Infinite Shuffle

April 29, 2012

112 – Tired Pony

Filed under: Northern Ireland, Portland, T — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Have you ever wondered what Snow Patrol would sound like if they had more of a country tinge?

Of course you haven’t. But now you are. (Ha! I’m totally in your head.)

To extinguish that now-burning question, you need look no further than Tired Pony, the pseudo-supergroup formed in 2009 by Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody.

While touring with his main band, the native of Northern Ireland expressed his yearning to record a country album. Since it was not in step with Snow Patrol’s ethos, he enlisted the services of various collaborators — including R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Belle & Sebastian drummer Richard Colburn — and set up shop in Portland in January 2010.

Out of the weeklong recording session came 10 tracks that would comprise the album, The Place We Ran From, which was released in the United States in September of that year.

The album starts strong with such solid tracks as “Northwestern Skies”, “Point Me at Lost Islands” and “Dead American Writers”. The best song at the front end of the album is “Get On the Road”, which features backup vocals from Zooey Deschanel.

While Lightbody’s very distinct vocals are plastered throughout, the most notable songs at the end of the disc are those where he is absent. On the penultimate track, “The Good Book”, Editors lead singer Tom Smith lends his vocals. And the album’s best track, “I Am a Landslide”, was both written and sung by Iain Archer, a one-time member of Snow Patrol and a solo artist in his own right.

While a follow-up album would be highly anticipated, this is likely just a one-off project for Lightbody, who has said that he just needed to get this stuff out of his system.

If that’s the case, it’d be interesting to see what else he’s got building up inside of him.

May 16, 2010

27 – Two Door Cinema Club

Filed under: Northern Ireland, T — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Apparently, unbeknownst to me, Two Door Cinema Club has been tearing up the blogosphere for the past year. As for my discovering of the group, chalk this one up to the classic “record store recommendation.”

While on a recent trip to Indianapolis (for an amazing Pearl Jam show), my friend and I happened upon Luna Music. When we walked in, we were immediately greeted by a wall of employee suggestions. As I scanned through them, one in particular caught my eye. I was sure I’d heard of Two Door Cinema Club at some point in the past couple of months, but I knew nothing about them. The description — which went something like, “band from Ireland channels the best of ’80s New Wave/synth pop” — was enough to sell me.

I don’t feel totally out of the loop, since the electro-indie duo from Northern Ireland only released their debut full-length album, Tourist History, in the U.S. on April 27.

Perusing the web, the one band that pops up the most in terms of comparison is Phoenix. It’s no wonder that TDCC remixed the French band’s song, “Lasso“, and also toured with them earlier this year.

To me, from the opening track, “Cigarettes in the Theatre”, I couldn’t help but compare them to the less-heralded VHS of Beta. The electro instrumentation that permeated the entire album sounded just like that of the latter band’s 2004 release, Night on Fire.

Other bands that came to mind at various points in the album included The Bravery, The Killers, Editors (briefly) and MGMT.

There isn’t one bad track on the disc, and there are several solid ones, including “Do You Want It All?”, “Something Good Can Work”, “I Can Talk”, “What You Know”, “You’re Not Stubborn” and the aforementioned opener.

My two favorite songs were “This Is the Life” and “Undercover Martyn”, one of the album’s three singles.

The group was supposed to make a tour stop in Chicago recently with Phoenix, but it was postponed because of travel delays caused by the volcanic ash hovering over Europe.

They promised to make up the missed shows, and, with any luck, I’ll be in the audience for one of them.

In the meantime, they’ve got a whole slew of songs on their MySpace page for you to listen to.

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