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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Brian Mooney December 2, 2017

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Discovered these recently, a series of recording by Brian Mooney formerly of the Dublin 90’s band Pet Lamb. Have been listening to them the last while as I was typing out exams for my wife and it was a nice soundtrack for such tedious work.
Funnily enough wasn’t a massive fan of Pet Lamb but really like these!





This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Auto Da Fé November 11, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to..., Uncategorized.

Well now, last weekend IEL had a list of songs for November and great to hear them. But one in particular stood out to me, that from Auto Da Fé, the 1980s vehicle for former Steeleye Span singer Gay Woods and Trevor Knight.

I’ve mixed views on ADF, on the one hand I admire the way Woods was willing to throw herself into a group that she describes as a progressive band for the 1980s. With Knight and initially what is described as ‘three Dutch musicians’ on the wiki page (though in fairness they are named: Theo Wanders, Carel van Rijn and Wout Penning) there was a considerable shift from previous outfits Woods had been in (check out the occasionally Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac sounding Tender Hooks from Gay and Terry Woods for a point of comparison as well as Steeleye Span). There was a new wave pulse to the group and Woods herself could not look any more new wave, some interesting percussion, a touch of Numanesque keyboards here and there, intriguing arrangements. On the other hand there was an occasional clunkiness to the sound and a tendency to hare off towards pop territory at a rapid rate of knots. I like November November enormously, and Man of Mine and Bad Experience are pretty good too – and lyrically the subject matter in at least some instances seems to be intensely personal, and yet watching Man of Mine I’ve a sneaking feeling that it wouldn’t have taken all that much for them to morph into Berlin or similar, should the mood have taken them.

Their only album Tatitum is not available online or off as far as I can see (though no doubt is on Spotify), but for those who like the singles – that would be me, there’s 1984’s compilation 5 Singles and 1 Smoked Cod which brings together a raft of singles all of which somehow wormed their way into my memory through a lot of play on RTÉ radio in the early to mid-80s. You’ll hear both Midge Ure and Phil Lynott’s contributions (and see the Lynott in the case of the Man of Mine video!), the latter was producer of their early material. Ure who of course famously worked with Lynott provided guitar. It’s odd and yet interesting to think that there’s a direct crossover with Visage and of course Ultravox and Lizzy.

Indeed on a slight tangent I wonder how many former rock fans were persuaded to be just fractionally open to electronic and pop music in the 1980s by Lynott’s remarkably all-embracing engagement with same? But then again perhaps the same question can be put to those who were fans of Steeleye Span given Woods willingness to cross genres.

November, November

Man of Mine

All is Yellow, Hot Hot Hot

Bad Experience

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Songs about November November 4, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

The clocks went back at the weekend meaning we were heading into November. The days getting shorter, weather getting colder, winter coming in and all that…..

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Architecture and Morality October 28, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

It’s funny, given two and a half decades or more and a later but still early incarnation as a straight forward pop band it’s often forgotten just how odd a proposition OMD were in the first four or five years of their existence. From genuine chart-topping synth driven singles such as Electricity, Enola Gay and Messages to broader and more experimental excursions on albums they were somehow quite apart, quite different, from the band that they were to become later in that decade.

And the speed with which their first three albums were released was remarkable in this age where music seemingly gestates at great length and so many groups with three records have already packed up shop. The first album was out in 1980 – fantastic pop/electronic hybrid. The second, Organisation, followed later that year, darker, less tuneful but still interesting and then Architecture and Morality arrived in November 1981. Three in two years. Now that’s productivity.

Indeed if they’d never released anything after 1981 I wonder if their critical reputation would not have been higher, their credibility that bit greater – at least until more recently when as is the way of such things they have come in for considerable plaudits for both their earlier and later albums. But they did and they continued to do so, chasing after even greater pop success albeit with a dropping away of much of their fan base and its replacement by newcomers. And why not? Why should they have remained stuck in bleak, but melodic and atmospheric workouts like Architecture and Morality or Dazzle Ships?

