Swear I'm not Paul: 18/04/2010

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Album News: Phil Collins - Going Back

My love of Genesis knows no bounds. I even own some of those solo albums from Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. And I don't care what anyone says, but Collins has written and sang some damn fine pop and rock tunes. Thus I'm a little excited for his first release in 8 years (since 2002's disappointing Testify).

Going Back is set for release on September 13th, and will be a covers album of Motown and soul classics. Ahead of the album's release, Collins is to play four shows in June under the banner Up Close & Personal: Phil Collins Plays 60's Motown & Soul. He also said this of the album "You know, I mean, I started it for fun, really, and just chose all the Motown songs, the darker songs that I liked, the lesser known ones. And I ended up with about 40 of them and finished, I’ve actually finished about 29 of them."

This could be amazing. Could be terrible either, but hopefully not.

1. Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)
2. Uptight (Everything’s Alright)
3. Blame It On The Sun
4. Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer
5. Heat Wave
6. In My Lonely Room
7. Jimmy Mack
8. Standing In The Shadows Of Love
9. Something About You
10. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
11. Papa Was a Rolling Stone
12. Some Of Your Loving
13. Talking About My Baby
14. Do I Love You?
15. Going To a Go-Go
16. Love Is Here
17. Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)
18. Goin' Back

Album News: Sun Kil Moon - Admiral Fell Promises

The exceedingly prolific Sun Kil Moon are back with a new album in July. Admirial Fell Promises will come out on July 17th, and features ten songs at an overall length of sixty minutes.

It's coming out on CD, Download, Vinyl. Anyone who orders the album via the record company's site (Calo Verde Records) will get a free four song Sun Kil Moon EP called I’ll Be There, which features covers of Stereolab, The Jackson 5 and Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. (You can take a guess which Jackson 5 song is covered!)

More news when I get it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Album Review: The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt cover

Every year some young singer-songwriter is pronounced the new Bob Dylan. They come out with an encouraging debut album and then sort of disappear into obscurity. In 2008, Kristian Matsson released Shallow Grave to much acclaim, a 8.3 Pitchfork review, and those inevitable Dylan comparisons.

Second albums are always difficult. It's become a clich├ęd phrase in music criticism, but it's still apt. There's a few options, you can do an MGMT and try something different, you can branch out here and there, or else you can do what the Tallest Man on Earth has done and taken the initial blueprint and made it better in every way.

The Wild Hunt is better than Shallow Grave - it's even decimally 2% better according to some sources. Plus, those Dylan comparisons aren't going away. It's unfair to compare the two. It's apt, but unfair.

The lead single for the album, 'King of Spain' was made available as a free mp3 download, and is one of the best songs on here. However, there's not one dud on what is an excellent album. Matsson performed everything himself, and his vocals have even improved from the full-length debut.

That's the one thing that may have held him back before. His vocals are croaky which some may find hard to bear, but when the lyrics and melody are so beautiful, how can anyone resist?

At just under 35 minutes, it's a short album, and never outstays its welcome. It's a collection of beautiful songs, of which there are many highlights: 'A Lion's Heart', 'Burden of Tomorrow', and 'Troubles Will Be Gone' to name a few.

Each time you play it, you'll have a new favourite, and it's an album that I can't help coming back to again and again. Gorgeous.

Live: Brendan Benson at Whelan's

Raconteur and wonderful solo artist Brendan Benson has announced another Irish date for 2010. He'll be playing Whelan's in Dublin on October 1st. Benson released his latest solo album My Old Familiar Friend last year, and has been touring it extensively. Hopefully though we'll get to hear some songs from 1996 debut One Mississippi when he appears in Ireland again.

Tickets for the gig are €17.50 and will go on sale on Monday.

Watch Brendan Benson 'Crosseyed':

Live: Jason Derulo at the Academy

JASON DERULO! Sorry, had to get that out of the way. Every time I hear his name, I get that stuck in my head. Just the start of his single where he sings his own name ('Whatcha Say'). Anyhow, on with the show. He will be playing Dublin's Academy on Thursday, August 26th.

