The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Sound Waves

13

I ushered in the New Year stitting quietly on my couch alone watching the Jools Holland Hootennany on BBC. In a show full of highlights such as Eddie Floyd, Daffy and Kylie Minogue (expertly writhing on a grand piano), one musician shone out, Seasick Steve (aka Steve Wold) a veteran American bluesman whose raw uncompromising brand of blues brought the house down. Winner of the 2007 MOJO Breakthrough award, he is my first choice for 2008.


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24

Sound Waves wishes to congratulate Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who are nominated in the Best Original Song Oscar category for 'Falling Slowly' from 'Once'. It is a remarkable acheivement and, win or lose, places Hansard and Markéta in the company of previous winners such as Bob Dylan, Randy Newman and Bruce Springsteen. It's often said that we are a nation of begrudgers but when an Irish artist makes a breakthrough like this the right and proper thing to do is acknowledge it. Sound Waves will be watching the Oscars on the 24th February, fingers crossed, and will have a bottle of champagne on ice to celebrate in the event that 'Falling Slowly' takes the gong.


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24

Surf Movie producers Globe have partnered with DJ Sasha to produce a tripping new surf DVD for watching during or after an all night party. The video is entitled, "New Emissions of Light & Sound', and features shots of Taj, CJ, Damien and other rad surfers hitting the lip.


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14

MTV has launched a new reality show about a group of photogenic surfers in Maui entitled 'Maui Fever', and focusing on the sexy, good times lifestyle of surfers who are also, probably, professional models. The photo to the right says it all. The shows airs on January 20th on Mainstage Sunday, MTV Ireland.


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24

If there was one defining theme of 2007 in Irish surf culture it was Ireland's emergence as a big wave location of international importance. The pages of the Irish Times and the Irish Independent were frequently filled with shots, usually by the brilliant Mickey Smith, of surfers from here and abroad riding giant waves in Clare and Donegal. Amazing shots that previously had been limited to adverts for Old Spice and Guiness, both of which were shot in Hawaii, were now being taken routinely in Ireland, in terms of the culture, its as big as U2's covershot for TIME Magazine. And, unlike in previous decades, this quantum leap was chronicled by young Irish filmmakers such as Joel Conroy, Naomi Britton, Gavin Gallagher and Ken O'Sullivan in a series of films which displaced imported fare in favour of homegrown big wave action.


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24

This is a parody of the Beach Boys on the subject of, eh, Christmas in Baghdad. Happy Christmas y'all.

This is a less cynical view of the festive season by Jon Peter Wilson, or at least 48 seconds of his less cynical view.

Santa catches some waves, dude

And finally, U2 with "It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"

 

 


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20

The Telegraph, on 14/11/2007, published an article about the surfer and physicist Garrett Lisi which stated that he had come up with a theory for everything and that this theory is being taken very seriously by the science community. Lisi describes surfing and snowboarding as being about bending gravity. I am not going to even attempt to describe his theory but if you want to check him out you can click on one of the hyperlinks of his name above or the Telegraph article.


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14

Firstly, the albums in question were all listened to on surf trips around the Irish coast this year and were drawn from a shortlist of albums with a copyright of either 2006 or 2007, as albums recorded in 2006 may have, on occasions, only been released in 2007.

Secondly, consideration was duly given to how ‘new’, as in original, sounding the music was.

Thirdly, consideration was also duly given to how much of the album could be listened to without the desire to skip tracks. As a general rule of thumb, if the album contained less than three tracks that Sound Waves wanted to listen to repeatedly and then transfer to the official Sound Waves ‘albums of the year’ test site for further consideration, or as I like to call it, the MP3 player I got free when I ordered some printer cartridges, then it didn’t make the cut.

Fourthly, the albums are arranged in order of preference from one to seven: 

  1. Modest Mouse 'We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank'
  2. Regina Spektor 'Begin to Hope'
  3. Laura Viers 'Saltbreakers'
  4. Maximo Park 'Our Earthly Pleasures'
  5. Newtown Faulkner 'Hand Built by Robots'
  6. Xavier Rudd 'Food in the Belly'
  7. Prince 'Planet Earth'

There are two notable exceptions to this list which I would like to comment on. Firstly, there is no ‘Neon Bible – Arcade Fire’. This is because I am increasingly coming to belief that they are to the Irish music fans of today what Chris Rea and David Gray were to Irish music fans of previous decades. The band smacks to me of having a charisma deficit and have tried to counteract this by turning into a kind of secular, revivalist prayer group. I obviously haven’t seen the light it appears.

Secondly, there is no ‘Magic – Bruce Springsteen’. Partly this is because I have only got the album in the last week and it is probably too soon to judge its merits. However I do find that the sheer “Hey guys, I just plugged my Fender into a bolt of lightening’ rock ‘n’ roll power of ‘Radio Nowhere’ is unmatched anywhere else on the album. As a fan of live Bruce favourites such as ’Ramrod’ and ‘Light of Day’, to which ‘Radio Nowhere’ is a noble successor, I would have hoped that ‘Magic’ as whole would be a bit more up tempo. Although, as I say, its probably too soon to judge.

One final thought on a different subject. 2007 will also be remembered by me as the year that music journalism finally stopped being about music and became focused on technology, law and finance instead.

Three stories defined this trend:

  1. The rise of the 360 contract
  2. The download issues surrounding ‘in rainbows’ by Radiohead
  3. The fiasco that was the Barbara Streisand concert in Castletown

I think it is a dispiriting and negative trend that cheapens the art and practice of music thus suggesting that music, by itself, is not that important to begin with and so is not worthy of serious discussion. It didn’t help that a substantial amount of the coverage given over to the above stories was written by people who were not themselves expert in the areas of finance, technology or law. A particular case in point was the many articles devoted to Prince’s decision to release ‘Planet Earth’ free with The Daily Mail, the coverage of which dwarfed that which was given over to the discussion of the music contained within that same album. And with postings on DRM, Starbucks and short term record contracts, Sound Waves was not immune to this sad trend either, going so far as to state that, "As far as I am concerned, the single most important thing that happened this year in music was MCD being taken to task by the National Consumer Agency over the farce that was the Barbara Streisand Concert" although my underlying reasoning was that if the music business started to focus on customer satisfaction we might see a greater focus put back on signing and releasing new acts.

What can I say, I am to blame as much as anyone although a substantial amount of this blog in 2007 was devoted to music, surfing and, eh, George W Bush's love of mountain biking.

My response was to buy the reissue of Barney Hoskyns’ “Say it One Time For The Broken-hearted; Country Soul in the American South”, a truly beautiful and learned book about music whose heartfelt goal was, “to bring some of those records into your world”. I doubt that the same could be said of much else I read this year in the music press.


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Nuggets from our archive

1999 - 'The eMusic Market', written by Gordon McConnell it focuses on how the internet could change the music industry. Boy was he on the money, years before any of us had heard of an iPod or of Napster.