Except Architecture and Morality was not bleak, was if anything the antithesis of bleak – or to be more accurate it wasn’t all or even mostly bleak. Sure, there was a coldness to it. Listen to the drum pattern in Maid of Orleans, none more New Order, or was it vice versa? And listen too to The New Stone Age, first track on the album, a cousin in many ways of what Joy Division and later New Order were doing on Movement during the same period, thrashing acoustic guitars, pulsing bass, electronic (sounding) rhythms, eerie keyboards (well, they were in 1981!) and angst filled lyrics. I read more recently how Organisation was imbued by their fascination with and appreciation for Joy Division albeit through synths and it makes sense (and little wonder that Peter Saville was at the designer of the album cover and sleeve – quite an artifact in itself).

But She’s Leaving is positioned in more commercial and emotive territory, sort of. The Beginning and the End not so much… a melodic but uncompromising piece but again hugely emotive. Sealand, powerful atmospheric and ambient. The title track a deceptively simple instrumental. Georgia seeming to nod to their never entirely detached interest in geopolitics. Souvenir driven by piano like keyboards still, decades later able to bring back the memory of the first time I heard it. And Joan of Arc. Perhaps their talent was to take their influences, Kraftwerk, Bowie and others and pour in emotion (live sometimes a whole heap of emotion) without losing that otherness that electronic instrumentation can deliver.

I stopped listening to their new stuff in the mid 1980s, which may have been a mistake, or at least an album too soon – Dazzle Ships is a fine release, the subsequent ones less so, though their most recent albums, English Electric and this years the Punishment of Luxury are little short of excellent with a raft of very very memorable songs. But Architecture and Morality remains this weird hybrid, experimental, challenging and yet massively successful in terms of singles. A classic.

The New Stone Age

She’s Leaving

The Beginning and the End



Joan of Arc

Maid of Orleans (Joan of Arc)

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… The Martin Hayes Quartet October 21, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Another Martin Hayes adventure and one that I’ll be seeing next Saturday in the Concert Hall with the new album released on the day before. Hayes has worked with many artists and these of course include The Gloaming. This venture is with guitarist and long time collaborator Denis Cahill, Doug Wieselman who plays the Bass Clarinet and Liz Knowles on the Viola/Violin.
The initial tune from the album “The boy in the gap” really uses the Bass Clarinet beautifully and adds to the usual Hayes sound. The small clip on the recording of the album in Bantry House is nicely put together too. Brennans Reel is beautifully paced and again you get to hear the influence of all parts of the quartet in the sound.
The clips from The Irish Arts Centre in New York were recorded prior to the album being recorded so I can only imagine the album will be excellent.

The Website

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Ros Sereysothea October 7, 2017

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Ros Sereysothea was a star in Cambodia before 1975, and “disappeared” under the Khmer Rouge. These recordings are from “Cambodian Rocks”, a compilation of recordings by Cambodian artists between 1965 and 1970. It includes recordings by Ros Sereysothea, Sinn Sisamouth, Pan Ron and others. It was published in 1996.
from wikipedia

artists were among those viewed as a threat to the regime’s agrarian socialist vision, and several of the performers on the album are believed to have been among those killed during the ensuing Cambodian Genocide of 1975-1979. Little information about them or their creative output has survived.

I suppose when thinking of music from these areas we assume that its of a traditional kind but here we have music that could have been made anywhere in the world. Yet when the Khmer Rouge came to power music such as this and indeed the musicians disappeared.
I’ve put the trailer to the 2015 Documentary “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll”

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… “Savoy Digital Angst” September 23, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Savoy Books in Manchester was started by David Britton and Mike Butterworth in Manchester in 1976. There’s an interview with Butterworth here which gives good details of the whole Savoy Books story, the many raids by the Manchester Obscene Publications Squad and persecution which almost forced them out of business.
In 1984 they branched out from books to records and teamed up with singer PJ Proby to produce some rather unusual music and ‘aural soundscapes’. They recorded unique covers of Joy Division, New Order and other artists.
However it wasn’t those covers but the “Savoy Digital Angst” EP that caught my ear. Probably the strangest versions of Irish Ballads (and oddly a dance version of God Save The Queen) that I’ve heard. The Jolly almost dance mix of “Kevin Barry” , then to what sounds like a mash of Black Sabbath riffs a version of “The Old Fenian Gun” and a marching song style version of “Bobby Sands”.
There’s another interview with Butterworth here.
There’s quite a few odder things from the label if you look up “Savoy Wars” on youtube, such as Fenella Fielding doing Robbie Williams “Angels” or her really peculiar version of “Blue Monday” .
The “Savoy Digital Angst” EP

