First a brief explanation: Dr Beat is our musical makeover feature that runs monthly on The Kiosk, the Saturday morning arts magazine show I present on Phantom 105.2, Dublin’s indie rock station. We’ve been running Dr Beat for three months now, and enjoying every minute of it, as makeover volunteers Jo, Aveen and Dick have either scorned or loved our musical makeover choices for them.
This month, our `patient’ is one Conor Pope — yep, the fierce (but fun!) price-watcher from The Irish Times. Conor used to play in a band, but now he feels he has gradually tuned out from music.
Can Team Kiosk — moi, Derek Byrne and Johnnie Craig — find him the right tunes to help him revive his interest?
Here’s the track listing for the musical mix tape we put together (each member selects six tracks independently, and the person who picked Conor’s fave track will be crowned Dr Beat. Oh yes.)
We’d love to hear what you think of it — comment below or email: kiosk [at] phantom.ie . (Same address if you’d like to take part yourself.)
We’ll be hearing what Conor thinks of it on May 29th, when he comes in to tell us whether we’ve sent him to find his dancing shoes — or possibly sent him off music forever. Tune in!
Dr Beat for Conor
1. Villagers – Set the Tigers Free
You’ll undoubtedly have heard the name — the new band from Irish musicianConor J O’Brien (formerly of The Immediate) has been attracting barrel-loads of hype and attention. But this is the track that should convince you to buy Villagers’ forthcoming debut album Becoming a Jackal. It’s a wonderful track, reminiscent of Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. The rest of the album is very nearly as good.
2. O Emperor — Po
Another Irish outfit, O Emperor have been deservedly attracting rave reviews for their live performances. Dubbed (correctly) the Irish Grizzly Bear, these guys have recently signed a licensing deal with Universal Records — great, great things are expected of their forthcoming debut album — and this early track shows exactly why.
3. Beirut – Postcards From Italy
Zachary Francis Condon hails from New Mexico but he takes all the cues for his sound from Europe. Now with two albums under his belt and coming back to Dublin in a few months for what should be an interesting show! This is by far his best track and one of the best bits of trumpet put to track in modern times.
4. Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way
You might already know The Dap Kings; they are the band that play on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album, but now with Sharon Jones at the helm they are the spearheads of a revivalist movement that aims to capture the essence of funk/soul music as it was at its height in the mid-1960s to mid-1970s. They even record on vintage equipment. This is the title track of their new album.
5. White Rabbits – Percussion Gun
Although not indicative of their overall sound, this incredible song somehow combines achingly catchy, emotive indie-rock with Adam and the Ants Burundi drum sound – and the result is unforgettable.
6. Blood Red Shoes – Light It Up
Excellent boy/girl indie-rock duo from Brighton – her on guitar, him on drums, both on vocals. Riffs, hooks and energy a-go-go. http://www.myspace.com/bloodredshoes
7. Foals — Miami
It’s difficult to overstate how much I adore this new song — and the brand new album from which it stems, Total Life Forever. Frankly, I would urge you to drop this CD, head down the shops and buy their second album, because it’s an absolute beauty — and a total surprise coming from the formerly not-that-interesting math-rock, Oxford-based band who brought us Cassius.
8. LCD Soundsystem — One Touch
OK, so nobody is suggesting you don’t know who LCD Soundsystem are. But do you own an album by Mr James Murphy? Most of the tracks on the brilliant new album this song is taken from, This is Happening, are around nine minutes long — and, to be honest, you probably need to get the album to fully absorb the LCD experience. Hopefully, this breathy, squelchy track will encourage you to do exactly that!
9. Friendly Fires featuring Au Revoir Simone — Paris (Aeroplane remix)
Friendly Fires were many people’s highlight from Oxegen’s New Band Stage last summer and this year they shall be back at Electric Picnic for a larger billing. The original of this track was good, but as with any great remix, Aeroplane have turned it into a gem of a song. Really kicks off at the 4 minute mark.
10. Annie — My Love is Better
The only real electro-pop song on this compilation, Norwegian singer Annie is a little more pop than Goldfrapp and a tiny bit less so than Girls Aloud. Mind you, Girls Aloud were originally slated to appear on this track (taken from 2009’s Don’t Stop) — and you can hear why. Perfect pop should never be sneered at, in my book — and this is a super-catchy song. Prepare to press your repeat button.
11. Mali Musicians – Sunset Coming Down (feat. Damon Albarn)
Mali has been the epicentre of African music for many years now and in 2002 an album surfaced, which was curated by Blur front man Damon Album and featured some of the most talented and prolific performers; Afel Bocoum, Toumani Diabaté.This track with Damon on lead vocal is one of its highlights.
12. Dum Dum Girls — Bhang Bhang, I’m A Burnout
All-girl band who combine sunny, Californian pop with skuzzy, attitudinal guitars, guts and glory. One for those summer holiday nights. http://www.myspace.com/dumdumgirls
13. Jesca Hoop — Whispering Light
Tom Waits’ former nanny may have picked up a tip or two from her ex-employee but the fact that she’s so good suggests this girl’s kooky way with lyrics and atmospherics could only be her own.
14. Brakes — No Return
Brakes are a 4-piece band from Brighton who released a great pop/punk album, The Beatific Visions, in 2006. A snappy, fun album, and tacked onto the end of it was this breathtaking song. Completely at odds with the rest of the album’s songs, and beautiful.
15. James Vincent McMarrow – Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree
Irish singer-songwriter with a double barreled name – but don’t let that put you off. This guy is a real talent. Early in the Morning, his debut release, came out in February.
16. Vetiver On The Other Side
Quite a simple song, this, but very lovely. Vetiver are an American folk band who released their fourth full-length album Tight Knit — from which this track is taken — in February. If you like this song, you should love the album. It’s very chilled, very melodic and very effective — a lovely album to listen to while cooking, I findJ
17. Grand Pocket Orchestra – Basketballs
Dublin band who sound like they make their weird and wonderful indie pop out of bits of Fisher Price toys, Casios and bizarre nursery rhymes. From their forthcoming debut album, this 1min38sec single is oddly perfect.
18. Jogging – Fostered Foes
Dublin-based, balls-out beardy rock from a three-piece who make a melodic noise far greater than the sum of their particles. Head-bangingly, air-guitaringly brilliant.