JOHN GRANT: ELECTRIC DREAMS

Originally published in The Irish Times, March 1st 2013.

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THERE ARE confessional songwriters, and then there is John Grant. The Michigan-born, Colorado-raised musician had been celebrated as a lyricist throughout his tenure with The Czars, the band he fronted for ten years until their split in 2004. Yet it was the release of his astounding solo debut Queen of Denmark in 2010 that his propensity for pouring his heart and soul – metaphorical warts and all – brought his music to a wider audience.

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DOMHNALL GLEESON: THE TIME IS NOW

Originally published in The Irish Post, September 3rd, 2013.

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Domhnall Gleeson creases up, eyes widening and shoulders shaking as he tries to suppress a bellyaching laugh and avoid spraying the room with the mouthful of water he’s just gulped back. I have just asked the young actor whether he is ready to be hailed as the next big rom-com dreamboat – what’s so funny about that? – but a line in his new film About Time may go some way to explaining his mirth. By modern standards, Gleeson is, perhaps, “too pale, too skinny, too ginger”, as his character puts it, to be your stereotypical leading man. Continue reading

IN MOZ WE TRUST

The Entertainment Editor of The Irish Post recently asked me to write about my longstanding and occasionally irrational love of Morrissey, to coincide with the release of ‘Morrissey 25: Live from Hollywood High’. Sometimes, you just have to put your journalistic impartiality to one side and allow your inner rabid fangirl to run rampant. 

Originally published in The Irish Post, August 28th 2013.

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A KITCHEN sink may sound like a strange place to fall head over heels in love with a band, but in a way it is the perfect setting for a love affair with The Smiths, who drew so much of their imagery and lyrical inspiration from the ‘kitchen sink’ dramas of the 1950s and 1960s.

I still remember the moment clearly; it was 2001 and I was in my parents’ house, washing the dishes and listening to the Very Best Of CD that I’d bought earlier that day. The music shop that I was working in part-time had been playing this new collection on a daily basis, and I like to think that even as I went about the monotonous task of stickering CDs and answering inane customer queries, the music was subconsciously seeping into my brain.

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LET’S GET QUIZZICAL #3

Congratulations to the winner of the last quiz, Amy, who was one of four people who got all ten answers correct.

Here are this week’s questions. Email answers to theworldwontlisten at hotmail.co.uk by next Wednesday. Good luck!

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1) Jimmy Kimmel was the focus of which rapper’s wrath on Twitter earlier this week? Continue reading

LET’S GET QUIZZICAL #2

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Thanks to everyone who entered last week – the first installment had a good response and you proved yourselves a generally honest bunch, as only one person actually answered all ten questions correctly: congratulations, Ciarán! (correct answers are at the end of this post)

Here’s a new batch for this week. Email answers to theworldwontlisten AT hotmail.co.uk by next Wednesday and I’ll post the winner a bunch of CDs.

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FILM REVIEW: INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2

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Let’s face it: decent modern horror films are hard to come by. Striking the balance between tension, genuine scares and an original storyline is something that has largely eluded mainstream cinema in recent years, which explains why a lot of horror films fail to make it to the big screen and are fast-tracked to DVD before you can say ‘I’ll just go and check the basement out’.

James Wan has had mixed form up to this point. The Australian is best known for his role as co-creator of the dreadful Saw franchise (and director of its first installment); movies that were huge money-spinners, movies that caught the imagination of the multiplex masses, but not exactly the sort of art that a filmmaker would want to have quoted on their epitaph.

And then along came Insidious. A film that impudently borrowed from the golden age of horror – from the Hammer-style title to the superb Bernard Herrmann-esque score and sound effects – it was a revelation of the modern genre. Not without its flaws, certainly (the last third in particular saw the story majorly lose its way), but it was nevertheless a compelling narrative about a young family whose son’s talent for ‘astral projection’ leaves his body exposed to a host of malevolent ghosts and a scary red-faced demon, all of which want to possess him. Far-fetched? I’ll say, and that’s without going into ‘The Further’, the purgatory-style no-man’s-land where the dead supposedly wander around waiting for an ‘in’ back to the world of the living. Still, the film’s slow-building, creepy nature and multitude of clever jumps made for a hugely entertaining mainstream horror and Wan’s promising work on The Conjuring earlier this year only served to heighten the anticipation for this sequel.

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WHO’LL GET THE MERCURY NOD?

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The Mercury Prize shortlist will be revealed tomorrow at 5.30pm. Whether you’re a fan of awards ceremonies or not, events like this are usually (usually!) a decent barometer of the year’s mainstream music releases to date (in this case, from September 11th 2012 – September 9th 2013). There’ll undoubtedly be fist-shaking and foot-stomping at the omissions come 5.35pm, but here’s who I think could be nominated…. in many cases, not should, I might add.

Is one of these acts destined to be asked ‘So, how much of an impact did your Mercury Prize win really have on you?’ by every music journalist they speak to for the duration of their careers?

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