Swear I'm not Paul: 11/10/2009

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Album Cover: John Mayer - Battle Studies and Tracklist

John Mayer - Battle Studies album cover

John sure does look cool on his new album cover, for Battle Studies, out November 17th. The picture is pretentious, but that's why it's good! As you'll see, the tracklist is also on the front of the album, so that's finally released too! 'Crossroads' is a Robert Johnson cover, and 'Half of My Heart' is a duet with I'mma Let You Finish, Taylor Swift. So John has teamed up with both Taylor and Kanye now. Who next?

1. Heartbreak Warfare
2. All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye
3. Half of My Heart
4. Who Says
5. Perfectly Lonely
6. Assassin
7. Crossroads
8. War of My Life
9. Edge of Desire
10. Do You Know Me
11. Friends, Lovers or Nothing

Watch the video for 'Who Says':

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Read: Tom Waits - Tom's Tales from Glitter and Doom

Tom Waits - Glitter and Doom

Glitter and Doom is the new live album from Tom Waits. However, it's not important for having all these live tunes on it (including one from Dublin in 2008), but for the fact that it has a disc of Tom Waits doing his own semi-comedy routine. It's amazing, and for now you can read a transcript of the full thing on his website. The album is released on November 24th, so you'll have to wait until then to hear it.

01 Lucinda / Ain't Goin Down (Birmingham - 07/03/08)
02 Singapore (Edinburgh - 07/28/08)
03 Get Behind the Mule (Tulsa - 06/25/08)
04 Fannin Street (Knoxville - 06/29/08)
05 Dirt in the Ground (Milan - 07/19/08)
06 Such a Scream (Milan - 07/18/08)
07 Live Circus (Jacksonville - 07/01/08)
08 Goin' Out West (Tulsa - 06/25/08)
09 Falling Down (Paris - 07/25/08)
10 The Part You Throw Away (Edinburgh - 07/28/08)
11 Trampled Rose (Dublin - 08/01/08)
12 Metropolitan Glide (Knoxville - 6/29/08)
12 I'll Shoot the Moon (Paris - 07/24/08)
13 Green Grass (Edinburgh - 07/27/08)
14 Make It Rain (Atlanta - 07/05/08)
15 Story (Columbus - 06/28/08)
16 Lucky Day (Atlanta - 07/05/08)

01 Tom Tales

Read it here:

Click on "Disc 2" for the full transcript.

Watch the preview for the album:

Setlist: Pink, O2 Dublin, 14 October 2009

P!nk returns to the O2 in Dublin for yet another 2009 gig, as part of her Funhouse tour. She'll also be appearing there tonight, but tickets are sold out. Although you may find some around the interwebs. The think there are a few songs missing, please let me know if there are. Thanks.

Bad Influence
Just Like A Pill
Who Knew
Don't let me get me
It's All Your Fault
One Foot Wrong
U + Ur Hand
Ave Mary A
Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)
So What
Family Portrait
I Don't Believe You
Crystal Ball
Get The Party Started
Glitter In The Air

Watch a clip of 'Get the Party Started' from last night:

and the full 'Just Like a Pill':

Album Review: Richard Hawley - Truelove's Gutter

Richard Hawley - Truelove's Gutter

It took a long time for Richard Hawley to come out of the shadows and into the limelight, but now that he's here, he's doing his damndest trying to stay on people's record players (because something as smooth as this really needs vinyl). His latest album Truelove's Gutter cements his place as one of the 00s' most consistent artists.

This album is less up-tempo than the last few, but does not suffer due to this. Opener 'As the Dawn Breaks' lulls you in with its embracing melody which draws you in to be smothered by "the songbird's melody." After this, there is no escaping Hawley's unique charm. 'Open Up Your Door' is the song most like Cole's Corner or Lady's Bridge, but instead of their punch, it gives the listener gentle prods and pokes, teasing you at every turn. It's like a lullaby for adults. Gorgeous.

At only eight songs in length, the album feels as if it ends too soon. Not because it's short, but because you could gladly listen to this forever. 'Remorse Code', not even longest song on here at nearly ten minutes, never outstays its welcome. Nor does album closer 'Don't You Cry', which clocks in at 10:41. In fact, 'Remorse Code' is probably the best song Hawley has ever written. It's both beautiful and clever. The perfect combination in both woman and song.

