Thursday 22 September 2011


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah recently released their third record, Hysterical. And here I am trying to put down a few words while I'm making sense of where it fits within my musical mind.

I don't even have the proper reference points to know where this music came from. What their influences are, or were. I know the dude who sings is compared to David Byrne. And well, it's indie rock I suppose, which I know a thing or two about. But I just know that, well, they've been a bit hit and miss with me in the past. In fact, mostly miss. Like I've kinda liked the sound, but there's only one track that stuck with me enough to get into heavy rotation which was Details of the War from their self-titled debut.

And as I sit here in my insomniac state, sipping green tea with hints of pineapple. (There's no chamomile left.) I'm just totally gripped by this new music. It reaches out to me, and together we transcend to, well, somewhere else. I don't know exactly where I am, but it's not unpleasant to be here.

There is this frailty to it, and it feels like it's inspired and not intensively labored over. Music for this moment, created in a different moment. There is beauty here, and well. If there is music that can instill in me the image of stark and flawed (but still beautiful) nudity, then this is it. A strong point for me is the opener Same Mistake, but even stronger is Misspent Youth. That is the track I'd recommend to anybody who wants to know what it is I see in this band, in this record. If that does nothing for you, you have my blessing to move on.

I guess, thinking of reference points again, I can hear a bit of what I like about Arcade Fire in this music. I think the record would stand or fall by whether you can stand Alec Ounsworth's (I just looked up his name for the purpose of not writing "the dude who sings" again) imperfect thin vocals, and well, I suppose whether you like indie rock with a DIY aesthetic, but yeah, mostly the voice. That's going to be the make or break element for most people. And well, I have a tendency to like frail desperate male voices. Maybe because I've experienced some frail and desperate moments in my life previously.

I know it's not for everyone, nor for every moment, and I don't have a desire to analyze it to death.
Bottom line: I love this album.

Hysterically good music is occasionally provided by bands with silly names.

Wednesday 23 March 2011


Beady Eye: Different Gear, Still Speeding 
It's not bad music. It's just terribly derivative and well, kind of dull by now.
Actually, I just made it to the third track, and this is bad music. There's no way I'm going to waste my time on playing the rest of this thing.

Tuesday 1 March 2011


These words will be about Kings. Limbs. Radiohead. More like a ramble than a cohesive review.

This may be the first time a record has made it difficult for me to breathe. At first, my gut reaction was something like this is very promising, very promising this is. And then I held my breath. I found myself wondering why this music stirs physical discomfort in me. Is the bass line cleverly composed to work like a thing from horror soundtracks? Are there subliminal drum fills added to create this effect? What is this? Then I realized, the trick is to keep breathing.

I played this record for the first time while sipping divine drops from a cup of freshly brewed coffee. I hit play just as the last metro of the evening was gliding by. And, this is the perfect soundtrack to that fleeting moment of twilight. When you find yourself being the only one. Nothing else exist within your personal dimension. There is only sound. There is only coffee. There is only this.

It begins with disjointed loops, and the voice of Thom Yorke delivering Open your mouth wide, the universe will sigh. It becomes instantly apparent that the electronica that they decided to give a rest on In Rainbows is back in full force. And well, I don't really mind whether they let themselves be influenced by Aphex Twin or Velvet Underground or whatever as long as the songs are good. And the songs here, they are very good.

There's a focus on loops in three of the four first tracks that I don't think I've heard from Radiohead before. This aspect of the record culminates in Feral which is Radiohead's inevitable take on dubstep. Trailing it is is Lotus Flower. This is the track they've chosen to make a video for (which I guess makes it the single.) It is an excellent example of how the rhythm section really shines on this record, a pretty thing with lots of Thom-falsetto. Then, then Codex hit me. Like spring. Like hepatica nobilis. Like soft warm water rolling over me. I have been absolved of all the useless shit I've done. This is the best track. This is the Videotape, the Where I End and You Begin, the You and Whose Army?, the How to Disappear Completely, the Exit Music, the Street Spirit. This is it. This is what we came for.

I have read some opinion-pieces on this record. A lot of people claim that it's split into an electronic side and a piano-ballad side. I think this happens because there are two very excellent slower songs back-to-back in the latter half of the album (Codex and Give Up the Ghost). I think it's a testament to these two songs being so mind-numbingly impressive that people sideline the other two tracks so they can make half the record be about their excellence. That is my thesis anyway. 'Cause I can't really see how Lotus Flower and Seperator are so vastly different in flow from Little By Little or Morning Mr Magpie.

A criticism I've heard from numerous people and newspapers is that they find disappointment in that Radiohead has done nothing new this time. I have to confess that I was too busy listening to the amazing music to really, properly, notice. But it's true that all the tracks are treading sonic territory that we've heard from Radiohead before. I just think it doesn't matter so much because the songs, man, the songs are there.

And then, to counter-point this often-repeated statement: This could have been placed straight after Amnesiac in their discography and it'd make sense in that space. What I'm saying is, I'm not sure if they've ever really done anything to surprise anyone since they released Kid A. I mean don't get me wrong. They've released very good music since then, but have anyone properly gasped at a Radiohead album after that? Did anyone think that man this is so different, it is a different band, why is the name still the same?! - No, I don't think so.

There was a moment that lasted a few days in total. A moment where I found myself in doubt. I was walking through the cityscapes of Dublin with this record in my ears and everything seemed dreary. We had lost and we had not realized before it was too late. The beggars were trying to shout louder than my earphones. Trying to get through the filter. Drag me into the dystopia. I had just been having a conversation with a friend about this record, and he was less than enthusiastic. I could see where he was coming from now. The record was like a soundtrack to disappointment and broken dreams. This was not a good thing.

But then, a few evenings later. I'm listening to The King of Limbs again. And it is. So. Fucking. Good. I think I am just way too impressionable. By environment. By friends. By everything. Yeah, they've revolutionized nothing. What they have done is taken the time to craft eight fantastic new songs. And for that, goddamnit, we should be grateful. Codex, an instant classic. Give up the Ghost, such a lovely piece of music. I mean hell, Little by Little is starting to really grow on me and if there was a low point initially, that was it.

So yeah, it is early, and only time can tell where on the scale this record ends up. But:
This. This fucking record. This fucking record is amazing.

Anecdotal studies have shown that the music improves with coffee, do what you will with this knowledge.

Thursday 17 February 2011


Guinness in hand, hand in pocket.
Yeah, not the same hands obviously. That'd be like one of those impossible geometry graphics. You know which ones I'm talking about. Anyway, I'm recounting an evening in the Olympia Theatre. It is one of my favorite venues, and I was there to see Mogwai in concert.

Now, my expectations were, well, I don't really know what I was expecting. I was thinking that a band that mainly writes instrumental music could be quite boring to see in a live context. Unless they've got an incredible sense of charisma or attitude, otherwise they'd just have to be that good.

Unfortunately, none of the above was really the case. I did find it a bit hard to get excited about what was going on in front of me. I feel ungrateful saying this, because they are excellent musicians and they did play very well. But, I think that in order to win me over, they needed showmanship where instead they were unassuming.

Now I am not saying it was a waste of funds, and that I spent the concert bored out of my mind. Parts of the concert were absolutely amazing. Nevertheless a major part of the experience fell into a territory that I can't categorize as anything more than, well, good. I don't know if I've spoiled myself by going to too many concerts, but when I go see a band play live… I want it to be amazing.

Luckily, there were moments that reached bliss-inspiring levels. There were three pieces of music in particular that stood out to me as being better than anything else. One of them where they tenderly plucked away at their strings to create the most mellow psychedelic sounds to set the stage for a sudden outburst of distortion that nearly made me jump high enough to spill Guinness on my fellow concert-goers. Another one where they created a wall of sound so dense, and so real that I thought it might sweep me off my feet and take me someplace else.

In fact crescendo is something they do very well. It is like you are standing in a field, watching a storm come closer, and then you let it completely immerse you. They've got this raw primal sound to their distorted guitars that triggers an association to Burzum. I'm guessing it is because both instill mental images of nature and ghosts in me.

I think my issue with the performance is that it felt as though I may as well have gone to some rich audiophile's house and listened to the recorded music. With eyes closed I might've gotten the same effect. They had a backdrop that they did some video projections on, but they didn't really utilize this to create anything. Most of their projections seemed a bit random, and didn't really add that much. I suppose if they'd put a lot more work into creating visuals that really fuse with the music thus enhancing the whole experience, Mogwai would be an amazing live act.

Mogwai played the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, February 15th 2011.

Monday 14 February 2011


Radiohead are releasing their new album this Saturday. It's called The King of Limbs and I'm finding it very difficult to contain my excitement. Now, I don't know if I'll absolutely fucking adore it or anything like that. I always find the wait the most exciting. The anticipation. And it's way sweeter when there's just the right amount of it. Skinny Puppy are driving me near-mental, this is better for my sanity.

I love their way of keeping everything under wraps until the week they're planning to release it. With In Rainbows they uploaded it the same day and asked people to pay what they wanted. Of course there was a lot of controversy around it in the end due to bitrates and whatever, but all that was beside the point. For the first time in a while since it became the expected thing that records leak to the internet way ahead of the marketing date, I think everybody (who are fans of radiohead) heard it at the same time. The feeling that there's potentially millions of people listening to the exact same sounds that you are, right now, it's special to me. I think it's rare that I truly feel connected, and the In Rainbows release was definitely one of those moments where I did.

I think it's good for maximizing profit from an album release as well. Be the first one to release it on the internet and do everything you can do to make your digital download the quickest and most convenient way to listen to it. It seems like such a no-brainer. I'm not sure why everyone's not doing it. I think it must be 'cause they're on dumb major labels, or that they're just dumb themselves. Maybe that is an arrogant statement. But. If it's out on a torrent site first, then I'm gonna grab those digital bits and the likelihood of me purchasing the record later drops by, well, truckloads. It has to be pretty fucking stellar, or promoted at the local record shop just at the right moment while I happen to walk through, otherwise I'm not going to be thinking about it.

Sometimes I kinda reel against the internet and this free flow of sonic information. It has definitely cheapened music. I remember waiting in a line to get my hands on a Metallica album. I can't picture myself ever doing anything like it again. Closest thing was when I dropped into Tower Records on day one of the High Violet release. I wanted that purple vinyl so bad, because it was purple and because it was limited and because it was my new favourite band. (And I couldn't just get it online) - I needed this vinyl in spite of not having a vinyl-playing-device! I'm aware that this is insane, but then I'm very happy to own it. Heh. Anyway, I could easily digress and talk about how brilliant The National are, because, well, they are, but the point I was trying to make was this; The internet and it's adhd-like culture has cheapened music. But although it is easy to romanticize older days, I wouldn't want to go back to the way it was before. Without the internet I would possibly not have been into amazing music like The National, Arcade Fire, Mew and well I could go on for a while so I'll stop there. So yeah, something might have been lost along the way, but I've found some pretty cool music online. A lot of it I've even paid for (just maybe not right away). And I get to listen to the new Radiohead record this saturday, at the same time as everybody else. I find this pretty amazing.

So yeah. Radiohead are releasing a new album and I'm fucking ready!
Quickest preorder I've done since 2007.

Monday 7 February 2011


This is the 3rd or 4th reboot of this thing.
I always end up writing really personal stuff that I don't really want to hold up to the light after six months (or whatever) have passed. Like it was all about relationships now, and the angst they inevitably bring. It seemed pertinent to write about it at the time, but it is not so anymore.

The thing is, my personal issues was all there ever was to write about in this kind of format. I'm not sure if I find that as pathetic as I'm supposed to. I mean, everybody vents, and everybody wants a bit of attention now and then. "Find this, read this, and let it touch you." You know, let's communicate like we're fucking satellites. Something like that.

Well it's not like that's all there ever was. I think I used to write about music. The wonder of it. That thrill you feel when you discover a new band that you know is going to define the next six months. The soundtrack to the next few fragments of our lives. I think I'd like to get back to that. I'm old now though, not ancient or anything, but old enough for that thrill to be a rarer thing than it used to be.

I envy my brother in that regard. He's like a spider in the web of spotify and finds new shit on a daily basis it seems. I think my last find that redefined parts of myself must have been The National. Funny thing is that the first post of the first iteration of this thing had a post bemoaning that I just discovered The National like a month after they played Dublin.

So yeah. Hi, this is me. Again.
I go by a few names. Inz on all the pertinent places online. Apparently it's not a terribly original moniker so I find that it's been taken already on twitter, tumblr, you name it. So yeah, I'm Inzx now apparently. I wish it was more clever, but that's what I could think of. It makes me think of my original self with sex and insects added. I guess there are worse things in life.

I don't want to call this a blog by the way.
I was blogging before that idiotic name was dreamed up. I called my online presence The Journal™. It was an integral part of my website. Yeah. All my friends had personal websites. I don't think this is done so much now. There are too many services that lets you share your creations or thoughts or whatever. It was an interesting time though. I don't know what this thing is going to be for. Obviously I haven't had much luck with it so far as I keep clearing it and starting over. I suppose I should just make a conscious effort to grow out of the familiar groove. I mean, people my age don't blog about their personal spheres and feelings so much. It seems to be all about coffee and flowers.