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Showing posts from August, 2011

Dum Dum Girls - Bedroom eyes (Sub Pop)

Nice e-mail from Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls this morning (me and a several thousand others) with details of a new song from the upcoming second album, Only in dreams. Yesterday we had literature courtesy of Handsome Furs in the shape of a William T. Vollmann novel, today it's poetry. I've been doing this a lot lately, but I'm going to reprint the e-mail because it's so far from run-of-the-mill.

"Liebe,

"Bedroom Eyes," the first proper single off of Only In Dreams, will be released shortly in mp3 format and eventually as a 7" with a dreamy b-side cover. It was the last song I wrote before we holed up in our LA practice space for two weeks before recording. It's a special sort of confusion and frustration brought on by lack of sleep.

I remember reading the following poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti as I saw trails and tripped out a bit before the pills finally kicked in. Love within the context of insomnia and separation? Kinda my thing.

Thin are t…

Handsome Furs - Bury me standing (Sub Pop)

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In the ongoing project to plough through the summer music mountain at UOH Towers, I came across this gem from Canadian husband and wife duo Handsome Furs, Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry, a tune which we had on the show a few months back.



It's taken from their current album, Sound Kapital, on Sub Pop, their third album which came out at the end of June. I haven't heard the whole album but I'd be surprised if it gets any better than that song, (mostly) electronic music with a kind of renegade, rock 'n roll spirit. Touch of Depeche Mode about it, actually, speaking of renegades. And there's hope for married couples everywhere when you watch this footage from the band's performance at the Capital Hill Block Party festival in Seattle earlier this summer.



There's a degree of conviction about them on stage that's very endearing. Plus they seem to enjoy each other's company, which is a good sign in a marriage. Their bio on the Sub Pop website is interestin…

St Vincent on David Letterman

Just to add fuel to the St Vincent obsession that's been going on around here for the last few weeks, she appeared on the David Letterman Show last night to perform Cruel (that's the video we talked about here the other day). I know it's not unusual for Letterman to be slightly nonplussed by the musical guests on the show, but in this case he seemed to be genuinely at a loss, confused. Maybe it was the fact that Annie Clark looked like a model, wearing a black party dress, with what looked like a cape trailing behind, while she knocked out complex math-pop guitar riffs that buzzed with a distortion and tension generally absent from your average party dress-wearing model. Or that in elegant, soft-spoken tones, she wondered how the children could be so cruel. Apart from her other, many and varied talents, I think her ability to confound Mr Letterman should also be applauded.

Future Islands, new video

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What better way to start a new week than with some new music from Future Islands, from their their new album On the water which is coming out on Thrill Jockey in October. The words "eagerly" and "anticipated" spring to mind and proceed to rub up against each other. Woo-hoo. We thought this last year about their debut album.

Future Islands - In evening air (Thrill Jockey)
Credit to Grand Snr for mentioning this in dispatches some months back. You could call it electro-pop. Of the highest order. Bracing synth patterns, pounding basslines and insinuating vocals from Sam Herring (who bears an unexpected and uncanny resemblance to early Tom Waits in places). For example, the innovative steel drum sample on Tin man. Repetitive in the best possible way, like all great dance music. Infectious and impossible not to love.

*Incidentally, their new EP Undressed is an acoustic affair featuring piano at the core and, with added cello, is equally compelling.

This new tune has anot…

St Vincent video for Cruel

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Another day, another strange and beautiful chapter to the story of Annie Clark of Dallas, Texas, that is St Vincent. The first official video from her new album Strange mercy just surfaced, directed by Terri Timely. That's actually two people, who I've just learned have made music videos for Joanna Newsom, Darwin Deez and The Little Ones, as well as working with St Vincent a few times before. This particular piece features lots of stately tracking shots and buttoned-up performances, which are spookily at odds with the film's themes of abduction, imprisonment and torture. An average day for St Vincent, says you. Meanwhile, the tune has more of her trademark distorted guitar arpeggios. One memorable shot in the video has her playing a guitar solo in the boot of a car with a sack over her head. Baroque pop is right.

