set
12:00-12:45 Potbelleez
10:30-12:00 Diplo
9:30-10:30 Buraka som Sistema
8:15-9:30 Fake Blood
7:15-8:15 Major Lazer
6:00-7:15 Boy 8 Bit
4:00-6:00 Tu-Ki


Main Stage
12.30-2.00 2ManyDJs
10.30-11.45 Madness
8.15-9.45 Brian Wilson
6.30-7.30 Lisa Hannigan
4.45-5.45 Kid Creole & the Coconuts
3.00-4.00 Baaba Maal
1.30-2.15 Tunng
12.30-1.00 Stee Downes

Electric Arena
10.30-12.00 Chic
8.45-9.45 Klaxons
7.00-8.00 Bat for Lashes
5.15-6:15 Jape
4:00-4.45 Roots Manuva
2:45-3:30 The XX
1.30-2.00 Heartbreak [CANCELLED]
12.30-1.00 Cap Pas Cap

Crawdaddy Stage
01:00-02:00 Chris Cunningham
11:45-12:40 Four Tet
10:15-11.15 Explosions in the Sky
8.30-9.30 Imelda May
7.00-8.00 Mundy
5:30-6:30 Billy Bragg
4:00-4:45 A Flock of Seagulls
2.30-3.15 Just Jack
1.30-2.00 Dave Geraghty
12:30-1:00 One Day International

Cosby Stage
11.00-12.00 Neko Case
9.15-10.15 ESG
7.45-8.45 Whitest Boy Alive
6.30-7.15 The Walkmen
5.15-6.00 Magnolia Electric Co.
4.00-4.45 Marina and the Diamonds
3.00-3.30 Low Anthem
2.00-2.30 Julie Feeney
1.00-1.30 Lost Brothers

Little Big Tent
12:45-02:00 Moderat
11:00-12:30 [TBC]
9:45-10:45 The Proxy
7:30-9:30 James Murphy and Pat Mahoney
6:30-7:30 The Field
5:00-6:15 Jazzanova (live)
3:30-4:30 Noze
2:30-3:30 Jon Averil
1:30-2:30 LRB and Conor G
12:30-1:30 Transmission DJs


Main Stage
10.30-12.00 Basement Jaxx
8.30-9.45 Bell X1
6:30-7:45 Alabama 3
4.45-5.45 The Wailers
3:00-4.00 Quantic and his Combo Barbaro
1.45-2.30 Introducing (DJ Shadow tribute)
12.30-1.15 Dublin Gospel Choir

Electric Arena
10.15-11.45 Flaming Lips
8.30-9.30 Royksopp
6.45-7.45 Fleet Foxes
5:30-6.15 Florence and the Machine
4:15-5.00 Simian Mobile Disco
2:45-3:45 Nightmares on Wax Soundsystem
1:30-2.15 The Sugarhill Gang
12:30-1:00 Two Door Cinema Club

Crawdaddy Stage
10.45-11.45 Damien Dempsey
9.00-10.00 Amadou and Mariam
7.15-8.15 Fionn Regan
5.45-6.45 Echo and the Bunnymen
4.30-5:15 Laura Izibor
3:15-4:00 Okkervil River
2.15-2:45 Mick Flannery
1.15-1.45 Villagers
12.15-12.45 Halfset

Cosby Stage
10.45-11.45 Skream and Benga
9.00-10.00 [TBC]
7.45-8.30 Dan Deacon Ensemble
6.15-7.15 Bell Orchestre
4.45-5.30 The Big Pink
3.30-4.15 The Acorn
2.30-3.00 Micachu
1.30-2.00 Blitzen Trapper
12:30-1:00 Our Fold

Little Big Tent
10:00-12:00 Erol Alkan
8:30-10:00 Zombie Nation
7:00-8:30 Duke Dumont
5:30-7:00 Aeroplane
4:30-5:30 [TBC]
3:30-4:30 Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
2:30-3:15 Ebony Bones
1:30-2:15 Arveene and Misk (live)
12:30-1:30 Barry Redsetta

Album News: Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11

Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11 album cover art

Imagine my shock to realise that not only is there a new Rodrigo y Gabriela album due out in September, but that the internet has already gotten a hold of a leak. Those bastards. This is one of those albums that it's worth buying though. RyG are one of the best honourary Irish acts out there. If only I could put this in my Best Irish Albums of 2009 list I plan on doing at the end of the year.

It's out September 7th on Rubyworks. Also, check them out this weekend at Electric Picnic.

1. "Hanuman"
2. "Buster Voodoo"
3. "Triveni"
4. "Logos"
5. "Santo Domingo"
6. "Master Maqui"
7. "Savitri"
8. "Hora Zero"
9. "Chac Mool"
10. "Atman"
11. "11:11"

Track descriptions:
1 – ‘Hanuman’ – inspired by Carlos Santana
2 – ‘Buster Voodoo’ – inspired by Jimi Hendrix
3 – ‘Triveni’ – inspired by Israeli Oud three-piece Le Trio Joubran
4 – ‘Logos’ – inspired by jazz-rock master Al Di Meola
5 – ‘Santo Domingo’ – inspired by jazz pianist and composer Michel Camilo
6 – ‘Master Maqui’ – inspired by Spanish guitar legend Paco De Lucia
7 – ‘Savitri’ – inspired by John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussian’s ground breaking 1970’s world fusion ensemble Shakti
8 – ‘Hora Zero’ – inspired by Argentine tango composer and bandoneon virtuoso Astor Piazzola.
9 – ‘Chac Mool’ – inspired by Jorge Reyes, the Mexican composer who combined traditional Mexican instrumentation with new technology. Reyes died in February 2009.
10 – ‘Atman’ – inspired by Dimebag Darrell, never to be forgotten lead guitarist in Pantera and Damageplan, who was tragically murdered onstage in 2004.
11 – ’11:11’ – inspired by Pink Floyd.

Backstreet's Back, Alright

Hi guys, back from my break and back to blogging again. Now that I'm back I've a new enthusiasm to improve this place. So I plan on doing some more actual writing, maybe some pieces on the Irish music industry, as well as interviews, mixtapes, and a whole host of bootlegs.

But don't worry, all the old regulars will still remain. They're will be gig news a-plenty, and some interesting albums and mp3s.

Maybe some more blog collaboration too...