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).

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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…

Album Preview: Analogue Wave

So while I’m still working out some technical issues with the full album stream from the Analogue Wave guys. Here’s a  sneak preview of N.L.G. W.V. (well 5 songs is hardly a preview, it’s half their album). If you like what you hear below, I would encourage you to head over to the guys bandcamp and purchase the full album ( http://analoguewave.bandcamp.com/album/n-l-g-w-v ) Happy Listening!

 

I’m Back!!

Hello

OK so here we go, I think it’s about time that I got back up on the proverbial horse and returned to the faithful blog. I do apologise for my lengthy absence but I had the small matter of my final year of College to deal with. But now as I write this post I am free. Free from exams, free from painfully long essays, free from pointless lectures and above all else free from educational slavery. Of course I have to mention that the aforementioned freedoms are subject to me actually passing my final exams and assignments. Fingers crossed though!!

So what have you been up to since my last post here? I’m not addressing any one individual in particular, just trying to be friendly and open up a dialogue so I can tell you everything that I have been up to. So for the past couple of months, as I mentioned above, I’ve been working towards my college degree. This included the production of a documentary film called ‘Under The Influence’ which examined the relationship between video games and their users, but more about that on another day. I also appeared on the radio (can one appear on a primarily auditory medium?) and was asked to give a spiel on the upcoming Irish Festival Season. The blog post for which can be found here. I also have the mp3 file from the interview which I may put up at some stage.

Over the past few months I have received a large number of music submissions from some great bands. Whilst I have not had the time to blog about them it is fair to say that my study playlist was anything but dull. I’ll be catching up on these reviews over the next few weeks so be sure to watch out for the likes of Red Elephant, Analogue Wave, Wolfgirl and many other talented bands.

Finally, you may have (or not) noticed the Roksan logo on the right hand side of the blog.  Relax, it’s not some bad attempt at naming my favourite Police song. The good folks at Roksan Audio have kindly lent me their Radius record player for which I will be using to add a new vinyl review section to the blog. I haven’t exactly settled on a name but I’m looking at something along the lines of ‘The Vinyl Countdown’, ‘The Vinyl Frontier’ or something equally as cheesy. To ensure the fruition of this soon to be launched section I am looking for vinyl records (yeah probably the most obvious one) but if you are in a band and have decided to press vinyl or happen to own records that you would like to donate then please get in touch. Secondly, I will be looking to interview some vinyl enthusiasts and collectors, so if you would consider yourself to be such person then please also get in touch.

And so think that’s it. Now that the silence has been broken you can expect a lot more reviews over the coming weeks, months and possibly even years. But for now let’s stick with tradition and finish with a song. (Bet you didn’t see this one coming)

 

 

Villagers – INEC 18th March (Photo Gallery)

Top 10 Tracks of the Year – Bullet In A Gun

And so here we are, number one. I know I said that I would put this up yesterday but I wanted to build the suspense. There was also the small fact of it being New Years Day and the previous nights festivities did more than enough to keep me from blogging. Which reminds me, Happy New Year!! I cannot think of a better way of starting 2013 then with my number song of, well last year.

2012 has been a great year for the Irish indie-rockers, Delorentos. They graced the stages of prestigious festivals both at home and abroad. They also released their third album, Little Sparks, which has received critical acclaim across the board. And low and behold, my song of the year just so happens to come from said album.

Delorentos – Bullet In A Gun

(Check out the very special live acoustic version below.)

So there we have it. My top 10 tracks of 2012. What did ye make of that? I’ll be amalgamating all individual song’s into one post and putting a Spotify playlist together in the coming days. Be sure to check out my Facebook Page for more details.

Top 10 Tracks of the Year – All I Want

And so we reach the penultimate position of this chart. My selection should not come as a surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with the Irish Music Scene. The Dublin Alternative band, Kodaline, turned heads with their impressive single ‘All I want’. So much so that it took the number two position in my tracks of 2012 chart. With it being New Years Eve and all that I think I will cut this post short. I will be unveiling my number one song of the year tomorrow. Until then, feel free to check out Kodaline below and share your own favourite songs in the comments below.

Kodaline – All I Want