Monthly Archives: February 2009

Matmos – The Civil War (Matador, 2003)

mtmscw

Nick: Matmos? sounds Greek.

American.

the experiment actually comes off here!

they’ve created an interesting piece of music.

but it’s a bit inconsistent in attitude, some bits seem very serious, others seem to take the piss.

but the main question is; was it worth it? to go through all this work for something so insubstantial? some bits were very nice but I’m not sure if by the end that can hold it all up.

the other thing that it does, it’s just sort of, ok, there is a theme but the theme isn’t a…..how can I put it?

the theme has no sense of development, it just tends to amble along, doesn’t go any where.

I’m not sure….

This is another all time favorite, shuddering blades of grass swaying in the sunlight, soon to be trampled down by a heavy gloop of electronic skree. Yeah?

http://www.myspace.com/matmos1

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Little Joy – S/T (Rough Trade, 2008)

littlejoy

Nick: when is this from?

late last year.

it’s very… retro and very uhm….

it’s quite eclectic, an amalgam of different styles.

but is it any good?

yeah, I think it’s pretty good but it’s not the sort of thing that would actually grab you.

it’s very good to listen to and, you’re going to hate me for this but it’s very nice.

nice music, lazy summer afternoon music, sitting with your hot feet in a babbling brook, with a glass of wine and some strawberries, relaxing, no particular worries.

but I wouldn’t run out and shout to the world ‘BUY THIS ALBUM!’

a lot of recent albums have a lot of angst and this doesn’t, it’s angst-less.

I never thought I’d like this album, but it’s pretty great, sounds best while wearing a straw hat, sounds worst when your brother asks ‘is that the new Jack Johnson album?’

Oh brother.

http://www.myspace.com/littlejoymusic

Dan Deacon – Bromst (Carpark, 2009)

ddbromst

Nick: bromst? does that mean anything?

I’ll look it up.

music like that always make me think….

(phone rings)

oh for fucks sake!

aggh it’s just a fax, hold on

…makes me think of computer graphics, they don’t set out to do something, they just find their way through it, looking for funny sounds.

this didn’t come from somebodies head, it came from playing with buttons and knobs.

fucking paper won’t go in!

it’s not bad to listen to it’s just soulless manufactured stuff.

(ruan: reading from wikipedia, yawn)

”Dan Deacon attended the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in Purchase, New York, … He completed his graduate studies in electro-acoustic and computer music composition. He studied under composer/conductor Joel Thome and Dary John Mizelle”

well yes you can hear that, this is music concerned with code not notes, sliders and oscillators.

(phone rings again)

fax again

I think you take a very dim view of electronic music, you always seem to think it’s just some guys sitting round pressing buttons all day waiting for a happy accident.

but you can tell the difference, either the person is controlling the computer and the software or it’s controlling them and this sounds too controlled by the software.

it’s a pity, this guy could be a really talented composer but instead he’s let himself become a good editor.

and this is fine but all it speaks to his my head, not my heart or soul.

what about your feet?

does it speak to my feet? do I want to dance? walk?

no it doesn’t.

also there isn’t a single original melodic line in it is there?

I’ve heard them all before, easy bits of tune.

so it’s only creative in the way it’s put together, not the origin of it, that has a complete lack of creativity.

I really don’t think he had planned any of this, he just went in and put it together.

I could add things to this

(nick: singing)

(ruan: laughing)

(dan deacon: new melody line comes in)

see! there it is exactly as I was doing.

(nick: making booooooom & biiiiiiiiiiiim sounds and another one that sounds like a backwards cat)

he should’ve sent this to me before releasing it, I can make it more interesting.

I’ll also make the prediction, I may be sticking my neck out here, but I reckon no one will be listening to this is ten years time, it’s too insignificant, nothing sticks.

emotionally there is nothing to react to.

maybe some weird musicologist will dig it out at some stage and think it’s kind of funny.

maybe that isn’t a criterion.

but why do you think some music lasts and some is left by the wayside?

this is this weeks folly.

Take that Dan! All your studying and hard work has led you down the wrong road, left you with nothing more than a folly! SUX2BU!

Only messing, you’re great!

