Best of 2014: w/ Cormac Brady

As has become tradition for this time year, I’ve asked bands and artists who’ve played a BarryGruff show during the year, to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2014′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2014′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. I’ve really enjoyed these over the past few years so why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Cormac Brady to share his picks from 2014…..

Favourite albums of 2014:

01. Run the Jewels – ‘Run the Jewels 2′

My number one album slot last year was El-P and Killer Mike’s first record together as RTJ, so it’s a little predictable but entirely honest that their second gets the top spot from me in 2014. And deservedly so too – RTJ2 is another two headed beast of an album, but this time more earth shaking and spitting twice the fire. I find it so reassuring that in this fucked up world there are two incredible rappers that head off to a remote cabin in the woods to take loads of hallucinogens and other drugs and make fucking outstanding rap records that rip on religion, politics, law, business and all that other rancid soul destroying shit. It means a lot to me to know that. Sniff. Long live Run the Jewels.

02. Teebs – ‘E s t a r a’

I don’t know a whole lot about Teebs, other than that he did some shit with Prefuse 73 ages ago and he’s from LA (I think). A pretty lame opening line for a review I’ll admit, but I want to keep my knowledge of Teebs limited. This album is intimate, textured, warm, glowing and puts me in a good place when I listen to it. I don’t want to over elaborate on why I love the record, or what makes it so great because I’m afraid I might ruin it for myself. I recommend you listen to it and get lost in it like I did, it’s very rewarding.

03. RATKING – ‘So It Goes’

This album feels to me like the modern equivalent of a few lads back in the day cooked up in a flat making hip hop tunes on an MPC and a couple of SM58s. Of course So It Goes is sonically more sophisticated than could be achieved with the aforementioned tools and lyrically more poetic would be associated with early hip hop, but there’s something completely real and honest at work here and it’s class.

04. Mac Demarco – ‘Salad Days’

05. Beck – ‘Morning Phase’

06. The Bug – ‘Angels and Devils’

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Best of 2014: w/ Stephen Connelly of Knoxville Morning

stinky steve

As has become tradition for this time year, I’ve asked bands and artists who’ve played a BarryGruff show during the year, to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2014′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2014′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. I’ve really enjoyed these over the past few years so why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Stephen Connelly of Knoxville Morning (and my right hand man with gigs)  to share his picks from 2014.

Favouite Album of 2014: Damien Jurado – ‘Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun’

This album was a real slow burner for me. I knew of only a handful of songs by the man before hearing this record but had already fallen in love with his songwriting. This album was different though. Producer Richard Swift creates a whole new world for Jurado’s songs. The album is a squeal to his last album ‘Maraqopa’. Based a guy who wants to disappear from society but winds up coming across a commune in the dessert where everyone is waiting on the second coming of Christ. Already sounding like an epic movie! A serious sci-fi/spiritual buzz off the new record and the music reflects this. I’m a sucker for a concept album and this went one step further. Jurado’s vision is very clear and cinematic. It’s a rare thing when a sequel tops the initial movie, think of it like Terminator 2: Judgement Day or Aliens, even Cheaper by the fuckin’ Dozen 2! A couple of other highlights for me this year were The Bug- ‘Angels & Demons’ // Angel Olsen – ‘Burn Your Fire for No Witness’ // Oh Boland/Me and My Dog Split – ‘Delphi’ // Future Islands – ‘Singles’.

Favorite song of 2014: A Lazarus Soul – ‘Midday Class’

I adore this band. I remember hearing this song for the first time in the Mercantile around this time two years ago and being floored by every word. Brian Brannigan’s songwriting is second to none and backed by an unbelievable band. This track is like a modern day take on Sean-nós with Brannigan’s vocal accompanied by only looming cacophony brewing underneath. First line kills me every time, a feeling that I know too well: Like a hangover dense as a city smog
followed me like a big black dog’

Favourite Irish song of 2014: Oh Boland – ‘Home Truths’

If I had only one wish this Christmas I would wish for everyone in the whole wide world to go see these guys live. Mesmerising rock n roll shows. Their split ep ‘Delphi’ with Me & My Dog has been on loop in the house since its release in the summer. Its tough to pick one jam off it but ‘Home Truths’ is a perfect place to start. Catchy riffs with fuzz dripping off the fretboard backed by an energetic rhythm section. I love everything about this band. If my head goes any further up their arse, I’ll be crawling out of their mouth at this stage. Needless to say I can’t wait for their debut album in the new year.

