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The Siren, Issue 4, Volume XXV

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Issue 4 of The Siren. Interviews with Chris O'Dowd and Stephen Merchant

Text of The Siren, Issue 4, Volume XXV

  • college tribune entertainment supplement25.10.11

    CHRIS ODOWDUCD alumnus talks to e Siren


  • [email protected]


    Bombay Bicycle Club Video Games (Lana Del Rey Cover Radio 1 Live Lounge)When the words Live Lounge and Bombay Bicy-cle Club come to together, you know youre in for a treat, and this cover cer-tainly delivers. Taking Del Reys husky-voiced, nostal-gia-ridden ballad, the boys (plus Lucy Rose) make it their own with cresend-ing drums entwined with their trademark enchating harmonies. Better then the original? With that xylo-phone; perhaps.

    Nightbox Bears Born and bred in Wicklow, these Irish fellows have been spending the last year making their name in Toronto. Spreading their musical wings in the same land that produced Bieber himself, this ercly trendy and endearingly funk- lled tune, threatening to get you up and throwing the shapes, makes you hope theyll come back again soon, before Usher gets a hold of them.

    Lady Gaga You and I (Wild Beasts Remix) While the opening of this song does certainly sound like an interlude of one of Gagas concerts, everything changes with the inclusion of Wild Beasts frontman Hayden Thorpes tinkling piano notes. Stripped of the country-western twang, Gaga as a man and repeti-tive verses; Thorpe takes the points where her vocals are really something spe-cial and turns it into a hazy, moody and all round chilled delight.

    Jessie Ware - Strangest Feeling Rising from the under-ground, you might be more acquainted with this girl than you know; hav-ing provided the vocals for post-dubstep producer SBTRKTs track Nervous. Breaking away from the masked DJ sees her fully embracing her amazing vo-cals. Over drumbeats her voice is like syrup, owing from one word to another and as the synthesizer leads the way to the end, you nd yourself already clicking back to the start for another





    The 1990s saw a great deal of change, inven-tiveness and rebellion against auto-tuned groups, Brit-Pops rise and the re-creation of the Pixies. In an era that was framed by Nirvanas intense re-devel-opment of rasping guitars, which undermined broken up lyrics rather than shap-ing them, a host of bands would break the oppression of this noise driven ideology. Post-rock was yet to be es-tablished, yet a genre, whose image would soon be diluted by Mogwais lyric-less instru-mentation, was brewing in the United States. Ambigu-ous is one description tossed around by many to demean the persona of slowcore. Its obscurity takes most by the scruff, either they believe that it is a positive reaction to the racket of Grunge, or they dont. The genres in uence can be found in Galaxie 500, reverie/dream-pop extraor-dinaires who took bold steps forward in the aftermath of early R.E.M. LPs.

    Slowdive, slowcores next of kin artist who pre-date the genre, hail from Reading.

    Englands response to My Bloody Valentine re-created an approach to shoegazing bands.

    A short record producing lifespan as well as closeness in sound suggest a similar-ity between the Irish kings of coarse yet subtle guitars and Nick Chaplins assem-bly. However, focused more on delusional back-drop gui-tars and strings, Slowdives brand of dream-pop was in a world of its own.

    Just 4 years later in Min-nesota, 1993, Alan Sparhawk brought together the collabo-ration between Mimi Parker (his wife) and John Nichols. Slowcore was created out of no hatred for their disparate

    Lows rst full length release, did not take the world by storm. Despite this, through long winded tours and the grace of ICLIH, and with its use of downtrodden lyrics and the fresh voices of one of the most under-rated cou-ples to ever perform together, Low established themselves upon their innovativeness, garnering independent criti-cal acclaim.

    It may have taken over 5 years to break through the great musical divide, nevertheless, Minnesotas minstrels created possibly musics rst new-original Christmas EP, featuring songs such as Little Drum-mer Boy and Silent Night. The sometimes bleak mini-malistic take on festiv-ity shocked and forced awe amongst the media, from alternative to mainstream. What makes the album is the use of reverberated gui-tar, which produces incred-ible sleigh bell-esque noise, pouncing vocals and bleak turned optimistic lyrics (see Just Like Christmas). The record produces a typically Low sounding apogee for Christmas cover records. Fi-nally, (in relation to Lows

    Seattle rockers, rather a need for an opposing sound of simplicity in alternative rock. Though they have dabbled in electro-pop sounds and quick tempo guitar tracks, Low will forever be known for their literal creation of slowcore, a genre not known to many. In particular, I have fallen in love with the sparse vocals which are blended be-tween Sparhawk and spouse, Parker, crafting luscious har-monies sweeping through their string-like guitars. The idea of Lows creation was heightened yet slow-paced guitars constructed upon plenty of reverb, backing these ornate vocals.