Bromst is released on March 24th.

http://www.myspace.com/dandeacon

The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone (Alien 8 / Rough Trade, 2003)

unicorns

(whole album passes by without a word spoke)

Nick: …..right

I liked that, playful, imaginative.

on occasion it’s just, and it’s a bit of a pity, but the playfulness deteriorated into gimmickry.

but apart from those parts it’s good stuff.

Phah! 32 words? No wonder we didn’t make the shortlist for the Irish blog awards!
A few years ago I used to listen to this album about 4 times a day everyday.

www.myspace.com/iwasbornunicorn

Dublin Duck Dispensary – Yykes Basket (The Record Dispensary, 2009)

dddybNick: these are amateurs I take it?

what are you laughing at?

why is that funny?

I don’t know, why did you say it?

why did I say it? because they sound like amateurs, they sound like a bunch of guys who occasionally get together to play music.

but that describes probably 90% of bands on the planet

yes but it doesn’t describe 90% of the bands we listen to does it?

I thought we tend to listen to…..people that make money for selling records.

whereas if you compare these with spirits? the ghost?

The Spook?

The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock!

well they come from the same part of the forest right?

but they seem just miles and miles ahead of these guys, like miles!

they need work.

well as far as I can see all that separates the two bands is their sound and aesthetic, apart from that they’re just Irish guys making and playing music when they can.

well aren’t the Spook on tour in Japan at the moment? like professionals would be?

point taken.

another difference is these guys are like everyone else, dispirited.

do you not agree? ‘myweh myweh myweh’ listen to it.

it’s also very badly recorded.

well again that’s just the aesthetic I guess, it’s lo-fi, it ticks all the lo-fi boxes.

is it supposed to?

if they set out to sound badly rehearsed, badly recorded, unprepared…. they’ve done a fantastic job.

sounds like they met maybe twice before.

well as far as I know it’s just one guy on the recordings.

that’s quite remarkable isn’t it?

and strange, you’d assume one guy could at least play with himself.

that doesn’t look right written down.

hahaha ok play in….. rhythm or…. I don’t know, he should be tighter.

lo-fi isn’t bad and bad isn’t lo-fi, it’s just music created in primitive circumstances, the people involved can still play well, can be tight. lo-fi is just the recording.

yes but it’s become a genre in itself.

yes but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to be bad, a guy walks into a room of people, takes out a violin, plays for a bit and he’s awful, everyone hates it and he just says ‘it’s ok guys, I’m lo-fi’

let’s be fair, a lot of Neil Young stuff is lo-fi and the guy is absolutely brilliant, if I took my dictaphone and sat beside Neil Young, and released it it would still be brilliant.

and this is very mediocre stuff from every point of view.

you can’t hide your flaws in lo-fi so you better be good!

DDD is one man named Bobby.
DDD like The Unicorns a lot (I’m guessing)
DDD have given away three mostly great albums on Rack & Ruin Records.
DDD are not giving this one away, you have to buy it.
You can buy it on his myspace page
You should buy it.

http://www.myspace.com/dublindd

Parts & Labor – Mapmaker (Jagjaguwar, 2007)

plmm

I wanna do a Parts & Labor album today

Nick: right

but I don’t know which to do, so maybe you could choose?

me? choose? how would I do that?

well there’s the first one which is very noisy but still very ‘pop’, or the second one where the pop starts to outweigh the noise, or the third one which I think is the worst of the bunch, it’s not awful or anything just nowhere near the greatness of the first two.

how about you choose?

grrrrr, alright let’s do the second one.

I think I’d like this better if they had less or fewer effects, parts of it are overly rich, they put in too much, it drowns out what it’s all about.

at the end of each song is this filler of nnnnnneeeerrrrrr kgvgvgvkkkghghg pfpfpfpfphhjhjujhjhjh just to make time. it’s unnecessary.

add a little restraint and you would have a better album.

you’d probably like the most recent one then.

and you don’t like that one?

no, well yes but I miss the old drummer, think he was a huge part of their sound.

yes he certainly was on this one

but it’s not exactly an incredible, original piece of music but….. it’s ok.

