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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Bands with 2 versions on the go August 27, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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There was a piece in The Guardian about bands that split in half SLF, Yes and UB40 are mentioned there but of course there are others. Boney M at one stage had more than 2 versions going. There were two versions of the Wolfetones touring, Queensryche are another band that had two versions going. Black Flag had two versions going for a period. There were numerous versions of Hawkwind, Faust, Barclay James Harvest, The Beach Boys. Naturally there were all sorts of court cases over which version of the various bands had the right to use the Original name….. and it cost many of them a fortune too.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly be Listening to… Women Cover Bands Covering Male Bands August 20, 2016

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This article in the Guardian made me go looking at a range of female cover bands

Joanne Joanne is perhaps the most intriguing. The drummer is from Knifeworld, they focus on what they (and I) say is the most interesting part of Duran Duran’s career, that being the first year or two when they were unequivocally a new romantic/futurist group. They say ‘we don’t do Rio’. And good for them. Though if it were me I’d do New Moon on Monday and Ordinary World.

I could talk about Duran Duran’s first album, perhaps in this slot one day I will. I still think it is a great piece of work. I’m not immune to some of the later stuff, but it was glibber, less – well – interesting.

Iron Maidens are perhaps the most professional of the three. If you like Iron Maiden I suspect you’ll like them. If, like me, you’re not madly fond of ver Maiden then I think you might actually find them an improvement on the original.

The Ramonas are a bit more down to earth propelled by fizzing energy and… well…more fizzing energy.

Of course, as with all covers bands there are stray thoughts. All these groups are pretty good in their own right. They can play, they can sing, they can drum. Why aren’t they making their own music. And yet, and yet, given how covering songs is part of a cultural heritage stretching back, presumably, millennia I’m uneasy about demanding novelty – particularly when these groups by covering bands which are male are in and of themselves doing something fascinating in itself.

Some thought provoking stuff here too…

Cross-gender tribute acts are still a novelty, but until the advent of bands such as Joanne Joanne, they were a single-genre novelty. (Not to mention single-gender: there are dozens of all-girl acts, but almost no male bands covering female groups, more of which below.) Nearly all the early cross-gender groups were metal, which came with the inbuilt challenge of persuading sceptical metalheads they could rock out as vigorously as men. Some went a step further, apparently endorsing metal’s objectification of women (the website of a Metallica tribute exclaims, “MISSTALLICA was the response to the want and need for old school thrash metal and a pretty face to go with it!”). But the scene now has female pop, punk, grunge and even country tributes, who interpret their subject matter as they see fit.

Any other cover bands people have heard of like the above?

Joanne Joanne – Planet Earth

Joanne Joanne – Girls on Film

Iron Maidens – Run to the Hills

Iron Maidens – Aces High

The Ramonas – Sheena is a Punk Rocker

The Ramonas – Rockaway Beach

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Music Played at Matches in Croke Park August 13, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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If you’ve ever worked in a shop, often they have tapes on a loop, it’s bad but gets worse around Christmas! One place that seems to have the same song list for the last number of years is Croke Park. If like myself you are generally in there early (I steward there) the selection of songs can be played in rotation for the whole season, often twice in the day too.
The Special Olympics song is particularly annoying and the joke is that it’s played after matches to try and get the crowd to all leave and go home!
There’s that Dropkick Murphys track too which was played when teams entered the pitch, a completely unnecessary addition to the “Matchday Experience” as generally for big matches the place is hopping anyway.
I’ve thrown in some others that I have ingrained from Croke Park ( I left out Garth Brooks who made a fleeting appearance in the Croke Park playlist a few years back only to disappear as quick)….. There’s others such as The Script, Coldplay, U2 that are regulars and luckily I seem to have managed to blank a lot of the rest from my brain🙂

This Weekend I Will Mostly Be Listening to…Dreamboat Annie by Heart August 6, 2016

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A very welcome guest This Weekend from Lamneth.

