So what are you listening to at the moment?
There are two questions about what I do for a living which I get asked almost every day. OK, there are more than two questions, but these are the two which pop up most frequently in emails and conversations. The …
There are two questions about what I do for a living which I get asked almost every day. OK, there are more than two questions, but these are the two which pop up most frequently in emails and conversations.
The first one is usually posed by bands and their reps and it goes: “did you get our CD, we sent it to you on Friday”.
The second one is posed by everyone else: “what are you listening to at the moment?”
As you see from the photo, the answer to A is “probably, along with about 100 other ones which I am trying to find time to listen to” and the answer to B is “where do I start?”.
Naturally, it starts with a list. Here are 10 albums which are getting a lot of plays at the moment in the tiny room filled with cardboard boxes I call an office.
Chequerboard “Penny Black”
After a few listens, it’s clear that the new Chequerboard album is quite something else. There have been a slow, steady stream of decent Irish electronic albums in the last few years – Si Schroeder, Somadrone – but there’s a different cadence to John Lambert’s second album because he’s now got confidence in his arsenal. A shoe-in for next year’s Choice Music Prize, people.
Martin Hayes & Denis Cahill “Welcome Here Again”
One of my favourite Irish albums of all time is Martin Hayes & Denis Cahill going hell for leather at Seattle’s Tractor Tavern on “Live In Seattle”. Since that high waterpark, the pair have gigged and jigged all around the world. Their new album is as sweet as the view from the Cliffs of Moher. There’s a beautifully simple and slow piece of music on it called “The Dear Irish Boy” and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by it.
Panther “14 Kt God”
Two dudes from Portland, Oregon release an album full to the brim with stoned, proggy, funky space jams. Trust me, you’ll love it.
The Kills “Midnight Boom”
Music to evoke late nights, early mornings, cigarettes, sweaty dives, leather jackets, Johnny Thunders, New York City serenades and a whole load of other classic guitar-rock scenarios.
The Breeders “Mountain Battles”
The real Deals return. Short, sharp, sparky tunes which sound as if they should fall apart, but don’t. Kim Deal is still your favourite big sister and she still loves y’all.
Various “Funky Nassau: The Compass Point Story 1980-1986”
The story in 12” remixes of what went down in Chris Blackwell’s Compass Point studios in the Bahamas. Sticky grooves galore from Grace Jones (it is time for a Grace Jones revival), Talking Heads, Will Powers and the genius Tom Tom Club (anyone else remember their McGonagles gig from back in the day?)
Vampire Weekend “Vampire Weekend”
The more I listen, the more I love it. Big-brain lyrical ideas and outlandish musical notions come together in a pigbig bag of pop melodies. Someone book them for a live show now, damn it.
Jamie Lidell “Jim”
Someone call 999, Prince has been robbed. An album funkier than a mosquito’s tweeter. Great title too.
Yonni, Doug and Josiah make music which is like your favourite dark chocolate bar.
Daft Punk “Alive 2007”
One listen to this and you’ll miss you were right at the barrier. Intoxicating souvenir of the Daft duo’s Parisian show from last June.
All of which begs the question: what are YOU listening to at the moment?