Introducing: Anderson

anderson music

I would just like to jump in very quickly and introduce this guy before he explodes and I miss the proverbial boat. Daniel ‘Anderson’ is a Dublin based folk artist, one which I’ve followed with great interest since I saw him enthrall the mellow crowds of the INEC Killarney when he opened for Villagers back  in 2013.

Anderson effortlessly blends soft (almost whimsical) folk with a truly exceptional song-writing ability. And it is this delicate touch that allows him to explore an array of hard-hitting themes in effortless fashion.

Anderson’s songs are mature and literate, but also melodically appealing. Influenced by the pioneering production techniques and arrangements of the 1960s and ’70s, Daniel’s carefully crafted material manages the rare feat of conveying classic pop melodies without sacrificing the distinctive character of the introspective, personal sentiments. (www.andersonsongs.com)

Patterns, Anderson’s debut musical offering will be released later this year and it’s fair to say that it is one that I am most looking forward to. I’ve included two tracks below to give you a little preview of what’s to come. If you like what you hear be sure to follow Anderson on Facebook.

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The Hassle

So I think I finally figured it out. And by ‘IT’ I mean the reason for my absence from this self built web-presence (not the Stephen King novel about scary clowns). This blog is over 4 years old. I created it, set it up with its imaginative title (ahem), wrote some blog posts and here we are. This blog, my blog, started out merely as a place for me to share and catalog my taste in music. (Well it actually started its life as a film review blog, but it didn’t take long for music to take over).

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All Tvvins – Darkest Ocean

Have I introduced you to All Tvvins? No probably not. I must confess that there is a great deal of fantastic music that has taken up residence on my various playlists, portable music delivery systems (my phone’s mp3 player) and most importantly my ears but has eluded any mention on this blog.

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Video: New Enemies Single – Play Fire

Irish band Enemies have re-emerged from a two-year hiatus with a new single. Play Fire, a somewhat rejuvenated track which draws a fine line between the meticulous world of mathematically inspired rock (too far with genre specifics?) and joviality of pop music, sees the four-piece pick up from where they left off almost 24 months ago.

Bearing the signature Enemies style and layered attention to detail, Play Fire is an immediate return to form. The hook laden track is as captivating and attention grabbing as the accompanying video (which you can watch below).

For those of you unfamiliar with Enemies, you can listen to their back catalogue as well as download the new release over on Bandcamp.

A hipo-critic no more

I’m not a musician and I’ve never claimed to be. And so naturally, I’m often asked why I write a MUSIC blog. I can’t sing (although try telling me that after a few drinks) nor can I play an instrument, yet. I have recently acquired an electric guitar but that’s a story for another day/blog. So what gives me the right to judge the merit of anyone’s musical offering?

The short answer is of course nothing. I can’t tell if a guitar player is employing a certain technique of if  a peculiar sequence of notes has any particular value. I can of course Google this if I want to appear “all-knowing” but really what is the point?

It seems that blogs, more-so those pertaining to the arts, fall under a certain pressure to be critical. Of course we all have the right (and  responsibility) to express criticism. Without truly questioning something how can we garner an understanding? But there is a blurred line between opinion and criticism. And whilst the power we wield as self-appointed judges can be addictive if not intoxicating, it is of no use to either artist or reader.

But this is not to say that my music blog is of no use. There is a reason why I put fingers to keys and churn out “reviews”. The only musical asset I truly possess is my taste. That might sound a little pompous, but I do this because I love music. And the reality is that there is no real output for the wealth of musical talent in this country. When I make such a statement I am of course am talking about Ireland. A country with such a strong artistic and cultural history despite such minuscule investment and infrastructure. Whilst there are some good radio shows, publications and of course blogs who strive to put good music in the public domain, mainstream media continues to turn a blind eye to home-grown talent.

Of course my blog can’t change this current state of affairs. But to employ a cheesy and overused cliché, I hope my contribution will act as another “brick in the wall” which puts good music to the forefront (Please excuse that Floydian slip).