'Don't Get Hung Up On Your Soul' features an excellent nod to Bob Dylan, and is the perfect winter song, for the cold nights ahead. 'Soldier On' is the only weak spot on the album, as I don't think it matches the mood of the record as a whole. It's too heavy. Yes, a Richard Hawley song that's too heavy. However, it's immediately followed by 'For Your Lover, Give Some Time' which is a ballad up there with Orbison's best.

Overall, this is a fantastic record, and one which should win Hawley yet more fans. While I may prefer Lady's Bridge, this is a very, very close second.

Watch the video for 'For Your Lover, Give Some Time':

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Setlist: Spandau Ballet, O2 Dublin, 13 October 2009

Gold! Great news Spandau fans. They're back. And they played a new version of 'She Loved Like Diamond', which was better than ever. Last night's O2 show was a blast, and fans young and old loved all the classics.

1. To Cut A Long Story Short
2. The Freeze
3. Highly Strung
4. Only When You Leave
5. I'll Fly For You
6. How Many Lies
7. Virgin
8. She Loved Like Diamond
9. Once More
10. Round and Round
11. Man in Chains
12. With the Pride
13. Through the Barricades
14. Instinction
15. Communication
16. Lifeline
17. Paint Me Down
18. True
19. Fight for Ourselves
20. Gold

Watch a shaky clip from last night:

Watch: John Mayer - Who Says

'Who Says' is the lead single from John Mayer's upcoming album Battle Studies. The album will be released on November 17th, but 'Who Says' came out yesterday. Here's the accompanying music video:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Setlist: Nick Cave, Vicar Street, 12 October 2009

Nick Cave brought his dark dirty rock to Vicar Street last night. Setlist from Driver8 on boards.ie from what he can remember, and he also said something about free handcream, but I'm not sure what that's all about!

West Country Girl
Hold On To Yourself
Babe, You Turn Me On
The Weeping Song
The Mercy Seat
Do You Love Me?
Lime Tree Arbour
God Is In The House
Love Letter
The Ship Song
Dig, Lazarus, Dig
Red Right Hand
Into My Arms

Watch 'Red Right hand' from last night. Phenomenal quality video:

Stream: The Swell Season - Strict Joy

The Swell Season - Strict Joy

Oscar winners Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's new album Strict Joy comes out in Ireland this Friday, and will be available in the US from next Tuesday. For this week only, the ever excellent NPR will be streaming the album in its entirety on their website.

Stream it in full here:

Tribute: Stephen Gately 1976-2009

As you've all heard by now, Boyzone singer (and solo artist in his own right) Stephen Gately sadly passed away Saturday night/Sunday morning. This was a huge shock to the music industry, as well as to his thousands of fans. Stephen was a kind, caring, gentle person, whom my girlfriend Gill had the chance to talk to on two occasions. She said that he was incredibly friendly and very patient. So in order to honour Stephen, I've decided to put up a chronology of his musical (and acting) life in video.

His first cringeworthy ever appearance on Irish television with Boyzone. Luckily it got a lot better hereafter.

'Working My Way back to You' was originally released in 1994, and although not appearing on any studio albums, made it all the way to number 3 in Ireland, and gave the band credibility after the new infamous Late Late Show appearance.

However, it was Boyzone's cover of The Osmonds' 'Love Me For A Reason' from debut album Said and Done which really catapulted the band into the limelight. It was the band's first Irish number one, and hit number two in the UK. Here's the band performing the song on UK television:

'Key to My Life' was one of the band's best songs in my opinion, and was the group's first original song. 'Working My Way Back to You' was a 60s song by the Four Seasons originally. Again, this was number one in Ireland, and #3 in the UK. Here, Stephen really showed off how great a singer he was. They performed on Top of the Pops, a highlight of any 90s artist's career:

'So Good' was the third single taken from Said and Done, and even enterted the Norweigan top ten at #6. It was another Irish number one, and peaked at number three in Britain. This version is taken from MTV:

The Boyz' cover of Cat Stevens' classic 'Father and Son' was released in November 1995, and hit number 2 in the UK (#1 here once more). More interestly, the song is the sixth best selling boyband song of the 1990s. Again, this is from Top of the Pops.

