Dan Sartain-Legacy Of Hospitality

20 04 2011

Eagle-eyed readers of my Twitter may recall that yesterday I was sent a free keg of beer. Well, today my postie has once again pulled out all the stops as he has delivered me the new Dan Sartain album ‘Legacy Of Hospitality’ and accompanying film (courtesy of the good people at One Little Indian).

I have to say I’m really looking forward to watching the movie and the free 3D glasses are a nice touch too! At the moment the so-called Skinny Man is on tour and Irish readers can catch him at the Crane Lane Theatre, Cork on April 27, McHugh’s in Belfast on April 28 and the Button Factory in Dublin on April 29. He’s also playing a bunch of dates around Europe too. ‘Legacy Of Hospitality’ is out on April 25.

If you’ve never seen him before you should make sure to check him out. Here’s a reprint of my review of his last album that ran in AU to get you in the mood.

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Dan Sartain

Dan Sartain Lives (One Little Indian)

After enduring an apparent lifetime to hear some new material from Dan Sartain (ok, it was four years) the Alabama-based riff-slamma finally unleashes his knowingly-titled third record ‘Dan Sartain Lives’ this month and while he doesn’t change the formula too much, it’s an opus of effortlessly cool proportions. Perhaps the best thing about the album though, is the fact that it’s so devoted to the retro sound it could have been recorded in any decade from the 50s onwards. Hell, you can almost hear the valve amps wheeze with exhaustion during the rockabilly stomp of ‘Atheist Funeral’ and ‘Those Thoughts.’ However, Sartain is far from being a one trick pony. The brooding waltz of ‘Bad Things Will Happen’ is both sexual and sinister and the canny lyrics of ‘Yes Man’ assert that the musician has little time for being “cool” or in fashion and both are definite highlights on an album that is a more than welcome addition to his rapidly growing legend. While some folk might say his sound is cliché, we like to think of it as classic.

 8/10

Download: ‘Atheist Funeral, ‘Bohemian Grove,’ ‘Bad Things Will Happen’

For Fans Of: The Night Marchers, Link Wray, El Vez

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Spidey Reboot/My First Comic

7 12 2010

This week I’ve been following the latest happenings on the Spiderman film reboot and you know what? I think it looks like it might actually be pretty decent. I was never a huge Spidey fan growing up. My brother used to pick up the Complete Spiderman that Marvel UK used to print every month that collected all four of Webhead’s Yank titles in the early 90s and other than being rather taken with the Black Cat (pictured below) I can’t remember a story that really got me hooked.

Incidentally, I’ve always wanted a suitably saucy Black Cat tattoo, though with my arms basically covered and my chest saved for something else, I dunno where I’d put it to do Felicia justice. But back to the Spidey film. The addition of Emma Stone has certainly swayed me in a positive direction and while I was surprised she wasn’t cast as Mary Jane (they’re both ginger after all) judging by the photo below-she really looks the part as Gwen Stacy (I’ve posted a few piccys so you can compare and contrast coz I’m nice like that).

Pretty good-huh? I’ve always preferred Gwen over MJ anyway, though how that miserable bollocks Parker manages to snag these three ladies is beyond me. I’m convinced he’s the Lembit Opik of comics.

Keeping things in a comic vein-here’s a reprint of the My First Comic piece I wrote for AU a few months ago for my final comics pages. During the summer I had to scale back a little bit on the workload I was taking on, and I decided that after 3 years, the double page spread in the aforementioned mag had to go as there are only so many hours in the day. Don’t worry too much though True Believers, as I’ve pruned the piece down to a more manageable 400words a month.  Anyway, here’s the column.

