Entries for July 2009

Articles

27
U2 live in Croke Park, Dublin Review Snapshot: Well what's more fun than 80,000 people chanting anthems in Ireland's sporting Mecca on a summer's evening? A lot if you read the papers this week. Despite worries about the stage not being fully utilised, the prospect of preaching from "St Bono's Book of Glib", and an album still seeking its place in the wider public's consciousness; it was a blistering performance musically, if a little short. U2 seized the day and won out in the end.  The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: Are U2 the biggest and best band in the world? Are they a corporate entity living on past glory? Or are they an incredible group of perennial live performers who don't know when to quit trying to be relevant and just enjoy the show? The answer is probably a little of each of the above. This reviewer doesn't believe the much written garbage from certain elements of the Irish media who slate the latest of... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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24
Bruce Springsteen (live in the RDS, Dublin) Review Snapshot: A rain soaked, recession obsessed city is lit up by the thundering guitar of an American hero. Bruce was in town last weekend for a two night stint at the RDS. Working on a Dream, the latest offering by the Boss has done the business commercially, and there is more than a few stand out tunes to sing along to. Inevitably it's the old favourites, belted out by the show-stopping, jet-flying, limousine-riding E-Street band that folks come to see. And even in the grey & damp confines of the RDS, Bruce lit up the sky for 3 hours 20 minutes.   The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: I must confess the first time I was fortunate enough to see Bruce Springsteen live was as late as 2005 in the Point. It was the tour supporting the collection of Pete Seeger songs he recorded that year. It was excellent stuff too; pure blue grass with a tint of rock and roll and a collection of flawlessly talented, if varie... [Read on]
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24
The Decemberists (live in The Vogue Theatre, Vancouver) Review Snapshot: The Decemberists are an unusual band. They have a knack for integrating theatre into their music in a way that many bands attempt to, but few actually accomplish with the same gusto as the Portland outfit. Far too often this merging of ideas tends to take away from one or the other and more often than not it is the music that suffers. The audience that packed into The Vogue Theatre in downtown Vancouver last night, however, were treated to a feast of over the top storytelling and live music. The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: An anticipative crowd queued outside the arena in the unforgiving Canadian sunshine for a good two hours before being admitted. The Vogue is an intimate venue and perfect for a band as interactive as The Decemberists and was comprised of a ground floor and balcony, both of which were seated. In relation to Irish venues it was only slightly bigger than the Ac... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
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23
Taking Back Sunday 'New Again'
A review of the album 'New Again' by Taking Back Sunday Review Snapshot: 'New Again' is a typically poor album by a terrible North American band. Standard mainstream emo rock targeted at young teenagers that do not know better. There perhaps should be watchdogs set up to stop this practice. The Cluas Verdict?3 out of 10 Full Review: When I was listening to ‘New Again’, I was honestly hoping that my battery might die. I was wishing that the annoying sound of Taking Back Sunday’s latest album would give way to the drone of commuter rail. Alas no. I persevered however and gave the band a chance. After all, I did not care for ‘Closer’ the first time I heard it at 14. My ears have deceived me before. I can now say though, that Taking Back Sunday are no Joy Division. They’re not even on a par with A Certain Ratio. ‘Bleed America’ - the record that launched a thousand terrible emo bands. Jimmy Eat World ha... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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20
Adam and Darcie
  Adam and Darcie are a husband and wife team from Provo, Utah. Having released their debut The Valley Where I'm From, a couple of years ago, they recently signed to Irish record label Indiecater Records. Their new album California Trail is out on July 24th. The new album is out next week. How do you feel in relation to it and, perhaps, the public reacton to it? Confident? Nervous? A bit of both? Adam: The process of writing, recording, and producing the album was a wonderful yet demanding journey, so having it done and ready for people to hear (and hopefully enjoy) is a good place to be. I guess I'm also cautiously optimistic. These are some of the more personal songs we've released, but I hope they will resonate with others in a way that is unique and personal to them. Darcie: We've put a lot of time and emotion into the album and I'm indeed proud of it. That doesn't mean I think everyone is going to listen to it exclusively for the rest o... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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20