 

To get the cliché out of the way, there really are two Hearts. The first incarnation of the band most famous for the two Wilson sisters – singer Anne and guitarist Nancy, existed from the early seventies until 1982’s Private Audition album. Their debut, Dreamboat Annie from 1975, plays like a concept album – even if not conceived as such. The theme is broadly nautical (songs such as Soul of the Sea and the title track – all three (!) versions of it on the album) and the sound shifts between an easygoing Sunday afternoon jaunt on the river (for the ballads) with the odd tidal shift (for the rockers). Nowhere is this contrast stronger then in Anne Wilson’s voice – Karen Carpenter one minute, Robert Plant the next and the music behind her also exists in a sweet spot somewhere between California singer-songwriter and the folk / blues rock of Zeppelin.

 

I say all that now, but when I bought the album in 1982 (reduced to £1.99 in Golden Discs on Grafton Street) I was disappointed. The one Heart song I’d heard by then was their epic rock opera of a track Mistral Wind from Dog & Butterfly, their fourth album. You’ve heard it too – even if you haven’t; seven minutes that starts softly with acoustic guitar and whispered vocals and becomes all hell broken loose by the end. Dreamboat Annie sounded sort of twee by comparison, and sixteen year old me was having issues singing along lyrics about women looking for men, but what the hell, it was cheap and the girls looked great on the cover.

 

I’ve heard most Heart albums since, and what I love about this one now, but misread as quaint then, is the musical naivety that is often only found on a debut album, where a band are still finding out what they actually are, so aren’t trapped by who they think they should be – if that makes any sense. (I feel the same way about Boy in the U2 catalogue, for what it’s worth)

 

Magic Man, Dreamboat Annie and Crazy On You are the tracks that make it onto the many Heart compilations, but there’s no real filler here – rocker Sing Child and ballad How Deep It Goes are also standouts.

 

Dreamboat Annie –

Crazy on You –

Magic Man –

How Deep It Goes –

Recorded for an independent label, the album went platinum and Heart soon morphed into a stadium-filling headline act. There’s good stuff throughout all of their albums after, but, for me, they never caught lightning in a bottle as consistently across one album as they do here.

 

At the start of the 1980’s the sales dwindled, and the band started losing founding members, other than the Wilsons and lead guitarist Howard Leese. A change of label led to collaborations with outside writers and the embrace of MTV. Incarnation two was born.

 

The results put them back in the charts with some of the best power ballads of the era. They begrudge it now as a sell-out, and there’s no doubt that other acts would have had hits with the same songs, but Anne’s voice did at least give the likes of Alone and What About Love their own stamp and a link to the earlier albums.

 

What About Love – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE5GGMhmo-M

Their unabashed love for all things Zeppelin has never abated and they performed a great rendition of Stairway to Heaven for an audience including Page, Plant and John Paul Jones (who also produced an unplugged live album for Heart in the nineties) in 2012.

 

Stairway to Heaven – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFxOaDeJmXk

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… God Is an Astronaut July 30, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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A Wicklow band that I knew little or nothing about until recently and yet they have been around since 2002, have released 7 albums and amassed quite a following worldwide. Everything is purely instrumental and they are another ‘post rock’ band. They are really good . I Talked to some people who saw them live in Whelans recently and they were very impressed.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Gazelle Twin – The Entire City July 23, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Here’s an album from 2012 or so by artist, composer and producer Elizabeth Wailing/Bernholz aka Gazelle Twin. Her output is dark and remarkably cinematic. It treads a fine line between pop, electronica and ambient (Changelings is towards the former, albeit softer, end of that spectrum). The vocals murmur In a way that makes it clear this is  not necessarily music to feel good to, at least not all the time.

Tracks like I Am Shell I Am Bone move gracefully along propelled by stuttering rhythms, keyboard sweeps and deep bass lines. There’s a purpose and urgency to the music even if sometimes it has a slow moving aspect.

I suppose an easy touchstone is post-punk, it’s in the drum patterns (some of which are remind me of another proponent of early 21st century music influenced by the early 1980s, albeit tangentially, that being Sandwell District and allied artists), in the mixture of vocal approaches – trills, choruses, whatever fits. And yet it’s not remotely post-punk. There’s a lushness to it that positions it clearly within this decade of the 21st century and part of that is the electronica that underpins the tracks and percussion.