There are some nice notes here by Annie Clark about the video shoot, courtesy of The Huffington Post.

It was an absolute pleasure working with the Terri Timely d…

Scott Solter - The great cold (Hidden Shoal)

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More new music from the Hidden Shoal label from Perth. It's the lead track from American producer Scott Solter's new release, One river. You may already know Scott's name as one half of experimental pop duo Boxharp (who we are very fond of around here), aswell as producer/recordist/mixer/remixer for the likes of St Vincent, Superchunk, Neon Indian, John Vanderslice and The Mountain Goats, among others. This piece has the air of a serious ambient work, channelling both inner and outer space. Gravitas would be a word. I'll leave it to the label for a more detailed description.

'The Great Cold' Is an invigorating five-minute immersal into one of the seven gorgeous flowing passages that comprise One River. Chilly, gaseous tones swell and recede, all the while shadowed by a ghostly high note. The icy stillness is occasionally punctuated by a discreet found sound, which acts as a kind of pivot point between focus and diffusion. Solter creates an unforgettable atmosphe…

Rachael Dadd - Bite the mountain (Broken Sound Music)

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We've mentioned Bristol native Rachael Dadd twice in the last few weeks, first in relation to her new single Balloon, and then in advance of her new album. We've had the album, Bite the mountain, on around the UOH cabin for the last couple of weeks now and it really is a wonderful piece of work (It was largely recorded, apparently, while travelling around Japan, and the sleeve cover text reflects this influence.) On the face of it, it's a version of English folk music (the songs generally concern domestic or pastoral situations, with close-at-hand details), but let it sit a bit longer and strands of classical, jazz, world music and even some avant garde tendencies come to the surface. The single Balloon is a tune of uncomplicated beauty about a birth, which has an appropriate sense of wide-eyed wonder at the world. The stop-start piano waltz Moth in the motor begins straightforwardly enough, but goes on to hint at jazz inflections (not unlike the way Nick Drake does), bef…

Dirty Projectors vocal technique

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As an add-on to yesterday's post about the physical release of Mount Wittenberg Orca by Dirty Projectors & Bjork on Domino Records, here's a great piece of video - part interview, part workshop - of David Longstreth discussing, and Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian demonstrating, the vocal techniques at play on Mount Wittenberg Orca, as well as DP's previous album Bitte Orca. Go straight to about 7 minutes in to hear the women do their thing. It's a little bit staggering.

Dirty Projectors + Bjork - Mount Wittenberg Orca (Domino)

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More good news. One of my favourite releases of last year is finally getting the physical treatment on Domino. Details here. This is what I thought of it at the time.

Dirty Projectors + Bjork - Mount Wittenberg Orca (http://www.mountwittenbergorca.com/, donation download)
Stunning collaboration with proceeds to the National Geographic Society project to create international marine protected areas (payment is by donation), and recorded live, for the most part, in The Rare Book Room bookshop in New York. David Longstreth informs that the idea stemmed from a whale sighting by DP's Amber Coffman from a ridge in California (Mount Wittenberg). Bjork sings the part of the mother whale, Amber, Angel Deradoorian and Haley Dekle the kid whales and Mr Longstreth the part of Amber (!). Overall sound a little reminiscient of Ennio Morricone in places (which we love around here) - the glorious build-up of closer All we are, for example, with its vocal stylings and counterpoints (only a few othe…

Serge Gainsbourg - some extras

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A couple of other notes to add to the Serge Gainsbourg post yesterday. For anyone in the Los Angeles area, next Sunday would be a good day to get down to the Hollywood Bowl. They're throwing a special event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of SG's death, which features a mouth-watering line-up consisting of Jean-Claude Vannier conducting a full orchestra, as well as Beck, Sean Lennon, Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear), Victoria Legrand (Beach House), and others. Full details here. FFS, I think is the appropriate abbreviation.

http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/tickets/performance-detail.cfm?id=4575

Funnily enough, it had passed me by that this year was the 20th anniversary of his death. But this gorgeous looking box-set release by Wrasse Records seems like another worthy tribute. Nice to see they've included 2 full CD's of his songs and scores for films in there.


