Tuesday, May 18, 2010

30 years ago today: R.I.P. Ian Curtis

A genius and a poet.

"Procession moves on, the shouting is over,
Praise to the glory of loved ones now gone.
Talking aloud as they sit round their tables,
Scattering flowers washed down by the rain.
Stood by the gate at the foot of the garden,
Watching them pass like clouds in the sky,
Try to cry out in the heat of the moment,
Possessed by a fury that burns from inside.

Cry like a child, though these years make me older,
With children my time is so wastefully spent,
A burden to keep, though their inner communion,
Accept like a curse an unlucky deal.
Played by the gate at the foot of the garden,
My view stretches out from the fence to the wall,
No words could explain, no actions determine,
Just watching the trees and the leaves as they fall."

- 'The Eternal'

New Young Pony Club, The Stunning, The Undertones for Temple House Festival

The first acts have been announced for the Temple House Festival, a new boutique-style event that will take place in Temple House, Ballymote, Co. Sligo from September 10th-12th. The line-up will feature New Young Pony Club, The Undertones, The Walls, a Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order) DJ set, 202s, Exit Calm, Ronan O Snodaigh, Donal Dineen, Davide Swarup and John Conneely, Arveene & Misk (Live), Barry Redsetta, Clampdown DJs, Motion Control, The Whiteliars and Maser (artist). There'll be plenty more announced over the next few weeks too.

Tickets for the event, which will also feature 'poetry readings, face painting, holistic therapies, art exhibitions, farmers' market, vintage clothes and jewellery fair plus a plethora of other carefully selected attractions', are priced at 59 euro including booking fees and camping.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Video: High Places - The Longest Shadows

High Places VS Mankind, the second album proper from the LA-based duo, marks a shift in sound from their previous work. Rob Barber and Mary Pearson made their name with a striking, unique sound that combined treated samples, aquatic beats, hypnotic child-like vocals and the use of household instruments for percussion. On their latest release, Pearson's vocals, which previously tended to blend in with the ambience of the music, have now been pushed up in the mix, while much of their new material is more direct and forceful. It may be a different approach, but High Places are still capable of magic, as on the album's opening track, 'The Longest Shadows'. Here's the self-directed clip for the track:

Stream the album below:

High Places - High Places vs. MankindbySpeaker Snacks

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cathy Davey, Josh Ritter, Human League for Galway Arts Festival

The first names have been announced for Big Top duties at this year's Galway Arts Festival: a intriguing-looking triple-header featuring Cathy Davey, Damien Dempsey and Josh Ritter for July 23rd, followed by a Human League/Heaven 17 double-bill on the 24th.

Tickets are available from, priced at €38.50 and €36.50 respectively.

Cathy Davey hits Number 1 spot in Irish charts

How heartening it is in these times of industry uncertainty to see an independently-released album hitting the top spot in the album charts. Cathy Davey has made history by becoming the first Irish artist to top both the domestic independent chart and mainstream chart in the same week. New album The Nameless, released on Hammer Toe Records, went straight in at number 1 this week, knocking AC/DC off the top spot and pipping The National's new album, which entered at 3.

Army Of Tears by schlafshane

Video: Zola Jesus - Night

Directed by Jacqueline Castel.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sleigh Bells album streams on NPR

Sleigh Bells have been building up a buzz for quite some time now, with tunes like 'Crown on the Ground' combining abrasive Times New Viking-like production values with irresistible pop hooks. Debut album Treats is now streaming on if you want to see whether they can live up to the hype.

Sleigh Bells - Crown On The Ground by The Sweetest Superlative


After stirring things up with 'Born Free' and its controversial video, the ever-unpredictable M.I.A. follows up with the less abrasive, more RnB-indebted 'XXXO'.

M.I.A - Xxxo by BoringByTheSea

Video: Memoryhouse - Lately (Deuxieme)

Directed by Church & Steak.

