Beaner’s portrait of John’s hands. Sublime.

this has bean

I took this photo a while back of my friend John Dermodys hands directly after coming off stage at a gig by his band the Jimmy Cake. He is a top drummer who hits the skins hard. This particular night he was playing like a metronome, nearly in a trance. He was playing so hard that his knuckles were bleeding. I really liked the photo it just seemed so rock and roll to me. It has it all.

I’m not sure if I’ll put this in the exhibition as I don’t think it would fit with all the portraits. I might put it in another one that I am planning which will be more on the theme of parties, night life and music. Which will I guess be a distant memory for me soon as I’ll be a daddy. That’s not saying I won’t be partying again in my…

View original post 193 more words



The Jimmy Cake need your help to get record number 5 out the door.
‘Popular Music’ is the new album from Dublin collective The Jimmy Cake coming soon on 180g double vinyl and accompanied by some darkly magnificent illustrations from Jack Teagle . The album is 72 minutes spread across 3 tracks and 4 sides of vinyl. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but we’re very happy with the results of the recording, and are confident that you will be too. We’ve incorporated nearly every element of influence we’ve ever had. It’s all in there at some stage, from the heavy, doom infused Observatory Destroyer to the Krautrock inflected Space Champion.

In order to release the album we need to raise the money to get it mixed, mastered and manufactured. That’s where the funders come in. We’ll be offering the music in various formats as well as some very limited and very wonderful Jack Teagle merchandise. If you’re not familiar with Jack then we STRONGLY urge you to check out his work at We’re not really the types to sing happy birthday down the phone to you, or to set up our fifteen keyboards in your front room, but for €1,000 euro you can have all our shoes. For €2,000 we’ll stage an intervention for a loved one who’s gone astray and for €3,000 we’ll do a live score for some significant life event: bar mitzvah, birth of your child, appendectomy, whatever you like.

To whet your appetite we’ve included a video of the band rehearsing the album’s opening track, Observatory Destroyer, filmed by Sean Tracey and recorded and mixed by Spud.

Thanks for listening. Paddy, Parx, John, Vinnie, Dip, Lisa, Paul x

. “At the forefront of Ireland’s instrumental-prog-post-space-rock scene for over a decade now, The Jimmy Cake started life in summer 2000, quickly garnering a reputation for their ferocious and semi-improvised live performances, before releasing their debut album, Brains (Pilatus, 2001) to almost universal critical acclaim. The following year the Jimmy Cake played Ireland’s largest music festival, Witnness, and followed that with the release of their second album Dublin Gone Everybody Dead (Pilatus 2002). More critical acclaim, album of the year awards and sold out shows followed. The Jimmy Cake continued to record, and released the e.p. Superlady (Pilatus) in 2003, headlined The Roundstone Arts Festival, Spraoi Festival and filled the Rising tent at the final Witnness festival. After a tour of Europe and more festival dates, the Jimmy Cake took a break to work on that difficult 4th record, releasing a split 12” on Earsugar Records and appearing on various Compilation albums. In 2008 Spectre and Crown (Pilatus) was released to yet more rave plaudits. The Jimmy Cake finished 2008 with a sell out show in Dublin’s Vicar St. After some personnel shake ups the Jimmy Cake changed direction yet again, exploring their darker, prog-gier side and investing in a stack of synths, and the fruits of which will be their 5th album, Popular Music, released early 2013, with a little help from Fund it.”


€10: Digital Download of Popular Music and complimentary entry to the launch gig (album will be launched in Dublin, 2013)

€15: Compact Disc of Popular Music and complimentary entry to the launch gig (album will be launched in Dublin, 2013) (UK and international P& P please add €5.00).

€25: Double vinyl, gatefold sleeve version of Popular Music and complimentary entry to the launch gig (album will be launched in Dublin, 2013) (UK and international P& P please add €5.00).

€35: Compact Disc of Popular Music and entry to the complimentary launch gig (album will be launched in Dublin, 2013) and exclusive Jimmy Cake t-shirt featuring art by Jack Teagle. (UK and international P& P please add €6.00, please specify t-shirt size).

€45: Double vinyl, gatefold sleeve version of Popular Music and complimentary entry to the launch gig (album will be launched in Dublin, 2013) and exclusive Jimmy Cake t-shirt featuring art by Jack Teagle. (UK P& P please add €7.50, international P&P please add €10.75, please specify t-shirt size).

€100: Double vinyl, gatefold sleeve version of Popular Music and complimentary entry to the launch gig (album will be launched in Dublin, 2013) , exclusive Jimmy Cake t-shirt featuring art by Jack Teagle and a limited edition print of the album artwork, also by Jack Teagle. (UK P& P please add €8.50, international P& P please add €12.75, please specify t-shirt size).