Nor, despite and in places decidedly macabre aspect to her identity, is it the baroque formulations of goth – though there’s something of Dead Can Dance there in the background. Somehow it is quieter and consequently in its own way more unnerving.

Her latest album ups the ante on that feature of her musical and aesthetic identity – actually I find a lot of the video kind of creepy, but I think The Entire City, both album and track, is a good point to join this particular musical journey.

The Entire City

I Am Shell I Am Bone

Changelings

When I was Otherwise

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Young Marble Giants July 16, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Formed in Cardiff in 1978, they broke up in 1980. Despite Punk being the fashion Young Marble Giants were quiet and introspective with the lovely voice of Alison Statton supported by brothers Stuart (Guitar) and Phil (Bass) Moxham , they also used a homemade drum machine and keyboard which gave an unusual sound.
They released one album ‘Colossal Youth’ which was reissued in 2007 which prompted a reunion and they have played a show or two a year since then. There’s a good
interview here from just before what is according to their FB page their final gig.

and I just noticed that there is already a TWIBMLT about them already but they are worth two ….


This live performance from YMG from 1980 is worth watching on Vimeo

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… National Anthems from the Euros July 2, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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One of the joys of the Euros has been the belting out of National Anthems, some aren’t great but some are fantastic. A selection of my favourites .. admittedly not all from the Euros as the number of fans from that country in the stadium didn’t quite make the cacophony of noise a home crowd makes. I left our own out🙂
Not too many other ones that I liked despite the expansion to 24 countries!

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Oh Hiroshima June 18, 2016

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From Sweden, these are a genre that is known as ‘post rock’. It’s funny but I love this genre of music without even knowing it was called post rock. Oh Hiroshima have some great sounds with vocals on some tracks but its vocals to go with the music rather than music to go with the vocals. They have released two albums to date. 2011s “Resistance is futile” and 2015 “In Silence We Yearn”. Both are below in full and really well worth a listen. Their first e.p. “Tomorrow” is here also.
Like most post rock it will take multiple upon multiple listens to explore the aural nooks and crannies. I particularly like the live version of “Holding Rivers” here.
Well worth a listen.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Juliana Hatfield – Made in China June 11, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Here’s an album I really love. It’s honest and gritty and rock too. Hatfield I mentioned recently in relation to the album she and Paul Westerberg, late of the Replacements, released early this year, but Made in China is a good twelve or so years old.

The tracks are neat, succinct, blasts of energy, none over 4.47 minutes long, building and twisting. But they’re also catchy as all hell. Great big choruses, occasional bursts of metal punk, almost Pixies-like distorted guitar, and then quieter bits. The album starts with clanging guitar chords on New Waif before cool detached vocals over strummed guitar and feedback. And the structures while seemingly deceptively straightforward are actually quite complex, songs twist through multiple parts, dissonant, melodic, instrumental. The near Sabbath like riff that opens What Do I Care is just perfect – the song itself a sort of refurbishing and upgrading of the Breeders for the 21st century. Or the near glam undertow of On Video (a particularly bitter lyric, relived by the sheer energy of her cathartic vocals). Rats in the Attic is more meditative, some have suggested it is closer to previous output, but it too isn’t averse to increasing the volume.

That the album seems to speak of earlier parts of her life – particularly those when she was effectively starting out making music in the mid to late 1980s and that she to some degree sings in that almost confessional, sometimes silly, but often quite moving ‘voice’ – lyrically seems to have thrown up some criticisms which frankly I don’t understand. It is as if she is not allowed to, as it were, relax or adopt a persona or investigate parts of her personality that may well still exist.

And I wonder if in part the criticisms are drawn from a more or less unconscious sexism. It’s difficult to envisage an album released by a male artist taking stock of parts of their past being quite as heavily critiqued (for some reason some REM comes to mind). Or is it that as a female singer/songwriter/guitarist she is expected to make supposedly more ‘sophisticated’ material?

In any case I think it remains remarkably fresh. Songs like Going Blonde see Hatfield twisting rock conventions neatly, moving from alternative to near metal to rock but in a way which somehow retains the power of all. A genuine classic. One of my favourites.

On Video

New Waif

What Do I Care?

Oh

Rats in the Attic (Live, 2005)

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