Interview Richard Dawson & Robyn G Shiels // Musicians on Film The Pogues' Cait O'Riordan // Feature Dan Hegarty's Unknown Pleasures // Primer Paper Panther ISSUE #009 | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015 | FREE U
E U R LT
W I T H
M U S I C M U S I C & &
O L A L
L B A L O B A L O
A C C A C C E N T
ROSSEAU // SHRUG LIFE // OVERCOATS // THE EXPERT // ROSLYN STEER LAKERAMA // THE HOST // STENDHAL FESTIVAL OF ART // THE JIMMY CAKE
Gearoid FarrellY WEDNESDAY 23 SEPTEMBER
saturday 24 OCtOBEr 2015 MaNdELa HaLL, BELFast BEaCHHOusEBaLtIMOrE.COM
DIANE MORGAN WEDNESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER
ROB ROUSE RUAIRI WOODS WEDNESDAY 7 OCTOBER
ALUN COCHRANE JAMALI MADDIX WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER
Foreword / Contents Editor Brian Coney email@example.com @brianconey
The Best It's Ever Been
Deputy Editor/ Photo Editor Loreana Rushe firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Stuart Bell @stubell_ Reviews Editor Aidan Hanratty email@example.com @adnhnrt
Cover photo: Tara Thomas
Guide Editor Stevie Lennox firstname.lastname@example.org @stevieisms Contributors: Conor Callanan Brian Coldrick Brian Coney Aaron Corr Richard Davis Abigail Dennison Aoife Dooley Aaron Drain Mark Earley Sarah Gourley Aidan Hanratty James Hendicott Vincent Hughes Anna Jankowska Ruth Kelly Colm Laverty Joe Laverty Stevie Lennox Antoin Lindsay Paddy Lynch Mike McGrath Bryan Eoghain Meakin Eoin Murray Aidan Kelly Murphy Brid O’Donovan Michael Pope Steven Rainey Loreana Rushe Conor Smyth David Turpin Dean Van Nguyen Jonathan Wallace
(And Other Cliches)
ver the weekend of October 1-3, the country's leading bastion of homegrown, independent music Hard Working Class Heroes will once again transform Dublin into a heady fête of ridiculously diverse Irish sounds. Offering yet another genre-spanning insight into the very best of the country’s burgeoning musical talent – both North and South – the annual festival is set to see one hundred acts, from Kildare Tropical Pop duo 13 to Dundalk DIY indie band We, The Oceaographers, play in several great, varyingly legendary venues across the city. In a roundabout
way, Hard Working Class Heroes feels a bit like our very own South By Southwest, where hastily scribbled, semi-clashless schedules and a predisposition towards happily running from one corner of a city to the other is very much the order of the day. Indeed, just one glance at this year’s dizzyingly impressive line-up unreservedly confirms that age-old cliché: Irish music is surely at it ripest, boldest and most exciting for a generation. As such, immersing yourself in what’s set to be the most memorable outing for HWCH to date is borderline obligatory. Catch you there. Brian Coney
Contents Photo of the Month ���������������� 4 Projection ����������������������������� 5 Insert Coin ���������������������������� 7 Inbound �������������������������������� 8 The First Time ���������������������� 12 Feature: Dan Hegarty ������������ 14 Track Record ������������������������ 18 Feature: Girl Band ����������������� 20
Primer���������������������������������� 24 Feature: Robyn G Shiels ��������� 28 Musicians On Film ���������������� 30 Reviews: Releases ����������������� 32 Reviews: Live������������������������ 34 Not Gospel���������������������������� 36 88mph: Robyn ���������������������� 38 Agony Uncle ������������������������� 39
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â€“ Photo of the Month
Photo of the Month Aidan Kelly-Murphy
Tess Parks, The Sugar Club, Dublin Image: Aidan Kelly-Murphy
ach month our photo editor Loreana Rushe selects one standout gig image from our fantastic team of hard working photographers. The photographer gets the opportunity to showcase their pic and share a few insights into how they captured it. Aidan: The Sugar Club, with its distinctive mini-amphitheatre of seats, is a layout that breeds a certain type of gig. Be it a comedy show, a jazz or blues night, or even an acoustic show. When Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre) and Tess Parks rolled into the venue they ticked none of these boxes. This was a rock and roll show, a gig designed for a packed small club but played out on an altogether different stage. This created a slight sense of fracture between the audience and the artist, with a visible physical gap between the band
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and crowd. On one hand this offers a photographer unrivalled space in which to move and shoot, on the other you've to be conscious that you don't interrupt that space and certainly not interrupt the view. I usually don't get hung up to much on settings when I'm shooting. A few presets are locked down during the warm-up and support acts and then adjust off them. This image was a view I noticed about halfway through the gig but didn't have the right lens on at the time. While there is a temptation to get put that lens on and then wait for it to re-appear you have to move on and hope it to crops up again and this time your ready. Towards the end of the set, and during a particularly scuzzy shoegaze song, Tess struck up the pose and this time I was ready.
TAKEN ON CANON 5D MKII WITH A CANON 50MM 1.4 AT 1/80, 3.5, ISO 2000
Projection Mistress America
t’s been two years since Greta Gerwig danced out of indie obscurity as the irresistible Frances Ha in Noah Baumbach’s wonderful comedy. August finally sees cinema’s coolest couple since Godard and Karina return to the silver screen with new film Mistress America.
Around the time of Frances Ha’s release there was a beautiful photograph of the couple, who first worked together on Baumbach’s 2010 film Greenberg, that appeared alongside an article about them in the New Yorker. The photo was by Pari Dukovic and depicted the couple in close up, side by side; Baumbach bathed in warm orange light, looking directly at the camera; Gerwig bathed in cool greenish-white and looking away. Two-halves of one puzzle. For any cinephile hipsters, Baumbach is the one to get excited about - co-writer of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and with a string of his own ‘misunderstood’ indie flicks about detestable and dysfunctional sociopaths, all brimming with deadpan, acerbic wit. But if you study Dukovic’s photo a little closer you’ll find it’s
Gerwig who is foregrounded and largest in the image - and the photo is right. Not to overlook Baumbach’s contributions, but it is Greta Gerwig that owns Frances Ha. In a mere 86 minutes Gerwig manages to channel the beauty of Catherine Deneuve, the sadness of Anna Karina and a nimble comedic touch that is all her own, but amidst all this it’s her expressiveness that you fall in love with. It feels like she uses every fibre of her being in order to fully express the character in a performance that all at once elevated Gerwig to a star and Baumbach’s reputation as a filmmaker. In an interview with the filmmaker Sarah Polley, Gerwig described Frances’ mindset as “flinging yourself at something and then deciding to pull back at the second that it’s too late to pull back, so you just have to finish it.” It’s this unfiltered honesty, this microcosm of failure that makes Frances so human, and so appealing. Her bravery reinvigorates us and sets her alongside a new breed of anti-Carrie Bradshaw heroines, kind of amateur life gurus like Lena Dunham in Girls, Desiree Akhavan in Appropriate Behaviour and stretching back to other iconic female characters like Corinne Burns in Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains and Enid Coleslaw in Ghost World. Released on 14th August, Mistress America sees Gerwig and Baumbach re-team not only as star and director, but also as co-writers, as they were on Frances Ha. It also sees them re-unite with one other key member of that creative team: New York City. Mark my words, this is the only cinematic super-team-up you need to see this summer. Richard Davis
Preview: Mistress America
August/September August/September 2015 2015
Pride at the Pictures: LGBT 2015
Ones to Watch
otta say, it’s a bit of a slow one. But there are still films to keep an eye on, especially if you like funny women. In her stand-up and sketch show Amy Schumer has fiercely lampooned the sexist expectations placed on women, especially when it comes to sex and dating, and with the Apatow-directed Trainwreck she takes on the fittingly gendered rom-com genre. Elsewhere, Noah Baumbach re-teams with Greta Gerwig, their first partnership since the divisive Frances Ha (I adored it), for Mistress America, with Gerwig as another fun, melancholic New Yorker. Looks finely observational after the broadness of While We're Young. One of Sundance's most intriguing curiousities, and winner of the documentary prize, Crystal Moselle's The Wolfpack, gets a limited release. Homeschooled and locked away in their Manhattan apartment, a group of kids obsessively rewatch and reenact classic movies. It looks sort of unbelievable but definitely unmissable. August goes out a bang with Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray’s N.W.A biopic full of furious energy, banging tunes and white anxiety. There’s also local outdoor screenings of Jaws, The Fog and Close Encounters. Weather permitting, of course. Conor Smyth
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n Ireland and the States, LGBT communities made great strides, but in a film culture that permits Get Hard, the art-house has been the place for LGBT stories, like Ira Sachs’ gentle, autumnal Love is Strange. One of the year’s best films was The Duke of Burgundy, a luminous, gothic, surprisingly funny piece about two women living out S&M fantasies. Released alongside the anti-septic Fifty Shades, it burst with the layers of real life. Another promisingly twisted lesbian romance is Carol, based on the Patricia Highsmith book, with Rooney Mara as a shopgirl caught under Cate Blachett’s spell.
