Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Year. Prelude.

They’re playing Christmas music at your retail job and it’s really cold all of a sudden. What does that mean? For the fifth year running, the blog’s about to embark on its end of year list.

It’s been more difficult to compile the list this year for a variety of reasons. Here they are.

1. I stopped reviewing every live show I went to, making the blog pretty much obsolete relative to its primary function in my head, and this left me with a smaller pool of my previous opinions to draw on.

2. I went to fewer touring bands for various reasons mostly relating to money, a perceived dearth of bands I liked coming to play and a shift in taste away from the kind of indie rock that gets booked in Dublin.

3. For Totally Dublin, which has been the main (and as of recently, because of college, only) theatre for my shots at music criticism, I’ve been doing exclusively rap for almost the whole year, which meant that I was exposed to four fewer indie rock bands per month and four more rappers than would have been the case if you were to presume I was entirely inert about finding new music independent of that. This also changed the pool of previous opinions I had to work with.

4. This is the first full year I’ve been listening to rap seriously and I’m finding it really difficult to actually attempt to compare my favourite rap records of this year to my favourite indie rock records of this year.

5. I’m busier. I’m a subscriber to the execrable and superstitious idea that time literally moves faster as you get older and, combined with finally making it to final year of college with a level of ambition pretty out of sync with reality, that’s made me feel like I have less time.

But fuck it, blog. It was you and me before all that shit, and it’ll be you and me when all that shit’s gone. If you say December means an overarching end of year list where I revisit all the albums I like, then that’s what it means.

The usual rules apply. Irish music fights its own corner and makes it or doesn’t make it according to its own merits, ‘golden age’ notwithstanding. I considered parallel rap and non-rap lists but then I remembered the ruling on Irish music, so they stay in the same list too.

There’ll be guests, as usual. Can’t tell you who they are yet, cos if I told you, they’d find out and if they found out, they’d wonder why I told you were they were doing guest posts for me when they hadn’t heard anything about it yet.

Also, dangerously, I’ve got less context and a bigger vocabulary than ever before.

See you “before Christmas”, the long established blog term for “towards the end of February”.


Them’s The Vagaries at 25

It is traditional in the sphere of hip hop to make ostentatious claims loudly and frequently until they become true. Therefore, Them’s The Vagaries, the podcast I do with Sean McTiernan, is not only Ireland’s greatest podcast but the best podcast in the world, dead or alive. We recently hit 25 episodes, so I thought I’d update this handy guide so, if you were so inclined, you could find a specific episode you’re looking for or decide to check it out with your eyes open.

It’s been loads of fun to do this every week, talking about whatever’s going on in rap, indie music and the rest of the pop culture world (in that order) and letting weird little organic storylines build between episodes. So bookmark this shit or whatever if you think it might be useful.

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Episode #25: Attack of the Mutant – In the gold anniversary of the podcast (silver is for second best and we do not play that), we invite friend of the podcast and internet rap celebrity done back to discuss raps. Everyone’s favourite rap-crew-that’s-more-fun-to-discuss-than-listen-to White Girl Mob are dissected further, with V-Nasty and Gucci Mane’s unexpected drop and Lil Debbie being sidelined possibly because Rick Ross murdered her. Also ASAP Rocky got three million dollars and dropped a mixtape, which all three of us are a little disappointed by. We try to spend his advance, and then discuss new mixtape drops from others. #24: Phantom of the Auditorium – For several reasons – it being Halloween and Sean needing someone who likes horror movies to talk about horror movies with, metal sounding a bit like Halloween and the multi-episode Cancel Metal story arc needing resolution – we invite a guest for the first time in a while in the form of Jamie, lead singer of metal band Drainland. We talk about metal, why metal lads keep murdering everyone, whether supporting your favourite metal band is pretty much the apex for a local metal band, why Cradle of Filth are Skrillex and also a whole lot of stuff about a whole lot of scary movies.

Episode #23: Return Of The Mummy – The Rick Ross Is Actually A Rick Ross-Shaped Biomechanical Robot That Works For The Illuminati episode. Steampunk is funny, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore can easily be interpreted as funny, Stressmatic is a hall of fame level chancer and Rick Ross nearly died, which obviously means that Rick Ross has always been some kind of biomechanical robot suit. This goes incredibly deep and it’s up to Meek Mill to take down Jay-Z, Larry Woszniak and all those other Illuminati bastards before it’s too late.

Episode #22: Ghost Beach – The Documentary On The Documentary On The Eli Porter Rap Battle Episode. Introducing the PG Era of Them’s The Vagaries (in which we attempt not to make jokes in bad taste, or at least say “PG era” after we do). We discuss yet more metal murder, Bradford Cox’s physical situation, Steve Jobs dying (spoiler: I’m pro), Dave Chappelle talking about black comedians being put in drag by white studios, The Residents doing weird shit and then, as previously indicated, a full explication of a documentary on a rap battle famous on youtube for being funny bad. Also a Sean Is Condescending… on the subject of James Blake’s new EP, which we both hate.