20th Anniversary Box Set


And finally, I also came across this fine article from the Guardian by Nick Kent, which deals …

A Winged Victory for the Sullen - follow up

As a follow up to the recent news about the new album by A Winged Victory for the Sullen on Erased Tapes, here's a video teaser for the album just released. It features footage from a recording session at the DDR Studios in Berlin, no less.

A Winged Victory For The Sullen – DDR Studios Trailer from Erased Tapes on Vimeo.
And with a little bit of digging, it turns out that music is taken from the second track to be released from the upcoming album. It's called Requiem for the Static King Part One. Listen to it in full here.

A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Requiem For The Static King Part One by erasedtapes

Seriously, on the basis of just two tracks, this album is shaping up to be one of the highlights of the year.

Serge Gainsbourg

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I've been going back through one of my favourite DVD's, Serge Gainsbourg: D'autres nouvelles des étoiles, a 2 x disc compilation of tv appearances, broadcasts and interviews from 1958 to 1989, which Mercury/Universal brought out in 2005. It's fascinating stuff and gives a thorough overview of every stage in Gainsbourg's career, from the early jazz-influenced tunes, to lush string orchestrations, and on to later reggae experiments. (As with everything, I'm sure you might find a free download somehere, but the extensive sleevenotes and credits make it well worth the purchase price.)


It was Mick Harvey's Gainsbourg cover albums of the 1990's (interpretations is probably a better word), which my friend Grand Snr turned me on to, that gave me a proper obsession with the man. Those were Intoxicated man (1995) and Pink elephants (1997), both on Mute Records. This was the first time (that I know of) that Gainsbourg's lyrics had been translated into English …

Brian Eno and the words of Rick Holland

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Brian Eno's new album, Drums between the bells, his second on Warp, came out last month. In fact, it's a collaboration with poet Rick Holland. I've just heard a few tracks from it on a sampler, but one tune in particular has really stuck with me. It's a beautiful slice of drifting guitar and synth kosmische, with a straight-faced female spoken word monologue, describing the view, in a sort of impressionistic fashion, from the top of a skyscraper in New York - "from the top of this high rise, people as small as the pigment in your eyes." It's surprisingly romantic given the delivery, with a dizzy, swooning quality to the arrangement.

Brian Eno - pour it out (taken from Drums Between The Bells) by Warp Records

I don't know who's responsible for the vocal but the delivery reminds me a lot of Berit Immig from Berlin-based band Omo. They released one of my favourite albums of the last few years in 2009, The white album on LoAF. Many of the tracks on th…

St Vincent playing Dublin in November

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The great St Vincent will be playing in Dublin on November 13th, at The Workman's Club, as part of a 12-date European jaunt. In the meantime, her new album Strange mercy comes out on 4AD on Sept 9th. Her band for the tour will be Toko Yasuda (Blonde Redhead, Enon) on mini moog, Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright) on drums and Daniel Mintseris (Marianne Faithful) on keyboards. Exciting eh? Any excuse (none needed really) for some St Vincent video action. Here are three Take-Away Shows shot by Vincent Moon in Paris for La Blogotheque in 2007.



Perched sideways on a railing on the street and still pulling off an intricate guitar pattern - what a woman she is.



I love the way she eschews the French kissing-on-the-cheek etiquette there, entering the apartment (you ain't kissing me...). But as for St Vincent reclining on a bed purring "Marry me", the less I say about that, the better, I think.



And apart from the woman's musical (let's agree to call it) geni…

Letter from Belgium - LFB003 (free download)

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The latest offering from the Cork ambient artist continues the strong form shown on last year's EP's. I liked LFB001 a lot, here's what I thought of it at the time.

Letter from Belgium - LFB001 EP (self-release, free download)
Elegaic guitar and synth instrumentals from Corkonian Alan Healy, employing Pajo-esque structures with field recordings (including some classic Hollywood moments if I'm not mistaken). Highlight for me is Christmas Eve, which drifts beautifully over melodramatic cinema dialogue, until the unexpected arrival of out-of-context 8-bit noises puts a different complexion on things. LFB002 coming soon apparently, which should be well worth watching out for too.

For some reason LFB002 passed me by at the time, but it is still available to listen and download for free on LFB's bandcamp, along with the 3rd edition. Go here.

LFB003 by Letter From Belgium

Best left combines some lovely, incongruous banjo plucking with a warm bed of synth wash. Travis & …

BLK w/BEAR - Sorry about your (remixes) (Front & Follow)

Speaking of labels we love, here's another one. Next month, Manchester's Front & Follow release a series of remixes by BLK w/BEAR (pronounced black with bear, based in Washington D.C.) of a previous F&F release by Yonokiero, Blue apples. I haven't heard the original, but the re-workings are fascinating miniature soundworlds. Casey Jnr, for example, features a clarinet prominently above an oscillating cello loop. Sumimasen creates a slow, subterranean atmosphere with static noise, an electronic hum and what sounds like morse code sampled, with a haunting, melancholy female vocal. Listen here.

BLK w/BEAR - Sorry about your (remixes) by frontandfollow

In addition, the band's live video mixer Renee Shaw has made a film to accompany Casey Jnr. It's suitably dreamlike with melting frames and multiple superimpositions. There's also a giant rabbit and a ferris wheel involved. It's intriguing and I like it a lot.

(The) Caseworker - National runner (Hidden Shoal, single)

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Jesus, the great music just keeps piling in this month. (Is it the pollen or what?) This is a new single from (The) Caseworker on another one of our favourite labels here at UOH, the Perth-based Hidden Shoal. First things first, we like a band with brackets (parentheses, if you prefer - see what I did there). And the song is about the Ethiopian long-distance runner Miruts Yifter, which I think I'm safe in saying makes it unique in pop music. The press release describes the sound as the "Velvet Underground reared on the Flying Nun label", which is a lovely idea and I wouldn't argue. There is definitely a drone rock foundation but my first thought was The Byrds I must say, in terms of the dynamics of the twin chiming guitars. There's also a beautiful shoegazey feel off the chorus, with a wash of fuzz and banks of backing vocals. Take a minute.

[The] Caseworker - 'National Runner' by Hidden Shoal

Nice eh? Play it again, it gets better every time I've foun…

Roll the Dice on The Leaf Label - new album upcoming

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The Leaf Label, that wonderful English independent (Efterklang, Oh No Ono, Murcof, Colleen etc.), announced a new signing earlier in the year, the Stockholm duo Roll the Dice, who are Malcolm Pardon and Peder Mannerfelt. Their first album for Leaf, second in all, comes out next month, it's called In dust. As a teaser/trailer for the album, there's a fascinating piece of film made by Frode Fjerdingstad. You can watch below - it's like some futuristic Sergio Leone western, shot by Nic Roeg, with a script by Cormac McCarthy and a foreboding soundtrack of electronic rumbles and whines.

Roll The Dice - In Dust from Roll The Dice on Vimeo.
So far, I've just heard a couple of bits and pieces from the album, including its last track See you Monday. That's a fantastic blend of Steve Reich-like piano repetitions and Kratfwerk-style kosmische, with a great fuzzy, pulsing synth heartbeat. You'll have to wait another while to hear it, but the band have put together an intrig…

Tarwater - Inside the ships (Bureau B)

Here's something you don't hear every day. The title track from the new Tarwater album starts with a low tuba drone and a sample of some tapped acoustic instrument strings (of unknown origin), which are then joined by a very chilled out programmed drumbeat and electric guitar pattern. Then, out of the blue, one minute in, comes the sound of an instrument I've never heard before. It sounds vaguely Middle Eastern or North African, and as if it should be a wind instrument. It plays a quixotic melody that's not a million miles from something you'd hear on bagpipes. It's brief and very exotic to these ears, then it's gone again. The song meanders on, pauses momentarily, at which point a male voice intones "inside the ships" in very good English with a slight accent, accompanied by that tuba again and an accordion (or maybe another bellows instrument). He then proceeds to list what I think are names of dances, like "The Easybone", "The Sa…

