Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

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On ASIWYFA and the advantages of meeting your interviewees…

September 12, 2010


All photographs: ASIWYFA, photographed in Portrush for AU by Carrie Davenport

I had a few post-work pints with AU writers Francis Jones and John Freeman yesterday. Fra was the editor of the mag before me, and we’ve both been involved with it for about five years. His day job has changed but he still contributes regularly and is a good friend. John is from Manchester and found out about us through a mate of his who is obsessed with Duke Special – when we had Duke on the cover a couple of years ago, this guy got hold of a copy and showed it to John, who got in touch, pitched some work and soon became one of our main feature writers. However, he had never in his 40 years been to Northern Ireland so after interviewing Jeff Tweedy for our Wilco cover feature he took the opportunity to fly over for the band’s debut NI gig, at the Open House Festival. After innumberable phone calls and emails it was good to finally meet him.

Anyway, we were chatting about the mag and music writing in general, and got on to talk about the interviews we do. Being based in Belfast, most of our interviews are done on the phone – we are normally either previewing a gig to be played here, or the artist is promoting a new album. Either way, the interviewee is unlikely to be in Belfast. On certain occasions it does work out (sometimes we interview bands when they are here to play a gig, especially if they are about to release an album soon after) and of course we often interview bands from Northern Ireland.

Any music writer will tell you that a face-to-face interview is always preferable – there is only so much you can do with an interview based solely on words down a phone line. When you meet up with an interviewee, however, there is so much more to play with. Context, geography, even something as simple as facial expressions and body language make a huge difference.

With that in mind, and because I haven’t posted it up here yet, here’s an interview I did with And So I Watch You From Afar in March last year, just before their debut album came out. The photographer Carrie and I went to their own patch – Portrush – for the day and chatted to them in Barry’s Amusements, the Harbour Bar and on the beach. It was a fun day. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Hello again…

August 31, 2010

Ah, I knew that would happen. A couple of months of relatively busy activity on my shiny new blog and then… silence. Pathetic. Anyway, I’ve been thinking I should blog again and I have good reason for it.

First of all, to tell you that the new issue of AU will be out at the weekend. It’s our first since the Wilco issue and our summer break and it’s full of all the usual good stuff plus a few new ideas and some new writers as well. I’ll blog again when it’s out (promise). In the meantime, you can read the last five issues on whatever you are using to read this by clicking here.

Secondly, I was sent this music video today and I feel compelled to share it. The act is Tropics (pictured above), a new signing to Planet Mu Records, who seem to be on a bit of a roll at the minute. The last new act I heard from them was Solar Bears, a Dublin duo whose debut album She Was Coloured In is fantastic in a Boards of Canada-go-Krautrock kind of way. Tropics operates in a similar kind of headspace – all dreamy and woozy, but rather than Kraut it’s got more of a heady disco feel to it, along the lines of Blondes and Teengirl Fantasy.

The video below is of ‘Soft Vision’, from an upcoming EP of the same name. It also works as 90s nostalgia, because it reminds me of a Timotei ad. Either way, it’s a winner.

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Heads-up: Ganglians

April 4, 2010


Fucking hippies…

I know I’m hardly quick out of the block with this lot (Pfork were giving them love last summer), but they only blipped onto my radar a couple of weeks ago, so gimme a break OKAY?!

Anyway, Ganglians (nice name – Google it if you don’t know) are four blokes from Sacramento, California who make wonderfully woozy, slightly psychedelic indie-pop. Their debut full-length Monster Head Room comes out here in May and it’s an absolute winner – they are contemporaries of the likes of Crystal Stilts and Wavves, and there’s a certain stoned, lo-fi sensibility that they share with those acts, but their music is almost symphonic at times.

In actual fact, I’m wondering whether you can even call it lo-fi, such is the depth of sound they conjure. The record is languid and sonically rich and the harmonies are nothing short of wondrous. The Beach Boys are clearly an enormous influence (cleck out ‘Lost Words’ and especially ‘Try To Understand’) but they have too much about them to be dismissed as mere copyists, specifically a tendency to allow their songs to collapse in on themselves, so you rarely feel that they are totally under control.

The band are in Ireland at the end of May (Whelan’s in Dublin on the 21st, the Menagerie in Belfast on the 22nd), so it’ll be intriguing to see whether they can reproduce the hazy tunefulness in the live setting.

Spotify
MySpace
Free download on Pitchfork.

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The Cast Of Cheers (free musics!)

February 17, 2010

Web 2.0, I wub you I rilly rilly do. Through the nattering on Twitter of various in-the-know type people down in Dublin, I heard of the existence of a band called The Cast Of Cheers (good name? bad name? dunno) and that they had made their debut album available for free on their Bandcamp page. Then more nattering on Twitter and Fastfude indicated that it was in fact The Shit, and I’m now getting round to giving it a listen (I’ve become a wee bit obsessed with the new Field Music album of late, y’see).

