Friday 30 January 2009

The Cowboy X gig on thursday night - really, REALLY great.

Dya ever have one of those times where you've been vaguely planning to go out to a gig but then the night in question arrives and the weather is pig awful & you've just discovered a massive hole in the sole of your favourite boots which is letting all the water in & soaking your feet & you're all like "dude, I'm not arsed with this shit" & you're this close to just staying home instead and watching Grey's Anatomy & then you go and it turns out to me really amazing & fun & totally worth your while? Well I had that last night.
Of course being the Cowboy X obsessive that I am, I was never REALLY gonna miss the gig just cos of the weather, but it was touch and go for a while until I figured I should just go home & change shoes & THEN go out to the gig.
The gig in question was in a nice little intimate room upstairs in Whelans with the lovely Butterfly Explosion playing in another room just yards away so very economical all around really.
Support came from the oddly named but surprisingly soulful Play Monkey! Play! who came across as a sort of early-Radiohead-fronted-by-Alecia-Keys kind of affair and played a charming acoustic set which did actually included a rousing cover of Fallin' by the above mentioned Alecia Keys.
Cowboy X then take to the stage with the male members (drummer John, guitarist David and bassist Wayne), abandoning their traditional black but with singer Karen completely making up for it with a spectacular red and black space suit ensemble replete with shiny chaps which for some bizarre reason made me think of Hot Gossip's "I Lost My Heart to a Star Ship Trooper"... but y'know, in a REALLY good way!
I'm not sure if it was cos some of the crowd were related to the band or just that the hardcore fans were out in force last night but the buzz all around was electric through out. The band kick off with instrumental "Starsky and Hutch" before crashing straight into the epic "Gabbi", by the end of which McCartney seems to happily abandon her own vocals entirely in favour of the crowd's endearingly tuneless but enthusiastically loud version being sung back at her. Awww...
The rest of the gig mixes energetic renditions of tracks from debut album Who Are These People? such as "Shot Down", "2nd Second", "Live and Learn" and most importantly, "Between The Hit and the Miss" (my personal fave) with a smattering of one or two tracks from the elusive second album (which should be coming out around September time according to John & Karen!) with the forthcoming single Break Me and a gorgeous PJ Harvey cover towards the end. The best thing about the gig though was that it was one of those of those kinds of gigs where the crowd & band seemed to be really vibing off each other & having a really good time, far more so than the last couple of times I had seen them.
Basically it was just a cracking gig & if you still haven't seen them live yet they're back in Dublin on the 6th of March for the Phantom FM First Friday and are touring around Ireland on the following dates:

6 Feb 2009 20:00 - Spirit Store DUNDALK
7 Feb 2009 20:00 - Chasin’ Bull BUNDORAN
13 Feb 2009 20:00 - The Clarence SLIGO
14 Feb 2009 20:00 - The Stables MULLINGAR
6 Mar 2009 20:00 - Phantom FM First Friday DUBLIN


Thursday 22 January 2009

You Think You're John Fucking Lennon.

Some have commented on the originality of my post titles in the past... (well, just Chris) but I didn't even have to try with this one!

"You Think You're John Fucking Lennon" is the (fan-christened) name for the new Glassjaw track that leaked recently and in my opinion its pretty epic, exploding in your face before a seamless transition into an amazing chorus around the 30 second mark, only to return a couple more times before finishing up with a plethora of agonized screams for good measure... What a blast from the past as well as I haven't listened to Glassjaw since I was 15, a time when my ears were far more capable of withstanding loud noises and standing too close to the speakers at gigs.

Good times.

Glassjaw - You Think You're John Fucking Lennon


Wednesday 21 January 2009

New Rosie and The Goldbug Video Alert!!

Much to my surprise and delight, the adorable Rosie and The Goldbug have posted up a new video on their myspace for their upcoming single "Heartbreak", which only just happens to be my favourite track off the album!

The video is rather good I must say.. very multi-coloured Kate Bush mixed with early eighties Top Of The Pops (god how I miss TOTP...)

Rosie And The Goldbug - Heartbreak

Anyhoo, the single is out on the 9th of Febuary from iTunes and the album is on there too so do show your support for the 'Bug! :D


Tuesday 20 January 2009

Pilgrimages to Road Records - almost as fulfilling as going to Lourdes.

