Entries for July 2009

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14
Graham Coxon 'The Spinning Top'
A review of the album 'The Spinning Top' by Graham Coxon Review Snapshot: 15 tracks of pure eloquence, beauty and expert finger-picking from the Blur guitarist's seventh solo album. This album documents the life story of a man from birth to death, and realistically could've either gone one of two ways: it could've been disastrous or it could've been fantastic. Fortunately, it's the latter. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: 'The Spinning Top', the seventh solo offering from Blur's Graham Coxon, documents the life story of a man from birth to death. This album could easily be brushed aside due to the hustle of bustle of Blur's reunion overshadowing it. But this is typically Coxon's style, he never vies for the limelight and seems content with being the musical genius in the background. However, it would be a crime for this album to go unnoticed. There's a 60s vibe throughout, seemingly influenced by folk mus... [Read on]
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14
A review of the album 'Here Come the 123s' by They Might Be Giants Review Snapshot: Grammy-winning quirky, melodic fun from 90s indie icons. Not just for kids! The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: They Might Be Giants had a succession of indie hits back in the late 80s/early 90s. Their best-known album was "Flood", released in 1990, on which you'll find the indie disco staple "Little birdhouse in your soul". People took music pretty seriously back then (when rock music fans were the goodies and rave music fans were the baddies) and they suffered a little bit in the eyes of the Serious Music Fan on account of being too much, well, FUN compared to the other bands that were hip at the time, but I guess it didn't phase them much as they've released 10 studio albums since, with the most recent albums featuring music for kids that adults too could love. Their music had a kind of kiddishness to it even early on - there was a song on "Flood" called "Particle Man" that described b... [Read on]
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13
Oxegen 2009 Day Three (live in Punchestown, Kildare)
Day Three of Oxegen 2009   Review Snapshot: While I didn't get to see as many bands as I would have liked to on Day Three of Oxegen 2009, those that I did see continued to impress.  From a purely musical point of view, Oxegen 2009 ended on a high with one performance in particular standing out. The CLUAS Verdict? 8.5 out of 10   Full Review: Rarely Seen Above Ground (Red Bull Music Academy) On paper, going to see a drummer play along to a backing track doesn't sound too appealing.  It certainly doesn't help when that drummer arrives on stage over 20 minutes late.  However, when the drummer in question is Jeremy Hickey, better known as Choice Music Prize nominee Rarely Seen Above Ground, you know it's well worth the wait.  Hickey is a very talented multi-instrumentalist and his performance is accompanied by a screen showing a virtual band who are, in reality, all Hickey.  What is rarely mentioned ... [Read on]
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12
Day Two Oxegen 2009 (live in Punchestown, Co. Kildare)
Review of Day Two of Oxegen 2009 Review Snapshot: Day Two of Oxegen 2009 was all about rain, rock and roll.  Despite the weather, or maybe because of it, the majority of acts seemed to up their game and reward their audiences with performances that defied the best efforts of the elements to ruin everyone's day. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10   Full Review: Red Light Company (The O2 Stage) They might be more than a little obsessed with Broken Social Scene but Red Light Company appear to have perfected the art of daytime festival performance.  Think Feeder.  Considering the impending weather the crowd were in good spirits and were rewarded with rousing renditions of Scheme Eugene (name check Broken Social Scene) and Arts & Crafts (Broken Social Scene Label).  Perhaps a little too sameish for my liking but still, not a bad start to day two.   Ge... [Read on]
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11
Day One of Oxegen 2009 Review Snapshot: There must have been something in the air in Punchestown as at least 3 bands invited members of the crowd on stage during the first day of Oxegen 2009. There might have been an overwhelming feeling that there were less people here than in previous years but that didn’t stop the bands from putting in some great performances. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10   Full Review: When you wake up on the first morning of a festival and hear nothing on the radio but people forecasting 6 day traffic jams and rain, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Noah worked for Harland and Wolff, you have to wonder if it is worth making the effort at all.  However, the first piece of good news was that the traffic was almost non-existent, perhaps helped by the fact that, being relatively local, I know some alternative routes into Punchestown.  Also, the rain, which began as I parked the car, was gone in little ove... [Read on]
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08
Florence & The Machine 'Lungs'
  A review of the album 'Lungs' by Florence & The Machine Review Snapshot: Although Florence Welch may have garnered the press attention, the album's arrangement and production work ultimately makes Lungs a worthy listen. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: For over a year, Lungs has been hyped to high heaven, propelled by a combination of four strong singles and bandleader Florence Welch’s press-baiting off-stage antics. Musically, the media have leapt on the combination of soul and indie-pop that supposedly characterises Welch’s music , the latest in the series of British blue-eyed soulsters that have made their mark with a deft eye on both retro and contemporary pop. Indeed, one could make a case for Welch simply continuing that trend: she’s certainly got the voice, and the songs could reasonably be transformed into 60s soundalikes if a Ronson-type so desired. More important than such comparisons, and what most of the ye... [Read on]
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