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.


Post-car crash fun.

This is one of my favourite music videos of all time.

It's completely twisted. You'll want to rip your eyes away but you won't be able to, cos that tune is just sooo catchy.

Berndsen (along with FM Belfast, Bloodgroup, and probably some others that I don't know) are part of the Icelandic electronic scene (yup, that's right, another Icelandic music post).

Rebecca Louder introduced me to them. Her blog is wacky, like this video, and worth a look. Here.

Good Romance.

After weeks of preparation, Tuesday saw the shooting of a music video for "Romance", an absolutely killer new tune by Dublin based band Morning Hush. I produced the video, which meant I got to handle all the lovely phone calls, schedules, and paperwork.

Spy on South William Street served as our home for 12 long hours of multiple camera angles, period costumes, candles, and makeup.

The shoot was a roaring success, due solely to the huge amount of work that all involved put in - the crew, the band, and the extras. It's the best thing I've worked on to date, and I'm eagerly anticipating the finished video.

Watch this space.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Webcam fun. No, not that kind.

On Saturday 20th February, in a tiny room, voyeurs and exhibitionists turned out in their tens to get their kit off for the internetz.

The occasion was "Chat As Soon As You Roulette" hosted by the crazysexycool Come As Soon As You Hear.

They swapped their clothes.
They got nekkid.
They drank.
They danced.
They were watched by the inhabitants and penises of the fantasy world that is Chat Roulette.

In that order.

I had the fantastic opportunity of DJing at it, and while I wasn't doing that or any of the above, I took some photos.

Have a gawk.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Musique Pour Vous #1

Here are some tunes to which you can bake a cake/bury a loved one/suck a lolly while making a suggestive pose:

Rhinestone Eyes - Gorillaz
A gem (see what I did there?!) from the incredible Plastic Beach.
Tongue 'n' cheek rework using a interpolation from circus staple "Entrance of the Gladiators" juxtaposed with Diplo's signature baile funk rhythms. ACE.

I love that Chromeo remixes are basically covers. Better than the original.

So good that it might deserve its own blog post. The only successful remix of a Sigur Rós song to date. FACT.

Ridiculous song of the moment via The Bubble Boy. (OH LOLZ). I also encourage you to watch and bask in greatness of the video.
I think this could become a phenomenon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Squelch squelch squelch.

The first time I saw Yeasayer, singer Chris Keating was crawling around Jools Holland's TV studio floor. It was pretty memorable.

Their new album, Odd Blood is about 13 and a half times as good as their first one. Not that that wasn't great. Odd Blood is a glorious mélange of every musical style you've ever heard, and several that probably haven't been invented yet (and will most likely be banned by concerned parents when they are). The band describes themselves as "Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel". Yeah.

"Love Me Girl" is my favourite track. It is the aural equivalent of your brain melting out through your ears like soup while being outside on an uncomfortably hot day.

Doesn't that sound appealing?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Björk who?

Having been a huge Sigur Rós fan since discovering their sophomore album, Ágætis byrjun, several years ago, and subsequently developing an unquenchable thirst for all things Icelandic, it was with baited breath that I waited for frontman Jón Þór Birgisson (known as Jónsi) to release his solo debut.

"Boy Lilikoi", released late last year, was the first taste of the brilliance to come. Backed by a staccato drum pattern and swirling woodwind, the song is upbeat, rapturous, and almost childlike, with Jonsí imploring his "boy lilikoi" to grab life because "the world goes and flutters by".

The album, Go, begins with a similarly uplifting track, "Go Do", reminiscent of "Gobbledigook" from Sigur Ros' Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. In fact, it is one of the most uplifting pieces of music I have ever heard, and I've had it on repeat since I got the album. Jonsí creates an incredibly euphonic wall of sound from whirling synths, flute blasts, and percussion by way of pummeling furiously on a suitcase (yes, a suitcase - if you don't believe me, watch the beautiful video for "Go Do" after the post). It is the perfect accompaniment to the endlessly layered vocals which plead "Go! Do!"; to seize life and "always know that we can do anything".

Interestingly, Jonsí mostly sings in English on the album, though his vocal delivery is so like an instrument itself, it is sometimes impossible to tell what language he is singing in. He is simply part of the orchestra. Although the music is often far removed from that of Sigur Rós, a certain melancholy remains, and there is a clever juxtaposition of despondent lyrics and euphoric melody.

However, the music is not at all times upbeat. "Kolniður" is almost terrifying while the dark, brooding "Tornado" begins with echoey piano chords in the style of Radiohead's "Pyramid Song", and before long is awash with strings and cymbal crashes, building to a frightening climax of clattering marching drums as if Jónsi himself is leading an army to battle. Although foreboding, its subject matter is concurrent with that of the whole album - enjoy life while you can.

Jónsi has crafted something beautiful, with so many layers both musically and thematically, that you'll find yourself jerked to and fro between the poles of human emotion, all while dancing around your bedroom like a mad yoke. This is pop music as it should be.

Jónsi - Go Do from Jónsi on Vimeo.

Some ladies from the red light district that I photographed.

Here are some photographs I shot for my portfolio for college, featuring the always willing Saoirse and Grace. They were the start of a short lived concept about the relationship between nightlife, people and the city. Maybe it's something I'll come back to, but at the time, I just wanted to fill up space in the folio.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fresh Off The Boat

If you'd like to know how on earth a freckly ginger Irish boy didn't get murdered in the Big Apple in Summer Oh Nine, you should go read my friend Eoin's travel blog, AMOTTC.

It's full of amusing anecdotes, sartorial observations, and embarrassing incidents as Eoin makes the move from culchie to cultured in the underbelly of NYC. It's a great read. And if you're wondering what AMOTTC means, you'll have to read to the end of the blog. Haw-haw.

Twilight sucks. (Hah, a pun).

I'm currently reading Let The Right One In by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. Most will be familiar with the story from the critically acclaimed 2008 film adaptation, directed by Tomas Anderson. For those who are not, Let The Right One In tells the story of bullied 12 year old Oskar, and his relationship with the "girl next door", Eli, who happens to be an ancient child vampire.

Lindqvist successfully juxtaposes a strange but beautiful love story with the most awful facets of human nature - murder, paedophilia, bullying, alcoholism and prostitution - as well as giving a fresh perspective on vampire folklore.

Although many of the book's more controversial themes were toned down or removed for the film (the paedophillic backstory of Håkan is not mentioned at all - Anderson felt he could not satisfactorily deal with this theme without detracting from the relationship between Oskar and Eli), it is truly an exquisite piece of foreign cinema, featuring incredible performances by child actors Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson. Both book and film are undoubtedly the best examples from the wave of vamp-centric fiction that has risen in the last few years.

An American remake, entitled "Let Me In", will hit cinemas in October this year, just over two years after the original film was released. Director Mark Reeves addressed the criticism that this move understandably received, insisting that his choice was based on a deep personal connection to the film, and not for monetary reasons. I can only hope that this wonderful work will not be tainted by Hollywood, but if one considers the precedent set by countless American horror remakes, it's pretty doubtful.


I had a blog once upon a time, but it wasn't very good at all and it got bad reviews in all the blog magazines.

So, I'll try again. Maybe this time I'll win an award.

This is a place for: