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Nuggets from our archive

1999 - 'The eMusic Market', written by Gordon McConnell it focuses on how the internet could change the music industry. Boy was he on the money, years before any of us had heard of an iPod or of Napster.

The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Host Account'

01
The Hold Steady (live in Dublin)
The Hold Steady (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Playing to audience of 30 something men, The Hold Steady deliver a set much appreciated by the many converted in the audeience. ...

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27
The Pogues (live in Sheffield)
The Pogues (live in The O2 Academy, Sheffield) Review Snapshot:  'They sang us songs from times long-gone / though we knew that we’d be seeing them again' – a fiddled...

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27
Tubelord 'Our First American Friends'
A review of the album 'Our First American Friends' by Tubelord Review Snapshot: The debut album by Cockney math rockers Tubelord and is somewhat of a gem amongst a genre in which...

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08
Les Shelleys 'Les Shelleys'
A review of the debut album from Les Shelleys Review Snapshot: This is the debut album from the duo of Tom Brosseau and Angela Correa otherwise known as Les Shelleys. What you get here is a s...

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27
CODES
With blood pouring from her face, a girl stumbles into the surging crowd at a Christmas light’s fundraiser in a dingy pub in Ireland. Yes, that’s right. A fundraiser for Christmas lights. ...

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30
Pilotlight (live in Dublin)
Pilotlight (Live in the Button Factory, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Pilotlight have a unique sound. Understated and expressive on the record, they are powerful and overstated live. The Cluas Verd...

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08

A review of the album 'It's Blitz!' by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah YeahsReview Snapshot: Have Karen O’s NY art-rock knuckleheads sold their guitars and bought turntables?

The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10

Full Review:

“It’s Sh*t!”

It’s not quite actually. It might have been a title worth a (mild) chortle if that were the case. However if you’re already a fan it could be your initial reaction. Those familiar with their brash and rattling sound, roughly cut between the dusty granite canyons of New York and inspired by the “avant-punk” of sultry lead singer Karen O’s Ohio, may feel this lightning bolt of an album singe their senses and offend their rock sensibilities.
 
It is an alien discomfort, the reverse to seeing your beloved nerdy bestest-friend you used to play war-games with come home from college recast as a woman-melting Don Juan. In "It’s Blitz!" the band pump voltage into their previous experimentation with studio sorcery.
 
TV On The Radio magi Dave Sitek is tossed into the blender as producer. As for Nick Zinner, to some the “best guitarist in rock’n’roll right now”, out goes his ogrish six-string (almost). Instead he wields a dizzying array of bleeps, blips and synth sound waves, unrecognisable to Zinner’s early frustrated guitar licks: all fuzz, dirt and restrained sexual energy.
 
This continues a recent neon-streaked trend. Jumping the packed bandwagon that recently rolled out of an 80s wormhole with La Roux et al, Karen O unveils her love of the Giorgio Moroder-mastered disco of Donna Summer. Funky opener Zero, an essensual (eh, is that clever? How otherwise does a language evolve) new party tune, and Dragon Queen ecstatically demonstrate her penchant for dance and orgasmic screeching.
 
Just as the buzz-cut commentary of Dull Life and Shame and Fortune hint at recidivism and a return to guitar, the album zaps back into a mix of I Was A Cubscout-esque soft electronic balladry that the YYY’s hinted to in the past with the likes of Dudley.
 
The band continue their creative ascension with closer Little Shadow. Although it’s not the immediately accessible, sand-blasted diamond of their earlier garage racket, the band ask you to “follow” Karen and co as they climb that “ladder to the sun”, exploring the bionically-boosted vestigial reaches of their talent.
 
Lead single Zero could prove a catchy call-to-arms for a new generation of electro-punks to get their disco-rock “leather on” and the striking album cover is sure to go down as an important still in the great TV wall of noughties’ images. The painted-nail fist crushing the egg is powerful and ludicrous, perhaps symbolic of the band’s sound: shopping feminine strength to male brutality and creating a luscious over-kill of noise.
 
Ciarán McCollum

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15

A review of the album 'Two Suns' by Bat for Lashes

Bat for Lashes - Two SunsReview Snapshot: ‘Two Suns’, released by Bat for Lashes in April 2009, was recently nominated for a Brit award. From the first song a haunting sound, almost hymnal at times, is created. It's not an initial jaw dropper of an album however it will grow on you. Soon enough you’ll find yourself wandering around humming the songs off this album unknowingly. Lyrically beautiful and musically underrated, it is deserving of much more praise than it has received. An album that rightly propels this songstress into the limelight. 

The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10

Full Review: Bat for Lashes is a one woman show; Natasha Khan is the singer/ songwriter and multi instrumentalist behind the name and she recently received a much deserved nomination for Best British Female Solo Act at the 2010 Brit awards. ‘Two Suns’ - her second album - was released back in April 2009 and slowly, but surely, has been rising in popularity. I’ve grown to love it over the last nine months and the recent Brit nomination is my excuse to review it now.  