Best of 2014: w/ Padraig McCauley of Disconcerting P

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As has become tradition for this time year, I’ve asked bands and artists who’ve played a BarryGruff show during the year, to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2014′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2014′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. I’ve really enjoyed these over the past few years so why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to the Padraig McCauley of Disconcerting P to share his picks from 2014.

Favourite Album of 2014: Angel Olsen – ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’/ Mac DeMarco – ‘Salad Days’

Angel Olsen‘s album drew my attention for two reasons: Her flawless vocals (Her vibrato is scary perfect) and her unusual song forms. All the tracks on the album have this steady flow which only seems to break when the melody changes around them, making the overall experience hypnotic and effortless to listen to. The production only adds to this sense of haze with drowning reversed guitars and tremolo’d guitars that wash around each other in the middle ground whilst Angel vocal flourishes in the fore. Its subject matter is heavy – loss and loneliness – but the experience is so beautiful it can be easy to find the merit in these experiences when music so raw and passionate can come from them. The stand-out tracks for me are ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Enemy’. Whats truly refreshing about the album is that Angel feels genuine – everything about the album feels real and authentic.

Salad Days is on par with Angels album for its honesty and genuine nature. Its seems that he really is pouring his heart out, but under the guise of this cartoon character. The effect works and I find him to be quite loveable. Mac is a smart guy – you can hear it in his song harmony, his melodies and his effortless rhyming schemes and what makes him even more loveable is that he seems determined to not let you know it – coming off as a unbeknown genius rather than obnoxious. The subject matter of the album is relatable – the constant struggle between youth and maturity. I suppose what can be take from Mac DeMarco as a character is that both don’t be exclusive. There is enlightenment to be found in the album – even if it is being delivered by a gap toothed jester – making it all the more exciting.

Favourite track of 2014: TOPS – ‘Way to be Loved’

Oh man that groove. I love how easily this songs moves! The feel shifts so seamlessly, only adding to this shimmering glitteriness the track has. The lyrics are great too. The track is delivered with a coyness from Jane Penny that makes it so alluring. It has glimpses of other bands in it but feels unique within itself. Oh man… that groove.

Favourite Irish track of 2014: The Gloaming – ‘Allistrum’s March’

While this may be a traditional tune – The Gloaming’s version is breathtaking. The whole album is unbelievably. Go see these guys. This really is musicianship at its highest and most pure.

Best of 2014: w/ Jinx Lennon

Jinx Lennon

As has become tradition for this time year, I’ve asked bands and artists who’ve played a BarryGruff show during the year, to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2014′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2014′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. I’ve really enjoyed these over the past few years so why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to the legendary Jinx Lennon to share his picks from 2014.

Favourite Album of 2014: Sleaford Mods – ‘Divide and Exit’

It’s not a very sophisticated album, it’s bass and drum machine and a lot of words. It sounds great on vinyl and for a microsecond it makes me feel that the old ritual of walking up town with an LP under your arm has been brought back to life (for a microsecond). The singer is pissed off and like his Irish spiritual brother Captain Moonlight he can make a tune into a surreal situation without getting wildly specific. (Ok I take that back The Captain is a might more specific in his topics but i hear a similar anger and humour). I’d like to see a lot more music like this. I thought 8 years ago we’d have less chirpy beard music in Ireland but 2014 has brought more and more CBM it would almost be hilarious if it wasn’t such a pain in the balls when you turn on the fucking radio and they use that jingly wingly sound on the bank adverts now with the usual Dublin 4 breathy lass that sounds like she pisses lemonade yapping with a mid Atlantic jackeen accent that has that horrid perpetual RRR sound at the end of two out of five of her words.