Jameson St Patrick’s Live – Vicar Street

Little Green Cars performs at Vicar Street as part of Jameson St

Whilst the world was busy painting their famous landmarks green, Vicar Street (and more so Jameson) were going one shade deeper with a star-studded, whiskey fuelled Paddy’s Day (well Paddy’s Eve) celebration.

Kicking off the party was a band who are anything but strangers to the atmospheric Dublin 8 venue. With the echoes of We Cut Corners’ Meteor Choice Prize performance still ringing throughout the hall, they effortlessly set down a marker for the night to follow. With a host of tracks ranging from the delicately balanced ‘Maybe in the Future’ to the boisterous ‘Blue’ the Dublin duo showed why their second album ‘Think Nothing” rightfully deserves to be up there with the best of 2014. Older staples such as ‘A Pirate’s Life’ and ‘The Leopard’ did well to showcase a wealth of material and a surprise cover of Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Mandinka’ rounded off the set nicely.

Interludes between acts were filled with burger vendors and complimentary Jameson and ginger from the wall to wall whiskey bar within the venue. They also provided ample opportunity to check out the impressive stage and venue decorations as well as two large screens which displayed live twitter feeds. One such tweet from Delorentos included a photo of a ‘blank set-list‘ with an attached call for song suggestions. But thankfully this list far was from empty by the time the house lights were dimmed.

Keeping with Meteor Choice nominees, Delorentos were next to take to the stage. They have had somewhat of a stellar year, adding a host fantastic new songs under the guise of their fourth studio album ‘Night Becomes Light’ to an already impressive repertoire. Keeping with their patented energy and enthusiasm, the something rockers engaged the crowd from the offset. From the opening ‘Forget The Numbers’ to their trademark finisher ‘S.E.C.R.E.T’ Delorentos poured heart and soul into every song. And whilst the crowd may have been a little quieter than used to, the bands enthusiasm never waned.

But unfortunately the same could not be said for the headline act. Little Green Cars enjoyed success back in 2013 with their debut release ‘Absolute Zero’. Becoming associated with such iconic hits as ‘The John Wayne’ they quickly amassed a following, many of whom were present at the sold out gig in Vicar Street last night. What Little Green Cars possess in terms of vocal prowess and subtle musicianship they lacked in stage presence and seemed to be ‘going through the motions’. Their set, mainly utilised as a proving ground for new material, seemed to alienate and shut out the majority of the crowd creating an uneasy stillness that no amount of whiskey could reverse. 

But it would be unfair to condemn a band for playing to their strengths. Rare treats in the form of ‘My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me’ and the aforementioned ‘The John Wayne’ showed that the Little Green Cars we all know and love haven’t strayed too far. The line-up for the night was simply unbalanced.

But all in all, it’s hard to be too cynical about Jameson St Patrick’s Live or in fact any event which endeavours to put home-grown Irish talent in the spotlight. Ireland is once again experiencing a golden age of music and last night in Vicar Street three examples of such took to the stage. Hopefully Jameson will be providing the soundtrack to Paddy’s Day for many years to come. 

Words

Words are great. You can use a thousand of them in one sentence and end up saying absolutely nothing. And in the same breath, you can paint pictures, conjure grand tales and captivate an imagination with just a handful. I was racking my brain earlier, trying to find something to write about, something to say. And I came across an idea in the a supplement in one of the weekend papers.

The concept of which I found so interesting revolved around a short story competition. One where the only resource available to the writers was six words (of their own choosing of course). The idea for this, stretches back to 1920’s when Ernest Hemingway, within the confides of a bet, penned a complete story in just six words.

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’

And whilst the concept is far from new, it has sort of, kicked me back into action where my writing is concerned. How can I hide behind the excuse of having nothing to write about when all I need is six words. Now, finding the words is a whole other story, but a challenge I relish and look forward to all the same. Everyone has a story to tell, we just need to find the words. I can write my story in six words, or closer to the mark,  I can write it in six million. The important thing is that I keep writing. Because that’s where inspiration is born, a craft is honed and more than anything else, it’s where a voice becomes audible.


 

And now, in a slightly unrelated note…