1. Kevin Barry 00:00
2. The Old Fenian Gun 08:00
3. Bobby Sands 10:33
4. God Save The Queen 15:59

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… David Gray September 9, 2017

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David Gray played the Repeal gig in The Olympia earlier in the year and then I saw he was playing in the NCH this week. So knowing it was one of the few common musical tastes between myself and my wife, I got tickets for it.
Playing a solo show he was really excellent, the NCH is really a fantastic venue, one that I’m growing fonder of all the time. There’s no chatter, background noise, people nipping to and fro to the bar or even drinking unlike what you get at some other venues, so you can really listen to the music. For a show like Grays Acoustic one it was perfect.
The one irritating thing was a lady a row ahead who spent the whole time filming the concert on her iPad. It was a distraction and I can’t see how you’d enjoy the concert when you are trying to hold an iPad up for 2 and a half hours. I’ve seen people in Croke Park at matches and Concerts before with iPads but really is doing the recording worth all the hassle?
Incidentally the show was available on a signed double CD afterwards for 25 euro. I’d never come across this before. It’s mad how technology has advanced , but I imagine the venue itself allies itself with good quality recording. The CD’s sold like hotcakes. The quality is very good. Beats the bootleg tapes available a few days later on O’Connell Bridge! I’m not sure if there was such a facility at other shows on the tour but it must be a nightmare for David Gray completists !!
For someone with such a back catalogue he played one particular song as he said it was popular on Spotify. It just showed how music has changed in his career, from a multi million selling album to doing well on Spotify.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Shy, Low August 26, 2017

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An American Post Rock band that were formerly a Metal band called Vessel. It’s lovely haunting music and great in the house undisturbed or with headphones.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Kiasmos August 12, 2017

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I was on youtube and came upon some KEXP sessions in Iceland, Kiasmos were one that caught my ear ….. and then a musical note  rekindled from the depths of my mind memories of my own times with a keyboard …….
One Christmas, 1979 I think, Santa was kind enough to bring a Casio keyboard. It was a white thing the length of a ruler and the width of a mobile phone and even came with a fancy sleeve. It had a variety of four sounds and I think eight different drum beats. The drum rhythms could be sped up or slowed down.It was battery operated too.
After a while I was hooked. I began playing around with it and writing my own tunes . (I could never read music, so never played any covers). I was playing away for months and had a repertoire of futuristic sounding instrumentals. …
I don’t recall how, but I ended up entered into a talent competition in Sallynoggin Hall that was being judged by RTE star Aonghus McAnally. So it was off to a packed hall for the competition. I had wanted to wear a denim jacket and T-Shirt but ended up going in a shirt and a horrible light blue V neck jumper which had yellow and white stripes down the front. So off we went to Sallynoggin with the keyboard in it’s fancy case and fresh batteries just in case!
There was a band , some singers and comedian and all of a sudden I was on. A school chair and a table. The Casio keyboard placed on the table, a microphone initially placed way too near to the Casio speaker as there was woeful feedback. I think I said a muted “Hello” rather than the triumphant “Hello Sallynoggin” I had imagined. I played for a few minutes said “Thanks” and wandered off to the backstage again. Some other acts came on and I waited to find out if Aonghus McAnally would judge me in the top three. Unsurprisingly he didn’t. I think I got to shake his hand afterwards, the fourth in a brief flurry of famous handshakes in the family. My older brother had shaken Jack Lynchs hand in Wexford, my sister had shaken Linda Martins hand and my Dad had shaken Charlie Haugheys hand (like shaking hands with a fish apparently) in Stillorgan Shopping centre. It was many years before any of us again had such brushes with fame!
I never entered a talent competition again .

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