Favourite Song of 2014: The Primitive Calculators – ‘Dead’

Ahhh!! The Primitive Calculators are so refreshing. Their album The World is Fucked would be my ideal soundtrack for the 2 couples get together cosy wosy ”can I show you our new fireplace/car/extension” mindfuck evenings. I’d opt for the Calculators instead of the usual let’s pretend we are still 19 at the raves dinner background music guff which usually happens at such get togethers or worse a Father John Misty/Coldplay debacle of an evening. The singer of the Calculators is a 50 year old pissed off teacher who sounds like the bane of any up and coming PTA meetings and I’m grateful he exists.’Dead’ is an existential reminder of upcoming mortality for all of us and The Calculators don’t sound happy about that fact ,but still make such a glorious racket in the ‘Vein of Suicide’ or France’s brilliant ‘Metal Urbain’. The fella with the scythe might have second thoughts about performing his duties at their gaff.Grainne Seoige should have used them for her pitiful mess of a Christmas charity single instead of that jingly wingly beard music travesty she decided to immerse herself in. Second choice, Slaves ‘The Hunter’ great live band from Lawndarn.

Favorite Irish Song?

The sound of people saying ‘Can’t Pay Won’t Pay’ all across the land at the Water Protests is music to my ears. I havn’t heard anything better this year from Ireland. Captain Moonlight’s ‘Agroculture Part 2 and 3′ still sound prescient for 2014. I sometimes want to dabble in the myriad Irish musics that I come across but I’m not getting the meat I want from the sounds I hear. I go to local gigs that have usually three acts and I’m impressed with the way that modern Irish acts are all very confident looks wise, and musically competent in a technical way with their skills on stage and it all sounds nice and multi layered and perfect candy for the earlobes but I’d prefer to see someone bang their heads off the wall or thump the shit out of each other on stage, play a guitar with one string, or even just tell me the audience member what they really feel instead of sounding like some 4th rate Death Cab for Cutie, hypnogogic chilliwave 2010 castoffs, or jingly wingly mandoliney Mormon clothed beard nonsense or electronica girls with school music exam faces, and the fucking accents RRR RRR RRR which is made worse when some buck realises mid song he’s from Navan or Sligo or the Narthsoide and forgets about that homogenous twang for a millisecond. Disaster !!! Billllloppppppppp!

BarryGruff 4th Birthday Bash (Friday March 21st & Saturday 22nd)

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BarryGruff is four years in the music blogging racket this month, hence the sleek face-lift and new dot com home (what do you think by the way?). It’s been an enjoyable four year no doubt about it, and to celebrate the occasion we’ve a weekend of music lined up in Flanagan’s, Newbridge. We’ve live bands on Friday March 21st & DJ sets on Saturday 22nd – all free & all under one roof. All the details and links are below – I really hope to loads of you can make it over the weekend, it should be an absolute cracker.

:: BarryGruff Presents #18 :: Fri March 21st in Flanagan’s, Newbridge :: [9pm/Free In]

The Statics:

The Statics have been longstanding favourites here at BarryGruff HQ, so it’s fantastic to have them on-board. Echoing the likes of The La’s, John Power & The Coral, the Dublin four piece’s melodious indie pop jangle is utterly brilliant. Their debut single ‘Holiday’ and EP, ‘Hidden Pigeon’ set their stall out for an ability to craft as close to perfect pop songs as you’re likely to hear. In essence this is  what makes The Statics so irrefutably lovable. And live, they are simply top class and not to be missed.

Knoxville Morning:

Another longstanding favourite around these parts, and one that never fail to deliver live is Knoxville Morning. The project was inspired by a trip around the USA by chief troublemaker Ciaran Dwyer, which resulted in an album of sweet folk, country and Americana. Surely I’m not alone in still getting plenty of mileage out of the record close to 18 months on from it’s release? It’s pretty fitting that Dwyer & Co. are on-board for this one, as long before I, they along with others, kept all things musical ticking over in Newbridge.

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Vagabonds & Thieves:

Vagabonds & Thieves are local (Newbridge) musical stalwarts of Andy Harper, Jack McKenna, Peter Lane & Steve Lunch. Early days for this new incarnation but these guys know what they’re at and their early demos suggest as much. It’s only fair to give the ‘young lads’ a run out right?

:: Discord#2 :: Sat March 22nd in Flanagan’s, Newbridge [9pm/Free In]

Saturday night we’ll have DJ sets from the talented Rob Smyth & Cormac Brady, & myself. We’ll spinning tunes from 9 till close – everything from hip-hop to electronica, from dancehall to indie and everything else in between.

BarryGruff Presents #17: Padraig McCauley + Rory Hughes :: Friday, January 31st :: Flanagan’s, Newbridge

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So, it’s been a while but were back in Flanagan’s to rip it up with ‘BarryGruff Presents’ #17 on Friday, January 31st. We’ve got the superbly talented duo of Padraig McCauley (The P Affection/Disconcerting P) and Rory Hughes performing on the night.