Dear Reader - Man (Idealistic animals) (City Slang)

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I've been working my way gradually through a mountain of music during the radio show's summer break. And here's a nugget that was sitting in my inbox for a while, which has quite an international background. The band is Dear Reader, the main force in which is one Cheri MacNeil, who is South African originally. She moved to Berlin from Johannesburg and I assume that's how she came to hook up with the City Slang people, who are releasing her new album next month. The (almost) title track is available for the price of an e-mail address at this link.

http://dearreadermusic.com/newsletter-2/

In the absence of a listening link, you'll have to take my word for how it sounds. It's an unusual mixture of intimate and epic, all at the same time. Close vocals and rimshot drums on the one hand, huge massed backing vocals on the other. And speaking of epic, I'd have to say the root-note basslines and insistent piano come on like a lower key Arcade Fire. And nothing wron…

Canon Blue - Indian summer (Des moines)

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You might remember a couple of weeks ago, the Efterklang gig with Daniel Bjarnason & Their Messing Orchestra in Cork was mentioned in these pages. Playing guitar on stage that night was American Daniel James, whose own album Rumspringa comes out at the end of the month under his stage name Canon Blue, through Efterklang's label Rumraket and Temporary Residence in the U.S.. James has been a touring member of Efterklang for the last couple of years and the album was recorded with them at their Copenhagen studio. Those other great Efterklang acolytes, Amiina, are apparently heavily involved throughout the album, which is great news. The first song from the album to see the light of day is below - follow the link below for a free download. If you're looking for a genre tag, let's go with orchestral pop. Although I have to say there are intriguing hints of Ennio Morricone in the choral work in this tune, as well as some unexpected traces of Eastern music floating in the ba…

Next Stop: Horizon - Wild escape (Tapete Records)

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Next Stop: Horizon are Par Hagstrom and Jenny Roos from Gothenberg in Sweden, whose new album, We know exactly where we are going, comes out next month on German label Tapete. I haven't listened to the album through yet but here's what I know about the band based on their new video that just fell into my lap. It sounds a little bit like Tom Waits from around Swordfishtrombones (which is to say that you would think Kurt Weill is also an influence), only much more optimistic. It features an irresistible, sprinting (as opposed to walking) double bassline. It sounds like everyone involved is having a really good time. Along with the prominent bass, brushed drums and a driving piano, the song also includes many oblique bangs, clatters and squeaks. Have a listen here, it'll do you good.



As a further taster for the album, here's a particularly rowdy live performance of another album track from last year. It features a woman (the aforementioned Jenny) playing drums standing up…

A Winged Victory for the Sullen

We always look forward to e-mails from Erased Tapes here at UOH HQ, but a particularly nice one arrived today. Have a listen here while reading below - rather than make up a load of other stuff, I've just copied the very well written press release. It makes more sense anyway, because there's a bit of a backstory, which you'll notice includes the late Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), as well as Peter Broderick, two of the people we love most in music.

A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears by erasedtapes

CONTENT: ‘A Winged Victory For The Sullen’ is the first installment of the new collaboration between Stars Of The Lid founder Adam Wiltzie and L.A. composer Dustin O’Halloran. The duo agreed to leave the comfort zone of their home studios and develop the recordings with the help of large acoustic spaces, hunting down a selection of 9ft grand pianos that had the ability to deliver extreme sonic low end. Other traditional instrumentation was used including s…

Rachael Dadd - New single and album

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You may remember Rachael Dadd from this post about her new single a couple of weeks ago. Well there's a video for the A-side Balloon now, which features creeping moustaches, fruit and a turntable in a thoroughly charming stop-motion animation.



It'll certainly appeal to anyone into Lisa Hannigan, for example, but I'd venture to suggest there's more depth to it than that.

And as if you weren't in a good enough mood after that, here's another miniature stop-motion classic showing Rachael turning her hand to art design, badge-making and all sorts. With the lovely Balloon playing in the background again.



