Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hot for 'Hotrod Hotel'

I simply adore everything about Hotrod Hotel -- from its dark and delicious cover art right down to its sunny day, Byrds-like sound. My copy of the album is never far from reach.

The band was founded on the bedrock of the Kelly brothers: Martin and Paul. Two guys wanting to delve into guitar pop when just about everyone in Britain was sky high on E and Madchester. The Second Summer of Love, you know? "At that time, the underground became mainstream, but we had kind of missed the boat, or were in the wrong one," said Paul. "We were trying to create our own sound, other people always seemed to want to be just like some other band or whatever but we wanted to be unique. Why anyone would want to hear this stuff again is beyond me."

"Cubans In The Bluefields" was East Village's first single. "Her Father's Son" was a track on the "Back Between Places" 12-inch. Both were released on Sub Aqua Records in 1988 and later featured on the compilation Hotrod Hotel, which was issued in '94.

Here is: "Her Father's Son" and "Cubans In The Bluefields."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Heaven's Reflex indeed

The shops on Main Street are closed up tight with iron shutters. The entranceways are waiting anxiously to be swept out. There are no sales racks with postcards and half-priced books and sun-faded clothing. The merchants have no coin.

I walk to Kenmare Place and sit on the stone wall, and study the old jarveys with their tattered sweaters and their pants worn in the bottoms. They are feeding and brushing their horses, preparing for a day of riding their jaunting cars down the bumpy paths of Killarney National Park.

Nearby, the statue of Christ the King studies me. He is looking quite dapper among the smell of horse manure and man sweat. Beyond Christ, lies the Killarney House Gardens: the beech, lime, and walnut trees standing tall and thick; the fading rhododendrons, roses and azaleas, which are bushed after blooming so heavily in the spring; the arched cherry drive where the ugly lovers walk together.

Killarney is quite the gorgeous girl. Take in all her charms -- the cramped lanes where you can smuggle a colleen and steal a kiss; the misty, afternoon rains washing away all sadness; MacGillycuddy's Reeks, masking their peril with beauty; the ancient buildings hunched over with palsy, struggling to breathe; the wet, surrounding woodlands and their gentle alder, willow, and birch -- peace is always there and you never mind the insects; the light winds that warn you of an impending, cold night; the Arbutus trees, with their saw-like leaves and red fruit, which you can plunk and toss; the feeling of having this good girl to lean on -- one that will certainly outlast me.

Here's Lunasa with "Killarney Boys Of Pleasure."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Erectile exclamations

Sister, at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day: Work the term "raging hard-on" into your next blog entry.

Me: Egads, no.

Sister: Will Blogger censor you or something?

Me: Nope.

Sister: Then what's the problem?

Me: That's so crass. I'm above crass. Crass was so last year and as you know, I'm so not into last year.

Sister: Asshole.

Let's talk about ¡Forward, Russia!, who have everyone buzzing on account of their clever use of punctuation, as well as their penchant for also spelling out their moniker like this: ¡FФЯWДЯD, RUSSIД! Quite nifty, now isn't it? I love me some wacky fonts.

Anyway, the band came together in Leeds back in 2004. They did their first gig in April of that year; soon after, several demos made the light of the day, which led to the NME developing a raging hard-on (happy?) over the band. One write-up called ¡Forward, Russia!'s (does the apostrophe and "s" go after the exclamation point?) music: "Convulsing punk-funk brilliance from Leeds."

The band's debut album, Give Me A Wall, was released earlier this year and in a cheeky attempt to be clever, features 11 songs with numerical titles: "Eighteen," "Sixteen," "Seven," etc. This is "Thirteen."