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Loaded: More thrills and spills for Dublin five-piece

Spare a thought, if you will, for The Thrills. Little has been heard of the Dublin five-piece since 2008 when they were dropped by EMI thanks to the poor sales achieved by their third album, Teenager. Unlike its Irish chart-topping predecessors, that album only limped to number 24.

Now, it has emerged that disgraced banker Sean FitzPatrick was a fan of their sun-kissed tunes. His BMW was confiscated earlier this week, but not before the ex-Anglo chief had cleared everything out of his car. Everything, that is, except for a Thrills CD. Regrettably, we're none the wiser as to which of their albums he owned.

You've got to wonder which is worse: having the most reviled person in Ireland liking your music or having that most reviled person deciding he wasn't bothered hearing your music anymore. Either way, it's gotta hurt.

  • Fans of Vampire Weekend are in for an experience with a difference on Friday, April 1. Dublin's first couple of indie -- aka Cathy "Lexus CT" Davey and Neil "Divine Comedy" Hannon -- plus Richie "Jape" Egan -- will play VW's debut album in its entirety at the Button Factory, Temple Bar.

The gig is organised by Jack Daniels and tickets are free for early birds registering on www.thejdset.ie before February 1.

It was Neil Hannon, who chose the album and here are his reasons: "Stylistically, it's an ingenious marriage of indie pop, African rhythm and classical harmony. Musically, it's a collection of beautifully honed melodies and taut, perfectly structured chord progressions. Lyrically it's all witty, occasionally barbed snap-shots of Ivy League colleges and Long Island lawns, regularly veering off on idiosyncratic tangents."

  • As a portrait of a disintegrating marriage, Blue Valentine leaves a lasting memory. And so does the film's soundtrack. Brooklyn's finest, Grizzly Bear, provide the haunting, minimalistic score that accompanies the highs and (mostly) lows of Dean and Cindy, played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.

Incidentally, Gosling reveals impressive music chops with a tender ukulele-assisted version of The Mills Brothers' You Always Hurt The Ones You Love.

  • John Grant was widely acclaimed last year for his deeply personal solo debut (The Queen of Denmark). Now, he's set to play Dublin's Button Factory on May 3. Tickets go on sale this morning.

Much of the album's appeal was down to the presence of Midlake, who were effectively Grant's house band for the studio sessions. But the Texan sextet haven't been joining the former Czars frontman on the road, and one can expect to hear a much sparser version of the songs in this comparatively intimate setting.

  • Just a week after the news that HMV are to close outlets here and in the UK, one of the country's best known independent record stores, Galway's Zhivago, has gone into receivership.

It's a sad reflection of the times, unfortunately, and here's hoping that more won't follow suit in 2011. Independents are finding the going especially tough because, not only have they to worry about plummeting sales, they tend to be at the mercy of relentless rent increases. These landlords simply won't take their heads out of the sand and realise we're slap-bang in the midst of a great depression.

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