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)
Have you seen this yet?
Paperman is Disney’s Oscar Nominated short film/animation. They have only just made it available on their official YouTube channel and it is most certainly worth watching. For those of you too lazy to go to YouTube, don’t worry, I have it below.
Ironically enough, the retro, almost hand drawn style of the short animation was achieved through a new animation software package called Meander. This allowed animators to actually draw over CGI enhanced backgrounds.
What Disney have managed to create within six minutes and thirty-five seconds is refreshing and offers a new and well needed alternative to the generic slog of modern-day animation out there. But that’s not to say that all animation is terrible and neither am I ignoring the fact that Disney are partly responsible for releasing their own fair share of less that adequate films in recent times.
Anyway, rant over now. So watch it below, enjoy and of course let me know what you think.
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
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’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.