CXCW Highlights: The Irish Showcase 2014

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I cannot think of a better way to observe St. Patrick’s Day then cutting myself a slice of soda bread, making a large cup of tea, putting my feet up, and settling in with the CXCW’s second annual Irish Showcase. You can find the whole thing here; below are a few videos to give you a taste of the excellence to be had: First, the incomparable Tony Fitz, producer and front of house manager for Homebeat, who organized the first seven videos in the showcase, with The Murder, the first track from his upcoming record. Joining him are Gráinne Hunt and members of Red Sail. I don’t know if there’s a CXCW record for “Most Dogs Per Video” but if not, Carriages may have set one, with four, count them, FOUR happily wagging tails in this video for Pale Face which they wrote special for CXCW: Rónán Ó Snodaigh of Kíla and Kristina Aspeqvist, director of the Stockholm Vodou Orchestra met ten minutes before this video was recorded. The song is called Cara Liom: Sleep Thieves, of Dublin, met on Twitter and bonded over synths and movie soundtracks. Here they are with French Kiss from their upcoming album You Want … Continue reading

Introducing: Grounds for Invasion

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Grounds for Invasion is a collaboration between Willow Sea (Willy O’Connor; music) and newcomer Tracy Friel (lyrics, vocals), of Galway, Ireland. They initially met through college radio – he was helping her record live sessions – but their musical partnership didn’t really blossom until he heard her sing a Bo Diddley song at an open mic night, and thought it might be fun to have her add some vocals to some tracks he had been working on. The results of that experiment are the five songs on Grounds for Invasion’s self-titled EP. Willow Sea, left to his own devices, makes mellow, contemplative music. Grounds For Invasion, while still pretty chill, falls further down both the darker and poppier ends of the musical spectrum. For example: Dance Alone, which is a wistful memoir of clubbing that you could do a swirly-girly-gothy interpretive dance to, if you wanted.   Grounds For Invasion EP by Grounds For Invasion   And also True Romance, which I am posting because it is my favorite. It’s poetry – bold, hilarious, profane poetry – recited over a hypnotic beat. Sample line: You appeared like a drunken Gabriel, all talk and Buckfast and legs that just went on … Continue reading

Willow Sea: Across the River and Into The Trees

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The songs on Across the River and Into The Trees by Willow Sea (Willy O’Connor) are, collectively and individually, balm for the weary soul. I listened to them a lot this winter, because this winter was very, very long. Here are two I especially like. This one is a ray of cheery sunshine on cold gray days:   Jitukulela by Willow Sea   And this one sounds like the realization that the night be dark and deep, but it is lovely, too, and not full of monsters waiting to crunch your bones. The lights you can see are not an oncoming train, but rather the lanterns your friends have left on their porches for you to find your way home.   Night Light by Willow Sea   For more, go to CD Baby or iTunes.   DON’T FORGET TO TAKE THE NTSIB READER SURVEY! Goal: 140 responses Actual responses as of this post: 11. Please, y’all, help us out. It’s 10 questions and should not take more than 10 minutes of your time.

Fanmix: Warren Ellis, Gun Machine

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Fan mixes: collections of music created as both soundtrack and illustration for other works, usually works of fiction, intended as both appreciation of and enticement to read the work of fiction. This one is for Gun Machine by Warren Ellis, who is author of, among other things, Transmetropolitan and Crooked Little Vein, and is NOT the dude who plays music with Nick Cave. Gun Machine is a murder mystery set in New York. But not the New York you usually see on cop shows; the Financial District, which is older and darker. Down there you’re off the grid. The streets are narrow and twisty and reality can be very thin. Depending on how the wind is blowing off the water, it does feel like you could walk around a corner today and stumble into the 17th century, 1926 could be tomorrow and 2018 was last week. “Off the grid” would actually sum up the book as a whole. It is also bloody, startling, deeply lonely, occasionally bitingly funny, like watching my own city from the wrong end of a telescope, a complex puzzle, and very, very good. If you pick it up, be sure to both read and listen carefully; … Continue reading