I don't know about you, but that makes me go, "I need to get my hands on that"...It's out on August 15th on Broken Sound, along with her album Bite the mountain, which we will speak about again, I'm pretty sure.

Patrick Kelleher & His Cold Dead Hands - Golden syrup (Osaka)

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Intriguing second album from the Wicklow native and friends, which takes on the threads of 1980's new wave and goth influences to add more dirty disco and Italo elements. Opener Miracle candle is an underground dancefloor classic in waiting. And previous single Contact sports has an appealing noir pop atmosphere. Gouge has an air of Japan (the band) about it, which is only a good thing. The vocals aren't always successful to these ears (often fed through filters or heavy effects), but the best results are where Kelleher's voice is played straight and allowed to stand on its own merits. The beautiful falsetto vocal (as well as synthesised handclaps and creamy synth washes) of Seen me blue will make you think of Ariel Pink (I think they're calling it hypnagogic pop these days). The underdog Elvis-croon and subdued Joy Division bass riff of Broken up now are a complete triumph, and at 3 minutes leave you wanting more. The stalking, spoken word I don't remember comes …

Liz Green - Displacement (PIAS, single)

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English folk music with an unexpected twist, in the shape of sensitive oompah-style trumpet and saxophone accompaniment. And a singing voice featuring a great bruised vibrato (without going over the top, there's something of Billie Holiday about it). Wonderfully wistful taster for upcoming debut album.



I like the tapping feet in that.

*The single comes with the added pleasure of an authentically hissy version of the Andrews Sisters classic Bei mir bist du schoen (a Yiddish tune originally), with lovely muted sax wailing in tow.

Other Lives - Tamer animals (PIAS, single)

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Title track from the Oklahoma band's upcoming second album. Has a slow-building, epic quality which will be well familiar to fans of The National. Circling, Reichian piano figures and beautiful, ghostly backing vocals are just some of the joys of it. An anthem for people not comfortable with anthems.



*Previous single For 12 is also available to download for free here.

For 12 (like this page to download) by Other Lives

The astronaut-adrift-in-a-post-nuclear-desert themed video for which is here. Love that string arrangement - it makes me think of telegraph wires.



Other Lives play both the Green Man and End of the Road Festivals in the UK this summer

Tune-Yards on Jimmy Fallon

It's been a few months since we've mentioned Merrill Garbus so it's great to come across some footage of her NBC television debut on the Jimmy Fallon show from last week. Not only do Merrill and Nate Brenner put on a storming performance of Gangsta, the first single from latest album Whokill on 4AD, they've also roped in a horn section and houseband The Roots for help on drumming and rapping. In the words of Tony Bourdain, it's a wonderful thing.



*Get a load of that bottle percussion too.

The Go-Betweens - 1978-1990 (Beggars Banquet)

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Back in the days when Comet Records existed in Cork, I got into The Go-Betweens (Comet later became Plugd, which has now moved around the corner from Washington Street to the Triskel Arts Centre building). In those days, Comet used to sell Beggars Banquet releases on cassette for a fiver - and in those Walkman days, cassettes were my medium of choice. And so I found The Go-Betweens: 1978-1990. I was vaguely aware of the band - I think I had heard Bachelor kisses on Dave Fanning's radio show a few times during the 80's. But I didn't own anything by the band. Of course, typical me, to become interested in the band after they'd broken up (in fact, both Grant McLennan and Robert Forster had released their first solo efforts by this time). I think it was the sleevenotes that sold me on it. Each song had a short note from either Grant or Robert. Like this one by Grant, for Bye bye pride -

Cairns is a lazy, small town full of boats and cane fields. It is also unbearably hot.…

Yann Tiersen - Monuments (Mute, single)

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This is lovely, the new single from Tiersen's 7th album Skyline, which comes out on Mute later this autumn. A delicately plucked acoustic guitar, twinkling vibes, a military drumbeat, then accordions and tumbling backing vocals, and later a haze of cascading guitars and vintage synths (something in it for Animal Collective fans, I would have said). And the two-sided, salutary/hopeful lyric

"All monuments of men, they're sinking in vain
Tiny moments of mine, they're floating in space
"

We could call it chamber-folk, but let's just enjoy it for the dreamy magic it is. The miniaturist video by Ivan Rusev is great too.



As well as several UK dates in October, Yann Tiersen also plays at Jeff Mangum's ATP in December

Johann Johannsson + Iskra String Quartet, Triskel Christchurch, Cork

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And so to another great gig (maybe concert is a better word, maybe not) to end a great weekend of music (go here if you haven't heard about the context for this, The Reich Effect Festival). The Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson came to Triskel Christchurch last Sunday with the Iskra String Quartet (that's a photo - I assume from the soundcheck, seeing as the place is empty - taken from the Iskra blog). I went along as a novice, in terms of familiarity with the man's music - but then going with a blank slate can be an interesting way to approach a performance.

This venue opened last April and so has only hosted a handful of musical events to date. I'd hazard a guess that this is the first time that a combination of volcanic rumblings and brushed strings had been heard in the place. That number resolved into something like aircraft noise, a very un-concert hall type of sound. But this performance was unconventional in several ways, by concert hall standards. The beau…

Dark Captain - Submarines (LoAF Recordings, single)

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This East London band used to be called Dark Captain Light Captain, but they've shortened down (I reckon fans used to shorten the name anyway). Their new single carries on very much where the longer band's material left off. Big beat drums, assorted subtle krautrock-type drones, hushed vocals, raindrop piano and a delicate, spindly acoustic guitar line. It's a beautiful tune and likely to worm its way under your skin very quickly. Out August 30th on CD and download.

http://soundcloud.com/lo-loaf-recordings/sets/dark-captain-submarines

*By the way, the press blurb says "like Fleetwood Mac being chatted up by The Violent Femmes in a bar in which Robert Wyatt is dancing his heart out to minor key club classics". I love this idea and I want to know if this scenario can be created and documented. I'm sure people would pay money for the privilege.

**And for good measure, here's one of the singles from their last album, Miracle kicker, the sublime Jealous enemies

Efterklang + Daniel Bjarnason and Their Messing Orchestra, Savoy Theatre, Cork

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So Efterklang came to town over the weekend (that's Rasmus and Casper on stage in the photo above). They brought some friends with them - about 17 in fact. Here's the crowd from a photo taken before their February performance at the CrossLinx Festival in Holland.


I found that photo on Morris Kliphuis' blog, http://morriskliphuis.blogspot.com/2011/07/efterklang-in-cork.html, who was part of The Messing Saxes onstage, I believe. That's Daniel Bjarnason in front, centre of that pic. He's the one who made these arrangements for the Efterklang songs, and also played a Rhodes (I think it was) onstage. Aswell as Casper, Rasmus, Mads and Thomas, the core members of the band, there was also Daniel James (aka Canon Blue) on guitar, Peter Broderick on marimba, violin, vocals, steel drum (has he been listening to Wildbirds & Peacedrums I wonder?) and very possibly some other stuff, Heather Woods Broderick on keys, vocals and flute and a second marimba player who joined fo…

North Sea Radio Orchestra – I a moon (The Household Mark)

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North Sea Radio Orchestra – I a moon (The Household Mark)

What a fantastic album this is, from Craig Fortnam and friends, with a strong core of English folk music and traces of (post) classical, medieval, electronica and even Krautrock in the supporting cast. Opener Morpheus miracle maker has great swooping strings and a vocal reminiscient of Kate Bush (Hounds of love era) from Sharon Fortnam (there’s even room for a Micheál Ó Súilleabháin style piano + glockenspiel trill). The title track is short, sweet, strange, driven by glockenspiel, laptop and harmonium and reminds me a bit of Montreal math poppers Oen Sujet. Heavy weather starts as a piano waltz sea-shanty but spreads its wings into string and oboe interludes and male-female counterpoint vocals, before a rousing, massed-band, chamber pop finish. Arguably the highpoint of the album, the instrumental Berliner luft carries off a motorik Neu groove on acoustic guitar alongside a bubbling Moog, with a memorable mid-section stand-off…