Loaded: Top acts out to mark indy day
Since its inception in the US in 2007, Record Store Day has risen in significance, offering independent record shops the chance to show why they are still an essential part of the music-buying experience.
The event will be celebrated tomorrow in 11 independent shops throughout Ireland, including such well-known names as Dublin's City Discs and Galway's Zhivago.
Dublin's Tower Records -- which is Irish-owned -- is marking the day in especially fine fashion by featuring free live performances from nine acts, including the new 4AD signees Stornoway, rising Waterford band O Emperor and Choice winner Adrian Crowley. The latter is certainly worth catching and will be playing at 5pm in the store on Wicklow Street.
Meanwhile, at exactly the same time and just a few minutes walk away in Road Records, the much-hyped Villagers will be performing songs from their soon-to-be released album, Becoming A Jackal. Considering the tiny floor space in the shop and the exposure mainman Conor O'Brien has received thanks to his impressive appearance on Later with Jools Holland this week, one imagines that the crowd will be spilling onto Fade Street.
Meanwhile, UK shops will mark Record Store Day by selling Blur's as yet untitled new single tomorrow. Available on seven-inch vinyl, it will be their first new release since 2003's Good Song, and only 1,000 copies are being pressed.
According to their record company, EMI, there are currently no plans to release the song in any other format and, disappointingly, Damon Albarn and friends are not planning to record a new album in the foreseeable future.
- Its proximity to Record Store Day is bound to confuse some, but Love Live Music -- described as "Ireland's first national music day" -- takes place today and will feature free performances the length and breadth of the country.
Although music from all genres can be heard, the emphasis is on classical and highlights from the programme will be aired on RTE Lyric fm. For a full schedule, consult www.lovelivemusic.ie.
- Those looking forward to Dublin spoken-word festival Mindfield (April 30 to May 2) will have been disappointed to learn of its postponement earlier this week.
With the UK general election set for May 6, several political speakers had to withdraw their services, and that means you won't get to hear seminal proto-rapper Gil Scott Heron (although he does play a more orthodox show in Dublin's Tripod on May 2), punk poet John Cooper Clarke and former Wham! manager Simon Napier-Bell, whose book Black Vinyl White Powder is one of the finest written about British pop in the past 10 years.
Let's hope the organisers, Naoise Nunn and PoD Entertainment, can get this fascinating festival back on track before year end.
- One of my less appealing traits is a propensity to burst into song when I've had one too many drinks. I've been known to murder Abba and Springsteen in the Ukiyo karaoke bar on Dublin's Exchequer Street, eliciting the following response from anguished friends: "And you, who can't sing a note, get to criticise those who do for a living?"
Fellow karaoke fans are likely to be as enthused as I am with the news that Buskers Bar in Temple Bar will be offering karaoke with a difference every Thursday night. Instead of playing along to a machine featuring some cheesy Japanese video, you can sing to your heart's desire while backed by a proper four-piece band. Rock Star Karaoke -- as the pub's marketers are calling it -- takes place from 9pm and admission is free. Just hear me clear the joint.
- Tickets for a pair of mouth-watering gigs went on sale this week. Former Throwing Muses singer Kristin Hersh is set to play Whelan's, Dublin, on July 19 and will play material from her forthcoming release Crooked, which is being billed as an "album-book", featuring as it does a 60-page tome complete with conventional CD. Also emerging from hiatus is Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance fame. He plays Dublin's Tripod on May 27 on the promotional trail for new album Ark.