Swear I'm not Paul: 21/02/2010

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Setlist: 30 Seconds to Mars, O2 Dublin, 27 February 2010

Not a sell-out gig by any means as Jared Leto's Thirty Seconds to Mars played to a half-full O2 in Dublin last night. They were supported by Dara Quilty's Fox Avenue, and only played 17 tracks. Value for money? Definitely not. They could've filled a smaller venue like the Ambassador or Vicar Street at a cheaper cost. But then again, I suppose you have to pay big bucks for Hollywood "stars".

1. Escape
2. Night of the Hunter
3. Attack
4. Vox Populi
5. From Yesterday
6. A Beautiful Lie
7. This Is War
8. 100 Suns
9. L490
10. Capricorn (acoustic)
11. Was It A Dream? (acoustic)
12. A Modern Myth (acoustic)
13. Closer to the Edge
14. The Kill (Bury Me)
15. Buddha For Mary
16. The Fantasy
17. Kings and Queens

Watch 'This is War' from last night's gig:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Interview: Ultan Conlon

Ultan Conlon released his debut album Bless Your Heart recently, and the new single 'The Universe Tune' has just come out. The album and single are fantastic singer-songwriter stuff in the Ryan Adams/Neil Young/Bob Dylan mould. Ultan took some time out from his nationwide tour to discuss recording his debut album, his songwriting process, as well as playing live, and collaborating with legendary guitarist John Martyn.

Let's start at the beginning: when did your musical heritage begin?
I started playing guitar at the age of 11: A nun in the convent I went to taught a bunch of us after school, but I didn't really get into it until I was 14 when a neighbour at the time started to teach me Dire Straits and the like. I started writing shortly after.

What were your early songs like? Still playing any of them now?
They were ok I guess, teenage stuff really. I still play couple of songs I wrote when I was 19, 20 but dont really venture back before then, they're repressed songs at this stage. *laughs*

In 2002 you recorded a live EP. At the time, did you always know you'd be a musician?
No not at all, I was working at the time and really doubted myself about actually being a musician at all. It was only after John Martyn recorded 'Really Gone' in 2006 that I said to myself "ok, this is what I do and this is what I'm always gonna do".

How did the John Marytn collaboration come about?
At the time I played with a terrific singer songwriter from Galway called John Conneely in a Simon and Garfunkelesque Duo. We supported John Martyn on tour and he took a shine to that particular track and agreed to do some vocals on it. He pretty much made that version his own and thats how it all came about. It was a very exciting time for me.

What did you learn from working with John Martyn? Did he have any advice for you?
Sure, I had a bad habit of always singing on the kick and he advised me to swing my vocal, which over time I've taken on board. Sorry that probably means nothing to a lot of people, but it did help me record my own album. It was actually invaluable advice.

What was it like recording your debut album, Bless Your Heart? Had you all the songs written before you went into the studio?
I had lots of songs but they came from everywhere, some fast some slow so I think that could be harder than starting from scratch sometimes. I started to record some of the ones I knew were gonna go on there, and I also started writing some as we went along. We had the luxury, and sometimes the burden, of having the studio set up in the house we rented, so we were not under any pressure time wise. I just felt the album out over time, and there is a mixture of old and new songs on it, but I did try to make it feel like a complete piece of work.

So how do you write songs? Do you have a particular process?
Usually I'll fiddle round with melody and chords. I can sometimes start with a concrete idea in terms of theme and write lyrics accordingly. It can differ in many ways. I do spend some time on songs though and can change them over months until they're ready to stand up for themselves. I still find it a fascinating process with no hard and fast rule. Sometimes they just come to you ready made which is great and then there are the Ikea ones which can be tricky! *laughs*

Your current single is 'The Universe Tune', which has been very well received. Do you pay attention to reviews?
I do at present because I'm starting out in many respects. I want to get this album and my songs to as many people as possible. I look on them as promotional tools I guess. The album and single have been well received by anyone who has reviewed it and I'm very pleased by that. Once they start slating me that's when I wont pay attention to reviews and tell you they don't matter. He, I'll justify it in some way!

Speaking of reviews, how do you feel about being compared to people like Ryan Adams or Damien Rice?
I don't mind in the slightest! Damien Rice made one of the finest albums ever in my opinion. If he never stepped back inside a studio he would have nothing to apologise for. O is timeless. Ryan Adams is just incredible when it comes to output. He seems to put out a couple of albums a year which is insane. I'd gladly take a leaf out of both books!

