I'm gonna end this week just as I started it... With a glowing review of Other Voices, RTE2's finest musical themed show.
On Wednesday night we had intimate performances from Florence & The Machine, Brett Anderson, Valerie Francis and the stunning Antlers. Brett Anderson, while interesting in his interview, was quite dull I felt, while Valerie Francis did her thing well. Just didn't captivate me!
Florence Welsh, meanwhile, brought a stripped back Machine (just a guitarist and a harpist) with her and treated us to glorious renditions of "Cosmic Love", "Hurricane Drunk" and "You've Got The Love". I thoroughly enjoyed "Lungs" when it was released last June, though I've always found Florence's live shows to be lacking. She just never really seemed into it, if ya get me!
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw her on Other Voices, however, to hear the standard of her vocal. It was as powerful as anything you'd hear on record, though I couldn't help but notice that she looked very uncomfortable performing. She was nervously wringing her wrist the entire time and looked as though she'd rather be anywhere else. I've heard before that she is quite uncomfortable performing live, though I had never witnessed it to this degree before! Though despite her body language screaming for an escape she sounded marvellous, so I guess we can't exactly complain can we?
The real highlight of this show, for me, was the performances by the Antlers. I have been obsessed with these guys for a good few months now. It started when I got "Bear" as a free download from last.fm and just grew and grew. The last time I think an album blew me away as much as "Hospice" did when I finally got it was "For Emma, Forever Ago" by Bon Iver over a year previous. It is a haunting and intimate project documenting the relationship between a terminally ill cancer patient and a man who loves her.
The band initially distributed the record themselves, though luckily they were snapped up by French Kiss and a remastered copy was released to a much more vast audience late last year. The album was critically acclaimed and sat in the number two slot on my "Best of 2009" list [Dirty Projectors "Bitte Orce" just pipped it, while it landed ahead of the likes of Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, the Low Anthem and Wilco, so it's no mean feat!], though it has just grown in my esteem ever since! This live display captivated me. I watched over and over, unable to look away from the gorgeous performance of "Kettering" in particular. Listen to the record, go see these guys live.
Unfortunately I was unable to find a clip of the band performing on Other Voices, so we'll have to make do with this gorgeous fan-made animation video for "Kettering". I cannot stress enough just how incredible an experience that "Hospice" really is. A genuinely unique album, it almost feels like a collection of poems more so than a musical record. Such emotion and raw energy is rare in any recording, while the stripped back lo-fi sound in some songs, contrasting with the huge sounding plethora in others, makes it feel like you are sitting in that hospital ward alongside this man. A classic.
A genuine coup for Other Voices! Annie Mac was as blown away as I was it seems. Next week we've been promised Bell X1 and Megafaun. Should be a good one!
- Cork, Ireland
- An Irish based alternative music blog. Music news, gigs, live reviews, album reviews... You'll find them here. If you want anything featured or removed, please shout. I hope you'll discover something new to love on this little experiment of mine. Currently editing the Music Section of the UCC Express and contributing to Motley magazine on campus, as well as writing for PopCultureMonster and 4FortyFour. Always looking for new projects so please get in touch if interested. Thanks for reading.