'Coming Home Now' is one of those forgotten Boyzone songs. It ended the run of successive Irish number ones (entering the chart at number two), and was #4 in the UK. It was the fifth single to be taken from Said and Done, and many fans had it already on the album itself. Here's a special version of the song done with Zig & Zag:

The lead single for A Different Beat was 'Words', and was the band's first ever UK number one. It's a cover of the Bee Gees, and was in many top tens around Europe. This is Boyzone teaming up with the Bee Gees for a TV special:

The title track from A Different Beat was #1 in the UK but not in Ireland strangely enough. All the band members had a writing credit, showing how they had started to become more involved in their song choices. Here's the proper video:

Instead of five, there were only three singles released from Boyzone's second album, with the third being 'Isn't It a Wonder'. It reached #2 in the UK and #3 in Ireland. Here's the band on TotP again:

'Picture of You' was the theme tune for Rowan Atkinson's huge 1997 movie Bean, and was the first single from Where We Belong. It reached number two on both sides of the Irish Sea. Here's the band on French show HitMachine:

In 1997, Stephen also sang 'Shooting Star' for Disney's Hercules, achieving a long-held ambition. It wasn't released as a single, but here's the video from the movie:

Tracy Champman tune 'Baby Can I Hold You' was released as a double A-Side with non-album track 'Shooting Star'. Again, the song was number two in both countries. This version is taken from Stephen Gately's Top 100 Pop Gems of the 90s which was shown on Magic, and features Stephen introducing the song:

'All That I Need' returned the band to number one - in both the UK and Ireland. It knocked Run DMC's 'It's Like That' off the top spot, and was overtaken by All Saints' 'Under the Bridge'. Now that was a fine run of number ones! This is from 2008's reunion tour, as I couldn't find an earlier version:

'No Matter What' is the song that's synonymous with Stephen Gately. Every time someone sings that intro, you know it's him, and you know it's Boyzone. The song was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and he was so impressed with Stephen's lead vocal that later he would cast him as Joseph in the West End. The song was number one if five countries, and top 5 in six others. This version is taken from an Andrew Lloyd Webber tribute:

'I Love the Way You Love Me' was the fifth single from Where We Belong and was number two in Ireland and in the UK, but number 1 in New Zealand, showing the group's worldwide appeal. This is taken from the band's show at the Point in 2000.

1999 saw the release of Boyzone's first greatest hits package, By Request, it included all their past hits as well as two new ones. One of these was 'When the Going Gets Tough', a cover of the Billy Ocean song, recorded for Comic Relief. It went Platinum in the UK and raised a lot of money for charity. This is the guys on Comic Relief 99:

'You Needed Me' was the second new single on By Request, and beat Geri Halliwell's solo debut 'Look at Me' to the number one spot in the UK by just 700 copies! Here's the Boyz with Mister Blobby on kids TV show Live & Kicking:

Another greatest hits compilation, The Singles Collection 1994-1999 contained a new song, 'Everyday I Love You', which also came out in 1999. It went to #1 in Ireland and was the band's last song before they broke-up.

'New Beginning' was Stephen's first solo song, and was released with Art Garfunkel's 'Bright Eyes' as a double A-Side. It was much more up-tempo than many of Boyzone's tunes and provided a worthy alternative to Ronan's solo career. It reached #3 in the UK.

Stephen performed 'I Believe' for the soundtrack to the runaway success Billy Elliot. The song was also released in 2000, and was number 11 in the UK.

Stephen's last solo single 'Stay' also reached number 13 in the UK, and even so he was dropped by his label. Here the song is on GMTV:

In 2008, Boyzone came back with a new greatest hits and a new tour. They also released two new songs, 'Love You Anyway' was their first single in eight years, and went to number 3 in Ireland and number 5 in the UK. Here's the boys back on GMTV:

They also released Tom Baxter's song 'Better' for Christmas 2008. Although the song appeared heavily on radio, it didn't have the chart success the band were used to in the past. As the original was only a year old, people were less inclined to purchase or download the single. It also featured Stephen embracing a man in the video - the first for a pop band. This video is from Channel 4's Paul O'Grady Show:

RIP Stephen Gately 1976-2009

Download: The Dead Weather - Live at the 9:30 Club Bootleg

The Dead Weather - Live at the 9:30 Club Bootleg

I'm loving all these bootlegs these days. I'm also loving the grittiness of the Dead Weather album. So why not throw up a Dead Weather bootleg? Great idea Ronan!

This one is taken from the 9:30 Club in Washington DC on the 14th of July this year. It's a great show, and really highlights the new band of Jack White and Allison Mosshart in full flight, moreso than the album does.

1. 60 Feet Tall
2. Bone House
3. Outside
4. So Far From Your Weapon
5. Cut Like a Buffalo
6. Forever My Queen
7. Rocking Horse
8. New Pony
9. No Hassle Night
10. Will There Be Enough Water?
11. Encore Break
12. Treat Me Like Your Mother
13. Child of a Few Hours
14. Hang You From The Heavens

Full Show

Live: Bryan Adams at the Olympia Theatre

One letter too many, but a lot of you will still enjoy the fact that Bryan Adams is coming to Ireland in january next year to play some intimate gigs on his Bare Bones tour. He'll be playing the Olympia in Dublin on the 14th and 15th of January, with shows in Derry and Belfast up north the following two nights. Then he'll return down south to play Castlebar's Royal Theatre and the INEC in Killarney.

January 2010 dates:
Thursday 14 Dublin, Olympia Theatre
Friday 15 Dublin, Olympia Theatre
Saturday 16 Derry, Millennium Forum
Sunday 17 Belfast, Waterfront Hall
Monday 18 Castlebar, Royal Theatre
Tuesday 19 Kilarney, INEC

Tickets for each show are €65.70 (or £44 up north) and go on sale this Thursday. They're bound to sell out really quick.

Terrible quality clip of 'Please Forgive Me' the last time he was here:

Digital cameras have come a long way since!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stream: Michael Jackson - This Is It

The new song from Michael Jackson, featuring backing vocals from the Jackson Five. (Not sure if it's them all though.) You can listen to the entire song now, never mind BBC's short little clip.


Vote for X Factor 2009 from Ireland

I know I shouldn't be doing this. Not for legal reasons or anything like that. But for psychological reasons. If Irish people can vote for this year's X Factor, then that may amount to more votes for John and Edward. Which could be horrendous. It could be hilarious either. So I'm obliged to do this.

There's a UK company which has set up a system to allow British Telecom users (and other operators) to use their free minutes to call the X Factor lines, rather than having to pay the one-off cost. In order to fund this themselves, they're playing a fifteen second advert before you get through to vote for Lloyd or whoever. So what you get is: 15 second ad, then "Your vote for X has been counted. Thank you blah blah", and then you're done. Takes about twenty seconds all-in.

The best news however, is that this is an 03 number, which can be called from the Republic of Ireland! The contestant numbers change from night to night, so it'll differ on the night, but essentially, you ring 00-44-333 and then the rest of the number. It's pretty simple.

For example, last weekend had John and Edward as ninth out, making them 09. Their number was then: 00-44-333-666-9809

So, next weekend, and for every future weekend, to vote from Ireland, you just call:
00-44-333-666-98 and then the two digits for the act. Handy.

This all costs 35c a minute on Eircom and 30c a minute from BT landlines. Probably about a euro from your mobile. But you'll be only on for twenty seconds any way.

Good luck voting!

Here's the company who runs the service, if you want more info:

Review: X Factor 2009 Live Finals Week 1

So that's the first weekend over then. Dermot O'Leary called it "the biggest opening ever" last night, and in some ways it was. There was plenty to cheer about, but the first proper show of the new series (series 6 we're on these days) also brought up some "how the hell did they make it through" type questions.

As with every year, there are choices that are somewhat wildcard like, and none more so than the infuriating John and Edward this year. However, even before the results show started last night, I knew they'd make it through. If it was an unpopularity contest, they would've been first to go, but they do have some fans out there (believe it or not), who wanted them to stay in. Plus Simon's expression when they were called out first was priceless.

