The name: mynameisjOhn, and don’t forget that capital O.
The deal: A man from Clare who knows his way around a Kaoss pad.
A DJ and beatmaker extraordinaire, the genre-fusing producer behind mynameisjOhn (real name John Lillis) has given us some seriously thought-provoking electronica over the past two years. Citing such musical paragons as Sir Isaac Newton, Martin Luther King, and Carl Sagan as influences, Lillis has churned out three terrific EPs to date, all built with a “grá for a dollop of hiphop, electronica, psych rock and straight-up paranoia.”
(I also enjoy his views on cheese, which are set free in this Flip It TV interview from 2011.)
The sound: complex, cosmopolitan, provocative.
MynameisjOhn does not employ his own voice in his songs, preferring to let a cast of masterfully sampled and mind-bogglingly diverse players do the philosophising for him. Take for example 2011’s ‘Dia Dhuit’, which splices Judy Lynn’s ‘Hello Mr. DJ’ with Natalie Cole’s ‘Nature Boy’ and a 1991 interview with Rakim, all in the first 80 seconds.
While many of mynameisjOhn’s tracks carry a metaphysical message of some sort, this is not all they have in common; across all three EPs, you’ll find adept experimentation, some invariably badass grooves and a great big dose of rhythmic cunning.
The Focussing Effect, a seven-track mini-album which was released this past December, pushes the boundaries of melody a little further than before, bearing a sound that bravely combines the maximal with the minimal.
He says: “F U C K G E N R E S .”
I say: Fuck genres if you want, just keep playing demented mixologist with them and nobody gets hurt.
I was delighted see some bigger crowds and happier faces on Day Two of Dublin’s Camden Crawl, as gig-goers began to embrace the fine art of venue-hopping. A couple of late starts permitted me to see shows I didn’t think I’d get to, (Northy rockers LaFaro, the ever-luminous Rubberbandits and, for the second time in as many days, the brilliant DELS, whose album Gob is next on my to-download list), which left me wondering why the schedule wasn’t more scattered in the first place.
That said, the gigs I got to see this weekend were well worth the trek, and reports from shows elsewhere around the city, equally effusive. If the event returns for a second year, providing the folk behind it organise themselves as well the bands on stage, Dublin will have a truly great new festival on its hands.
Here’s what I saw on Day Two…
Riff-toting Northerners LaFaro are highly revered around these parts for their not-much-nonsense rock (I’m referring here to the ‘tween-song banter, which tends to get very silly very quickly), so it’s no surprise that they draw a heaving crowd to the upstairs venue in Whelan’s tonight, despite the fact that Ireland’s favourite polyethylene-wearing satirists are playing just around the corner.
Blessed with a thundering, throbbing, heavy duty sound, typified by breakneck rhythms, clattering percussion and snarling vocals, Black, Magee, LaFaro and Lynn easily charm the pants off the Whelan’s massive, some of whom are too entranced by the racket to headbang along. Relentless party number ‘Boke’ (hear above) from their monstrous second album Easy Meat, quickly sorts that out and thank God it does – an old school rock show this masterful and frantic deserves such a reception.
Lemonada live in The Grand Social at the Camden Crawl Dublin. Photo by Ruth Medjber.
Staff in the Grand Social are using every possible excuse to creep out from behind the bar and hang around the venue floor, so compelling are the experimental sounds of Lemonada. This 21-year-old mystery man makes heavy, pulsing, occasionally tribal dub and hip hop-tinged tracks, rendered all the more impressive by a Timbaland-esque knack for using non-musical samples.
Take ‘Namaste, Bitch’, the first track from his debut release Kelly Green Vol 1., which samples the nursery rhyme ‘Three Little Kittens’, Jim Reeves song ‘Welcome To My World’ and the voice of a thick-accented ballet teacher, all in just two minutes and seven seconds – I’m talking seriously head-spinning stuff, here. Elsewhere, there are moments of pure electronic wallop, as the impenetrable samples momentarily give way to simply massive beats, beats I can easily see being shopped out to artists on any level of the pop spectrum, all the way up to R. Kelly and Drake. They’d be lucky to have them.
The Wonderfully Weird:
Nanu Nanu live in The Workman’s Club 3at the Camden Crawl Dublin. Photo by Ruth Medjber.
For a lot of pretty obvious reasons, the Irish DIY music scene is not a very glamourous place. It’s tough, for example, to survive the mosh pit at an And So I Watch You From Afar gig and come out looking as you did before you entered it, particularly if you went in looking like a premature Blanche Devereaux (I have the broken earrings to prove this.) It’s just one of the reasons why Nanu Nanu‘s Camden Crawl show makes for a terrific change of pace.
The theatrical team behind this Mork & Mindy-themed, self-described alien pop outfit are Marc II (Marc Aubele) on synth and production, Glitterface (the remarkably busy Laura Sheeran, clad in a mirrored bustier and make-up to match) on synth and vocals and Jane Cassidy (presumably her actual name) on visual effects. Specialising in a particularly flashy brand of avant garde electronica, Nanu Nanu employ echoey vocal effects and a whole lot of otherworldly hoots and clicks to create their beautifully freakish sounds.
Rare bird Sheeran happily waves her arms around her head, commanding the lights from the visual show to swirl about with her, while partner in crime Aubele remains eerily still at his post. The infinitely spooky ‘Skin’ is a highlight, as is a Soft Cell-tastic cover of Katie Kim’s ‘The Feast’ and a very, very distorted version of Blondie’s ‘Heart Of Glass’. Less a gig and more a glimmering visual and aural attack, Nanu Nanu’s Camden Crawl debut was positively shudder-inducing in all the right ways.
Day One of the inaugural Camden Crawl Dublin didn’t pass without a few logistical hiccups, but a couple of late starts and some general bewilderment didn’t stop patrons from going home with some wonderful tunes swimming around in their heads.
Dubliners don’t appear all that familiar with the original Camden Crawl; most seem to have heard more about individual performances (like this Florence + The Machine show from 2008, or this security-defying Odd Future gig from last year) than the festival itself.
Punters who found themselves confused by the unusual scheduling (Ghostpoet performs at 7.50pm tonight, while relative unknowns occupy much later slots), myself included, clearly missed the ethos of the event.
“All bands on the Crawl receive equal billing,” reads a statement on camdencrawldublin.com,“with no acts being billed as a headliner…please be aware that any artist can and may appear at any venue, at any time.”
Which brings us to an even more disorienting point; stage times and venue line-ups were kept a closely guarded secret until just two hours before the event, leaving punters pretty much in the dark.
On a rainy Friday night, you have to forgive the Irish crowd their grumbles. Spoiled rotten by similar events like Hard Working Class Heroes and the outrageously frugal Ones To Watch festival, we’re used to rocking up at 9pm, and squeezing in half a dozen bands before finishing the night with the biggest, loudest act on the bill.
At the Crawl, everything kicks off at 6.45pm and most venues have wrapped up by 11. The schedule is based around five time slots, which, factoring in 15 and 20-minute walks between some venues, makes darting around from gig to gig, catching a couple of songs here and there, damn near impossible.
Thankfully, with one night down, we’ve now had ample time to get our heads around the Lucky Dip that is Camden Crawl Dublin.
Day One was a triumphant one for homegrown acts; Le Galaxie, Jape and ASIWYFA all pulled in massive crowds, while, across the Liffey, the phenomenal DELS played to seven people. Understandably but surprisingly, given the festival’s penchant for placing all acts on an equal footing, most ticket-holders were happy to catch just a few bands that they know and love. I, on the other hand, was after fresh blood.
Here’s what I saw…
Young Wonder live in The Grand Social at the Camden Crawl Dublin. Photo by Ruth Medjber.
There’s something terribly jammy about tonight’s set from Cork duo Young Wonder, although I should stress that it’s the crowd, rather than the musicians on stage, who have struck it lucky. The starry-eyed electronic outfit, comprising beats man Ian Ring and pipes girl Rachel Koeman, appeared on our radar not four months ago, fully-formed and sounding very much like a band breezing their way through their third album.
The Camden Crawl set is only their second ever live show (the first took place just last week in Cork’s Pavilion, which the fledgling band miraculously packed to the rafters) so, naturally, I’m happy to forgive a few hitches and bumps, but as it turns out, I can relax – Ring and Koeman have it all under control.
Ring busies himself with a bounty of electronic gadgetry while Koeman happily grinds along to his every musical twist and turn, dropping an icy, somersalting vocal as she goes. Clueless happen-uponners and seasoned musos alike are instantly charmed by their blissed-out, hook-heavy tunes, particularly the handsomely glossy ‘Orange’ and the jittering, Avalanches-sampling ‘Flesh’. If this is takeoff, I can’t wait to see Young Wonder in full flight.
SertOne live in The Mercantile at the Camden Crawl Dublin. Photo by Ruth Medjber.
Portadown lad SertOne cuts a particularly memorable figure in his cocked cap and specs, which is probably why the man responsible for what happens on the screen behind him, namely, Brendan Canty of Feel Good Lost Films, has chosen to feature his silhouette so heavily in his visual show. From the very first glitch-fed blast, it’s clear that this hip hop-influenced producer and remixer is just as distinctive on the ears as on the eyes.
Ranging from the delicate to the banging, his electronic creations are strikingly different, but each one carries the same masterful flow. After a year of near-constant gigging, being the centre of attention is nothing new to the 23-year-old, so whether thundering through his razor-sharp set solo or vibing with Young Wonder’s Rachel, who, sans headdress, joins him on stage to add a couple of verses to his remix of ‘Flesh’, Sert seems thoroughly at home. A quick scan around the Mercantile floor proves what I already suspected; every single head is bobbing along to the groove.
Also great: Jogging, whose thrash-happy set left me thirsting for a new album, and the shapeshifting sounds of Scotland’s Dam Mantle, who plays The Twisted Pepper tonight at 10pm.
Wounds live in The Twisted Pepper at the Camden Crawl Dublin. Photo by Ruth Medjber.
“Drat! What’s that I’ve trodden in?” I regularly find myself asking at gigs, but never before has the answer been fresh pig’s blood. To be quite clear, Dublin rockers Wounds have gone all out for their Camden Crawl debut – an unsettling, ear-splitting and grotesque affair, during which front man Aidan Coogan hurls the severed heads of two deceased pigs around the Twisted Pepper floor. Only 50% of Wounds perform from the stage; Coogan and his brother, guitarist James, both spend the entire set writhing around with the punters, occasionally threatening to knock one over into a pool of hog innards. Our red-faced master of ceremonies clearly delights in his role as the band’s premiere shock tactician, throwing tortured shapes with every inch of his body and carefully constructing a makeshift shoji screen from a couple of the festival’s stand-alone banners just to dramatically knock it down again.
Of course, some form of physical ambush was to be expected from a group who describe themselves as “four disgusting people in one disgusting band”, whose online home can be found at fuckwounds.com, and who have opened for the all-spitting, all-snarling Gallows, but unlike the boys from Watford, they don’t have the hard-hitting prose or the musical heft to back it up. That said, it’s not an entirely bad thing that the theatrics outweigh the tunes tonight – at a festival like Camden Crawl, it’s all about making an impression and Wounds’ gag-riddled set certainly captured my interest.
We Are Losers
Hands Up Who Wants To Die
My Best Fiend
The Crayon Set
I’m Your Vinyl
No Monster Club
Tara Masterson Halley
Hush War Cry
Fred & Bob
Barry Not Garry
And more from Evi Vine, Trophy Wife, Polarbear, Let’s Buy Happiness, Dam Mantle, Blacklisters, Dels, D/R/U/G/S, Dutch Uncles and Becoming Real.
Here’s something you probably already know; this Saturday, April 21 is Record Store Day.
In the unlikely event that you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s what you need to know. 2012 marks the fourth annual international Record Store Day, a kind of Indie-focused pseudoholiday founded in 2007 by record store employee Chris Brown (not that one, silly) in celebration of all things round and shiny that play beautiful music. Since then, the third Saturday in April has bestowed us with exclusive vinyl and CD releases and once-off in-store performances in record stores all around the globe. It’s also the only day of the year to see more people walking around with armfuls of music than nodding along to their iPods, which makes it a truly wonderful thing.
Last year’s Record Store Day brought a tonne of Irish goodies with it, including but not exclusive to, a double A-side single from Enemies, a stomping set from Toby Kaar in Plugd Records, Cork, and Lykke Li’s gorgeous mini-show in Tower Records, Dublin. The line-up for 2012 is just as exciting, and for the most part, free, which leaves you with plenty of pennies to spend on new releases from Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, The Flaming Lips, The Civil Wars, Beach House, Feist, Mastodon, St. Vincent, Neon Indian, and old releases from David Bowie, Abba, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Clash, Miles Davis, Ozzy Osbourne and T. Rex.
It’s no surprise that it’s the vinyl fanatic’s favourite day of the year, but for all you new-timers, there’s also a handful of exclusive releases planned for CD and cassette. After that, it’s just a great excuse to kill an hour in your local music store.
So go. Buy something. Buy this thankfully non-limited edition cobalt blue pressing of Bill Evans’ recently-uncovered Top Of The Gate show from 1968. Buy this frankly bonkers Damon Albarn remix of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born To Die’. Buy this incredibly awesome talking singles collection from The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. Whatever you buy, you’ll be putting your money into music you can hold in your hand, hang on your wall, or cover with coloured paper and give to your mate. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend my pocket money.
The full list of record store day purchasables and downloadables is here, and to find out more about Record Store Day events around the world, pay a visit to Chris Brown (still not him) and company at recordstoreday.com.
Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of what the Irish have in store (har de har etc.) for us this Saturday.
Granted, a selection of classic doo wop covers is not something every Irish singer-songwriter will attempt, but it suits era-hopping crooner Kelleher down to a tee. So far confirmed for the six-track cassette, spookily titled the Ghost Wop Tape, is a seriously lovely version of ‘Angel Baby’ by Rosie And The Originals, which first hit the charts in 1960, where it promptly became John Lennon’s favourite song.
As for the other five tracks on the cassette, we can only speculate. My money’s on ‘Eddie My Love’, originally by The Teen Queens, which appeared on a Kelleher live album in 2009, and I’ll be desperately hoping for a recording of his version of The Ink Spots’ ‘Do I Worry?’, which absolutely slayed me when I heard him perform it at a secret show a few years back.
Available on Long Lost Records from Elastic Witch, Dublin. Listen to Patrick’s version of ‘Angel Baby’ here.
A particularly exciting one, this. The first physical release from Gavin Elsted’s beat-heavy not-so-solo project Adultrock, Loves is a nine-track album of woozy instrumentals and lush experimental dance tracks. Jen Connell, formerly of Cork’s Hooray For Humans, lends vocals to the vintage-sounding melody on ‘Poplife’, while Wicklow teen Monto brings his inimitable quirk to a remix of same. The Squarepusher-esque ‘Hermione’ is a personal fave, but really, the whole thing is totally swoonworthy.
A very limited run of 60 cassettes will be available on Long Lost Records from Elastic Witch, Dublin. Meanwhile, you can stream or buy online for a price of your own choosing here.
RETREAT FROM MOSCOW: In Search Of Home
Another debut physical release, this time from Retreat From Moscow, the brainchild of 21-year-old Dublin-based multi-instrumentalist Stephen Tunney, whose roof-scraping vocals have already earned him comparisons to Bon Iver.
In Search Of Home is a lo-fi-sounding folk and synth record, a paradox in itself, but don’t worry, it all makes sense when Tunney’s meandering voice and strikingly honest lyrics kick in.
A very, very limited run of 35 copies will all new art by LL man Aidan Wall be available on Long Lost Records from Elastic Witch, Dublin. A free digital download is available here.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Record Store Gay Compilation
Clearly, the good folk at Outhouse, a LGBT community resource on Dublin’s Capel St., can’t resist a good pun any more than I can, choosing to celebrate Record Store Gay on April 21 with a unique compilation album of classic queer anthems. 14 brave Irish bands have chosen to take on such iconic tracks as Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ and Candi Staton’s ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ and some slightly lesser known numbers like ‘Big Gay Heart’ by the Lemonheads and Bananarama’s ‘Robert De Niro’s Waiting’ (personally, I’d have gone for this.) It didn’t take much to sell me on this one, with bands like Crayonsmith, Hello Moon, Logikparty and Drunken Boat on board. About six seconds into Gaz LeRock’s hypercharged version of Anita Ward’s ‘Ring My Bell’, I knew I was onto a good thing.
The compilation will be available at the Outhouse Record Store Day show (details below). Listen to four of the tracks online here.
HIDDEN HIGHWAYS: Hidden Highways
I’ve bigged-up breezy boy-meets-girl outfit Hidden Highways before, so I was especially psyched when word of country rock duo’s debut EP reached me last week. The eponymous four-tracker captures everything there is to like about the shiny new twosome; surfy, swaying rhythms, flawless vocals and melodies you can’t help but kick back to. I’m still having trouble deciding who sounds better – Clare’s ukulele-toting songwriter Vertigo Smyth or Donegal painter-come-singer Carol Anne McGowan – their honey-dripped cover of ‘Come Wander With Me’, the cult song from the very brilliant Twilight Zone TV series, makes it especially tough.
Available on Out On A Limb Records, and to stream here.
GRETTA GUNN: The Hunt
Looking every bit the ’60s bombshell fatale on the cover of her three-track EP The Hunt, Kildare singer-producer Gretta Gunn uses stark beats, wobbly rhythms and chart-ready vocals to create some very dark and very becoming electronic pop. She also happens to sound remarkably like Debbie Harry. Some girls have all the luck.
250 copies of The Hunt will be available on Limited Edition 10″ white vinyl. Stream it online here.
HALVES: Live At The Unitarian Church
An old school live recording from Dublin foursome Halves promises to be one of the most sought-after Irish Record Store Day releases. Live At The Unitarian Church sees the Dublin art rockers performing tracks from their critically-adored debut album It Goes, It Goes (Forever & Ever), complete with string section, in the magical St. Stephen’s Green venue.
Halves Live At The Unitarian Church will be released exclusively to selected Irish record stores on 180grm clear vinyl. See ahomeforhalves.com for stockists and the full track list.
To get you in the mood, here’s a video clip of the show in question, filmed by Myles O’Reilly.
(free, unless stated otherwise)
TOWER RECORDS, Wicklow St., Dublin
All-day event on Friday, April 20
4pm: The Riptide Movement
6pm: The Urges
All-day event on Saturday, April 21
1pm: Simone Felice
3pm: Sweet Jane
4pm: Dark Room Notes
6pm: Special guests (Is it Rizzle Kicks? I’d be totally happy with Rizzle Kicks…)
ELASTIC WITCH, The Twisted Pepper, Dublin
All-day event from 2pm with:
Last Days of 1984
Skinny Wolves DJs
OUTHOUSE, Capel St., Dublin
All-day event from 2pm with:
I ♥ The Monster Hero
Lamont Bailey Wall
Lovesea & T
Seeping into Cinemas
You Kiss by the Book
WINGNUT RECORDS, Bell, Book and Candle, Galway
2pm: Nanu Nanu
4pm: Vince Mack Mongrul
5pm: Loner Deluxe
6pm: Them Martyrs
COOL DISCS, Foyle St., Derry (in-store and next door, upstairs in Sandinos)
All-day event from 2.30pm with:
The Wood Burning Savages
ELASTIC WITCH, The Twisted Pepper, Dublin
8-11pm. Admission: €8 before 9pm, €10 after.
BATS, Magic Pockets and Turning Down Sex.
PLUGD AND PING PONG, the Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
The deal: four qualified architects dropping sweet, sweeping guitar rock and joining Toby Kaar, Reid, Fingersmith, Brian Deady, I’ll Eat Your Face, Versives and the soon-to-be-massive Young Wonder in proving that Cork city is one of the most bountiful artistic spots on this island. Only two songs have surfaced so far, both of which sound like lost tracks from Wild Beasts’ Kate Bush-inspired second album Two Dancers.
The sound: Ambitious, compelling dream pop featuring lush arrangements, big words and a bit of blue-eyed soul. ‘Lily’ in particular, with its sky-scraping vocal and vintage-sounding chorus, is unmissable. And free. Don’t forget free.
Psst. Here’s a snippet from the forthcoming ‘Apparitions’…
The deal: yet another young Irishman making potent, swoonworthy electronica, 22-year-old Corkman Eoghan Reid launched his solo project a little quicker than most, playing his first ever live show at Electric Picnic last September. Since then, he’s released a debut EP, Genesis, and rustled up some really lovely remixes of tracks by Twin Sister, Owensie and Come On Live Long.
The sound: Woozy, atmospheric and heavy on the fizz and crackle.
There’s also Genesis, the free mini-album which was released on Blah Blah Blah Records last November. Here’s the video for the title track, featuring footage from Dimensions Of Dialogue, a stop motion animation created by Czech artist Jan Švankmajer.
He says: “MPD32 is making my live set so much more fun… Can’t wait to test it out at the Ones To Watch 2012 in Whelans.” – from Twitter
I say: If the live show’s half as good as the recorded material, Ireland’s got another truly brilliant beatmaker on her hands.
What now? Get an earful of Reid here and an eyeful of Reid tonight in Whelan’s as part of the Ones To Watch festival, or tomorrow in the Twisted Pepper along with, among others, SertOne, Bantum and Monto.