Monthly Archives: January 2009

Earth – Hex: Or Printing In The Infernal Method (Southern Lord, 2005)


Nick: are these people popular?

kind of, they’re not Beatles big but they’re certainly very influential.

I find that hard to believe, to me this music has no merit whatsoever.

I’m surprised the people playing it haven’t fallen asleep already, it’s so boring.

dictatorial governments worldwide should be using this for torture.

what do they call this?

well, they started of as drone metal I guess, but this is something different, it’s got more in common with country than metal don’t you think? very slow and dark country music.

country? what country? Albania during it’s worst historical time?

drone metal? emperors new clothes!

”this is so bad we have to give it a cool name or no one will like it”

maybe if a short snippet of it was used to score a scene in a movie it would be alright but stretched this far it’s unbearable, does it change at any point?

it always reminds me of one of your favorite authors.

and who’s that?

do you not pick up a heavy Cormac McCarthy vibe from this? Blood Meridian in particular?

well, if that were the case…I mean, that could be true if Cormac McCarthy’s books only contained six words each, this doesn’t show different vistas, it just goes relentlessly on saying the same thing.

the only thing connecting them is gloom.

glue or gloom?


(track 6 – An Inquest Concerning Teeth)

this one’s a little different than the ones that came before it.

I don’t hear it.

well in the middle it gets kind of, just barely hopeful.

(record ends)

oh good.

that had very few redeeming features.

so it did have some?


The legendary Earth, will be returning to Whelans in Dublin on the 21st of April thanks to the mighty men of U:MACK. Last time they played I got way too stoned, then minutes before they came on I got a call telling me a guy I knew had just died, the situation would’ve been highly comical had it not been so tragic.


Coming Up.

Something a little different today.

I shall present Nick with 4 versions of the same song, ‘Coming Up’ written by Paul McCartney, from his fairly bonkers 1980 album McCartney II.

First up is the original, followed by Max Tundra’s version from his Remixes & Interpretations 1998-2005 collection, then it’ll be my buddy Wilbert who did the song for the Thumped Cover Challenge and although it’s just a bit of fun, it’s made it’s way into my I-Tunes top 25 most played playlist (#19). Finally it’s the turn of Hot Chip main man Alexis Taylor, from his recent solo album Rubbed Out

This post also marks the first time (maybe only time) we’ll be giving away free music on the blog! Wowzers! Download the 4 tracks in zipped form right here.

Ok, on with the judging.

:: Paul McCartney ::

Nick: I have to say that when this came out, I always felt it was a desperate attempt by McCartney to bring his music up to date, prove that he could do the funky hip stuff.

in hindsight it sounds pretty ok actually, at the time I thought it was forcing the issue a bit.

:: Max Tundra ::

he’s retained the strangled voice.

I don’t think he has improved it as a song particularly.

and it’s got his old electronic repetition, the old trap. it doesn’t make things interesting.

:: Wilbert ::

this is closer to the original, and to my mind, a little more listenable-to than the last one.

:: Alexis Taylor ::

I thought that was by far the ‘nicest’, took a different attitude to the song.

but it lacks the punch, it becomes like so many things these days, everyone trying to sound lackluster.

after all I think the original is my favorite, even though at the time it was kind of silly.

The Microphones – Mount Eerie (K, 2003)


(the whole album passes by without a word spoke)

Nick: it’s always difficult to say anything about these type of things, I can understand that here is not a perfect place to listen to this and now probably isn’t the right time but…

I don’t even know if it can be categorized as music.

the parts with just the lone voice are very negative and boring, I prefer the sound effects bits.

it’s the kind of record you could only listen to once, but even that might be too much.

and did you pick up any kind of ‘concept’ per se?

not really, and I was listening to the lyrics, but nothing hit me.

what good is it if it needs to be explained?

like if a song were to say ‘we’re going to the hop’ but came with a paragraph of text explaining what a hop was, where would the fun be in that?

maybe if it was performed in ancient english, or anything else you could learn and take stuff from….

this is his language and it’s of no use to the rest of us.

the big mistake that a lot of artists make, musicians, poets, painters everyone; they think that what they put in automatically comes out the other end, but it doesn’t, they have this misconception, that people will recognize that ‘these 5 notes played together represent the death of my uncle arthur’ but when everyone hears it it just comes across as 5 weird notes.

Phil Elverum’s last ‘proper’ album as The Microphones was followed by ‘The Drums from Mount Eerie’ and ‘The Singing from Mount Eerie’ and much much later ‘Mount Eerie parts 6&7’ which was by Mount Eerie, which is Phil Elverum. Confused? maybe you should have a read of ‘Headwaters – An Attempted Explanation of Mount Eerie’ or maybe that’ll just balls things up even further.

The Books – The Lemon of Pink (Tomlab, 2003)


Nick: Weird…anarchic….deliberately obtuse….

but never less than intriguing.

you wonder what would happen if all this creativity, inventiveness and musical talent were focused to create something more coherent and less ‘blundering about in the dark’.

but maybe that wouldn’t work..

it may be the ‘blundering that makes this intriguing.

I’ll leave it on my i-pod and I’ll listen to it again.

another term that came to mind was dada.

I don’t know if there ever was such a thing as dada music, but if there wasn’t this would be pretty close to the principles.

Nick wrote this one on his own from his bed in the Hospital, bored shitless.
This is one of my favorite albums of all time, it’s all bowed, struck, plucked and rattled strings with clippity cloppity samples of every sound on earth. Really.

Michael Knight – I’m Not Entirely Clear How I Ended Up Like This (Yes Boy Ice Cream, 2008)


Nick: this is tricky to categorize isn’t it?

it’s nice, but it’s uh…. an eclectic mixture of things so I’m so sure what to make of it.

the beginning was quite filmic.

(Track 08: Ascending and…Ascending)

ok it’s getting to the point where I can’t take the dreariness of it anymore.

slow it down a notch and we’re at a funeral.

(as if by magic a church organ enters)

ha! there, see? the funeral has begun.

now and then something comes along and gets rid of the suicidal tone.

it’s interesting for a moment, then it becomes a dirge, over and over.

it comes with a second disc of instrumentals.

aha, wow I was just about to say it would benefit from removing the vocals, it’ll still sound negative, well not negative but somber.

I can’t really understand the lyrics, probably about graveyards, pestilence, the black death, generally speaking.

very occasionally it reminds me of radiohead!

what bits or what….element?

there is this kind of floating, drawn out melody thing that both bands do.

black and white movies of northern england during the depression.

Wikipedia says: Michael Knight (born April 11, 1978 in Nuremberg, Germany) is an Atlanta, Georgia-based fashion designer. He was a contestant on the third season of the Bravo network reality television series Project Runway, where he came in fourth place.

Doesn’t mention anything about his two albums of baroque pop & pomp, which are great. Weird.

Yes We Can!

So we’ve made it on to the long long long list for the Irish Blog Awards. Yay!

We’ve been nominated in the Best Newcomer and Best Music categories.

Nick thinks it’s ”interesting”.

Thanks to everyone who voted, lets see if we can make it to the shortlist.
xx R&N

Karl Blau – Nature’s Got Away (K, 2008)


Nick: who does he sound like?

someone else I know.

do you know?

no idea?

nope, you mean just in the voice yeah?


is it the guy from lambchop? kurt wagner?

yes! that’s exactly it. though the guy from lambchop is a bit lower.

it’s very nice, but some of the experimental bits just don’t come off, when they do it’s quite interesting.

it reminds me of lambchop all over now, not just the voice.

you need to stop using the word ‘nice’ I think

do I use it too often? I’ll try and change, it’ll be difficult, there’s not many words that can take it’s place.


um…yeah that’s not really the same thing though is it?

maybe I’ll just say lambchoppy from now on.

I don’t quite know why I like it but I do.

it’s sort of…. it’s quite…. intriguing.

ok it’s over.

sorry, but it’s nice stuff.

Hey, wanna kick up dust in the forest and watch as it glistens in the shafts of light that break through the tree tops? Me too! but it’s raining and we live in a horrible grey city, the best we could do is kick up some puke at a traffic light or that ‘why go bald?’ sign or we could listen to ‘Nature’s Got Away’ by Karl Blau, it’s up to you.

Road Records

As I’m sure you’ve all heard already, the legendary Road Records will be shutting up shop in the next couple of weeks. This is a devastating blow to all fans & makers of independent music in this country. For the last 11 years the shop has been nothing but a vital and positive force for good.

Dave outlined the various reasons that made this decision a necessity in a post on Thumped, go read!

I just want to take this chance to thank Dave and Julie so much for being super nice folk and for selling me tonnes of amazing records over the years (not to mention selling stuff by bands I’ve been in). The city and the independent / d.i.y scene is going to be a colder place without them.

Nothing is gonna save the shop now but you can still help out! As I type this, plans are afoot for a benefit night / gig and many many great bands: Moutpiece, The Dudley Corporation, The Jimmy Cake, My Brother Woody, Land Lovers, The Bastard Rain and probably way more by the time I post this, have pledged all the proceeds of sales of their records in Road to go straight to Dave & Julie. Get in there this weekend and buy up all that good stuff!

Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden (EMI, 1988)


going all the way back to 1988 with this one.

Nick: oooooh, was I even alive then?

what, may I ask was miles davis doing there?

probably shooting heroin into his thigh or something.

could well be, but it sounds like he’s playing doesn’t it?

this is brilliant, 1988? when did ‘hair’ come out?

60’s? 70’s? I dunno. you compare a lot of things to ‘hair’.

do I? have I done it before? I wasn’t aware of that.

maybe not here but… you do mention ‘hair’ quite a bit.

well it made a big impression at the time.

why haven’t I heard of this before?

don’t ask me.

well who should I ask?

it has touches of the more contemplative miles davis and I know this sounds like an impossibility but it sounds like we’re listening to a mark rothko painting.

all I can say is sheer genius.

but what if this was all just luck? were they just messing about?

as far as I know the recording process was a very drawn out, arduous slog, recorded mostly in the dark, throwing out miles and miles of tape for no reason other than it not being ‘perfect’.

well I thought as much, it all sounds deliberate enough.

I can’t say anything more, this is just brilliant, beautiful, eat your hearts out everybody.

What he said!

The Wave Pictures – Instant Coffee Baby (Moshi Moshi, 2008)


Nick: is this…….. punk? or just punk?

not really, maybe a bit in spirit.

well the voice and the way the melodies are treated, seem ‘punk’ to me.

it’s very difficult to criticize it in any kind of concrete or rational way.

but to me it comes across as very unsympathetic, his voice and the way he sings sounds unsympathetically arrogant, the music too.

the whole thing has a feeling and atmosphere of unsympathetic arrogance, I’m sorry to say.

it’s clever, intelligent, the problem is he knows it! and probably thinks the world are a bunch of stupid idiots that he’s better than.

maybe I’m being unfair to judge it on that.

you know when you go into a room of total strangers, and there’s one person who you just immediately want to hit, they exude a sense of……….?

well, this is the musical equivalent of that.

I can’t imagine this guy is a nice guy.

and you like this?

love it.

really, why?

ehhh… it’s unique even though its playing with very traditional song structures, chord progressions etc, funny lyrics, good simple songs, what more could you want?

is it satirical I wonder?

of what?

I don’t know.

ok I take back that the music is adding to this unsympathetic feel, it’s just the voice, I would love to hear them with another singer.

Sometimes I can be quite stupid. ‘Sophie’ by The Wave Pictures was one of my favorite albums of 2006, but after that I just never bothered to buy anything else, no specific reason, it just never even entered my mind. Well, I have to give big thanks Ben over at Stereo Sanctity for including it in his year end best of and knocking some sense into me. This is clever / dumb, hateful / heartful, kick ass (no really) rock n roll fun. Full to the brim of all the good stuff.