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.

Good luck… Continue reading

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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LET’S GET QUIZZICAL #1: THE PICNIC EDITION

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I wrote the questions for this quiz for last week’s Daily Ticket at the Electric Picnic, but it ended up not being used – so I thought I’d stick it up here. Everyone likes a good quiz, right? I certainly enjoy Donald Clarke’s Weekly Movie Quiz in The Ticket and I used to love the music quizzes hosted by Phantom FM in The Sugar Club (bring them back!), so I had the idea of hosting a regular quiz here on the blog.

I’ll try to make it a weekly feature (don’t hold me to that) and I’ll cobble together a prize – probably a few CDs – for the winner. By next Wednesday, I’ll put every person (if there’s more than one) who emails theworldwontlisten AT hotmail.co.uk with all ten correct answers into a hat and draw a winner. And remember, if you’re going to Google cheat, that’s between you and your god…

[Disclaimer: These questions are a week out of date and designed for people reading a newsletter on site, but all relate to EP. Future editions will be general music questions.] Go!

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A TALE OF TWO REVIEWS

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Part of my job as a music journalist involves reviewing albums. Some of the albums that I review are by Irish artists, some are by international artists. Some reviews are positive, some are good, some are middling, some are negative. The range of positive-to-negative album quality is vast, and I certainly don’t discriminate based on where an act or band is from (I don’t buy into the ‘treating Irish artists with kid gloves’ debate, but that’s a blog post for another day).

I occasionally get amusing hate-tweets/emails from disgruntled fans who have a bone to pick with my negative review, but rarely the actual bands themselves. Recently, I happened to review two Irish albums for The Ticket in relatively quick succession. I didn’t like either album for different reasons, and said so in my two-star reviews of both. What inspired this blog post was the reaction from both acts (who I’m not going to name, because it’s irrelevant).  Continue reading

THE KILLERS: STONE COLD & ON THE LOOSE

Originally published in The Irish Times, September 14th 2012.Image

TO DESCRIBE Brandon Flowers as “your run-of-the-mill rock star” would not be entirely truthful. Sitting across from The Killers frontman and his wild-haired bandmate Dave Keunig, it’s impossible to suss what Flowers is really thinking. It seems clear that he’s not a fan of interviews; he constantly glances towards the dressing room door (plotting an escape route, perhaps?), answers most questions curtly and seems generally guarded and somewhat reserved. He looks younger than his 31 years, his voice retaining the twang of his Nevada upbringing, his laugh more of a nervous, high-pitched titter. While the leaders of most rock bands naturally ooze charisma, Flowers’ cagey private persona seems at odds with the man who, an hour later, takes to the stage at Electric Picnic to deliver a supremely selfassured headline set.

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THE WEDDING PRESENT: STILL GIFT

Originally published in The Irish Times, November 2nd 2012.
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IT’S NOT THAT David Gedge is tired, but being the sole member of an iconic 1980s guitar band for almost three decades does tend to wear one down. As frontman of The Wedding Present, the band that Gedge formed in 1985, he has been almost exclusively responsible for its input (there have been numerous line-up changes over the years) and output (that’d be the nine albums released since 1987’s George Best, not including his releases under the Cinerama banner).

Not that he’s complaining, mind. Now 52 and in full retention of the Leeds brogue that decades of touring worldwide has failed to erode, Gedge is fully accepting of his fate. Continue reading

WILCO: FUZZY LOGIC

Originally published in The Irish Times, May 25th 2012.

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“First of all, I’d like to know what other band in the world gets called ‘dadrock’? What other band is there? I don’t know why Wilco’s the only band that gets called that. It seems absurd to me. I think it’s fuckin’ ridiculous.”

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IRELAND’S BIGGEST YOUTUBE HITS

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Yikes, I’ve been a terrible blogger this year. Sorry. Will definitely try harder in 2013. In the meantime, here’s a feature I recently dug out from the bowels of my MacBook, which was commissioned for a magazine but never published. (Grrr). It’s from two years ago, so my selections probably aren’t very up to date – but it was fun to hear their backstories. Merry Christmas!

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IT ONLY TAKES five years to become a cultural phenomenon. Nobody is more aware of that than Steve Chen, Jawed Karim and Chad Hurley, the three former PayPal employees who founded YouTube in 2005. These days, YouTube is as much an integral part of the internet as Google, Facebook and Wikipedia; it has made stars out of keyboard-playing cats, lightsaber-wielding teenagers and was even where one of the world’s biggest popstars, Justin Bieber, was first discovered.

But that doesn’t mean that our little kooky corner of the world wide web has been forgotten about; Ireland’s internet stars are just as noteworthy as their international counterparts. Here’s a selection of rising and established YouTube stars; and nary a Riverdancer in sight, either.

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