Broken down keyboards, soaring stadium pop choruses, and proper mental drumming defined the sound of the first few Parts & Labor releases. On latest album Receivers the keyboards have new batteries, the choruses are less brash, and the mental drummer has been replaced with one more thoughtful & calm. I know you’re not supposed to want or expect a band to stay the same forever but…..I’m a dickhead.

Still, I’ll be up front and smiling like a goon when I finally get to see them live this Sunday (15th) in Crawdaddy.

http://www.myspace.com/partsandlabor


Telepathe – Dance Mother (V2, 2009)

telepathe

Nick: is that ‘dance mother’ as in the imperative DANCE, MOTHER! or it is the other way or is it just left up to you?

I think it’s up to you.

(track 2 – Chromes On It)

they remind me of a group that was around quite a long time ago.

this is pop isn’t it? I would call it pop anyway.

but it’s more interesting than most pop.

maybe its just this song, the melody, I can’t think of who they were.

Manhattan Transfer?

ha! no.

Pussycat? was there a band called Pussycat?

interestingly enough, if you put another voice on this, instead of the girls, it wouldn’t be pop anymore. they have very smooth ‘pop’ voices.

The Pussycat Dolls?

no, no, no, no, no this was a band just called Pussycat, they might’ve even been Dutch.

it’s the staccato rhythms.

well allmusic.com has a Dutch band of ladies from the 70’s called Pussycat.

this must be them! but then I’m still not sure if this is the band I’m actually thinking of.

they have some samples here, hold on.

hmmm don’t think this is what I’m thinking of, though they were quite good at what they do.

I wonder if they knew about ABBA?

(back to Telepathe)

I’m not wild about this, as pop goes it’s very interesting, but……….

what would I call it?

it’s like a bunch of extremely musical sixth formers got together to make interesting pop music. the voices sound immature.

I wouldn’t listen to it out of choice.

it’s just all a bit……cold, seems too thought out and manufactured.

I’m still not 100% gone on this myself. 3 really great songs but the rest is all a bit, as Nick noted, cold. Cold futuristic laser pop just ain’t my bag right now (see last post).

http://www.myspace.com/telepathe

Ducktails – 7” (Breaking World Records, 2008) & Real Estate – 7” (Underwater People, 2009)

ducktailz


Nick:I get the feeling this doesn’t stand on it’s own, it feels like it’s been created to illustrate something, not a movie but a slight sequence of something, a visual.

I want to say ‘where are the slides?’

what am I supposed to be looking at.

what if you were on a train looking out the window or something?

yeah maybe…there’s something African about it, I can picture a quick travelogue of North African scenes and people.

the Germans have a word for…well Romano Guardini have you heard of him?

nope

he was a philosopher who wrote in German, he wrote about what constitutes art, and according to him art becomes a thing in itself,  ‘das ding an sich’ which means that although the art represents something it also becomes like a stone, but this piece of music didn’t have that, it never became something of itself.

I’ve probably explained that really badly.

I mean you should be able to appreciate this for what it is and not what it represents.

I’d maybe buy this if I was putting on a slideshow.

realestate

here’s the same guy again but this time with his friends

oh he’s got friends has he?

(later)

well, he really needs his friends, that’s all I can say really.

this actually sounds like something, this sounds like music.

the first one actually got close to musak, maybe it’s too fast but it’s near enough to the music people play in lifts.

I hate to say it but that is nice, I know I shouldn’t be using ‘nice’ but there you go.

Ducktails is Matt Mondanile, while Real Estate is him plus Etienne Duguay, Alex Bleeker and Martin Courtney. And for the last couple of weeks these two records have been swirling around my head first thing in the morning, last thing at night, on buses and the luas and while slipping and sliding around on the ice in Dundrum, close your eyes for a second and you can pretend the sun is shining bright.

Today, the ice is mostly gone, the sun actually IS shining and a physical copy of the Real Estate 7” finally arrived so….. yeah, here we are.

http://www.myspace.com/ducktailss

http://www.myspace.com/letsrockthebeach

http://www.ducktailstapes.com/

Wavves – Wavves (Woodsist, 2008)

wavves

Nick: is it supposed to sound like it’s badly recorded?

well….it’s sounds the way it sounds on purpose

which is badly recorded.

seems like something went badly wrong with the recording.

are you able to put the noise to the back?