My Favorite Comic

Edwin McFee

“Ok, as it’s our last ever comics section; the overlords of AU have allowed this writer a little self-indulgence, so here goes. My first real memory of comics and what feelings and thoughts they could provoke in a person was when I was about 7 and I was sitting in a dentist’s waiting room, bored out of my skull while my brother got his gob looked at. A mouthy sort as a child, my mother bought me a copy of Marvel UK’s Transformers to shut me up and it did the trick nicely. The story arc was called ‘Time Wars’ and I was utterly shocked as Galvatron got half of his face blown off and Shockwave descended into a madness that made Eastenders crackhead Phil Mitchell look like the most together dude in the world. After that, I started to collect every issue but as the quality of the comic went on a steady decline I soon binned off the title a few years later.

 “It was only when I was 11 that I really became a complete and utter fanboy. Myself and some friends at school decided to start picking up certain titles from the local newsagents and then we’d swap them around the class after each month. Some of the books I bought were the Punisher and Thor, but it was the Incredible Hulk in particular that struck a chord. At that time (back in 1991, when everyone wore check shirts and didn’t wash their hair, for those keeping score) writer Peter David was just starting to get into the real meat of his epic saga and his take on Bruce Banner’s condition is still as potent now as it was two decades ago. Nowadays I have hundreds of Hulk comics and paraphernalia (hell, I’ve even got a huge tattoo of ol’ Jade Jaws) as well as thousands of comics in general, and while I’m running out of room to house them all, I’d never part with a single issue as whenever life gets me down, I can always open one up and catch up with my friends Bruce, Betty, Rick and Marlo.”





AU Review-Dan Sartain Lives

4 09 2010

Haven’t stuck any album reviews up on Blogging a Dead Horse in a while-so here’s one of the ace new Dan Sartain record. Gotta love the Skinny Man.

Dan Sartain

Dan Sartain Lives (One Little Indian)

After enduring an apparent lifetime to hear some new material from Dan Sartain (ok, it was four years) the Alabama-based riff-slamma finally unleashes his knowingly-titled third record ‘Dan Sartain Lives’ this month and while he doesn’t change the formula too much, it’s an opus of effortlessly cool proportions. Perhaps the best thing about the album though, is the fact that it’s so devoted to the retro sound it could have been recorded in any decade from the 50s onwards. Hell, you can almost hear the valve amps wheeze with exhaustion during the rockabilly stomp of ‘Atheist Funeral’ and ‘Those Thoughts.’ However, Sartain is far from being a one trick pony. The brooding waltz of ‘Bad Things Will Happen’ is both sexual and sinister and the canny lyrics of ‘Yes Man’ assert that the musician has little time for being “cool” or in fashion and both are definite highlights on an album that is a more than welcome addition to his rapidly growing legend. While some folk might say his sound is cliché, we like to think of it as classic.

8/10

Download: ‘Atheist Funeral, ‘Bohemian Grove,’ ‘Bad Things Will Happen’

For Fans Of: The Night Marchers, Link Wray, El Vez





Pledge: A Tribute To Kerbdog Liner Notes

7 04 2010

Last month saw the release of Pledge: A Tribute To Kerbdog via Stressed Sumo Records. Now regular readers of my blog will know that I wrote some liner notes for the disk and I thought it’d be cool to reprint them up on the blog. The record itself is ace. Some of the renditions of the likes of ‘Dry Riser’ and  ‘Mexican Wave’ are great and I urge anyone who was into the band to pick it up.

Anyway, enough of the hard sell. Here’s my liner notes plus a video for ‘Mexican Wave’ from the lads themselves. R.I.P.

In Memory of Kerbdog

I’ll always remember the first time I met Kerbdog. It was via a long forgotten late night rock show on ITV called Noisy Mothers and despite the god awful moniker, it was actually a great way to keep up with new acts (don’t judge me). Anyway, on this particular night my brother and I caught the clip for ‘End of Green’ by Kilkenny’s finest and while the video itself won’t win any awards, the song was a revelation. It was the vocals that struck me first-all impassioned and seemingly out of sync with the rest of the band. Then that sledge hammer riff really kicked in and I knew from then on in that my diet of Maiden, Lizzy and Ozzy just wouldn’t be enough to nourish my bones.

