Playin in a rock and roll band..

The Cookie Monsters, Midand Wasted. Deathly Statue of Bigotry.
The Kali Yuga Liberty Bell

In a dark cave in the wilds of Meath the Cookie Monsters have dusted off their axes, picked up the nearest sticks and stones and started grooving in a punky reggae party stylee.

The Cookie Monsters were born out of the ashes of some old circuitry, broken drum sticks, and past it fuzz pedals. Insert into mixer and blend, add some words and things and shake it up and stir.

The Cookie cocktail that emerges runs the gamut from shiny metal noise and punky riffs, via some lost 13th floor Elevators and MC5 demos. But the Cookies are an unpredictable lot so who knows where it will end? They may even disco..

The new EP “Midland Wasted” is a frenetic mix of DIY punk spirit, improvisation and experimentation. Frenetic energy, and riffs mix with lyrics about stuff. Many of the tracks capture the immediacy of their inception as they are often parts pulled from the air, with Josh’s Stream of consciousness lyrics that reflect the world we are in post 9/11 paranoia, where consumerism is worshiped by unthinking consumer zombies..and thats just Josh.

So whats it all about eh? Is it real,is it all a dream? Are we a part of some cosmic plan or just some minor random atomic accident, on it’s way to rubbing itself out in it’s rush to end up a historical footnote? Who knows! Who cares! Download the Cookie Monsters EP. “Midland Wasted” and find out.

Of course its all here, along with reflections on modern relationships, the search for identity, some passable Dave Gilmour impersonations by Josh and groovy backing vocals from Emmet, and Crocker.

The Cookies are Crocker (Funky Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, vibes), Emmet ‘The Big E’ Newman (Bass, Vibes) and Joshue O Connor (Drums, lead Guitar, vocals, lyrics). EP Engineered by Alun Smyth. Art and Production by Josh. No Cookies were harmed in the making of this record.


“Yes” Live in the Olympia Dublin

Full disclosure, I was never a massive “Yes” fan. I liked some of their stuff and certainly appreciated their musicianship but I found Jon Andersons voice kinda whiny and all the “Pixies and Elves” undertones grated on me a little, so throw in a couple of dodgy Fairlight keyboard solos and I was generally reaching for the off button. They were however the only band I knew who could make me feel like I was going up and coming down, all at the same time.

So in short, I hadn’t listened to “Yes” for years, so when a good friend of mine recently turned 50 and I saw that they were coming to Dublin – I bought a couple of tickets. While spending many years listening to various kinds of music often from the wrong side of a bong (is there a right side? well Yes! – lol) – I kinda forgot about them – but did appreciate them as a historic part of my musical wallpaper.

Their music is actually hard to quantify, straddling Jazz, Rock and Pop they are certainly major players in the prog-rock arena, in fact they pretty much invented the genre. Prog, I feel, has a bad name and this is unjustified as there can be many a moment of brilliance littered through the sonic jungles of Focus, Tangerine Dream, Ozric Tentacles etc. Just don’t expect your wife to be ecstatic as you go shopping for groceries on a Saturday afternoon and you suggest lashing on “Pungent Effulgent”.

Anyway, the gig was bloody amazing. They had a punky feel live that I just wasn’t expecting – it was high energy, quixotic, schizophrenic hippy punk rock jazz of the highest order. I thouroughly enjoyed myself and even though the audience was a mix of young hippy types, aging hippy types, people who looked like they worked for the health board or other sundry government departments, young hippy types who will soon be working for the government etc. There was a sense of immediacy in the performance that was very impressive. It still all sounded fresh after all these years. Steve Howes playing was amazing, the Rickenbacker bass was punky and melodic. Rickwakeman Jnr tickled the ivories and Benoit David stood in for Jon Anderson admirably filling the shoes of the original “Yes” frontman. There were some lovely lush vocal harmonies throughout.

If you can catch the show in Belfast I say go!!

New Head Noise EP – “Where next Einstein?”..

Hiding the hand of the divine behind the viel of empiricism
The more we know the more we don't..
Sonically, I have been busy. Or that is to say I have decided to finish something and remove the files from the dusty archive that is my recording studio hard drive..

“Head Noise” is one of my audio incarnations and I had great fun putting this EP together using my new Akai HeadRush and some nice reverbs from the excellent Behringer Pro-Verb. All went via my Marshall AS100D Amp which I love playing with my Fender Jaguar – dirty and sweet..

So all of this went into Ableton Live and was treated with a few plug ins that come bundled with Live (though I also love Stillwell and PSP plugins) – they are affordable and excellent.

So what about the new EP? The new Head Noise EP distills our current fears and phobias about the future, our inherent mistrust of technology and the hope of redemption through personal change. Layers of distorted treated electric guitars shimmer throughout, with ethereal noise loops and spoken word samples from Albert Einstein.

This three track EP is an extension of previous Head Noise work, which Hot Press has described as “interesting and unconventional” and the Milk Factory as a music of “twisted sonic landscapes somewhere between minimal post-rock and dub electronica in its most somber form, creating dense atmospheric structures […].”

The new EP continues in that vein – the final track being a change in mood with the captivating “Blues for Govinda” – comprising of a simple but haunting guitar motif merging with gentle strings and horns, organ sounds and other esoteric tunings also offset the piece.

The EP is designed to be listened to as a continuous gapless piece, so it is best to download all three tracks and import into iTunes or similar.

Feel the noise… download the new Head Noise EP “Where next Einstein?” from the Technica Curiosa Website.

You have been U2’d

Full disclosure – I am not a big U2 fan, or even a moderately sized one at that. So when I got tickets to see the Dublin shows for my wife and her brother (as they are big fans) I’ll admit I wasn’t full of joy at the prospect of spending a night in their company and not being able to reach for the off button.

They do have some great songs, and I had grudgingly come to admire them but I had never seen them live. So what was it like? All I can say is – wow.

The light show was fantastic and the band gave it loads. It was truly a spectacle on a scale that I had never seen before. If Nero were alive today he wouldn’t need to feed Christians to the lions, just get Bono and the lads in and they would wow the crowd. If the support acts were a little dodgy they could always throw a few to the lions on the side.

As U2 have been around for so many years, are a big gobal brand etc you kind of take them for granted. To see them live with 80,000 other people was just spectacular. I felt proud of them, and proud to be Irish.

Primal Scream vs. Spiritualized

This record saved my life
This record saved my life

Myself and Lorraine went to the Galway Arts Fest last week and we saw Primal Scream and Spritualized. It is a treat to see either, but to see both was just amazing.

Stoner drones with Gospel undertones were delivered with aplomb by Spiritualized. Fantastic. My only criticism would be 1) I hate strobes (they make me feel funny) and there was a /lot/ of strobe action. They did however add to the general sense of euphoric disintegration that ensued, 2) I hate to see people smash up expensive Amps and Guitars.

It was exciting when Pete Townsend did it (though it nearly bankrupted the Who) but I don’t like it. As the proud owner of a Fender Jaguar (and a nice Marshal AS100D amp) I think I would rather tear out a finger nail than smash up either.

The kicking over of amps and impaling with guitars that ensued was unnecessary. Down with this sort of thing.

Primal Scream – fantastic. I hoped to relive one of the best live gigs of my life (Glastonbury ’92) and while it wasn’t the same (things change don’t ya know) we had a deadly night and bopped like maniacs. Shouts out to the many lone mentalists we encountered, especially the guy who insisted on touching himself very publicly while dancing. Hats off to the freaks lol.

My Favourite Weirdo EP

My Favourite Weirdo EP Cover
My Favourite Weirdo EP Cover

I’ve just finished a new record. It’s a four track EP recorded under the nomenclature “My Favourite Weirdo”. Lovely fuzzy bleeps, squeaks, layered guitars, loops, squalks, rhythms, beats and blues for the Weird Age we find ourselves in. Layers of ambient sounds, repetitive beats from a time when they were considered illegal makes the “My Favourite Weirdo EP” electronica with a heart and well – a bit of a beard also.

Taking inspiration from sources as diverse as the works of G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis and Aphex Twin the new EP brings thoughtfulness to evolving ambient soundscapes and beats that capture the spirit of retro electronica.

It is available as a free download from my record label website Technica Curiosa Records.