Aloof as ever, Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon and previously Red House Painters, had a very quick word with Anna Murray ahead of his Andrew’s Lane gig this Thursday. Do you regret the demise of Red House Painters? I never saw it as a demise. Sounds a bit dramatic. Those guys are some of my best friends, and all of them are involved in Sun Kil Moon. Jerry and Phil play and travel with me on the SKM tours, and Anthony plays drums on the records. You are famous as much for rearranging other peoples' songs as for writing your own. 'Cover versions' are so often derided as being uncreative and unoriginal - what do you think of that attitude? I've talked too much on the covers thing, beat it to death. People think whatever they think about it, what can you do? You have been involved in quite a broad range of collaborations (with other musicians, labels etc) than most artists. Do you think it's important to the development of your musicianship ... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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19
Dan Black 'Un'
A review of the album 'Un' by Dan Black Review Snapshot: A clumsy, witless attempt at dancefloor-friendly electro-rock, the solo record by The Servant’s lead singer is quite awful. No amount of effects and beats can disguise its tired rawk-isms and Blunt-esque vocals. Stay well away from it. The Cluas Verdict? 2 out of 10 Full Review: You might know Dan Black as the singer with The Servant, who had some minor success with singles like ‘Liquefy’ and ‘Orchestra’. With this solo album, Black is closer to dancefloor electro-rock than the guitar emo-ness of his now-defunct band. Riffs are heavily treated and rhythms scurry frantically out of a box. And the title, ‘Un’, implies that this record is not like his previous work and perhaps (if one counts in French) the first step in a new direction. In truth, though, the touches of electronica are merely dressing up the same old formulaic rock of The Servant. The writi... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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19
Alela Diane 'To Be Still'
A review of the album 'To Be Still' by Alela Diane Review Snapshot: The Californian folk singer-songer steps up a gear with a fantastic second album whose careful production and crafted songs are shot through with the haunting ache of her voice and the blissful innocence of her pastoral lyrics. 'To Be Still' has the feel of a classic. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Whatever the title of her new album may have you believe, Alela Diane Menig is not resting on her laurels. ‘To Be Still’, the young folk singer’s gorgeous second record, shows a significant development in production, arrangement and songwriting from the simple charms of her much-lauded debut, ‘The Pirate’s Gospel’. It’s apt that this album opens with a bass drum kick and a pedal steel lick, thus immediately distinguishing itself from its predecessor. Where Menig’s first record consisted mostly of her voice and acoustic guitar,... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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16
2009 sees the third year of one of Ireland's fastest growing and most interesting music festivals: Cork X Southwest. The August bank holiday will see picturesque Skibbereen awash with music-lovers as The Waterboys, Lisa Hannigan and Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club among many others take to the stage. Sig Doherty catches up with Lisa Hannigan. Hello Lisa, where are you this Irish summer’s morning? Currently in Galway, we had a gig in the Roisin Dubh last night and have another one tonight, so waking up in rainy Galway Now the shackles have been discarded, how are you revelling in your new found freedom as a solo performer? Great!  I have a really amazing band around me who are also my friends. It’s an absolute pleasure travelling around with these people, and the tour manager (Una Molloy) is my best mate. It just has been amazing! And we have been writing songs on the road as well, and slowly getting better at that! It’s going really grand. ... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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14
Super Furry Animals 'Dark Days / Light Years'
A review of the album 'Dark Days / Light Years' by Super Furry Animals The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: A few months ago I compiled a playlist of my favourite Super Furry Animals’ tracks stretching back to their debut Fuzzy Logic right through to their most recent effort Hey Venus! Listening on shuffle, what struck me was the consistency in their back catalogue's sound. Every song happily stood by the next, as if they all could have appeared on the same record. SFA have been remarkably consistent in terms of their sound and the quality of their output, a trait that is exceptionally rare these days. Remember this is a band that formed around the same time Radiohead cut Pablo Honey. A band that has seen the rise and fall of so called “generation defining bands” like The Libertines, and one that has outlasted just about all of their Britpop contemporaries they were once called the alternative to. After sixteen years, nine albums, and four... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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