Welcome Back

April 1, 2009

The Cliffs of Moher in Galway, Ireland

Pardon the interruption, but I have just returned from an odyssey across Europe these past ten days. With stops in Galway, Dublin, London, and Barcelona, I had arguably the most exhilarating 10 days of my entire life. In order to accurately capture the moment, allow me to run down some knowledge I gained.

  • The Irish drink Guinness.
  • No, like a lot of Guinness.
  • Like, breakfast, lunch, and dinner Guinness.
  • Ireland is actually just green fields, black sheep, and stony hills. And that’s just fine with me.
  • Dublin seemed interesting, but I didn’t get enough time there.
  • London is just as I remembered it, which is a very good thing.
  • The British like Kings of Leon waaaaayyyy more than we do.
  • “Yeaaaaahhhhhh, your sex is on fiiiiiiiiiiyyyyrrreeee.”
  • There’s a reason Ryanair is so cheap, and it’s not a good one.
  • It’s really really hard to stay out until 6AM to go clubbing in Barcelona.
  • But the Dow Jones Bar is worth it.
  • And Opium is not.
  • Katie Lehman and Emma Spear are the best travel partners ever.

That just about sums up my vacation, in case you were wondering, which you probably weren’t, since I didn’t mention I was going anywhere, I just dissappeared for over two weeks, and then wrote this, massive, run-on sentence. How about some music then?

First check out “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show, who I know nothing about and didn’t care to research, although I literally melt when I hear this beautiful song, off of their 2004 release, O.C.M.S.. Not my typical style, but man is it ever heartwarming. Thanks to the aforementioned Katie and Emma for the tip.

MP3: Old Crow Medicine Show – “Wagon Wheel”

Second, check Kings of Leon’s “Sex On Fire” which you have undoubtedly heard before, but since I heard it maybe 50 times in Galway and London, I figured I might share again.

MP3: Kings of Leon – “Sex on Fire”

ALSO, FOLLOW US ON TWITTER PLEASE. I know, we gave in. Get over it.


Ryan is Back, and so are The Thermals

February 13, 2009


So. It’s been awhile (Over two years, actually). I haven’t been too active on the blogosphere lately, or very much at all for that matter, but I’d like to start this post by saying that I will try my best to highlight the little bits of the London music scene that I get to be a part of. Don’t expect reviews of the bigger names (most people already know all about those groups anyway). Do expect some (hopefully) titillating, smaller bands that don’t make it to the states.

As most of you can’t help but know, Zack is in Florence this semester. I chose to come to the city I have long been obsessed with, London. After being here a month, I can easily say that this is one of the most international and culturally active cities in the world, and rivals, if not defeats, New York as the best, massive city in the world. Most of my new friends here would kill me for claiming that, but it’s true. I’m staying in the King’s Cross neighborhood in the northern part of central London, which puts me a short tube ride away from just about every major venue, bar, and club in the city’s center.

This place, however, is also ridiculously expensive. As in, I don’t spend money on food because I can’t afford it expensive. My student income (none at all) has driven me to take on the glorifying position as a bar-back in a nearby bar/venue, called the Lexington, located down the block from me. Nothing makes me want to drink less than memories from my first shift there. Everyone assumes that, when they are drunk, they somewhat keep their shit together, they’re the shit, or that it’s fun to get shit-faced. This is not true. After working from 7 PM to 4 AM, gathering glasses and pushing my way through all the crowds, I ended covered in that shit. Not glamorous, but it pays and has its perks.

And luckily one of those perks came this past Monday, when I got to see The Thermals headline a sold-out show at The Lexington, for free (I’m the shit, right?). The Thermals were one of those bands that flew under my radar for a while until they released The Body, The Blood, The Machine, way back in 2006, when they’re uncomplicated, creatively done, and above all smart indie-punk rock songs blew me away. Don’t be fooled by the term “punk rock”, though, the only part about their music that sounds like what you listened to at 15 is the fact that they use power chords. Perfectly. I don’t really know how else to describe their music, but it truly deserves a good listen to see what I mean. Fortunately, their set heavily featured tracks from their new forth-coming album, Now We Can See, which shows them slowing their style even more than the last album and taking a deliberate look at life from a perspective after death. Confusing? Just listen to the title track and the song “I Let It Go.” Listen closely, and enjoy.

MP3: The Thermals – “Now We Can See”
MP3: The Thermals – “I Let it Go”