Posts Tagged With: Music

Pic n Mix: Turfy’s Top Ten Tracks

As I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog on Damien Rice, music plays an important role in my life and I think most would agree it plays one in their lives too. This post will include ten of my favourite tracks (in no particular order) and what they mean to me. I tried to make the list varied to keep it interesting. By the end of this I hope I’ll have introduce you to a few new tracks that you’ll adore as much as I do!

Let’s open up with a bangin’ tune, here’s “I Sat by the Ocean” from none other than Palm desert rockers Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA). This a relatively new track, features on their most recent critically acclaimed album …Like Clockwork. It’s a real summer anthem and always puts me into a good mood.

Toning it down a little, we have the ever so smooth and bluesy “I don’t want to Set the World on Fire” by the 1930’s American Quartet, Inkspots. I first came across this track while playing Fallout 3 and instantly fell in love with the slow calming swing of the song. The Inkspots paved the way for future generations of Rockers and Blues, becoming synonymous with all players of Rock n Roll and Rhythm and Blues alike.

Leading on from the Inkspots, 50 years on to be exact, we get Rory Gallagher, Irish Blues Rock legend. Rory honed his sound listening to the likes of Inkspots and his hero Lead Belly. The influences of southern music to young Gallagher were detrimental into his coming as a musician. He manages to combine his southern influences with Irish ones alike and it all ferments into an intoxicatingly alluring mishmash of passion and blues. But don’t let me tell you, check out the track for yourself.

Knocking around during the same time as Rory, was equally enormous Luke Kelly. Kelly is known as the father of Irish music and many would argue is untouchable. This particular song means a great deal to me as it was a favourite of my Grandfather’s, often he’d sing the ballad quietly along as we dug spuds in the garden. It was a reassuring sound to hear his melody and whenever I listen to this song it brings me to those long summer evenings spent in the garden with him.

Next we have Scottish Rock trio Biffy Clyro. Biffy were one of the first bands I ever followed and will always be a favourite of mine. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform in the O2 Arena Dublin a few years ago and their presence on the stage was phenomenal. One song in particular, Machines, hushed the entire crowd into silence and the atmosphere was palpable. It’s one of the most beautifully written songs in the list and I know you’ll adore it. Here it is live in Wembley 5 years ago.

Instrumentals can be equally as powerful or even more soulful than songs and Ocean by John Butler is certainly as good an example as you’ll find. It’s a piece that takes you away from where you are and you feel the waves of emotion flutter with every change of chord and rhythm. My words can’t do it justice so you’re just going to have to listen to it yourself.

Now we have an instrumental with a bit more edge, New York duo Ratatat produce experimental instrumentals with guitar, bass, keyboard and synthesizers with a sound that’s as equally alien as it is incredible. Loup Pipes off their debut album has become a favourite of mine and I often have it chiming along as I write essays or even relax.

Leaving instrumentals beyond we have the British Indie giants Foals. A bit off the wall or quirky to put it lightly, Foals deliver and array of sounds and melodies that set them apart from your typical modern band. Here’s a real festival hit with their track Inhaler

Of course Damien Rice was going to feature on this list and so you have him now. I spent a good deal of time trying to cherry pick my favourite song from him and eventually settled for “Rootless Tree, Live at Abbey Road”. This song details the end of Rice’s turbulent relationship with band member Lisa Hannigan and soon became my heartbreak song as a young teen. While laughable now, the song still does mean a great deal to me and Rice effortlessly turns “FUCK YOU” into an overwhelmingly evocative melody that takes you away.

Finally we have a personal favourite, The Auld Triangle. I can’t tell you why I love this song so much, but it’s a rare day when I haven’t sung it to myself or with others (drunkenly). The song was written by the legendary Irish playwright Brendan Behan and has become synonymous with Irish music, having been covered countless times by the likes of The Dubliners and even Justin Timberlake (*gasp*). Here’s my favourite rendition done by a favourite artist of mine, Glen Hansard, along with an array of other Irish music giants at the Royal Albert Hall. Enjoy!

As ever, thanks for reading and I hope I’ve shown you something new and wonderful!

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Lively Limerick: My first year in the Treaty City

The transition from secondary school to college can sometimes seem a daunting prospect, for most it’s an adventure. My year has been full of amazing new people and memories that I’ll hopefully always have. The bounds and regulations of school are long past behind you upon entering third level education, and I found a refreshing sense of independence in my own learning.

“Hello!” – A view from inside one of the many Tower Houses along UL Campus

UL South Campus from the air.

UL South Campus from the air.

Of course, I also found a huge amount of new found free time and always made sure to make the most of it. Between exploring the riverside of UL campus to the nightlife the city had to offer, I was always keeping myself busy.

University of Limerick (UL)  is located along the River Shannon, on a 137.5 hectares campus with 12,000 full time students just 5km outside Limerick City. The Shannon, once having been a highway of travel, is speckled with the ruins of old castles and abbeys along its banks.

Here, I often walked with friends and explored and traversed along them on slow early summer evenings. Cloaked in trees and the sounds of waterfowl, it wasn’t difficult to become immersed in nature. It’s fantastic to be within walking distance of both urban and natural environments, something which many of us here take for advantage.

 The City was something I was always familiar with, coming from nearby Clare, but only truly opened its doors to me this year and showed a side to it I never knew. There’s a grit about Limerick, it can appear at first as uninviting or dormant, but give it a chance and it’ll open up to you. It won’t find you, so you’ve to be willing to explore. There’s a vibrant community spirit that’s been so lacking across the nation as of late and you’re sure to bump into a community action project or two as you traverse its streets. Locals, young and old, are beginning to reclaim the city and with it leave their mark. One such example of this is Thomas Street, where Limerick Tidy Towns and Wildroutes took a littered and rundown street corner and transformed into a lush corner park for locals and visitors alike.

Thomas Street during the initiative, cups are filled with seeds which will grow along the fencing.

Thomas Street during the initiative, cups are filled with seeds which will grow along the fencing.

After, with the plants in full bloom.

After, with the plants in full bloom.

Initiatives such as this aren’t few or far between and are breathing new life into Limerick’s streets and community offering new interactive artistic places of rest or leisure. They’re always in action on some corner street and are always looking for more volunteers or help! If you’d to learn more about or join Limerick Tidy Towns and Wildroutes, I have embedded a link to both their facebook pages in their names.

DieNight's Logo (Credit to Dienight facebook page)

DieNight’s Logo (Credit to Dienight facebook page)

The nightlife of Limerick wasn’t something I’d ever have thought much of and before going to college in UL, I never had. How naive I was. Limerick offers an abundance of different scenes and throughout its many clubs and late night bars scattered across the city you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy.

View of the main stage from the balcony (Credit Ciaran Cummins)

View of the main stage from the balcony (Credit Ciaran Cummins)

One place in particular that has stood out tome far over others, is DieNight Limerick. The Die stands for Dance, Indie and Electronica Music and it’s one of the few venues that’ll offer such a diverse plate of juicy tunes. The club is divided into 3 main floors, the centre stage (warehouse) plays electronica and deephouse, upstairs is reserved to the bands, typically indie music, and you’ll find dance and house music on the terrace. Clubbers are spoiled for choice and the quality of the lineups every fortnight is phenomenal. It’s the night of the month and is always met with great anticipatation by all who attend. The atmosphere is incredible and unmatched by any club I’ve yet to go to, it truly is a gem of the city.

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In order to replicate the atmosphere and keep the night going, a group of close friends of mine came together to set up an after party to DIE which would become known as The Afterlife. The idea was to gather three DJs from DIE or other clubs and recreate the atmosphere of DIE in someone’s house. To do so, strobe lights, smoke machines and a

Behind the Decks at Afterlife.

Behind the Decks at Afterlife.

set of DJ decks were collected with people on security of the entrance, in case things got out of hand. Word would be spread through social media and within Die with cards and word of mouth. The result was more than anyone had hoped for, least of all Ciaran, the man behind the entire project. The house quickly became a sea of people and it went on well into the early hours of the morning. The Afterlife is still in its infancy, but with two incredibly successful nights under its belt, it’s sure to become a regular of the Limerick night scene.

While my first year in Limerick truly flew, the city is sure to have lots in store for me and everyone else in the coming years and is more than sure to surprise me along the way!

As always thanks for reading and I hope you’ll come again!

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The Ever Meloncholic Damien Rice.

Every generation has their musical hero, someone who’s much more than just the voice of a generation, but their sound.

Rory Gallagher, the voice and sound to a generation.

Rory Gallagher, the voice and sound to a generation.

Ireland had Rory Gallagher in the 80s and the world had Nirvana in the 90s. Growing up in 21st century Ireland, I was blessed to have listened to and experienced some incredible, emotional and ever erotic music from the likes of Irish born Glen Hansard to international and cult giants, Queens of the Stone Age. Through my teenage years music was my escape and freedom to express otherwise intangible and confused emotions in a world we all sometimes feel we don’t belong in.

I remember it well, the first time I felt music truly describe the penance of emotions within me. It was a cold night and I struggled to keep even one eye shut, with thoughts crawling upon my mind. I turned to my dresser and grabbed the Walkman I had temporarily stolen from my sister. There was a tiny lcd screen and “Cold Water – Damien Rice” fluttered across it. The low resonance of the tick tock overpowering the keys of the piano instantly took me into the song, as the echoing of “Lord can you hear me..can you hear..or am I lost?” enveloped my feelings into something translatable.

Rice's first solo studio album, O.

Rice’s first solo studio album, O.

From that night on, I began to listen to Rice daily, especially when I struggled to express my woes or angers. There is a quality to his voice like no other, one which is so honestly damaged and vulnerable, something anyone could relate to. It’s this brutal honesty of emotion and passion in his music which gives Rice something truly ‘otherly’ to his music.

Rice and Hannigan during the recording of O

Rice and Hannigan during the recording of O

The relationship between Rice and Lisa Hannigan, a former member of his band, is synonymous with his music. ‘O’ and ‘9’, Rice’s first two international albums, serves as a voice to express the passionate yet  ever turbulent relationship between the pair. It deals with the failed expectations and pain which every couple face to some degree. It never holds back and is as much as an emotional rollercoster as it is a musical one. Both these albums are very dear to me, ones which I will always cherish and adore getting me through many o’ teenage relationships and allowed me to deal with my problems by venting them through Rice’s music.

I leave you with “I remember it well”, telling the story of when Rice and Hannigan first met and then breaks into the current state of their relationship, a sample of the sheer force of emotion and music found in Rice’s work.

Thanks for reading!

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