Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I am in love with this woman.

I love everything she represents, and everything she creates. She's had such an influence on my life creatively that I was more than a tad overwhelmed when I met her and she signed my kazoo at her recent Academy gig in Dublin. Then she hugged me, and the chorus of "(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight" started playing in my head. Sigh.

I've half written a review/tale of the concert about three times now, and it's more than a month later. So instead of writing it myself I'm going to put you in the direction of Joey's review here, which is exactly what I wanted to say, and more. It was a truly unique musical experience (and I'm not exaggerating) .

You're probably feeling a bit short changed with this blog post so... are some more photos of the the gig:


Monday, April 26, 2010

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

I'm pretty behind with blogging, oh loyal followers. I just officially finished first year of college so now I should have abundant amounts of free time to splatter my opinions all over the place. First up, the remarkable musician (and more importantly, a person I actually know!), Laura Sheeran.

Two Oh Ten is going to be Laura Sheeran's year. Having had the pleasure of being in her company at last year's Electric Picnic, and witnessed first hand the extraordinary artistic influence she has had on our mutual friend, SWALL, I am entirely certain of her prowess as a creative powerhouse.

April 23rd saw Laura release her "official" debut EP, although she has released some recordings previously. Music For The Deep Woods is a voyage through what Laura herself calls "the darker stuff rolling around my head-space" and can be best described as a "unity between the music I was making and ideas, imagery I was presenting in my blog" (of the same name, which can be found here). The EP features collaborations with a hoard of musical guests, including Choice Prize winner Adrian Crowley, Emily Aoibheann of Cixous Ghost, Marc Aubele of pig, and the aforementioned SWALL.

Deep Woods offers up dark beauty in the form of traditional instrumentation eternally coupled with eerie soundscapes, "treated thunder", and even "sounds of hysteria" on the incredible "Under The Ice."

Laura's voice falls effortlessly amongst the balance of order and chaos, hitting its deepest registers on the terrifying Lupine Rot (a duet with Crowley), and aching with sincerity on the SWALL-penned "Ag Cuimhniú" - a track which I've had on repeat since I downloaded the album. It is startlingly beautiful (and I ain't just sayin' that cos SWALL's my mate!).

The record ends on the haunting "Rain Song", a perfect representation of its title. For this one, I recommend you turn off all the lights, and turn up the volume. Seriously.

Music is so rarely such an all-encompassing sensual experience as this, and with Laura planning to release her debut album later this year, I am so glad that there's more of the same or better to come.

You can download the EP here. It's free, so you don't have an excuse not to, right?

Ag Chuimhniú by laurasheeran


I found some lights.
My bedroom at home is (mostly) white.
I combined the two and a makeshift photographic studio was born.

There are some more on my Flickr, and they seem to be in higher quality/more vibrant looking than here on Blogger. Weird.

Let me know what you think. :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Musique Pour Vous #2

Blowin' up my stereo this week, are:

The Knife - Heartbeats (Rex The Dog Remix)

Boys Noize & Erol Alkan - Lemonade

Bitches With Wolves - Broken Hearts

Major Lazer + Kelis - MilkShake Da Floor (Brand-X Boot)

Goldfrapp - Rocket (Wutam and J-Break Remix)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Iceland Goes Boom.

Put on your serious face, kids.

As you may or may not know, a volcano erupted in southern Iceland last week, near Eyjafjallajökull glacier. Between 500 and 600 people were evacuated from the immediate area, and flights in and out of the Keflavík airport were suspended. Glacial flooding was the biggest initial threat, but it appears that the lava from the volcano has avoided the ice for the most part and is flowing through a gorge. The eruption is ongoing and experts have no knowing of when it will stop.

Still, there is a growing concern that the volcanic activity could trigger a much larger explosion in Katla, known as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Iceland, embedded deep under Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which is the second largest glacier in the country. Katla erupts once or twice a century, with devastating results. When Katla explodes, it melts ice. Melted ice is water. Water means floods. At the peak of an eruption in 1755, the flood discharge was estimated between 200,000–400,000 m³/s; for comparison the combined average discharge of the Amazon, Mississippi, Nile, and Yangtze rivers is about 290,000 m³/s. That's kind of insane, right? Aside from flooding, the volcanic material thrown up by the eruption is highly conductive, leading to massive lightening storms. Add to this toxic gases and clouds of ash, and you've got a party on your hands.

Katla 1918 eruption:

1918 eruption in Katla
During my brief stint in Iceland last summer, I stayed in Þórsmörk valley. The valley is bordered on three sides by glaciers, one of which is Eyjafjallajökull, and at the rear lies Mýrdalsjökull. I've hiked in the foothills of both of them. This is why the current volcanic eruption resonates with me more than most. It's odd to think that the next time I go back there, the landscape could be entirely different. I was told during my stay that an eruption was due, since the last one occurred in 1918. Many of the older residents of the area refused to believe this, or, if they did believe, were not perturbed by it. Þórsmörk, as well as Hella, Hvölsvollur, and Fljotshlíd have all been evacuated, and are all places I've been in. It's bizarre.

Húsadalur campsite where I lived for 2 weeks, with Eyjafjallajökull in the distance:

Even though the majority of Iceland's 320,000 strong population live in Reykjavík, there is still a bustling community in and around Þórsmörk. If there was a flood, hundreds of people would lose their homes. An eruption in the 21st century would have a far greater effect compared to 100 years ago. In 1996, a smaller eruption occurred under the Grimsvötn lakes belonging to the Vatnajökull glacier. The resulting flood washed away part of the main highway which circumnavigates Iceland. Repairs to bridges and roads cost 2 billion Icelanic kronor. An eruption in Katla would be far far worse than the Grimsvötn one, causing untold amounts of damage. And with Iceland already in economic collapse, it would be detrimental to the country.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kick-Ass is exactly as described.

To know a comic book before it's been made into a film is geeky. Once the film is released, to not have known the comic book is super-uncool. In fact, this is true for all literature, and is best described by hipster-satirising author Christian Lander on his blog "Stuff White People Like" (See #127: Where The Wild Things Are).

I'm going to admit that I'm not a geek, and am therefore a total loser: I haven't read Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s comic, Kick-Ass. I heard about the film adaptation many months ago, and I still didn't jump on the bandwagon when I had the chance. FML, eh?

So, enough about what a disaster I am; back to the film.

Kick-Ass tells the story of overly-horny, comic-book-geeky, lucked-out teenager (how many hyphens was that?), Dave Lizewski, played by Nowhere Boy star, Aaron Johnson . Wondering why real superheroes don't exist, he picks out a particularly fetching teal and canary yellow body stocking from eBay, (with matching balaclava), and becomes the "Kick-Ass" of the title. His premier foray into the world of crimefighting results in him getting stabbed in the stomach, hit by a car, and much of his skeleton being patched back together with metal plates (but not in a cool Wolverine way).

But there ain't no stoppin' Dave. He's back in that suit and warding off gang members with his batons as soon as he leaves the hospital. Cue accidental embroilment in the drug business of NY mobster boss Frank D'Amico, and meeting real life superheroes in the form of "Big Daddy" (played by Nicolas Cage) and the 11-year old "Hit-Girl" (Chloë Moretz).

It's Moretz's performance that leaves your jaw on the floor of the cinema. If you've ever wanted to hear a 13-year old actress say the words "Okay you cunts... lets see what you can do now!" (with much conviction), then you've come to the right movie. Profanity aside, Moretz delivers the majority of the ass-kicking in the film, in terms of both violence and acting ability. Morally ambiguous and able to take a bullet to the chest with ease , Hit-Girl is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Cool 2010. Later this year, she will take on the role of Eli in the American remake of Let The Right One In, which I blogged about earlier this month. My skepticism at said remake has been eminently alleviated based on the strength of her performance as Hit-Girl. Yup, I just ate my words. EXPECT GREAT THINGS.

Nicolas Cage takes on a bizarre role as Big Daddy; Obscurity202 described his portrayal as an impersonation of Sheldon Cooper from TV series The Big Bang Theory. Entirely apt, with flecks of Adam West in there for good measure (Big Daddy's outfit is remarkably similar to that of a certain caped crusader. Wink.) Though I usually find Cage deplorable at the best of times, his unusually stilted dialogue coupled with lack of screen time made him less offensive (though I did cringe every time he said "Oh, child!" Creepy).

The only actor who I felt was badly cast was Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D'Amico/Red Mist. It seems that Mintz-Plasse cannot break out of the McLovin' sterotype in a similar way to Michael Cera being consistently typecast. Whereas Cera is making strides to conquer this, Mintz-Plasse seems eternally stuck, and I cannot envisage a future for him as anything other. Elsewhere, there are strong supporting roles from Clark Duke (of Clark & Michael, Greek, Sex Drive fame), Evan Peters, and Lyndsy Fonseca (Desperate Housewives).

Kick-Ass' script is electric, the narrative is impeccably paced, and, while shot in a typical Hollywood style, has some really ingenious technical moments (example: a night-vision first-person-shooter sequence). Oops, more hyphens.

Other than its obvious message of "anyone can be a hero", it strikes a deeper chord. In years gone by, a person would intervene to help their fellow man; today's society forces us to shirk away in fear, or as one scene in the film portrays, using one's videophone vicariously to record a violent incident and broadcast it on Youtube rather than the presumed instinct of calling the police. Kick-Ass addresses this fear and ignominy in the form of vigilante justice, and proves that such action is more relevant today than it ever was in the time of Batman.

With a not-so-gentle balance of gorey violence and riotous teen laughs, and backed by a killer soundtrack, Kick-Ass is just about perfect as far as the superhero/comic book adaptation goes, while at the same time being a completely new take on the genre. It is far more in the vein of Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World than a blockbuster like Spiderman, which makes it far more relatable and enjoyable. Having garnered rave reviews in every cinematic publication known to man, it seems I'm sorta right in saying it's HOLYFUCKINGAWESOME. Go see it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I felt it in my legs, before I ever checked Ticketmaster.


I just found out that Tegan and Sara are playing the Olympia on June 15th.

I go through phases of being completely enamoured with a band and wishing I could get the chance to see them live. Eventually, by the time I do get to see them live, this phase has waned, and, though I do enjoy the concert, it doesn't have the same effect on me as it would have had at the zenith of my fandom.

Tegan and Sara, however, are a band which I have continual adoration for. I only began listening to them at the time of the release of The Con on a friend's suggestion, but I soon became familiar with their back catalogue. Their newest album Sainthood builds on the intricate harmonies and impossibly layered instrumentation of The Con to construct something even more mature, both musically and lyrically.


And with that, I'm off to buy my ticket, which are a steal at €22.