It’s sure to be another great night, so come along and enjoy the music. It’s FREE in as usual & kicks off at 9:30 pm. [RSVP]

:: Padraig McCauley ::

Padraig McCauley of The P Affection/Disconcerting P is no stranger to a BarryGruff show and should need little introduction. McCauley is a superb songwriter, singer and performer, if somewhat under-appreciated by many. This is in fact his fifth, yes fifth, BarryGruff appearance and while that might be some sort of record, it is a rare chance to see him play a solo set filled with tracks new and old, from a rather extensive body of work.  

:: Rory Hughes ::

Rory Hughes is a young musician from Dublin. He writes folk and blues tunes. Tunes that are good with a deep-rooted storytelling style. While some of the records, done himself with basic equipment, are rough and don’t do the songs full justice. However, if ‘Woe Is Me’ doesn’t stir something inside you, well, there might be something wrong with you.

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Best of 2013 w/ Sadhbh O’Sullivan of Sive

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It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Sive’s Sadhbh O’Sullivan for the last in the series and her picks from 2013.

Favourite album of 2013: Villagers – ‘Awayland’

When I was going through some of the albums I liked best this year and trying to pick one favourite, I just kept coming back to this one. It was one of those records I listened to on repeat after I bought it and every time I heard it something new seemed to catch my ear. I love the arrangements and the attention to detail; there’s so much to be found within each individual song. The songwriting itself is obviously really strong too, and I love Conor O’Brien’s style of lyric writing.

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Favourite song of 2013: Agnes Obel – The Curse

Agnes Obel’s new album was another one of my favourites of the year. I could have picked almost any song from it as my number one, but when I saw this live video of The Curse it really blew me away. The looped strings, piano parts and vocal melodies come together to create something really beautiful.

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Favourite Irish song of 2013: Ann Scott – ‘Stripes’

I’ve been a fan of Ann Scott since I first heard her music about 6 years ago, and her new stuff hasn’t let me down. This song is a perfect example of her ability to build a simple but effective musical backdrop for her voice to sweep over. She always manages to produce a sound that is quite dark and haunting, but really pleasing to the ear.

Best of 2013 w/ Ciaran Dwyer of Knoxville Morning

Knoxville-Morning---Ciaran-Dwyer

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Ciaran Dwyer from Knoxville Morning and his picks from 2013.

Irish Song of the Year: Lethal Dialect (Feat. Jacknife J) – ’13 til Infinity’

My love of lyric writing came from being an obsessive Hip Hop Fan in secondary school and it was this that led me to folk music and to the poets that are my heroes today. I’m quite new to Lethal Dialect and when I heard this song it blew my mind on first listen, the easy going production and flow is perfect and the song couldn’t have come at a better time, slap bang in the middle of our best summer in years but its the subjects that Lethal raps about that really bring me in. Like all great writers he writes about his own environment and what he sees around him turning the often banal into things of beauty. The last verse (especially the last two lines) give me shivers on the scruff of my neck every time I hear it, one of the best tributes to a woman I’ve ever heard in a song. Pure Poetry, Pure Genius.

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Album of the Year: The National – ‘Trouble Will Find Me’

This was a toss up between this and Push the Sky Away by Nick Cave which also blew my mind this year. Trouble edges it for me as The National have been my favourite band for many years now and every album is a step up the ladder of greatness, this one being probably my personal favourite alongside Boxer. The highlight tunes on this for me are ‘I Should Live in Salt’, ‘Demons’, ‘Humiliation’ and ‘Pink Rabbits’ (one of the finest songs they’ve ever written). Matt Berninger is the man of the match on this album, outdoing himself with his Vocals and pushing himself to new heights with his lyrics. I was lucky to see them tour twice this year and the second time ranks as one of my favourite shows that I’ve ever seen.

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Song of 2013: The Mighty Stef – ‘The Hardship’

I can remember loving this song the first time I ever heard it being played in a sound check in Detroit. It hadn’t yet become the absolute Monster of a song it is today but had all the hallmarks of a Mighty Stef classic even back then. The word Hardship has been thrown around our bands in jest for a couple of years now, often in the middle of real hardship where some comic relief is needed to keep the train on the tracks. If there’s one thing I know about Stef and his operation is that he has had to work incredibly hard through all manners of Hardship to get any little thing he gets in Music. The singing on this is perfect, a master-class in how to deliver a song, full of emotion and passion and going right to the end of his range as a singer. ‘The Hardship’ is an anthem to all of us who are in this game for the long run.

