Folk Music Friday: Video: The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

Today on Folk Music Friday we’re swinging back to the traditional side of the spectrum, with the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

This is a video of their Late Late Show appearance from 1984, right before they launched into their reunion tour. The first minute or so provides context for who they were and what they meant on a global and national scale, and the impact they had on resuscitating the Irish folk music scene in the 1960s and ’70s. There’s also an extended interview which covers their early history, including the origins of the now-iconic sweaters, and commentary by other folk musicians about their impact.

But outside of all of that, they were (are) one my favorites, account for at least half of the soundtrack of my life until I discovered rock music. I saw them for the first time a few years after this video was made, in a tiny little Irish bar in the District of Columbia. I arrived clutching an armful of their old records, abstracted from my parents’ record collection. They were baffled but charmed – I was about 40 years younger than their average fan at the time – and signed all of … Continue reading

Video: My Chemical Romance, Vampire Money

This is Vampire Money, by My Chemical Romance.

I have a lot of feelings about this song.

It’s, like, A Lot. A cheerful “fuck you” to the Twilight movie empire. An in-joke between band and fans, of a kind, a fuck-you issued in support of . . . I always want to say real vampires. Of the traditional vampire ethos. From a band who celebrated that ethos in dramatic and campy fashion, with a wink and a smile, and who also wrote lines like I’m not dead / I only dress that way in complete seriousness. Who were wide-eyed and earnest and nervous and weird and felt, on the whole, like people I would have enjoyed visiting with at parties.

They were surprised how much the fans loved it. They had never meant to play it live, but the crowds screamed for it and so they did.

This is not the best audio or video out there, but – the more polished versions I could find didn’t feel quite right. The shaky cam from the balcony, filmed by a fan, that’s the way it should be. My Chemical Romance lies dormant, locked in its coffin, but … Continue reading

Compilations of Note: Revere Rock City

Revere Rock City is the Fall 2016 compilation from Spark and Fizz, a Boston-area blog and record label. All of the proceeds will go to buy instruments for the rock ensemble program at Garfield Middle School in Revere, MA. The program provides opportunities for children to learn to play in bands, and gives them a place to play where they can make as much noise as they want and not disturb the neighbors, something in short supply in Revere.

The tunes, provided by a variety of bands from the Greater Boston area, encompass a diverse array of musical styles. And, as a tremendous bonus, the hard copy version of the record comes with a zine done school newspaper style, including articles about local bands, art by students, and a custom crossword.

REVERE ROCK CITY by Spark & Fizz

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WHOOP-Szo, Citizens Ban(ne)d Radio

WHOOP-Szo, scrappy little band of my heart (Frozen North division) has released a new record, which, like previous efforts, is a multi-layered and -textured piece of music that blossoms afresh with each re-listen. It is, by turns, dark, twisty, fuzzy, bright and beautiful. Some parts of it sound like a choir; others like an oncoming storm. It is all well worth your time.

WHOOP-Szo – Citizen's Ban(ne)d Radio by Out of Sound Records

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Video: Heart-Ships, Undress Me Down To The Bone

In keeping with what has become annual tradition, here is Heart-Ships with Undress Me Down to The Bone from FOIL, the record they released right before they broke up. You can listen to the rest of it at their Soundcloud. The video is by visual artist Irina Haugane.

Heart-Ships | Undress Me To The Bone | A Video By Irina Haugane


Watch this video on YouTube
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Superior, Self Defense Family

The real point of this post is to tell y’all that Run for Cover Records has put a whole lot of its catalog on bandcamp and that everything is “pay what you can” for the weekend, with the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. They’re matching up to $5000, and last I looked the total donation was at $14,000.

Superior by Self Defense Family is one of the records available. Self Defense Family is an artistic/musical collective mostly from upstate New York, sufficiently fluid in composition and style that every record is distinctive and unlike the last, though they tend to drift on the hardcore-shoegaze currents. This particular record is more shoegaze, which for them means it’s a little softer and there’s no angry yelling.

Superior by Self Defense Family

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Luke De-Sciscio, Gossamer Rose

1. Luke DeSciscio is from Bath, England. Gossamer Rose is his debut LP.

2. His bandcamp lists his genre as “post-boatcore” which at first I thought might be related to yacht music.

3. As it turns out the “boat” in question was a coal barge from Manchester which he was living on for a while, on the Kennet and Avon canal, shuttling between Bath and Bristol.

4. The “-core” part is a reference to hardcore and post-hardcore, which he was listening to while making this record. The genre didn’t stick, but the suffix did.

5. The record grew out of his experiences on the boat. It is effectively the opposite of hardcore: there is no howling, screeching, or thrashing, just sweet guitar melodies and his sharp clear voice.

6. The thing that first hooked me on this record was the cover art. The splash of soft gold light playing against the muted rose-pink of the wall hits a very specific receptor that I can’t really explain other than to say I was distantly surprised there may be a ghost of a photographer in me yet, still in love with light, shadow, and the possibilities on the other side … Continue reading

Chill Out Drown Out: My Invisible Friend

Chill Out Drown Out: music for when you need to, well, chill out, and also drown out extraneous noise. Tunes for calming down and concentrating on important tasks or just having a peaceful time in the middle of a hurricane of a day/week/month/year/existence.

My Invisible Friend are based in Parma, Italy. Their self-titled EP is not their first EP, but it is the most recent; if you’re even vaguely interested in shoegaze, you should listen to it. It’s a magnificent mixture of droning fuzz, feedback, and bright clear tonal highlights. It’s a little more uptempo than some of the other bands I’ve filed to Chill Out Drown Out but, well, when the going gets tough, the tough step on the fuzz pedal and crank up the volume.

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Chill Out Drown Out: TOUJOURS, In Vivid

Chill Out Drown Out: music for when you need to, well, chill out, and also drown out extraneous noise. Tunes for calming down and concentrating on important tasks or just having a peaceful time in the middle of a hurricane of a day/week/month/year/existence.

Ok kids. Here is your moment of zen for today.

TOUJOURS is the second record from In Vivid (Ben Snook), and it is a gentle soothing bath for your brain. The songs are chill but rich in texture, just enough grit to be perfect for background music, and not so slippery as to be instantly forgettable.

TOUJOURS by In Vivid

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Video: (Do You Think We’re Gonna End Up On) Skid Row, Jail Weddings

Jail Weddings is more of an amorphous musical collective than an a band. But while they’ve been through some ups and downs and gained and shed various members over the years, the tunes are still solid.

(Do You Think We’re Gonna End Up On) Skid Row from Inconvenient Dreams (2009) is an oldie but a goodie, and – with a new record on the horizon – a reasonable introduction to both their frenetic punkabilly style and their louche aesthetic.

Plus it’s an excellent road trip song.

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