Episode 21: Go Eat Worms – In an upscale park, we discuss Louis Walsh’s victory over the dude who claimed he felt his arse, full Catholic mass being available on the RTE player, Half Man Half Biscuit having a new record, the whole American PBR-shotgunning dubstep vs. English pirate radio attic bedroom weed smoking dubstep debate, Southside not knowing what dubstep is at all, the Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire Huzzah Remix with El-P’s verse bringing the supreme mathematics, Dallas Penn’s decrying of the lack of a supreme mathematics in the genesis of the day 4/20, a hypothetical Voltron being made from punk rock oldsters, Roach Gigz still being the greatest and, importantly, the first reference to the rapper we are Eastside Steveing, Deadskin Rasp.

Episode #20: The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight – Armed with a new logo photorealistically depicting us on a bench holding gats and golden apples, Sean defends the Juggalos for like eight minutes by himself where he knows I can’t contradict him, and then we talk about T-Pain having some jams, gangsta motherfuckers colouring in in colouring books, Squarehead, Action Bronson, Combat Jack, Tim Dog doing some lame shit and several rap beeves (including David Banner vs. Swag, Rick Ross vs. Kreayshawn, The Game vs. Lil B, Ice T vs. Rick Ross, Ice T vs. Aimee Mann).

Episode #19: Deep Trouble – Recorded in a pub called The Bleeding Horse with pints of beer, this episode is about Das Racist, Rap Genius Dot Com, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, a Sean Is Condescending About Indie Music based on the St. Vincent record, some woman in MOMA and a probably unnecessary official endorsement of Murda by UGK, especially Bun B’s verse.

Episode #18: Monster Blood II – We joined the Palavr podcasting network and, despite some pre-game resolutions not to just rip into things meaninglessly, we continue ripping into things meaninglessly. The Insane Clown Posse, black metal lads raping people, the beginning of the multi-episode story arc about metal needing to just stop existing, hypothetical horror movies featuring rap stars and the new Sean Is Condescending About Indie Music on Male Bonding’s Endless Now.

Episode #17: Why I’m Afraid Of Bees – We talk about my experience of seeing Odd Future live for the first time, the time E-40 sent lads to shoot Biggie but then told the story forever after as if he was acting with great magnanimity and clemency by saving Biggie’s life, Ryan Adams, Danny Brown, Frank Ocean, the Too $hort vs. Messy Marv text beef, Complex lists, Flashbang Grenada (which is Busdriver and Nocando’s current thing) and Noz’s beef with The Game, who I argue is actually not unlovable.

Episode #16: One Day At Horrorland – The Watch The Throne episode. We talk about the fact that Young L’s tape that dropped the same day is better than Watch The Throne, obviously, but then we go through our thoughts on the record and somehow prefigure Beyonce’s announcement of her pregnancy by about two weeks. Also, fake E-40, my attendance of an anime convention and a slight kicking up of gears in the trend of blaming everything on the Illuminati.

Episode #15: You Can’t Scare Me – having cosigned and been cosigned by enough guests for the time being, this episode is just the two of us. We discuss Sean’s trip to the Portishead ATP in London (featuring, amongst others, Company Flow), the impending explosion of Watch The Throne, the fact that Kanye should co-opt twee music, and a lot of shot down suggestions over which Irish music scene luminaries should have streets named after them.

Episode 14: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp – with internet rap personality done. Proportionally the most raps, jokes and references to things that were only notable on rap blogs of any episode. Wiping tears from your eyes with paper money, V-Nasty, NoEmotion, 2 Live Crew, Spaceghostpurrp, the whole #nohomo thing, 2011’s crop of lads releasing their beat tapes as albums, remembering Soulseek, Ariel Pink for some reason, Based God, Jim Corr and the kid done just shouting out the names of rappers when he discovers that the episode’s about to end.

Episode 13: Piano Lessons Can Be Murder – with Deli/Wax Poetics contributor and One More Robot editor Dean Van Nguyen. The mechanics of music criticism, Pitchfork hating (and why we don’t indulge in it), Pitchfork’s infamous shooting star Kid A review (and why we do hate on it) and various aspects of rap music including our first recorded cognisance of MTV Riff Raff.

Episode 12: Be Careful What You Wish For… – with Darragh McCausland of Asleep On The Compost Heap (and Come Dine With Me). Internal machinations of Come Dine With Me, sex talk, pork cheeks, Grizzly Man, anime soundtracks and some 2011 music talk. There is also a 20 minute section where we review eight types of sour sweet available in Dublin City Centre. Interval entertainment is “Dear 16 Year Old Me” by the Silly Beggar dudes.

