Monday, February 28, 2011


Have you ever wanted to join famous Finnish band Kemialliset Ystävät? If you have never heard of the Fonal sensations, I bet you have always wanted to be part of a kewl and weird music scene. AND NOW YOU CAN. Look, just click on the link, srsly.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bowlie 2: Friday

Belle & Sebastian largely created the ATP-style festival with the 1998 Bowlie Weekender in Camber Sands. Then in December 2010 they brought us Bowlie 2, this time in Minehead. Read on while I talk about whom I saw there on Friday. People who played at the original have their names italicised.

Best Coast featured a former member of Pocahaunted who has left behind the hypnagogic sound for a simulacrum of indiepop music. Not recommended.

Teenage Fanclub played (badly) at the first Bowlie. This time they delivered a more typically high quality performance that reminded us all of why we loved them. Their songwriting skills remain intact, with recent tune 'The Past' tempting me towards buying their latest album.

Saint Etienne started late because heavy traffic (from a funeral, so no booing) had delayed Sarah Cracknell. We therefore got a show with more music and less yap. The set was rather focussed on their first couple of albums, but these are some of the most enjoyable pop tunes ever and left me wondering why I listen to their music so rarely. They also had some nice visuals, especially of some Northern Soul dancing.

I saw and liked The Go! Team some years ago. In the meantime I started wondering if maybe they were not actually that good, but seeing them again reminds me that no, they storm. Their thing is combining samples of brassy stuff and the like with their own playing of instruments and a lady rapper called Ninja (her real name, your honour) shouting over the top. It makes for dance-tastic music. I like it.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band were not doing any handclapping. We filed a complaint under the Trade Descriptions Act.

The last thing I saw on Friday was Steve Mason. He turns out to be the singer from the Beta Band, and he plays music that sounds not unlike that of his former outfit – languid, percussive, daring, inventive, and so on. But I was a bit puppy tired after a long day of travelling and rocking out, so I retired to the chalet rather than force myself to stay up late and wreck myself for the rest of the festival. I hope to investigate Mr Mason's music further in the future.

An inuit panda production

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Irish election posters

My other blog features an exciting post about Irish election posters and why they are different to the ones you get in other countries.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good Man Saves Puppy

Nutty is a Jack Russell puppy. He saw his mother drinking water from a pond and decided to do the same thing himself. But then he fell in and was unable to climb out. When John Greene saw what had happened, the little puppy had sunk to the bottom of the water and was no longer breathing. So Mr Greene fished him out and revived the little fellow with mouth to mouth resuscitation.

Nutty has made a full recovery, but he is now afraid to go anywhere near the pond.


even more

An inuit panda production

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Favourites 2010

I have prepared a CD-R of my favourite new (to me) tunes of 2010. You can have a copy if you want; let me know and I will make one for you. Here is a list of the tunes with information on where they come from and links to where you can read more about the artist in question.

Art Bears The Song of Investment Capital Overseas
From a private compilation of music featuring Dagmar Krause called Some Questions About Dagmar Krause

Veronica Falls Found Love in a Graveyard
From the Indietracks Festival 2010 compilation

Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now Billie's Genes
This riposte to Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' appears on the album Fixin' The Charts, Vol. 1

Lady Gaga Telephone
From the album The Fame Monster

The Blood Arm Suspicious Character
From the album Lie Lover Lie

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes Home
From the Rough Trade Shops compilation Counter Culture 2009, which I seem not to have reviewed online.

The Duckworth Lewis Method Test Match Special
From the untitled album by the Duckworth Lewis Method

Electrelane To the East
From the album No Shouts, No Calls

Cate Le Bon Eyes So Bright
From the brilliant album Me Oh My. I hope I have not buried this track here where people will not realise how great Cate Le Bon is.

Cluster Heisse Lippen
From the Soul Jazz compilation Deutsche Elektronische Musik: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Musik 1972-83

Fever Ray Seven
From the untitled album by Fever Ray

Cineplexxx Para Mi
From the Indietracks Festival 2010 compilation

Las Cuervas Chan Chan
From the album De Mi Ciudad Te Traigo

Omar Souleyman Hafer Gabrak Bidi (I Will Dig Your Grave with My Hands)
From the album Jazeera Nights: Folk and Pop Sounds of Syria

Group Doueh Ragsa Jaguar
From the album Treeg Salaam

Terrifying Tibetan Child and His Father Vocal with Erhu
From the Sublime Frequencies album Streets of Lhasa

Gerald Barry L'Agitation des Observateurs, le Tremblement des Voyeurs
From the CD given away with the Irish Museum of Modern Art's Boulevard magazine.

Trio Scordatura Invocation
From the album Dubh

The Streets of Lhasa
From the Sublime Frequencies album Streets of Lhasa

An inuit panda production

Monday, February 14, 2011

After Mubarak

Over on my other blog, I have written some things about what might happen now that Mubarak is no longer Egypt's president.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lost in the Internet

In other news, the Journal of Music (formerly The Journal of Music in Ireland) has discontinued print publication and is moving completely to the Internet. I am a bit of a print fetishist, so I will probably read little or nothing of it again*. I am guessing that the move was driven by commercial factors (i.e. poor sales and the costs of bringing out physical issues) rather than the bold opportunities of the internet trumpeted in the mail-out announcing the change. For all that the journal managed to hang in there for a long time (I only really started reading it in its later days), there probably is only so big a market in Ireland for a public dealing with the crazy world of brainy music. Still, I wonder if maybe they made some editorial decisions that, in retrospect, were not the wisest. It did seem like the later issues featured a lot of articles about music criticism or navel gazing about what music is all about, combined with surprisingly little about actual musicians and the work they produce. Still, it is easy for me to say what went wrong in retrospect, it's not like I have ever tried to edit a magazine.

An inuit panda production

*and yes, I am aware of the irony of someone writing a blog post saying that they do not really like reading things online; readers should understand that this material did originally appear in print.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

They call him Percy

Percy Faith Part 2: 1971-1973
Percy Faith Part 3: 1973-1976

Two more compilations from Mr "nlgbbbblth". I cannot in all fairness say that the Percy Faith series has moved me to quite the same extent as the previous Ray Davies one, but this music is really growing me. For those who have not been paying attention, Percy Faith was a band-leader and arranger from an era when it was still commercially viable to release albums of big band versions of the popular hits and film tunes of the day. The tracks are not so much easy listening versions of these tunes as ones that sound almost discofied (for all that these were largely pre-disco times). That means we get versions of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' and 'Tubular Bells' that you could imagine hepcats dancing to in a nightclub seen in some down-with-the-kids film. It's all good fun, but I wonder where the compiler of these will take us next. Could it be that the world is now crying out for a series on the music of Geoff Love And His Orchestra?

An inuit panda production

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

v/a "nlgbbbblth CD 10.11: Like Standing In A Power Station On Acid"

For me, this compilation is all about one track. That track is 'The Boiler', by the Special AKA. I had never heard it before, but I knew of it by reputation. When it came out, I remember reading something about it being banned from the radio for featuring the terrifying scream of a woman being raped. More recently, in the pages of Frank's APA I have read many people talking of it as one of those tunes they admired but hoped never to hear again. So listening to it for the first time was something of a special moment, and doing so I was reminded of that website where pictures are posted of the facial expressions of people looking at the goats.ex* website for the first time.

And so to the track, which I listened to on my iPod will walking along on a brisk autumnal afternoon. The music has that cheery, easy-listening quality that I associate with late period Specials. Initially the spoken vocals match the mood, as this woman tells the story of meeting some handsome man who asks her out on a date. But then it gets a bit less perky, and it ends with the man dragging her into a laneway to sexually assault her. And then she screams.

It is a rather unnerving tune, one deserving of its reputation of horror. There is a part of me that asks – why? Jerry Dammers never struck me as someone who likes to shock for the sake of it, so what is the point of this record? Maybe to tell us that rape is bad, but anyone who does not know that already is probably not a big Specials fan. So what is it for?

I used to wonder why the track was called 'The Boiler'. Maybe there was some kind of water heating apparatus involved, I thought. But no, it is just that the woman keeps referring to herself as an old boiler, self-deprecatingly using a common English put-down for older women. But then, why call the track 'The Boiler'? Giving the track this title seems almost to make it complicit in her degradation and abuse.

So, more questions than answers. Sadly, fear of finding myself accidentally listening to 'The Boiler' again has largely kept this disc from the stereo. I therefore cannot tell you anything about the other tracks, except that many non-horrible tracks by many other popular artists appear on it.

*I think this may be the wrong URL, but trust me, you do not want the right one.

An inuit panda production

Monday, February 07, 2011

Traditional Music from Japan

We also went to a concert of Japanese traditional music in St. Ann's Church on Dawson Street. This had people playing shakuhachi flutes and the biwa (kind of like an east Asian banjo). The biwa came across as a particularly odd instrument, played with a giant plectrum that made as much noise being struck off the instrument as it did playing the strings. The musicians were a mix of Japanese and Irish people. I think my favourite was the Irish biwa player, who really went for it in terms of clothing and adopting that really intense singing voice I associate with Japanese traditional music (even when people are singing about beautiful cherry blossoms falling, everything seems like Such A Big Deal). That said, my favourite individual piece might have been the one for twin shakuhachis that was meant to evoke the sound of deer calling to each other. Anyway, an enjoyable concert – and free! That truly is music to my ears in these troubled economic times.

An inuit panda production


The Egyptian crisis has caused my other blog to spring into life. For the benefit of people who are unfamiliar with the modern history of this fascinating country, I present a short history of modern Egypt, in four episodes.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Little Robin visits shop

A little Robin has been visiting a shop in Aberdeen to get his breakfast. The cheeky bird started to call in during the cold weather in November, and has not stopped since. He sings for his breakfast, entertaining the customers with his musical tones.

The Robin's visits have not been without problems. Before Christmas, the shop had to remove postcards showing pictures of other robins, as their territorial visitor would attack them. However, staff and customers of the shop seem to enjoy their little friend's visits.


further pictures

An inuit panda production