I’m not a big electronic music fan – never have been, never will be. There’s nothing I’d like less than to spend an evening out listening to methodical, repetitive beats. I got Four Tet’s “Rounds” several years ago, after hearing it was one of the most ground-breaking albums of the year. It turned out to be clapping. And beeping. And more clapping. And more beeping. And, personally speaking, a pile of shite (as we say in Ireland).

But a few years ago, I happened across a minute of a strange video on a music programme, and heard a vaguely familiar voice with a synthesized underlay. As I tend to do, I memorised a few lines of the tune, and went a-searching on the Inter-Webz.

And that’s where I came across, and fell in love with, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”, by the Postal Service.

thepostalservice

The familiar voice was that of Ben Gibbard, he of Death Cab for Cutie (whom I am partial to). With producer Jimmy Tamborello, Gibbard created the album which made me realise that not all electronic music is Bad.

And who couldn’t not love a band who’s

name was chosen due to the way in which it produced its songs. Tamborello wrote and performed instrumental tracks and then sent the DATs to Gibbard, who edited the song as he saw fit (adding his vocals along the way), sending them back to Tamborello via the United States Postal Service.

And of course, I should also mention my girlfriend here. Our music tastes are…not overally compatible. There are a couple of songs where we agree (music from the 60’s, some 80’s, and about 1% of the music featured on this website). But apart from that, we often tend to leave the room when the other puts on music.

However, like every couple in history, as far back as Anthony and Cleopatra (I’m pretty certain…), when we started going out, we swapped mix CD’s of music – and while there was some general grudging agreement that some of the songs featured on each weren’t THAT bad, we were both surprised to find a single song featuring on both mixes. A single song that affected us both deeply. Guess what that song was?

Smeared black ink… your palms are sweaty
And I’m barely listening to last demands
I’m staring at the asphalt wondering what’s buried underneath
Where I am
Where I am

I’ll wear my badge… a vinyl sticker with big block letters adherent to my chest
That tells your new friends I am a visitor here…
I am not permanent
And the only thing keeping me dry is
Where I am
Where I am
Where I am

You seem so out of context in this gaudy apartment complex
A stranger with your door key explaining that I am just visiting
And I am finally seeing
Why I was the one worth leaving
Why I was the one worth leaving

D.C. sleeps alone tonight

Where I am
Where I am
Where I am

You seem so so out of context in this gaudy apartment complex
A stranger with your door key explaining that I am just visiting
And I am finally seeing
Why I was the one worth leaving
Why I was the one worth leaving

Where I am
Where I am
Where I am

The district sleeps alone tonight after the bars turn out their lights
And send the autos swerving into the loneliest evening
And I am finally seeing
Why I was the one worth leaving
Why I was the one worth leaving
Why I was the one worth leaving
Why I was the one worth leaving

The Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

www: The Postal Service official site (last updated over 2 years ago…) and MySpace

When I read an article about “When Under Ether”, a new Irish television programme dedicated to the best of underground and alternative music, I got exceptionally excited. Finally, a platform that would rival Last.fm and a multitide of music blogs in providing me with new artists I can passionately follow. Artists like Frightened Rabbit. Like William Fitzsimmons.

whenunderether

When Under Ether is a new video-based alternative music show. Broadcasting for 1 hour on Tuesday nights on RTE 2, it is hosted by former Nightshift presenter & Phantom 105.2 DJ Michelle Doherty and musician & former Nightshift producer Elton Mullally.

The show covers all aspects of the alternative music scene, with a keen eye on homegrown talent. It will feature a dynamic video play-list, band interviews, live performances, and a comprehensive guide to gigs nationwide.

But when I finally caught my first episode…uhm…Portishead, Depeche Mode, Florence & the Machine, Mogwai, Elbow, Bat For Lashes, Bjork. It seems that “When Under Ether”, like so many television programmes before it, errs on the side of mainstream alternative music – keeping the cool kids on-side, and keeping the ratings up. Over the next few weeks, expect Vampire Weekend and Fleet Foxes.

Maybe things will change. Maybe “When Under Ether” will break new ground, and new artists. But for now…what a lost opportunity. And what a pity.

www: When Under Ether official Facebook Page