Explanation of Artist

Sorry about the lack of updates folks, but I've been too busy hyperventilating in a corner since I found out Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti are playing Whelan's on May 15th.  Ohhh mmyyyy goddd.

Also coming: Grouper and Mi Ami. They say missing out on an Animal Collective ticket will come back to you threefold, and it has.

On my recent trek through the annals of DIY/lo-fi, I've been turned onto the mind-blowing R. Stevie Moore, bedsit recording extraordinaire. You couldn't write this guy if you tried.

He released Phonography in 1976, and it's the kind of album David Byrne couldn't have dreamed of writing at his peak. You'll notice some serious similarities between Moore and Ariel Pink (who've collaborated by mail), not only the obvious DIY roots, but a strong likeness between songs such as "Alecia" (former) and "Alisa" (latter). I like the idea of homage and constant exchange between the work of each throwing creative ownership into question. 

[[Somewhat appropriately, Phonography will be the last full album I'll offer for download here. I don't feel great about doing so and to be honest I could do without being hunted down by KGB-esque industry 'bots.]]

Do download this, though. It's a fucking epiphany. One of the best sounds I've ever heard.


Your Talk Won't Walk No More

It took me a while to get into this E.P. It's been swimming 'round my ipod for a month or so and I'm not really sure when my opinion went from 'meh' to 'hmmmm'. Isn't it weird the way certain albums will totally pass you by as unremarkable until a certain moment when it all seems to fall together because of some shift in mood or atmosphere? My case in point: Black Dice. I have no idea what changed, but now I'm crazy about Repo [2009] where before I was using it as an excuse to reprimand myself for filling my hard drive with irrelevant, pretentious shite.

As you may have already guessed I am not a natural music journo, in fact I don't read the printed music press at all, so I will provide you with this tiny, vague amount of non-information about Cold Cave:

- his name is Wesley Eisloid, from Philadelphia.
- Xiu Xiu love him [I swear to god these XX favourites I tend to hit on are total coincidences -it's kind of flattering to the ego...]
- this E.P. sounds a lot like Gary Numan pursuing Ian Curtis down a sewer. 
- the cover is so dreadful it's practically genius... the guy looks like he's battling his way through the most boring dinner date in history. Boasting a history of dating gamers, academics and Satanists, I can relate.


Doo bee doo

Darling Blogspot, I am *this* close to moving to Wordpress.

If you know anything about me, you also know that I poo my pants at anything that sounds vaguely like Boards of Canada. Early, mid, late period, it doesn't matter. I know a few of you are also BOC fans, so this post is bringing two BOC-like or inspired acts to your attention. While the first, Casino Vs. Japan is quite derivative of later BOC, I would suggest that this doesn't necessarily mean that his work is bad. What's more, Whole Numbers Play the Basics (2002) sounds more like Trans-Canada Highway (2006), so perhaps BOC 'derived' from CVJ? Who knows... whatever the case, let it be known that Pitchfork is (surprise surprise) wrong about this artist.

I like that sometimes we stumble upon something really brilliant, totally by accident. This is true in the case of Bibio, or producer Stephen Wilkinson from Mush Records (Thavius Beck, Busdriver, Daedelus). I believe I read this described as 'folktronica' once. Think of early lofi BOC with acoustic guitars and old pianos thrown in. This is a truly elegant, overlooked album which I play pretty much every day:

Bang Boong

Apologies for the delay in updating kids, I've been too busy with a shitload of other, unfortunately more pressing things. 

My society at college is hosting a Rape Awareness week, so naturally I'm bursting at the seams with righteous feminism. What better time, then, to introduce yet another White Denim labelmate, and "Australia's most confusing act",  Menstruation Sisters. They are a project of the noise legend Oren Ambarchi's, proof to me that not all Australians deserve my total disdain. I've been listening to Dead at Slug's on a loop. This year I think I finally 'got' what noise rock is about. Not that I could tell you in so many words... that ain't the point of noise, babygirl.     