I have no idea what is going on here, no clue as to what they’re trying to achieve, it’s basically boring noise, meaningless.

I guess they’re just trying to be original, ‘lets make some new music, we’ll call it boring noise’

how anyone could listen to this with interest or get any pleasure from the experience is beyond me.

I can’t see any talent, no feeling.

I’m sure these people take themselves very seriously, I presume they do anyway.

I wouldn’t say it’s in anyway original and…

I wouldn’t either, but they’re trying to be.

it’s virtual torture to listen to it….ahhh is it over? what a relief.

look, music doesn’t have to be anything. it can be stirring, depressing, exciting whatever and it can still be good, this is just irritating and no one wants to be irritated.

Wavves is Magnus Veikko, a 52 year old Finnish fisherman. Come see his cold sparse and glacial (yes!) dirges this Wednesday (11th) upstairs in Whelans.

http://www.myspace.com/wavves

http://ghostramp.blogspot.com/

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – S/T (Slumberland, 2009)

pobpah

Nick: the pains of being pure at heart? very philosophical title.

I ehm…hate to say this but listening to this for a while, the only words I can use to describe it is pleasant but ordinary.

they don’t stand out at all.

I’m sure there are hundreds of bands out there who sound like this.

if it came on the radio I probably wouldn’t even notice.

it’s the old story…. it’s all wallpaper, each song is the same as the last in every respect but the melody.

if I was at their gig and I went to the bar for ten minutes and came back it would feel like they were playing the same song.

(track 8 – A Teenager In Love)

as soon as they start into something different, they just jump right back into sameness. it’s as if they got scared.

the drummer is giving himself an easy job isn’t he?

a lot of what you’ve said here is quite similar to what you said about Crumb last September, and both bands are playing, on the surface, the same type of music – classic indiepop.

so I’m nothing if not consistent.

my task is to listen to this music, so my expectations are high, I expect to hear something new and interesting, something that’ll provoke me to say new and interesting things, I expect to be wowed.

there’s a great lack of wow-ness in this thing.

I can’t figure indiepop out. Is it’s job to not stand out? How can it conjure up the cliched images of cardigans and lemonade and so on in something as simple as a chord change? I’m stumped.

Help arrives in the form of Fiachra McCarthy, member of such Irish indiepop institutions as Crumb, House of Mexico & Pantone 247:

”I think Indie pop is genre music, like Metal, everyone has a fair idea what a Metal record is going to sound like, BIG guitars with scooped mid range, bass holding down roots in 16ths and pretty violent lyrics, if it’s speed metal the tempo range with be right up there, if it’s Trash the guitars will be more loose and scuzzy, if it’s Doom the vocals will be well shouty and monster like…. records in this genres do well and our rated on how well they confirm to these stereotypes, the differences are pretty subtle and there’s a pride in being a big enough nerd to spot and appreciate them

Indie pop, IMHO, is very much the same… maybe you have a dead pan vocalist alá Morrisey, maybe you have heavily compressed Rickenbackers like REM, Johnny Mar and Crumb, maybe you stick a load of reverb on the back and it’s Galaxie 500 or MBV… maybe you do a bit of all that with a casio drum beat… but essentially your working off a small pallet like… uh… I’m running out of steam here, does this wash? Indie has sort of become genre music, like metal or Rockabilly, or medieval battle recreation, it can be more about the attention to detail and nerdy reference points then anything else

I feel I am being a bit down on Indie though (and metal) (and medieval recreation), the reason people love it is generally the strong melodies, fey lyrics that generally deal with alienation  in a very straight forward heart on sleeve manner… I suppose people reach for the touch stones or Rickenbackers, converse runners to prove their authentic, like Alt Country acts reach for the pedal steel, when they really really mean, this is ‘real’ and requires no complex drum patterns or studio innovations to cloud the issues. And we know that cause we hear the jangle of guitars, the tambourine on the back beat and aching paean of dead pan vocals”

http://www.myspace.com/thepainsofbeingpureatheart