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Posts Tagged ‘Conor J. O’Brien

Suffused with a deep neon glow, as you drift softly in to other worlds; tracks from @officialdido @wearevillagers @whiteblushh and Devendra Banhart

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Dido is gearing up to release her first new material in almost five years, with the announcement of fourth studio album ‘Girl Who Got Away’ (set for release on March 4th, 2013).

Dido was the success story of the early 2000s, with her first two albums – ‘No Angel’ (1999) and ‘Life for Rent’ (2003) featuring amongst the best-selling albums in UK chart history. ‘No Angel’ has sold over 21 million copies worldwide to date. If you turned on a radio at any point between 2000 and 2005, you would more than likely have been greeted by a Dido track. Indeed if you saw me at any point during that period you would have been forgiven – and then hugged ever so tightly – for mistaking me for the lady in question; Dido was very much my style icon. In comparison to some of her contemporaries, Dido’s star didn’t wane, she simply chose to step out of the spotlight for a spell after releasing third album ‘Safe Trip Home’ (2008) and began working on tracks for her next record. I see Dido as the metaphorical swan; perfectly poised and at peace, whilst working feverishly hard below the surface.


The first single to be released from the album is ‘Let Us Move On’, featuring U.S. rapper Kendrick Lamar. The track is trademark Dido; a soulful piano-based melody overlaying trip-hop beats which Massive Attack would envy. The track and album in general marks a purposeful genre shift for Dido, who has expressed her intention to produce a record with an electronic approach, in an attempt to take her work in a notably different direction to her previous albums. After hearing this, I look forward to the other ten tracks to come.


Devendra Banhart releases his eighth studio album ‘Mala’ on March 12th, 2013. The ever-intriguing and experimental folk singer-songwriter has released the album artwork and a new track entitled ‘Fur Hildegard von Bingen’. The track is about a Catholic saint from the 12th century who was also a composer, writer and theologist – who isn’t? No biggie…The backstory is suitably and obligatory bizarre but is also rather wonderful, as is the track.


Villagers are set to release their second album {Awayland} on January 14th, 2013. The album is the follow-up to the Mercury Prize-nominated, Ivor Novello-winning debut, Becoming A Jackal’. Conor J O’Brien can’t do much wrong in my eyes and this album is set to stun the critics all over again. {Awayland} features the tracks: My Lighthouse / Earthly Pleasure / The Waves / Judgement Call / Nothing  / The  / {Awayland} / Passing a Message / Grateful Song / In a Newfound Land You Are Free / Rhythm Composer.

White Blush Bandcamp

White Blush has released a debut, self-titled six-track EP. ‘True Luv’ is a particular favourite of mine from the LA-based ambient electronic artist Carol Rhyu. ‘Mirror’ bears more than a lyrical passing resemblance to Lana Del Rey‘s ‘Video Games’; this is perhaps the reason that I was so drawn to the second track, as well as its ability to make the atmosphere around you suffused with a deep neon glow, as you drift softly in to other worlds. An impressive debut from Rhyu. / / /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

January 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm

2010 in review – thanks to all of my readers

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The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2010. That’s about 14 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 72 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 128 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 16th with 347 views. The most popular post that day was Festival Fashion 2010 for the girls.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for festival fashion 2010, empire of the sun, alan pownall, lauren pritchard, and festival fashion.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Festival Fashion 2010 for the girls June 2010


Alan Pownall, ‘True Love Stories’ – album review July 2010


Competition in conjunction with Zara Taylor Vintage Inspired Jewellery June 2010
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Sublime, deep southern soul; Lauren Pritchard’s new single ‘Not The Drinking.’ September 2010


Conor J. O’Brien (Villagers) – talks about and performs tracks from debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal.’ July 2010
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Thanks to all of my readers and please keep coming back for more of the same in 2011!

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

January 4, 2011 at 9:21 am

Spotlight on exciting acts performing at Liverpool Music Week

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The UK’s biggest indoor winter music festival kicks off on 29th October, running through November; welcome to Liverpool Music Week.

The Scouse showcase spectacular began in 2003 and has steadily grown in reputation and stature, to become a nationally recognised event and highlight of the live music calendar. Similar to Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool Music Week features headline and big name acts, whilst also giving a performance platform for emerging talent; indeed, a number of such acts have subsequently gone on to great things after showcasing their wares at this event.

The format is a combination of free and ticketed shows at various venues across the city, including: the Stanley Theatre, O2 Academy, Mountford Hall and The Kazimier.

Headline acts this year include: iconic electronic outfit Leftfield (25th November, Mountford Hall), electronic-dance rising stars Chase & Status (13th November, O2 Academy) and highly acclaimed indie pop-rock stalwarts Efterklang (7th November, O2 Academy). Tickets are available for these shows at the following link:

10 free shows have also just been announced including: Sleigh Bells, Field Music, Egyptian Hip Hop, O Children, Chapel Club, and Los Campesinos! all taking place at MOJO between 29th October – 15th November. Also at MOJO is what will be one of the most anticipated of these free shows; Miles Kane will make his Liverpool solo debut, since his international success with The Last Shadow Puppets. More details on these can be found at:

The act I am most excited about however, visits Liverpool fresh from his much deserved Mercury Prize nomination; that act being Villagers. Conor J. O’Brien plays The Kazimier on the 11th December and I am sure that it will be a performance which people talk about long afterwards. With his hushed tones and evocative lyrical imagery, I am certain that you’ll be able to hear a pin drop as he performs tracks from his debut album ‘Becoming a Jackal.’ I will definitely be there, poised and preened ready to hear and catch said pin, before taking it home to savour the memory of being present at one of this amazing artist’s very first shows.

The North West and Liverpool particularly, is brilliant at supporting and showcasing fresh talent from the area and beyond; I think this is so important in the current climate of acts getting signed off the back of one catchy track, then getting ditched when they fail to set the radio waves alight. How is this ever going to be achieved without the support and commitment necessary from their label, their pr office, even their fans? I have recently seen several dedicated and highly talented singer-songwriters be overlooked in favour of the next big thing; should they not deliver the dividends within the allocated timeframe. We need a better and more dedicated live music scene across the UK, to provide a platform for these artists to gain a following, experiment with their sound and be given these kinds of opportunities to perform that are so often reserved for those “in the right place, at the right time.” Rant over!

So if you’re around the beautifully cultured and cosmopolitan Liverpool area in October/November, please pop by and show your support not just for the acts but also for the organisers, the tour managers, the event staff and so it goes on. I guarantee that you’ll have a great time.

Conor J. O’Brien (Villagers) – talks about and performs tracks from debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal.’

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Conor J.O'Brien, of Villagers

Having listened to Villagers’ Mercury Music Prize-nominated, debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal’ quite a few times this week; I was very keen to learn more about singer and creative driving force, Conor J. O’Brien. Luckily enough, I was forwarded a link by a very kind Alicia, at Baeblemusic, to a recent interview and performing session that O’Brien did in The Creative Little Garden in New York.

During the session, O’Brien offers some insight in to his approach to songwriting and the inspiration for particular tracks on the album; as far-reaching as metaphors for life and death, to analysing the profile and poise of travellers on everyone’s favourite mode of public transport, the common bus. He also performs several tracks from the album, including new single ‘Twenty Seven Strangers’, ‘The Pact (I’ll Be Your Fever), and ‘Set The Tigers Free.’

O’Brien speaks about songwriting as a fluid and primitive process; whereby if the writer thinks about the subject or structure too much, they lose the ability to capture the real essence of what they’re trying to say. I can relate to this having completed my degree in the grandiously-titled programme ‘Imaginative Writing, Literature, Life and Thought’; quite often I would turn up to class not feeling especially imaginative or philosophical – it wasn’t easy therefore having to write a 50-line stanza with the theme of ‘Evolution’ in a poorly ventilated classroom at 9am on a Monday morning, against the clock. Somehow I doubt the Bard had to endure such trials in his rise to creative glory…

Villagers are performing at several festivals in the coming weeks, including Leeds and Reading, Electric Picnic and Bestival. I think after their Mercury Music Prize nomination, the crowds will definitely swell in number for this band and rightly so. I look forward to seeing O’Brien and his cohort perform live in the coming months. Ireland has yet again produced another fine creative and songwriting talent.

To view the full session, click below.

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

July 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

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