Click below and download the album, or I will cry.


Aphex Twin vs. Stockhausen

From Aphex Twin's Wiki page:

In November 1995, The Wire published an article titled "Advice to Clever Children." In the process of producing the interview, a package of tapes containing music from several artists, including Aphex Twin, was sent to Karlheinz Stockhausen.

He commented:
I heard the piece Aphex Twin of Richard James carefully: I think it would be very helpful if he listens to my work "Song of the Youth," which is electronic music, and a young boy's voice singing with himself. Because he would then immediately stop with all these post-African repetitions, and he would look for changing tempi and changing rhythms, and he would not allow to repeat any rhythm if it [was] varied to some extent and if it did not have a direction in its sequence of variations.[37]

Aphex Twin responded: "I thought he should listen to a couple of tracks of mine: 'Didgeridoo,' then he'd stop making abstract, random patterns you can't dance to".



This is the jam session you wish you'd had

Thee More Shallow's first verse for "Freshman Thesis" goes:

Before I spoke in riddles, I was worried someone would hear me
Now I know that no one really listens so I will just speak clearly
I don't have private thoughts, just a lyrical worksheet
For mangling my observations on the meter and the beat
And in the process of it, on every line
Sooner or later I'll have to change the meaning to fit the rhyme.

I am writing an undergraduate thesis and similarly struggling with having to dilute my opinions on a topic into chapters and paragraphs. Form: something I've never been good at. I'm toying with the idea of submitting a 12,000 word tape-recorded thesis of nothing but stream-of-consciousness, in-character wailing. Yeah, so it would fail, but then at least the next four months wouldn't signal nothing but an endless pit of futureless gloom. All this, for a grade that doesn't guarantee me a job. January's fun, isn't it kids?

Speaking of stream-of-consciousness wailing, here are MP3s from Mi Ami, my favourite experimental/noise rock band from the excellent White Denim label. This is their best work by far, the African Rhythms 12'' [2008] which has promptly sold out. One of those albums I downloaded and forgot about, only for itunes to cough it up months later as I'm lying in bed, causing me to wonder what the fuck it is and why I haven't been listening to it on a loop until now...

MP3: Mi Ami - "African Rhythms"
MP3: Mi Ami - "Feel You"
MP3: Mi Ami - "Clear Light"


How long can you hold you breath?

I am not doing well. This post will be an example of how music can help express these things going on in your head, or how it can bring you out of a mindset. Really good music can. Ten years ago, my cd player wasn't so much a cd player as an IV drip I hauled everywhere with me. There had to be something else, some meaningful soundtrack to every journey. It would block out the noise of my family, my friends, my life. These days, music is more of an indulgence than a necessity. I suppose my life is much stronger and fuller than when I lived up North in an unhappy situation; nothing needs to be a religion any more as I am enough, for the most part. 

I say for the most part, because today I am not enough. At times like this I hang on to certain noises, the most basic sensory pleasures. My faith in making music is alive because I know that a lot of people value their albums on a personal level. A certain album or song reminds you of a certain time: that bad breakup, that essay you were writing, that little room with the busted sofa and fairy lights where you lost your virginity.

When my mum was pregnant with me, she would sit close to a radio. She had read that Mozart was soothing for the baby.  I still listen to Mozart and other music as a kind of therapy, essential to my alone time when I need to think or regroup. Years ago, when I was obsessed enough, I knew albums as intimately as if they were close friends or lovers. They echoed anger or sadness back to me in a way that no relative or friend was capable of doing for me at that time. In a lonely environment, certain albums were essential to me. You could read this as slightly pathetic I suppose, but my problems aren't the point. The point is that music is often more important than one wants to let on. Why is there an entire culture (and sub-cultures within those cultures) dedicated to the worship of one intonated note played in front of another? Why, if music doesn't affect world politics or social problems, do we think, talk, blog about it daily? It is a spiritual, soothing experience. We are not robots yet. 

