Laptop Dancer* - Glasser live in The Button Factory, Dublin - Tuesday 27th May 2014
“I am Glasser. We are Glasser. We all are Glasser" This is Cameron Mesirow greeted Dublin last night at the start of her summer tour. When I say Glasser previously in Crawdaddy back in 2011 she had a band with her. Tonight it is just her, a laptop musician and a big empty stage, save for a small screen for projections. Unfortunately the crowd is pretty sparse too with barely a hundred people present.
Not to be deterred in any way they kick the night off with ‘Shape’ the opening track from last years ‘Interiors' album. Cameron is in fine form filling the air with her impeccable vocals and the stage with her dance moves, especially when the harder beats of 'Forge' kick in. She busts out some coquettish moves during 'Exposure' and shows her full vocal range with some operatic wailing. At times her dancing borders on interpretive parody but that doesn't matter when she has songs as powerful as the brooding & moody 'Landscape'.
She introduces ‘Dissect’ by telling us it is about becoming invisible, and with a soundtrack filled with oriental and animal sounds she breaks into a big dance solo with arms & legs flung every which way. The beat for ‘Keam Theme’ is almost four to the floor, and when they finally delve back into debut album ‘Ring' there are tribal beats and yelps aplenty. 'New Year' has plenty of brass flourishes to keep us interest and on 'Mirrorage' she skipped across the stage miming lassoing or something similar.
After explaining it was good to be playing live again after many months of a hiatus, Cameron thanked us for coming and finished the night off with Interiors closing track ‘Divide’ which mixed a pounding bass drum, oriental riffs and aching violin to great effect. Although there a lot of acts out there melding electronic beats with impressive vocals, few are as unique and impressive Glasser. Despite this, and perhaps because she veers towards left field, she doesn’t quite get the audience she deserves. However as long as she keeps making music I’ll keep listening.
Live through a Lens- Camera Obscura live in The Button Factory, Dublin - Monday 26th May 2014
It was an ominous sign when the venue for Camera Obscura's Dublin return last night was downgraded from Vicar Street to The Button Factory, but even though the balcony was closed, downstairs the thronged by the time Traceyanne Campbell and her six-strong cohort hit the stage. Opening with the sweet pop of 'Break It To You' the band treated us to more mellifluous melodies than is probably good for you in one sitting.
The kept kept the mood upbeat for the next couple of songs: ‘New Years Resolution’ with its gently over-driven guitar lead and the delight that is ‘Let’s Get out of This Country.’ After thanking us for choosing their gig over Michael Bolton in the Olympia, Traceyanne switched to acoustic guitar and the band dropped the pace for ‘Forest and Sands’ which had plenty of pedal steel flourishes from auxiliary member Tim at the back of the stage. ‘Desire Lines’ with its gentle organ thrills seemed particularly apt with its refrain of ‘I’ll Vote For You’ & Traceyanne even joked about whether to let the SNP use it for their campaign.
They lifted the pace again with ‘Honey In The Sun’ which delivered a brass-fueled serotonin rush on every repeat of the chorus. After some headphone issues Traceyanne broke out the tambourine for the Motown-style stomp of ‘French Navy’. ‘This Love Feels Alright’ followed with some triangle and “fake saxophone” and after ‘Cri Du Coeur’ they delivered ‘Country Mile’ at a funeral place with beautiful slide guitar. ‘Every Weekday’ came over all gentle-jangle with plenty of off-mic backing vocals while ‘Do It Again’s giddy pop brought them as near to rocking out as Camera Obscura get.
'If Looks Could Kill' started with a tom-tom rumble before the bass, brass and band all joined in. They finished the main set with the title track of 2009's my maudlin career but thankfully they all returned for a triple encore. First up was 'Come Back Margaret' with its glitter stomp, hand-clap breakdown and false ending. Traceyanne delivered 'Books Written For Girls' with minimal backing: just plucked guitar and piano chords with a haunting pedal steel solo thrown in for good measure. They finished the night with 'Razzle Dazzle Rosie' which built from its long brass-buoyed intro to an epic strummed ending. For some reason my expectations for the gig weren't that high but I couldn't have been more impressed with every note an ebullient delight.
