Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Saucy Sundays Launch - Oct 3 Grand Social




This is some serious line-up for the launch of a Sunday afternoon session in The Grand Social [Pravda] on the Quays!


Check out some music you're likely to hear on Sunday:

Elder Roche - Figures Dressed In Black by RisingStars



I love this video from Sive!





Here's the latest Video from The Hot Sprockets!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Album Review: Skibunny - Hugs

Electro/alternative Belfast band Skibunny release their debut album this week on Small Town America label. It's a fine pop album from a genre I normally avoid with a passion.





Listening and reviewing 'Hugs' the debut album from Skibunny reminds me of the time I reviewed the second Super Extra Bonus Party album. I massively enjoyed that album as both background music and as an album which deserved attention. It's the very same with 'Hugs'. The album is full of charm and is likeable from the beginning. I would never have thought I'd write that about an Electro band. I will probably spend a lot of time at Hard Working Class Heroes this year avoiding similar bands because they invariably miss the charm factor which Skibunny have.




The album 'Hugs' works because the electro beats compliment Tanya's fine voice without being intrusive. The cover version of The Afghan Whigs 'Milez is Dead' is a real musical highlight as I'm a massive fan of the original. The track 'Sun Sun Sun' contains nice harmonies and a killer chorus. The album opens with the fine 'Ah-Ooh' which you can get as a free download here: http://www.skibunnyclub.co.uk The best track on the album is the beautifully sung 'Remember Me' (feat.James Chapman).


Skibunny - Hugs [9 out of 12]



Harmless Noise has kindly allowed me to share a Skibunny track 'Moving' on the blog.


Skibunny :: Moving by Harmless Noise




More info: http://www.smalltownamerica.co.uk/

http://harmlessnoise.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/news-skibunny/

http://www.skibunnyclub.co.uk/

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

2UIBestow Guide to Mic Christopher

Yesterday was Mic Christopher's birthday. He would now be a young 41! Here is a short guide to Mic Christopher RIP.







Stolen from Wikipedia: "Mic Christopher was born in the Bronx, New York to Irish parents Harry Christopher from Dublin and Vaun Heaney from Sixmilecross. Because of his parents' Irish heritage they moved back to Dublin, Ireland in 1972 and together with an all-Irish school upbringing in Coláiste Chilliain Clondalkin, Christopher started to play traditional Irish music with school groups until he was about fifteen years old when he started busking."





When Mic began busking we're talking circa 1987 Dublin in the middle of a black recession with mass unemployment where the brave leave for a new life elsewhere and money was scarce. While busking on the streets he would forge friendships with Glen Hansard, Mark Dignam, David and Karl Odlum and Paddy Casey. In 1990 he formed The Mary Janes with Karl Odlum and Simon Goode and released two excellent albums in the nine years of the band.











Here is Friends recorded live in The Baggot Inn on Feb 5th 1993

The Mary Janes - friends by 2uibestow







The Mary Janes debut album entitled Bored Of Their Laughing was released in October 1996


Tracks:



01. Taken In (5:26)
02. Short A Few (4:02)
03. Lyin' Down (4:41)
04. Diamonds (4:50)
05. Story So Far (3:35)
06. Friends (5:24)
07. Talkin' War (6:27)
08. The Instigator (8:09)
09. H.U.M.F.R.E.A. (3:59)
10. Nearly Dead (14:41)






Buy The Album: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bored-of-their-laughing/id279607624




I'll always remember vividly that Hot Press gave 'Bored ....' a shockingly bad review. The songs were recorded without drums and showcased Mic's amazing vocals.








In 1998 the second album Sham was released by The Mary Janes as a four piece!

Title: Sham (November 1 1998)
Format: CD
Cat. No.: MJCD002
Copyright: Loza Records



Tracks:



01. Sham (3:57)
02. Winesong (3:09)
03. Simple Times (4:10)
04. Queen Of Hearts (4:20)
05. Part Of Me (5:57)
06. Bones (4:00)
07. Cut Me Loose (3:51)
08. Come What May (4:13)
09. Friends (5:24)
10. Begging (5:28)
11. Party Game (4:48)
12. Centurian (8:02)




Buy The Album: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sham/id315125674









On 18th November 2001 while supporting The Waterboys in Europe Mic Christopher fell over, struck his head off some steps and fell into a deep coma. Mic died in hospital on November 29th aged just 32.



Skylarkin was nearly finished at the time of Mic's death. The development of the album is described well on Wikipedia as:


"Skylarkin' is Mic Christopher's first and only solo album, which was released posthumously following his death in November 2001. The album was finalised by Karl Odlum (of Mic's old band, The Mary Janes) and David Odlum (of The Frames). Many fellow musicians from the Irish music scene contributed to the album including Glen Hansard and Colm Mac Con Iomaire of The Frames, Rónán Ó Snodaigh of Kíla, Lisa Hannigan and Gemma Hayes.