Week 1's theme was Musical Heroes, and somehow I doubt every one of the twelve had Robbie Williams as their hero (well four of them, but you know what I mean). However, Williams was the show's main attraction this weekend, due to the release of his new album - and performed lead single 'Bodies' live on the results show on Sunday. Williams is one of the great showmen of our time, and was a brilliant choice for week 1.

Alexandra Burke returned from whatever it is she's doing these days (recording an album takes time allegedly - but somehow the White Stripes can make LPs in a fortnight - it's probably taking so long because it's more or less impossible to make Alexandra interesting, plus there's something or other about the Christmas market and stocking fillers.) Burke returned from winning last year's show and surprisingly sounded like she was miming for at least two thirds of her new song 'Bad Boys' ft. Flo-Rida. She definitely seemed out of breath. Mister Rida popped in too, but then immediately disappeared. He wasn't around to mentor or wasn't a past winner, but you might see him popping up later in the series among the ever-increasing number of backing dancers there seems to be this year. She got a standing ovation from the judges, but even Steve Brookstein got one of those when he came back...

As for the acts themselves, it was a tale of two halves. Somehow the poorer acts opened the show, leaving the stronger ones (and John and Edward) to footnote the latter part. Rachel Adedeji has had her defining moment on the show already, and unless she falls on live television, she's unlikely to catch my attention for much longer. She sang Williams' own 'Let Me Entertain You' and was expectedly bland. About the only thing of interest about her is her hair. It was more awful on live televsion than on recorded programming.

Kandy Rain made the live finals for one reason, and one reason only. Their lack of clothes. Only one of them can actually sing, and the blonde one, Coco, just seems to stand there and stick out her ass for the entirety of all their massacred songs. They took on the Tina Turner version of Robert Palmer's 'Addicted to Love'. They tried to distract us from the cat-culling by wearing next to nothing, but sadly it didn't work. They were only on the show to increase the viewership - i.e. get the fellas to stay in the room while the other half was watching, but based on all their performances, we won't see a drop in viewership next week. Louis should've listened with his ears instead of his eyes when putting them through. Much too big a stage. And there were no poles to be seen either.

Olly Murs is an act who shows a lot of promise. He looks like a decent fella, and comes from a normal background. He's the Everyman of the competition, although he's a bit better looking than the rest of us average Joes. (He's better looking than Joe too! And has a better accent.) He sang Guy Chambers own 'She's the One', another song brought to the mainstream by that man Robbie Williams. He's never going to be an entertainer like Robbie, but he's a damn good singer, and do well in this competition.

Rikki Loney is unfortunately out of his depth in this competition, and judging by Saturday's performances, I think Cheryl's category may just be as terrible as Louis's one. Rikki looked sheepish throughout, and seemed lost on the big stage. His version of 'Back to Black' by Amy Winehouse lacked anything of interest, and he whimpered his way through it, failing to deliver any sort of oomph whatsoever.

Stacey Solomon is somewhat of a hard call. I'm not sure whether she's that great at all. I know of some people who think she's the best thing ever. But it's her off-stage presence that really ruins it for her. Instead of being aloof and maybe seeming mysterious, she seems to have constant foot-in-mouth disease, and comes off sounding like Perry from Harry Enfield's Kevin & Perry. I'm just waiting for her to say "Hello Mister and Missus Patterson". She did 'The Scientist' by Coldplay, and I find it hard to recall what she actually did with it. Still, she seems to be popular. Somewhere.

Miss Frank are the best of the groups. By miles. Afterwards Louis said they were like "a female JLS", which criminally undersold them, while also proving once again that he doesn't get anything apart from boyband pop. They weren't as good covering the Miracles 'Who's Lovin You' as they have been in the past, but I have no doubt that in a few weeks' time, they'll really come into their own.

Jamie Archer, him of the hair, is very popular with the ladies. If I were a lady, I'd probably find it all a bit tickly. He had a strange choice of song, T.Rex's 'Get It On', which most of the viewers wouldn't have known, but I think this helped him. Later in the series, when he's back singing U2 and Kings of Leon, he can't be accused of playing it safe. He's a real showman, and no doubt benefitted hugely from the input of Robbie Williams.