€500: Double vinyl, gatefold sleeve version of Popular Music and complimentary entry to the launch gig (album will be launched in Dublin, 2013) , exclusive Jimmy Cake t-shirt featuring art by Jack Teagle and a limited edition print of the album artwork, also by Jack Teagle. Also you get an Associate Producer credit on the album cover. (UK P&P please add €8.50, international P& P please add €12.75, please specify t-shirt size).


Strange Passion is collection of hidden gems from Ireland’s DIY, post punk past. It’s perfect for those who thought Ireland’s only punk band was The Boomtown Rats. Here the raw rubs shoulders with the gleefully inept, the deliberately tangential, the loftily idealistic. It’s a frankly terrific collection, containing some marvellous music worthy of a wider audience. It’s about time that there’s been some kind of collation of Ireland’s left of field past. U2, once of the very avant garde parish that Strange Passion seeks to extol, inadvertently did untold damage to the scene from whence they came. Back when Major Labels still roamed the planet like carnivorous, cash register-jawed behemoths, all they wanted from Ireland was the next arena-bothering anthem generating U2-alike. Understandably, plenty of artists tried to go in that direction, leaving behind wonky experimentalism and shouty anthems for smoother, more professional approaches, Cuban heels and leather waistcoats, with varied, and usually nil, success. Wither Blue in Heaven, Light A Big Fire, et al? The groups that comprise this disparate collection clearly had little interest in straddling the Atlantic in a Stetson. Obviously, or they wouldn’t be here, being celebrated for being “rare”, and mostly unheard.

The sound is not high fidelity, many of these tracks have been saved from tapes and vinyl. Hissing abounds, which just makes it sound even better. Dogmatic Element kick it off, with a piece of wonky Altered Images like pop. The Threat’s High Cost Of Living has a darker edge, Warsaw-era Joy Division with a similar dry drum sound. The High Cost of Living, the only words in the song, was b-side to their only release, Lullaby in C.

Chant! Chant! Chant! featured a couple of ex-Threat members, most notably bassist Larry Murphy. His chunky, sort of funk-punk playing dominates Play Safe, b-side of their Quicksand single from 1981. Again, a band who released precious little in their time. Twenty Tens by The Virgin Prunes should need no introduction. It’s reared its head on compilations before, but that doesn’t take away from its sheer raw, tribal power. Unlike most artists on this comp, the Prunes did release quite a lot, going so far as to burn out, leaving behind the Dadaist tendencies that fuelled their early excursions to become a faux lounge act once the majority of the original cast had been ejected.

Operating Theatre, Roger Doyle’s weird synth duo, gets two outing here. The first is Austrian, and appropriately enough has a central European aesthetic. It’s suitably weird, yet not a patch on Stano’s Town. Stano, used to be a carpenter. There’s been an element of assembly in his music, that is almost deserving a drawn out metaphor. Stano was staunchly a non musician, and his work was experimental and odd, but always fearless. No Water by The Peridots evokes a Fad Gadget-esque scary funfair. Always In Danger, by Choice has a wonderful spaciness. Synth bass, wistful vocals, a nice reverb. It could have been released last year. Some tunes just jump out. Avenue B by the Major Thinkers, by then a New York based band, grabs your throat. The pounding toms, synth bass and minimal chorus extolling the virtues of the titular Avenue B; Avenue B, it’s the place to be. It’s hard to argue on this evidence. SM Corporation, featuring ex-Radiator Steve Rapid, get two tracks, a short instrumental sting Accentuate, and a synthpop ditty called Fire From Above. Tripper Humane’s effort is utterly bonkers. Discoland is taken from a tape, Rhythmic Warfare, released in 1981. The sound is tinny and small, and despite using mostly electronic equipment (it would seem) manages to veer in and out of time like a drunkard. Marvellous. The entire collection finishes with Operating Theatre once more. Eighties Rampwalk is just a simple, beautiful piece of synth music, perfect for rolling the credits over as everything fades to black.

When you get this compilation, and you must get it, buy the physical release, as it comes complete with reams of liner notes, and essay on the music and pen pictures of each individual act. There could be an argument made for the bands that didn’t make it onto the comp, DC Nein, The Atrix etc, etc, but the record is a well edited, coherent collection, that’s just about the right length. Anything else may have confused the matter, and anyway, we can hope that in future there will be more compilations such as this, perhaps taking in Irelands mid eighties pop groups, some of the harder edged punk and post punk offering, right up to early nineties forgotten gems like The Slowest Clock or Candy Apple Red. While you may be able to find out about many of the bands here, and others that didn’t make it, via the old internet, the music itself is much harder to come by. Therefore, this compilation has become crucial, already. Hats off to all involved.

Strange Passion will be released on July 13th on Cache Cache (Finders Keepers).