Talulah Does The Hulah - Don't Panic

The Chalets were one of the brightest talents to emerge from this fair isle in the noughtie's, and it was a sad day indeed when they called it a day after just one long-player (2005's Check In). Paula Cullen and Caoimhe Derwin, the two frontwomen in the band, have moved on to pastures new: they're now part of the five-piece Talulah Does The Hulah, joining ex-members of Neosupervital. The group have just released their second single, a double A-side featuring 'Don't Panic' and 'Real Friends'. The mix of sunny harmonies and bittersweet vocals will sound pleasingly familiar to fans of The Chalets. Check out the video (by NYU student Amy Wolf) and two streams below:

Talulah Does The Hula - Real Friendsbystatemagazine

Talulah Does The Hula - Don't Panicbystatemagazine

Jogging - Minutes

The latest release from the ever-excellent Richter Collective label, Minutes is the debut LP from Dublin three-piece Jogging. Fans of Dischord Records, At the Drive-In or our own Giveamanakick will find much to love on this frenetic, pulverising collection; driving riffs, powerhouse drumming and subtle shifts in tempo make for one of the most impressive Irish releases of the year so far. The album is available for streaming on, or can be downloaded for the bargain price of a fiver. It's also available physically from good record stores and There's also a free download of standout track 'Shake Up Shakedown' below.

Jogging: Shape Up Shakedown by Ragged Words

Video: Here We Go Magic - Collector

Fantastic video for the lead track from Here We Go Magic's upcoming second album. Directed by Nat Livingston Johnston, apparently using a 1984 JVC Videomovie camera.

Get 2 free Dum Dum Girls tracks

The tracks in question being 'Bhang Bhang I'm a Burnout' from their I Will Be album, and 'Pay for Me', their side of the exclusive Record Store Day split 7" with Male Bonding. Dum Dum Girls play Whelan's, Dublin, on Tuesday May 18th. Girls Names play support, while A Sunny Day in Glasgow play a late show upstairs - there'll be a discounted ticket price for punters with Dum Dum Girls ticket stubs; first come, first served.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ham Sandwich - The Naturist

New single from the Kells (now)four-piece, who have been working on the follow-up to their very impressive debut Carry the Meek. Good stuff, although it's got more than a passing resemblance to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 'Dudley'.

Ham Sandwich - The Naturist by statemagazine

HEALTH remixes

Certain bands seem to lend themselves to remixes more than others, and LA noise-rockers HEALTH are one of them. Perhaps most famously, Crystal Castles' reshaping of 'Crimewave' was a massive success, while most majestic of all for me was CFCF's take on 'Before Tigers'. Their latest album Get Colour has led to a plethora of quality remixes, many of which will be compiled on the forthcoming Disco 2 (June 22nd). Also included below is the new track proper from HEALTH that will be included on Disco 2, 'USA Boys'.

Health - Die Slow (Tobacco Remix) 192kb by ®© Lair


HEALTH - In Heat (Javelin Remix) by thewildhoneypie

HEALTH - USA Boys by cityslang

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eels, Friendly Fires, The Fall for Electric Picnic

Via On The Record, new additions to the Electric Picnic bill:

Friendly Fires
Laurent Garnier
The Fall
Fight Like Apes
Channel One

Friendly Fires are a terrific festival band, as anyone who saw them at Oxegen last year will testify. And who knows what incarnation of eels will show up? A hard-rocking revue or the acoustic/strings package? Judging by the aesthetic of this year's End Times album, it may well be the latter.

Gig Review: Pavement - Tripod, Dublin, May 4th

The hero's welcome to end all hero's welcomes greets indie legends Pavement as they stride out onto an Irish stage for the first time in over a decade. It's the first night of their long-awaited European tour, this year's temporary reformation putting an end to years of fevered 'will they/won't they?' rumours. In short, gigs - and expectations - don't come much bigger.

Kicking off with the opening brace of tracks from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, 'Silence Kid' and an excellent 'Elevate Me Later', it's immediately apparent that the group - who had a reputation for sloppy live performances throughout their career - are well-drilled and mean business. There really is no messing around tonight: over the course of their two-hour set, the band gleefully runs through thirty-odd choice cuts from a glorious back catalogue that remains one of the finest of any band past or present.