There’s the much-buzzed Tangerine, written and directed by Sean S. Baker and Chris Bergoch. Shot on an iPhone, it takes a ground-level look at life for transgendered prostitutes on the L.A. strip, managing to be both authentic and screwball funny. Occupying various anticipation rungs are I Am Michael, with James Franco and Zachary Quinto in a true story about a gay activist turned firebrand preacher, Kirsten Wiig having a baby for her gay friends in Nasty Baby and Katherine Heigl coming out in Jenny’s Wedding. Freeheld, from Philadelphia’s screenwriter, starring Juianne Moore, Ellen Page, Steve Carell and Michael Shannon, is the real-life story of Laurel Hester’s landmark legal case for same-sex pension benefits. Accusations of award-baitery are inevitable, but with a cast of like that who cares? Conor Smyth
he game industry, as a culture, is pretty neurotic. Not only is it wildly innovative, always looking to push further out; to be more realistic, more mind bending, more immersive, more emotional but it’s also obsessed with the past. Pouring over its own cultural tropes and niches there’s often a generational process of rediscovery and refinement so that a clear line can be connected from one title to another. This is often an attractive path for the small or new developers who can appropriate their favourite gaming genres, highlighting their rich heritage, while also bringing them up to the contemporary. With that in mind, this summer may be a pivotal one for Irish based company Digital Furnace Games. By the time this goes to print the final touches for their first breakout game Onkira - Demon Killer should be complete and the full title released for major consumption. Though only playing the early access version the title is extremely familiar yet subtly fresh and original. Drenched in subdued neon the game takes place in a pulpy, demon-ridden feudal Japan. It’s
The result of all this is a deep play style that mixes wild acrobatics with weighted combat moves. The same craft that has gone into making the lush environments has been poured carefully into the movement mechanics and the effort shows. It’s no criticism to say that Onkira is not breaking the mould. Instead its ambition seems to be to master all the above elements into the most slick and enjoyable package possible. The title has garnered a major publisher in the figure of German Head Up Games who also published mammoth indie titles like Super Meat Boy and Limbo. It’s an endorsement of the style as much as the team’s ability. Games that are simultaneously familiar but new, and can regurgitate the best of their forefathers, will always be wanted. The critical consensus for Onkira remains to be seen but as a bastion of its naked past it is intelligent, balanced and exciting. Eoghain Meakin For more info and to download the game go to store.steampowered.com/ app/310850 or www.onikira.com
– Insert Coin
DFG’s Heritage soaked Onkira
instantly reminiscent of underappreciated Wii title Muramasa: The Demon Blade; another high calibre 2D slash ’em up. Yet while the parallels abound (they share a similar setting, a robust battle system and, yes, the names greatly overlap) Onkira is no mere clone. Instead it’s a game that has a myriad of influences. It’s playing into a heritage that goes all the way back to the revolutionary Kung Fu Master (1984) and through the excellent Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden series. The team have also made no secret of their respect for Kamiya sibling games Bayonetta and Devil May Cry and the influence is both enriching and apparent.
Inbound Shrug Life
The influences of Irish popular culture pockmark the band's lyrics, too, with The Grand Stretch painting pictures of precariat employment, exhaustion, pointless soccer nostalgia (marks for the Kevin Kilbane reference on the cover!), and even the vagaries of Funderland. The grand uncertainty that permeates Irish society at present adds a knowing trepidation that sets their tunes apart, holding up a mirror
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to the realities of seemingly quixotic and kooky "Irishness". Released via Dublin staple Popical Island, the record features production by lo-fi specialist Fiachra McCarthy, whose trademark touches are everywhere, from 'Funderland''s drums, to gloriously murky distortion, giving the tunes weight and another layer of charm. Though relatively new arrivals to the scene, Shrug Life has been a labour of love for the trio over the course of several years of jamming, and the same camaraderie that has kept the lads friends since secondary school is evident in their work, and possibly the most endearing part of the story, speaking to a universal truth all music heads have hardwired somewhere: what's better than making racket with yer buddies? Mike McGrath Bryan
Photo: £Abigail Denniston
– Inbound –
ublin trio Shrug Life have certainly been attracting intrigued glances since their debut last year, with recently-released debut EP The Grand Stretch exhibiting a psychy, ramshackle take on something approaching classic Irish indiepop, reminiscent in places of genre forebears like The Frank and Walters and Toasted Heretic, and echoing stated influencers like Pavement and the Buzzcocks.
Photo: Brid O'Donovan
collaboration between Limerick-based producer Graeme S and South Africa-born, Corkbased vocalist Senita Appiakorang, Lakerama is a project boasting all the hallmarks of a fully-formed musical vision. Merging dusky house and plaiting R&B grooves with the perfectly balanced stamp of Afrobeat rhythms, the duo's debut three-track release ONE bursts with slick, earworming melodies and subtly sprawling intelligence. Having previously worked with the likes of Daithí and Le Galaxie, Appiakrang’s vocals colour the robust beat-making knack of Graeme S with soul and an
earnestness that ensures the EP – whilst all-too brief at just over ten minutes in length - makes for an authentic, relatable experience from start to finish. At the heart of it all is the pair’s grasp of space and restraint, allowing each shuffle and refrain room to breathe without every feeling scatter-brained or aimless. Tied together with a thread of perfectly ruminating urban nocturnalism and their clear penchant for minimalist electronic funk, Lakerama has all but immediately proved to a vibrant alliance with heaps of potential to boot. Sarah Gourley
– Inbound –
Inbound Rosseau / Overcoats
The emotionally charged self-titled release at times echoes the likes of US stalwarts Pinback and Minus the Bear, while also containing elements of former Irish act Giveamanakick (‘Traces’) and El Ten Eleven (‘Interlude’), due to the at times aggressive nature of playing that is prevalent throughout the EP. Hinds’ clearly wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to lyrical content as is particularly apparent during ‘Smothered’, with its delicately plucked opening chords accompanying his initial calm vocal delivery, yet when Hinds gets down to the nitty gritty, his screamlike propensity is there for all to hear. Conor Callanan
aving relocated from the American east coast to spend this summer in Dublin (no one thought to warn them, no?), Overcoats - Hana Elion & JJ Mitchell - have played just a handful of Irish live shows. That’s all they’ve needed: it’s been a swift and compelling statement of intent. Their style is based around swirling, deep-toned electro and harmonised, slightly slurred vocals. There’s a haunting quality to the majority of Overcoats sounds, taking minor key melodies from a similar sound palette to Lykke Li, or MØ. The occasional balancing of - in context - jarring positivity amongst their distinctly-murky whole is particularly engaging. It’s that juxtaposition of warm and achingly cold that makes this pair interesting, charging through in melodies like ‘The Fog’, where they quip “Freedom is when I’m without you.” The name is a nod to layering and self-protection, yet there’s depth and honest to their nuanced lyrics. It comes from the heart, and does so with a subtle sense of being just slightly off-kilter that makes the pair stand out. Catch them before they head on home! James Hendicott
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Photos: Rosseau - Colm Laverty, Overcoats - Abigail Denniston
ailing from the Oak Leaf County, Rosseau are a two piece indie rock combo comrpisedof Colm Hinds on vocals and guitar, with Daniel Kerr partnering up on drums. The duo formed just 12 months ago following some admittedly “shitty circumstances”, and have just released their debut six track EP.
