Entries for April 2009

Articles

27
Silversun Pickups 'Swoon'
A review of the album 'Swoon' by Silversun Pickups Review Snapshot: Competent but slightly dull sophomore release from the California-based four-piece. Following on from the success of ‘Carnavas’, their debut album, ‘Swoon’ is polished and well-played but lacks the irresistible hook of their early single ‘Lazy Eye’. The Cluas Verdict? 5.5 out of 10 Full Review: So long as Brian Aubert sings angst-filled lyrics in a reedy-voiced manner to the background of heavily-distorted guitars, there will always be a Smashing Pumpkins reference waiting to be mentioned when discussing Silversun Pickups. From the opposite side of America they may be, but aside from the voice, guitars, female bass player and the same initials (am I stretching this?) there was the gorgeous ‘1979’-esque mellow groove of their breakthrough single ‘Lazy Eye’. With their second release Silversun Pickups seem to have edged away slight... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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27
Oliver Cole, Alphastates & Others (live in Radio City, Dublin) Review Snapshot: There's something different about Oliver Cole these days, and not just the use of his full forename.  A happier Cole headlined a Revolver night with a multiude of new songs and was ably supported by a number of old and new faces.  The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: This was a strange gig for me.  I'm normally the bloke that stands towards the back, arms crossed, doing my best to look non-plussed about the whole thing.  Not tonight, as I'm forced up the front by over anxious friends, one of whom is a work colleague of one of the acts (consider that my declaration of interest).  It did have it's benefits though, as you can see in Key Notes Set List Special. Opening tonight was Gillian Verrachia.  She easily overcame an inauspicious start (the stool she was supposed to sit on was set way too high for someone... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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26
Ellen Allien (live in The Twisted Pepper, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Reductionist beats. Minimum melody. This is minimal techno. And this, is dull.    The Cluas Verdict? 5.5 out of 10 Full Review: 'You Are Here,' the barman's T-shirt helpfully offered. 'Here' was the Twisted Pepper, but with its faux fur lampshades, dicks drawn on tables and scabby carpets, 'Here' felt very much like a surreal 'There.' 'Why do I feel like I'm in the middle of a 90s Tarantino movie?' my gig partner quizzically spoke aloud. And I wondered the same thing. There was a tall man in an Indiana Jones hat walking around and a hyperactive guy in a pink top and a Pogo sign was stuck up with cable ties and a couple of couples sat, waiting. The odd smells didn't offer any more coherence: The bar smelt of chocolate and cinnamon candles, the toilet's odour resembled boiled spuds and, eventually, the venue filled up with the scent ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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26
Funeral Suits, Angel Pier & Others (live in Andrew’s Lane Theatre) Review Snapshot: From post-punk posse to girl in a fur hat on synths, this IMRO gig proved that Dublin’s musicians are coming out with as much variety as a pick ‘n’ mix bag.  The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Feedback and static. This was the splice of Funeral Suits that hit me when walking into Andrew’s Lane Theatre, where a thin crowd quietly sipped drinks at tables. The three-piece band began with a Bloc Party style track, and rolled into other influences with the ease and enthusiasm of youths covering their favourite bands: Stone Roses, Maximo Park, The Cure. With blurred pixilated visuals onscreen behind him, the drummer looked like he was wearing Philip K. Dicks’ scramble suit. The band’s full sound was impressive, but nothing that has not been done before. When the yellow and pink rays of light streamed onto us, there was a calm after... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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26
Groom (live, Upstairs in Whelan's, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Those who were downstairs waiting for Mundy to play one of his two songs, could have done far worse than make their way upstairs to see two examples of how one man and a guitar doesn't have to sound boring or formulaic. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Being a vegetarian means that sometimes, when you want more than just 'Pasta in a non-descript white sauce', you find yourself having to look around for somewhere to eat.  It was because of this that I only arrived in Whelan's half way through Neosupervital's support slot. This was my first time upstairs in Whelan's and it has a very peculiar shape for a venue and appears to be more suited from its previous purpose (as a smoking room) than as a gig venue.  That being said, its design forces people towards the stage and lends an intimacy that many venues lack.  ... [Read on]
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25
Katie Kim
