One of the few funny things the hipster internet outside of Carles HRO has ever come up with is the concept of “hipster garabe”. It has its roots on last.fm, where somebody with hardly functional English left the comment “his music the hipster garabe i ever heard” on the Aphex Twin bio page. Fans of hipster garabe, if you can pin them down before the mise en abyme “I’m-not-a-hipster-but-he/she-is” claims recede into infinity, have adopted the term as their own.
Hipster garabe is the Venn diagram encompassing all hipster music from 2009′s chillwave scene to Hijokaidan shitting everywhere to Animal Collective banging a trolley to the woos in Wavves and the ohs in Xiu Xiu. It’s not really negative any more, it’s just a descriptor. Hipster music.
But sometimes it can be negative. Like for example when you want to trash something as utterly substanceless, pretentious wank. And/or when you want to review a Crocodiles show.
The blogosphere is ablaze today with speculation on the shortlist for the Mercury Prize. Nialler9 has some ruminations up, taking into account the apparently automatic annual folk and urban nominations, and culminating in a ballsy prediction of a final twelve.
Some other blogs, such as Clash Music and The Line of Best Fit have also had a go as part of some sort of loosely organised BBC scheme. I got very interested, and for once, I think I’ve heard enough UK/IRE music to come up with a my own list. So I’m going to have a go as well.
We were somewhere around Maynooth on the edge of the midlands when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive. . . .” And suddenly there was a terrible roar and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Galway. “Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?”
Villagers is Conor O’Brien, the songs he writes and the people he plays them live with. You might remember Conor from The Immediate, with whom he recorded one fantastic album, blew up the Irish music scene and then vanished, leaving a vacuum that’s only lately being filled by the likes of Fight Like Apes, and a scar that’ll probably be there a while longer. Villagers carves out a whole new niche, however. “The aim is to feel the songs out”, according to MySpace, and when you listen to the utterly economical, no-note-wasted arrangements of the Hollow Kind EP, you can see that it’s true. At once evoking smoky, empty jazz clubs, 1960s girl groups, pensive guitar poets and (not incongruously) some later Radiohead, Villagers were perhaps prematurely but not unreasonably placed at number 6 on the Irish Times’ list of best Irish bands of today. And (if In Towers and Clouds is anything to go by) once Villagers get an album out, they could be making a play for the top spot.
So Cow is Brian Kelly, the noisy indie power-pop messiah of Tuam, Co. Galway. He landed on the map in 2007 with These Truly Are End Times, a patchwork of home-recorded freshness encompassing everything from shout-along choruses to midnight mis-sung love songs. Its follow-up, I’m Siding With My Captors was so seamlessly brilliant that some were heard to mumble words along the lines of “best Irish album ever” on certain blogs. In 2009, So Cow consolidated both albums and a handful of other live standards into the So Cow LP for Tic Tac Totally, a Chicago-based label for whom the likes of Wavves and MouseRocket have recorded. After an American tour with the mercurial Tony (drums) and Johnny (bass), approval fell from important corners: Brooklyn Vegan tookashine, Pitchfork lent approval and Korea’s Chosun nearly caused an international incident.
Important: So Cow is the best. But note that he is a proud Galway native, so any mismatches of these originally Dublin-directed questions are not his fault nor mine, but the fault of some other third party. He’ll be supporting Deerhoof in Galway on 11th July (this Saturday).
So Cow – Halcyon Days
So Cow – Ping Pong Rock
Q 0.5 How are you?
I’m absolutely fine. It’s mid-evening and cloudy out. Just cut the grass in record time.
Last Saturday, the Box Social celebrated its tenth gig with a mini-festival stretching from mid-afternoon to late night and taking in everything from the could-not-be-further-off-kilter Ewa Gigon‘s vocal loops and semi-spoken word admonishments to an acoustic set from Crayonsmith, a doo-wop set from PatrickKelleher, a great sitting room show from Hunter-Gatherer and some feral music from Children Under Hoof. Plus loads more. Here’s a few pictures by Laura Gilsenan to either show you what you missed or remind you of what you saw:
I'm Karl. I write this blog and write for Totally Dublin. In a past life I got way too personal with my criticism of Sean McTiernan's predilection for Kendrick Lamar and dulcimer music made by psychotic men in forests on the legendary Them's The Vagaries podcast. Available to sell out in almost any way for money.
m c d o n a k j @ t c d . i e is my e-mail address. I don't really attempt to break new music here or anything, but every few months when I'm bored I pick random shit out of my inbox and free associate with it, so send me your Bjork remix or whatever.