Lloyd Daniels is a cute little guy, one that the ladies will gush over (if men did the same over a sixteen-year-old girl, it'd be a very different story!). He's a good, but not great, singer. It's a huge ask for one so young, but already he's a thousand times better than 2008's Eoghan Quigg. He sang 'Cry Me a River' (the JT one), and had trouble hitting the high notes, which may prove his downfall later in the series. Still, he's pretty. So he's got that going on.

Lucie Jones was the real star of the night. Forget about show closer Danyl Johnson, everyone knew of his talent already. Lucie is the real dark horse of the show. She's been groomed by Dannii's stylists (without the botox) and looks and acts like a star-in-waiting. She sings like perfectly every single time she's on stage, and was born to do this kind of thing. Plus, she seems really level-headed and this will help her in the long run. She took on previous X Factor winner Leona Lewis's 'Footprints in the Sand' and did a version as good as Leona's own. My pick to win it outright. Danyl can't go any higher I feel, Lucie can, and will.

Everyone had been waiting for John and Edward all night. And they didn't disappoint. Through our grimaces, some of us actually thought "hey, they're not THAT bad." Not good either, but not awful. And afterwards they didn't seem like the usual gobshites they are. Maybe they've toned it down. Probably just to save themselves this week though. They'll be back to their backflip nonsense next week no doubt. They talked their way through Robbie's 'Rock DJ' and got away with it.

Cheryl's neighbour Joe McElderry could be accused of being in it for his origins, just like Simon's quip about Louis favouring the Irish. He's sweet looking, the kind of fella that the mammy would like, but lacks any sort of substance. He seems coy and shy about everything, and will never make a true entertainer. He did 'No Regrets' by numbers, never colouring outside the lines.

Danyl Johnson was one of the top trends on twitter after the show - being on last always helps, you're fresh in the memory - and that was somewhat justified. Wile I don't think it was one of the best performances ever, it was fairly good. I tipped him before Judge's Houses, but unfortunately, I think he's peaked. I can't see him improving all that much, whereas Lucie can really come out of her shell and be brilliant. Danyl is already great.

Overall, the live results were fairly accurate. Kandy Rain were the worst act, by a long shot, and Rachel doesn't have much of a future in this competition. The worst thing, is that there's another 5 days left til the next show. Roll on Whitney Houston and Week 2...

Album Review: Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - ...And the Horse You Rode In On

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - ...And the Horse You Rode In On

Some albums feel like debuts. This is either because they pack a lot of punch, or else they're the first thing you've heard from the band, and you didn't really know any different: in your mind, there was nothing before it, because you never heard it. This is the case, or both cases, with Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's latest (and third full length) record ...And the Horse You Rode In On. It's astonishing to think a band with this much going for them has not really entered the limelight before now.

The music is immediately catchy and draws you in, but its the lyrics that will keep you sticking around for more. There ae splendid couplets throughout: "I don't want to walk in on you / Dotting the 'i's and crossing the 't's" on 'Hope is Still On Your Side', and the grimy 'One Night Stand' is centred around the glorious "Let's have a one night stand / No expectations, no demands."

At fifteen songs in length, the album kind of overstays its welcome. The preachy 'Sixteen is Too Young' seems out of place, and feels like a wedge at the album's heart. The lyric "I thought I had the world by the balls" seems forced more than anything else. It lacks the flow and urgency which makes the rest of the record so warm. But don't stop playing the album halfway through, there are gems to be found at the end. 'Save Your Breath' is a great duet, and the title track is brilliantly bouncy. It's a little bit crazy too.

This is a pop album more than anything. But not your sweet teen pop of today, nor your radio-oriented rock such as Paramore. This is pop the way your own Pop or Grandpop used to like it. This is the kind of pop championed by Melody Maker and the New Musical Express before it found initialism.

Overall, it's a pretty good album. A bit too long, but it should be the album that launches Scotland Yard Gospel Choir into the mainstream.

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - 'Stop'