Saturday, May 31, 2008

Live Shows To Download: 23rd May - 30th May

Every week I'm going to collect together some of the live stuff I've downloaded during the week and anything else that seems interesting. Most will be from Dime so you'll need an account there to see these.

Thom Yorke - KCRW 11/07/2006

Rilo Kiley - Minneapolis 22/05/2008

Bruce Springsteen - Dublin 23/05/2008 (Night 2)

Kathleen Edwards - WXPN 16/05/2008

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Wembley Arena 22/05/2008

The Hold Steady - World Cafe Live 30/05/2008

R.E.M. Austin City Limits 13/03/2008 DVD

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Gougers

I put this band on the 6th playlist and the song 'Everybody Knows' has been a regular on my iPod ever since as has the album it's from 'A Long Day for the Weathervane'. I'd guess it falls under the 'alt-country' genre but that's a pretty difficult genre to define. Check out the video below. You can download the song from here. Visit their MySpace and their official site where you can stream all of the album. Well worth a listen.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thundercrack Playlist #15

This week's playlist and a few things I'm pleased to have on it especially the first two songs, both are excellent. Something for everyone, the file is 62mb and together the album comes in at 45mins so easy to burn on to a cd. Hope you enjoy it.

Download it from here

1. Bruce Springsteen - Racing in The Street (Live)

Taken from Sunday's show at the RDS, this is a fantastic recording of one of the highlights of the weekend. Plenty of Bruce to listen to on here. I just put up a solo live album which you can get from here. Also available are two live albums I put together of Bruce with the E Street Band available here and here. Thanks to the taper (Anthony) for this recording.

2. Josh Ritter w/Hilary Hahn - Girl In The War (Live)

Stunning version of 'Girl' with Josh accompanied only by Hilary Hahn on violin. An unlikely pairing that really came together. You can hear the whole concert here.

3. Mates Of State - My Only Offer

Lot of attention being paid to their most recent album and deservedly so. This track is taken off that album 'Re-Arrange Us'.

4. Jon Jackson - Comin' Home

Featured this guy a couple of weeks ago, here's a track from his album 'Green Apples' which is highly recommended.

5. Badly Drawn Boy - Degrees Of Separation (Live)

Taken from a BBC session recorded at the start of this year. I thought Born In The UK was a real return to form for Damon and this was a stand out track.

6. Dark Room Notes - Shake Shake My Ceiling

Cool Irish band, this is taken from their 4 track ep of last year. Working on their debut album at the moment, hopes are high for this group.

7. Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter - I Like The Sound

Saw Jesse and the band live a couple of weeks ago and they were excellent. She's got a great band, including Phil Wandscher, formerly of Whiskeytown. She's got a great and unique voice.

8. Jesse Malin - Arrested (Live)

Second of the Jesse double-shot, this Jesse has been playing a lot of solo shows recently. This is taken from one of them on 1 April. A great live performer.

9. Will Hoge - Silver Or Gold

This is off his last album 'Draw The Curtains'. Haven't heard it, but I like this track. He's got a big voice and a good band behind him. He was signed to a major label a few years ago before asking to be released and has been building a strong fanbase ever since. A few songs on his MySpace are available to download.

10. Bright Eyes - Middleman (Live)

One of my favourite Bright Eyes tracks, this is from a BBC session recorded last year.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On Tour: Bruce Springsteen Solo

For all those still on a high from the Dublin gigs at the weekend, here's a change of pace for ya. This is Bruce at his solo best. Stripped of the big band arrangements, songs like 'The Promised Land', 'Tenth Avenue Freeze Out' and 'Backstreets' take on a whole different meaning. For many, this is Bruce at his best, I still love him as a front-man but performing on his own, he's incredible. I think this shines through these 15 performances, taken from throughout his career. The 4 songs taken from his show in 1990 really stand out for me. And of course, the alternative version of Thunder Road which would be a classic in its own right.

Track listing below. Download it from here

On Tour: Bruce Springsteen Solo

01. Brilliant Disguise
02. The Ghost Of Tom Joad
03. Devils & Dust
04. I WIsh I Were Blind
05. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
06. Youngstown
07. Atlantic City
08. Incident on 57th Street
09. Valentine's Day
10. The River
11. Backstreets
12. New York City Song
13. Thunder Road
14. Real World
15. The Promised Land

01. 16/11/1990
02. 17/05/1997
03. 18/07/2005
04. Grand Rapids 2005
05. 16/11/1990
06. Letterman 1995
07. 16/11/1990
08. 2005
09. 2005
10. 17/05/1997
11. St Louis 2005
12. 31/05/1973
13. Studio Outtake
14. 16/11/1990
15. Columbus 2005


Big fan of the band, they're currently working on their third album which should be out this year. They recently performed a set for featuring a couple of new songs. Brilliant set it is too, right click to download.

Track Listing:

Broken Arm
Bee Sting (new/unreleased)
- interview -
Gentleman Farmer (new/unreleased)

You can also download the excellent 'Broken Arm' here and one of guitarist Dennis Crommett's songs here as well. Head to their MySpace for more info.

Video for Broken Arm

Thundercrack: Best Of Irish #6 - The Mighty Stef

He's just released an excellent new ep entitled 'Death Threats' featuring four tracks. You'll find the video for the title track below. His album 'The Sins of Sainte Catherine' is also well worth checking out. Both can be purchased here. Comparisons can be made to Nick Cave and Tom Waits but he's got a great sound of his own. He's playing a number of nights in Whelan's in July, I'm looking forward to finally seeing him live, I've heard he's a great live act. Head over to his MySpace where you can download a few songs for free. I've also featured him on the playlist so you can download Poisonous Love here

Monday, May 26, 2008

Review: Bruce Springsteen RDS Dublin 25th May 2008

(You can download Racing In The Street from this show from here)

A great concert to end Springsteen's stay in Dublin. The setlist was excellent, with a rare outing for the double 'Wild, Innocent...' shot of Sandy and Rosalita. Bruce spoke about Danny for the first real time, giving a funny story about Danny getting thrown in jail. Atlantic City was absolutely fierce and Spirit In The Night was an absolute blast with the big screens perfectly capturing Bruce's crotch being felt by men and women alike. I don't think Reason To Believe is as strong as when I saw him in December. Then it was the highlight of the show. Now, the absence of the guitar intro really affects the song and doesn't give it the same explosion as before. It was still one of my favourite performances of the weekend but I think it could have been better.

The real story of the night, as before, was in the encores with Bruce pulling out all the stops to give Dublin a great finish. I don't think you could ask for a more crowd pleasing 7 song set. Rosie was a personal highlight and it was great to see them go beyond American Land for the first time. Ramrod and especially Glory Days brought the house down.

Personally, I was in the pit and found it to be both a lot fuller than the previous nights and also filled with people who weren't really interested in the music, they were there to say they were at 'the' event of the weekend. So 'Racing In The Street' fairly passed me by as people pushed past me on the way to the bar and guys right in front of me shouted to their mates about something random, in no way relevant to the gig, which was disappointing as when I could actually focus on the song, Bruce gave a great vocal performance. It's the luck of the draw who you're stuck next to at gigs like this and I was a bit unfortunate this time. Even after moving, there wasn't much relief. But it was still a great gig, with the encores being absolutely brilliant.

So, after the three nights I'd offer the opinion that Friday was the best show. I thought the setlist flowed perfectly and Bruce was on absolute top form. If I had to pick one song of the weekend, it would probably be Thunder Road on Thursday. That was special.

By my calculations (I'm open to correction), Springsteen played 43 different songs over the three nights. That's not a bad return for three concerts. It's interesting if you look over at where they post Bruce's setlist after the show. From that, you can see how much Bruce deviates off the setlist as the show goes on. For instance, last night 'Out In The Street' was setlisted but 'Spirit In The Night' played. I'll take that trade. Also of interest, on Friday night, one of the highlights of the show, Trapped into Murder Incorporated was not on the setlist. Of course Backstreets and Meeting Across The River were setlisted for Friday but I guess you can't win them all.

All in all, it's been a great weekend of Springsteen concerts and I have one more to go next month here in Paris. He's so good that even though I've just seen him three nights, I'm already excited about the show. Not too many artists have that power.

(If you have any thoughts on the gigs, leave a comment, I'd be especially interested in anybody who had a differing experience in the pit last night as I'm sure there were areas where it was perfect. Just a pity I couldn't find any)

For those interested, I'll be posting an mp3 of Racing In The Street from the show in my playlist on Wednesday so check back here for that. Also you can download a 15 track live album I've put together of Bruce solo here .

Setlist for last night

1. No Surrender
2. Radio Nowhere
3. The Ties That Bind
4. Spirit In The Night
5. Gypsy Biker
6. Atlantic City
7. Reason To Believe
8. 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
9. Growin' Up
10. Because The Night
11. She's The One
12. Livin' In The Future
13. Mary's Place
14. The Promised Land
15. Racing In The Street
16. The Rising
17. Last To Die
18. Long Walk Home
19. Badlands

20. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
21. Born To Run
22. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
23. Dancing In The Dark
24. American Land

25. Ramrod
26. Glory Days

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On Tour : R.E.M.

New On Tour album. Download it from here.

Track listing and dates of performances are below

On Tour: REM

01. Living Well's The Best Revenge
02. 1,000,000
03. Welcome To The Occupation
04. Drive
05. Leaving New York
06. Pretty Persuasion
07. Animal
08. Supernatural Superserious
09. She Just Wants To Be
10. Radio Free Europe
11. Pop Song 89
12. Maps and Legends
13. Man On The Moon

01. 24/03/2008
02. 14/05/1982
03. 19/11/1995
04. 16/07/2005
05. 16/07/2005
06. 1981
07. 20/09/2003
08. 2008 BBC studios
09. 30/09/2003
10. 1981
11. 21/11/1995
12. 30/09/2003
13. 16/07/2005

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Review: Bruce Springsteen RDS Dublin 23rd May 2008

So much of your enjoyment of concerts depends on where you're standing or sitting and the sort of people that are around you. Last night, I was in the pit surrounded by a good group of people. Maybe that's why I thought it was a better show than Thursday. But I also think it was just a better show.

Night is a fantastic opener and the pace didn't let up at all until a magnificent performance of 'Magic'. Trapped was brilliant but Murder Incorporated was incredible with Bruce and Steve taking the dueling guitars they did during Gypsy Biker on Thursday to a new level. Prove It All Night was great again, with Nils taking a fantastic solo at the end. Mary's Place was even more enjoyable than the night before and Girls In Their Summer Clothes was brilliantly played as well. The encores are a show in themselves and it was something special last night. To start with Jungleland was amazing, Clarence nailing his solo. Glory Days was great fun "Is it sexy time? Is it Guinness Time?" "No, it's Boss Time" American Land was brilliant again.

Bruce was enjoying himself even more I thought. At times he was visibly out of breath but after all the running he was doing, I wasn't surprised. Funniest moment of the night came during Dancing when he got a little girl up on the ramp to dance with him but she got scared and ran back to her parents. He then picked a man up from the audience for a quick Courtney Cox impression. That song was also one of my favourites. If I had to pick one highlight, it was probably Jungleland, with Mary's Place being a close second purely for Bruce's infectious enthusiasm and how much he clearly loves playing that song. Nine songs different from the first night, I'm sure it'll be different again on Sunday. Setlist below. Again picture taken from Download On Tour: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Vol. 1 here and Vol. 2 here.

Radio Nowhere
No Surrender
Lonesome Day
The Promised Land
Murder Incorporated
Darlington County
Prove It All Night
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
Mary's Place
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Devil's Arcade
The Rising

Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Born to Run
Glory Days
Dancing in the Dark
American Land

Friday, May 23, 2008

Review: Bruce Springsteen: RDS Dublin 22nd May 2008

Opening night of Bruce's 3 night stand in the RDS. Excellent show with some real high points. It was my 4th time seeing Bruce and the band this tour and finally got a few of the songs I've been waiting to hear. Thunder Road, Prove It All Night, Candy's Room, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out are among my favourite songs so to hear them live for the first time was fantastic.

And the rest of the set was great too. It's a big change from the arena shows that I saw last time, the crowd being one of the major differences. I didn't think much of the crowd, although that may just have been where I was standing. People didn't seem as interested in his newer stuff and at times, it seemed people were waiting to hear the hits which never works at a Bruce concert. It'll be interesting to see if there's a difference tonight.

In terms of Bruce and the band, they were full of energy and played excellently for the full 2 hours 40 minutes. Bruce was moving across the stage throughout the night, even did his infamous knee-slide. Not bad for 58. The band were as strong as usual with Max playing as fierce as I've ever seen at the end of Badlands. Mary's Place and Waitin On A Sunny Day were both really good stadium songs although I felt that one of them was enough, rather than being played back to back. American Land was special last night too for the finale. Overall, looking at the past setlists, I got the feeling that Bruce was doing a relatively standard Magic tour setlist last night as he hadn't played Dublin on the tour before. I'd imagine tonight and Sunday are going to be far more open shows in terms of what he'll play. He seemed to be having a great time the whole concert. Here's hoping he saved some energy for tonight. Here's last night's setlist and a couple of videos. I'll be there for the next two nights so check back for reviews the day after.(Photo taken from Download On Tour: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Vol. 1 here and Vol. 2 here.

The Promised Land
Radio Nowhere
Lonesome Day
Out in the Street
Gypsy Biker
Reason to Believe
Candy's Room
Prove It All Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Because the Night
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
Mary's Place
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The River
Devil's Arcade
The Rising

Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Thunder Road
Born to Run
Bobby Jean
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
American Land

Prove It All Night

Born To Run

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thundercrack Playlist #14

Number 14. Enjoy. I'm off to see Springsteen for three nights in Dublin. I'll post my reviews the day after.

1. Wolf Parade - Language City

They've released this song through their MySpace recently. Absolutely brilliant album, it's been well worth the wait since the last one. It's coming out next month, 17th June. This is a great taster.

2. The Federals - Automatic Breakdown

Garage rock band from the UK, this is a really catchy song. I've been singing this chorus for the last few days. Were recently Steve Lamacq's demo of the week for one of their other songs. Keep an eye out for them.

3. David Karsten Daniels - Martha Ann

Hailing from Seattle, this track comes off his recently released album 'Of Flying'. He's released some good stuff over the years, like this track. Got a great voice.

4. Joan As Police Woman - To Be Loved

Loved her first album, this is off her upcoming album due out 9th June. Has a few European dates announced, including one in Paris and another in Dublin.

5. Black Mountain - Tyrants

Love this band, loved the last album which this is taken from. Saw them live last night and wasn't overly impressed(I'll get a review up soon) but this song killed. Epic.

6. Old Lost John - Come Saturday

Swedish guy, good track, he has an album out which you can get at his website.

7. Wakey!Wakey! - Fall Apart

One of the bands to watch in the coming while. Can download a covers album for free on their website. Some interesting choices.

8. Tom Waits - Tom Traubert's Blues (Live)

From 2006, I left in a cool story Tom told before the song. His tour is definitely going to be one of the big music stories this year.

9. Killa Kela - All Killa No Filla

My knowledge of beatboxers is virtually none but I like this track. Seems to be one of the big names and well respected. His cd got good reviews when it came out. Worth a look

10. The Nomads - Ain't No King Of Rnr Tonight

Another Swedish band, these guys have been going for years. Not heard much of them up until now, this is a cool song. If you like your rock songs to be under 3 minutes, you'll probably like this song.

11. The Fatima Mansions - You Won't Get Me Home

Irish band this week is Fatima Mansions, led by the legendary Cathal Coughlan. Were around at the turn of the 90s for a few years. Made some good records, this is off their debut album 'Against Nature'. Might have to search around for that one. This website is a good place to start.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Hold Steady - New Song Streaming

Single off the new album is up on their MySpace. Anticipation for the new album grows even more.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jeffrey Foucault

I've been listening to Jeffrey a lot recently, in particular his debut album 'Miles From The Lightning'. It was released back in 2001 and ranks in my top ten albums of all time. He's gone on from there to have a more polished sound but still retain his main strengths, mainly his voice and his lyrics. He's released three albums on his own as well as one album in collaboration with Kris Delmhorst and Peter Mulvey called 'Redbird' which is another fantastic album.
I saw him live a couple of years ago in a pub in Dublin and he was great. Highly recommended singer/songwriter. Few things to listen to below, three fantastic songs.

Secretariat (from Miles From The Lightning)
4 & 20 Blues (from Stripping Cane)
Americans In Corduroy (from Ghost Repeater)
Interview on Acoustic Cafe

Check out his official site and his MySpace for more info and some more mp3s.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jon Jackson

Came across this guy a while back when I found his cover of Springsteen's Atlantic City, one of the better Springsteen covers around. Was browsing through the excellent songs:illinois blog and noticed that he's put a couple of new videos online. This is an ordinary guy who made an album on his own, putting half of his year's wages and a year of his time into getting it done. It's called 'Green Apples' and I haven't heard it yet but I'm looking forward to getting it.

The two videos posted below are among some of the best stuff I've heard in a while. The guy's passion and the work he's put into these songs shines through. Amongst all the heavily produced videos and music around all the time, it's fantastic to find someone who just sets himself up in front of a video camera with his guitar and blows them all away. Check out his MySpace where you can download a couple of his songs and buy the cd from here.

'Excuse Me'

'Green Apples'

Friday, May 16, 2008

KCRW Guest DJ's - John Cusack & Conan O'Brien

A cool new feature started on KCRW is the guest DJ segment. Some very cool people on it. Check it out here . My favourite presenter and probably favourite actor were among the first batch so take a listen to their sets here. Cusack should have a late night radio show a la Dylan. Can't fault their taste in music.

Conan O'Brien

John Cusack

Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill

Was listening to this track for the first time in quite a while today. Great track, so here's the video for anyone else who hasn't heard it in a while or who missed it first time around. I may post it in next week's playlist, no promises yet though, we'll see how it goes.

Coldplay - Violet Hill (Alternate Video)

There's an official video out which is pretty standard but Coldplay have also put this one out as an alternate video. I think it's much better, an excellent video. The song is growing a bit on me too.

The Raconteurs on Jools Holland

Not sure what exactly is going on with Jools these days, seem to be doing some sort of preview show during the week. Still get the best acts on it and this week The Raconteurs are/were on. They played two songs: Salute Your Solution & Consoler Of The Lonely This is a special acoustic version of one of my favourite songs off the record - Many Shades Of Black- that they filmed for Jools' website. Head over to Deaf Indie Elephants where you can download an mp3 of this performance of Consoler Of The Lonely.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Broken Social Scene: Elysee-Montmartre, Paris 14 May 2008

I've seen Broken Social Scene a number of times over the years, most notably a brilliant show at Vicar St back in 2006. Excellent live band and while last night had some fantastic moments, it never really reached the heights the band are capable of. The whole thing just seemed a bit off at times and I don't think the concert was paced in the right way. There were some great songs followed by songs that slowed the whole pace again. It was all a bit up and down.

'Anthems' was good but again was just off a bit I thought (great to see Amy Millan out with them tonight). 'Superconnected' and 'It's All Gonna Break' were great though. And they played a new song near the start (not sure of the name) and for me, that was the best song of the night. Loved it. I've always thought that if BSS cut out some of the longer instrumentals and streamlined their music a bit more they could be a lot better. This is what this song did. I know one of the best things about the band is their musical exploration if you like, but last night it just came across as indulgent. There was no need for some of the stuff played and if they had cut the songs down, I think it would have been great. They have the songs, Kevin's voice was as good as ever and the band are all excellent musicians. Some songs, like the new one, are songs worthy of the biggest stages.

I'm hoping they'll get together and record a new Broken Social Scene album soon. I wasn't overly keen on Kevin's album from last year and while 'Hit The Wall' from Brendan's upcoming album was great, I think the concert gets a bit confused with all the different music styles. It's nearly three years since the last one so I think a new album is needed.

Must also be pointed out that the crowd wasn't great lat night. Could be for a number of reasons: Paris crowds aren't always the most responsive, people didn't seem to know a lot of the songs past the big ones (this was their biggest show in Paris to date so probably a lot of newcomers to the band) and also it was absolutely boiling in the venue which didn't help anything.
So all in all, a good concert from a band who can do so much more.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thundercrack Playlist #13

Number 13. Someone asked me so I'll post here, these are posted as individual mp3s and not as a podcast. Download it from here

1. The Mighty Stef - Poisonous Love

One of my favourite Irish artists, Stef has a fantastic album out called 'The Sins of Saint Catherine' and has an upcoming ep. Work continues on his second album. Fantastic live act too, I'll have a more complete profile soon in the Best Of Irish feature.

2. The Twilight Singers - Love (Live)

Live version which starts off with the Beatles 'All You Need Is Love' as only the Twilight Singers can do. Brilliant song.

3. Men Without Pants - And The Girls Go

Past their great name, these guys make some good music too. The band is the brainchild of Russell Simins (best known as the drummer for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) and Dan the Automator who has worked with Gorillaz and a whole host of hip-hop and rap acts.

4. The Silver Seas - The Country Life

Highly acclaimed American band, this is taken off their second album 'High Society'. Pure pop which is great, don't always get enough of this nowadays.

5. The Postal Service - Against All Odds

Heard this for the first time in ages the other day and figured I'd post it. The Postal Service covering Phil Collins. How could it fail?

6. Earlimart - Happy Alone

Hailing from California, these guys have apparently made six albums. Been off my radar anyway. Like this track though so it's always nice to be able to get a new discovery when they've already made a lot of music.

7. Joy Zipper - Baby You Should Know

New York duo, these guys have been around since the 90s making some good music. Few dates in the UK and one night in Dublin on the 28th May.

8. Bettye LaVette - I Still Want to Be Your Baby (Take Me Like I Am)

One of the great soul singers, this was taken from her excellent album of last year which she made with the Drive-By Truckers. Great album and amazing voice.

9. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Killing The Blues (Live)

After the review I wrote earlier about these two, there was never any doubt they'd be on this playlist. This is taken from their appearance on Jools Holland last week.

10. The Brokenmusicbox - Me And You

Taken from their debut album 'Waking The Sound', Me And You is a great little track. Not going to blow anyone away but they've got a good sound. Album available to buy off their website and iTunes as well.

11. The Republic Tigers - Buildings & Mountains

Had this track knocking around on my computer for a while, finally put it on the playlist. Taken from their debut album 'Keep Color'.

12. Crumb - Lights Of the City

Don't know if these guys are still going or not (anyone know?) but I really liked their debut album from back in 2005. This is taken from that.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Le Grand Rex, Paris. 13 May 2008

Concerts can usually be described in one of three ways: poor, good and excellent. Once in a while though a gig comes along that's so good that excellent doesn't do it justice. Nothing does it justice. Last night was one of those gigs. Absolutely mind-blowing. Opened with the excellent 'Rich Woman' and the gig kept on getting stronger. The three songs that Alison sang on her own early on (Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us, Through The Morning, Through The Night and Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson) was one of the best sequences of songs I've ever seen. Having never seen her live or listened to any of her own stuff I was absolutely blown away by her voice.