It's an over-14s gig, with tickets priced at a reasonable €25. They go on sale next Friday, the 30th, at 9.

Watch 'Whatcha Say/In My Head' live on American Idol:

Setlist: Dropkick Murphys, Olympia Theatre, 22 April 2010

This setlist was emailed to this morning by Gary, who claims to have a very sore head after watching the Dropkick Murphys at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin last night. He says that he tried to take down all the songs played, but he wasn't sure of them all, or if they were in the right order. So if you have any corrections, please let me know in the comments section below. (Thanks to some readers for corrections.)

Also for everyone who missed the show last night, the Dropkick Murphys have just released a fantastic live CD + DVD Live at Lansdowne, Boston MA (it came out in time just for Patrick's Day!)

For Boston
The State of Massachusetts
Captain Kelly's Kitchen
The Dirty Glass
Sunshine Highway
Citizen CIA
Never Alone
God Willing
As One
Buried Alive
Caught in a Jar
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
The Auld Triangle
Flannigan's Ball
Bastards on Parade
The Spicy McHaggis Jig
Fields of Athenry
Devil's Brigade
Worker's Song
Boys on the Docks
Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced
Boys on the Docks

Watch 'The Spicy McHaggis Jig' live at the Olympia:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever

Hold Steady - HiW cover

I'll admit it, I was late(ish) to the Hold Steady party. I didn't become a fan until Boys and Girls in America. Even though people were singing the praises of their second album Separation Sunday (it even made the albums of the year list on the site where I used to write) I still didn't bother checking them out. But after hearing BAGIA, I was hooked. I got everything I could, listened to everything Craig Finn has done (even the Lifter Puller years), so when the band's fourth album Stay Positive was announced, I eagerly awaited it. It wasn't as good as Boys and Girls, but it was still a great album. Next month sees the release of their fifth record, Heaven is Whenever (although it came out on vinyl for Record Store Day), and it's currently streaming online.

So what's Heaven is Whenever like then?

Relationships are strange beasts. At the beginning of one, you always aim to do everything right - you laugh at their jokes, you tell them funny anecdotes (but only ones that paint you in a good light), and you never mention ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends. It's only after a few dates that you start to uncover the real person underneath. But it takes years before you really know everything about them.

Hold Steady albums are similar. Some of the tracks are instantly catchy, you pick out a lyric here and there that catches your attention, and you pump your first and grin wildly at the "woah-oh" parts. This was definitely true of Boys and Girls and Stay Positive, and both Almost Killed Me and Separation Sunday definitely had these moments.

A first date with Heaven is Whenever is like going out with your ex's sister. She may look similar in the distance, but once you sit down for dinner and try to discover her nuances, she's in no way the same. Some mannerisms are repeated definitely, there's a saying or phrase taken from this conversation or that, but deep down, you know she's not the same.

Your first hint is 'The Sweet Part of the City'. A splendid introduction, although it's smoother, softer, and a little gentler. Maybe this girl is the one you've been waiting for. As the date goes on, you see that she's entertaining too. Sure, she's got some problems, but who doesn't? 'Rock Problems' is charming, it just reels you in further.

Near the end of the first date, you're captivated. We've all been waiting for something like this: 'Our Whole Lives'. And by the time it's over, you're finished 'A Slight Discomfort', you just want to do it all over again.

Fast forward to the fifth date and you really start to discover what makes this girl tick. You start to notice her name drops, her stories, her interests, her hobbies. You start to see what's really there. Like 'We Can Get Together' and its repeated Husker Du references. She's clever, she's got good taste - maybe not the exact same taste as you, but those sure are some sweet words she's saying. Hey, was that a Meat Loaf reference? I thought I was the only one...

There's a lot here to like. 'The Weekenders', even first introduction 'Hurricane J', but we all have our flaws. She's probably more well-rounded than her older sisters. And there's heaps going on to bring you back for moref. Her beauty wasn't evident from the start, and there's still some things that niggle you, things you may never like.

But remember, you've had experience with other girls before. You can't be constantly comparing and contrasting - I wish she was like..., or that she did...
You've also got to remember that she's coming out of a relationship too. Franz is no longer around. She'll need time to settle down, to adjust. Let's just hope the transition doesn't last too long.

And the fiftieth date? Well, you're not there yet. And you know you probably won't like her as much as some of the others, but you're going to see this through. She's worth it. There's a lot to like, not as much to love, but definitely a lot to keep you around for more.

Live: Santana at the O2

Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana has just been announced for the O2 in Dublin. He last played Ireland at Marlay Park back in 2002. My art teacher in secondary school will be delighted to hear that the Carlos Santana Universal Tone Europe Tour 2010 kicks off on September 29th in Dublin.

Tickets for the O2 show go on sale next Thursday (the 29th), and cost from €60.55.

Watch Santana's 'Exodus' with the Dave Matthews Band:

Setlist: Whitney Houston, O2 Dublin, 20 April 2010

The third and final night of Whitney's O2 Residency went down a treat. Hopefully she was able to get a flight out yesterday. Or maybe she was ferrying it back to England again. (I should've got Stena or Irish Ferries to sponsor this post!) On the final night, Whitney took a little girl from the crowd to help sing 'The Greatest Love of All'. The girl had a banner "Whitney can I sing with you?", showing that obviously banners sometimes work - and not just at Bruce Springsteen shows.

For the Lovers
Nothing But Love
I Look to You
It's Not Right But It's Okay
My Love is Your Love
The Greatest Love of All (guest vocalist!)
For the Love of You
Queen of the Night
Saving All My Love For You
All At Once
Greatest Love of All
I Will Always Love You
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
How Will I Know?
Million Dollar Bill
I'm Every Woman

Watch Whitney Houston 'All at Once' live at the O2 Dublin:

Live: Josh Ritter at the Iveagh Gardens

After the announcement that American singer-songwriter Tori Amos is set to appear at the Iveagh Gardens this summer, honourary Irishman Josh Ritter has been added to the summer festivities. He'll be playing the Iveagh Gardens on July 18th. I might be going to see Ritter as part of the Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival (check out the full lineup here), and must say he is a fantastic talent. He's promoting his new album So Runs the World Away at the moment. The album itself is due out this weekend.

Tickets for Ritter's show cost €38, and are on sale from this Friday.

Watch Josh Ritter 'Kathleen' live in Dublin:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Live: Red Bull Music Academy at Oxegen

There have been many more acts announced for the Red Bull Music Academy at this year's Oxegen festival. Broken Social Scene had already been listed as due to perform, but now we have a whole host of great acts over the three days in Punchestown. The Drums, Delphic, Dirty Projectors, and Jamie Lidell are bound to be amazing. Who needs other stages?


Tickets for Oxegen are on sale now. It takes place from the 9th to the 11th of July.

Watch Jamie Lidell live:

Album Review: John, Shelly and the Creatures - Dinosaur

JSAC - Dinosaur

John, Shelly and the Creatures is not John Shelly and the Creatures. There's no John Shelly. Actually, I'm not sure if there's a John or a Shelly either. I definitely don't see it in the band lineup, but rumour has it, they're in Berlin somewhere.

Anyhow, John, Shelly & the Creatures are the best band to come out of Northern Ireland this year (and that includes Two Door Cinema Club). Their debut album Dinosaur has just been self-released, and is highly worth checking out.

It's a breezy pop album, with fantastic instrumentation throughout. The piano on 'Cold War' is glorious, and the vocals on opener 'Blinded and Cross' are hugely uplifting. The vocals on the whole album really soar, and the harmonies on some of the tracks are almost Byrdsian.

Dinosaur is not a rock album the way Tourist History is, but rather a melodic pop record, with great melodies and fantastic hooks. 'Sunny Side Street' is the perfect example of this. It's not all straightforward pop though, as demonstrated by the slow-burning, pedal-steel led 'Sight of Your Chest' (performed by guest Stuart Bell). Maybe the Irish alt-country movement may be set to arrive!

