Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Tag: music

Book review — Mutations: The Many Strange Faces of Hardcore Punk by Sam McPheeters

Mutations is right, as Sam McPheeters’ collected essays shapeshift between wry criticism, wistful but not rose-tinted reminiscences, self-excoriations and determined opinions on any number of topics: consumer culture, scene politics, the worth of art. It concludes on a rueful note, with a vignette from the early Noughties on the closing of a longstanding record pressing plant that’s by happenstance a treasure trove of US independent punk history, one read some 17-odd years later with the keen understanding of a contemporary vinyl revival that has made little room for the small labels that kept the format breathing when there’s some bullshit classic rock reissue to put out or whatever. More…

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The National Concert Hall Gamelan Orchestra (I didn’t even know we had one, but there we are!) in a special performance for the socially distanced Hotter than July festival. (I’d prefer if it were strictly instrumental but that’s just me.) #video

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Book review — Sing Backwards And Weep, by Mark Lanegan

When I first learned what this story of Mark Lanegan’s early years in music would entail, I couldn’t help but think of Bob Mould’s own autobiography, See A Little Light, and all of its recriminations and petty swipes at his ex-bandmates in Hüsker Dü. But at least I can understand Mould’s bitterness, if not accept or agree with it, because it comes from a place of passion — a band that he and his former musical compadres wanted to be in, music they wanted to make, and then life and its complication sours the milk. More…

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Weaknotes for f/e 2 November 2019

This sudden change of seasons hasn’t been great for my health the last couple of weeks. And it is most definitely a new season: winter in Ireland starts in November and don’t let anyone ever tell you different. More…

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Weaknotes for m/e 5 October 2019

So I let a month go by. That’s why I went with ‘weaknotes’, after all. Bullet points required here, I think — just the highlights, the most remarkable that I didn’t already tweet or blog. Here we go. More…

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Beatbox by rhythmo

A semi-DIY, part-cardboard drum machine that promises to be “super affordable”? I’m interested. Let’s see when the crowdfunding campaign launches. #link

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Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry

It’s bad enough that music is missing the richness of metadata to give listeners context and background for recordings (streaming services don’t even come with high-res original artwork, for crying out loud) but when it means the artists themselves aren’t even getting paid? Well, we shouldn’t be so surprised; the music industry hasn’t been about supporting its artists for many years, if it ever was. #link

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Extreme-Music Pioneer Weasel Walter in Back Catalog (and Beyond)

There I was thinking to myself, I wonder if anyone’s done a round-up of Weasel Walter’s multi-faceted musical catalogue? Of course they have, and props to Brad Cohan for a great one. Now, should I pitch something along the lines of ‘Weasel Walter’s No Wave picks’? #link

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The Day the Music Burned

“The vault fire was not, as UMG suggested, a minor mishap, a matter of a few tapes stuck in a musty warehouse. It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.” #link

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Just a short clip of Jawbox in rehearsals for their upcoming reunion tour. Which I won't be seeing. Sad face. #video

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Palm are my current music obsession. There isn’t much live footage of them on YouTube but the above is a great example of what they do. #video

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Book review — Art Sex Music, by Cosey Fanni Tutti

I felt like I wasn’t the only one tempted to google ‘Cosey Fanni Tutti transphobia’ after reading this memoir, but aside from this Jezebel interview which raises the question, it doesn’t seem to have provoked much discussion. Perhaps that’s because in this particular instance, the Genesis P-Orridge depicted here is an enormous arsehole who doesn’t deserve the respect of being appropriately gendered, though it still feels like some level of disrespect to the trans community. One would really have to ask trans people how they feel about that. More…

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Here it is, the first Meat Puppets song from the original lineup in over 23 years. Sounds like it’s from that era, too, with a touch of Up on the Sun psych in the solos. By the way, here's a bonus live set from June. #video

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SunVox is 10, and it is truly something worth celebrating

I got a mini MIDI keyboard last Xmas precisely to mess around with SunVox and I’ve only just done so (it works great, as it happens). I want to treat myself to a cheap electric guitar this Xmas, too, and maybe one day soon I’ll have a free afternoon to make a track. #link

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Wire, performing songs from their classic first three albums live on German TV’s Rockpalast in 1979. #video

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If this is what the new Low album (Double Negative, out in September) actually sounds like, it might be the best thing they’ve ever done. #video

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The new Parquet Courts is out today, and it reminds me of the Minutemen more than anything else I’ve heard from them. Not that it sounds like the Minutemen in any specific way. (And not this particular song, which owes more to the Big Boys than anything else.) #video

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Eight Bands Leading the Crossover Thrash Revival

I dig Power Trip and Iron Reagan; I can dig this. (Also, maybe it’s something peculiar about the metal features on Bandcamp Daily, but they tend to get way more than average social media shares and comments, the latter of which are often along the lines of ‘you forgot Band X!’. I want to look at that as a positive sign of the genre’s health; that there are more artists doing things that excite listeners than what will fit in a given article.) #link

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