    I Could Live In Hope,

    more recent records) if any album deserved the accolade of de ning a genre, Things We Lost in the Fire takes the award home. From its care-fully aligned guitars in open-er Sun ower, Sparhawk ignites mystery and loss within the hearts of listeners. Whores disheveled female vocal takes nothing away from the alternation between picked arpeggios and meas-ured, dwindling strumming. What is the whore youre living for?

    Forgive me for focus-ing too much on Sparhawk & Co., as not only did they invent slowcore, they also maintained it (almost sin-gle-handedly). However, a signi cant ascent of art-ists whose styles are deeply rooted in Slowcore and Low in uenced techniques have emerged to top the list of new alternative bands. Red House Painters experimented in over-the-top levels of calm in their music, while minimal-istic contemporaries, even as mainstream as Death Cab for Cutie show dedications to slowcores architects. Slow-cores reach has been both varied and immense, and can grasp even the most unlikely observer into the fascinating world of this under appreci-ated genre.

    Magnum Opus - The Stone RosesWith the news last week that Man-chester band The Stone Roses are due to re-form, beginning with two sold out gigs in Manchester in June, followed by a world tour and quite possibly new material, now is as good a time as any to re ect on the benchmark that any future work will be held up against their eponymous 1989 de-but album.

    From the slow, grinding, industrial build up of I Wan-na Be Adored, to the breath-taking outro that concludes I Am the Resurrection, The Stone Roses is a nigh-on awless record, and quite possibly the one of the great-est debuts ever made. Held up (alongside the Happy Mondays Pills n Thrills and Bellyaches) as the epitome of the late-80s Madchester/Acid House scene, it begins the fusion of guitar pop and dance music that would later

    be expanded on by Primal Scream on Screamadelica in 1991.

    The majority of the album was written by lead singer Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire, but both bass player Gary Mani Mount eld (later of Primal Scream) and drum-mer Alan Reni Wren (fa-mous for his distinctive hat) received writing credits, as well be ts one of the all-time great rhythm sections in mu-sic. Despite all members hav-ing a punk rock background

    (Brown and Squire originally bonded over a mutual love of The Clash), The Stone Roses is more immediately in u-enced by 1960s pop and West Coast psychedelia. Thats not to say the band shed their anarchistic views, as can be heard on the four-line track Elizabeth My Dear, where Brown sings about Queen Elizabeth II; Tear me apart, and boil my bones, Ill not rest til shes lost her throne, My aim is true, my message is clear, Its curtains for you,

    Elizabeth my dear. He also stated in an interview around the release of the album that hed like to put a bag over the Queen Mothers head and shoot her, so its fair to say that they didnt entirely buy into the peace and love mes-sage of the music that in u-enced them.

    Planting psychological bombs, as Mani later de-scribed the above comments, is all well and good, but The Stone Roses had the music to back up their swagger, having no ller on the album could have spawned 8 or 9 singles from this album alone. She Bangs the Drums is a de-lightful slab of pure pop with lyrics that slightly betray the feeling of the music (I feel my needle hit the groove... Kiss me where the sun dont shine), Made Of Stone is another gritty-sounding an-them with a glorious, cyclical guitar hook intro, and I Am The Resurrection contains wonderfully cocky lyrics (I am the resurrection, and I am the light), followed by a four-minute jam which ends the album on a deliriously ecstatic note.

    The songs mentioned so far were all singles, but the remaining album tracks were of no lesser quality.

    Bye Bye Badman, written about the 1968 Paris riots, is a scathing polemicdrenched in pop bliss, (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister is so psy-chedelic it claims that every member of Parliament trips on glue, Shoot You Down is just wonderful, jazzy pop with Browns typically soft vocals over the top, and This Is The One gets you so pumped its almost a shame it comes as the penultimate track on the album.

    So, even in one of the most eagerly awaited come-backs of recent times comes something of a damp squib; Browns voice seems to have deteriorated almost daily since 1989 and Reni and Squire havent played pub-licly in years. Not to worry, even if the Resurrection is underwhelming, there is al-ways this absolute classic to return too; where the Stone Roses remain frozen in time with all the hope, t