Skylarkin' entered the Irish charts at #39 in 2002 and in March of the following year won Best Irish album at the Meteor Awards. November 2004 saw the album achieving Platinum status in Ireland (selling over 15,000 copies)"









Tracklisting:


1."Heyday"
2."Kids' Song"
3."Listen Girl"
4."Looking for Jude"
5."That's What Good Friends Do"
6."The Loneliest Man In Town"
7."Wide Eyed and Lying"
8."What a Curious Notion"
9."I've Got Your Back"
10."Skylarking"
11."Daydreamin'"



Buy Skylarkin: http://www.amazon.com/Skylarkin/dp/B000T1D3J0




Here are some wonderful video clips from a Mic Christopher gig in September 2001 from an Airbase in Vienna.















Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Album Review: Ham Sandwich - White Fox

Ham Sandwich return with their second album 'White Fox' released on the 1st October. It's a different animal to the power pop debut 'Carry The Meek' and one likely to edge Ham Sandwich closer to mainstream success.








Ham Sandwich bring out a fun album full of really great songs on October 1st. At just 33 minutes and ten tracks 'White Fox' is a short album of radio friendly pop songs. Some of the tracks like 'Oh-Oh' and the title track have the Ham Sandwich sound of the building up of the song to big singalong chorus. However this album is very different to the debut because 'White Fox' is all about Niamh's wonderful voice.




The best track on the album for me is 'Ants' which puts Niamh's voice to the forefront of the song. The Niamh and Podge harmonies still exist on many tracks but do not overshadow Niamhs vocal range. It's lyrically a good album too. The lyrics are nothing spectacular but when Niamh sings on the track 'Long Distance'; 'You used to spend a night in my arms' you can feel the loss and sadness in her vocals. Here is a band who have written an album with their best asset being Niamhs voice at it's very heart.




When I played the album at home I had my twin lads and the mother in law bopping their heads and humming along to the album. It's a very accessible album which might lose them a few fans but could net them many more if the regional radio stations add the album to their playlist. The best tracks for me on 'White Fox' are 'Long Distance', 'Ants' and the title track.


Ham Sandwich - White Fox [11 out of 12]



http://hamsandwichmusic.com



Ham Sandwich - The Naturist by tigger_sinclair




See Ham Sandwich live:



Galway IT 23rd September 2010
Drogheda, Weavers 24th September 2010
Waterford, The Forum 25th September 2010
Album Release, Tower Records 01st October 2010
Tipperary, Barcode 08th October 2010
Dundalk, The Spirit Store 14th October 2010
Swords 21st October 2010
ALBUM LAUNCH Button Factory 30th October 2010



More Dates announced soon: http://www.myspace.com/eathamsandwich

Friday, 17 September 2010

Connect 4 Friday: Garglegate

This feature brings together four great Irish tracks associated with a central theme. Here I write an open letter to the Leading Politician of Ireland asking him to resign.










Open Letter to Brian Cowen,

Dear Mr. Cowen,


I am writing this to ask you to resign from the post of Taoiseach of Ireland. I have three reasons for you to consider this:


(a) Not one person in Ireland voted for YOU Brian Cowen to lead this country.

(b) You are clearly out of you depth.

(c) You are an embarrassment to the Irish people.


Peter Nagle




Write you're own email here: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie


Letter written in relation to: http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/taoiseach-denies-being-hungover-for-interview-473530.html

Here's some loosely [very loosely] related tracks about Garglegate.




Pony Club - Diplomat http://www.myspace.com/ponyclub



The Pony Club - Diplomat by 2uibestow



The Frames - Teardrops in my Wine http://www.theframes.ie/



The Frames - Teardrops in my Wine by 2uibestow



Revelino - Don't Lead Me Down http://www.last.fm/music/Revelino




Revelino - Don't Lead Me Down by 2uibestow



Bill Coleman - Don't Suffer in Silence http://www.bcoleman.com/






Bill Coleman - Dont Suffer In Silence by 2uibestow

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

2UIBestow Guide to Villagers

This little guide to Villagers will attempt to tell the story of the band as they break into new territories and ride the wave that is the Mercury Music prize nomination.




Conor O'Brien is Villagers. He fronted the Indie band The Immediate whose debut album 'In Towers and Clouds' from 2006 was well received by the media and went onto getting a Choice Award Nomination. The band split in 2007. Conor then went onto being an integral part of Cathy Davey's tour band and musical collaborator for her most recent album 'The Nameless'.

Here's Conor in 2007 with The Immediate:









In November 2008 the first Villagers gig was as support to The Chapters in Whelans. 2009 saw the release of the Hollow Kind EP consisting of the tracks Down, Under the Sea, Pieces, The Meaning of the Ritual and The Sun is Hanging from a String.