Last Days of 1984 – Wake Up To The Waves


On the back of no small amount of expectation, Dublin two-piece Last Days of 1984 release their first full player, Wake Up To The Waves on Osaka Records.

On Francois Truffaut-Event Socialogique, the opening track, vocals are distant and roomy, sounding like they’re being sung at the end of a corridor. This is how the singing is on this record, as if we, the listener, are being kept constantly at arms length, like there’s a party next door we’re not invited to. The music revolves around a simple, upbeat bass pulse, and polyrhythmic congas hovering above a steady, 4/4 kick beat. The rhythm thing is a recurring theme, the mid-nineties dance idiom of tiny changes in intensity lifting the songs, and the fluttering toms over the top. Over the seven and half minutes the pace never wavers, the bass never changes. When it ends, there’s the sense that it was almost never there.

River’s Edge works along the same lines. A simple lyric is repeated, as is a simple bass line, and bits and pieces are added as we go along, stacking idea upon idea. A double timed, distant snare drum and some processed guitar is a concession to a building crescendo. By Safari the acoustic guitars are out, and we’re in song territory, as ever washed in reverb and featured repeated phrasing. Kismat sounds like the roof might come off the gaff, yeah yeah yeah, but it doesn’t. Although a kind of Underworld on bromide mix, the glosticks fail to make an appearance. It’s the song for a night on some really mild ecstasy. “I really, really like you man.” “I’m fond of you too”. Cue some convivial handshakes in the chill out room. On the last track Woods, they let go, sticking in a chorus which raises the song. It’s the stand out track on the album.

There’s a library of influences at work here, and meshing them together into something coherent is an art form. Tunes rarely veer off down any melodic tangents, and lyrics are sparingly used. Intensity isn’t brought on by repletion of a chorus, or a swirling harmony, or some kind of angsty exhortations, but by layer upon layer of sound. Waves, if you will. The wave idiom of the title is not so far from the imagery contained within as Last Days like to obliterate the tunes in a surge of information. The songs don’t resolve themselves in a meaningful way, there’s no happy ending, no fulfilling dénouement, just the coarse crosshatching of electronic noises, as if to erase what has come before from our memory completely. Whether this is mere affectation of an act of mercy, I can’t quite make out.

Ultimately it’s this plethora of information, the knowledge base of adroit pop attributions, polyrhythmic beats and equipment that intrigues here. While there’s nothing that’s going to bother the whisters among us, the sense is that picking apart the threads of this over-complicated matrix might in itself bring some kind of fulfilment. If only they’d used this information for good, rather than for kudos. But then, music is simply that, music, sounds, the rules that are applied, the verse, the chorus, the perfect cadence and fade out, are mere tropes of an age. It’s not how Beethoven composed, after all. This linear stacking of squiggles may reference, and not just in name, a decade or two from the end of last century, but everything about The Last days of 1984 is extremely contemporary.

Best Coast – The Only Place


Spritely, semi jangly “surf pop” from California, the home of surf music. What this isn’t is Pet Sounds, although they seem to sing about the beach, so maybe that’s how they fit this particular pop sub-genus. Sure the sun shines in this music, but clearly these people have never surfed in Lahinch. Blog rock is how I would describe it. You know what I mean. Wave upon wave of blog guff suck at the shore, as you stand there in your speedos thinking “I’m not going in there”. Dead right, too.

So, while we argue the semantics of a pigeon holing oversimplification for the purposes of making journalists seem smart, we’re missing the music, man. And what’s it all about? It is, in essence, three minute, three chord, simple stuff. The simple stuff works, but it works best when it’s a deconstruction of the complexities of creativity. Here it seems, occasionally, that three chords was a struggle. At the start of the album The Only Place and When I Cry sound a little like the same song. Bethany Cosentino has a forthright voice. It lacks variation, but it makes up for that in personality.

Last Year is a kind of slow blues pastiche, where as No One Like You has that kind of In the Flesh by Blondie ¾ swing, referencing the great Spector hits of the sixties. There’s plenty of referencing going on here, a kind of box ticking for the various, expected genres.

The production is shiny chiming and clean, which is a shame. As the lion’s share of the instruments are played by Best Coast’s other half, Bobb Bruno, the playing does seem samey, lacking nuance, a bit craftless. Perhaps if they made the playing slightly more ramshackle, rather than adequate, and fuzzed it up a bit, the contrast between the backing tracks and the lead vocal would be more distinct, and Bethany’s voice, the USP here, would ring out even more. As it is, it’s nice pop music, restrained in its brevity, presented as such and not pretending to be otherwise. It bears no airs, nor even graces, and this is what saves it from mundanity. It does nothing for me, but as I write this, it’s pissing down outside. Maybe if we had a summer, this kind of barbeque music would be more appropriate.