Top 10 Tracks of the Year – No Way To Live

And so we reach the halfway point in this list of intricate and inspiring melodies from the year that was due to bring about our Armageddon. I apologise for that little outburst. I am currently suffering from a minor bout of writers block and so I have decided to use this blog post to hopefully jump start my mind. As well as that I am also going to unveil the fifth place song in this highly unique end of year poll.

Mick Flanery – No Way To Live

There was no way I was going to exclude this gravelly voiced corkonian from my top tracks of 2012 list. No Way To Live is taken from Mick Flannery’s very impressive 2012 album, Red To Blue and is a stand out track from the year gone by. The lyrics are poignant, the vocals hard-hitting and the music is overall energetic, uplifting and refreshing. I think that says it all.

Stay tuned for number four.

 

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New Facebook Page

Hey guys, this is just a quick post to let you know that I have launched a Facebook page for my blog. You can find this illusive page on the right of your screen under the Join The Club tab or you could just follow this link.

Like my blog, this page will be a place to discover new music while celebrating the old. I hope to create a mini community where people can share their favourite bands, musicians, DJ’s or whatever. All I ask is that you go easy on the pop music.

And now how about something good?


See what I did there?

Introducing – Golden BC

I get a lot of emails from bands and PR companies alike asking me to listen to their album and possibly write a review. Regrettably I do not always have time to get through all these requests. But I’m hoping to rectify this, a little bit anyway, by showcasing some of the very talented bands who got in touch in the past.

I’ve decided to get the ball rolling with Golden BC, the solo project of Canadian singer-songwriter Brian Offredi. His debut album, Just Take It, was released last month and can be streamed here.

On first listen, Just Take It, seems to be a highly conceptual and atmospheric record. The album was two years in the making a fact which is clearly reflected in some tracks. The attention to detail on tracks like ‘John’, with its intricate and chilling  ‘musical knife strokes’, is refreshing while the rough edgyness of  ‘Afraid To Wake Up’ and ‘The Idiots’ makes for a layered and well-rounded record.

Below is an excerpt from Golden BC’s official website.

“On a dark and stormy night in May 2006, Brian Offredi (a.k.a. Golden B.C.) sat down with a bottle of Jack Daniels and an acoustic guitar and decided he was going to write his first song—despite the fact he’d never taken a guitar lesson and had owned the instrument less than a day. He pledged that he would not get up until both the bottle and the song were complete. The next day he woke up with a ghastly hangover and pages of illegible scribbles that vaguely resembled lyrics. Eight months later, he released his first EP.”

You can download ‘Just Take It’ from Bandcamp for the reasonable price of $5CAD. I have no idea how that translates into Euro, Sterling or whatever currency you use, but it seems like a fair price all the same.

Aslan @ INEC Acoustic Club 16/06/12

Aslan’s gig at the INEC proved to be a real diverse affair. The crowd varied from the die-hard apostles, who followed the band from the early stages, to the new fans embarking on their Aslan pilgrimage. The set-list did well to reflect this diversity with an interesting fusion of songs both old and new. The one thing that remained constant on the night was Aslan’s mesmerising stage presence. Their passion fuelled performance and the band’s triple encore kept the Acoustic Club rocking well into the small hours.

Dave Morrissey got the ball rolling with a collection of interesting tracks off his album ‘Bring Out The Light’. He made an honest effort engaging with the crowd and set the mood for the night ahead.

After his short set, Aslan took to the stage. The North Dublin rockers opened the show with ’Wait for our friends’, an upbeat track from their new album. The peculiar named album ‘Nudie Books And Frenchies’, released to coincide with Aslan’s 30 year anniversary, provided an abundance of tantalizing tracks which acted as the perfect filler in-between the band ‘classics’. The Acoustic Club accommodated for an intimate sit down affair which allowed the gig to develop a more personal atmosphere. Frontman, Christy Dignam, enthralled the crowd with captivating backstories of songs as he performed them.

Some of the more stand out tunes of the night included ‘Lucy Jones Part 1’, ‘Too Late For Hallelujah’, ‘We Did’ and of course the iconic ‘Crazy World’ which got the crowd off their feet and reverted the gig back to the conventional format. Aslan ended the gig on a high note with their first ever single ‘This Is’, a song once rejected by Bono and Mother Records and defiantly became one of Irelands longest played radio singles on 2FM.

After 30 years of gigging, Dignam and Co. decided to skip the formalities in regard to the ‘encore’. Rather than leave the stage for an undisclosed number of minutes, letting the crowd grow a bit restless and inevitably be called back to the chorus of ‘One More Tune!’, Aslan opted to get on with things. The encore offered up an impressive triumvirate of songs. ‘Too Late For Hallelujah’ led the charge, getting its second play of the night. What followed was an interesting solo cover of Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ as well as a crowd pleasing rendition of ‘Hey Jude’.

Overall, it was a fantastic gig. The small Acoustic Club provided an intimate setting which allowed for more engagement with the crowd. It was a passionate, heartfelt performance from the Dublin lads and a true testament to Irish rock. Aslan have been around the music scene for a long time, recorded some amazing songs and have worked harder than necessary to get to where they are today. With a new album and a renewed vigour it may not be much longer till they reach the levels of success they undoubtedly deserve.

Why Skyfall Is Not A Good Film

With Bond reaching the ripe ole age of fifty this year, something special was needed to mark the landmark occasion. And taking both the critical acclaim and the box office success into account, it seems that 007 may have thrown the party of the year with Skyfall. But in this stellar year for ‘films longest running franchise’ is this really the best they could come up with?

