State Magazine Ireland's Music Payload Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:58:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This Is Where I Leave You - When the Levy breaks Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:58:19 +0000 Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne and Corey Stoll
Certificate: 15a
Running Time: 103 minutes
Release Date: October 24th

Meet the Altman’s.  They’re a bland, privileged, white family whose apparent dysfunctional nature somehow means that you should take interest in their problems for an hour and forty-five minutes. Brought together by the death of the family patriarch, This Is Where I Leave You can be essentially summed up as being August: Osage County for dummies.

Every member of this family happens to be suffering from separate issues. Judd (Jason Bateman) is radio producer who is going through a divorce after catching his wife sleeping with his shock jock boss. Wendy (Tina Fey) is trapped in a loveless marriage. Oldest brother Paul (Corey Stoll) and his wife have been desperately trying to have a child for the longest time and baby brother Phillip (Adam Driver) is an immature screw-up. While their father was an atheistic Jew, his dying wish, according to their mother (Jane Fonda), was for the family to sit Shiva, forcing them to spend a week together.

As you can tell, there is a very impressive cast at work here. However it becomes clear very early on that a good cast does not make a good movie. One problem is that none of the actors are given anything that takes them out of their comfort zone. So you have Bateman playing the straight man. Driver is the irresponsible hipster. Fey is fussy. Stoll is underdeveloped. The film might as well have been called Typecast! – The Movie!

One big issue is that it’s completely overcrowded with a huge array of subplots. So not only do we have the main family plot but we also have Judd rekindling a relationship with a woman (Rose Byrne) and finding out his estranged wife is pregnant, Wendy trying to cope with her feelings towards her ex Horry (Timothy Olyphant) who still lives with his mother across the street after suffering brain injuries from an accident. There is also the fact that Paul’s wife used to date Judd and Phillip inviting his older girlfriend over while also fighting the temptation to sleep around with old girlfriends. While normally this amount of plot would usually be completely overwhelming and hard to follow, the film lacks anything resembling tension or engagement with these characters that it seems that the seer amount of subplots is actually a challenge to the audience to find any kind of emotional involvement with the film.

This lack of emotion can be attributed to its director Shawn Levy. Looking at his filmography, which includes the Night at the Museum films, The Internship and Date Night, it is pretty clear that Levy is one of the most risk averse directors working in Hollywood today whose style contains fewer note than John Cage’s “4’33”. Nothing about the film is subtle; to the point that characters openly express their character flaws, saying lines like “I’m a fuck-up”, “What happened to me? I used to be fun” and “I never liked to take chances”. That last line, spoken by Bateman’s character, could apply to Levy and the film in general.

This Is Where I Leave You is one of those rare films; it is so bland and dull that it doesn’t even do enough to leave you angry at it. The film doesn’t do anything to allow any emotional reaction. In the end I’m reminded of the running gag of Wendy’s toddler son, who throughout the film is seen carrying a plastic portable toilet and sitting down to have a shit. Not only is this a good metaphor for the film, it also seems to be a better use of your time.

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Incoming – B. Dolan - Bow down Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:00:45 +0000 Who are you and where are you from?

Starting with the heavy stuff right away, eh? I like it. I am B. Dolan. I’m from America.

Who are your favorite artists from home?

I live in a city called Providence, RI. It’s small by American standards but there’s an incredible density of great music coming from there. Some bands worth checking out from there are Roz & The Rice Cakes and Dropdead. Two rappers worth checking out from there are Sage Francis and Prolyphic.

What’s it really like touring?

It’s unlike anything else, and difficult to relate to people who haven’t experienced it. Some people think it’s like being on vacation and they’re wrong. Some people think it’s hell and they’re wrong too. For me, it’s a special privilege to travel the world and perform for people who care about my music. At times it can also be punishing, uncomfortable, maddening and lonely. But then you leave France and it’s awesome again.

What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?

That’s impossible to answer. I love a lot of cities and venues. Since this will run in Ireland I’d like to namecheck Belfast, where the kids were so hype they actually managed to crowd surf a 320 pound rapper for the first time ever… and Derry, where the city itself and the people I met made a lasting impression on me.

What’s your ideal festival line-up?

To be honest, festivals have never made much sense to me as a performer or a fan. There’s only a few acts I think I’d like to see with 60,000 other people, and they have a specifically huge sound. People like Radiohead, James Blake, or Rage Against the Machine are kinda who I’m thinking of there. For 99% of the artists I enjoy though I’d rather see them in a club with 300-400 other people. Where they’ve had time to soundcheck and can communicate with the people who are present. As an artist, the festival experience is often a rushed line-check, getting hustled onto a stage in front of a massive amount of people, making only big physical gestures that can be seen from way the hell in the back, playing a shortened set, etc. I’ve never felt the same connection at a festival as I do at a club.

What has been your biggest achievement of the year?

We’ve started rolling out some of the songs from House of Bees 3 in the past month, one of which was the single “THE DEVIL IS ALIVE,” which tells the story of the real Freeway Ricky Ross, whose identity the rapper Rick Ross stole. Freeway Ricky’s story is an important one, which ties into the history of how the C.I.A. helped sell guns and drugs to American gangs in the 80s, essentially creating the crack epidemic.

While we were creating that song I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received, as it addressed some very specific street shit that involved real people. I received a call a day after the song came out from Freeway Rick Ross himself, and was informed that he loved the song and was down to help us promote it in any way possible. That felt good.

What was the worst piece of advice you were given?

“if you shake it more than twice, you’re playing with it.”

What do you do to relax?

I’m currently on tour with Atmosphere and during downtime we’ve been record shopping, which has been a really fun way to sample the local flavor. I’ve also come up on some really exciting records on this trip which I’m excited to start messing with when I get home.

What are you reading?

Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson.

How about TV, anything good on the box?

Been watching NBC’s Hannibal, which is pretty dope. I also highly recommend people go find Black Mirror from Channel 4 if they haven’t seen it.

Do you have a favourite YouTube video?

‘Drinking out of Cups’. Also David Blaine doing a magic trick for Harrison Ford has been making me laugh a lot lately.

What website do you visit most?

That’s none of your goddamn business.

What is your favourite:

Record? Unanswerable. I’ll choose randomly from the iPod. ‘Black Gladiator’ by Bo Diddley.

Song? ‘Everything She Wants’ by Wham, obviously.

Lost classic song? ‘What Good is a Castle’ by Joe Bataan

Record label? Cadet Records. For years I’ve been buying every record I can find from that label, and am never disappointed.

Who is your favourite current artist?

Werner Herzog inspires me all the time.

A new artist that you are most excited about?

Kanye West. Yep. Deal with that.

What was the last great gig you were at?

I saw Erykah Badu DJ at SXSW last year, and I absolutely loved that set. I’d had a lot of edibles though, so I’m not 100% sure it was as awesome as I thought it was? But she played “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz at exactly the right moment for me, and it sort of shot my mind into space.

Worst show?

Mine or others? Either way, KRS-One at Harper’s Ferry in Boston. I’ll tell you that story another time.

What should we expect from your Irish shows?

Bedlam, baby. Bedlam and furious anger. That’ll be the tail end of my tour with the full band and Scroobius Pip, and we’ll be leaving every last bit of energy onstage, Bob Seger style.

Don’t miss your chance to see B. Dolan live featuring Scroobius Pip on the Speech Development in Dublin’s Workman’s Club on November 20th. Tickets are €14 and are available here

Photo by Michael Brown

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Love, Rosie - Modern love Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:52:32 +0000 Director: Christian Ditter
Cast: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin and Jamie Winstone
Certificate: 15a
Running Time: 103 minutes
Release Date: October 24th

Can a man and a woman be friends or will sex get in the way? In the real world the answer to that is of course they can. Platonic friendships between men and women can exist without sex even being an issue. However this is movie world and Love, Rosie, based on the novel Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern, continues the tradition started by the late Nora Ephron in When Harry Met Sally… that sex will definitely get in the way, it is just a case of when.

The friends in question here are Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin), BFF’s since they were five who have clearly started to grow romantic feelings towards each other as they grow older. We first see them as 18-year olds as they plan to leave their homes in the Dublin part of North London in order to attend college in the Toronto area of Boston, Massachusetts. However after becoming pregnant on the night of their school dance by her date Greg, she decides to stay put. This pregnancy turns out to be the first of many obstacles and cases of bad timing over the next decade that get in the way of Rosie and Alex’s will they or won’t they relationship. (Spoiler alert: they do.)

Of course the conclusion of the film is obvious, there is no way that a film like this would leave its main couple alone and miserable. So it is very important that in order to hold our interest we have to have characters that we can route for. Sadly the characters of Rosie and Alex are just not that interesting for the film to rise above the familiarity of the plot. While Lily Collins is perfectly likeable in her role and does the best that she can, unfortunately Sam Claflin and the character of Alex is never anything more than a little bland. While he has the stammer of a young Hugh Grant, he has only a fraction of the charm.

One of the ways the film tries to differentiate itself from others of its ilk is to include a surprisingly large amount of bawdy humour. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, the problem with the humour in this film, apart from the fact that it is not particularly funny, is with its tone. Pretty much all the jokes are at the expense of Rosie herself and after a while it just starts to feel cruel, as if the film is deriving some kind of pleasure from her misfortunes, which kind of leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

One strange aspect of the film that might bother some people is the fact that for anybody who is familiar with Dublin, the use of locations around the city and passing them off as middle class London can become quite distracting.

Love, Rosie certainly doesn’t break any ground and in the end it feels just like yet another fluffy romantic comedy that never overcomes the familiarity of its generic conventions. That perhaps will probably work for its target audience, it certainly won’t leave any real lasting impression.

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The Book of Life - You're dead! Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:59:09 +0000 lDirector: Jorge R. Gutierrez
Cast: Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Kate de Castillo and Diego Luna
Certificate: G
Running Time: 95 minutes
Release Date: October 24th

Primarily set around the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico where family and friends gather to pray and remember loved ones, who have died, The Book of Life sees two gods; La Muerte, the ruler of the Land of the Remembered (Kate del Castillo); and Xibalba, the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten (Ron Perlman) decide to place a bet on who will rule the Land of the Remembered. After seeing three young kids playing, Manolo (Diego Luna) and Joaquín (Channing Tatum) who are both in love with María (Zoe Saldana), they each bet on one of the boys to marry María when they become adults.

While this set up would seem simple enough, the film adds in the background for the boys. Manolo is from a family of bullfighters but really has a passion for music while Joaquín, who wishes to be a brave adventurous hero like his deceased father, is giving a medal by a disguised Xibalba that will make him immune from harm. Added to that is a bandit Chakal (Dan Navarro) who lays siege to their town upon learning that Joaquín, who grew up to be a famous hero, has the medal, and Manolo’s journey in the Land of the Remembered when he is tricked by Xibalba into sacrificing himself in order to save María. Another layer to it all is the fact that the film is structured as a story being told by a tour guide to a small group of kids at a museum who occasionally interrupt to comment on what is happening. I think it would be understandable if any kids watching the film would ask, “Wait. What?”

Unlike last year’s Free Birds, made by the same animation studio Reel FX, whose stoner influenced writing of time traveling turkeys proved that narrative is extremely important in kids animation, that the animation itself isn’t enough to hold the interest of children, The Book of Life does at least give its characters a clear goal in what they set out to do. Throughout everything we never forget that all the Manolo and Joaquín want to do is to win the heart of María and that María in turn won’t be won over that easily. The characters are given enough charm and likability to hold our interest.

There is also the animation itself that is lively through and at time simple gorgeous to look at. The characters are very nicely designed to resemble wooden puppets and when the action goes to the Land of the Remembered the film uses the skull imagery that synonymous with the Day of the Dead festival to create at place that is spooky but at the same time fun to watch.

One aspect that lets the film down is that it is not as funny as it needs to be. A lot of the jokes fall flat, and its pop culture references, from Mariachi versions of Radiohead’s “Creep” and that Mumford & Sons song that sounds like all the other Mumford & Sons songs, to Ice Cube’s character telling us that it really was a good day, don’t really work.

But while the story is a bit cliché and a bit muddled, The Book of Life just about gets away with it thanks to its colourful charm. It also deserves a lot of praise for talking about death to children in a way that is light-hearted enough to not upset them while being at the same time fully respectful of the issue itself. It’s a tricky balance that it just about pulls it off.

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EP Premiere: PolyGlove – Dialler - Irish electronica steps up yet again Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:03:59 +0000 We’ve come across a number of sub-genres in electronic music but we have to admit that baroque house is a new one on us. That’s what Dublin duo PolyGlove term their mixture of richly harmonic textures, throbbing bass lines and syncopated drum patterns – all of which can be found on their debut Dialler EP. Released today on Trout Records and mixed by Solar Bears’ Rian Trench, the band launch the record at the Bernard Shaw on November 6th, click here for more details.

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The Hold Steady – Dublin - "A fight against irrelevancy, ageing and disruptive technology.." Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:00:45 +0000 It’s kind of appropriate that The Hold Steady land in Dublin on a Saturday night.
The US band’s uncomplicated classic rock and lyrical themes act as both a paean and a celebration of boozy nights out filled with old-fashioned social interaction. What we all did, say, in the 1990s. They have songs that allude to this: ‘Massive Nights’, ‘The Weekenders’ and ‘Sequestered In Memphis’ – a tale of a great night gone wrong – all of which get an outing tonight. Craig Finn – the bespectacled, feverishly animated front man with the Brooklyn-based five-piece refers to this shifting social paradigm early in the gig. He appreciates the effort we made to come out to see them, as nights like these will become rarer, smaller, and less important in coming years. Like a sizeable chunk of the audience, Finn and his band are of a vintage that remembers real human interaction, back when Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat weren’t even proper words and Twitter was what birds did. In a way, it’s already happening – the Academy is only about two thirds full.

But no one seems to mind and, for now at least, the band are determined to party like it’s 1999. There’s a sense with opener ‘I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You’ that we are in for a night when the foot will rarely be taken off the pedal. And why not? Life is too short for a potential mid-set dip in momentum. There are a few tracks from recent sixth album Teeth Dreams but the biggest cheers are reserved for older cuts like the aforementioned ‘Sequestered in Memphis’, ‘Stuck Between Stations’ and ‘Constructive Summer’. They churn out a generous twenty songs or so in quick succession, smoothly segueing from one to another like a great mixtape, ending with a rabble-rousing and appropriate ‘Stay Positive’. There’s no studied cool here, just unfussy rock ‘n’ roll played with joy and without pretense.

The encore ends with a boisterous cover of ‘American Music’ by the Violent Femmes where they are joined by support act the So So Glos, one last sing-along before closing time. It all feels like a defiant party, a fight against irrelevancy, ageing and disruptive technology. Many in the audience will trundle on home to tweet that the Hold Steady are still one of the great live acts around. The band, though, will undoubtedly settle into a pub somewhere for a potential lost night in Dublin, providing Finn with lyrical fodder for the next album. Long may they party.

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Polarbear – Dublin - Word up Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:16:37 +0000 Sometimes it’s good to push your own boundaries. For some, the idea of a spoken word gig is a daunting one. It’s a unique medium, offering perhaps the most direct relationship between performer and artist. There’s nowhere for either party to hide – no music to get swept up in, no wall of noise, not even a guitar to shelter behind. Even a comedy gig, when it’s going well, ebbs and flows as a communal experience. When it’s all about the words, however, the experience is laid bare. There are plenty who are happy to open themselves up, though, if the success of the inaugural Lingo Festival is anything to go by. For three days, a variety of venues are buzzing to the sound of people speaking – from David Norris to Temper-Mental MissElayneous. The big show of the weekend is a rare live appearance from Steven Camden, aka Polarbear, at Smock Alley.

What follows is simply astonishing. We get a ten minute preamble that tells how he went from performing his first piece at an open mic night in his native Birmingham to playing Glastonbury in the space of three gigs, before we’re into the heart of the matter. An hour listening to stories largely based on the same subject – one man’s life – might sound a potential trial but there is not one second that isn’t enthralling. Veering from childhood to the present day, often within the space of one poem, he can make you laugh and then cry with just one well crafted sentence.

Ironically, it’s also a very musical evening. Finding his way into a record shop job after being caught shoplifting a Clash album, a listen to Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest opened him up to a new world, one where hip-hop would become his guiding light. You can hear it in his delivery, a natural flow forming from the the rhythm of speech. Reminiscent of Mike Skinner before he lost his way in a mess of celebrity, these are tales of the real streets. Highlights include a tale of how NWA’s Straight Outta Compton helped him through the news that his parents were to celebrate (complete with his mum taking the part of Dr Dre), his eight year old son’s own attempts at rhyming and his first kiss at 15 – with the girl who is his partner to this day.

We emerge, if not with our lives changed, then certainly having experienced a moment of clarity. One man, a few sheets of paper and a series of stories have opened our eyes to something new. Perhaps it’s all that we’ll ever need.

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Kormac – Doorsteps - "One of the most inventive releases this year..." Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:48:11 +0000 They may only be two little letters, but the title DJ (or rather lack of it) when it comes to Kormac and his studio work is a crucial one. Always as much a musician as a player of other people’s records, his move from the cut and paste sampling approach of debut album Word Play to his all singing, all dancing Big Band – en route taking in his AV show – indicates an artist with a genuine vision. Doorsteps backs up that theory and then some, a record that will surely emerge as one of the most inventive releases this year.

This time the approach has shifted to a collection of guest vocalists performing against a backdrop that mixes live and sampled sounds. The guest list is varied, from Speech Debelle and Micah P Hinson to Irvine Welsh and Vyvienne Long, the mood of the record shifting accordingly. Hip-hop is clearly a major influence but Kormac never lets himself be painted into a corner, equally as happy providing a subtle soundtrack to Welsh’s lecture on modern life and a quiet / loud / quiet dynamic for Long’s ‘Drown Me’ as he is a cheery big beat riff on ‘Superhero’.

The album stands out, however, due to Kormac’s masterful use of the resources at his disposal. When lovely opener ‘Wake Up’ breaks down midway through, the last thing you might expect to hear is a tuba yet that’s just what you get and, what’s more, it sounds completely natural. Those brass flourishes throughout give Doorsteps an energy and life all of its own, driven by the perfect combination of humans and machines. Clever enough to sound dumb in parts, the record builds layer upon layer – with each listen revealing a new dimension. A traditional DJ he may not be, Kormac nevertheless is a superstar in the making.

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Onra live show & Nas documentary double bill at Sugar Club Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:39:24 +0000 Taking advantage of the long weekend, Choice Cuts are hosting a interesting night at the Sugar Club on Sunday. It kicks off with a showing of Time Is Illmatic, a documentary telling the story of Nas and the making of his classic album, followed by a live set from Onra – the globetrotting producer who has staked his claim as one of the most exciting beat-makers of the past few years, thanks to releases like his Chinoseries collections (made from scratch with samples found while traveling Asia) and the acclaimed Long Distance album.

Doors are at 9pm and it runs till 3am.

Dogfish presents, ONRA in Norwich. from SpindleProductions on Vimeo.

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Watch Le Galaxie live and Carmen videos Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:07:55 +0000 Currently plying their wares at CMJ in New York, Le Galaxie are very much on a role at the moment. Here’s a couple of examples why, a live clip from their recent appearance at Nialler9’s Minimum Maximum gig in Block T and latest single ‘Carmen’, produced in association with Absolut Pulse.

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Fury - Let's start a war Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:15:32 +0000 Director: David Ayer
Cast: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal
Certificate: 15a
Running Time: 135 minutes
Release Date: October 24th

Brad Pitt. World War II. Killing Nazis. Sharp haircut. We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Its star and the Western inspired story are probably where comparisons between Fury and Inglorious Basterds ends. Tarantino’s fantasy-war movie was a self-confessed version of The Dirty Dozen, with Fury, David Ayer has gone full Rio Bravo. (Incidentally, Ayer’s next movie, DC comic property, The Suicide Squad, is going to be his Dirty Dozen flick.)

Taking place in the last month of WWII, Fury sees Pitt’s Wardaddy, a Sergeant in charge of the titular tank, lead his four-man squadron into battle, facing their own personal Alamo within the confines of an M4 Sherman. On his crew, there’s a religious guy (LaBeouf), new guy (Lerman), volatile guy (Bernthal) and Hispanic guy (Peña). It’s a simple set up, and it mostly works.

Ayer isn’t one for subtlety or subtext in his movies, he likes tough guys in tougher situations. This is a man who re-wrote the history of the Enigma Code as an American discovery; reason or historical accuracy are of no importance.  Still, Fury delivers thrills in spades. The representation of war gorges on the horror genre for some grotesque moments — Lerman’s first job is mopping up the last guy’s face off the seat, heads explode on impact and bodies are flattened like a nightmare Looney Toons cartoon. It borders on the cartoonish — tracer ammo making fire fights look like Star Wars, anyone? — yet enough legwork is done to make you care about the guys inside that metal bucket.

Pitt and Lerman are given the most, and as a result are the highlights. A dinner scene at the midway point has the chance to derail it all but is surprisingly brilliant, giving them moments to shine. Lerman nails the I’m-not-even-supposed-to-be-here nature of his meek typist who gets dumped in a pool of testosterone and told to swim. Pitt’s charisma and tank-oil slicked hair is the kind that would make you head straight into your death and feel you’ve made the right choice. The supporting cast fall into stereotypes but all get their bit. LaBeouf’s Bible surprisingly comes without fanfare or ego, and is a nice reminder that he’s still an actor.

Ayer handles the action adroitly, both inside and out of the tank, and his set piece handling make you wonder what he can do on an even larger. It gives off a huge wallop of both hung-ho America and biting war nihilism, their mantra for dwelling in a tank and killing Germans is “best job I ever had” is tonally confusing. All same, you can’t help but forget it in the clatter of tank missiles and gun fire.




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Mos Def Announces Vicar Street Performance Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:14:00 +0000 One of hip-hop’s most elusive, articulate, intelligent and, above all else, talented performers has announced that he is returning to these shores for what is only the second time in his 20-year career.

Yasiin Bey, or Mos Def as he is more commonly known, will be appearing at Dublin’s Vicar Street on November 24th to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his seminal Black On Both Sides album. It is practically impossibly to overstate the importance of this album and this man to the wider world of hip-hop and that is before we get anywhere near his political and humanitarian plights.

Tickets for this show are priced at €33.50 and €35.50 go on sale this Friday at 9am at usual outlets.

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little xs for eyes de-mix SOSB Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:11:20 +0000 Returning the favour for the Sounds Of System Breakdown remix of their ‘Kind Hearts’ track, little xs for eyes have de-mixed the electronic outfit’s ‘Mayfly’ – removing the original synth sounds and replacing them with their own range of acoustic instruments and lush harmonies. We think it’s absolutely lovely. They’ve even come up with a pastiche video too….

Just to remind you, here’s the original…

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Faces of November details - From hip-hop to surf rock to electro pop Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:17:26 +0000 Not content with five live shows in October (Guinness Amplify, Lingo Festival and Oxjam), we’re back at the Mercantile on November 1st for our penultimate Faces show of 2014. Joining us will be DVO Marvell, Me And My Dog (pictured) and Florence Olivier. As ever, it won’t cost you nothing but a good time. Get social here.

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Rebecca Collins Album Launch Tonight Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:48:13 +0000 Having showcased her new album at’s September Faces, the ever impressive Rebecca Collins will officially launch her remarkable debut album Solar in Dublin’s Sweeney’s tonight. Admission is free and proceedings get under way at 8.30. You can catch Collins and band play the album in it’s entirety – this is not to be missed.

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Watch We Were Promised Jetpacks performing live Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:41:44 +0000 To celebrate the release of their new album, Unravelling, Scottish band We Were Promised Jetpacks recently performed ‘I Keep It Composed’ for Press Record. If you missed them in Whelans last month, you can get your fix below.

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Listen to Tinariwen’s acoustic EP Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:36:11 +0000 Known for their electric guitar attack, Tinariwen have unplugged for their latest release. Inside / Outside: Joshua Tree Acoustic Sessions features five tracks from the sessions that produced this year’s Emmaar album, either recorded inside the house in in Joshua Tree, CA or round the nightly campfire. It’s magical stuff.

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New Music from Subplots - 'Future Tense' Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:31:37 +0000 Emerging Irish hopefuls Subplots have just announced details of a new album and lead single. ‘Future Tense’, taken from the forthcoming Autumning, will be released under the band’s own label, Cableattack!! Records – both are available here.

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Free Planet Parade show this Friday Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:21:57 +0000 Back after a not insignificant abscence, Planet Parade are rapidly making up for lost time with a new single ‘You’ll Be Sorry’ and some impressive live shows. The next step comes this Friday, when they play Whelans Upstairs alongside Pockets. Doors are at 8pm and entry is free.

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State Oxjam Takeover live report and photos - Sunday evening in words and pictures Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:35:59 +0000 Now that’s a way to spend a Sunday evening. The final day of the Oxjam takeover at the Oxfam Home store on Francis Street saw four acts perform in front of a large crowd, all making themselves comfortable on the various pieces of furniture spread around the store. Booka Brass Band kicked us off in their usual energetic style, followed by the intense guitar pop of Amidships. Star in the making Rocstrong channelled the sounds of the deep South, Africa and funk rock before the stripped down Come On Live Long duo of Rob and Louise brought the night to a beautiful conclusion. Thanks to all involved for their time and effort.

Oxjam Takeover photographed for State by Anna Kerslake.


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Serena - Forever delayed Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:12:46 +0000 Director Suzanne Bier
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones and Sean Harris
Certificate: 15A
Running time: 110 minutes
Release date: October 24th

The story of Serena, the film, may never become fully known to the public. Starring two of Hollywood’s hottest actors, based on a bestselling – and excellent – book, and directed by an Oscar-winning filmmaker, it should be the subject of hype, rave reviews and an avalanche of awards and garlands.

Instead, Serena sat on the shelf for nearly two years, sadly waiting for a distributor. It was filmed, amazingly, before its stars went on to make American Hustle.

When a film is treated this way, it means one of two things. The first possibility is that it’s a gem that’s misunderstood by distributors and studios, and that its weirdness is an unseen asset, like say Idiocracy or The Cabin in the Woods (both of which had distribution problems). The second possibility is that it’s a sub-par film, and one that struggles to appeal even with its star power. Sadly, Serena is in the second camp.

Serena takes place in North Carolina in the 1920s. George Pembleton (Bradley Cooper) and his beautiful new bride Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) own a logging company that employs dozens of local unfortunates. There’s potential conflict in the shape of some locals who want land preserved as a national park; a suspicious sheriff (the always welcome Toby Jones) and an employee of George’s who’s with child.

The Pembletons are taking it in their stride, but how much land is enough, and can they withstand the pressures from outside and inside their marriage?

Serena – the book – is a biblical parable of revenge, environmentalism, feminism, and aspiration. It’s passionate, grandiose and tells its story with grace and black humour. Serena – the film – is flat, listless, miscast, rudderless and ultimately pointless.
In a baffling bid to make the book’s lead characters more sympathetic, the cinematic Pembletons are now defanged, bland and, at times, nonsensical. Lawrence, a fine actress, is hopelessly miscast as the strong-willed, ambitious Serena. While (I guess) the filmmakers and actress are trying to portray cold, level-headed decision-making, Lawrence’s performance is often surprisingly dull and emotionless. Lawrence’s vulnerability, which is one of the actress’s greatest strengths, works against her here. And she’s often stranded by stilted dialogue. Her performance as a log baroness is even occasionally…wooden.

Cooper fares better, definitely, and is more at home in his role as the confident entrepreneur. But while he manages to muster up some charisma and steel, his character too, is surprisingly devoid of personality.

This is also a stain on the CV of its director, Suzanne Bier, who made the fine Love is All You Need and the awesome In a Better World. Maybe this might have worked if (as originally planned) it was made by Darren Aronofsky with Angelina Jolie in the lead?
To be fair, the sterling supporting cast all do decent work. And, again in the interest of fairness, this was a mighty project to take on and needed a bigger budget than they seemed to have, which might explain why it feels hemmed in when it should have had the epic sweep of a John Ford western.

The good news for all concerned is that bad films usually disappear soon after release. Within a few months, this film will be forgotten like burned timber, and Lawrence can resume her career as this generation’s big screen sweetheart.

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Incoming – Simone Felice - He's a New York City Boy Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:27:38 +0000 Who are you and where are you from?

Simone Felice, Palenville, Catskill Mountains, New York

Who are your favorite artists from home?

John Herald, Bob Dylan & The Band

What’s it really like touring?

It’s a weird gypsy reality, a time warp, a dream come true, a curse…

What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?

Leap Castle, Roscrea

What’s your ideal festival line-up?

Jimmy Hendrix with the original Experience, Sandy Denny Solo, Eliot Smith, all the restless, miraculous ghosts…

What has been your biggest achievement of the year?

I brought my little daughter to the sea this summer for the first time and we saw whales… Also I just received my first gold record last week from Columbia Records for my work on The Avett Brothers‘ album I & Love & You

What was the worst piece of advice you were given?

‘Try a few of these…’

What do you do to relax?

Obscenely long walks in the woods

What are you reading?

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

How about TV, anything good on the box?

The final season of Boardwalk Empire!!

Do you have a favourite YouTube video?

The drummer that’s in the wrong band

What website do you visit most?

New York Times

What is your favourite:

Record? Blue, Joni Mitchell

Song? ‘Fruits of My Labor’, Lucinda Williams

Lost classic song? ‘Who knows where the time goes’, Sandy Denny

Record label? Team Love

Who is your favourite current artist?

The National

A new artist that you are most excited about?

James Blake

What was the last great gig you have seen?

Jackson Brown Solo acoustic at the Palace in Albany NY

Worst show?

Lou Reed & Metallica

What should we expect from your Irish shows?

Strip Tease, Harmonium, Secrets

You can see SimoneFelice live in Dublin’s Workmans Club on October 29th. tickets are €18 and available here

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Thurston Moore – The Best Day - "from one plane of sonic existence to the next" Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:31:30 +0000 The ubiquity of Thurston Moore’s presence on the alternative music scene over the last thirty years is such that it’s almost a surprise that The Best Day is only his fourth solo album. That’s not to say that Moore hasn’t been busy since Sonic Youth disbanded – quite the contrary; with a slew of collaborations and live tours, Moore is also a perennial presence on practically every rockumentary ever made.

He has always had a canny knack for surrounding himself with stellar collaborators, and co-conspirators on this outing are Nought’s James Sedwards on guitar, My Bloody Valentine bassist Deb Googe, and Sonic Youth sticksman Steve Shelley. With this full band complement, The Best Day shares more in common with Moore’s Chelsea Light Moving project than the restrained acoustic leanings of 2011’s Demolished Thoughts, or even Psychic Hearts’ initial forays into new wave punk poetry.

Where Chelsea Light Moving’s 2013 self-titled record was a vehicle to channel Moore’s love of Beat poetry, more overtly literary in its lyrical content, The Best Day is more like a refined version of Moore’s and drummer John Moloney’s freeform improvisational material under the Caught On Tape banner from the same period. Here he has an equally fine foil in Sedwards, their guitar lines encircling one another to the point of coalescence on the album’s protracted hypnotic passages. He and Moore echo Keith Levine in the metallic clangs and chimes of ‘Speak To The Wild’, opening the album with a track that comes close to the ten minute mark then following it with one that exceeds it.

The repetitive guitar riffs of ‘Forevermore’ flourish into myriad noise layers just as the bass suddenly uproots from its deep anchor pulse to become the overt driving force of the song after the midway point. It moves from one plane of sonic existence to the next, shifting in power and then pulling back, a constant surge-and-restrain motion. Songs are lengthy, but becoming embedded in the folds of the band’s extended workouts is the album’s chief pleasure. Moore’s and Sedward’s prowess on their instruments mean that that the subtle inflections and deviations from the root of a riff provide a constant source of invention and discovery.

The guitarists take a more pared back approach as ‘Vocabularies’ opens with a suffocated squeal of steel, flesh and fret. The 12-string meanders around various melodic twists and turns, at times precise picking, at others power chord riffing. ‘The Best Day’, in comparison, is scuzzy rock’n’roll; ‘70s spit, grime and glam according to New York Dolls. Moore announces himself on ‘Detonation’ with a rising Lydon-esque snarl of “Clandestinity”, before the shade of Iggy takes over and the guitars perform their dissonant dance. ‘Germs Burn’ features the same clipped, concise lyrics in the punk poetry vein of Chelsea light Moving’s ‘Lip’, each barked line both a standalone punctuation and part of a larger image (”Long night/Negative light/Start a fire/Stop a fight”) until the vocals take a back seat to let the two guitars scour the album to a close.

Despite being a Moore solo outing, The Best Day feels more like the sum of its parts, a band effort in the true sense, with Sedwards particularly adding depth and texture to Moore’s atypical guitar style. Seemingly rudimentary rock songs are spiked with intertwining layers and pitching tempos, elongated and trance-like at one juncture and proto-punk at the next. Moore will no doubt change things up again on his next venture; the style of The Best Day may prove too conventional to hold his attention in light of his restless post-SY experimentations. Until that day, though, this album will do nicely, and we can all revel with Moore in its glorious entanglement of guitars.

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The Antlers…”still the same band but just prettier” - Plus win tickets to the Olympia Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:12:25 +0000 One of the most progressive bands of the last decade, The Antlers may have indeed reached a zenith with their mature and delicately composed fifth studio album Familiars, released last June. Currently embarking on a European tour, which includes a stop over in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre, the band’s main musical orchestrator Darby Cicci took some time out to discuss the new record with State, and where he feels they now find themselves at as a band.

“Its definitely a step forward for us creatively’. Darby remarks about Familiars. “We really tried to take our time with this one and explore, not really other styles of music but other ways to influence music we’ve already been making in a new way. I’ve been really kind of obsessed with jazz and different palettes of sounds and different regions of World Music, in Africa, Nigeria and Jamaica of course, without really trying to play any of those styles but trying to influence it with that type of palette. I think taking our time and trying to allow ourselves to make longer pieces and not really put ourselves under any pressure to make any kind of pop structure or music that we would really try to make successful or try to sell records with or get lots of radio play. Its sort of the antitheses to that.”

Having come to prominence as a generally radio-friendly indie rock band, The Antlers have diversified their style as their career has progressed, experimenting with a wide range of different musical genres and concepts, something Darby proceeds to reminisce about. “A lot of things we were working on in (second album) Burst Apart were sort of rooted in pop music. I love the record but, [when making it] we were feeling a little more pressure. It’s a very strange experience to have just one record, Hospice, do remarkably well and then following that up with a consecutive record that’s not based in a conceptual piece, I think we were looking for lots of ways to go.”

“So making this record was the first time we’d really gotten past those hurdles and allowed ourselves to explore the creative side of what kind of music we actually want to make, and get a little past that early career trying to drive yourself to solidify your stake in the music industry and just to keep it going as a career. Its a tricky career to keep going and theres a lot of bands that just disappear quite quickly and I think we were a little worried about that”. The Antlers are no strangers to innovation, but judging by Familiar’s intricate composition and unique sound, you would be forgiven for thinking that recording the album may have been a highly complex process. According to Darby however, inspiration came almost as second nature to him.

“On this record we really worked and it allowed us to explore things we were more interested in emotionally rather than putting expectations on ourselves”. he enthusiastically asserts. “We embraced improvisation a bit more (on the record). Instead of writing parts and practicing them until they felt comfortable I think I really tried to embrace a lot of the idiosyncrasies you get when you just lay off the top of your head and really try to capture those interesting elements, those little sparks of sound or music. When I listen to records I really connect with those more than anything, more than the songs or the record’s concepts. I connect to little moments, little special sounds and melodies that awaken from something inside you and I really tried to push myself to find those in my own work rather than thinking of myself as some some sort of authority on what I’m supposed to write, but exploring enough so I can be my own audience as well.”

Being the band’s primary musical composer, Darby is renowned for his tremendous talents with musical arrangements, but did he get any additional help this time around? “A little bit I would say” he cooly admits. “After doing a lot of the arrangements on most of the songs there were a couple of things that I thought would really balance it out and really fit perfectly. On a couple of songs theres a cello that seemed to fit so perfectly and I can’t play the cello for shit and not going to try, so I brought our friend in to play on a couple of tracks.

“I wanted to add a couple of extra elements, (to the horn arrangements), a little trombone, which I’m also not good at, and a friend of mine John who plays some saxophone as well. It’s not really the bulk of it, but it definitely balances and gets a lot of the trumpet arrangements out in a full way. Adds a little more communication between those sounds.”

Although Familiars, like previous Antlers recordings, has been widely praised for its inspiring lyrical content Darby insists that it’s the music takes precedence during recording. “For me, we really pretty much make the whole record before the lyrics come into it so its one of the last elements that gets added in. All of the music and arranging I do is based purely from a musical perspective and then Peter (Silberman) writes the lyrics based on those songs that are there. There’s not a song written first that I then arrange, its definitely an instrumental piece with little breaks that we know who’s going to be singing and Peter works on that separately”.

So on to the European tour then, which kicked off in Brussels back on October 1st. Darby has already noted Berlin, Amsterdam and Aarhus in Denmark as highlights so far, but are the band looking forward to their Dublin date in the Olympia? “Absolutely”, he exclaims. “Dublin’s just one of the best places. We’ve always had a really overwhelming support from people there. Every time we go except something out of the show and theres always more people, their always more excited, it’s always louder. It gets pretty overwhelming I think, and being at the end of tour it’s gonna be pretty special”.

A sell-out crowd is expected at the Dame Street venue on October 30th, but considering The Antler’s stylistic evolution over the last few years, what exactly can the band’s Irish fan base expect from the gig? “We have a different show now, we’re less of a rock band these days” professes Darby. “Last time we played their we played loud and we had a different member on guitar and were much more of a rock band. Nowadays I play trumpet during the show and our new fourth member is primarily a horn player too. The whole show’s just lighter, more spacious, more delicate and just more evolved for us. We don’t just bash chords away and kick out the songs, its a much more refined show now, theres a lot more layers and texture and delicacy. If you’ve seen us before I think you’ll see quite a different version of us. Still the same band but it’s all just prettier I think.”

“It’s a much more intimate show and having so many different songs from our catalogue to draw from we can get a whole lot more dynamic out of it. It’s definitely more relaxed, we’re all more relaxed when we play this set, we actually play a little quieter now and I think its just more interesting over all”.

The Antlers play The Olympia Theatre on October 30th. To win a pair of tickets email with your details by 5pm on Tuesday 28th October.

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Latest gig news – PSB, Flying Lotus, Ryan Adams & more Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:53:23 +0000 Dates for your diaries:

Public Service Broadcasting (pictured) – Belfast Mandela Hall (3rd May), Dublin Button Factory (5th)

Speech sampling duo promote second album The Race For Space.

Flying Lotus – Vicar St (19th April)

Full band and AV show.

Annie Mac – Twisted Pepper (3rd December)

A sort of homecoming.

Dropkick Murphys – Vicar St (17th March – early and late shows)

Where else would they play on this date?

Liars / Wife – Button Factory (26th October)

James Kelly joins the Beatyard bill.

Ryan Adams – Cork Opera House (March 3rd), Olympia Theatre (5th)

Album number fourteen presented live.

Glass Animals – Academy (14th March)

Return to the capital after the weekend’s Whelans sell out.

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