Playing live is also a great way to get attention, you've got a few upcoming dates around the country. Do you enjoy playing live?
I do and I don't. The thoughts of it sometimes scares me because I guess I feel like more of a writer than a natural performer, so it's taken me some time to get used to playing my songs in front of people. However, when you are up there and it's a good crowd and all is going well, it is the only place you can really find the emotion the song deserves. It can be a terrific high, just amazing feeling. I have this wonderful band and I can't wait to get gigging with them again.

Who are your influences?
I guess Leonard Cohen would be one of my favourite artists. It's about the lyrics for me first and foremost, good diction and lyrics! If they are delivered with real emotion then vocal skills and musicianship can sit in the back. In saying that a beautiful melody is very, very important, and Leonard Cohen can certainly do that. I also like Van Morrison, Gram Parsons, Grant Lee Philips, Roy Orbison....anyone who pens a genuinely good song...It's all about the song!

What's next for Ultan Conlon? What are your plans?
Hmmm, Well in March I'll be all over Ireland, and April I'll be in the UK gigging so that will take priority. I'm writing and demoing songs in my free time so I'll try and take everything as it comes and just keep moving forward.

Upcoming Tour Dates:
3 March - The Spirit Store, Dundalk
5 March - Roisin Dubh, Galway (with James Vincent McMorrow)
6 March - Ryan's Bar, Kilkenny
15 March - The Crane Lane, Cork
22 March - Whelan's, Dublin
26 March - McCarthy's, Dingle

Watch: Thom Yorke - Give Up the Ghost and More

Thom Yorke played three new songs last night in Cambridge - 'Give Up the Ghost', 'The Daily Mail', and 'Mouse Bird Dog'. Watch them all below...

'Give Up the Ghost':

'The Daily Mail':

'Mouse Dog Bird':

Download: Drive-By Truckers - The Big To-Do Live

The new Drive-By Truckers album is less than a month away. The Big To-Do comes out on March 16th on ATO Records, and to tease you as to its contents, I'm putting up downloads of all the available live recordings of the new songs. Click on the dates below the song names to download that particular version.


1. Daddy Learned to Fly
January 16, 2010
January 29, 2010
February 11, 2010
February 12, 2010
February 13, 2010

2. The Fourth Night of My Drinking
January 15, 2010
January 16, 2010
February 11, 2010
February 13, 2010

3. Birthday Boy
January 15, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 29, 2010
January 30, 2010
February 11, 2010
February 12, 2010
February 14, 2010

4. Drag the Lake Charlie
January 14, 2010
January 16, 2010
February 12, 2010

5. The Wig He Made Her Wear
January 14, 2010
January 16, 2010
February 12, 2010

6. You Got Another
January 14, 2010
January 15, 2010
January 16, 2010
February 12, 2010

7. This Fucking Job
January 14, 2010
January 29, 2010
January 30, 2010
February 11, 2010
February 12, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 14, 2010

8. Get Downtown
January 15, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 30, 2010
February 11, 2010
February 12, 2010
February 14, 2010

9. After the Scene Dies
January 15, 2010
January 16, 2010
February 11, 2010

10. (It's Gonna Be) I Told You So
January 15, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 30, 2010
February 11, 2010
February 12, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 14, 2010

11. Santa Fe
January 15, 2010
January 30, 2010
February 12, 2010
February 14, 2010

12. The Flying Wallendas
January 14, 2010
January 15, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 30, 2010
February 11, 2010
February 12, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 14, 2010

13. Eyes Like Glue
Has not been played live. Guess you'll have to wait for the album...

Stream: Communion: The Compilation

Communion is a brand new UK record label founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons and Kevin Jones (Cherbourg, Marcus Foster) and is the home of some fantastic acts. To showcase this talent, they've produced the first ever Communion Compilation, containing 21 wonderful songs, including gems from Mumford and Sons, Matt Corby, Marcus Foster, Alessi's Ark, Jay Jay Pistolet, and Matthew & the Atlas. All this weekend, you can stream the entire thing on the Independent website.

Two of the tracks from the compilation are also made available for download as mp3s, Alessi's Ark's 'Hands In The Sink' and Matthew & The Atlas' 'Deadwood'. Grab them, and have a listen to the full album stream via the link below.

1. Johnny Flynn - In The Honour Of Industry
2. Jay Jay Pistolet - Vintage Red
3. Marcus Foster - Circle In A Square
4. Stokes, William - Zion
5. Pete Roe - Bellina
6. Broadcast 2000 - That Sinking Feeling
7. Benjamin Francis Leftwich - More Than Letters
8. Jeremy Warmsley - How We Became
9. Brendan Campbell - Maudlin Reverie
10. Alessi's Ark - Hand In The Sink
11. Mumford and Sons – Sister
12. Matthew and the Atlas – Deadwood
13. Alan Pownall – Take Me
14. Elena Tonra – Peter
15. Beans On Toast – Things To Do Before You’re Thirty
16. Kurran and the Wolfnotes – Pounding
17. Peggy Sue – February Snow
18. Andrew Davie – Lie Down In The Blood
19. Rachel Sermanni – My Friend Fire
20. Jesse Quin and the Mets – The Sculptor and the Stone
21. Matt Corby – Light Home


Album Review: Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History

Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History

The music world, and particularly the Irish music scene, goes through phases. What happens is that a mega-band comes along and has a huge impact with their debut album (and sometimes the follow-up too), bringing with them a newish sound, as well as a whole fresh approach to things. In the 00s, the Strokes were one of these bands. After the release of Is This It, countless post-Strokes bands came on the scene, some even went for the same look.

A lot of acts are taking queues from Vampire Weekend at the moment, and Two Door Cinema Club have definitely taken notice of that New York band's self-titled debut. Although formed in 2007, Two Door Cinema Club have a very "now" sound. Their music has nods to late 00s bands such as Bloc Party and Phoenix, and is all the better for it. Opening track 'Cigarettes in the Theatre' sounds like one of these VW-influenced songs, and at first you feel the album is going to be a sub-par attempt at deck-shoe chic.

However, on track two 'Come Back Home' it all changes, and the album gets infinitely better from there. 'This is the Life' sounds staggering like one of the 00s' most underrated bands, Mumm-Ra. It is a stomping guitar-driven song with a marvellous hook and perhaps should be a future single.

'Do You Want It All?' was already released as the B-Side to 'Something Good Can Work', both featured here. 'Do You Want It All' has an addictive refrain which will seep into your conscious - you'll find yourself singing it at random intervals after days apart from the album. 'Something Good Can Wait' is Two Door Cinema Club's finest hour so far, and the centrepiece of Tourist History. The tripping-over-words vocals are extremely endearing, unlike the missed opportunity of 'I Can Talk' which tries to do much and never gets anywhere.

'Undercover Martyn' is the current single from the album, and an excellent choice. It has radio written all over it, and is better than a lot of the current dross being played, such as Owl City. 'Eat That Up, It's Good For You' sounds like it could be a Postal Service tune, and thus is the kind of thing that those Owl City fans should actually be lapping up instead of some dimwitted tune about fireflies and goodbyes.

A lot of the songs sound like singles, 'What You Know' would definitely be a contender, were it not ruined by a horrible instrumental section. All in all, there's much more here to savour than not, making up for a fantastically accomplished debut album. They narrowly missed out on the final ten for BBC's Sound of 2010 poll, and on the basis of this, the Beeb missed an opportunity. Definitely ones to keep an eye on, and until they make their masterpiece: This'll do, Pig, this'll do.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Album News: Jakob Dylan - Women and Country

Founder of the Wallflowers Jakob Dylan will release his new solo album Women and Country on April 6th. If the title doesn't give the game away, the other members involved will. It's produced by T-Bone Burnett, and features guest appearances from Neko Case and Kelly Hogan on eight of the eleven tracks.

"I'm so happy to be collaborating with Jakob at this exciting and vital time in his life as an artist," Burnett said, "I think this new album is an important work from a great musician."

Hopefully it will be. It promises to be a great rootsy record, and should be more soulful than his debut solo effort Seeing Things.

"Nothing But The Whole Wide World"
"Down On Our Shield"
"Lend A Hand"
"We Don't Live Here Anymore"
"Everybody's Hurting"
"Yonder Come the Blues"
"Holy Rollers for Love"
"Truth For A Truth"
"They've Trapped US Boys"
"Smile When You Call Me That"
"Standing Eight Count"

Watch 'Will It Grow' (from 2008's Seeing Things):

Live: Oliver Cole at the Sugar Club

Oliver Cole

At the start of the year, Peter over at 2uibestow and myself listed the ten native acts to look out for in our Irish Sound of 2010. One of these acts, Oliver Cole will release his debut album We Albitri on March 26th.

The album was recorded in Germany, and produced by Ciaran Bradshaw (Dark Room Notes, The Chapters, Subplots). In addition to that, it also has guest appearances from a Who's Who of Irish rock: Graham Hopkins (Halite/Boss Volenti), Paul Noonan (Bell X1), Nick Seymour (Crowded House), and Gavin Fox (Turn).

To promote the record, he'll be playing the Sugar Club the following night, on March 27th. Tickets are on sale now, at a price of €13.50. It'll be a great chance to catch the former Turn-mainman before his solo career really takes off.

Watch 'We Albatri' and 2fm interview:

Live: Innercity Pirates Irish Tour

Innercity Pirates are an Irish-Welsh band, and are due to release their debut album Cutting Noses, Chasing Tales later this year. It's produced by Pedro Ferreira (The Darkness), and promises to be a great rock record. One of its singles 'Dedication', has already featured in a Guinness advert!

To give you a sneak peak of what you may hear, the band's singer, Russell, has given me two of the tracks from the album as free mp3 downloads.

I know many of us are trying to scrimp together the pennies to afford Oxegen tickets, so the best news about their Irish tour is that it's free entry! They'll be supported by the Laurel Collective on their entire UK & Ireland tour.

Irish Dates:
March 3rd Cyprus Avenue, Cork
March 4th Roisin Dubh, Galway
March 5th Academy, Dublin (Phantom’s First Fridays)
March 6th Belfast Spring and Airbrake

Innercity Pirates - 'Loves Over'
Innercity Pirates - 'Seen It All Before'

More info:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Live: Trinity Ball 2010 Lineup - Dizzee Rascal to Headline

Trinity Ball 2010

Tickets for the Trinity Ball went on sale this morning via the Student's Union shop in Trinity College Dublin, as well as through http://www.trinityball.ie

Tickets cost a whopping €78 each, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. Here's the full list of acts playing on the night of the 16th of April.

Full lineup:
Dizzee Rascal
Mystery Jets
Mr Hudson
Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
Jesse Rose
Louis La Roche
Japanese Popstars
Fred Falke
The Law
Darwin Deez
Planet Parade
Definitely Mightbe
Police Force
Bitches with Wolves
War Stage

Album News: The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever

The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady (sans Franz Nicolay) will be releasing the follow up to Stay Positive on May 4th. It's called Heaven is Whenever, and is a "much more dynamic record than anything they've done".

Guitarist Tad Kubler also had the following to say about the album "This album is sonically more diverse. And I really believe it exposes new elements of the band that we hinted at on other records but weren't able to fully realize until this one. Rather than just concentrate on changes in instrumentation, we made changes to the song writing process. And this helped everyone to experiment not only with their own instrument and where they should play, but where they shouldn't. This record doesn't feel as dense. It feels more spacial. We weren't trying to get a dozen different ideas on a song."

Frontman Craig Finn added: "The lyrics speak a lot about struggle and reward. Its about embracing suffering and understanding its place in a joyful life. I think that some of the characters from old records are there, but I don't name them by name. I think it continues to examine the highs and lows that we've looked at on previous records."

Read the full press release here:

1 The Sweet Part of the City
2 Soft in the Center
3 The Weekenders
4 The Smidge
5 Rock Problems
6 We Can Get Together
7 Hurricane J
8 Barely Breathing
9 Our Whole Lives
10 A Slight Discomfort

Album Review: Johnny Cash - American VI Ain't No Grave

Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave

Ain't No Grave is the last ever release in the American Recordings series, and came out at the weekend ahead of Johnny Cash's 78th birthday on Friday.

It was recorded during the same sessions that brought American V: A Hundred Highways, just after the recording of the stellar American IV: The Man Comes Around. Obviously, it doesn't reach the heights of the third or fourth instalments of the Rick Rubin era, but it is just as good as number five.

There aren't any of those inspired covers such as 'Hurt' or 'Solitary Man', but the entire contents of this album speak for themselves. All the songs are understated in a way only Johnny Cash could make them. The title track, and opener, 'Ain't No Grave' is a traditional tune, and features the Avett Brothers as backing musicians. It's a solemn tune, and a fine opener.

Sheryl Crow's 'Redemption Day' is one of the more contemporary songs on the album, and is a fine choice. However, it is fellow veteran country-singer Kris Kristofferson's 'For the Good Times' that is the album's highpoint. It's a gorgeous pop song, which had been earlier covered by Elvis, but I think the man in black's version may be the best I've heard it. The lyrics are added so much weight given Cash's own condition - how his wife June Carter died just months before him in 2003.

At the moment it's the last ever song Cash wrote (there may be others released in future, you know what the marketing machine is like), but 'First Corinthians 15:55' is up there with many of his later-years self-penned tracks. It's better than 'I Came to Believe' from American V, but not as good as 'Like the 309' from the same sessions. Cash was very religious, and this is another grand addition to his legacy.

Johnny Cash's take on Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes' 'A Satisfied Mind' originally appeared on the Kill Bill 2 soundtrack, but is more than worthy of inclusion here, as it joins a fantastic canon of cover versions of the song - alongside The Byrds, Glen Campbell, Jeff Buckley, Lucinda Williams, Daniel O'Donnell, and even Roseanne Cash.

'I Don't Hurt Anymore' is a perfect post-breakup song, and when Cash sings "No use to deny I wanted to die / The day you said we were through / But now that I find you're out of my mind / I can't believe that it's true" you know he means it.

'Cool Water' is the only real low point on the album, as it never really gets going. I also think that 'Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream' should have been the closing song rather than 'Aloha Oe', as it would be a fantastic finale to the American Recordings series.

Many people may dismiss this album as mere moneymaking (like how Tupac has so much posthumous material), but that would be an injustice. At the time they were recorded, these songs were always meant to be heard, and thus it's a fine end to a wonderful series. If you have the rest of the latter-day Cash albums in your collection, this is a must-have.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Live: Oxegen 2010 Lineup Announced: Eminem Muse Jay-Z Headlining

Oxegen 2010

I was at the super-special launch of Oxegen 2010 earlier today at the Academy (thus why I'm late getting around to posting about it), and my head is still trying to cope with the sheer deluge of acts announced. If you follow my twitter feed, you would have seen my many comments earlier today, but my main concern is where the hell are all the Irish acts? Just one on the lineup so far: Northern newcomers Two Door Cinema Club.

Kasabian are headlining Oxegen's Scottish sister T in the Park, but the three headliners for our own gig are Eminem, Muse, and Jay-Z. Tickets go back on sale on Friday March 12th, and 3 day camping ones cost €224.50. There's sure to be more acts announced, as well as info on who'll be playing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 9th-11th of July 2010.

Full Lineup so far:
Black Eyed Peas
The Prodigy
Florence and the Machine
Paolo Nutini
David Guetta
Vampire Weekend
Mumford and Sons
John Mayer
Hot Chip
Calvin Harris
Newton Faulkner
The Gossip
The Temper Trap
Empire of the Sun
La Roux
Rise Against
The Coral
Broken Social Scene
Ellie Goulding
Two Door Cinema Club

And in the Dance Arena...
Armand Van Helden
Steve Angelo
Simian Mobile Disco
Erol Alkan
Steve Aoki

Monday, February 22, 2010

Live: Michael Buble at Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road

The first concert for the renamed Lansdowne Road has been announced. Canadian crooner Michael Bublé will be playing the newly opened Aviva Stadium on Friday, September 24th. It'll make a nice change from all the football and rugby which will showcase the arena's reopening.

It will be a fully seated concert, and tickets priced €65.70 go on sale this Friday at 9. Tickets could sell out quickly, as his last album is still #1, and has gone nine times platinum in Ireland.

Watch 'Haven't Met You Yet':

Album News: Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record

The new Broken Social Scene album, Forgiveness Rock Record, will be released on May 4th. It'll be out on Arts& Crafts in the US, and will be out May 1st in Ireland. Hopefully it's every bit as good as the classic You Forgot It In People. They're giving away one of the album's tracks, 'World Sick' for the price of an email address - just fill it in below.


Live: Joshua Radin at the Academy

Ohian Joshua Radin, who shot to fame with the help of TV shows like Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy, will be playing Dublin's Academy on April 26th.

Tickets for the show cost €19.50 and are on sale now.

Watch 'Winter':

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Setlist: Lady Gaga, O2 Dublin, 20 February 2010

Lady Gaga played a great varied set at Dublin's O2 last night, for her first Irish appearance of 2010. She played songs from both The Fame and The Fame Monster as well as a few extra ditties.

City Intro
Dance in the Dark
Glitter and Grease
Just Dance
Beautiful, Dirty, Rich
The Fame
Boys Boys Boys
Money Honey
Brown Eyes
So Happy I Could Die
Poker Face
Monster Ball
Bad Romance

Watch a clip of last night's gig: