Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year readers!

This is the first time in as long as I can remember that I haven't spent the New Year at a bash with lots of people crossing arms and singing Auld Lang Syne. But from what I've heard, I'm not alone. Gale force winds have cancelled celbrations across the country. My friends in Edinburgh have discovered Hogmany cancelled, the same goes for parties in Belfast, Liverpool, Newcastle etc. I'm not going to a party as I've just taken Heather back to the airport and I don't really feel like it. I think a book and a hot bath will be a fitting way to usher in 2007. I'm reading JPod at the moment, very like Microserfs, or any Douglas Coupland novel for that matter but if you like him, then there's little in this book to take issue with.

Anyway, goodbye 2006, hello 2007. Let's hope it's a good one.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Paolo Nutini USA tour


North American Tour - Winter 2007

25 Chicago, IL TBD
26 Indianapolis, IN Radio Radio
27 Madison, WI The Annex
29 Minneapolis, MN Rossi's Blue Star Room
31 New York, NY The Bowery Ballroom

2 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live
3 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club

2 Denver, CO Bluebird Theatre
6 Detroit, MI Magic Bag
7 Toronto, ON Mod Club
8 Montreal, QC Cabaret LaTulipe
11 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
13 Annapolis, MD Ramshead Soundstage
14 Atlanta, GA Smith's Olde Bar
15 Mobile, AL TBD
20 Tucson, AZ Club Congress
21 San Diego, CA TBD
23 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
24 San Francisco, CA The Independent
27 Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge
28 Seattle, WA The Triple Door
29 Vancouver Richards on Richards

**April / May '07 - SOLD OUT UK Tour!!** 3

Christmas Eve wine

Last night, in what will hopefully become a tradition, David and I ate fine olives, Kettle Chips and drank a wonderful bottle of Bordeaux while watching Larry David on the funniest of shows, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The wine we opened was a 2001 Château Camail. It was great. From a tiny property owned by Francois Masson-Regnault perched on a hilltop overlooking the region of Sauternes, it was once the site of 'La Tour Camail' a beacon signalling to ships on their way up the might Garonne river.

Like most wines from that region, it's mainly Merlot but gives a great plummy taste, the classic aromas and cassis tones with smooth tannins and balanced fruit. We had a smashing time and I can think of few better ways to relax before Christmas.

Awards and Medals
London Vintage Festival Awards Bronze 2004, United Kingdom, Guide Hachette des Vins 1 Star 2004, France
One star from the Guide Hachette (the equivalent of a Michelin star)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Paolo Nutini video


The scottish lad is making a storm across the US where his album
THESE STREETS is in stores January 30th. Read the About The Music review of the record here.

And click on these links to watch the New Shoes video.










A Christmas song

Danity Kane's "Home For Christmas"

Not really a song that will appeal to the typical About The Music readership, but perhaps you're hankering for some new Christmas music.


Google Zeitgeist 2006


Zeitgeist ((audio) ) is originally a German expression that means "the spirit (Geist) of the time (Zeit)". It denotes the intellectual and cultural climate of an era.

Google has just published Zeitgeist 2006, the ultimate list of what was hot in 2006 as judged by the most Google searches. The top news stories searced for in 2006 were:

Google News - Top Searches in 2006
1. paris hilton
2. orlando bloom
3. cancer
4. podcasting
5. hurricane katrina
6. bankruptcy
7. martina hingis
8. autism
9. 2006 nfl draft
10. celebrity big brother 2006

while the top google searches were: - Top Searches in 2006
1. bebo
2. myspace
3. world cup
4. metacafe
5. radioblog
6. wikipedia
7. video
8. rebelde
9. mininova
10. wiki

It's full of interesting stuff about the top searches right now, and also this interesting graph listing the searches for certian US politicians.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

my December music

A while back I posted that I had 40 free downloads to throw around. I've just used up my last, that was on a track by The Decemberists (seemed the right time of year), but in the course of my downloads I've come accross a great band. Right now, I can't get enough.

Horse Feathers - Words are dead

It's a very apt title. While on first listen, and probably even second the comparisons with Iron & Wine will abound, a true reference is probably Murmur era R.E.M.

The words are not so important, as the feeling they create. A casual listener won't discern where one ends and the next begins, but eventually tales of Southern Pews and the dustbowl emerge. Like Iron & Wine, the arragements are simple guitar and banjo but with a greater emphasis on strings. Melodically Justin Ringle is spot on. He creates hooks, rhymes and beautiful music. In short, if you like Nick Drake or Iron & Wine then you're pretty much guaranteed to love Horse Feathers. I sure do.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Enjoy the Opera

I've just installed the new Opera web browser version 9.10. I'd heard a lot about it before, but I love Firefox so much I didn't see why I should move. But the new browser has built in anti-fraud protection,

If you enable fraud protection, every time you request a web page Opera contacts a server to check for phishing. Opera's partnered with GeoTrust, which provides a whitelist and a blacklist, and Phishtank, which provides a blacklist. Opera downloads the blacklist from Phishtank and sends queries to GeoTrust.

That and the fact that Firefox wasn't talking nicely to Blogger Beta (which has caused me more harm than good) has led me to try it out. So far so good, it's easy to use, has a nice clean interface and the widgets are particuarly nice. I love widgets and was delighted to see a Pandora widget which enables you to listen to Pandora radio while browsing without having to open up the entire website. I'm not sure if I'll stick with Opera, but competition like this is great for bloggers.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Google Earth santa


This is fun.

Santa is coming to Google Earth! And its up to you to find the treasures that Santa's elves have left all over Google Earth! Starting December 12th, and finishing up on December 24th, a clue will appear outside of Santa's North Pole workshop every day. If you can solve it, you will be lead to a toy hiding in Google's satellite imagery. Don't worry if you get stuck, the whereabouts will be revealed the next day, when the next clue gets dropped. What are you waiting for? Start hunting!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bonnie Prince Billy UK tour

January 2007
21st Glasgow Concert Hall Strathclyde Suite (Bonnie solo appearance w/ Nualah/Harem Scarem)
23rd Nottingham Rock City (£17.50 adv)
24th Manchester Bridgewater Hall (£17.50 adv)
25th Bristol Colston Hall (£17.50 adv)
26th London Queen Elizabeth Hall
27th London Queen Elizabeth Hall

February 2007
11th London Shepherds Bush Empire (
12th Brighton Corn Exchange ( / 01273 709 709)
13th Cambridge Junction ( / 01223 511 511)

Editors free MP3s


Camera (Rubber Bullets Remix)

Oh yeah, if you haven't heard it, there is also a remix of "All Sparks" here:

"All Sparks" (Phones Remix):

Remix EP:

Asterix v Tintin

The Guardian blog has a wonderful piece on Tintin, and the role of comics in growing up. I remember devouring all the Asterix and Tintin comics that I could get my hands on. David, my brother decided that I was going through them at too fast a pace and that I should learn to ration myself. He allowed me to read one a month. He then kept several back that I could only read on special occasions. I still haven't read Asterix and the Normans. I meant to read it after I graduated from university, but I forgot, then I was going to read it with my first paycheck, but I still haven't done that, so perhaps I will read it when I get married. Apparently it's a really good one.

Last Christmas I picked up the new asterix book, they're still coming out, but not to the same standard as when udzero and Goscinny were both writing. Anyway, if you enjoyed the books, read the article at the Guardian.

Read the article here

Monday, December 11, 2006

Richard Dawkins, arrogant?

A little off topic but I've just read an interview with Richard Dawkins in the Independent. He comes out with some interesting quotes, I thought I'd share some of them with you.

When talking about comparing his views to that of a religious person -
"I have a (you might say) fanatical desire for people to use their own minds and make their own choices, based upon publicly available evidence. Religious fanatics want people to switch off their own minds, ignore the evidence and blindly follow a holy book based upon private 'revelation'. There is a huge difference.

On the difference between private religious belief and organised religion:
There is also the little matter of whether or not they are true. Scientists care about such things.

On peace and love
Nothing is wrong with peace and love. It is all the more regrettable that so many of Christ's followers seem to disagree.

On religion as an emotional crutch
I think there is a higher nobility - and greater solace- in coping with what is true, even if it is fightening or painful.

On the resurrection
Accounts of Jesus's resurrection and ascension are about as well-documented as Jack and the Beanstalk.

On Christians
The majority are ignorant, which is not the same thing as stupid. Natural selection will not remove ignorance from future generations. Education may, and that is the hope to which we must cling.

If you arrived at the gates of Heaven, what would you say to God to justify your lifelong atheism?
"Not enough evidence God, not enough evidence." But why is God assumed to care so much about whether you believe in him?

Does anyone on the blogosphere care to offer any opinions on Dawkins?

Apologies commentators!

About the music has now migrated into Blogger Beta, basically a fancier form of Blogger. In moving we found lying crumpled behind the old electronic filing cabinet, several comment posts that had never been moderated. I dabbled once in comment moderation only to find the system didn't work. Until now that is.

So I have accepted all the comments and dotted throughout the archives you will find your thoughts on various posts, particuarly the Stag Night, and God etc endorsed with comments. Please leave more, it's great to hear from you.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Soundtrack to the Troubles

The guys over at Stylus Magazine have come out with an interesting feature. The top 10 songs about the Troubles! They were a bad old time in my home country but inspired a lot of great music.

I urge you to read the full article here but if you just want to see the songs they picked, here they are:

01. The Pogues – Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six (1987)

02. Van Morrison – Cyprus Avenue (1968)

03. U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (1983)

04. The Divine Comedy – Sunrise (1998)

05. Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster (1979)

06. Nicky Wire – Bobby Untitled (2006)

07. Orbital – Belfast (1991)

08. The Undertones – It’s Going to Happen (1981)

09. Simple Minds – Belfast Child (1989)

10. Sham 69 – Ulster (1978)

Friday, December 08, 2006

11 down, 29 to go!

I've used the first 11 of my free emusic downloads today. On something of an impulse purchase I've "bought" the debut album by David Berkeley.

I heard him perform on a Paste Magazine podcast and he really grabbed my attention the way all too few artists do. He's a singer/songwriter but with an amazing voice. So I grabbed The Confulence, his debut effort. It's downloading as I write.

I also discovered an Iron & Wine style band called Horse Feathers with their sparse banjo and voice album Words Are Dead. It looks interesting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

emusic downloads


So I've just signed up and with a slight hitch, got my 40 free music downloads. Now comes the real problem. I have no idea what to download, a vast library at my disposal and I'm spoilt for choice.

I was thinking about the jazz painist Bill Evans, on the reccomendation of a friend I bought 'You Must Believe In Spring' a while ago and loved it. I could also do with adding some more Miles Davis. But then there were a lot of good records out recently that I missed, tell me, what should I use my precious downloads on?

Anything in the alt-country/indie genre would be preferable.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Explosions in the Sky tour dates

Post rock wonders, Explosions In The Sky have a new album out, All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, and a tour to boot. Check out the dates, oddly enough you can listen to quite a bit of the new album on Pandora if you create a radio station similar to them.