The First Time Master & Dog
– Master & Dog –
First artist/band to change your music-listening/making life? When I first heard The Band my listening habits drastically changed - a more amazing group of musicians I have yet to hear. Their first two albums are mind-blowing. First local band you got really into? Duke Special. I saw him performing ‘Salvation Tambourine’ on the ATL TV show about ten years ago and I was instantly hooked. First festival experience? I think it may have been Electric Picnic. I've never been a huge fan of festival gigs; I much prefer the atmosphere of standalone gigs. First song to make you cry? Nick Drake - From the Morning First favourite film soundtrack? First, and still my favourite, is Paul William's Bugsy Malone soundtrack - incredible! The instrumentation/arrangement
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for each song is extremely clever and catchy. First instrument you learnt to play? I remember learning to play the recorder at school. My class performed a rendition of Cat Steven's Father and Son in unison. It was pretty chilling stuff... First original song you wrote? A fairly sub par song called ‘Catch-22’, which was massively influenced by the vocal harmonies of the Beach Boys. I still have the 4-track recording, although nobody needs to hear that. First gig or performance of your own? I'm pretty sure it was a talent show of some description. I remember being incredibly nervous beforehand, and then getting up on stage to play Angels by Robbie Williams and Aeroplane by Red Hot Chili Peppers. I'm still not quite sure what was going on! Ger Gormley is the current Artist in Residence at Belfast's the MAC
Photo: Joe Laverty
– The First Time
Photographer Joe Laverty shoots and delves into the musicmaking, listening and loving firsts of Master & Dog’s Ger Gormley.
'R U Still Down': The Drake Conundrum
rapper with a ghostwriter? What the fuck happened?” asked Kendrick Lamar on ‘King Kunta’, a rap single of the year contender cut by an artist considered one of the driving forces in bringing lyrical-based hip-hop back to the mainstream. Last month, Meek Mill was asking the same thing. In a tweet heard around the world, the Philly MC asserted that Toronto crooner Drake did not write his own rhymes and, in the process, initiated rap’s most headline-grabbing beef in years.
Illustration: Aoife Dooley
The back-and-forth sparked two dis tracks from Drake, ‘Charged Up’ and ‘Back To Back’. They were listenable but not particularly vicious numbers that fired a couple of decent one-liners at Meek without commenting on the allegations at hand. His opponent, meanwhile, baffled everyone by striking back with the bitty, incoherent ‘Wanna Know’. Somehow, Drizzy (at time of writing) has triumphed without addressing the issue that sparked the contest in the first place. When audio leaked that appears to validate Meek’s assertions that Drake’s collaborator Quentin Miller had a sizeable hand in forging some of his recent work (as a co-writer, not a ghostwriter, as he appears to receive credit), fans were left grappling with the
question: Does it matter if Drake needs help? His enhanced rep would suggest a sizeable section of listeners don’t think so. And yet, it’s hard not to feel somewhat duped. Drake has always positioned himself as an open book – a sensitive soul happy to lay out personal details from his life via an often stream of consciousness rap style that feels intimate. It’s how he’s fought his way from teen soup actor to one of the few true rap superstars out there today. If that transparency turns out to be a falsehood, it dilutes what makes Drake so special. If Drake didn’t come up with the melody on the chorus of ‘Just Hold On If Coming Home’, I wouldn’t really give a shit. But if it transpired that the confessional freestyle ‘Say What’s Real’ was not Drake and Drake alone, he’d drop a few notches in my estimation. Because whatever qualities Drizzy brings to the table away from what emanates from his pen, he’s never been shy at announcing himself as a special one (“Last name Ever, first name Greatest”). And when you repeatedly attempt to stake a claim at rap’s head table while simultaneously inflating your own abilities, it rings with deceitfulness in a genre that has always valued realness above all else. Kendrick knows it, he was just reminding you. Dean Van Nguyen
– Stacks on Deck
Dean Van Nguyen asks whether revelations into Drake’s artistic process should tarnish his reputation.
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Feature Dan Hegarty
Unknown Pleasures Brian Coney digs a little deeper with 2FM’s Dan Hegarty about his first book, Buried Treasure: Overlooked, Forgotten and Uncrowned Classic Albums.
I found approach you took with Buried Treasure - including the hidden gems worshipped by many musicians - to be quite refreshing. Was that always the aim? I thought that a book about albums selected solely by me might be slightly self indulgent, so I interviewed lots of different people that I respect from music, sport, TV and film, as well as a few media people too. Everyone loves to talk about something that they feel has been overlooked or forgotten, whether that's a book, a movie, or even a soccer player from years gone by. You can use the same principle with music, and in the process you'll get some fascinating stories that aren't
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just about the album in question, but about the person's life at the time that they first heard it. How did you find hooking up with all those musicians getting them to write about these albums? Chatting to people about music has never been a problem for me, and it certainly wasn't here! In most cases, I was just so relieved and grateful that I managed to track the individual down. I did have to pinch myself when I was interviewing Chuck D. Public Enemy are such an iconic band, and have really helped shape my taste in music. I tried to get as many artists and bands who's albums are featured in the book to give me a quote on the album in question too. That was something that I felt was really important, because it gives you an idea of where they were at creatively when they were making the album. One assumes you're a voracious reader as well as listener. Did any music books of this kind inspire or influence how you went about writing and editing it? I love reading about music, whether it's a book, blog or magazine. To be honest, I'd read the back of a beer mat if I felt that there was something interesting and music-related written on it! As for books that have inspired me; Danny Sugar-
Illustration: Brian Coldrick
Hi Dan. Congratulations on the book! Can you recall when you first had the idea to compile and write it? The idea for the book came from a feature of the same that I have on my radio show. I've been highlighting forgotten and overlooked albums for the past three years, but the idea for the book popped into my head around two years ago. I love hearing about the music that people are into, especially stuff that I either haven't heard of, or had forgotten about. It seemed like a good idea for a book, so I started making notes, and then went about getting a suitable publisher involved.
Feature Dan Hegarty
man's 'Wonderland Avenue' and 'Margrave of the Mashes' by John Peel are two that stand out. The A to Z of Irish Rock by Tony Clayton Lea and the late Riche Taylor really introduced me to the rich history of Irish music when I read it when I was in college. Larry Mullen from U2 agreeing to write the forward was a huge coup. How did that come about? This was huge, there's no doubt. There is no amount of pints that I could buy Larry that would thank him enough for agreeing to write the foreword! It meant an awful lot to me for many reasons, one being that seeing U2's Zoo TV/Zooropa gig in Dublin in 1993 made me realise that I had to be involved with music in some way. Larry had been introduced to my radio show by a mutual friend many years ago. He was into the variety of the stuff that I was playing, which again was a huge compliment. When I had the idea for the book, I immediately thought of him for the Foreword. I gave him the idea behind the book, and he thankfully said yes straight away. The sub-title of the book is "Overlooked, Forgotten and Uncrowned Classic Albums". Is there an ultimate uncrowned Irish classic album, in your eyes? I'd find it hard narrow it down to just one album, but there are a few that mean a lot to me. Jeff Martin's album Spoons is a brilliantly put together album. Others like Shag Tobacco by Gavin Friday and Legion by Bantum are amazing albums too. The latter two were released almost two decades apart, but I often play tracks from them back to back on my radio show, and they sound great together. Microdisney were way ahead of their time, and you can hear that on any of their albums. Everybody Is Fantastic was their debut, and you could say it was the sound of a band discovering their sound. Another Irish album that I hold in very high regard is Horsedrawn Wishes' by Rollerskate Skinny, an utterly brilliant piece
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of work. If you asked me to find a flaw with it, I don't think that I could. I've discovered quite a few albums just by reading the book. Was this always the point of writing/compiling it: encouraging discovery? Discovery and rediscovery were definitely a big part of why I put the book together. I wanted it to be a conversation, or at least something that might start one! There are people that I trust to introduce me to music (some of them feature in the book), and I guess over the years people have heard about music through me too. Curation is such an important thing in music these days, as there is so much out there that it can become confusing as to where to go to hear about new music, and music that isn't necessarily new, but new to you. I think this book will certainly introduce you to some music that you might not know. Since the book's publication, looking back, would you change anything about the book, either in its composition or approach? There are a few things that I'd do differently, but you can't look back in that way. It's done now, and over all I'm very happy with the way it turned out. Would I say I'm proud of it? Yeah, proud and relieved! Finally, with book number one done and dusted, are plans afoot for book number two? It's something that I've been asked quite a bit. This book took over a year, so if I do decide that I'll definitely do another, I'll probably take a little longer. It was pretty full on at times, so that's something that I'd like to change. I'm actually meeting with my publisher soon, so maybe we'll have a chat about another book. For now though, I'm immersed in the wonderful world of radio it's something that I've never grown tired of, and long may it stay that way. Buried Treasure: Overlooked, Forgotten and Uncrowned Classic Albums is out now.
– Andy Walsh – Andy Walsh from White Sage, No Monster Club, GODHATESDISCO and Little Gem Records handpicks a selection of records that have left an indelible imprint on his music and life. Fleetwood Mac and Suicide together at last? We couldn't approve any more if we tried. And we did. We tried hard. Very, very hard.
They have too many hits. This is a collection of rough and early demos of Nerves and Beat songs. All the hits and more. Power pop at its best from the kings of power pop.
Heavily influenced by German electronic music from the 70s, early Eurythmics records have it all. The economy of the arrangements on Touch are so brilliantly simple that it still sounds fresh today.
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Track Record Andy Walsh
Fleetwood Mac Tusk It's hard to pick a favourite Fleetwood Mac album but Tusk is mine. That's enough for me.
Bongwater Power of Pussy This is the record that got me into Bongwater and Shimmy Disc. Wonderful fun non-stop music that excels while not taking itself too seriously.
Hall & Oates Daryl Hall & John Oates Another crossover in styles and eras, Hall and Oates. This, their fourth studio album, goes from melodic pop to super produced anthems and back again.
New Order Power, Corruption and Lies Best collection on tunes from the best era of New Order. Completely flawless, lush and
innovative. And that's just the drum sounds.
Suspicious Beasts Never Bloom Second best band out of Japan at the moment. Never Bloom flourishes with repeated plays and has a hit impact on first listens. The songs run into each other perfectly without sounding samey and Yosuke Okada's emotional delivery makes every other singer out there sound insincere by comparison.
Suicide Suicide Groundbreaking first album from the original electronic punk duo. A friend gave me this LP many years ago and it completely changed my life for the better. It is honest and endearing and ranges from rock and rhythm based songs to distorted monologues of desperation only to resolve in sounds of pure joy. "Keep them dreams burning forever".
STEVIE LENNOX UNRAVELS THE RISE OF THE MOST EXCITING IRISH BAND OF A GENERATION
or the unacquainted, Dublin quartet Girl Band are probably not what you’re expecting, even if you latched onto the irony in the title. Pinning the band’s sound down into a box has proved to be a point of contention amongst the indie dirtsheets since the band’s inception. We had a chat with guitarist Alan Duggan, who was armed to confirm exactly what the band aren’t. “The amount of genres we’ve been called now…it’s kind of hard to keep up with. The funniest we got was post-goth. Post-punk is usually the easiest way to go about it, but even that in itself is a bit of a broad term. When people ask “What kind of genre is it?” We never set out to play a specific genre – what happened is just what happened. Everyone’s trying to throw on new names like ‘neo-grunge’. It was like, “No. Neo-grunge is Puddle of Mudd. Don’t call it neo-grunge, for the love of god!”
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Following years of existence, there isn’t a genre label to which the band can be comfortably sonically affixed. It’s the proven historical baseline for anything purporting itself as Good Art. And it’s fair, then, to say that the general consensus is that Girl Band are, for lack of a better term, incomparable. They’ve certainly got a knack for instilling a sense of raw volatility and nervous tension during their live shows, known for their tendency to transform fans into mere onlookers, revelling in the structured chaos of the band’s doing. With drums as the only instrument in their arsenal that actually adheres to any kind of convention within the tried-and-tested vocalsguitar-bass-drums staple, Girl Band treat their instruments as tools, exorcising sounds and teasing dynamics and repetition more akin to techno than grunge – be it neo, post, or otherwise. “I think the punk thing in general is an easy one to tag onto, because I never personally attribute
Feature Girl Band
punk to a genre of music; we’re all heavily influenced idealistically by Dischord Records and the approach of doing it yourself and being honest about it. That whole mindset ties into the music, which we’re not trying to make commercial in any sense, or trying to be any genre. It’s always just ‘We’ll play what we wanna play’ and if people like it, that’s great.” You can repeat the party line but, having committed to a label earlier this year when they signed to Rough Trade, does that complicate things? The band’s early singles were completely self-produced at the Dublin studio where bassist Daniel works, so the question of their forthcoming debut album for Rough Trade – Holding Hands With Jamie – is potent in terms of how much creative control they’ll have over it. Have they maintained their integrity in the face of business? “We wouldn’t have signed otherwise. We had a couple of different labels that were interested before we signed who suggested pairing us up with producers, which always threw up a warning bell, but when Rough Trade got interested and we went over to meet them, the first thing said was: ‘I don’t think anyone could have
“IT’S ALWAYS JUST ‘WE’LL PLAY WHAT WE WANNA PLAY’ AND IF PEOPLE LIKE IT, THAT’S GREAT.
recorded your early tracks better than you guys. I think it would be amazing if you did it yourselves’. We made sure to spend time looking over the contract so that we’d have complete creative control over every last decision that was made. So, they’re there to give us money to go record it, and they’d put together the PR campaign and effectively distribute and release the record. They’re there to to throw ideas off and what-not, but every decision is our decision, ultimately.” The Dream, essentially. It could have went one of many different ways, however, when other labels came knocking. “Sub Pop came on board about a month or two after Rough Trade. We’d worked through a fair deal with Rough Trade, and then Sub Pop got interested, which put us in a pretty good position. To us, Rough Trade made a lot more sense because they’d put out so many records that had been huge for us back in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Whereas, with Sub Pop we get enough Nirvana references and it could’ve been the final nail in the coffin; which sucked because they put out so much great stuff now like Beach House, and so on. It was a shame because we tried to work out a double deal but it wasn’t really happening, so we ended up just going with Rough Trade Worldwide, and it’s working out really well. They’ve been really keen and active in the US, and were over there quite a bit.” “Before we signed the deal with Rough Trade, we signed ourselves a deal with a really nice agent over in the States, who takes care of North and South America, so over there we’ve got a really good infrastructure now, which is great. It’s just really expensive to get over.”
