Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Ain't All About Sport

The greatest band of the eighties???? How did the Factory Records not sign them? Why isn't Squire on more greatest guitarist lists? So many questions and because it's Friday I've no answers but I do have She Bangs The Drums which means happy days. Possibly chemically induced but happy days all the same.

The Friday Sport Preview Post Yokey

Its almost the weekend and tonight we are going to be enthralled by the first ever Friday night Six Nations match when the flakey French take on those pesky Welsh. The French have Benoit Baby at outhalf tonight which makes absolutely no sense to me. The guy cant kick, so I'm expecting some serious kamikaze running of the ball. Its shaping up to be a cracker and unfortunately with that selection I can't see the Welsh Grand Slam bid being derailed. Livremont really wants his head examined in my opinion, just play Skrela for god sake.

Parry is also about to lose his job at Liverpool, it has only taken fifteen years of gross mismanagement for him to reach this point. Perhaps he should apply for a job in this basket case company. Liverpool are without doubt destined to drop more points away to Middlesborough this weekend after putting on such a good show at Real midweek. Logic goes out the door as regards this club.

Bet of the weekend would have to be the Arsenal to win to nil at home to Fulham (11/10) so I'm putting the house down on that one. Also I've decided UEFA Cup is far more exciting than Champions League football mainly because Man City just can't defend. On the music front I reckon this is the song to get us all through the current economic nightmare. If it works for Obama it should work for us... hopefully

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Internet Is Ruled By The Power Of Suggestion

Literary pretensions showing once more when I say the internet is ruled by the power of suggestion, well according to John Gray it is anyways. So lets see if it is... Today I suggest eighties cheese. All music videos from this day on will take the form of five minutes films, story line and all.

I Wish Bands Fought More, It Was Very Entertaining

After an Oasis binge yesterday it is only fair to remember those heady days of the nineties when inter band fighting was rife and have a Blur video today! Ah yes back in the day of all that tabloid generated angst Blur were the intellectuals riposte to the Oasis sledge hammer related approach. Also Blur are reforming and performed last night at the NME awards (see here) so Coxon and Albarn return, high brow popular music returns. This is classic nineties track End Of A Century...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jenny's Coming After You!

Stellastarr* have been slated for some reason in the press of here. Their first album was released here in 2003 and their sound pre-dates that of the Editors and most definitely White Lies and I can't for the life of me understand why they are not more popular. They have a sound something akin to Echo and The Bunnymen however this track is more reminisint of a Pixies track probably due to the backing vocals having a distinct Kim Deal vibe about it. This was the best I could come up with off youtube. Maybe its not a mystery anymore why they ain't so popular. Here is stellastarr* and Jenny.

You Just Can't Shake Tradition

I'm ever so slightly edgy today for some reason. It's the start of crazy religion penance season in these parts and I've decided to stick with custom (for rationale behind this argument see Dawkins God Delusion and the social power of religion even if you believe the dogma is bollocks). Anyways I'm gone cold turkey on two mainstays of everyday life for forty days. In celebration of this I'm sound tracking my fragile mental state with one of the Gallagher brothers more catchy numbers. If I end up in the desert being chatted up by a devil at least I'll have that opening riff in my head to keep me on righteous path!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wine Will Be Flat And Currys Gone Cold

As disturbing as an Anthony Burgess novel, with a rhythm section of Foxton and Buckler and the lyrical genius of Weller. Despite the grainy nature of the footage and the poor quality of the sound Down In The Tube Station At Midnight is as raw and punchy today as it was thirty years ago. The Arctic Monkey owe a slight debt of gratitude to these boys. Less than 500 views, there is just something fundamentally wrong with the world.

Tenuous Link For Having A Santogold Video

Pancake Tuesday is the business. Everything smelling of lemon and sugar. You have to give it to the church, the only thing they ever did right was incorporating all those pagan festivals to dupe all the natives into taking up a crazy religion. Irish people were always suckers for any religion once they made a festival for eating (take note Scientology).

I'm on total Oscar overload at the moment mainly because people should be talking about far more serious issues (see here) and also trying to figure out how such a poorly developed study gets published in the first place (who is doing the peer review, I want answers!!), social Darwinism/sociobiology strikes again.

Also just finished reading Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, its my favourite offering of his, mainly due to the lack of the hated Arsenal scoring in the last minute to defeat my beloved Liverpool (see Fever Pitch). Anyways this got me thinking about the importance of lists, a recurring nerdy theme throughout the book, and it dawned on me that as far R'n'B or whatever its called these days my list only contains one artist, Santogold. Any video where for some reason they begin by sitting on a horse and then move through a series of mock violence scenes deserves to be praised. I haven't a clue what is going on but the song is catchy, just cant get those beats out of my head. Also gmail is down apparently... the end of the world is nigh!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Damn China In My Head

It's Monday which is never a good thing. On my way into work I heard this song on the radio and I can't get it out of my head, so now I am going to inflict it on an unsuspecting internet. There is only so much eighties cheese that should be played in the morning. T'Pau 1987 is one of those guilty pleasures that involves big hair, power ballad singing and a lead singer that looks suspiciously like Nicole Kidman in Days Of Thunder and of course an obligatory sax solo. Its a crazy crazy mix. Remedies for removing eighties power ballads from one's head will be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

For Once Some Negativity

Since I've started writing this blog it has been nothing but positive. Just writing about the music I like and generally not being hyper-critical. This evening that's all going to change. I think its time the world should know about my deeply hidden dislike of all things U2. This month sees the release of their new No Line On The Horizon which comes highly acclaimed by all accounts. However like ever newly released Woody Allen film which always comes highly acclaimed this release has left me feeling ever so slightly disappointed and wondering what all the fuss was about. Music officiandos will scoff at my lack of musical understanding but I just don't get U2. I know Bono is on this save the world vibe and they had the good grace to knock Bryan Adam's"Everything I Do, I Do It For You" off Number 1 all those years ago with "The Fly" but their music does absolutely nothing for me.

If I'm honest (which I must) I will put my hands up and admit I have a soft spot for the Joshua Tree but every release after that seems to be met with mass hysteria and even greater album sales and I for one am at a loss to explain (feel free to leave a comment and explain what I'm missing). I don't like going all negative but the reviews on today's papers (I'll admit I'm a bit of a populist) were gushing in their praise and I am left just shaking my head. There is only so much distortion peddle the Edge can get away with! Anyways to counter the general U2 love in, I'm posting a truly bizarre video playing a song from one of the Dublin bands that were considered to be the next big thing in the early eighties before U2 broke, just to show what everyone missed out on. Here is The Blades and Not A Ghost Of A Chanceand on a 45 to boot...

Friday, February 20, 2009

From Across The Great Big Sea

They release their output primarily on the internet, they are scandalously under-rated. They are Beat Radio. I first heard of them through (the music blog aggregator of note). The song that got me interested was Elegy and I've tried my darnedest to spread the word. Any band that have a Van Morrison cover (They Way Young Lover's Do) which does justice to the original and in fact adds something to it is okay in my book. The song below Treetops is off an E.P. The Great Big Sea and they have released Sunday Matinee (I'll be honest I haven't a clue when, research isn't a strong point, a hangover of a failed PhD attempt) which sounds like a stripped down Arcade Fire meeting an optimistic Paul Westerberg while also name-checking Boston and Journey. A mixture of eighties influences and modern leanings, its all good.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

At First I Thought It Was Simon

Well this ain't exactly cutting edge and if we are honest we could have heard something like this when Paul Simon headed to South Africa to infuse some African beats to his folk leanings, but Vampire Weekend are just class. Any band that has a song about pedantic English punctuation deserve some respect and with a look so geeky it comes with a PhD, it doesn't appear possible that this band should be so successful in today's musical wasteland. Clever lyrics, catchy beats and summer tunes, it's all good and I haven't tired of it yet even though the album is already a year old. It's feel good central. Enough of random praise being thrown their way, this is the top track off the album (end of story) Kids Don't Stand A Chance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shock! Sometimes Technology Works

Okay Stephen Fretwell's Emily isn't exactly new (2005) but I had totally forgotten about it, till I was playing My Recommendations on LastFm, which kindly reminded me what I was missing out on. The wonders of modern technology eh? Anyway I have no idea what this poor girl Emily did to upset Mister Fretwell but it must have been pretty severe. It does remind me of David Gray a small bit (early David Gray, think: Sell Sell Sell and Flesh).

This acoustic version in my opinion is far better than the single that was released (feel free to compare, I take criticism well, I'm used to it). Also its taken me half the morning to find a decent youtube version of it. God what I do to make this blog informative! It's a tough life (note sarcasm, or is it irony, I could never tell the two apart) and also it appears I'm developing an over-reliance on brackets....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Its Sad When The Editors Cheer You Up

Another Monday down! Things are always bad when the doom laden Editors are one of the few bright spots in the day. The Weight of the World is off their most recent album An End Has A Start. Well at least I think thats the name of the album cause I'm pretty sure its not on their first album The Back Room. I like the performance but I cant figure out what the vocalist is doing with his hands when he is singing. Although to be honest I dont think I'll let it bother me too much.

Credit crunch appears to be over after the Main Man in the White House signed in the major stimulus bill. In a few months all will be back to normal and we will have forgotten about the whole sorry banking mess. Somehow I believe the optimism is mis-placed (if you have twenty minutes to waste watch this, it will knock any optimism out of you (warning this clip may cause drowsiness)). More importantly to me though this is the song that saved the day.

Easy Listening But Not In A Bad Way

As I continue to pretend that I understand open source software I think I need some relaxing music to relieve the stress and focus the mind. There is no one better to put you in a chilled out mood than Lisa Hannigan.

"Lille" has a Caribbean vibe, a wonderful melody, topped off with a sumptuous voice. Her talent was always obvious when she was in cahoots with Damien Rice and now as a solo artist she just gets better and better. A cookie personality and on stage she seems as mad as a bag of cats, all in all though a brilliant artist. Nice video too by the way.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Sunday Times Don't Know What They Are Talking About

I was all excited to check out The Sunday Times Culture supplement this weekend as they were reviewing the Top 100 most influential blogs on the Internet, imagine my disappointment when Dust In The Spotlight did not appear on the list, I mean in my humble opinion I felt it at least deserves a mention. I am claiming a British media conspiracy in not fully acknowledging the outstanding contribution this blog offers the Internet (note sarcasm). Anyway I have recovered from the disappointment and am eagerly awaiting a note on next weeks issue outlining the papers failure to fully acknowledge the full greatness of this blog.

Also I must mention the impending tour of one of Ireland's finest emerging talents Remma and their forthcoming whistle stop tour of the east coast of the U.S of A to coincide with the release of the forthcoming single "Forcibly Impressed" in North America. It kicks off on March 4. Best of luck to the lads and world domination surely awaits! Their blog contains all gig listing and some links to free downloads. Here is the video to accompany their upcoming release.

One Excellent Radio Station

Dublin for the weekend. One of the best radio stations I've heard. An actual station that plays good music. Phantom in Dublin is worth a listen. They actually played this, and at drive time too boot...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Classic Album of The Week (Part 2)

This classic album research is a real eye-opener. I forget how much background information there is for each album especially the ones that were released before I was even a glint in someone's eye. This is especially true for this weeks blog entry Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours". The first memory of this album I have is of a cassette version that had the song-titles worn away to nothing from the amount of time it had been previously played. As a result up till a few years ago I was always slightly sketchy as to the actual song titles but all the songs were familiar.

Seemingly forged in the disintegration of relationships within the band the album is full of bitter-sweet moments and truly bizarre moments. In all the recent reviews of the greatest albums "Rumours" has always been highly placed, not that I hold much store in that. The album is full of cracking songs with "The Chain" with that famous baseline being one of my favourites. Not one of the tracks could be described as filler with holding quality in their own right while still maintaining a sense of continuity.