02/19/07 Brooklyn, NY Warsaw Mountains
02/20/07 New York, NY The Wordless Music Series at the Society for Ethical Culture Concert Hall Ayano Kataoka
02/23/07 Cologne, DE Gebäude 9

02/25/07 Amsterdam, NE Paradiso

02/26/07 Brussels, BEL AB Box / Ancienne Belgique

02/27/07 Paris, FR La Maroquinerie

03/01/07 London, UK Koko's

03/07/07 Houston, TX Numbers Eluvium
03/08/07 New Orleans, LA The Republic Eluvium
03/10/07 Ybor City, FL Crowbar Eluvium
03/11/07 Sunrise, FL Langerado Music Festival - Markham Park Four Tet, Stephen Malkmus, Band of Horses, more...
03/12/07 St. Augustine, FL The Alcazar Eluvium
03/13/07 Atlanta, GA Lenny's Bar The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/14/07 Asheville, NC Grey Eagle The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/15/07 Carrboro, NC Cat's Cradle The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/16/07 Charlottesville, VA Starr Hill Music Hall The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/17/07 Washington, DC 9:30 Club The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/18/07 Philadelphia, PA Starlight Ballroom The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/20/07 New York, NY Webster Hall The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/21/07 Cambridge, MA Middle East - Downstairs The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/23/07 Montreal, QUE Ukrainian Federation The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/24/07 Toronto, ON Opera House The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/26/07 Detroit, MI St. Andrews Hall The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/28/07 Chicago, IL Metro Eluvium
03/30/07 Omaha, NE Sokol Underground The Paper Chase, Eluvium
03/31/07 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck Eluvium
04/02/07 Dallas, TX Granada Theater Eluvium

The Ten Best (alt) Country Albums

Now here is a better Christmas wish list. A who's who of alt country. This was published yesterday in The Independent newspaper and I have to say, I couldn't have come up with a better list myself. Although it would be nice to see Lucinda Williams there, or T-Bone Burnett, but he is represented by the O Brother soundtrack. Lets do a countdown shall we:

10 Dillard & Clark, The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & amp; Clark (1968) £13.99

Here, Gene Clark of The Byrds joined banjo virtuoso Doug Dillard to give a bluegrass edge to some of the finest songs Clark would ever conjure.

9 The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968) £7.99

In protest at the ubiquity of psychedelia, The Byrds went country. Sweetheart of the Rodeo combined counter-culture with cowboys and wrote the book on country-rock.

8 Gram Parsons GP/Grievous Angel (1973/4) £9.99

Often imitated but never bettered, Parsons' two solo albums have been packaged together since 1990. For less than £10 you get two records' worth of the sweetest sound known to man.

7 Emmylou Harris, Pieces of the Sky (1975) £9.99

Harris's major-label debut still stands as the pinnacle of an illustrious career. Although she borrowed her mentor Gram Parson's band, this shows that she could stand on her own two feet.

6 Various, O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000) £9.99

Via this soundtrack to the Coen brothers' film, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch et al introduced bluegrass music to casual record-buyers who thought they knew better.

5 The Jayhawks, Hollywood Town Hall (1992) £9.99

This, the major-label debut of Minnesota's Jayhawks, was produced by Rick Rubin. It's anyone's guess as to why they haven't become this century's answer to The Eagles.

4 Ryan Adams, Heartbreaker (2000) £7.99

The post-punk Parsons' first solo album proved that he could create country classics for fun. Good enough to buy Adams credit for an entire future of erratic albums.

3 Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator) (2001) £12.99

Welch gives a modern-day edge to songs that could be Depression-era originals. The success of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack owes much to her anachronistic approach.

2 Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose (2004) £11.99

Born into poverty and a mother of four by 18, Lynn brought her fair share of country credentials to this collaboration with Jack White of The White Stripes. Respectful, but raw and soulful.

1 Uncle Tupelo, No Depression (1990) £9.99

Both Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy have made better records since (Farrar with Son Volt and Tweedy with Wilco), but No Depression gave birth to the "" movement.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Damien Rice video

Another Damien Rice video. This time it is the official music video for 9 Crimes.

Weird floating heads?

40 Free MP3s

The Guardian is giving away 40 free downloads with Emusic. Yeah!

You just sign up, use your 40 downloads and then cancel and you don't have to pay for the 40 you've downloaded. They work on any MP3 player (unlike another online music store).