Plant was more than happy to shine the spotlight on her as at various times he walked off stage leaving her to sing songs on her own. When both were on stage together though, they sang some of the best stuff Ive ever heard live. 'The Battle Of Evermore' was incredible. There's a video of it below from New Orleans, but seeing it in person is a real experience. The two of them trading lines before exploding into the "Bring It Back" part was the highlight of the show for me.

That was difficult to choose when songs like 'Black Country Woman' 'Black Dog' and 'Nothin'(which was absolutely fantastic) were also played. It was interesting to see the dynamic between the two, with Plant acting the frontman, with his legendary picking up the microphone stand being a major feature. Krauss was much more reserved and not quite as comfortable as Plant during the instrumental parts. Must be mentioned how good the band were. They were fantastic with T Bone Burnett leading them magnificently. Never missed a note and each contributed some great solos.

My two criticisms of the night. One, I thought they finished one song early. They had come out for an encore which only lasted two songs and 'Stick With Me Baby' (I think that was the song, open to correction) didn't seem like the song to end it on. Looking at some past shows, they usually do a second encore, including 'When The Levee Breaks' which I would have loved to have seen. Other criticism, I had a headache from squinting from my seat in the gods to see just how good looking Alison Krauss is. Result: extremely.

It's easy to see why Plant turned down a Zeppelin reunion to do this tour. He's clearly having a great time singing songs he'd never have thought he'd be singing. (Also kudos for his attempts at French, although when he was leaving I thought he wished everybody a "bon Noël") On their own, these are two of the best live voices you're ever likely to hear. Put them together and as you'll see in the couple of videos, it's incredible. Easily in my list of top gigs I've ever seen, it's over to Bruce next week to top that.

I've run out of superlatives to use, so just take a look at the videos and see for yourself. (Can't find any videos yet from last night, if I do, I'll update the review. There was an annoying guy in front of me filming most of the show so hopefully it was for some good and he's going to post them)

The Battle Of Evermore - New Orleans

Rich Woman - Jools Holland

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges & I'm Amazed (Live On SNL)

Best album of the year so far, Evil Urges is not my favourite song off the album (step on up Librarian) but it's still really good. I'm Amazed is fantastic. Looks like I'm going to miss seeing them live again, they're playing Paris at the start of July, days after I leave. For now, have to do make do with videos and some good quality bootlegs that are flying around from their recent shows. Someday...

Evil Urges

I'm Amazed

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thundercrack: Best Of Irish #5 - The Urges

The Urges have been knocking around for a few years now and released their debut album 'Psych Ward' last year. Excellent album it is too. There aren't too many bands in Ireland doing what The Urges do and I can't think of any doing it better. There's no frills to any of their stuff and it really works for them. They've also got a record deal with one of my favourite labels in America: Wicked Cool Records.
Visit their MySpace where you can get the album as well as assorted ep's and singles. One of the best bands on the Irish circuit today.

Thundercrack: Best Of Irish #4 - Evil Harrisons

Been together since 2004, this four piece has recently become a three piece due to the departure of the guitarist. I'm hoping that it won't affect the band too much because I really enjoyed their ep from last year 'In If It Is'. They've posted on their MySpace that they're going to record an album soon so keep an eye out for that. Two videos posted below, check them out, and you can get the ep from their MySpace and also off iTunes.

Some Grand Plan

A Pickle Like You (resist the urge to stop watching it when it starts. move it along to the three minute mark when the song actually starts)

Friday, May 9, 2008

On Tour: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Vol. 2

Second volume of Springsteen & The E Street Band with another 9 tracks. All the songs are taken from the 70s & 80s. Some of the performances during this period are legendary, in particular his breathtaking Backstreets/Drive All Night/Sad Eyes performance. Quality of recordings is also excellent, majority of these are radio broadcasts. Download link below

On Tour: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Vol. 2

01. The Promised Land
02. Roulette
03. Spirit In The Night
04. Brilliant Disguise
05. Backstreets
06. I'm Goin' Down
07. Blinded By The Light
08. Jungleland
09. Kitty's Back

Blood Red Shoes - La Maroquinerie 8 May 2008

The best concert I've been to in quite a while. These guys are fantastic live. I'm a a big fan of their album 'Box Of Secrets' and have featured them in one of the playlists. La Maroquinerie is a typical underground garage type venue and it fitted the music perfectly. They played for about 50 blistering minutes and the pace never let up. Of course, there were a couple of songs that weren't great but their pure energy and intensity made even the weaker songs sound brilliant.

And the best songs off the album really get brought to another level live. 'Say Something, Say Anything' is one of my favourite songs of recent memory and it was fantastic live, even better than on record. 'I Wish I Was Someone Better' and 'It's Getting Boring By The Sea' were other notable standouts. They're playing Dublin in early June, I'm going to just miss them but for anyone who can get to it, I'd definitely recommend it.

Here's a couple of videos and as good as they are, they're even better live.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Neil Young Reveals His Long Awaited Archives Set

Neil Young was talking at a conference and highlighting his use of Java and Blu-Ray technology to make the most of his Archives set. Looks like it'll be a must-buy when it comes out. Interesting to see how people take to it, it certainly looks good. And in the second part, see the amazing list of his songs. Defines the word prolific.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thundercrack Playlist #12

Just the one live track this week and not too many big names. A very strong set of songs though with a real variety of styles. Download link below and as always support these musicians in whatever form you can.

1. Eddie Vedder with Zeke - I Believe In Miracles

This is taken from the very patchy Ramones tribute album from 2003, which also features Tom Waits, Metallica, U2 among others. One of my favourite Ramones tracks, check the original version here.

2. The Things - Tiger

Cool garage rock band from Dublin, The Things have a couple of ep's available through their site as well as a couple of other songs available for free download.

3. Dinosaur Jr. - Almost Ready

One of my favourite songs of last year, also one of the best albums of the year. Not many reunions have been this successful.

4. What Made Milwaukee Famous - Sultan

Taken from the album 'What Doesn't Kill Us' which has gotten some good reviews in the indie pop world. Haven't listened to it all yet but this is a good song.

5. Langhorne Slim - Restless

Just released an excellent self-titled album in the last couple of weeks. Great album. Check his website for videos, more songs etc. Also a very extensive tour in America.

6. Eels - I'm Going To Stop Pretending I Didn't Break Your Heart (Live)

This was from a KCRW performance recorded last month. Some fantastic performances on it. Can't remember where I got it but have a search of the blogs and I'm sure you'll come across it.

7. Birds Of Avalon - Measure Of The Same

American band, they recently released 'Outer Upper Inner' which this song is taken from. Just finished a tour with The Raconteurs, they've got a number of other dates both in America and in Europe.

8. Brendan Canning - Hit The Wall

First track released from the upcoming 'Broken Social Scene Presents... Brendan Canning Something For All Of Us' which is out in July. Cool track, hoping for a good album.

9. J. Tillman - Now, You're Among Strangers

Recently joined Fleet Foxes, J has released 'Minor Works' in the last couple of months. Excellent album, he's a great songwriter, be very interesting to see what he brings to Fleet Foxes.

10. Levon Helm - Calvary

Levon was the drummer with The Band and won a Grammy this year for Best Traditional Folk album for 'Dirt Farmer' which Calvary is taken from.

11. Red Collar - Used Guitars

These guys are from North Carolina in the States and are currently finishing their debut full length. They've got an ep out which Used Guitars is on. Available from their site. High hopes for this band.

12. The Black Keys - I'm Glad

Fantastic band, they put this song up on their MySpace last week for free download. It's a cover of Captain Beefheart which they had just recorded the day before. Cool track, check out their excellent recent album 'Attack & Release'

13. Something Happens - Parachute

Classic, classic song. Great Irish band from the 80s/90s, lead singer Tom Dunne is now Ireland's best DJ. Released a number of albums of which 'Stuck Together With God's Glue' is probably their best known although I prefer their debut 'Been There, Seen That, Done That.' Excellent band, go to their MySpace where they have a number of songs available to download.