Key Notes celebrates its first birthday tomorrow and to mark the occasion its author, Steven O'Rourke (seen here in typical 'morning after the gig before' pose), will forgo his usual habit of speaking in the third person and will answer his own questions in a special birthday edition of Key Note Speaker.
Favourite Songs from the Past Year
I have to agree with Kilian from EchoGram when he says that last year belonged to pop and electronic music. It was a year when most of the indie releases contained elements of one or the other. 'Jigsaw Falling into Place' by Radiohead, 'Teenage Lust' by Times New Viking and more recently 'Kids' by MGMT would probably be the three stand out tracks for me. Of course, I wouldn't be telling the truth if I didn't admit to singing along to 'Umbrella' on more than one occasion, but I know very few people who didn't!
Favourite Irish Song from the Past Year
'Love Like Nicotine' from Dark Room Notes, 'Never Talk' by Ham Sandwich and 'Syndicate' from the Future Kings of Spain. They weren't easy choices for me as I think the past year has been particularly good for Irish music as the, relatively high, level of disquiet at the result of the Choice music prize shows. An honourable mention must also go to A Lazarus Soul for annoying the Shinners with 'The Day I Disappeared'
Favourite Song Ever
It's only when you have to answer these questions that you realise how tough it is to make a decision like this. Depending on my mood it would be either 'Waltz #2 (xo)' by Elliott Smith or 'Don't Stop me Now' by Queen, both for very different reasons. Today it's Queen because I'm in a good mood
Favourite Irish Song Ever
'Teenage Kicks' was probably the most influential song in determining my taste in music. In the callowness of youth the first band I ever fronted (that makes it sound more professional than it was!) used to do a smashing cover version of this song. Thankfully this was in the days before YouTube so nobody can prove me wrong! I also have to mention 'South' by Pilotlight, seeing as it was our first dance at my wedding last year
Favourite New Band/Artist
On the international front Vampire Weekend and The Ting Tings both have the potential to be interesting, even if the latter sometimes feels a little forced. At home Robotnik's album has been on repeat since I got it and though they've been around for a while now both Codes and Le Galaxie have lots of things going for them
Favourite Band/Artist Ever
Elliott Smith. The guy was a genius. Simple really
Favourite Gig of the Last Year
You know, the last year was kind of a blur when it comes to gigs. They all sort of merge in to one but I enjoyed performances by Electric Eel Shock, ....And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and some of the Ham Sandwich and Future Kings gigs were great nights for reasons that shall not be discussed in polite company
Favourite Gig Ever
The Future Kings of Spain album launch that took place a year before they launched Nervousystem. There was no support act and instead we were treated to a mix-tape of TV theme tunes from our childhood (and beyond) and then possibly the most electric live performance I've ever seen. An 'epic' night if ever there was one
I'm actually starting to warm to The Academy but I enjoy the trip down to Dolan's in Limerick too. I'm not sure if I like 'new' Whelan's or not. White paint? Not very rock and roll
Favourite Piece of Musical Equipment
To play (badly); the guitar but to listen to I don't think you can beat a well played cello. In an age where everyone is trying to create music from newer and stranger equipment, I like it just as much when musicians keep it simple
Download or CD/Cassette/Record
CD's at the moment but I'm aiming to build up my record collection. I can't stand downloads; I'm not sure technically but it doesn't feel like you get the same quality of sound
Favourite TV Show at the Moment
MacGyver but only because my good wife got the box set for Christmas. It's better than 99% of everything else on TV
Favourite Movie Ever Seen
Anchorman. I probably know every line in that movie. I'm also quite fond of the Southpark movie and The Life of Brian (can you see a theme?)
Favourite Book Ever Read
I have to admit to being something of a literary snob. I can't stand to see fluff like 'P.S. I love you' sell so many copies when there are books out there that can challenge you mentally and make you look at the world in a whole new way once you're finished reading them. I love 'The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette break' by Steven Sherrill and 'Benim Adım Kırmızı' by Orhan Pamuk, but, my favourite book of all time, the one that's influenced me most and encouraged me to start looking at the world in a different light is 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins
Most Listened to Radio Show
As I pointed out the other day, I tend to only listen to the radio when I'm in the car so, by default, it's 'Heavy Traffic' on Phantom. I try to catch 'Icon' on the same station as often as I can too
What’s in Store for Key Notes NextMore ...
Hopefully I'll get back to writing in the third person soon enough and return to bringing you my take on the Irish indie music scene. This year should also see the return of my 'Beyond the Pale' series (the research is almost complete) and more editions of 'Key Note Speaker' as well as one or two new features that will be revealed soon enough. Another nomination for the Irish Music Blog of the Year would be nice too! But then thats up to you so I'd better be interesting