Archive for the Music Category

Talk about pop music, talk about pop music…

Posted in Music on February 14, 2014 by Johnnie

Music criticism is no place for the squeamish

Over the past decade, I’ve found that being a music critic of any repute requires a thicker skin than most musicians could dream of owning.  Putting an opinion out there, into the vast muddle of public irritation and apathy, requires a lot more gumption than people might think.  On the face of it, it’s a relatively simple thing to do but that doesn’t mean anyone can do it.

Criticism is not just about having an opinion. If that was the case, Twitter would be the go-to place for all culture. Obviously, I’ve heard, and been assaulted by, the cliché that opinions are like arseholes, but in my experience not everyone has a genuine opinion.  Arseholes are plentiful.

I began writing music criticism because I had a neurotic notion that by articulating, distilling and delivering my critique, I could somehow help to improve the medium. Even just writing that down, it looks like an arrogant notion but it was my springboard, my reason for bothering. I thought I could make a difference. I set about trying to destroy laziness, ridicule the stereotypes, denounce the derivative, promote the underdog, unearth the creative and shine a light on shaded genius. Continue reading

Marr, Morrissey and the notion that comebacks don’t work

Posted in Grave News, Heroes, Music, Unwanted Comebacks, Words on April 2, 2013 by Johnnie


Last week, as I write, this blog and its beloved went to see Johnny Marr play at that lugubrious Dublin venue, The Academy. For anyone in their 40s who had seen The Smiths in their heyday (i.e. any point in their brief career), it was an extraordinary experience.  Johnny Marr has finally settled back into his skin, reclaiming his role as the guitar hero of a generation and the man behind some of the most delightfully crafted chord sequences ever created. He not only has a fine solo album, The Messenger, out, but he’s now merrily playing some of those old greats like it was the most natural thing in the world.

And really, it should be the most natural thing in the world. They’re 50% his songs.

The ‘surprise’ (and, really, we should have had more faith) is just how natural it is for him to play – and for us to hear.  His former sidekick Morrissey has been playing the same songs on and off for nigh on 20 years, as he was the voice and the melody we had all known and adored on those records. However, it was but a bar or so into Marr’s rendition of ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’ (the second song of his set) that it becomes obvious what we’ve been missing all these years – hearing those songs played properly. Continue reading

Mumford & Sons…

Posted in Disasters, Music, Unwanted Comebacks on September 24, 2012 by Johnnie

…WHY? Continue reading

Saviours of Irish rock? The return of 79Cortinaz

Posted in Music, Pointless Nostalgia on May 8, 2012 by Johnnie

They’re back! Back?! BAACK!! Carlow’s foremost rock ‘n’ roll sons (i.e. band) 79Cortinaz have risen from the grave and seem intent on returning to the studio to entertain us with further adventures in rural indie guitar rock. They released their debut album Hopioki in early 2008, before apparently breaking up in December of that year.

We say “apparently”, as this split was disputed – loyal, patient and/or weary readers of this blog might remember the most bizarre comments thread in IHGN‘s history, when, running against the spirit of positive yearly album round-ups, I gathered together a selection of my Worst Albums of 2008. A member of the band, who firstly mistook me for a female critic (?) denied they had split up and took more than a little umbrage at the album review. As well he might. Hopefully that’s all water under the bridge now.

In the meantime, the band have very kindly gathered together their own back catalogue and put them on Soundcloud so that you may judge for yourselves. Continue reading

♫ Hartleys is my New Jam! ♫

Posted in Geeks, Music, Pointless Nostalgia, TV on April 26, 2012 by Johnnie

No one can say this blog isn’t down with the thrilling stuff those crazy internet kids are up to – only New Jam has been around since I was wee. Continue reading

I never never want to go home, because I haven’t Gok Wan…

Posted in Geeks, Heroes, Music, Pointless Nostalgia, Star "Style" with tags , , , on March 12, 2012 by Johnnie

Clever old spammers.  No sooner is Gok Wan in Dublin to peddle his range of retro frames at Specsavers than the cookies get to work trying to find appropriate blog posts to spam.  Congrats to the cookies, then, for finding several posts on IHGN which, for some obscure reason, seem to suggest that I’m a Smiths fan.

Are cookies able to work these things out?   Did they say, “Oh! You know that Morrissey Smith fellah, he wore retro NHS specs before they were retro, didn’t he?  Let’s SPAM his fans!”? Continue reading

Decent Smiths cover shocker

Posted in Geeks, Music with tags , , , on March 5, 2012 by Johnnie

As I’m sure you know, dear reader (singular), I’m a big fan of The Smiths but not a big fan of other people covering Smiths songs.  And when I say “other people”, I sometimes include Morrissey himself, whose present band simply aren’t up to playing songs as intricate as ‘This Charming Man’.

All of which makes it even stranger that a gamer geek going by the name of Lazyitis has produced a fantastic cover of that very song.  I’ve been chair-dancing to this since I first heard it (at the time of writing, about ten minutes ago), and my kids are enjoying it just as much. Continue reading