Josh Haden - Dana (audio)
I have raved about the band Spain on The Lions Share a couple of times, most recently back in March when they released their excellent current album ‘Sargents Place’. For some reason that I am not aware of, and only know about due to Spain’s Facebook feed, their front man Josh Haden has just released a solo track called ‘Dana’. It is just him and an acoustic and a lot of reverb. Magical. And he is pronouncing Dana with the first “a” as a “aye” rather than the Irish “ah” way. So not an ode to our first Eurovision winner who turned in a holy-joe right-wing c*nt.
Sinead Harnett - No Other Way (Audio)
Just under a year ago we featured the debut solo single from Disclosure and Rudimental collaborator Sinead Hartnett. Well this young London lady is back with another slab of sweet electro-pop R&B in the form of new single ‘No Other Way’. This time the production comes from Snakehips and the word is the track is from her debut EP ‘N.O.W.’ on 15 June via 333 Records.
If you want to hear more Sinead check out the Ryan Hemsworth track ‘Small + Lost’ which she featured on last year.
Honeyblood - Killer Bangs (Video)
Last November we featuredHoneyblood's debut 7” for Fat Cat Records ‘Bud’ n/w ‘Kissing On You’. Well this awesome twosome is back with new single ‘Killer Bangs’. You can check a live session video of the track above and a Spotify embed of B-Side ‘Drowsy’ below. The two Scottish ladies have recorded their debut album and it will be released on 14th July. No name or track listening yet but The Lions Share is excited about the prospect, are you?
The Hold Steady - I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You (Video) + Dublin Date
My little Bandsintown App was busy last week announcing new gigs. Possibly the best news it broke to me was the fact that one of my favourite bands The Hold Steady are returning to Dublin on 18th October with a show at The Academy in support of their current album Teeth Dreams. Even-though I have seen them a good few times before I will definitely be one of the first in the virtual queue when the tickets go on sale on Tuesday 27th May.
Support on the night will come from The So Sos Glos, Brooklyn punk-rockers, whose fourth album Blowout got released in this part of the world last week. Watch the fun for the rather Strokesy track ‘Speakeasy’ below.
P.S. I Love You - Hospitality & My Sad Captains Live in Whelans, Dublin - Saturday 24th May 2014
As I walking towards Whelans last night, in the dank May rain, I could hear the unsettling sound of One Direction wafting through the air from a few kilometers away in Croke Park. I guess bland manufactured mediocrity will have always have its place but last night my place was in a less-than crowded Whelans to check yet another “Brooklyn Based Band”.
However first up we had set from My Sad Captain touring on the back of the very impressive debut Bella Union album ‘Best of Times,' released a couple of months back. As the four-piece have been going for about 10 years they have a solid, reassured, non-genre specific indie-band sound with plenty of nice guitar playing and added samples. They seemed to grow into their nuanced performance as they progressed and probably reached a peak with the penultimate track 'Hardly There' which always reminds me of Yo La Tengo for some reason. They were well received by the crowd and I heard lots of positive comments afterwards.
Hospitality's set got off to an inauspicious start when after doing her “Hello we are Hospitality" intro front-woman Amber Papini realised she had no power. After a bit of foostering and fumbling they got re-energised, repeated the intro and struck-up opener ‘Inauguration.’ The four piece had a tight sound with Brian Betancourt’s bass playing, courtesy of a McCartney-style left-handed Hofner, really coming to the fore on the melodious ‘Friend of Friends.’ Things got a little funkier on ‘Going Out’ with keyboard player David Christian adding in some shaker sounds before they all rocked out on ‘The Right Profession’.
While a bit of instrument swapping was going on Brian explained how happy he was to perform where they filmed the dance scene from P.S. I Love You, a film which thankfully I haven’t seen. Amber took on keyboard duties for ‘Nightingale’ and with Nathan Michel now out from behind the drums, he was able to deliver a big-assed guitar solo. His guitar playing was again to the fore of the double shot of ‘Monkey’ which was the b-side to the jerky ‘The Drift’ which followed. These were followed with a double-shot of songs about the ocean: ‘Sullivan’ with its restrained beautiful pads and dizzying bass-runs and the mellow ‘Sunship’ whose guitar solo boarded on cheesy.
They moved up a gear or two for the closing trio of songs: ‘Last Words’ on which Brian moved from bass to sampler; the pop brilliance of ‘Rocket and Jets’ with a Neil Young-esque squalling guitar lead and some meandering and mesmerizing bass playing and finally the stop-start delight of ‘I Miss Your Bones’ replete with tambourine shaking and some of Amber’s own solos. After a short pause Amber returned for a slightly wonky solo track before the band rejoined her for playful closer ‘Betty Wang.’ It was a fitting end to a fine evening of music which kept me so engrossed I barely remembered to check the score in the Champions League final and the latest election counts.
Sylvan Esso - Play It Right (Video) & Dublin Date
Back in March we posted a few tracks from electro-pop due Sylvan Esso (who feature Amelia Meath from Mountain Man on Vocals). Anyway since then their self-titled debut album has cone out on ?? and it is every bit as good as the early tracks teased.
Even better news for Irish fans is that there are touring later in the year and will be stopping off in The Workman’s Club on 7th October. I have already gotten a ticket for the ridiculously good value of €13. You gonna get one too?
Oh here is a shitty picture of Amelia with Mountain Man when they played Crawdaddy in Dublin in July 2010. It was a great understated show:
Cosines - Commuter Love (Video)
Another week without very posts posts due to work (I even missed the Speedy Ortiz gig on Tuesday) so I thought I would post another recent track about the daily grind, complete with an excellent low-budget video.
The track ‘Commuter Love' is a delicious stomp with a distorted organ sound to the fore. The band, Cosines, are from North London. They are centered around Simon Nelson and Alice Hubley who met on the London Underground some years back. ‘Commuter Love’ with its chirpy indie-pop b-side ‘Disclosed Stories’ is their second singles on the Fika Recordings label. Their debut ‘Hey Sailor Boy!’ b/w ‘The Answer’ came out last year and is blessed with the same ebullient eclecticism and fine fine art-work.
Hitting the Write Note - Gruff Rhys Live in Whelans, Dublin - 17th May 2014
It is fair to say the in his various musical guises (Super Furry Animals, Neon Neon, Ffa Coffi Pawb and beyond) Gruff Rhys' output has been as catholic and charming as it has been weird and wonderful. He has also never been afraid to limit himself to one medium either: I remember buying Phantom Power on interactive DVD mixed in surround sound. But with his latest project ‘American Interior' he has really outdone himself delivering an album, a movie, an app and a book. Last night’s event in Whelans, as part of the Dublin Writers Festival, was really tied to the later but I am guessing a lot of the sellout crowd where there for the music.
The evening kicked off early with an onstage interview between Gruff and Irish Times writer Tony Clayton Lea. Over the 45 minutes or so, the interview covered a lot, starting with his latest project, about his distant relative John Evans' eighteenth century search for a Welsh speaking tribe of Native Americans (although I think First Nation is the PC term now) that are connected to fabled Prince Madoc who alleged sailed from Wales to America in 1170. The interview also touched on his pre-SFA Welsh language punk rock past; the heady days of Creation records and his missed opportunity to write for Britney Spears. While at times he looked a bit uneasy, Gruff’s good-natured insouciant charm kept us all in engaged.
After a short break Gruff returned, with his woolen hat replaced by a wolf-like headdress, to press play on a 10-minute introductory video about the legend of Prince Madoc. Upon its completion the music started with ‘Year Of The Dog’ up first, closely followed by ‘The Court of King Arthur’ on which he broke out the harmonica to add a bit of musical flavour to his voice and acoustic guitar. Between songs he regaled us with tales of his travels in footsteps of John Evans, replete with pictures provided by way of an iPad projected onto two large screens. Although Gruff has obviously put a huge amount of time and effort into this multifaceted project, his wry delivery belies an understanding that it is a pretty niche concern and one neither he nor us are going to take a academic historical study.
The music continued with the album title track ‘American Interior’ which had some nice vocal doubling effects. The song ‘Iolo' is named after a contemporary of John Evan's who stayed in London rather than undertaking an American adventure. While dipping into his back catalogue for tracks like 'Shark Ridden Waters' Gruff had to make more strained and amusing links to Evan's adventure in order to shoehorn them in. He also broke out a myriad of devices to aid his musical delivery including a wind-up metronome, backing tracks on vinyl and some vocal looping.
Having journeyed up and down the Missouri River with John Evans, ending with his untimely death in New Orleans, Gruff finished the night off with the song ‘100 Unread Message’ which recapped the entire adventure in a four-minute pop song riddled with key changes and clever lyrics. As he scarpered stage left he left the John Evan’s doll onstage to watch over us as well basked in the glow of a fabulous evening’s entertainment filled with pathos & bathos.
Panes - Panes EP (Audio)
Nepotism has had a bad name down through the ages but who doesn’t want the best for their family members? So when Lions Share favourite Neneh Cherry gave a shout out to her daughter’s band Panes on twitter yesterday I was always going to check it out.
Like every other interesting group out there at the moment Panes are a him-her electronic duo with Ms. Cherry Jr,. Tyson McVey providing the warm enveloping vocals and musical partner Shaun Savage providing the apposite beats, bass and lush pads. There is plenty in the 4 songs here to get stuck into, which each track hitting a different sweet spot on my aural palette, The EP is out now / Monday on Brown Rice Records. Recommended for all the right reasons.
Laetitia Sadier - Then, I Will Love You Again (Audio)
In my review of the Neutral Milk Hotel gig I mentioned support act Laetitia Sadier has a new single called ‘Then, I Will Love You Again’. Even though it was released back in April on Drag City I completely missed it, as seemingly did most of the blogosphere. Which is a pity because it a fine sub-three minute gentle indie pop song with Laetitia’s distinctive voice accompanied by strummed guitars, strings and some brass & clapping where required. Not sure if there is another album on the way anything soon but she is on tour around Europe until the end of the month.
Brass in Pocket - Neutral Milk Hotel & Laetitia Sadier - Live In Vicar Street, Dublin - 16th May 2014
I think I first heard Neutral Milk Hotel back in the late nineties via a C90 with ‘In The Aeroplane Over The Sea' on one side and something by the Mountain Goats on the other, sent to me by an American friend. Even-though I was completely won over by its melodic left-field charms, I didn’t that 15 years later I would be crammed into a sticky Vicar Street on the hottest night of the year to date, celebrating this rightly-regarded classic with a bunch of hairy hipsters who were probably listening to Barney when it was first released.
But first up we had a short set from former Stereolab front woman and now solo artist in her own right, Laetitia Sadier. Accompanied by a guitarist and drummer her set-list drew heavily from her most recent album ‘Silencio’: cue the jaunty ‘Between Earth and Heaven’ with its tempo changes’, the lush ‘There is a Price to Pay for Freedom…’ and politically overt romp ‘Auscultation to the Nation’ which inspired Laetitia to comment on our plague of election posters. Seeming very relaxed in their support slot role the band effortlessly reached the climax with last song and current single ‘Then, I Will Love You Again' on which they all let loose a bit with some frenetic strumming.
The lull between bands can often seem interminable, especially when you are stuck beside try-hard teenagers trying to outsmart each other by talking naively about War & Peace and Daft Punk, but at least there were plenty of instruments being setup on stage to distract me. The show kicked off with a be-capped Jeff Magnum coming on-stage alone to crack into ‘The King of Carrot Flowers’ only to be quickly joined by his band mates as the music flicked through the gears on Parts One, Two & Three. If anything ‘Holland, 1945’ ratcheted the energy up even further with Julian Koster throwing himself around the stage with alacrity, switching between saw, accordian, bass and whatever other instruments were called for. While mustachioed drummer Jeremy Barnes kept the beat pounding, the strangely-bearded Scott Spillane sang along with every word when he wasn’t working his way through a myriad of brass instruments and whatever else was required, along with an unknown fifth member and a lady who joined for a few songs.
The band kept the tempo and energy high on ‘A Baby for Pree’, ‘Gardenhead’ & ‘Everything Is’ before leaving Jeff to deliver of monstrous and magnificent ‘Two-Headed Boy’ solo. They all followed on with ‘The Fool’ and during ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’ I got severely chastised by one of the bouncers for taking pictures, contrary to instruction we were given (mea culpa). Having started the set at such a blistering pace things did begin to lull a little at this stage but this was rectified by a stirring solo version of ‘Oh Comely’ with the band rejoining Jeff for the extended coda.
'Song About Sex' saw plenty of tromboning and it subtly morphed into 'Ruby Bulbs' which saw the unnamed female member return on guitar while the boys stirred up an impressive racket with bells, French horns and tubas (or euphoniums - who can tell?). The track blended into closing 'Snow Song Pt. 1' which saw Julian bowing his banjo for all its worth.
Given how euphoric the main set was I wasn’t sure I wanted an encore for fear it wouldn’t live up to what went before. However I needn’t have worried with the piano-like strum of ‘Ghost’ being ably propelled by brass, bass and bouncing during the coda. ‘Two-Headed Boy Pt 2’ had a little saw accompaniment for the intro but Jeff was left to deliver it most of it solo. All the band returned for the final closing lullaby of ‘Engine’ which was just the final icing on a blistering celebratory night.
This Is What It Sounds Like…. Jimi Goodwin, Live in Whelans, Dublin - Monday 12th May 2014
They say the over time dogs begin resemble their owners their owners and the same could probably be said of gig audiences tonight, given the amount of gracefully aging blokes, à la Jimi, that are in the enthusiastic Monday crows. The Doves front man is touring his recently released and better than expected debut solo album ‘Odludek' and has brought three able players along with him on guitar, keys and drums, while handling the bass and occasional acoustic guitar himself.
The set is heavy on Odludek track with ‘Didsbury Girl’ and ‘Oh! Whiskey’ early highlights. Indeed some anonymous punter left of bottle of Bushmills on stage for Jimi during the later which he selflessly passed around the crows. Given that he had a cold-sore he decided not to swig from the bottle himself. Amongst the solo tracks he slipped in a few Doves classic with ‘Snowden’ as incendiary as ever and ‘The Last Broadcast’ festooned with guitarist Jake’s carefull picked arpeggios. The other track from Odludek which stand out for me, both on record, and live last night, is ‘Man v Dingo’ which comes across as a mad brass-infused stomp.
After finsihng the main set with ‘Lonely at the Drop’ the band returned for a Doves heavy encore first giving us a slightly different sounding version of ‘The Sulphur Man’ and following is up with the more obscure ‘Northenden’. Having run out of rehearsed songs at this point Jimi broke into a impromptu a cappella version of Copacabana before reprising ‘Oh Whiskey’ to round out an enjoyable if only occasionally spectacular night.
31Ø8 - Go To Hell (audio)
Every week brings a myriad of new music: and while new releases by old favourites are great, new discoveries are even better. In the latter category for me this week is the eponymous debut album from 31Ø8 (don’t Google 3108 or you will just end up with lots of links to old Nokia phones) on Trouble In Mind Records.
31Ø8 is the nom de tune of Tyler Zypreksa who has been busy writign and self-recording the 10 tracks which make up this stunning debut. It’s hard to stick a genre on the album and the man himself cites La Düsseldorf, Mayo Thompson, and John Hughes soundtracks. More aptly you should probably be thinking left-field indie-pop with catchy fuzzy guitars, lofi percussion and memorable melodies. I’m finding it hard to remember to debut album that surprised and grabbed me as hard on the first listen as 31Ø8. So big props to Zypreksa for the songs and fair fucks to Trouble In Mind for taking a chance on an unsolicited e-mail (also worth checking out on TiM are recent releases from Morgan Delt & Klaus Johann Grobe).