Inspired by her travels and composed across the globe - from the Joshua Tree desert in California to the hills of the Welsh Country side to the hustle and bustle of New York and London - ‘Two Suns’ invites us to join the protagonist on her travels from a cityscape to a countryscape which is particularly evident from ‘Two Planets’ and ‘Travelling Woman’. The album begins softly with ‘Glass’ as she immediately draws us into the haunting atmosphere that envelops it and doesn’t stray far from this temperament throughout. Voice is Khan's primary instrument, it inviting us into her world from the get-go with a soft vulnerability that enthrals the listener. The opener begins acapella, draws us in hook line and sinker (“I will rise now / And go about the city”).
 
‘Daniel’ is relatively up tempo in comparison to the rest of the album. My favourite song, I even found myself singing the chorus over and over again not just to myself but to strangers with that name. The first single release, it is about her childhood crush, Daniel LaRusso from the Karate Kid.  
 
She talks a lot throughout of Pearl, her alter ego. She distances herself from this character while at the same time acknowledging that Pearl is one side of her personality. Again this mirrors her city/ country scape juxtaposition. ‘Siren Song’ and ‘Pearl’s Dream’ - both of which have Pearl as their protagonist - are lyrically beautiful, portraying the sense of loneliness, longing and bewilderment that oftentimes accompanies one on their travels.  
 
The final song on the album, ‘The Big Sleep’, features Scott Walker and the only instrument is a piano. It has a hymnal quality to it (as does much of the album) and leaves the listener back to where they started.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed this album however it’s a grower. Upon first listen it is quite forgettable but once it has been through the CD player a few times it will be very difficult to take out.  The haunting sound of Natasha Khan's voice, consistent throughout the album, has what it takes to give the willing listener a healthy bit of escapism. 
 
With the recent Brit nomination received by Bat for Lashes it seems that Khan's efforts as a composer, vocalist and instrumentalist haven’t gone unnoticed. With any luck she will gather some attention and praise, much deserved.

Teresa Loftus


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20
Peter Doherty (live in Dublin)
Pete Doherty (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: I didn’t expect him to show up. Nor indeed did I expect him to show up with two ballerinas in tow. But show up he did. He was...

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01

A review of the 'Twilight Saga: New Moon Music' soundtrack

Twilight Saga, New Moon MusicReview Snapshot: An album that would most likely be passed over by many because of the film it comes from, this soundtrack is an extremely pleasant surprise. With tracks from Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Grizzly Bear (to name a few), this soundtrack is for fans of music, not just fans of the Twilight extravaganza.

The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10

Full Review:
This album is a complete surprise for many of us with preconceived notions about the Twilight franchise. The mentions of "sparkling" vampires and teen love are the subject of many a jeer from those above such nonsense, so when someone says: "the soundtrack for New Moon is actually quite good", it's fair enough to be a more than a little disbelieving.

The opening track, and theme tune to the movie, is "Meet me on the Equinox" by Death Cab for Cutie. The song, having been written for a vampire romance, is a tale of love - "Let me lay beside you darling / Let me be your man" - but also warns ominously that "everything ends".

The album continues to impress with second track "Friends" by Band of Skulls, a somewhat more upbeat track, and "Hearing Damage" by Thom Yorke.

Thom Yorke on a Twilight soundtrack? Yes, it is quite remarkable, and this previously unreleased song is somewhat different from his usual, possibly in the hopes to appeal to a wider audience. Perhaps the many teenage girls that will buy this soundtrack? Abandoning irregular time signatures and strange effects, Yorke opts instead for a more subtle approach and the result is a haunting, low pitched piece with the ability to resonate with any listener.

Then, we arrive at track four: Lykke Li's "Possibility". There's a possibility that this is my personal favourite song on the album (cheesy pun definitely intended). The repeated crashing of piano chords, and her echoing vocals tell the tale of love's end, a similar story to the opening track. An extremely emotional song, "Possibility" could leave you with shivers - assuming you have a heart.

The album continues with a song from The Killers, which is much like the rest of their work, and will be liked by fans of the band. "Satellite Heart" by Anya Marina is a beautifully simple acoustic, and definitely worth more than one listen.
The entire album is extremely well done, particularly when you consider the film it comes from. However, the first half definitely overshadows the second, and after Muse's "I Belong To You" (which, quite frankly, left me a little cold), the album seems to drift away. It is saved by the fact that Bon Iver and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club both contribute a song, and there is of course "No Sound But The Wind" by Editors, which is wonderfully epic.

Unfortunately, they simply had to throw in a bit of an instrumental piece at the end, to remind us that this did, in fact, come from a film about teenage vampires. On the subject of "The Meadow", well, if you have the CD, don't bother listening to this bit of orchestral nonsense. If you download the album? Delete it.

Aoife Kiely


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