August/September August/September 2015 2015
Feature Girl Band
"NONE OF US MAKE ANY MONEY FROM THIS... WE'RE VERY MUCH HAND TO MOUTH." The biggest issue with many artists on the fringes of the abstract notion of ‘success’ can lose sight of the bigger picture, and the ‘1000 True Fans are all that’s required to sustain a living’ theory is clearly one that resonates with Girl Band. Despite the music coming first and the relatively young age of the band – they average at around 25 years old – they have a concrete view of their place in the bigger picture, with few delusions of grandeur. “None of us make any money off this, and it doesn’t look like we’ll make any money anytime soon. We’re still very hand-to-mouth. The positive is that I’m going to more countries than I’ve ever been to in my life, this year alone. We’re going to be in New York 3 or 4 times this year – that’s amazing. I’ve never been before in my life, and now it’s a normal place to go, so it’s bizarre in that regard, but we’re all totally skint. Some people get the impression that you might be a lot more famous than you actually are, and they try to take a photo and you’re looking at them like: ‘I genuinely work in a take-away’. There’s no real financial aim in that regard, just to keep everything afloat and make sure everything sustains itself and doesn’t cost us any money, and we get to travel and tour and build it from there. That’s the most you can hope for.” Understandably, expectations are high for the band, whose releases consist of one EP and a scattering of singles partially repackaged as The Early Years for the worldwide market has built on the momentum already garnered online, aided by their previous tours with Slint, Metz & Viet
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Cong. For a band with this much backing, their debut album will need to be the reiteration and a definitive statement on what they are, so how did the album come together? “We tried to just do it like we’ve always done it, so it wasn’t this big “We’re going to do the album” thing. It was just going into the studio where we’ve done everything, so it felt really comfortable.” Alan explains that it’s something of a photograph of the band, sticking to their guns and essentially doing what they do best: write songs. “I don’t think there are any real surprises on the album. I think if you’ve listened to anything we’ve put out in the past year or so, it’s in the same vein as that – it’s just more songs. It takes us a really long time to write one. Sometimes it’s a month, which is very quick for us, but sometimes it’ll take two or three. We spend a lot of time on the structure and transitions because we never have a verse-chorus situation. It’s always ‘Where’s the song going to go?’ or ‘What’s going to be the next bit?’ so it takes a long time to piece thing together. So when we get to the studio, it’s all done. It’s all very rehearsed and particular except for the vocals, which we might play around with. For overdubs, we had a part of the wheel of a car and a steel pole, so everyone was in bashing around across the room and experimenting, and it was great to get those organic noise textures. But it was all there and written before going in. Like, we just handed them the record with everything and just said, ‘There it is, that’s it.’”
Feature Girl Band
Despite the humility, the art of the debut album is a steep learning curve and something of a trial by fire – the flames of which the band seem to have fanned substantially through their pragmatism, and benefitted from the process. Alan explains how this method has already started the turning of the band’s collective mental cogs, pre-empting the inevitable question of ‘what next?’: “We learned a lot from doing the album in terms of how we wrote songs and the ways we feel we can better it in terms of vocals and structure. The way we worked our writing process before would yield some problems and we kind of found better ways through doing the album, so we’re all excited to be working on new material.”
light switched on and we know we have to go write more songs. So, immediately you’re on that buzz and it’s really exciting. So yeah, we’re looking at different places to record. I think if we’re going to record, we want to record outside Ireland because we did it and it was great, but if we had an opportunity to go to a different city, that’d be amazing. You’re always thinking ahead in that way. There are a couple of different territories we want to go to at the start of the following year, but nothing is concrete yet so I don’t really want to say anything in case it doesn’t happen and looks a bit sad, but hopefully it’s going to be a really full year, which will be great.” It’s that rare instance of the fortunate alignment of stars; something that’s not too often seen on the independent circuit, where a countless number have fallen by the wayside: a label who fully support their artist’s vision, an expansive and steadily growing touring schedule, PR infrastructure, a great album in the can and, most crucially - a genuinely groundbreaking band with their sense of perspective intact.
“Even now, we’ve got a couple of new songs that are essentially ideas but we’re all really eager now. Everything has to be very organised in my head, so the fact that the album’s finished recording, there’s a
“Everything seems very normal because you get like 4 emails a day about one specific thing in 16 different cases, and you’re just working through them. But because we’re active on it every day, it just feels like a normal thing. Every now and then we’ll just be in the practise space having a few beers and it just turns into a bit of a ‘Woah, what’s happening?’. When you step back and look at the overall picture, it’s pretty mindblowing for us to be able to say, ‘Wow, Jesus Christ, we really are releasing an album on Rough Trade and touring all around Europe and the US. That’s absolutely insane. What the hell happened?’” Stevie Lennox
August/September August/September 2015 2015
Primer Paper Panther
In the latest installment of Primer - a regular Thin Air feature looking at some of the country's brightest artistic talents - we chat to the to the team behind Dublin stop-motion animation, design and film studio Paper Panther.
Hi guys. Can you tell us about Paper Panther? Paper Panther is Carol Freeman, Pádraig Fagan and Eimhin McNamara. We are filmmakers who are primarily interested in marginalised forms of animation; such as cut-out, paint on glass and sand animation. We have also worked extensively in illustration. At the moment we're working on a black and white, Irish Language horror film called 'An Gadhar Dubh' (The Black Dog). It is being funded by the Irish Film Board and RTÉ. The characters and backgrounds are made of painted paper, cardboard, masking tape and plastic bags. Composer Chris McLoughlin (chris-mcloughlin.com), our frequent collaborator, will be providing music and eerie soundscapes for the film. This year the Screen Director’s Guild of Ireland commissioned us
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How did you guys meet and come up with the name? We first met while studying animation at the National Film School in Dún Laoghaire, and struck up a friendship based on a mutual interest in archaic and ridiculous animation techniques. Upon graduating, Pádraig and Eimhin were lucky enough to be awarded funding from the Irish Film Board to create their Annie Award nominated short film. 'The Rooster, the Crocodile and the Night Sky.' This saved them from having to whittle their young lives away working on American cartoons in larger studios. Soon thereafter the three of us began organising and hosting animation workshops across the country. In 5 years we produced 25 workshop films with our students. These allowed us to develop and prototype ways to tell stories using stopmotion animation techniques. Between our freelance animation and teaching work we realised that our business was viable so we decided to form a company. We feel animation has limitless potential for expression. We thought long and hard on the name for the company. For days we sacrificed avocados on a druidic altar, until eventually a Google search for “Paper Panther” came back with 0 entries.
Photos: ^Aidan Kelly-Murphy
to make ‘SCIENCE & MAGICK’ a promo for the Irish animation industry. It combines live action and animation and features a giant green plasticine gorilla, wreaking havoc on Dublin. Over the past 5 years we have also been teaching animation workshops in schools, art centres and libraries around the country. We feel that it is our privilege and responsibility to inspire the masses with a love for animation, so that the flames of the culture may grow to burn brighter than 10,000 suns.
Primer Paper Panther
“As we all know, animation is the ultimate art form.” Individually, what strengths do you all bring to your collective? Since there’s such an overlap in our skills it can be hard to dissect something afterwards and go 'I definitely did that,' as it is such a team effort. Usually the originator of the project will will take the lead, and serve as the director, making sure their baby has the necessary number of limbs and can more or less move in the right direction. We feel that everyone who contributes to the production of a project should be respected equally. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in the animation industry, which often doesn’t value labour. There is an expectation among both employers and young animators that working as an intern for little or no pay is an acceptable way to begin their working lives. This culture of cheap labour is toxic and unsustainable and we feel that young animators should be supported and not exploited by their employers. Of course, this attitude has taken root in the broader culture of employment beyond animation, but we feel that it is especially bad in creative industries where working long hours is expected.
