I’m Scared of Vinyl

Morrissey – Years of Refusal

Posted in Albums by Catriona on January 26, 2009

 moz

The album cover strikes you immediately. Morrissey with a baby? Everyone seems baffled. Wikipedia claims that the child is his assistant tour manager’s baby, although apparently Morrissey said that the baby was his during a recent publicity event in London, according to the review in the Guardian. Either way it’s a strange image, there’s something incongruous about the notoriously solitary singer defiantly cradling an infant.

Years of Refusal is Morrissey’s ninth solo album and, while not significantly different to his earlier solo work, still contains a good collection of tracks. The album opens with “Something is Squeezing My Skull”, which is reminiscent of classic Morrissey, the sound occupying the space between pop and punk, while the song gathers momentum until it reaches a finale of crashing drums, accompanied by Morrissey repeatedly belting out the word “hey”, which gives the ending an almost military insistency.

The first single from the album, “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” sees Morrissey singing, somewhat predictably, about his lack of emotional fulfilment and how “only stone and steel accept my love”, a theme which appears throughout the entire album. One thing that is noticeable is that the songs get progressively longer towards the end of the album, the last four tracks range from between four to over five minutes each, meaning that the album starts to drag a bit. The album has also been quite economical with its track listing, since the tracks “All You Need Is Me” and “That’s How People Grow Up” have already made an appearance on last year’s Greatest Hits album

The snippets of lyrics that leap out from various songs are priceless – “the motion of taxis excites me” and “the smiling children tell you that you smell”, were two particular stand-out phrases. Morrissey’s incredible ability to enunciate phrases and make even the strangest lyrics seem profound is quite remarkable. His voice is so compelling that the listener forgives him anything – whether it is the occasional lyrical peculiarity, the flamenco-style accompaniment to “When I Last Saw Carol”, or even the choice of album cover. Morrissey’s voice is still superb, and Years of Refusal provides him with yet another opportunity to showcase it.

Jape

Posted in Videos by Catriona on January 24, 2009

School of Seven Bells – Connjur

Posted in Videos by Catriona on January 22, 2009

They’re playing in Whelans on 23rd February

www.myspace.com/schoolofsevenbells

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Choice Music Prize

Posted in News by Catriona on January 22, 2009

Now the shortlist’s out for the Choice Music Prize, everyone seems to be speculating as to who’s going to win. The Script are currently the popular favourites, though hopefully the odds at the bookies aren’t indicative of the final outcome, considering how good some of the other nominees are. What seems so strange is that there is such a disparity in genres between the albums nominated. The prize itself was established to pick out the albums from the previous year which deserve some extra time in the spotlight and to select out the album which best sums up the year in Irish music. What it doesn’t do is divide the albums into different genres, so you get artists who have just released their debut album competing against established musicians, and different genres competing against each other. For instance, how can The Script really be compared to an artist like David Holmes? They are both so completely different. The Script are signed to a major label, producing mainstream pop, and selling a phenomenal number of albums, despite having ridden on the boy-band bandwagon for quite some time before this year’s success in the charts. Compare this to David Holmes, who has been DJing since he was 15, scored films for Steven Soderbergh, and whose ambient sound is a far cry from the pop-rock of The Script. Add Fight Like Apes, Jape, R.S.A.G., Lisa Hannigan and the others into the mix and the variety becomes even more mind-boggling. Since the only thing that the acts have in common is that they’re Irish and released in 2008, it seems a bit unfair to pit one album against the other, regardless of genre, in a quest to find out which one is the ‘best’. Still, with a €10,000 prize, it’s unlikely that the winner will be complaining…

The Cranberries reunited… temporarily

Posted in Interviews by Catriona on January 20, 2009

For the first time in years, the Cranberries reunited to play a live set together, after Dolores O’Riordan received an award from Trinity College’s University Philosophical Society.

 

They may have slipped off the radar now, but back in the early Nineties, The Cranberries were one of the biggest bands on the planet. Shooting to success while still incredibly young, the Limerick band initially found it difficult to pursue their career, Dolores O’Riordan, in an interview at the Phil, said “There was major pressure to go into a more of a business career – back in those days people weren’t really that open to the arts. I said to my parents that I’d give it a year and see if it caught on and it totally caught on, so that was it.”

Singing has been O’Riordan’s preoccupation from an early age: “I just always wanted to sing, honest to god. When I was five years old and starting out in primary school, my headmistress used to take me into Sixth Class and stand me on the table and that was one thing that I knew I could do was sing, and I could win people’s hearts with my voice, so that was the one thing I ever wanted to do with conviction and passion.”

Despite her outgoing character, O’Riordan initially found it nerve-wracking performing on stage, saying: “I always got a bit paranoid speaking in front of crowds, but I could sing though, in front of people because you don’t even have to think when you’re singing, there’s no thought process, there’s no self-awareness, you just go somewhere else…but over the years I’ve been on stage for so long, I’ve spent half my life on stage, so you kind of get over it.”

After The Cranberries’s early success in America, it became apparent that the lives of all the band members had altered radically. O’Riordan said: “I thought that I’d go back to Limerick and everything would be hunky dory and the same… you think you can just walk back to your little town and everything’s going to be back to normal, and you can just go back to reality. It’s just coming to terms with the fact that you’ve decided to take this journey in your life and it changes how people perceive you and how you’re seen.”

“Linger” was the first song that O’Riordan wrote with The Cranberries, who were then called The Cranberry Saw Us. The song was included on their demo tape, and later released as a single from their first album, Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?. When asked about the inspiration behind “Linger”, O’Riordan replied: “I had a broken heart at the time and I used the song to get that feeling of broken-heartedness out there, so I think it was something that a lot of people related to. When you really wear your heart on your sleeve and you use your own experiences and turn them into songs, people feel it. You can’t just make up that feeling.”

As a teenager, O’Riordan favoured a slightly more alternative image: “I kind of went through a goth phase alright, where I used to dye my hair black and put talcum powder on my face and I’d get black nail varnish and put it on my nails and then go to school…. we had gabardines and I remember there was a little place on the way to the bus stop where I used to dump my gabardine and pull out my black coat and put it on. I’d wear that on the bus and into school. And then when I came home I’d put the gabardine back on and go home and my mam didn’t know I was a goth.”

Dolores O’Riordan’s legendary voice resulted in her being asked to sing a duet with Paverotti. Upon being asked about working with Paverotti, she sighs, nostalgically, saying “Pav, my man, I miss him, don’t you?” before continuing: “It was such a great experience duetting with him and I was so nervous when I met him. I remember going into his dressing room and he had a huge red bathrobe on, and I had a flash in my head of Santa Claus, except his beard was black and not white. So he was there in his red bathrobe and I was really nervous and he said [mimics Italian accent] ‘come on Dolores, sit on my lap, you are so small and lovely’ and I was like ‘oh, I love you!’ and I jumped up on his lap and started hugging him and I was like, I’m over it now. When you’re singing with someone you have to get over the intimidation factor.”

Singing with Paverotti for the Pope also meant that O’Riordan got to meet Lady Diana. “She was at that Pav gig, in the front row and I was singing the Ave Maria and I looked down and I could see her getting emotional. And then afterwards, she was at the head of table at this dinner that we had; she was sitting next to Pav and I remember going to the bathroom at one point, when Pav goes to me ‘did you meet Diana?’ and I was like, ‘er, no’ and he goes ‘this is Diana, this is Dolores’. And she said; ‘when you sang that song, I loved it, my mother used to love that’. And I said, ‘oh really, that’s cool. I’m going for a pee, do you want to come?’ And she said ‘I really would love to, but if I get up, they have to ring a bell and everyone has to stand up’. So she couldn’t just get up and walk out, so I thought ‘it’s hard to be a princess.’”

No stranger to fame herself, O’Riordan was asked about how she dealt with the hype that surrounded The Cranberries: “It’s like being a train and ripping down the train tracks for ages and ages and suddenly having a major crash and you’re suddenly a train wreck. When you realise that you’re so famous, that’s a bit freaky. And then, I suppose you just decide that that’s part of life. No matter what you do in life, there’s always challenges and ups and downs. Sometimes you fall but you get up and go again.”

She went onto play three of her hits from The Cranberries, “Linger”, “Ordinary Day” and “Linger”

“Linger”

 

“Ordinary Day”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l074jkG92E8&feature=related

 

“Zombie”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbYRW5Bxq0Q&feature=related

 

 

 

Dolores O’Riordan’s second solo album, No Baggage? is due for release in May 2009