However the track of the album is the Stevie Nicks penned "Gold Dust Woman", with the lyrics "Did she make you cry, Make you break down, Shatter your illusions of love, Is it over now- do you know how, Pick up the pieces and go home." really capturing the theme of crumbling despair that runs throughout the album. If it's not in the collection then its time to bite the bullet and invest.

Good Video, The Rest I'm Unsure Of

The next big thing of Irish music supposedly Fight Like Apes released their new album "Fight Like Apes and The Mystery of The Golden Medallion" in January. For some reason I always assumed they sounded like the Animal Collective but I think that was down to just poor name association. Anyways their video "Tie Me Up With Jackets" comes as a recommended view on the old youtube this week. The video is damn good but the song does absolutely nothing for my. It might be a grower but I must say I'm struggling with the lyrics. Not my cup of tea that is for sure.

Also a quick word of thanks to the referee in last nights Ireland soccer international. Crazy decision to give a penalty and he pretty much forgot he had a yellow card for the rest of the night. Some of the tackles wouldn't have been out of place on a rugby field. Have a quick look at the "Fight Like Apes Video" video and possibly keep the volume down.

Also this guy does cinema reviews online. Actually they are not bad with a bit of humour thrown in free of charge. All in all pretty good.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Still Don't Feel Like Writing

The Eels pretty much sum it all up.

Don't Feel Like Writing

I'll just leave the music speak

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Must Say It's Been On My Mind

At the moment with everyone scrambling around just trying to survive this downturn, the Stereophonic's tune "Everyday I Think Of Money", off the under-rated J.E.E.P. is beginning to grow on me again. Its a sign of the times I suppose.

I Could Have Sworn Talking Heads Were Disbanded

"The Great Defector" is the first single from the upcoming Bell X1 album "Blue Lights On The Runway" due for release on the 20th of Feb. Already it has been played off the airwaves on national radio. To say that it has a Talking Heads vibe would be a slight understatement. A definite nod, bow and homage towards Mr. Byrne and co. and also reminiscent of "Flame" off the Flock album. Live version below isn't half bad.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Big Phil Shown The Door As The House Falls Down

After less than 10 months in charge Phil Scolari has been sacked as manager of an apparently crises ridden Chelsea. A man with an excellent South American club record and one world cup to his name could not reverse fortunes at the club which now appear to be in free fall with a precious champions league spot now in peril. Although there was an initially promising start (5- 0 away win to Middlesborough was particularly) the team of late appeared toothless with an ageing Ballack and Deco in midfield which dovetailed ineffectively with a listless John Obi Mikel. The fact that one of the must under-rated player in past seasons run to the Champions League final Micheal Essien was missing for the most of the current season hasn' t helped matters either, however, his failures as a coach to adequately prepare teams to defend set pieces which was highlighted in the past two European Championships came back to haunt in an increasingly set piece orientated Premiership.

Once teams cottoned on that by stopping the Chelsea fullbacks in the form of Cole and Boswinga getting forward their attacking threat has been increasingly subdued due to a lack of natural width. It didn't help that Drogba has thrown rattlers, soother and all out the pram and Anelka is about as potent as a water pistol in the desert since November. All in all this team was in decline before his arrival but he did little to solve the fundamental problems within the football team (one of ageing and un-motivated star players and natural width). The transfer deadline signing of an unfit Quaresma did reek of desperation. The 0-0 draw with a Hull team after an horrendous series of results was the straw that broke the camels back.

Gus Hiddink is the bookies favourite but I reckon it will be the cheaper option of Zola with Clarke returning as assistant manager. Expect a summer clear out and a team continuing to struggle for form as the season comes to an end.

In tradition blog fashion a song is required to capture the vibe of Chelsea football club not that it bothers me too much. So Mr. Abramovich... The Beatles

Weekend Review

The trouble with committing yourself to a blog entry is that you can't really row back on previous predictions. You kinda put yourself out on a limb and stay there. So much for my insight into last weekends Ireland vs. France match which was supposed to be in my opinion at least a tight, tense affair that consisted mainly of aerial ping pong. Instead it turned out to be the match of the weekend with both fullbacks willing to run the ball back at every opportunity and Ireland producing a truly world class performance in turning over a valiant French effort. The moment of the match was the Kearney break that ultimately led to the Heaslip trip. The side step to finish the move and make Poitrenaud look like a bit of a fool was excellent.

In other news close to my sporting heart Rafa Benitez some how managed to grab victory from the despair of defeat in Fratton Park. This despite of a truly bizarre selection decision that saw N'Gog start upfront with Babel. On the plus side that purveyor of absolutely useless midfield play Lucas was suspended for the match but Liverpool stay on course for a title shot, well at least kind of anyways.

Bet of the weekend was Man Utd. winning to nil which was 7/4, according to most betting sites this amounts to more or less being allowed to print money, should Obama be allowed to consider this in his financial rescue package?

To finish off, song of the weekend for me was this, blame it on being on soul overload in between sporting events and also watching Platoon.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Should I Admit To This?

After being accused of being a music snob, I've decided to offer up a song a week to the great god of populist mainstream music to show that like everyone else, I too can fall for eighties cheese. So here it is Black and "Wonderful Life".

Atlantic City

The Hold Steady cover Bruce Springsteen's classic Atlantic City for the upcoming Warchild Album which is due to be released on Feb 17. Straying slightly from the Nebraska original as one would expect it far more reminiscent of a Springsteen live version with crashing drums and repeating vocals. As both sets of artists are quality in my eyes this version does no wrong. Objectivity is gone out the window on this post.

Friday, February 6, 2009

This Weekend Means Rugby

It's the start of the Six Nations this weekend and Ireland even though sporting a new coach and back-room team since the previous championship are carrying about as much optimism in to the series of matches as an economist in the current economic climate. The autumn internationals really did very little to increase confidence with New Zealand making short work of Irish resistance and a truly awful match against Argentina which Ireland managed to scrape through thanks mainly to a woefully under prepared third choice out-half for Argentina.

So it is with slight anxiety that we look forward to the visiting French this weekend in Croke Park. Marc Lievremont has also been struggling in the Autumn Internationals and he seems incapable of picking a team that is both coherent and reflects the best of French league rugby. With that in mind Ireland have decided to start Paddy Wallace in the 12 slot (he of the unfortunate traffic kone joke) with O'Driscoll outside him. Based on that selection expect a game that can best be described as aerial ping-pong with a premium being placed on set-piece execution.

This doesn't look like it is going to be a classic with a tight and tense affair to be expected. Winning this will really set the tone for the rest of the championship so an Irish win might just lead (dare we whisper it) to the mythical grand slam. Hopefully Ireland to shade it by about four but it does depend on what kind of French team turns up on the day.

I suppose for the day that's in it a sporting event deserves ultimate montage music to highlight either the glory of the agony of the occasion. So here is the soundtrack music, think sun rising, crowd arriving, team showing grit and determination to win, adulation guaranteed.

The Song That Named A Blog

Craig Finn is there I assure you, Halloween costume and all. Its the song that inspired a blog title. Its foot stomping. Its a mad guitar solo. Its sing-a-long genius. Its The Hold Steady and "Slapped Actress".

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Shock, Shock, Horror, It's Actually Not That Bad

The View's new album "Which Bitch?" was approached initially with extreme caution. That song "Same Jeans" really did do my head in a few years ago. I haven't heard as many Scottish accents since The Proclaimers were eulogising about a letter from America. To be honest I was a bit sceptical about the whole album and my first few listens seemed to confirm my suspicions that this was destined to be an instantly forgettable new release which was going to be appearing in bargain bins all over the country (that is if any of the High Street chains remain open).

However after giving the album more than the cursory listen or two I must admit that the whole thing has grown on me. "Shock Horror" is one very cool song with a video that is guaranteed to get played on all the music station and will come pretty close to topping the charts. Even the Paulo Nutini collaboration "Covers" isn't half bad as much as it pains me to admit. It really is a non-offensive album that will propel the band to more mainstream success I would imagine. It's worth a listen though (there is enough variety to keep you interested) and not a complete waste of hard earned money. One thing though "Gem Of A Bird" is a dead ringer for the song of that Juno soundtrack by the Mouldy Peaches.

They Don't Make Em Like They Used To

Now this is quality programming. Jim Henson and the Fraggle Rock crew going all neo-platonic on us and creating a genuinely emotional piece of children's television.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Laughter Helps Lower Blood Sugar... I Hope

It's Family Guy, its diabetes... Its funny

Classic Album of The Week

It's hard to believe that After The Gold Rush will be forty years old next year. The album that I first heard on vinyl nearly twenty years ago was my first introduction into what I would term "proper" music. A unity of work that is non-existent in much of today's album it flows nicely from one track to the next and was not designed with the thought of a shuffled playlist.

Amazingly there were only two singles released from the album and the highest peaked at 33 ("Only Love Can Break Your Heart", thank you wikipedia). As most people know the track "Southern Man" caused an outcry in some parts and lead to Lynrd Skynard recording "Sweet Home Alabama". That is enough pointless trivia for one post I think, although a member of the E Street band was also heavily involved in the recording of the album (Nils Lofgren).

The stand out tracks for me is the ever so slightly trippy "After The Goldrush" and the epic "Don't Let It Bring You Down", a typical Young story song that will continue to inspire future songwriters. There is so much to admire of the album and it's impact increases with each listen and remains as fresh today as it was fortyish years ago. Of course only Young could follow it up with something of equal quality with the album "Harvest" but that review is for another day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Under Appreciated Elbow

Elbow, various orchestral instruments, and a choir does not equal "Grounds for Divorce". Absolutely terrible pun, the performance makes up for it though. Sensational.

Open Source and The Lack Of A Free Lunch

Open-Source software is either saviour of the world as we know it, the destroyer of faceless corporations taking our hard earned money on rubbish products or the maddeningly glitchy piece of software that just wont work no matter how many times you glare at it! I kinda like the first idea out there of cyber-programmers saving the world in "Captain Planet" esq teams destroying one evil after another yet a lot of the time what the leave is pretty much shelf-ware that is pathetic (Apologies for the nineties cartoon reference, you just cant resist sometimes). Sites like sourceforge are testament to the many started and failed projects out there and however it does lead to a brisk trade in open-source self help books ironically.

At the moment open-source is driving me slowly mad but really it was never meant for business applications. This is the dark side of the tree hugging hippy stuff of the open-source community, no documentation, newbie unfriendly forums and an application so clunky a cup of coffee is a prerequisite before running any process.

Still Mozilla (Firefox is resource hungry but it works ok) and Apache are the business and you can't fault OpenOffice either. Beats paying obscene amount of money to Microsoft!
In this totally random venting some anger post I reckon a song that somehow mentions Javascript is appropriate...
Weird Al Jankovic: White And Nerdy

Monday, February 2, 2009

Why Couldn't the Steelers Just Win It After Two Quarters Instead I Was Awake Half The Night

I am not even that big a fan of American football. At times I struggle to understand what rule was broken as I watch a frame by frame action replay. Sometimes I think John Madden is speaking another language that only has a passing resemblance to English. Why couldn't the Steelers have wrapped up the game by half time instead of dragging the whole thing out till about three in the morning!

And yet the Superbowl is just quality entertainment, pure American entertainment with more ceremony than a visit from the Pope. The NFL even managed to get Bruce Springsteen to do a press conference for christ sake. The match itself was tough and brutal and all came down to more or less the final play with a floated pass to the corner. The bookies were more interested in what the half-time set list would look like. By the way if you got "Born To Run" at even money you should be laughing all the way to the bank. And The Steelers didn't beat the seven point spread either, so all gambling addicts take note. Music is easier to predict than football!! Finally just to add to the surreal nature of the game there is a replica frigging pirate ship at the end of the ground in Tampa. At times you just wonder!!!!

If you missed the performance here it is in all its High Def glory.