Episode 11: The Haunted Mask – The music of 2011 so far, taking in:
[non-raps] Fucked Up, Drainland, Tim Hecker, Iceage, Celtic Frost, Squarehead, Grinderman, Hauschka, Hunx and His Punx, Vivian Girls, Smith Westerns, Nicolas Jaar, John Maus and Toby Kaar
[raps] Tyler, the Creator, Kanye, Jay-Z, Jay Electronica, Envy, Kreayshawn, Elzhi, DJ Quik, Young L, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, E-40, Das Racist, El-P, Clams Casino, Araabmuzik, oOoOo, G-Side, Main Attrakionz, Spaceghostpurrp, NoEmotion, Cadence Weapon, Shabazz Palaces, Action Bronson, Rittz and, apropos of nothing, a lot of me talking shit about A Tribe Called Quest.

Episode 10: The Ghost Next Door – with Orla Ryan, who has a secret job and was a recurring favourite on Seán’s old podcast Ah Here (which you can make him send you if you want – sean mc tiernan at gmail dot com). We talk about Battles and Aphex Twin’s riders at Forbidden Fruit, Sufjan Stevens’ spaceship live show and Jim Corr being a fucking nutcase, plus more.

Episode 9: Welcome To Camp Nightmare – with Megan Nolan, stand-up comedienne, former DJ of a hip hop duo and general woman about town. We talk about her life as the slapsifier of a rap group, music we had forgotten about and terrible racist jokes on the underground comedy circuit.

Episode 8: The Girl Who Cried Monster – in the only episode apart from the first one to take place indoors, we occupy the Arts Block of Trinity on a day on which it was only open so tourists could use the toilet. We talk Irish-themed punk, pro wrestling (specifically Botchamania), DJ Quik and Suga Free being god-tier, the Pitchfork movie, Anal Cunt, David Norris, Gerry Ryan and Beepy Fallon.

Episode 7: The Night of the Living Dummy – Forbidden Fruit festival analysis, an anecdote about Sean’s dad and gigs and getting pissed on, Neutral Milk Hotel, Big and Rich, Kanye’s Monster video, Ian Svenonius, Ian Mackaye and Henry Rollins.

Episode 6: Let’s Get Invisible – We talk about old music on the occasion of Bob Dylan’s birthday. Bruce Springsteen and Stephen Fry denounced as mark ass bitches by me and Sean respectively.

Episode 5: The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb – Macho Man, Kreayshawn, violent films, how to recommend stuff to people, pogs, etc.

Episode 4: Say Cheese And Die! – RZA’s movie, professional wrestling, idiots dancing to Shellac, De La Soul, Animal Collective, etc.

Episode 3: Monster Blood – Odd Future (the week Goblin came out and thus the last time all conversation centred around Tyler), the Prince Disagreement, The Beatles, Westwood, drops on rap mixtapes, etc.

Episode 2: Stay Out Of The Basement – covers of rap songs both good (jazz trio Odd Future) and bad (steampunk), Obama burning Trump, the freemasons, etc.

Episode 1: Welcome To The Dead House – Earl Sweatshirt being found, Nardwuar being great, the Led Zeppelin Disagreement, etc.


Sean’s Spooky Halloween Raps Mix
1. Bubba Sparxxx – Claremont Lounge (Feat. Killer Mike And Coool Breeez)
2. G-Side – CAME UP – feat S.L.A.S.H
3. G. Dep – Gametime
4. E-40 – My Lil Grimey Nigga
5. Kingpin Skinny Pimp – Lookin’ For Da Chewin
6. Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody Chopped and Screwed
7. Al Kapone – Cold Hearted Killah
8. Aggravated – Creepin
9. Indo G – Dead Men Don’t Talk
10. Isaiah Toothtaker – Intruder
11. Three 6 Mafia – I Ain’t Cha Friend
12. Ganksta N-I-P – Slaughter
13. Snoop Dogg – Ain’t Nut’in Personal
14. Menace Clan – Kill Whitey
15. Pharoahe Monch – Mayor
16. Dj Paul – Hi, Im Chucky
17. T-Rock – Look Deep In Da Eyes
18. Necro – Scumbags feat Goretex
19. Gangsta Blacc – V-Dog Da Gangsta
20. Rittz – White Jesus
21. Point Blank – After I Die
22. Shabazz Palaces – An Echo From The Hosts That Profess Infinitum
23. C-lo – Criminal
24. Z-Ro – Tall Tale Of A G Screwed
25. Wiley – Grime Kid
26. Danny Brown – CYCLOPS
27. Dj Paul – Pop A Pill (ft. Lord Infamous)
28. Gravediggaz – 2 Cups Of Blood
29. DMG – Kiss Yourself Good Bye Bye
30. Mr. Ivan – 187 In a Hockey Mask
31. Tommy Wright III – Die Nigga Die
32. G-Slimm – Slippin’ N Tha Darkness
33. Scarface – A Minute 2 Pray A Second 2 Die

Mini Episode #1 – Sean tells a story about Germans on a bus.