 I remember playing the song to my band at the time and demanding (yes, I was one of those teenagers) that we cover/rip off the track. Our version sucked harder than Annabel Chong of course, but it didn’t really matter, we were having fun. A few weeks later I sold some unwanted tapes and comics to the nearest mug I could find and bought the band’s debut. It was one of my first introductions to so-called “Alternative” music and I couldn’t get enough. Hell, I even took my love for the band as far as hunting down some dodgy specs and cardigans to ape the unlikely style icon that was fellow short-sighted leftie Cormac Battle, but that’s a story for another time…

It’s no secret that Kerbdog never really got their day in the sun (despite their punchy follow up ‘On The Turn’ seeming to have “success” stamped all over it) but to the lucky ones who actually make the effort of hunting down the true hidden treasures, they leave behind a legacy of potent and perverted pop rock songs that will live on long after their untimely demise in the late 90s. In a perfect world we’d all love to hear another record, but for now I’ll settle for those all too rare reunion gigs where I can dance just like those cheesy dudes from the ‘Mexican Wave’ video. Ok, now you can judge me…

Edwin McFee is a music journalist and writes for NME, Hot Press and AU





Russell Brand at the Odyssey

8 01 2010

Sorry for the lack of updates this week, folks. It’s been crazy busy since Monday and it’s only winding down now (even though I’m working tomorrow too). Anyway, I thought I’d finish up the week by reprinting a review of Russell Brand at the Odyssey that ran in AU (which incidentally becomes a free sheet next month).

Russell Brand at the Odyssey, Belfast

Minutes before Russell Brand makes his way onstage, you can hear a multitude of obnoxious big haired ladies talking way too loudly, clearly hoping for a tickle on the funnyman’s love truncheon. Needless to say their efforts are in vain but they give it a good hard try until a VT comes on featuring all of the comedians most “outrageous” moments (the tour’s called Scandalous y’see….). As he strides onstage in bollock torturing trousers backed by AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ it’s obvious right from the get go that Brand hasn’t a clue how to fill the hour he’s been allotted onstage. In fact for the first fifteen minutes he spends his time strutting around like a peacock gone goth and saying hello to AU’s photographer instead of giving us laughs, but hey, his female followers seem to think it’s inspired…

Tonight’s show is a stark reminder that comedians need to keep writing material no matter what the circumstances. Case in point-our Russell relies far too much on Manuel-Gate (which was a year ago) and slagging off Twilight (which is such an easy target we reckon even Gordon Brown could come up with something remotely funny on the subject). Don’t get us wrong, Russell Brand can be a funny bloke. When he drops the façade and indulges in some self deprecatory humour (such as telling us Noel Gallagher thought he looked like Rev Al Sharpton when he presented the MTV Awards) it’s genuinely hilarious, but those moments are few and far between.

Tonight’s performance has taught us two things about the comedian. Firstly-he’s hopeless when he’s caught on the hop (when one pissed up mentalist beside us starts screaming about Bob Geldof he looks far too frightened to think of a comeback) and secondly his material is older than Bruce Forsyth’s hair-piece. While his show may have pleased the faithful, we think that there’s only so long he can continue with the same old schtick. File under D for disappointing. Edwin McFee





Pocket Billiards Interview

4 12 2009

I interviewed the mighty Pocket Billiards for AU magazine a few issues ago, so here’s reprint.

Pocket Billiards

 

Members: Savage (guitar, vocals), Chuck (guitar, vocals), Steve (keys), Anto (bass), Jim (drums), Joe Monk (trumpet), Elaine (alto sax), Slow (tenor sax).

Formation: Belfast 2002

For Fans Of: The Slackers, Voodoo Glow Skulls, the Clash

Check Out: Debut album Pocket Billiards is out now.

Website: www.pocketbilliards.co.uk

Ever since their inception at the start of the decade, it was clear that Belfast based ska punks Pocket Billiards were something special. Even during those early days when their line-up had more changes that the Sugababes you could always guarantee that a Billiards show would be a fun night out and over the last seven years they’ve matured into one of the country’s best acts. This month they capitalize on all that talent by releasing their self-titled debut album and it was a labour of love for the nine-piece. Recorded by Oppenheimer’s Rocky O’Reilly at Start Together Studios, the slab of wax took three weeks to record and for frontman Chris Savage it was a huge relief to finally get a record out there on the shelves.

“It was brilliant finally getting a recording that really gets across the energy and sound of the band,” he says. “We previously had only recorded a demo way back at the start and then produced an EP in a bedroom (that sadly didn’t sound so good) and I think we proved to ourselves that we could make a good record. Rocky was great to work with and was as willing to experiment with different effects as I was and it allowed us to capture the sound that we had always wanted.”

With morale at an all time high, Savage and Co. decided to finally take the plunge after meeting Rocky at this year’s And So I Watch You From Afar Mandela Hall show and after listening to the high octane release, we’re glad they did.

“I just thought the time was right to make this album. We took a bit of a break over the last few years as a number of band members, including myself, became parents and after the Billiard’s baby boom, we felt that we wanted to get back to playing shows and having fun.  We picked up some good support slots, had written a load of songs and finally had a stable line-up, so we felt it was time to get the music recorded.

“The actual recording all seems a bit of a blur to me now,” he continues.  “As we were pressed for time we worked pretty hard for most of it. I remember the rest of the guys laughing at me because at times I was really losing my temper and getting a bit of a huff on.  I’m surprised they could put up with me! While listening to a playback after one of the recording sessions Anto [bass] declared that we needed ‘eagle ears.’ Now I don’t know much about birds, but I’m pretty sure that the eagle is not particularly well known for its immense auditory sensory system (I can only imagine Bill Odie would shake his head in disbelief at that statement).”

One of the best aspects of the record is the fact that they write about where we live. Tracks like ‘SPIDE’ and Belfast Town’ are not only kickass ska songs, we can relate to them too.

“I can’t stand it when artists sing in the generic ‘American’ accents or write lyrics about things they are totally detached from, just because it may be deemed cool,” he offers. “I try to write about things I have experienced or witnessed and feel strongly about, such as my daughter being born two months premature, the nonsense of musical cliques, or watching your mate become a drunken fool on a night out. At the same time I feel it’s important for me not to take myself too seriously and a bit of humour is certainly something that goes hand in hand with Pocket Billiards. I suppose that’s where songs like ‘SPIDE’ come from and the instrumental track ‘Don’t Scratch My Soca’ is a tribute to one of my all time favourite comedy shows Desmond’s. For me lyrics don’t have to be sublime pieces of poetry, if they are honest and sang with feeling then it’s more natural.

“To be totally honest I have no idea what people’s reactions to the album will be,” he concludes.  “The record is loud, energetic and catchy as hell and one thing I know is that this isn’t just for ska lovers. The album is packed full of heavy riffs, powerful brass lines and sing-a-long choruses. I just hope that people give it a shot and enjoy it.” Edwin McFee  





Sunnyside Comics

17 09 2009

This morning I put the finishing touches to my comics pages for AU and took the opportunity to plug the very nice people who produce the Sunnyside Comics podcast. Here’s what I wrote for the October issue and you can find out more by clicking here www.sunnysidecomics.com

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Finally this month, we’d like to take this opportunity to plug the Belfast-based podcast Sunnyside Comics. Initially cooked up by Ron Abernethy (of Black Bear Saloon fame) Scott Ferguson and PJ Holden, the three amigos upload all of their output (basically them righting the wrongs of comic-dom from their comfy sofas) via www.sunnysidecomics.com. So if (heaven’s forbid) you don’t get enough comics info from your ol’ pals AU, then check it out.

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