Interview with Waterford's Katie Kim Katie Kim is one of the many fine acts to emerge from Waterford in recent times. Her album last year, Twelve, met with a warm critical reception with Donal Dineen championing ‘Radio’ on his show and Jim Carroll dubbing it a “subtle, slow-burring magic”. Earlier this year she jetted off to Toronto, but she returned recently. She talked to Cluas to discuss Canada, the ups and downs of her career to date, and the future. So, Katie, you have been in Canada a few months at this stage. How has it been treating you? Well I was there for around 3 months. I'm back now. There’s still a big question mark looming over my head about why I went at the particular time I did. Twelve had just been released, I adored my band, I was starting to get used to the live situation and the album just started getting some really good attention. But I had been living in Ireland for a long, long time and as excited as I was abou... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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22
A review of the album Upside to the Downside by Jabbas Review Snapshot:  Upside to the Downside doesn't break any new musicial boundaries but its infusion of edgy urban beats and toe-tapping electro-pop ensures that there's pleanty to keep all but the most fickle of listeners coming back again and again. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Jabbas is a very aspirational young man.  Before I began to listen to his debut album, Upside to the Downside, I was challenged to cut up everything I thought I knew about rock, pop and dance and throw the pieces into a pot of glue.  Indeed, even then, what came out would only go some of the way to explaining what Jabbas sounds like.  An interesting challenge when you're dealing with something as subjective and emotive as music, I'm sure you'll agree but it is also an exercise well worth undertaking, especially when the album in question, for the most par... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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21
An interview with Leeds-based Official Secrets Act Formed in 2006 in Leeds' Official Secrets Act are a new sharply dressed indie fourpiece. Combining the angular riffs of Franz Ferdinand with the synth-based melodies of the 80’s New Romantic era their new CD Understanding Electricity is out now.   The new album is out and you must be delighted with it. Was it an arduous process to record or was it quite easy and natural? The challenge with making a first album is whether you record the 12 best songs you've ever written as a band up until that point, or whether you select songs with the concept of an 'album' and some kind of consistency in mind. For us, with the recession kicking in and thoroughly disillusioned with the fruits of our education, we were determined to choose songs that we could use to combat our overwhelming scepticism, with romance and escapism. After that it was a question of pushing each song as far as it could go until it found it... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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18
Alias Empire  (live in Crawdaddy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Happy, dizzy, sweaty: Alias Empire rocked a sell-out Antics night with enough synths to wake yer granddad.  The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: I like disproportion. And I like sensory stimulation. This might explain my love of tiny daffodils, miniature Heroes and giant Jenga. It would also account for my pleasant feelings on walking into Tripod Wednesday night to see a huge white Raffaello on the ceiling, a giant stretched thong-like decoration, young girls with small knees and a DJ with a tiny head and gigantic round headphones. Crawdaddy filled up nicely as Antics began to sell out. The time waiting for Alias Empire (formerly Dry County) to take the stage was spent posing in front of visuals that consisted of whales, fish and other little monsters swirling around in a sea of colour. The music began with Jape and Morrissey and ended up getting all tech-house-like which got the crowd excited... [Read on]
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15
Herm 'Monsters'
A review of the album Monsters by Herm Review Snapshot: Monsters is an excellent album whose only fault is that it contains so many disparate song styles that it sometimes sounds more like a 'best of' than you would expect debut record.  The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Herm (known to the passport office as Kevin Connolly) is, as he likes to say, the result of a short-lived relationship in the late 70's between Her and Him; writing his first song at the age of 8, about alcohol addiction.  More than that, Herm and his Hermanos are a blend of like-minded afficionados of folk, pop, rock and everything else they can get their hands on.  They follow up their well received Rosemary EP with Monsters a fine, if slightly disjointed, debut album. Opening with The Way, a song Johnny Cash could have sold 10 million copies of had he written it, Herm diplays his one man orchestral skills (guitar, keys, percussion and vox) to grea... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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