My hands shake as I type this. I have had experiences through music that haven't been equalled in my personal relationships. When I was eighteen, I played pieces like The Rite of Spring and Ein Heldenleben in large youth orchestras. There is nothing quite like that feeling of a hundred people playing something beautiful in unison, each person contributing his or her different but equally essential role. In between concerts, we stumbled our sentences, had clumsy romantic encounters, but for a 40 minute piece we were there in the moment, for once our bodies working in sync with our minds. (It's never the same being in audience; even now I get restless watching a performance.) The aftermath of the concert was saturated in the unused adrenaline - a lot of musicians will tell you that they drink to get rid of it as quickly as possible. 

I need music. It bridges the gap between the personal and the collective, expressing something I am untrained to articulate in a stark everyday reality. Maybe, just maybe, you know what I mean.



It's crazy the amount of hits I'm getting already. You'd think I'd have to actually write something good to get this kind of attention straight away. Thanks to all who are keeping up with the blog anyway.

I want to write about this guy, Seattle's one-man Perfume Genius. I haven't posted a link to a download, precisely because I cannot find this album anywhere. His last.fm bio just says: "Might be dead. Cool guy." What I can tell you about him is that he's likely going to get a lot bigger in 2009, because Xiu Xiu blogged about him, because he is insanely gifted and because he plays irresistably hard-to-get. If you like Chris Garneau, Patrick Wolf and the whole queer indie thing, you'll love this. The rest of his stuff is less intense than below, kind of stripped-down piano work.

He also has a fairly insane Youtube account on which he does some impressive cross-dressing.

p.s. if you track any of his tracks down, TELL ME. I curse the day Myspace abandoned its download option.



I'm telling you something you probably already know: Jeff Mills is God. Few bad things come out of Detroit, if you forget Marshall Mathers, The Von Bondies and massive levels of gun crime. 

Some of you mighta caught his show at Tripod last April. I was too ridden with tonsilitis at the time, but luckily he seems to pop up in Ireland on what seems like a yearly basis, so it won't be too long 'til I get a chance to see him live and possibly jump on him.

You won't regret downloading these tracks. They were released fifteen years ago and wouldn't have aged a day if only Mills didn't have a tendency to outdo himself with every release. If you're familiar with how difficult it is to create even the worst of techno (or even if you aren't), you'll get his genius.

MP3: "Life Cycle

This is probably my favourite Mills track:

MP3: "Hypnotist" [2002]



I love to hear something really unusual.

The Oh Sees [also known as Thee Oh Sees, OCS and Orange County Sound] were set up by John Dwyer of Coachwire/Pink and Brown/The Hospitals as an experimental project. It happened to develop into something pretty great; a fully-formed band, capable of everything from yelping psychedelics, to the most elegant of love songs (see above). Brigid Dawson's vocals are what make this song special; the sisterly advice of a Louisiana housewife piped through a long-distance phonecall.

I don't know how interested I am in doing some hackjob here, dredging up any number of tired equations of bands they only vaguely sound like. I always had a problem with that tendency in music journalism; to dilute the experience of an album through listing who or what it sounds like. [At best, it turns Rufus fans onto Parenthetical Girls. At worst, it shows how mainstream music journalism is caught up in the very kind of industry bullshit it initially set out to expose.] I know it's essentially to make the process of choosing albums easier for music fans on lower incomes, but internet freedom renders this null and void. 

When it comes down to it, I acknowledge that Animal Collective take influence from Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson, but that's not why I like Animal Collective. Maybe it's just me, but I've always approached music as a physical experience rather than as a cerebral exercise. A lot of the time, I don't want a literal explanation for what I'm hearing. I don't need to know the lead singer's name. I don't care where they recorded the thing. Sometimes I'm not bothered about seeing a band live, although I might have loved their work. This possibly makes me a thrifty little fart, but I no longer see any correlation between truly loving an album and the drive to consume, consume, consume everything related to the artist.

