Entries for August 2009

Articles

29
Discovery 'LP'
A review of the album 'LP' by Discovery Review Snapshot: Vampire Weekend + Ra Ra Riot = Kanye West. The collaboration between a member of each of those bands comes up with a sort of indie R n'B sound. While the songwriting isn't up to the level of dedicated hitmakers in this genre, there's plenty to like here - including a swingbeat version of young Michael Jackson's 'I Want You Back'. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Side projects seem to be de rigueur for indie acts these days. So here's Discovery, the nixer of Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend and Wes Miles from Ra Ra Riot. Those two bands would seem to go well together, sharing a love of melodic, thoughtful alt-guitar songs flavoured either with world sounds (VW) or chamber-pop cellos (RRR). Discovery, though, resemble neither parent group. 'LP' is a record of electro-tinted dancefloor R n'B in the manner of Kanye West or Rihanna or the innumerab... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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26
Pains of Being Pure At Heart
Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have being creating waves in the indie scene since they released their debut EP last year. Their fuzzy indie pop has proven infectious and their debut eponymous album is amongst my favourite records of the year. I chatted to them during their tour of North America to see how things have gone so far, and what plans they had for the future. How are you doing? Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Did you enjoy your time in Vancouver? Things are great! We had a pretty awesome time in Vancouver - there was a rowdy crowd, which made things extra fun. How did the band get together? We were all friends first, and would hang out a lot and geek out about music.  We formed to play at Peggy's birthday party, though at the time it was just me, Alex and Peggy with an iPod on drums. We played about 5 songs with 4 chords in 10 minutes. It may have been really bad, but we had so much fun we didn't notice. When you were beginning i... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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20
Gaggle
Gaggle, a 22-piece London based female choir, creatively infuse powerful, fast paced evocative music with an almost intimidating air. Though Gaggle are only new on the scene, fronted by Coughlin formerly of 586, these girls definitely know what they’re doing, and it's not to be missed... Where’d the idea for Gaggle originally come from? People who know me well know that Gaggle is the only logical outcome of my interests and talents. There's more music than ever, more bands, more myspace, everyone is in a band but most of them are just boring, ineffectual, limp splutters into space. I wanted my next music project to be powerful, warrior style burst of excitement, strangeness and something to annoy people who dream of being Johnny Borrell.  I couldn't think of anything more powerful than 22 scary, smart women in evil monk-hoodies stomping and chanting about what it's like being a drunk, or being lied to, or the disappointment of being politically a... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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19
Pearse McGloughlin 'Busy Whisper'
A review of the album Busy Whisper by Pearse McGloughlin Review Snapshot: Busy Whisper is a haunting collection of ten songs that reflect on those moments of longing that appear to happen in the peripheral.  Sparse without being bleak, Busy Whisper sees McGloughlin emerge as one of Ireland's finest song writing talents. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The name Pearse McGloughlin might not mean anything to you now, but I don't doubt that it will become a great deal more familiar when Busy Whisper makes its way on to many end of year 'best of' lists.  Full of ghostly compositions and tender melodies, it is hard to believe that Busy Whisper is a debut album and yet it is, perhaps, the finest Irish solo record I've heard since Damien Rice released O. I've always found that one of the most disappointing aspects of real life is that it doesn't come with its own soundtrack, unlike movies and TV.  If real life did have a ... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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17
A review of the album 'The First Days of Spring' by Noah and the Whale Review Snapshot: The Twickenham based folk outfit return with a heartfelt second album. It proved a difficult second album, not in music terms but more in the feeling in the theme, which proves thankfully, that Noah and the Whale are here, for a while at least Cluas Verdict: 8/10 Full review: The first thing to note about “The First Days of Spring” is that Charlie Fink is sole vocalist.The second is that the record is definitely not like the first by the group, and the third is that the theme is not a happy one.The record opens with the title track. A strings intro accompanied by a clean electric guitar hook, immediately sets down the tone for the album. What strikes this reviewer is the incredible similarity between the sound of Fink’s vocals and those of David Kitt. Its no bad thing. The theme of the song is the potential for what should be a new beginning, hounded by a... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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17
Grizzly Bear, Telepathe, Bill Callahan (live in St Malo)
Grizzly Bear, Telepathe, Andrew Bird and Bill Callahan(live at la Route du Rock, St Malo, France) Review Snapshot: Telepathe's cracking NY electro gets lost in a large theatre; all hail Bill Callahan; neither Andrew Bird nor Grizzly Bear have a good game. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: So far we've focused on the main festival venue at the old fort a few miles outside St Malo. But there's also a second site - a hall on the seafront back in town. We decide, then, to start day three of La Route du Rock by checking it out. This isn't just a whim or for the sake of variety; we want to see Telepathe. For the festival, the Palais du Grand Large has been rather crassly renamed after a well-known mobile phone manufacturer. It's a large, plush, modern theatre that has headphone sockets and volume knobs in the armrests. Telepathe's gear is set up compactly in the middle of the vast stage, like a small car parked on the Wembley pitch. Th... [Read on]
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16
St Vincent, Papercuts, Camera Obscura (live in St Malo)
St Vincent, Papercuts and Camera Obscura (live at La Route du Rock, St Malo, France) Review Snapshot: A sensational performance from Annie Clark is the highlight of day two and perhaps eventually the entire festival. Papercuts shore up their alt-folk sound for maximum festival effect, while Camera Obscura are sheer pop fun. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The second day of La Route du Rock promised more subtle charms than last night's sonic thunderstorm. While headliners My Bloody Valentine eventually left many people cold, today the festival's first real star appeared. More of that later. First, though, we were impressed by San Franciscan Jason Quever and his band Papercuts. If you like the haziness of their album, 'You Can Have What You Want', you may be surprised to hear them live. On record their songs are alt-folk shuffles but tonight they have a sturdier indie-rock shape to them - the pulsing bass of 'Future Primitive', f... [Read on]
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15
My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter, Tortoise (live in St Malo)
My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter and Tortoise (live at La Route du Rock, St Malo, France) Review Snapshot: Three cult acts share an impressive bill on the Breton coast. The excellent Deerhunter continue the fine tradition of VU and Sonic Youth alt-rock. Tortoise get loud and funky but once or twice go over the head of the more party-minded festival-goers. And MBV leave mixed feelings; while impressive in many respects the whole thing feels a little stale and there's so much more to their music than bludgeoning noise. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The first day of La Route du Rock, and everyone is preoccupied by noise. The nearby village of Chateauneuf-de-Ille-et-Vilaine has been warned about the aural assault they can expect around midnight, and residents there are scowling slightly at any blow-ins collaborating with the forces of sonic blitzkrieg. On the festival site, there's a scramble for earplugs. And in the media zone all talk is of tod... [Read on]
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11
Being play-listed on BBC Radio One, an album recorded in France with a top class producer (David Odlum- The Frames, Gemma Hayes), glowing critical praise; after eight years together Pocket Promise are starting to realise some of their promise. Cluas.com caught up with Belfast based indie ban on the week they released their debut album I’ve been here for ages. Firstly, congratulations on the album release. The band has been together a long time, were you nervous about finally getting the record out there? Thanks! Yeah, definitely there's always going to be a certain amount of apprehension and nerves when releasing something, but it's completely overshadowed by the sense of achievement, pride and relief at getting the finished product finished and out into the public. We've been working so hard with promoting the album and letting everyone know what we're doing that we haven't had a chance to enter into any kind of feelings of fear. We feel like this wa... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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10
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (live in Vancouver)
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (live in The Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver) Review Snapshot: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart put on a great show, marred only slightly by some odd song choices. The fun noise pop of the album translated excellently to their live show. Their debut is still one of my most highly recommended albums of the year thus far, and they did not disappoint in concert. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: In a rather regal basement in an old hotel on the outskirts of downtown Vancouver, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart delighted and exhilarated the near-capacity crowd with their brand of indie pop. The ceilings are low and the bar sells cans. There are rugs on the floor and stag heads on the wall. The venue holds the atmosphere perfectly. The band took to the stage at eleven to greet their audience, already primed by the excellent Girls. They opened, oddly, on a track off their lesser known debut EP, leaving the crowd rather subdued until th... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
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