Tuesday 12 December 2017

Loaded: Top picks from The Picnic

Roxy Music to play Electric Picnic this year. Photo: Getty Images
Roxy Music to play Electric Picnic this year. Photo: Getty Images
John Meagher

John Meagher

Another year, another Electric Picnic line-up to chew the fat over. The muso snob in me likes the fact that there's not much here to appeal to what I would dismissively term the "casual music consumer" with the exception of The Frames and Paul Brady.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Roxy Music (below) and LCD Soundsystem (who also play Dublin's Tripod in April), but the gig of the festival is likely to be Fever Ray, whose self-titled debut was my favourite album of 2009. The nom de plume of Karin Dreijer Andersson, of The Knife fame, this concert is set to be one of just three Fever Ray concerts to be held this year. I caught her show in London back in December and it was deeply strange and wonderful.

Elsewhere, Modest Mouse, The National, The Low Anthem, Hot Chip and Massive Attack should provide plenty of encouragement for fans to seek out tickets.

Held, as usual, at the Arcadian surrounds of Stradbally Hall, Co Laois over the first weekend in September, three-day camping tickets go on sale this morning. They cost €240, and phone/internet bookings will incur a charge of €6.35 per ticket. There are no single-day tickets available.

  • Domino has been in serious re-issue mode of late. First up, the three studio albums from shoegaze marvels Galaxie 500 have been re-released, with each accompanied by a second disc of extras. Best of the bunch is their second album, On Fire, released in 1988 and selected by Pitchfork as the 16th best album of the 80s.

Then, there's the late Elliot Smith's 1994 debut, Roman Candle, a fine album in its own right and one that would offer a pointer to the more essential self-titled and Either/Or albums that would follow.

Next week, the label releases Wide Open Road, a collection which pulls together the best of The Triffids. Along with The Go Betweens and Nick Cave, The Triffids formed a third of the hallowed triumvirate of Australian groups who enjoyed critical acclaim in the 80s.

Yet, as time has gone by, The Triffids' stock has not remained as high, although the reissuing of their three studio albums in 2006 helped bring the band to a new audience. Listen to the title track -- culled from the band's best album, Born Sandy Devotional -- and appreciate the songwriting gifts of David McComb, who died tragically in 1999.

  • It will forever be known as the label that failed to sign The Beatles when it had the chance, but, over the course of its 71-year existence, Decca has had an enviable roster of artists including Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, David Bowie and Morrissey.

Now, as part of the Universal umbrella, it is seeking to unearth a singing troupe of nuns. Inspired by the large sales of albums made by religious figures -- from The Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz to Pope Benedict's Alma Matar project -- the label is keen to find sisters as devoted to music as they are to their God. Newspaper ads seeking singing nuns have been placed worldwide.

"When you hear the sound of nuns chanting, it's like an immediate escape from the challenges, stresses, pace and noise of modern living," says A&R guru Tom Lewis.

"This is a genuine appeal to find what you could call a 'sister act' for the 21st century."

  • Lluther are one of those Irish bands who have almost no profile here, but have achieved considerable acclaim abroad. Fronted by Gerry Owens, who used to be a member of Skindive, their brand of rock has seen them play frequently in Germany and the US.

Tomorrow, they play the Button Factory, Dublin, for their first hometown show in three years and will showcase songs from forthcoming album, Rise of the Reptile King. They're nothing if not ambitious -- with a graphic novel and feature film based on the songs already in the can apparently.

  • The Redneck Manifesto will also be displaying their wares tomorrow night (Whelan's, Dublin) and that's the Saturday show for me. Their latest album, Friendship, is their best to date and truly breathes life into an otherwise staid post-rock genre.

Irish Independent

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