You know what? Those people are all right. Turns out the band have signed a management deal with Richter Collective, which is a tie-up that makes sense, as their mathy post-punk shares several characteristics with the likes of Adebisi Shank, BATS and Enemies. Think of them as a harder-hitting, more raw Foals and you’re close. Personally, I can’t wait to see them live. April 7 at the Skinny Love club, Auntie Annie’s, Belfast. They have several Dublin dates coming up too. Awesome.

Download or stream below, but be quick about it, because the free offer is apparently for a limited time only.

And by the way, how great is Bandcamp?!

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Field Music video, cos they’re ace

February 17, 2010

Here’s another post by way of penance for that whoring I just did. I’m really loving the new Field Music album, Field Music (Measure). The video below is for the single ‘Them That Do Nothing’, and it’s pretty representative of the album, or as representative as one song can be of a 20-track double album. I’m only scratching the surface so far.

So if you like really strong, classic songwriting (The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Kinks, even a bit of Prince) with a skewed sense of rhythm, rampant creativity and expert playing/production, give it a bash. It’s a keeper.

By the way, the band play Dublin Crawdaddy on March 5 and Belfast Pavilion on March 6. I’ll be at the latter, bells-on style.

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My Albums of 2009

January 18, 2010

Tsk, typical. I procrastinated for ages on doing my list and making it all nice and readable, but now I’ve got to the point in the month when I need to knuckle down on work for the next issue of AU (which will be free!) so yer getting a plain list and not much else. Sorry.

I found that there were loads of albums I really liked but not so many that demanded I cling them to my bosom the way Why?’s Alopecia did on 2008, or Interpol and British Sea Power’s debuts back in 2002 and 2003. But that’s probably down to the amount of music I’m exposed to these days as much as anything else. There was certainly plenty to enthuse about anyway, and every one of these 50 albums is well worth investigating. I will be back in due course to add links, videos and maybe some nice words. PROMISE! In the meantime, here’s my 2009 in list form.

PS: That’s correct, no Animal Collective. Yeo! Read the rest of this entry ?

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My EPs of 2009

January 8, 2010

I’m – finally – going to post my Albums of the Year list shortly, but first I’ll start with ten EPs and singles that helped to soundtrack my year, since I’m not including them in the main list. Inclusion is based on them being standalone releases, not lifted from an existing full-length album. But it’s pretty loose. And there’s a bonus at the end which doesn’t apply.

1.

MOUNT KIMBIE
MAYBES
HOTFLUSH

Here’s a link to a piece I wrote about the London electronic duo on iheartau.com recently.

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MOUNTKIMBIE

2.

WASHED OUT
LIFE OF LEISURE
MEXICAN SUMMER

Click here to read a piece about the wonderfully named Ernest Greene, for Washed Out is he. And he is fantastic.

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/THEBABEINTHEWOODS

3.

CRIMEA X
PHOROS
HELL YEAH!

“Lead track ‘10pm’ is the pick – it builds from a repetitive synth arpeggio into a euphoric floorfiller, all sexy bass, housey piano stabs and the constant patter of bongos bubbling under the surface.”

From my review of the EP on iheartau.com
Click here for the feature I wrote in the mag.

(I can’t find a video for any of the tracks, other than the one remix I don’t really like! Give me a shout if you find one.)

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/CRIMEAX

4.

JOY ORBISON
HYPH MNGO
HOTFLUSH

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/JOYORBISON

5.

WALTER JONES
I’LL KEEP ON LOVING YOU
DFA

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/WMJ3

6.

SKREAM
BURNING UP/MEMORIES OF 3RD BASE
DIGITAL SOUNDBOY

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/SKREAMUK

7.

MOUNT KIMBIE
SKETCH ON GLASS
HOTFLUSH

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MOUNTKIMBIE

8.

HELIOPAUSE
MOMENT OF RECOGNITION
FURIOUS TRADESMEN

(I shot this video myself! Apologies for terrible sound, it was just done using my stills camera)

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/WECOMEFROMBELFAST

9.

NOT SQUARES
AYE YO PA/IYOUUSIT
RICHTER COLLECTIVE

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/NOTSQUARES

10.

NO AGE
LOSING FEELING
SUB POP

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/NONOAGE

BONUS TRACK!

BURIAL
FOSTERCARE
HYPERDUB

This track appeared on the excellent 5 Years of Hyperdub compilation towards the back end of this year, and following Burial’s collaboration with Four Tet earlier in 2009, it reaffirmed in my mind that the man is a) a genius and b) working on something pretty special. It’s now over two years since Untrue, so let’s hope we get a third album in 2010. This track, though not exactly a progression in his sound, is getting me positively moist in anticipation. What he does, he does better than anyone else, so he can keep on doing it indefinitely for all I care. Enjoy.

WWW.MYSPACE.COM/BURIALUK

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