You may already recognise 'Long May You Reign', as it was featured on the Discover Northern Ireland adverts. A great selection, but there are loads of fantastic songs here which are sure to get airplay - such as 'Rust', 'Marley Street' and 'Killer'. The latter especially. It's the album's highpoint and an utterly gorgeous rock song. Destined to be a hit.

Overall, it's a very impressive debut, and a quite cohesive record. Impressive from start to finish, this is the beginning of something good.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Live: Tori Amos at the Iveagh Gardens

Pop legend Tori Amos has announced a one-off Irish gig at the Ivegah Gardens this summer. Her last tour was the Sinful Attraction Tour, and although played many European dates, she didn't play any in Ireland. Her most recent proper album Abnormally Attracted to Sin (Midwinter Graces was only a seasonal Christmas release) was a top twenty album here, so she's sure to have many fans in attendance this summer.

She'll be playing in Dublin on July 16th, with tickets priced €45 on sale this Thursday.

Watch Tori with Damien Rice:

Live: Feeder at the Academy

Feeder, one of my favourite bands as a teen (thank you Gran Turismo 1 Soundtrack), are returning to Ireland to play an intimate gig at the Academy. They're currently playing new music live, so expect to hear new songs as well as classic ones this summer.

They'll follow that up with the Academy show on August 19th, with tickets costing €30 on sale this Friday.

Watch Feeder live at Oxegen:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stream: The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever

The new Hold Steady album Heaven is Whenever is just a few weeks away. However, it was released on vinyl as part of Record Store Day and now can also be streamed in full over at NPR. On first listen, it's decent, but may well be their worst album yet. Where's Franz Nicolay when you need him? (Although come fifth listen, I might love it.)

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"


Watch: The Dead Weather - Coachella New Songs

Here's four songs from the Dead Weather's upcoming Sea of Cowards (due May 11th), that the band played at the Coachella Festival last night (damn does the US have some great gigs).

'No Horse':

'Die By the Drop':

'Blue Blood Blues':

'Hussle and Cuss':

Stream: Jogging - Minutes

Jogging - Minutes album cover

Minutes is the debut album from Dublin band Jogging. They're being hyped all over the place, so expect a lot. Well you should, it lives up to the hype! The album will be released through the Richter Collective on May 2nd, but for now you can stream it in full below...

Setlist: Whitney Houston, O2 Dublin, 18 April 2010

The second night of Whitney's residency at Dublin's O2. Featured a very similar set to the night before - so might have been a tad redundant to be a both shows, but what did you expect? At least her vocals were decent enough.

I Look To You
My Love Is Your Love
It's Not Right
A Song For You (Missing You interpolation)
Saving My Love For You
Greatest Love of All
All At Once
I Learned from the Best
I Wanna Dance / How Will I Know?
I Love the Lord
I Will Always Love You
Million Dollar Bill
I'm Every Woman

Watch 'I Will Always Love You', O2 Dublin:

Setlist: Whitney Houston, O2 Dublin, 17 April 2010

Whitney had to be ferried in from the UK to play her sold-out Dublin nights, and not even a volcano could stop her. I was in the pub watching the soccer on Saturday and overheard a woman complain that Whitney was on the front of the Sun because she had to take the ferry "millions of people take the ferry ever day, what makes her so important that she's on the front of the paper?" A. Irish Ferries wish it was millions, and B. It's Whitney baby! Here's the setlist from her first Dublin gig at the O2, not far from the port at all... (Note I might be missing a few tracks, if I am, let me know in the comments section below.)

For the Lovers
I Look To You
It's Not Right
A Song For You
No Other Man's Gonna Do
Saving My Love For You
Greatest Love of All
All At Once
I Learned From the Best
I Love the Lord
I Wanna Dance / How Will I Know?
I Will Always Love You
Million Dollar Bill
I'm Every Woman

Watch 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' from the O2 Dublin: