Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Very Literal Photo Related Blog Post

In the beginning of this Hold Steady blog of mine I mentioned Davos, playground of the rich a site of the an annual economic forum where in time honoured tradition nothing of consequence happened to prevent the economic meltdown (as A.I.G have proved). Today see's the start of the G20 summit in London where a load of very important people swan around and really do very little (already the French have threatened to pull out, I think it impinges on their institution enshrined six hours working week but that has yet to be confirmed).

Unfortunately this echoes previous attempts, in the thirties, to lead the world out of a global economic meltdown which is never a good sign. So lets hope that by signing a big fuck off check, ignoring all the systemic issues while looking the other way this problem will go away without much fuss (didn't Einstein consider madness to be doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results). I wonder if these economists ever read a history book or is there some form of collective mindset that allows a group of people to actually ignore a problem! (That course in project management finally came in handy, I'll solve world hunger with it yet, mark my words).

Anyways to move away from all the doom and gloom, football365 provided quote of the day,

"I am diabetic, I ate a few apples before driving" - Polish MP Marek Latas convinces nobody after he was found to have 0.7 units of alcohol in his blood while driving.

I can confirm as a practicing diabetic that the excuse is bollox but fair play for trying. An eighties classic to leave with. Serious surgery is required to have the ability to sing this song, and the antithesis of yesterday post, The Sun Always Shine On TV.

Monday, March 30, 2009

If This Song Is Prophetic We Are In Trouble

This group, were according to no less a man than Thom Yorke, one of the main influences and reference points for a developing Radiohead (when the moved from being destined to be the greatest rock band of the nineties to becoming the voice of a generation). Scott Walker (originally Engel) is an enigma of popular music (popular music not meant with its usual derogatory connotations) and disappeared for a number from the recording arena for a number of years. This song probably didn't influence the epic Kid A as some of his later work did, but it still is a stone-wall classic from the sixties.

Amazing voice, superb lyrics and a base-line that can only be described as quality. It seems to cause a flow of sixties images in my mind at least. As a result I think I'm going to relax and chill out to the Walker Brothers and the optimistically entitled The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore..

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Music Is The Shorthand of Emotion

So after surviving a night of much stag related madness back to base again today. I'm getting old as the hangovers don't clear so quickly and the back aches after having to sleep on the floor. Also a number of things are beginning to seriously piss me off in my old age.

1. People using their fupping mobile to play music out loud on the train. The old forehead vein begins to throb and if I hear Poker Face one more time on a crap sound system that removes the base and makes it only appetising to teenagers ears I'm going to flip! This stuff used not bother me but now its getting seriously annoying.

2. Footloose being the only song DJ's have when it comes to eighties music in a club. C'mon show some imagination.... Lazy, lazy, lazy!

3. The Limerick-Galway road. Its a joke!!!! Rocks frigging everywhere. One tractor = half hour addition to the commute.

4. Republic of Ireland soccer team. Soccer is simple pass the ball to a guy in the same coloured shirt and stop hoofing it forty yards up the field every time you get it. Its not junior football for fuck sake.

Rant over.

Soothing music required. Think ocean noises and the smell of rosemary and some of the spiritual stuff. As Tolstoy said "Music is the shorthand of emotion". Thank god there is a chance Sigur Rós might calm me down

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Keyboards In German

My first post on a Saturday in over a month and on a german keyboad to boot! This thing has about five extra keys and everything is in the wrong place. I'm ever so slightly confused. Now I hope to God that white cat stops staring at me, but in general the mood is excellent! I suppose Everbody's Gotta Learn Sometime.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Just a quick post today while I grab five minutes of free time. A whistle stop tour of places outside Cork awaits this weekend, in other words the big smoke that is Dublin and capital of the west Galway. So in a totally random way Mullingar is somewhere in between as a result The Blizzards deserve a play. Here is Fantasy

Play It Again and Again

A song to help me hit the hay and unwind after another one of those days, and also with no end to those days on the horizon. The genius of Radiohead and Pyramid Song. Amazing

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Keep Warm

They have been heard on Gray's Anatomy which should mean they are one of those staring into lakes next to trees signing about emotions and a sense of loss band. However I don't think this was the song that appeared on the show somehow. A modern classic (oxymoron???) dealing with the tribulations of getting old in today's age. Frightened Rabbit are playing in Cork next week for the ridiculously cheap price of €12.50 so I'll be checking it out anyways. This is the closest to blogging about relatively new music I have done in a while.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nothing To Worry About

God NME Tv is one bad music video channel. One and a half hours of watching/listening to indie beep beep disco music was slowly driving me slightly mad. Then this, bizarre video (reminds me of Chicken Payback by the Bees) and as far away from Young Folks as possible. Peter, Bjorn and John and they got Nothing to Worry About

I Need An Editor

I've just completed reading Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves and after getting through that ordeal my uneasiness with posting has increased greatly (Eats, Shoots & Leaves is the pedant's bible, rather amusing-ish panda joke, and no doubt one could use it to point out about ten punctuation errors in the last sentence alone, also Charlemagne (not the rip off champagne brand, or the one constantly referenced in The Hold Steady Lyrics) invented the question mark, well kind of, you learn something new everyday). I'm pretty sure there is some reference to a missing comma in a telegram that precipitated the Jameson Raid that in turn contributed to the escalation of what would eventually become the Boer War (now as a possible wearer of orthopedic shoes, I may stand corrected... boom boom).

All this has lead me to believe that blog postings in particular stand open to massive misinterpretation, for example that Pat Benatar post of mine may lead someone to believe that I am a massive fan when in fact the punctuation left me down and the tongue wasn't as obviously placed in cheek. The pedant in me is slowly coming out as I have more interaction with editor type people who care about correct grammar (God damn them), also this side of me should have been around when I was trying to write that bloody centralisation thesis!

As with previous musings what I'm attempting to do is somehow work around what was going on in my head to be in some way relevant to my song of the day, and seeing as I'm talking about punctuation there really is only one song that I know which can be shoehorned into my "train" of thought (if there are other pedantic songs let me know). So here is the ever excellent Vampire Weekend and of course Oxford Comma

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Changelings And Metaphors

Due a fascination with all things list orientated, I must admit to the sad and nerdy affliction of song rating and categorisation of all things itunes related. In the pre-itunes era a pet hate was the whole idea of someone putting the wrong CD into the case, this has escalated in current times to paranoia proportions that some one may in fact fuck with my carefully designed i-tunes star rating process. The system itself makes no sense in that an Eels song for example may remain unrated (Spunky for example) while Bachman Turner Overdrive (You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet) currently has a three star rating (however I hold my hands up and say that the rating may have been induced by various liquids). However a quick look at the current list see's classics such as Moby, friggin Moby, obtaining five stars and it has all the hallmarks of house party espionage.

Anyways one of the inconsistencies of the music collection is related to the scatter gun approach to buying music when I'm in the good old record shop. I fall into the category of buying three bargain basement cd's instead of the expensive new release that I probably actually want (I am going to have to buy me some form of grammar book). But this approach does lead to some interesting purchases and this is true with Seth Lakeman who is some form of fiddle totting, folk leaning, modern music type dude. This song reminds me of traditional Irish story songs that are normally sung As Gailige and this is some form of interpreted type lyrics. So here is White Hare (at times I wonder about my musical taste, but then again it's mine)

True.... Very True

Haven't had a chance in a while for a blog entry after the weekend of excitement. Still recovering from hiding behind the couch for the final moment of Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam decider when the man from down the road dropped a goal with a few minutes left to secure the win which was followed by the entire nation/team going absolutely bannanas! Then United get played off the park by a Fulham team that included Olivier Dacourt and once again Danny Murphy proved their Nemesis by scoring against them. To top it all off Liverpool look like they are back in the eighties with a five nil trouncing of a poor Villa side who were playing Reo-Coker right back who is about effective as a confused Fraggle.

Now I was thinking that was all good but it was just about to get better.... Those purveyors of the eighties New Romantic movement are returning to the fanfare of a world friggin tour. Spandau Ballet return and its true so true (shocking use of dodgy lyrics). Anyways today's song brings back radio memories from my childhood, wandering around the kitchen and listening to this!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Days!!!

Friday 10.30 Neil is now a fully licensed driver (you can only put that test off so long)...... Happy days!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Electric Out Of Sight

Things that are currently driving me slowly mad.

1. Stupid IT systems that make no sense why didn't I follow my alternative path of military historian. Give me researching Dien Bien Phu any day!

2. Having the piss taken out of me due to my reading list including W.B Yeats, Jared Diamond, Bertrand Russel, Mikhail Bulakov which according to some people don't befit a business type person and should be the realm of an Arts student!

3.The new U2 album, c'mon people wake up. It's not a return to form.

4. Robinho being absolute rubbish once he gets out of Maine Road, sorry I mean Eastlands.

5. No banker yet being held accountable for pissing away a couple of billion dollars here and there while maintaining a don't mention its broken approach to fiscal governance.

Luckily there is some tunes to save me from insanity. R.E.M. and the under-rated New Adventures in Hi-Fi I think is in order today! Here comes Electrolite...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Just to finish the day off and help me sleep without the need for chemical intervention. It's the stone mason from Blarney and also the guy who made an appearance in one of the first posts. Mick Flannery and Safety Rope taken from the excellent White Lies album. This video is taken from a gig in the Cork Opera house and is a far cry from the heaving mass of humanity that was once associated with the venue around the time of Rory Gallagher. Still an excellent performance though. And yes AC/DC did help the chillaxing considerably in case anyone is interested.

Can You Chillax To This?

Put down one seriously bad day at work as the flames gathered around (metaphorical flames that is), so think of today's post in terms of a valve system (going on current form any system I am involved in is not going to work). Pretty bizarre that I'm using writing to relax seeing as I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag in my researching days (I really should have realised that it was a bad sign earlier). Anyways sorry for the pointless personal information but its just to underline the fact that I require some head banging, black hoody wearing, Doc Martin totting rock. So here is school uniform wearing Aussie rockers AC/DC with Rock N' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution from the Back In Black album. Play it loud a chill the fuck out with it... that's my plan!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Classic Album of The Week (Part 3)

I was thinking I hadn't done my classic album of the week section for awhile. This is the third in the series (getting to sound more and more like a bad television station everyday). So far I have looked at stone wall classics in Neil Young's After The Gold Rush and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours which are both albums which have childhood memories for me.

This weeks album takes a slightly different turn in that it has been around for over twenty years but I came to it quite late, in other words over the past three years. Initially when I thought of Bruce Springsteen I thought of Courtney Cox, Dancing In The Dark and Born In The USA however after purchasing the Greatest Hits (can a supposed music lover admit to buying a greatest hits collection) there was one song that stood head and shoulders over the rest and that was Atlantic City taken from the sparse and beautiful Nebraska. The work of Bon Iver is slightly reminiscent of this in terms of backing vocals and beats.

The story songs within the album tell of dysfunction and tragedy (Highway Patrolman, Nebraska State Trooper in particular) and never reach the feel good factor of something like to Born To Run or the new release Working on a Dream which probably was a contributed to the initial dislike within the mainstream music population for this album. However it for me represents what Springsteen is really about in terms of lyrics ("Everything dies that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies someday comes back") and the representation and reality of chasing the American Dream (since reading F Scott Fitzgerald have realised that's what nearly all of American culture and art appears to be about) or for that matter dreams in general.

The album contained few if any hit singles with only Atlantic City (covered recently in the War Child album by the Hold Steady) being considered worthy of single release by the record company. The album was a major risk for Springsteen and was a massive departure from some his of previous releases with the E-Street Band but one could get a sense of that possible direction in his Greetings from Asbury Park album (see Mary Queen of Arkansaw) and one must also remember that Springsteen was initially touted as a possible succesor to Dylan's folk crown in the mid seventies.

Nebraska for those who haven't listened bucks many of the stereotypes and possible hang ups people have with Springsteen. Laying the ground work for much of the current alt-country genre it is an under appreciated album that deserves a wider listening base perhaps more so than some his more illustrious albums. Anyways the title track for the album... enjoy!

Brewing Up A Storm

So it's Paddy's Day and surprising it is not very exciting, just the usual shenanigans in the local at the treat of the local nightclub being open on a week night (the excitement). Anyways on this most Catholic of holidays that primarily involves walking down a street after our usual display of military strength and over-rated drinking abilities you have to ask yourself how a Welsh guy got so popular while being stolen with a few a sheep. Niall of the Nine Hostages created the Irish Vintners Federation wet dream, those publicans have a lot to be grateful for. In recent years its turned into a festival for some reason and now involves that most traditional of activities, a large fuck off fireworks display. No wonder the country is in the state it is!

So lets keep it all things Irish and select a Paddy's Day Irish anthem, think Feile, think Semple Stadium, think Thurles, think mid-nineties, think The Stunning...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Waiting For The Sun

For some reason this band never really took off here. The Aussie rockers Powderfinger always had a cult following and the subsequent Bernard Fanning solo album was also relatively successful. They were brought to my attention by some returning Irish emigrant looking for work/drinking the hell out of it down under. Seemingly an indie sound and indie radio stations are all the rage in the land of Waltzing Matilda which save for Phantom and some random hours here isn't always the case. Good tune as we too sit here "Waiting For The Sun"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Literal Song Title

One of the great bands of the nineties. They play bingo during their live shows which as a result may lead to them playing songs in their native Welsh. This is an apt and uplifting song for the weekend of merriment that awaits us all. Its the Super Furry Animals and Something For The Weekend (see what I did there, very clever).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Some Songs Age Well. Some Don't

After a week of sports related posts regarding Cheltenham (if you want to know betting will never replace my day job) and Liverpool (I hope to god we are not beaten Saturday, I mean hope as in offering and cash money will be paid) I'm back on slightly more solid ground with a music related post. In a previous post I've mentioned how Nick Hornby uses lists very effectively in High Fidelity (Christ I sound like me in the bad old lecturing days) and I've decided to use 'em once more so as to be able to shoe horn totally disparate songs into one post. (I really have to find some new vocab, there should be a limit on the amount times I mention the word post)

So today's top 5 relates to songs heard out in the good old college days, so think music circa 2004 and what can only be described as a slightly immature taste (you see I'm all grown up now, well as grown up as a non-tall person can be). Some of the songs are works of genius while others, well others talk mainly of "teenage activities". Today's top 5... songs that used to make a college night out.

5. Radiohead: High and Dry
4. ODB: Got Your Money
3. Blackstreet: No Diggity
2. The Killers: Jenny Was A Friend of Mine

and finally
1. The Devinyls

I honestly don't know what I was thinking in college (ah not the importance of object orientated programming and how Java would save the world... turns out it didn't) cause some of those songs stink the place up now looking back.

I Didn't Believe Me Eyes

One final thing. How the fuck did Liverpool turn on that kinda performance last night? Normally blank checks and houses of disrepute normally come to mind when talking of the forward line but c'mon winning four nil is just not on. It would take the Talking Heads (or Bell X1's parents) to verbalise the truth.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


A hectic day has meant a late evening post. Just after dragging myself away from Bad Company which isn't the toughest thing in the world to do. A busy day meant I missed out on pretty much every horse that was tipped up to win today so the bank account cannot be described as healthy. I think I'll get slightly nostalgic with a song from the quirky Irish band Ham Sandwich (only would a name so mundane be have its genesis in Ireland). Not to be confused with the Swedish post punk The Hives Tick Tick Boom or Saliva's Click Click Boom.

This may be a reference to how things are currently going in this little isle of ours, or else I'm getting slightly delusional at the thought of learning this application. Currently shuddering at the thought and will possibly wake up in a cold sweet in a few hours.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Borodin Post, Now That Is Culture

Okay enough of posts containing dubious music and horse related information. It's time for a little bit of culture I suppose and lets go classical as I struggle through a book on W.B Yeats with

"O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?"

All very deep for a Tuesday morning and as far removed from Cheltenham as possible. I'll be honest I'm using the classical music as inspiration as I trawl through the form pages!

Horses And Dreams of Galveston

Cheltenham starts in about fourteen hours not that I'm counting or anything. The only tip I got so far is for Kempes in the first at half one or so. Cousin Vinny the favourite is reported not to be 100% so a few shekels will be invested in the ex flat horse who should have plenty toe for the normally helter skelter opener. Also the fact that the horse is named after a footballer helps even though same footballer deprived the poor Dutch in the '78 World Cup Final. The song for Cheltenham will be Wichita Lineman (or was it Rhinestone Cowboy, I always get the two horses mixed up) as Glenn Campbell was reported to be flown over by two millionaires as a horse with the same name as the song was running in the Bumper (National Hunt flat race). A week of cigarette butts and the hope that no one takes my thumbs stretches out ahead of me!

Just for the heck of it, i might as well post Galveston too, cracking anti-war tune.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Dunno If I'm Really Livin'

A quick post today seeing as I spent the better part of the morning chasing my tail around government departments! I think I require something upbeat to lift the gloom and what better than an Eels songs to put me in the mood required to adequately attempt some programming fixes. Also bought a book of poetry by Bukowski, whoever thought you could get 100 hundred pages out of gambling, drinking and drugs. There is hope for us all!

The Way Young Lovers Do

The "Bodies" exhibition in Dublin was a port of call this weekend. I don't know but I felt it was a very uncomfortable experience, I can't quite put my finger on why seeing as I thought I would be very comfortable with the whole thing but once I got in there it just felt very wrong. You have to ask yourself did the people who are on display there ever sign up to the whole thing. I just felt it would be very sad that at the end of your life you are more or less public entertainment. In a word, troubling. To keep on the theme I think today I will pick a song from Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, an album which deals in life's journey from birth to death. This is one very melancholic post that really doesn't answer any of life's great questions.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

To Silence... Yeah, to Simon

So Manchester United continue their relentless march to the title while the bottom half of the table continue to play the collective game of musical chairs. The excitement to Cheltenham is building as I put away a little stash that I like to call the "investment fund" which in fact is the quantity of money I'm going to lose on horses over the next seven days (I'm using investment fund in the same way that Lehmann Brothers used the term). Take no notice of any tips that may be posted as any money I will have on will no doubt doom the horse to certain failure.

The Okkervil River stuff is really growing on me and I can't believe that the band has been around for a number of years and I had never heard of them. Blame it on the lack of a decent independent radio station in my local area although considering the power of the internet that is a pretty lame excuse. I think The Concretes are going to be my band of choice today with the song that appeared at the end of Its All Gone Pete Tong. Also the lead singer provides vocals on the Peter, Bjorn and John song Young Folks (thats the end of random trivia for today). Doff of the cap to the dog for introducing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

We Are But A Thought

After some rummaging around the lastfm website (and no lastfm, I am not going to be a Fionn Regan follower and stop playing the dreadful "Penny in the Slot" song for me) I have become a signed up follower for American band Okkervil River. I think they are a cross between Wilco and Ryan Adams, their lyrics are dark ("Sometimes the blood from real cuts, Feels real nice, When it's really mine, And if you want it to be real, Come over for one night,And we can really, really climb") and the sound is very much guitar driven. The song "For Real" is the stand out track from the angst laden "Black Sheep Boy" and worth investing a few of those hard earned shillings or just downloading Vuze (conscious dependant of course).

On a completely seperate note I saw this and it scared the shit out of me, and there I was thinking Fraggle Rock was scary!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Mess We're In

The genius of Polly Jean Harvey and Thom Yorke combined with an art student who has way too much time and creativity on his hands combines to make it the youtube find of the day.

Heart of Darkness

"They were men enough to face the darkness", as Conrad puts it far more succinctly than I ever could as I now face the dark demons of popular music(nothing like going dramatic is there).

This is a list of shame if I'm honest. For some reason these songs are in my head (damn you radio!!!) but not on the sacred god that is i-tunes (I swear). I defy anyone who claims that these ain't infectious/ultimately annoying/ I wish I had their producer and I'd be a god damn millionaire.

Lady Gaga: Poker Face
Katy Perry: Hot N Cold
The Fray: You Found Me
Andrew W.K.: Party Hard

and finally below, Five For Fighting 100 Years.

I feel dirty after that post, a good long cold shower and a long look in the mirror is required.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another Reunion

Note to self, get my hands on the tickets for the Crosby,Stills and Nash gig that is going to be on in our little backwater this summer. This group have been around for ages and thanks to a very informative BBC4 (gets my vote for channel of the year, damn iplayer doesn't work in Ireland, solutions on the comments page please!!!!) documentary a couple of months ago I finally figured out their importance for West Coast music and am able to draw a rather faint line from Buffalo Springfield through them to the Eagles.
Unfortunately not containing Young this time they still will provide a decent evenings entertainment. The vocals and quality of song writing is enough to fill anyone's musical dreams. Nash provides a tenuous European link to the operation and it will be worth entrance money alone to hear this song live. I'm a country music fan at heart.

A Weekend Of Learning

Things that I've learnt this weekend.
1. Rugby at times is the greatest game on earth and I would be mangled if I ever had the guts to play it.

2. Liverpool will never win the league in my lifetime as the manager doesn't understand the concept of playing a forward.

3. Never put any form of money on Arsenal to win at home, I am now down one house.

4. The NME are definitely sponsored by a hair-gel product. I haven't seen so much hair since that Pat Benatar video.

5. My undying hatred of all things associated with Friendly Fires and Empire of the Sun (record execs pretty much seeing whats popular and then blatantly copying it)

6. U2 have a dislike for paying taxes.

7. Glasvegas seriously rock, and their lead singer dude reckons he is Joe Strummer.

8. Suspicious Minds like you have never seen it before....