While no-one's going to claim money wasn't a driving force in their re-union, the natural bonhomie and good vibes on stage are clear: The lanky figure of Stephen Malkmus stands stage-right, laconically abusing his guitar and delivering his vocals with no little soul (particularly on a resplendent 'Gold Soundz'); Bob Nastanovich mills around the stage like a man half his age; Scott 'Spiral Stairs' Kannberg doffs his cap to the aviation authorities, while the permanently-cheery Mark Ibold takes centre-stage, fresh from his Sonic Youth moonlighting.

The highlights are many: the breezy sing-along of 'Shady Lane', the blissful alt-country lope of 'Father to a Sister of Thought' and 'Range Life', a rapturously-received 'Stereo', atmospheric renditions of 'Starlings in the Slipstream' and 'Grounded', a typically chaotic 'Unfair', the thrilling guitar climaxes on 'Fight This Generation' and 'Stop Breathin'' of all, arguably, is 'In the Mouth a Desert' - not this fanboy's favourite Pavement song by any means, but tonight it sounds absolutely fantastic: sinister, ill-willed yet strangely anthemic.

There's two encores, and let's face it - with the calibre of material that didn't even make the set, they could have played into the early hours before anyone tired of it. There's maybe a couple of slight niggles: for a band whose unpredictability and sloppiness was part of their legend, there's times tonight where things seem just a tad clinical - 'Box Elder', for example, lacks the ragged lo-fi glory of its original incarnation. Also, and as important as Nastanovich is in the history of the band, I've never really abided his stage act - at times I was reminded of that sketch from Beavis and Butthead where the duo rip the piss out of some guy in a music video who runs around aimlessly and shoves his face into the camera because 'he left his drumkit at home'. Although it does seem to galvanise some of the chin-scratchers in the crowd.

But forget all that. Many of us wondered if this day would ever come. It has. Pavement are back, reminding us all of a halcyon time when a band could launch a thousand fanzines rather than a hundred tweets. Catch them while you can: we may never see their like again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crystal Castles for Academy

Ontario electro/noise merchants and general troublemakers Crystal Castles will play a show in The Academy on October 9th. Their second self-titled album has just been released digitally, and sees them tone down their more abrasive 8-bit freakouts for the most part. Don't hang around, tickets on sale right now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Villagers, Large Mound to support Pavement

It's been an eventful year so far for Villagers, and it's about to get even more so: on May 14th they'll release much-anticipated debut album Becoming a Jackal, and they've also now landed a cherished support slot for the big one: Tuesday night's return of indie legends Pavement to Irish shores. Also supporting will be highly-rated local lads Large Mound.

On the subject of support acts, Porn on Vinyl and Catscars will be supporting High Places upstairs in Whelan's on Wednesday night. If you head over to Porn on Vinyl's MySpace you can download his 2008 album I Spent the Night Thinking With Short Periods of Sleep Interrupted by Visions for free:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Magnetic Island - Summer Phase (demo)

Brooklyn-based duo Magnetic Island, formerly known as RENMINBI, have already released an inspired cover of Lou Reed and John Cale's 'A Dream' so far this year, their first release under their new moniker. They now have a demo of their forthcoming single, 'Summer Phase', available for free download at A solo guitar-and-voice demo, the 'full-band version' will follow in June. 'A Dream' is also still available from the same site.

RENMINBI's excellent self-released Surface EP from last year is available for free download from their/Magnetic Island's MySpace.

Primavera Sound : stage breakdowns

The Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona is now less than a month away, and the breakdown of what's going down throughout the long weekend is becoming clearer. A daily timetable for the festival, showing what stage each act will be playing, is available here:

It's notable that there's some excellent bands playing in the Parc Joan Miro, a separate venue acessible to ticket-holders, on Saturday and Sunday - including A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Ganglians and Thee Oh Sees. For anyone who arrives in Barcelona early, there's also a Wichita Records showcase in the Apolo venue on Wednesday night featuring Los Campesinos, Peggy Sue and First Aid Kit.

As well as that, an extremely provisional timetable is doing the rounds:

While times have yet to be confirmed, the prospect of a back-to-back Broken Social Scene-Pavement-Fuck Buttons triple bill on the first night is almost too awesome to comprehend.

Good shouts as well in giving Owen Pallett and Low slots in the Auditorium.

Is anyone getting excited yet?