I can't believe 'Becomming A Jackal' was only released in May. It feels as though it's been with us for much longer. The album was very well received by all the relevant reviewers and bloggers out there. There was a sense at the time that these reviewers and journalists were tripping of themselves trying to get original superlatives in print. See here, here and here!













There's a lot going on in 'Becoming A Jackal' and I don't get it all. It sounds like a singer-songwriter trying his best to not sound like a singer-songwriter. There's plenty of moody backing vocals, orchestral arrangements and complicated hooks and rifts which make the album very multi-layered and sometimes uneasy to listen to. The better tracks for me are 'Twenty Seven Strangers', 'That Day' and 'Pieces'. 'The Pact (I'll Be Your Fever)' is an awful track and the real low point of the album.






I suppose the truth is I've yet to connect with the album, Villagers or for that matter Conor O'Brien. Maybe when I see Villagers live it'll all mean more to me. From the videos and TV performances I've seen; Conor is a passionate performer on stage and I've no doubt I'll love the Villagers concert experience.





http://www.wearevillagers.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villagers_(band)





Listen to 'Becoming a Jackal' Here:

Villagers - Becoming A Jackal by musicmusicmusic







I love the ambition in the Villagers camp. Conor will be busy over the few months with all the following dates. More info on the website above!





Villagers World Tour Details!

North America & Canada

22 Sep 2010 21:00 400 Bar (solo) Minneapolis, MN
23 Sep 2010 20:00 Milwaukee Film Festival @ Discovery World (solo) Milwaukee, Wisconsin
24 Sep 2010 21:00 Schuba`s (solo) Chicago, IL
27 Sep 2010 21:00 Drake Underground (solo) Toronto, ON, CANADA
28 Sep 2010 21:00 Mavericks (solo) Ottawa, ON, CANADA
29 Sep 2010 21:00 Pop Montreal Festival (solo) Montreal, Quebec, CANADA


United Kingdom


30 Sep 2010 21:00Rescue Rooms Nottingham,
4 Oct 2010 21:00 Brighton Ballroom VILLAGERS + Cate Le Bon Brighton,
5 Oct 2010 21:00 Scala VILLAGERS + Cate Le Bon London,
6 Oct 2010 21:00 O2 Academy 2 VILLAGERS + Cate Le Bon Oxford,
8 Oct 2010 21:00 Lancaster Library VILLAGERS + Cate Le Bon Lancaster,
9 Oct 2010 21:00 The Plug VILLAGERS + Cate Le Bon Sheffield,



US Tour


19 Oct 2010 21:00 RIckshaw Stop San Francisco, CA
20 Oct 2010 21:00 The Music Box Los Angeles, California
21 Oct 2010 21:00 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach, CA
22 Oct 2010 21:00 The Clubhouse Tempe, AZ
24 Oct 2010 20:30 White Rabbit San Antonio, TX
26 Oct 2010 20:30 Emos Austin, Texas
27 Oct 2010 20:30 Warehouse Live Houston, TX
28 Oct 2010 20:30 Granada Theatre Dallas, Texas
29 Oct 2010 20:30 Rev Room Little Rock, Arkansas
30 Oct 2010 20:30 Exit In Nashville, TN
1 Nov 2010 21:00 Kung Fu Necktie PHILADELPHIA, PA
2 Nov 2010 21:00 KNITTING FACTORY BROOKLYN, NY
3 Nov 2010 21:00 Mercury Lounge New York, NY
4 Nov 2010 21:00 Great Scott Allston, Massachuse



European Tour



7 Nov 2010 20:00 La Cigale (Les Inrocktibles Festival) Paris, FRANCE
9 Nov 2010 21:00 Luxor Cologne, GERMANY
10 Nov 2010 21:00 Das Bett Frankfurt, DE, GERMANY
12 Nov 2010 21:00 The Paradiso (London Calling Festival) Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
13 Nov 2010 21:00 Doornroosje Nijmegen, NETHERLANDS
14 Nov 2010 21:00 Stage Club Hamburg, DE, GERMANY
15 Nov 2010 21:00 Festival Kreuzberg Berlin, GERMANY
17 Nov 2010 21:00 Botanique Rotonde Brussels, x, BELGIUM
18 Nov 2010 21:00 Le Grand Mix Tourcoing, Nord-Pas-d, FRANCE
19 Nov 2010 21:00 Crossing Border Festival The Hague, The Hague, NETHERLANDS
20 Nov 2010 21:00 Vera Groningen, NETHERLANDS
21 Nov 2010 21:00 Crossing Border Antwerp, Antwerp, NETHERLANDS



Back to the UK



29 Nov 2010 21:00 Academy 3 Manchester,
30 Nov 2010 21:00 Rescue Rooms Nottingham,
1 Dec 2010 21:00 Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth,
2 Dec 2010 21:00 Phoenix Exeter,
4 Dec 2010 21:00 Thekla Bristol,
5 Dec 2010 21:00 Institute Birmingham,
6 Dec 2010 21:00 Oran Mor Glasgow, Scotland,
7 Dec 2010 21:00 Waterfront Norwich, Norfolk,
9 Dec 2010 21:00 Cockpit Leeds,
10 Dec 2010 21:00 The Sage Gateshead,
11 Dec 2010 21:00 Kazimier Liverpool,



Finish in Ireland!