Best of 2013 w/ Stephen Connelly of Sea Area Forecast & Knoxville Morning

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It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Stephen Connelly from Knoxville Morning and Sea Area Forecast, and of course an intrinsic part of the BarryGruff shows, to share his picks from 2013.

Favourite Album of 2013: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Push The Sky Away’

Cave saved ‘Body & Soul’ festival for me this year. More laptops than people. In the midst of a heavily electronic based festival, Cave storms the stage and knocks everyone on their arses. Reminding those that might have forgotten that live rock ‘n roll doesn’t fuck around. Great hearing the classics but it’s his new songs that stood out for me. A beautiful spacious sound that hasn’t appeared on any their previous albums. My love for The Bad Seeds stems from the darkness of Caves lyrics mirrored in their music. ‘Push the Sky Away’ does this but on the opposite scale using minimalistic approach. The loss of guitarist Mick Harvey has left a huge gap, in turn though allowing Warren Ellis to run a muck with his soundscapes which I’m all for. As far as the lyrics go, Cave has never been so on the ball. Stand out tracks for me -‘Higgs Boson Blues’, ‘Mermaids’ and ‘We Real Cool’.

Other albums you might learn something from. I haven’t, but you might: Waxahatchee – ‘Cerulean Salts’, The Depravations – ‘ Onwards, Westwards’, Death Grips – ‘Government Plates’, The National – ‘Trouble Will Find Me’, Bill Callahan – ‘Dream River’, Perfume Genius – ‘Put Your Back N 2 It’.

 

Favourite Song of 2013: Mogwai – ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’.

Surprised myself with this one but it was a toss up between this and a couple of King Krule jams. I’ve been watching a French show called ‘Les Revenants’ that has an incredible eerie soundtrack by Mogwai. This is the only other song I’ve heard by them and it’s amazing. Even the video alone is stunning.

 

Favourite Irish Song of 2013: There’s too much good shit happening to pick just one…

Oisin McCole – ‘Not For Your Heart’

I should be sick of listening to this song by now but it still sounds fresh even after a bazillion plays.

Oh Boland – ‘Mouthpiece’

Seen these guys play a fair bit over the last year and their live shows always deliver. Energetic garage pop rock from Tuam of all fucking places. Their onstage enthusiasm is everything I love about live music.

Rory Hughes – ‘Woe Is Me’

Just listen to that voice. Incredible!

 

Best of 2013 w/ Cormac Brady

cobra-dy

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Cormac Brady and his rule breaking picks from 2013. 

Favourite album of 2013:

Thanks to Barry for asking me to write this piece again this year. Also I hope he accepts my back hander and lets me bend the rules a bit. It’s hard to pick one record, so here are twelve. Rules? RULES MEAN NOTHING TO ME

Savages – Silence Yourself
Steve Mason – Monkey Minds in the Devils Time
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels
Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork
Danny Brown – Old
Death Grips – Government Plates
Juana Molina – Wed 21
Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Moderat – II
Halves – Boa Howl
Dancing Suns – Goldmine

If I had to pick one over the rest, it would be Run the Jewels because I’ve listened to it the most. It’s a quality rap album. Killer Mike and El-P have all the charisma of an old school rap duo like PE, and they keep it original too.

Favourite Song of 2013:

I’m torn apart picking one tune, so I’ve had to pick three. Rules? FUCK YOU AND YOUR RULES

One: Savages – City’s Full. This band tore Electric Picnic a new arsehole back in September. I regularly stick the earphones in and play this tune over and over again at deafening volumes.

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Two: Mount Kimbie – Made to Stray. I think I’ve listened to this tune eight hundred million times.

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Three: Danny Brown – Lonely. I love this lad’s ability to balance honesty and insanity in his records. He’s a true artist. This track a little glimpse of the emotional depth his music can carry.

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Favourite Irish song of 2013: Mmoths – ‘All These Things (feat. Holly Miranda)’

This tune is a perfect collaboration. Mmoths – All These Things (feat. Holly Miranda)

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