anything, anything at all, so we’re always keeping our eyes open for the potential usefulness of everyday objects. We have a die-cutter in house as well, so are very interested in turning our hand to aluminium and balsa wood animation, as well as getting more into print-making. Can you discuss what goes into your animation workshops? We have a few types of animation workshop, which we’ve designed based on group size, age and duration. These range from thaumatrope classes with 4 year olds, to week-long junior film school projects with 16+ year olds. They’re all very hands-on, so don’t require much technological experience. The participants learn how to write, storyboard, design, build and animate. We then edit and add sound to their projects. We’ve worked with Rehab and Carmona Society groups in the past, and strongly believe in the therapeutic power of stopmotion. Who/what influences you? As we all know, animation is the ultimate art form. It can incorporate all other inferior forms within it, be they sculpture, painting, writing, dance, or film. Our work is mainly informed by Soviet-era stop-motion and obscure methods such as sand and paint on glass animation. We
What materials do you work with? Sand, house brushes, vaseline and talcum powder are familiar sights in Paper Panther’s pantry. The thing about stop-motion is that you can use
Primer Paper Panther
prefer their primitive purity to the overly polished efforts of mainstream commercial animation. There’s also a lot of people out there whose work we really admire, even if it doesn’t directly influence our own: Alan Holly (his film ‘Coda’ is available to watch online); Adrien Merigeau (who recently art-directed Tomm Moore’s ‘The Song of the Sea’); and the members of The Late Night Work Club (of which Eimhin is a member). All of their work is idiosyncratic and personal rather than safe and conservative. What is your biggest achievement to date? 'The Rooster the Crocodile and the Night Sky' being nominated for an Annie Award in 2010 was a high point before forming Paper Panther in 2014. Since then, we’ve been fortunate to be awarded two Frameworks short film grants in a row by the Irish Film Board. Having the luxury of sitting down for a year and making a film is as amazing as it is agonizing. We also had the pleasure of designing the trophy for the inaugural 2015 Irish Animation Awards, fashioned after a phenakistoscope. Our workshop films have also brought home over 15 prizes at international film festivals. 'Kung Fu Badger' recently won three awards at a festival in Padua, and this month 'Bonfire' brought home a trophy from
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China. Many of our past students have gone on to study animation in college, which makes us feel very proud and very old too. Any exciting projects lined up for the rest of the year? We’re about to begin work on Carol’s film 'The Bird & The Whale', which will be made using oil paint on glass. Also on the horizon is the upcoming premiere of Pádraig’s cut-out film 'An Gadhar Dubh’. In the mean time, Carol’s currently wrapping up work on three more picture books in the Rascal Reads series and Eimhin is hosting life drawing courses at A4 Sounds Studios, beginning August 18th (details: a4soundsshop.org/products/learn)We’ll also soon be setting up our own little online shop, where you can buy Prints, T-Shirts, Flip-books and other Paper Panther Paraphernalia. We have some mysterious secret projects in motion too... which we can’t tell you about. Where can we find out more about you? You can view our past and present projects and any upcoming workshops on paperpanther. ie You can get in touch with us via the contact form on our site, via Twitter @paperpanther or by emailing us email@example.com
– Robyn G Shiels & Richard Dawson –
Hi guys. Your pairing at the forthcoming Beat Root is a very interesting one. Who set the wheels in motion there? Robyn: Brian (Carson, Moving On Music) was the man with the plan. We met for a coffee down in Estd. and came up with the idea as he thought it would make for a good pairing. He was right, of course! Richard: I’ve been over to Belfast once before and the show’s with the same people. They’re really good guys. I can’t remember much about
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the set I played but I remember meeting awesome people and it was a nice atmosphere. This show is a continuation of that. Were you aware of each other's work before this bill came about? Robyn: Yeah, my mate Hornby was ranting and raving about Richard’s gig in The Black Box last year so had to check him out... I wasn’t disappointed, to be fair! Richard: I wasn’t until the gig was booked but I was always check everything out beforehand, so I think this is going to be a memorable one. The goal is to make it new each time. It doesn’t always happen that way, of course. Each time you touch a string you need to be mindful about letting it flow and hopefully you can be present in everything that comes through. I view my songs almost like a doorway that you can hang up in the air. That’s the hope, anyway. The biggest danger is not allowing the ego to get in the way.
Robyn G Shiels photo: Joe Laverty
Richard Dawson & Robyn G Shiels One of the more inspired Irish gig pairings of the year, Newcastle experimental folk troubadour Richard Dawson and Kilrea acoustic-doom master Robyn G Shiels play Belfast’s Crescent Arts on Saturday, September 5 as part of the inaugural Beat Root festival. Brian Coney bends their collective ear.
Feature Robyn G Shiels & Richard Dawson
Robyn, you are, of course, one of the country’s finest singer-songwriters. What’s your plans for a follow-up to The Blood of the Innocents? Robyn: I’m currently finishing of the next EP (probably titled Black Tragick knowing I) down with Ben McAuley in Start Together Studios, We’re going to try a few new ideas thanks to Rob and Julie (Analog Studios) and take it from there. Hopefully get it out for Christmas – ‘tis the season to be jolly an’ all that - then work on the next album start of the new year. There’s roughly twenty songs so time to get busy. Richard, your album Nothing Important was released to a great response last year. How have you found the aftermath of the release, the reception, playing shows to new audiences etc.? Richard: It’s a funny one. I hadn’t been to get gigs outside of Newcastle my whole life, so having wanted to play music further afield and share it wider, that’s really helped. I don’t really measure my work by those things, though – reviews, etc. I’m very happy for people to hear it and it’s a real joy that there’s been a response but I just want to focus on making new stuff now rather than dwell on it. I am prone to dwell on things too. I have a real ego but I’ve got to keep an eye on it, for sure. I can hear certain parallels between your approaches to songwriting. Are you aware of sharing similar influences? Robyn: I wasn’t but will check out Richard’s influences... obviously my taste is impeccable. Richard: Not as of yet but I’m sure there’s parallels there. Everything you listen to goes in somehow and then you choose what to focus on. I’m not particularly interested in guitar-playing, to be honest. At the minute, it’s wall-to-wall Sun Ra. I’ve never been so excited about music. Guitar-wise, you know… I think more about Thelonious Monk than any guitarists.
Richard, I noticed a quote from a review calling you “At times deeply, painfully intimate, but also witty, bawdy, surreal, disquieting, nostalgic, brash and fearlessly individual”. It’s a great description of you as an artist yet could also be applied to Robyn. Which of those descriptors sums each of you up best? Robyn: All of the above I’m sure. I think it’s just trying to be as real and human and careful not too “overdo” a song as possible, let it breathe instead of your ego or whatever getting in the way. Richard: Yeah, I think there’s a really fine line between being confident in yourself and over the top. I don’t mind people knowing about me or as “out there” a little but I don’t seek it either. Any chance I have to spread the music further without compromising anything, that can only be a good thing. Finally, without giving too much away, what can we expect from the show? Richard: It’s probably unlikely that I’m going to have some new stuff ready by then but there’ll be older songs and some traditional ones. As I don’t use a setlist it’ll be a case of what happens on the night. It’s not as completely spontaneous as that, mind. Robyn: I hopefully will have some special guests on the night as I’d like to try some of the older songs as well as some new stuff, which should balance the mood. But as my old woodwork teacher used to say “in theory it should work but in practical use it doesn’t”.
August/September August/September 2015 2015
Musicians On Film Cáit O’Riordan
In the latest installment of Musicians on Film, David Turpin talks to The Pogues' bassist Cáit O'Riordan about the influence and imprint of cinema on her work. Was the cinema important to you growing up? Did film play any part in shaping your identity as a songwriter and a musician? Film was important. I used to go every week to the local Saturday Morning Cinema Club which I suppose parents used as babysitting service. I remember lots of cartoons, lots of Disney movies – Bambi, Dumbo, Fantasia – all terrifying, deeply confusing tales of murder, deformity, treachery. The most important experience, though, was the Saturday night Hammer Horror Double Bill that showed on British TV in the mid-70s. At some point my dad would come back from the social club with a KFC bucket, so between the junk food and Vincent Price it was
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very character-forming. John Connolly, the great crime writer, has also written about the importance of the TV horror double bill in his own formative years. British cinema was really interesting in the 1980s. I’m a bit bemused when people talk about a post-Trainspotting “renaissance” in British cinema, when people like Peter Greenaway, Derek Jarman and Neil Jordan were making extraordinary films in Britain throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Were there any films during that period that particularly struck a chord with you? Those films were referred to at the time as “Channel 4” films. It felt like a huge development for the culture, to have these fascinating, more “European” films get huge media exposure. The Greenaway films particularly seemed to be massive successes – although, having said that, my perspective was London, Time Out, Guardian, so very much an arts bubble. The big films of the time for me, though, were Betty Blue and 9 ½ Weeks. Now, of
Photo: Mark Earley
– Musicians on Film
Musicians On Film Cáit O’Riordan
course, I look back and see that they were both about dysfunctional people in toxic relationships – so no surprise. Have you seen anything recently that made a strong impression on you? I’ve been getting deeper and deeper into the academic world and – possibly as a side-effect – I find myself very attracted to “dumb”, loud, destructive films like The Fast and the Furious franchise. If the choice was between a new John Woo and an old Ingmar Bergman, I’d go with Woo. Recording can be a bit like film-making in miniature, because you’re creating stylised stories and scenarios; and performing music is a little like acting because it involves playing out those stories and scenarios. What are your thoughts on music and film as narrative forms? From the outside, film seems like the easier way to tell a story. We could watch the visual component only – no words, no music – and our brains would still construct a story using just the incoming visual stimuli. I think good song-writing has something of the miraculous about it. It requires tremendous concision to convey a story in a very tightly prescribed format and with very limited tools. Then, you have to perform the song so that it moves, and matters to, the listener. It seems so much more extraordinary to me than filming a story. Having said that, I think the grand, lunatic productions of people like Coppola and Herzog are jaw-dropping creative achievements. Have you ever seen a film that actually captured the experience of being in a band? Fortunately for people who want to vicar-
iously experience life in a band, there are two very successful, though very different films to watch: This is Spinal Tap and The Commitments. If you went on the road with a band for several months, and then watched Spinal Tap, you would recognise every single line of dialogue. Last night, trying to find the backstage stairs in a Glasgow club, someone said “Hello, Cleveland!” and we all laughed. You’re the first person to contribute to this series who has actually starred in films – including Alex Cox’s Straight to Hell (1986). I have to admit that most of my early film education came from watching Alex Cox’s Moviedrome series on BBC2 in the early 1990s, so I’m really curious about your experience of making a film with him… Straight to Hell – I must have been there, I’ve seen the film and that’s definitely me, but I don’t remember much. I probably didn’t respect Alex Cox as much as I should have – that was a hell of a job he took on there. The best part about Straight to Hell, for me, was meeting Zander Schloss from The Circle Jerks, who played Karl the Weiner Guy. He plays with Sean Wheeler from Throw Rag now, and we’re still friends 30 years later.
“I think the grand, lunatic productions of people like Coppola and Herzog are jawdropping creative achievements.”
– Reviews school take on hip-hop, which when attempted to be replicated now can feel tired. Thankfully replication is not what The Expert’s after here and manages to create something rather fresh while still recalling some established influences.
The Expert Dynamic Drift Some classy, soulful hip hop from Dublin-based producer The Expert. The beat tape shows off The Expert’s ability to mesh numerous samples into an array of tracks with distinctly different atmospheres. ‘Da Wha?’ brings in familiar vocals from the likes of Lil’ Jon and City High alongside strings and flutes to create a lovely summer jam. Undoubtedly taking cues from the likes of J Dilla, there’s plenty of soul samples in here too. It gives the whole thing an air of sophistication, whether the vibe is bright and groovy (‘Devine’) or a bit melancholy (‘Crazy Rain’, ‘Problems’). Throughout the record, The Expert has picked out some memorable melodies and presents them in a way that feels fresh. He evidently has an ear for the more old-
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Very solid effort for his solo debut release and one to crank out on the summer evenings. Antoin Lindsay
The Host Esalen Lectures Pulling absolutely no punches when it comes to leaving his imprint on the electronica scene, Belfast’s Barry Lynn (Boxcutter) - The Host for his latest release - has compounded his long track record of compelling, experimental arrangements with
Esalen Lectures. The 16 track journey is one of acute psychedelia while droning, ethereal soundscapes that are, unsurprisingly, utterly engrossing take you from beginning to end.At times driven by delayed guitar plucks (‘Praxis 1’), shimmering ambient synths (‘World Citizen’) and the deeply melodic progressions of ‘Suggestogen’ and ‘Sunset Induction’, it’s a frequently unsettling but beautifully fragile listen. Think Boards of Canada at their most introspective; ‘Minerva Dreamstate’ can and will attest to this while ‘Praxis III’ drenches the ears in vibrant guitar sounds that float effortlessly upon lush atmospherics. What’s troubling is that Esalen Lectures is clearly a deeply personal investment; the consequence is that it asks a lot from the listener. There are moments were layers seem to cascade into an abyss of sluggish composition, only for Lynn to pick us up by the scruff and shake us around again. And, while the album is certainly deserving of your attention, the rewards might not be enough for those unfamiliar with this downbeat side of Lynn. Aaron Drain
celestial drones and slowly coming back around in a titanic build-inside-of-a-build to a decisive conclusion. Likewise, 'Teen Mist' is a more stridently-paced rocker whose textures are the story, overlaid and shifting slowly, colouring the track more so than guiding it.
The Jimmy Cake Master Some things are enduring and everlasting, weathering storm after storm, slowly progressing, as time whips past and shapes them by attrition. Dublin post-rock pillars The Jimmy Cake are case in point, and on fourth full-length in fifteen years Master, patience and slow progression are prevalent themes, with opening track 'Death Can Fuck Off' built on a grinding, repetitive, building mantra before proceeding to enter an unprecedented exploration for the almost halfan-hour that follows, brimful of the joys of jamming and improvisational wanderings. Lit up by hazy synths, 'Observatory Destroyer' is a stomp and a half to begin with, before taking a sharp left into
Master is perfectly accessible, but is not an easy listen by any means, as the three songs here tot up over sixty-five minutes. However, those open to patience and repeated sittings will be richly rewarded. Mike McGrath Bryan
She is also a PhD student at NUI Maynooth, writing a thesis on screaming at the department of music. These two interests come together on her solo release Still Moving, a tape for her own label KantCope (a delightful play on words). Side One is taken up fully by the title track, a half-hour meandering body of work that shifts between chilling spoken word, drawn-out, lilting harmonica and twisted church bells that meet rugged guitar distortion. A huge entity, its breadth and ambition is matched by its gob-smacking success.
Roslyn Steer Still Moving
Flip the tape over and tracks are just as wondrous and discordant. "Thus Spake" is bright and jarring, "Hey Sunshine" beautiful yet repetitive. Steer pushes repetition to nauseating effect on closing track "Do You Ever Get Sick?", asking "Do you ever get sick of the sound of your own voice?" over and over, ad nauseam, prodding and provoking the listener.
Roslyn Steer is a member of Morning Veils, who specialise in "forgotten folk".
Listen through, start over, however, and redemption awaits. Aidan Hanratty
Live Strange Brew Summer Shindig
11th Strange Brew Summer Shindig
THE ROISIN DUBH, GALWAY
It was also a terrific testament to a venue and event organiser (Gugai) who invests so much into the Irish scene as a whole. Tonight hits home once more what the Roisin Dubh has proved time and again, that it is a venue that truly values home grown talent and strives to watch the scene expand and succeed.
Top: Tandem Felix, bottom: Strays. Photos: Vincent Hughes
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Throughout the night the music ranges from local acts Strays, Oh Boland, Boyfights and New Pope (fronted by Citóg’s Dave Boland), to some of Dublin’s most exciting acts SPIES, Tandem Felix and Paddy Hanna. Closing the night on the downstairs stage was the legendary and endlessly fun Not Squares whose set leaves the entire room in tatters, as it always seem to do whenever they come back to the venue that they confidently refer to as their second home. Eoin Murray
“This event served as a heartwarming testament to the sense of community that exists within the Irish music scene at the minute.”
Photo: Joe Laverty
o say that the 11th Strange Brew Summer Shindig that fell on the 30th of July in Galway’s Roisín Dubh was a feast of great music would only scratch the surface of a) what the night was overall and b) how much fun was had by every single involved. More than just a showcase of fifteen of some of the best acts making music in the country lately, this event served as a heartwarming testament to the sense of community that exists within the Irish music scene at the minute. This was seen in the ways in which several of the musicians were performing in up to three different acts on the night and with members of every act seeming genuinely thrilled and excited to see what other groups had to offer.