Skyfall opens right in the action with Bond doing his thing, which we all know at this stage involves tearing up some exotic city while shooting at ‘bad guys’. And of course we cannot forget the absurd car chase. Or car/bike/train/mechanical digger, chase. The opening scene looks and feels like a 007 video game and when James Bond, do I really need to warn you about spoilers at this stage,  takes a premature tumble I almost expected  a ‘Game Over’ logo to appear on screen.

Bond may have survived getting shot, falling off a bridge and being dragged under water for the entire duration of Adele’s quiet impressive theme tune. But the film does not get off as lightly and from this point on begins its slow and agonising death. The script, in parts, is unbearable and the dialogue between characters is painfully monotonous. Javier Bardem is a great actor who tries in vain to rescue his bluntly crafted character (Mr Silva) from falling into the obvious Joker-esque role. But unfortunately he is not properly utilized and remains nothing more than a potentially good Bond villain.

With Skyfall marking Judi Dench’ seventh outing as the maternal spymaster ‘M’, it was only fair that she would occupy a more central role. She is so involved, that she ends up filling the role of Bond Girl. But of course she is not credited in this role, the honour of which falls to Bérénice Marlohe. Her 30 seconds of fame sees her head used as a coaster and not much else really.

But Skyfall does have its redeeming moments. A certain scene with an unmistakable Bond Veteran is the saving grace of the entire film. Ralph Fiennes also does well in his role of ‘M’ in waiting. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is also impressive but seemed over-lavish in parts which may have been down to fact that he was constantly trying to disguise the overall lack of a substantial plot.

I really wanted to enjoy this film. But unfortunately I just couldn’t. Skyfall lacked the overall ‘Bond Edge’ and rather than playing out as an epic it was noticeably long and arduously boring. Sam Mendes showed us a glimpse of ‘OAP Bond’ and provides a stark warning that even superheroes can grow old. But as the titles promised ‘Bond Will Be Back’, and with new fresher versions of Q, M and Ms Moneypenny it seems the future of the franchise is all but guaranteed for the next 50 years to come.

John Spillane Live @ Sol y Sombra

‘Welcome to the Hit Factory’

An eclectic and eccentric performance with everything from ‘Killer Whales’ to ‘Cherry Trees’ packaged and delivered  in true corkonian style on the altar of the Sol y Sombra Tapas Bar.

The mood is immediately set by Brian Flanagan with an interfusion of both laid back and thought-provoking tunes. He does well to warm up the intimate crowd and when it is time for Spillane to take to the stage both the atmosphere and crowd are noticeably effervescent.

The venue, a whimsical cross between a beautifully restored Irish church and Spanish Tapas Bar, provides the perfect setting for the nights entertainment. With its intimate size and closeness of the stage it hard not to be absorbed by the live performance.

The set list for the night spans his entire back catalogue with musical delights and crowd favourites such as ‘The Dance of The Cherry Tree’, ‘Dunnes Stores Girl’, ‘Passage West’ and countless other songs that Spillane ‘made up in his own imagination’.

His well worked routine has the crowd in stitches and personally I cannot recall a gig where I laughed as much. But songs like ‘There Was A Man’ and ‘Gortatogort’ quickly remind us that there is a serious musician behind all the jokes and laughter.

Overall the gig is a great success. A spell bounding feat of awe-inspiring lyrical ability paired with a well worked mastery of the guitar allowed the solitary figure in the red shirt to fill the stage and light up the room as well as the faces of those who occupied it.

A great showcase for all that is right with Irish Music.

Pop Songs I Don’t Hate

I wanted to call this post ‘Pop songs I can mildly tolerate without losing the will to live and wishing I had a hot poker to drive into my ears so the last thing I didn’t hear as I left this world was the sound of that ghastly song’. But It was just a bit too long for the title section and also might have been a bit extreme.  So instead I opted for pop songs I don’t hate. It seems a little less psychotic. This section, well assuming that it grows into a section, will be a place where I feature popular songs or over-hyped artists who fill me with the tiniest bit of faith in modern pop music.

For the first week I have decided to go with the new one from Bruno Mars. You know that one which everyone keeps saying sounds like an old Police song. I have my issues with Mars (The singer, not the planet). I don’t rate him too highly if I’m to be honest. He’s a man who goes through phases of ripping off other artists musical style. James Brown, need I say anymore. And now it seems that he has cast his beady eyes on to The Police (once again to clarify, I am talking about the band). And this is the only reason why I am paying him any attention. His selection was entirely by default. Why you ask, well I hope you ask, seeing as I cannot hear you (excuse the pun) I will automatically assume
that you are.

The only reason I picked this song is because well if the police were to come back, deflate stings huge ego and release this song, I would love it. I have always believed that a song should be judged separately from the singer. And so this is why you may also find yourself listening to Bruno Mars on my blog.

I probably shouldn’t say anymore in case I talk myself out of posting this. So here goes nothing. I’m posting a pop song on my blog. Should anything go wrong I would just like to thank all my followers and readers. Without you this blog would be pointless.

But wait, there’s more. It wouldn’t be fair unless I offered an alternative right? I’ll let you decide which is better. If, like me, you prefer the second one then please feel free to leave a comment. However if you find yourself going with the first one then please keep your opinions to yourself (of course I am joking, all opinions are welcome, even wrong ones)