And by GOD do I know what the flipside looks like. I was a rabid Spice Girls fan and used to buy these 5-packs of unbelievably overpriced photographs of the band. They were sold in foil packaging so that myself and my 10 year old friends couldn't distinguish the quality of the what we were buying with our meagre £3 a week. Or later, when I was 14 and married to the lead singer of KoRn in my head, it took me six months to track down/ship over their VHS tape which contained all their promo vids. No Youtube back then, kids. Hell, I didn't have dial-up until 2002. It took three days to download one song [a live recording of KoRn singing 'happy birthday' to Fred Durst] from Napster. That's right, NAPSTER. Before Lars Ulrich ruined our nu-metal fun.

Christ, I'm getting old.



You who never arrived 
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost 
from the start, I don't even know what songs 
would please you.  I have given up trying 
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next 
moment. All the immense 
images in me- the far-off, deeply-felt landscape, 
cities, towers, and bridges, and 
unsuspected turns in the path, 
and those powerful lands that were once 
pulsing with the life of the gods- 
all rise within me to mean 
you, who forever elude me. 

You, Beloved, who are all 
the gardens I have ever gazed at, 
longing. An open window 
in a country house-, and you almost 
stepped out, pensive, to meet me. 
Streets that I chanced upon,- 
you had just walked down them and vanished. 
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors 
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, 
gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows? 
perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us 
yesterday, seperate, in the evening...

-Rainier Maria Rilke



Luckily for you I'm taking half an hour out of being a boring library-going fuckhead to introduce you to a band with whom I'm conducting a torrid after-hours affair.

They were The Embarrassment, purveyers of a specific genre they called "Blister Pop", and they existed between 1979 and 1983. The first thing I thought when I heard the song "Sex Drive" was that Kurt Cobain had basically lifted that razor-sharp overdrive straight from this band, magpie that he was. Shonen Knife did cover "Faith Healer" on 712 [1991], so it's quite possible. (Not that it isn't obvious that The Embarrassment were listening to Joy Division at the time).

Whatever about Cobain though (snore), what I'm trying to convey is the apparently invisible influence of The Embarrassment, not to mention how ridiculous it is that they never really got recognition outside of indie circles. Essentially, they were a little too ahead of their time - musically as well as lyrically - their subjects (art college, talking to girls, having sex, being a boy) delivered with a kind of ironic knowing-ness that would have been difficult for the mainstream to digest. 

MP3: The Embarrassment - "(I'm a) Don Juan"
MP3: The Embarrassment - "Patio Set"

Extra points awarded for rhyming "lawn chair" with "mon chere" in the latter. How much do you LOVE post-punk, seriously?



Three more Fever Ray album tracks have surfaced. I'd have had to wait until March 19th if it weren't for a randomer's generosity and lack of moral fibre. Being a bit of a shit myself, I've posted the tracks below. This is the album art! Hot.

I'd been ambivalent so far about what I'd heard, wondering why Karin Dreijer was releasing tracks which sounded as if they might as well come from The Knife, only under a different name. I'd have gone as far as to question what Olof Dreijer's role in The Knife actually is, if she can churn out something this Knife-y on her own. 

Then I realised I was being an idiot: this is new material, from possibly my all-time favourite artists, nay, PEOPLE. Everything a Knife fan wants is here: the disjointed rhythms, the clipped velvet vocals, the oriental influences, the thick harmonies, the esoteric lyrics. Masterful subtlety beyond what the fans could ever have expected (and we expected a lot). Perhaps the Fever Ray project is just the artist's way of distancing herself from those expectations. Is that a cliche? Do I care?

Anyway, I didn't think much of "If I Had A Heart" when it leaked, but having heard three more album tracks, I can finally see where she's going with this. It's lower-key than Silent Shout (not that that would be difficult), the kind of crystal clear production that would inspire me to buy those insanely expensive headphones I've been drooling over for six months.

MP3: Fever Ray - 'When I Grow Up'
MP3: Fever Ray - 'Dry and Dusty'
MP3: Fever Ray - 'I'm Not Done'

The entire tracklisting will be as follows:

1. If I Had A Heart
2. When I Grow Up
3. Dry & Dusty
4. Seven
5. Triangle Walks
6. Concrete Walls
7. Now’s The Only Time I Know
8. I’m Not Done
9. Keep The Streets Empty For Me
10. Coconut


MUSIC 2008

atlas sound - let the blind lead those who can see but cannot feel, vivian girls - vivian girls, sebastien tellier - sexuality, wavves - wavves, parenthetical girls - entanglements, mahjonng - kontpab, deerhunter - microcastle, kathleen edwards - asking for flowers, women - women, abe vigoda - skeleton, cut copy - in ghost colours, crystal stilts - alight of night, m83 - saturdays = youth, crystal castles - crystal castles

boredoms, ekkehard ehlers, david bowie (berlin), the embarrassment, busy p, afx, john cale, grandaddy, the ohsees, grandmaster flash, dopplereffekt, glass candy, the clientele, casino versus japan, smog/bill callahan, run dmc, the presets, holy fuck, grizzly bear, lou reed, pavement/steve malkmus, ricardo villalobos



-ended a long-termer.
-was mental, then mental no more.
-sat on the left bank in paris, smoking, guzzling coffee and accepting the greatest reward known -to man (hipsters):  being repeatedly mistaken for a parisian. love it. 
-offered calvin johnson a fag. he frowned. i sniggered.
-contracted acute tonsilitis.
-wrote a dissertation.
-played croquet.
-watched fireworks from the top of primrose hill.
-continued to snog andy.
-received my first chanel products. (i really am this shallow).
-wrote songs.
-saw a black american president elected, live.
-dated an 'alpha male'.
-was flashed on stephen's green.
-played at d.e.a.f.
-saw eamon dunphy in superquinn, nell mccafferty in centra, and ann doyle on my street, thus adding to my impressive collection of irish 'celebrity' encounters. 2007's topper was ryan tubridy taking a bijou strollette on dun laoghaire pier (patch-denim double-breasted jacket and slacks, natch). 2006's was drunken gerry ryan handing a €20 tip to my then-hefty bosom. or maybe it was hosting a quiz with a very nice ray shah. see? impressive.
-chaired a society.
-befriended somebody born in the 1950s.
-befriended somebody born in the 1990s. deary me.
-met the editor of the herald tribune, a war crimes judge and an olympic athlete.
-bought a macbook.
-attended a masquerade ball.
-felt glad i was 23, not 19. erk.
-drank cosmopolitans.
-protested numerous times outside leinster house.
-hosted a reception, a pub quiz and a swapshop. 
-got to grips with new music as opposed to the classics.

-i'm possibly a wagon.
-life goes on whether or not you decide to get out of bed. hardly anybody cares (if you're lucky),  so suck it up.
-i've become capable of sniffing out one nice person from a crowd of bastards, like a hog to a truffle. mmsnorksnrok.
-starbuck's is very, very bad, but also very, very good.
-it's gonna take a miracle to convince me out of singlehood from now until i'm 30. i only seem to attract boring men and mental women. this is a problem, as i am attracted to neither.
-new things make me happy. new people, music, places.
-platonic is goodtonic.
-what you want and what you need are often different things altogether. unfortunately. so what you're searching for may ultimately be bad for you. sigh. macbeth, anyone?
-basic daily comforts are important. a tidy room. a pretty hat. a good friend.
-things can change totally within a matter of months.
-i can't stay in dbln past graduation.
-appreciate a good economy while it exists.



-ranelagh, dublin, ire
-"artistic temperament"
-cannot leave house without mp3 player
-can rarely eat without a book or magazine
-softens with age
-perhaps over-zealously honest
-making an attempt at a lot of things

this blog is meant as 2009's labour of love, apart from my thesis [on irish travellers, least depressing topic IN THE WORLD] and the rest of life in general which seems a bit confusing really.

this is also for opinions, of which i have lots. creating an outlet for them here is a step toward not ranting down the phone at my friends in one of my 4am rages.