Stendhal Festival of Art
Photos: Ruth Aine O'Hara Kelly £
uring the first weekend of August, the wonderfully intimate Stendhal Festival of Art brought a wealth of establishing and up-and-coming musicians and artists to Roe Valley, just outside of Limavady. Not merely an annual celebration for the musically-inclined, The Art Gallery ran by Melissa Hogg proved a real treat this year, whilst luthier Chris Larkin was presenting his handmade guitars surrounded by a collective of art pieces by local artists. On the Friday, No Oil Paintings opened the Main Stage followed by Marc O’Reilly, who impressed with an electric heavy style with a smooth, soulful finish. Elsewhere, David Lyttle’s mellow beats unrolled the feelgood vibrations for Booka Brass Band, whose legendary seven-piece mélange of trumpets, trombones, saxophones and drums instantly took over via a set peppered with crowd-pleasing covers. Later on, Scottish folk pioneer Donovan – easily the most awaited
act on Day One – soon gathered the crowd and soundtracked the sunset with a decades-spanning set of classics and lesserknown gems. With Red Pill the first act to warm up the public on Saturday, Limavady Drama Club offered a little theatrical reprieve, allowing a tapestry of genre-spanning, sounds from the likes of Freak’s, Robocobra Quartet and Katharine Philippa (pictured above) to continue on the other smaller stages. Whilst Scottish indie rock band We Were Promised Jetpacks were a highlight of the evening later on, Duke Special, with his theatrical songs and lavish piano arrangements, was another sparkle in an already star studded lineup before Kila – the last to perform – well and truly echoed the Stendhal Syndrome*. Anna Jankowska "… rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when individual is exposed to art usually when the art is particularly beautiful ...”
Not Gospel Jus' Trollin!
– Jus' Trollin!
– Not Gospel
Recently, the showbiz world was saddened by the loss of Cilla Black. Whether it be springing emotional reunions as part of Surprise, Surprise!, or bullying awkward twenty-somethings into a ham-fisted attempt of romance on Blind Date, there was a time when televisions across the land beamed her smiling face into our lives on a weekly basis. Light entertainment will never be the same again.
That ignores the fact that Cilla was an accomplished performer in her own right, interpreting songs by Lennon and McCartney, as well as Bacharach and David. She even duetted with Marc Bolan, and the king of existential angst, Scott Walker on a Christmas TV special, which no doubt brought warmth and hope into the heart of the nation. When Cilla passed away, it spread like wildfire across the internet. As news agencies raced each other to break the story, armchair commentators began throwing out their two cents, indulging in some tasteless ‘Surprise, Surprise’ jokes that were as nasty as they were lame. The internet is a great leveller, and as such it gives everyone a voice of potentially equal stature. So therefore,
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broadcaster Paul O’Grady can give a tearful obituary to Cilla, but the words “Cilla Black Joke” can trend on twitter, and get just as much attention, with no concept of any hurt or offence they might cause. It’s nothing personal, right? Isn’t it about time that we started keeping some of this to ourselves? Frankie Boyle, with sadly predictable inevitability, caused outrage and horror at this year’s Feile Festival in Belfast, but the concept of the inappropriate joke is as old as the hills. Boyle uses it to make us think, and when he’s on the attack (for the most part anyway), it’s to challenge his audience, rather than simply offend. Our online personas are no Frankie Boyle. Too much of how we carry ourselves online now is simply thoughtless knee-jerk reaction to stuff that doesn’t really matter to us. So the next time a celebrity dies, how about we all agree to think before we opine? After all, for the most part, it ain’t really any of our business, and even if we’re just simply saying “Awk no! RIP”, perhaps we can entertain the notion that maybe 140 characters isn’t really the appropriate medium to discuss the eternally mysterious concept of death. Or we can just keep on trolling, because y’know – no-one ever gets hurt. Steven Rainey
Illustration: Paddy Lynch
remember a time when we all used to be a little more sensitive.
y 2005, a 26 year old Robyn was already a 10 year pop star veteran. She scored big in 1995 with decent, period R&B (international hits including US platinum LP and Top 10 singles). Rather than attempting to maintain the success, follow up My Truth (1999) saw her standing her ground creatively. The attitude resulted in a domestic only release but set a path for Robyn's future as an uncompromising artist to be reckoned with. Don't Stop The Music (2002) finally revealed her true musical personality, edgy and confident, but it was too late; record companies and the industry had failed her.
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Robyn wasn't licked yet though. She assessed her situation, bought herself out of her contract, founded her own label, and released her finest and most successful album yet. Result: blanket praise from critics and a Grammy nomination. Quite the turnaround. So what is it about the album in question that saved a career and changed the minds of so many who had long given up on pop music? The key is balance and the record has it deep within its fibre. From the get go, Robyn displays fierce confidence yet elsewhere is exposed and vulnerable. Brash, cartoon aggression is brought into check by a chummy, irresistible charm. Stylistically it runs the gamut from hip hop bragging to tender balladry. The balance is evident musically too as a glut of electro influences are evened out with lush
strings. Lyrically, futuristic and robotic worlds sit next to acutely human emotions. Varied tempos, digital vs analogue, the list could go on, but the diverse elements collude to paint a picture of (appropriately) a living, breathing person in a modern world, with whom we can all identify. And that's just the mechanics of why it works. On top, there is an endless flow of fun ideas to indulge the ears. Similar to Beck when he's in uptempo, party mode, Robyn has the knack of knowing what sounds blend together or clash wonderfully. The often simple arrangements are inevitably laced with carefully chosen sonic delights as side orders. Then the voice comes through telling you she's the best in the world, or that her world has fallen apart, and either way, you want to be her friend. Jonathan Wallace
Agony Uncle Festivals
Agony Uncle Agonising? Le Galaxie mainman Michael Pope is here to help.
mer Blo This Month...Sum Lots of people love lists. We’d list them but instead, here’s Mick’s top ten favourite films. He’s pretty adamant about number one. 1. Jaws 2. The Shining 3. 2001: A Space Odyssey 4. La Haine 5. There Will Be Blood 6. Rear Window 7. Twelve Angry Men 8. Heat 9. The Thing 10. Die Hard
Illustration: Loreana Rushe
Which emotion in Pixar's new release 'Inside Out' do you most associate with most? Lisa, Belfast I haven't seen it but is there one for randy? If Le Galaxie was a movie, who'd be the director and why? Darragh, Dublin It'd have to be Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives). His colour palette is astonishing and he'd portray me as the sexy, strong, silent type. Also, I'd get to stomp a
man's head into paste. The magic of the movies, kids! Who do you intend to thank in your Oscar speech? Sarah, Cork Thanks! Go raibh mile maith agat. This is amazing. What are we doing here? This is mad. We made this film two years ago. We shot it on two handicams. It took three weeks to make and cost a hundred grand. We didn't think we'd ever come into a room like this and be here with you people. It's been an amazing thing and thanks for taking this film seriously, all of you. It means a lot to us. Thanks to the Academy. Thanks to all the people who have helped us, they know who you are, we don't need to say them. This is amazing. MAKE ART! MAKE ART! Yeah, thanks. What's the best summer blockbuster ever? Craig, Mayo The greatest movie ever made is Jaws. Does that answer your question or do I have to come
round your house and shove a great white shark up your arse? What are you must see films for 2015? Anna, Dublin All roads lead to The Force Awakens. If that road turns out to be littered with shattered dreams, crushed hopes and the charred bodies of several dead Jawas, I'm coming for YOU JJ Abrams. If you had to recreate any Tom Cruise stunt, which would it be? Raymond, Galway The stunt where he pretended his daughter wasn't a MECHANOID CHILDBOT. Ant-man or Spider-man? Rachel, Meath DayMan, Fighter of the NightMan. Champion of the sun. He's a master of karate and friendship for everyone. Is 'Magic Mike XXL' an accurate account of your life? Anthony, Dublin The Human Centipede is more accurate.
NEXT MONTH’S SUBJECT IS...FOOTBALL. SEND YOUR QUESTIONS TO ASKMICHAEL@THETHINAIR.NET August/September 2015