13 Dec 2010 21:00 The Forum Waterford,
14 Dec 2010 20:00 The Set Theatre Kilkenny,
15 Dec 2010 20:00 The Savoy Cork, Co,
17 Dec 2010 20:00 St John's Church Limerick,
18 Dec 2010 20:00 The Black Box Galway,
19 Dec 2010 20:00 The Limelight Belfast,
21 Dec 2010 20:00 Vicar Street Dublin,






Sunday, 12 September 2010

Album Review: Alien Envoy - Nine Lives

'Nine Lives' is the product of Nick Kelly's 'Gestation' project which was conceived in September 2009 with nine monthly gigs upstairs in Whelans. Alien Envoy is the new recording name of Nick Kelly with 'Nine Lives' being a live collaboration with numerous quality musicians.

Oh and it's a damn good listen too!





Image by Clare Langan



'Nine Lives' was recorded at Whelans, Dublin between September 2009 and March 2010. I believe the initial plan was to take a bunch of rough demos and mould them into a finished product throughout the gestation period. 'Nine Lives' was therefore going to be a full studio album instead of the live recorded album I'm listening to now. The thought process behind the decision is here: http://gestationproject.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/a-moment-of-clarity/ I've always loved listening to live albums and it does add an extra gloss to 'Nine Lives' as you appreciate the quality of the songs, musicianship and vocals of Nick Kelly. SOme of the musicians on the album include Ann Scott, Joe Chester, Binzer, Tim Bradshaw and Boo Hewerdine.





While there are only nine tracks on the album there's enough variety to keep your attention. It kicks off in sombre mode with Nick's vocals and piano on the track Donnybrook. For me it's by far the weakest track on the album. 'Everything's Wrong' contains wonderful strings with Nick's vocals and lyrics in top form. 'Untidy' has Briana Corrigan providing co-vocals with the vocal harmonies really making the song. '45' is recorded here with the former members of Nick's old band 'The Fat Lady Sings' and is a catchy pop song. The best song on 'Nine Lives' is the equally catchy 'Arthur Ashe'.






'Nine Lives' is an excellent album for a few reasons. Nick Kelly is a quality songwriter. His lyrics are thoughtful, concise and always tell a story. The lyrics with his fine vocals are always a joy to listen to. Due to it's accidental live recorded birth 'Nine Lives' is a varied album of strings, different vocals, piano based tracks or full band sound which provide the background to Nicks vocals and stories. 'Nine Lives' even contains a good Christmas song!



Alien Envoy - 'Nine Lives' [10 out of 12]


Buy the album: http://www.selfpossessedrecords.com/

http://alienenvoy.com/

http://www.facebook.com/alienenvoy

Here's Nick with Sean Millar performing 45 recorded last year at the Whelans 20th anniversay gig:



Sunday, 5 September 2010

Album Review: Eleanor McEvoy - I'd Rather Go Blonde

Surprisingly enjoyable album from the much travelled and recorded Eleanor McEvoy. The album is full of good tunes which deserves radio play and attention.





For the most part 'I'd Rather Go Blonde' is like a popier less artistic Julie Feeney. It kicks of with the violin picking rift of 'Look Like Me' where Eleanor confirms her belief that she should keep her individuality. The lyrics on many of the tracks are humorous and insightful and gives the album a feelgood effect. I wouldn't like to be the subject of the title track. Eleanor would rather go blonde than be seen out with the subject!


There are a couple of beautifully written love songs here. 'Away From You' goes through the motions of feelings while being separated from a loved one. The best song for me is 'Take You Home' which sums up the feelings of lust when you meet that person who lights a fire within you.



'I'd Rather Go Blonde' is not a flawless album. I don't get the soul-inspired track 'The Thought of You' which sounds a bit too Simply Red for my liking. There are a few very average tracks which fail to leave an impression. However the quality of the tracks mentioned above go in some way to make up for the average fillers. 'I'd Rather Go Blonde' ends on a high with a Regina Specktor sounding piano based track 'For Avoidance of Any Doubt'.


Eleanor McEvoy - I'd Rather Go Blonde [9 out of 12]




Buy The Album from Amazon here:

Go to http://www.eleanormcevoy.com/sounds/index.html for some cool music from Eleanor's back catalogue.