As Chris reported a few days ago, the beloved patrons of up & coming independant bands, Road Records, is closing in a few weeks due to NOBODY BUYING REAL MUSIC ANYMORE.

Anyway, as a humble tribute to the place, myself & Chris will be taking a pilgrimage there this week to pick up whatever vinyls, random EPs & obscure singles we can salvage before the place is gone forever.

I implore YOU GUYS, our lovely HappinessMachine readers, to undertake similar pilgrimages...

not next week...

or the week after...

but NOW!

I thinks its the least we can all do...


Monday 19 January 2009

The Bell Tolls for the Indie Hour

As many other sites have already covered this and I don't want to flog a dead horse I'll keep this brief.

The Indie hour, hosted by Aoife MC on Dublin City Fm has decided to that its time to call it a day. The show showcased established and upcoming Irish artists such as Heathers, Adebisi Shank, Super Extra Bonus Party and Fight Like Apes (One of my personal favourite Irish acts).

For those of you who already miss the dulcet tones of the wonderful Aoife MC's voice, do not despair. She has promised to pop up in different podcasts around the blogosphere, particularly over at Nialler9's blog where the indie hour may be moved to a monthly slot.

The full farewell can be found here and an archive of podcasts can be found here.


Friday 16 January 2009

Road Records to Close

Sad news today as Road Records has announced it will be closing its doors in 2-3 weeks. The shop, which supported many independant Irish artists cited several reasons for its close but in the end they just weren't making enough money to support the shop and to live on.

Despite its 11 year run, I only discovered the shop properly in the last year and like many others I feel like I didn't visit it enough or purchase enough to do my part in keeping it open. Even if all you can do is pop in to say thanks, try make an effort to visit this shop which provided a friendly, helpful service provided by people who really care about music.

The full goodbye message can be read here


Thursday 15 January 2009

Those were the days pt 2...

WELL, after a period of solid immersion in the world of the Spice Girls throughout the ages of 12 and 13, the album that proceeded to crash, arse-first into my life and turn my musical world upside down was the seminal opus known as...


by the one and only Blink 182.

From "Don't Leave Me" to "Adam's Song", Every track on that album soundtracked my subsequent musical re-invention into a fully-fledged, baggy jeaned, safety-pinned, NOFX t-shirt wearing eejit/pop punk during my mid-teens. Man that was an awesome time... hanging out by the Temple Bar Music centre talking to randomers, going to Blast gigs, going out with my first boyfriend, wearing cheap "rock" jewellery from Claire's Accessories, going to my first ever concert (Green Day, Point Theatre, Dec 11th 2000), &just generally being young, free and stupid. In fact, pretty much all the themes "Enema Of The State" encompasses so well!

*sigh* Yeah...

...being stupid is great.

Top Track - Adam's Song


Friday 9 January 2009

Those were the days...

In a fit of nostalgia after reading a post Sally had made talking about when we were young and every song you listened to profoundly altered your life. I decided to have a sift through my old tape collection in a effort to see if I could find anything worth listening to. So in between Will Smiths 'Wild Wild West' and the Vengaboys album I found a few scraps of interest in The Divine Comedy and some old Basement Jaxx singles. Then I eventually stumbled upon the first album I ever bought which was The Offspring ' Conspiracy of One'. This album was released in 2000 which depending on who's reading this may feel like eons ago or just yesterday, for me its the former, I was struck with inspiration.

So what I'm going to try do as a regular/semi-regular thing (let's say every two weeks)is try bother bands I like to try find out what kick-started their musical journey.

So anyway here's mine.

The Offspring - Conspiracy of One (2000).
Top Track - Special Delivery

Now off to come up with a good title...


Thursday 8 January 2009

Tips from the Stable...

Is it just me or are the current crop of "Tips for 2009" lists becoming increasingly samey & uninspired? It seems like no one has really looked beyond a certain limited pool of artists and to be honest, with the exception of Little Boots and maybe La Roux, the pool in question has left me pretty cold. They all seem more like pushes from record companies rather than genuine discoveries made by your Average (music-loving) Joe. It is with this in mind that I have compiled my own humble list of tips for this year. Some are blossoming artists I have discovered across the blogosphere this year that may already be headed for stardom anyway and some have been around for a while, still plugging away and trying to break into the mainstream. Most of them may not even end up anymore famous this time next year then they did at the start of this one but the point is they are still equally deserving of your attention (if not more so) as the acts currently being hyped by the broadsheets and more influential blogs. Here they are...


Any band that who describe their genre on their myspace as death metal / disco house and who's influences include a mixture of The Human League and Nine Inch Nails is definitely worth anyone's attention. This Manchester based synth band quietly released one of the best pop singles of last year called Money (a double A-side with another track called Magazine) which was of course deservedly made the short list for the 2008 Popjustice 20 Quid Music Prize. Amazingly, the other tracks on their myspace are even better, epic synth pop masterpieces and according to a recent blog entry, they've written a "clutch of simple songs that pissed all over the ones that got us noticed to begin with"...


This duo from Melbourne, Australia have only been together since February 2008 but they've already written and released "Electricity", one of the more notable electro-pop albums of this year and any one of the tracks on it could easily be a hit for Kylie if she bothered to work with people like this. Staggeringly, the duo are set to release a SECOND album in mid-2009 following the release of the single "Sharper Than a Knife" this Febuary. Here is their myspace.


This 2 piece from Portsmouth describe themselves as country / folk rock etc which doesn't sound like a promising prospect but they're just so charming and lovely that they just about get away with it. They're also notable for their hauntingly gorgeous track "Girl You Never Knew" which has to be the most heartbreaking song EVER written about un-requited love. Fact. If you go onto their official website you can download the whole of their recently released "Hello Stranger" EP for free.


Don't let the slightly low budget video and hint of fake tan put you off cos this trio are still an independant group and a girlband with a difference. They released their first single "You Made Your Bed" last August, a pulsating electro club styley number which I've been addicted to recently. The other tracks on their myspace are pretty solid electro-pop club numbers and certainly better than anything on the new Sugababes album...


The lead singer may look like hes been transported from 1977 into the present ( he has EXCELLENT hair)but really this London based 2 piece specialize in a more Duran Duran / Adam & The Ants style synth pop affair. Check out "Time Kills" over at their myspace. No releases as of yet but watch this space...


I'm afraid the much hyped Florence & The Machine has induced no more than a big yawn from yours truly. She is a classic case of style over substance... The amazing Marina & The Diamonds however (whom I did a post on a couple of weeks ago) is where its at and her current single "Obsessions" is melodramatic popular song (her words not mine!) at it's very best. Check out more of her tracks here...

Marina & The Diamonds, "Obsessions" from Neon Gold Records on Vimeo.


Poor old Annie. She has been plugging away for some years now after she released her debut album "Anniemal" back in 2005 which spawned the genius pop singles "Chewing Gum" and "Heartbeat". She was due to release her sophmore long player "Don't Stop", which featured tracks written by Xenomania as well long term producer Richard X, back in October 2008. However the date continued to be pushed forward and forward by Island Records until eventually Annie decided it would be best to part with the company. It is one of the great pop injustices of 2008 that "Don't Stop wasn't released as it has to have been one of the most perfect pop albums ever produced... however the Norwegian songstress has not let this set back stop her and has wasted no time in hooking up with Richard X's own label to release forthcoming single "Anthonio" which I haven't heard yet but is sure to be a corker! She is also hoping to bring the long awaited "Don't Stop" sometime in 2009 as an independant release.


I did a post a few weeks ago on the sublime Lou Hayter (keyboardist from New Young Pony Club) and her super-cool side project The New Sins but I really am surprised I haven't seen them feature on any tips for 09' lists as they are truly bringing sexy back to pop. Yeah baby... Look out for forthcoming single "Feelings (Have Changed)


Neon Hitch is notable for 2 things: firstly, she shares a flat with Amy Winehouse, and second, she used to perform as a trapeze artist and fire swinger in a travelling circus with her family as a kid. She also makes some very intersting alternative pop music thats kind of a cross between Lily Allen and old skool Nelly Furtado. Very good indeed...


God Moto Boy is just so lovely... Hes basically a Swedish one man tribute to the more tender moments of the Beach Boys and I defy you to find a more beguiling song than "Young Love" on this earth... He has other very pretty songs also.


Cowboy X are one of the those rare Irish bands that sound far too amazing to actually BE an Irish band (no offence intended, majority of Irish bands...:O)and why they remain so underrated is still the biggest mystery to me since I discovered them in 2007. They are also really sound and gave me and Chris free CDs and penguin bars in their dressing room at their last gig in Crawdaddy a couple of months ago:D They released their debut album "Who Are These People?" back in 2006 and released the awesome "Japanese Toy" single last October. There are hopes for a new album sometime this year or the next but for the moment they will hopefully be releasing a new single called "Ignore The Sick" in order to coincide with some live dates in the new year. GO SEE THEM!!!


Italo-disco inspired duo Heartbreak released their debut album "Lies" towards the end of last year and also toured with the lovely Little Boots on the Automatic Lovers tour last November which was pretty amazing by all accounts. They really deserve to get some decent exposure in 09' though purely because "We're Back" was one of THE best singles of 2008 and the fact that the lead singer has an AMAZING MOUSTACHE.


These guys are cute as a (gold) bug and supported Cyndi Lauper on her recent tour for her new album (which was actually really amazing. They also claim they sound like "Kate Bush on crack", which can only be a good thing really... Their self titled debut album is pretty good too but I'd highly recommend "You've Changed" and "Heartbreak" in particular.


Frankmusik has been building up a name for himself for the last couple of years doing unbelievably good remixes for the likes of Alphabeat, Dead Disco and the Clik Clik amongst others but he has recently emerged as a frigging epic 80's synth pop genius in the last few months with last year's "In Step/ Done Done" double a-side single and the current single "3 Little Words" where he dances around on top of a giant keyboard... A GIANT KEYBOARD PEOPLE!!

Phew! Well, I believe that's enough for you all to be getting on with! But I would also welcome Happiness Machine readers to contribute any of their discoveries cos whatever way you look at it & what ever you're into, its gonna be a great year for music fans methinks :D


Tuesday 6 January 2009

Long, Long, Short then Long

This track has been going round my head endlessly for the last few days so here it is. Big Little Dipper Dipper are somewhat of a spoof band with one member Jason Webley normally purveying drunken sea-shantys on accordion. But this particular track is of the hastily thrown together Europop variety.

Hockey Star - Big Little Dipper Dipper

You can find more from them here
and from Jason Webley here



It has come to my attention that almost every single one of my posts so far in this blog's short history have contained information about or some reference to the genius known as Little Boots.

This is merely because I am so enamoured with the Boot-ster that it has gone beyond admiration into the realm of obsession...

HOWEVER, I am making a promise that my next three posts will contain no reference whatsoever to the aformentioned genius. Yes that seems like an achievable goal...

...btw, for any of you guys out there with an iTunes account, the radio edit of Stuck on Repeat from the newly released Little Boots EP is currently single of the week which means you can avail of it for FREE for the next week! Well worth it lads!

Ah shite!! did it again...


This Honey Ain't So Sweet.

Gotta do a quick post bout this young singer songwriter girly by the name of Honey. Shes from somewhere in England and only about 15 but I just love her lil demos on her myspace page so much! She reminds me of how unbelievably exciting music can be when you're fifteen & you're all like "WOW!" & "OMG!This band is like SO amazing" and you have moments when you feel like you can take over the world with a simple song... Alot of that seems to fade a little when your older and a bit too caught up in trying to impress that guy in college whos really into Aphex Twin and math rock. She also has cool hair, which is always a plus.

I first saw her when she posted up a great little acoustic cover Meddle by Little Boots on youtube. She was unfortunately forced to delete her account & therefore the video soon after due to complete wankers leaving horrible comments on it. However upon my humble request she whipped up another version...

Heres one of her demos also. Its called Drop Dead Gorgeous & i think it kinda rocks.

Honey - Drop Dead Gorgeous


Thursday 1 January 2009

Over and Over...

Darn that Chris for nabbing the first post of 2009! Ah no I lobe him really... Just wanted to say that the past year has been the most amazing time for me musically both in terms of writing (expect Candy In My Heels to finally break out in 09! I hope!)and just the pure joy of discovering a frickin' amazing song by a frickin' amazing band that you just have to play over, and over, and over...

Im really excited bout this blog too and I can only hope we can gather more followers over the course of this year and help them discover a frickin' amazing song by a frickin' amazing band that THEY just HAVE to play over, and over, and over...

Hot Chip - Over And Over

Little Boots - Stuck On Repeat


So This Is The New Year

Happy New Year!

Death Cab For Cutie - The New Year