Entries for September 2007

Articles

21
Review Snapshot: A fantastic follow up to their eponymous debut album, Nervousystem puts to rest the myth of the ‘difficult second album’ and reminds us just why the Future Kings of Spain were tipped for greatness four years ago. CLUAS Verdict?  9 out of 10 Full Review: For almost two years, the Future Kings of Spain have sat on Nervousystem, difficulties with their record label almost turning the LP into their very own Smile. However, earlier this year, common sense prevailed and the band was free to release the album on their own What’s the Kim? label. Due for release at the end of September, Nervousystem has most certainly been worth the wait. From the moment Guess Again (with riffs that Billy Corgan can only reminisce about these days) opens the album, right through to the last vestiges of Disappear, you know you are listening to something special. Nervousystem is the Emancipation Proclamation of alternative indie rock. It’s a statement to... [Read on]
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21
Review Snapshot: While Zeitgeist sounds intrinsically like a Smashing Pumpkins album, it sounds like a Smashing Pumpkins album from the 1990’s.  A diplomatic description of the bands first release in seven years is ‘pointless.’  A more damning critique would be to view Zeitgeist as nothing more than Billy Corgan shoring up his pension fund. The CLUAS Verdict? 3 out of 10 Full Review: When Billy Corgan decided to take out a newspaper advertisement to announce the 'reformation' of the Smashing Pumpkins, I must admit, I was surprised. Corgan had, after all, been pimping Smashing Pumpkins music as both Zwan and under his own name since the group split. To paraphrase the Bard 'That which we call a Smashing Pumpkin, by any other name would sound the same.' With this announcment though, images of a heavyweight fighter, clearly out of shape, punch drunk for the last seven years and stepping in to the ring for one last pay c... [Read on]
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21
Review snapshot: Garbage start out not being garbage... and then slowly but surely they become absolute garbage. Unfortunate. The CLUAS Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: Garbage fairly well leapt out of the blocks in the mid 90s. They seemed perfectly formed. Powered by Butch Vig (famed producer of Nirvana's Nevermind and other luminaries like Sonic Youth) and fronted by Shirley Manson, a Scottish dervish whose look was more suited to the shoegazer bands of the late 80s, Garbage received massive support from MTV. Now 4 albums and 12 years later, the band have decided to consolidate with a Best Of collection. Or is it an epitaph to what has become a faltering career? Absolute Garbage shoots its bolt early on. Vow, Queer, I'm Only Happy When It Rains were all sleek, poppy hits garnered from their eponymous, and best, debut album. Shining brightest of all is Stupid Girl, a fab tune with a Claytonesque bassline and a sexy lyric. Manson's sna... [Read on]
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21
Review Snapshot: With significant praise from the likes of Elvis Costello and Coldplay, Rilo Kiley change musical direction with this offering, and head down the Pop route. Probably the most refreshing pop-album of the year. The CLUAS Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: From the opening track, the recent single ‘Silver Lining’, you’ll fall in love with the vocals of Jenny Lewis. It’s impossible not to make comparisons with Christine McVie, and indeed throughout this album there’s an evident Fleetwood Mac influence. The brilliant ‘Breakin Up’ (surely a future single) sounds like it was lifted from Tango In The Night, while on ‘Dreamworld’ Blake Sennett’s lead vocals are remarkably similar to Lindsey Buckingham’s. Casting the ‘Mac’ influence aside, it’s the versatility of Jenny’s vocals that steal the show here. On ‘Smoke Detector’ and ‘15’, Lewis goes all... [Read on]
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19
Brett Anderson live at the Beijing Pop Festival Review Snapshot: Brett Anderson stole the show, and confronted authorities with a Saturday night of mostly Suede favourites at the Beijing Pop Festival. CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full review: From the fans carrying signed posters into the ground teeny bopper style to the plentitude of CDs and t-shirts for sales outside you knew there was a bit of a buzz about Brett Anderson’s appearance at this year’s Beijing Pop Festival in downtown Chaoyang Park. The 70 percent local crowd looked more like university students rather than the black-tee brigade who frequent Beijing’s predominantly punk scene. Anderson’s old band Suede made some noise (and lost much money) during a poorly attended show in Chaoyang Gymnasium in February 2003. But judging from the presence of posters ripped off the walls at that gig, the group made some friends on that trip. The tight blue jeans, dress shirt and pin striped bl... [Read on]
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18
Review Snapshot: One of the most anticipated albums of 2007, Hard–Fi return with a rocking record, littered with strong tracks and ballads, yet not caring what anyone thinks. Doing what they want, and doing it with aplomb. The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The thumping distinctive sound of ‘Suburban Knights’ lets you know it’s the return of Hard-Fi. The radio-friendly single is the opener on their second album ‘Once Upon A Time In The West, and it gets better as the album progresses. ‘I Shall Overcome’ is brilliant, with elements of The Clash and Rolling Stones blended together to make another rocking tune. ‘Tonight’ is unfamiliar sounding Hard -Fi. It’s one of the strongest ballads on the album and should give fans that see them live, a required momentary rest. The piano-intro to ‘Television’ is the calm before the storm, it picking up momentum as it progresses. It’s typical Ha... [Read on]
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18
Slint (live in The Tripod, Dublin) Review Snapshot: While The Rolling Stones roll out the hits yet again in Slane, down the road in Dublin’s wonderful Tripod venue, Slint, also trading on past glories (but in a good way), take to the stage to play one of most important and influential alternative-rock albums of all time. Welcome to Spiderland. The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full review: Back in 1991, while Madchester reigned in the UK and Kurt Cobain was changing the course of rock history in the US, four young men from Louisville, Kentucky were quietly putting together a suite of six songs that would become the seminal ‘Spiderland’. With this album they inadvertently laid down the blueprint for what would become ‘post-rock’ with bands like Sigur Ros and especially Mogwai using this album as a creative touchstone for their own output.It is a collection of dark yet highly cerebral songs that didn’t fit in with the plaid-shirted brigade ... [Read on]
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11
DeVotchka (live in Crawdaddy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: They may be known predominantly for the soundtrack of everyone’s favourite indie film of the past few years, but the Denver based band show Dublin that there is much more to them than yellow camper vans and wee Miss Americas. Despite the claim that their "live performances are considered transcendent- with audience members dancing and crying, sometimes in the space of a single song", the Dublin crowd are happy enough to cheer and dance. We’re just a little more restrained I suppose… The CLUAS Verdict? 7.8 out of 10 Full Review: Spending a balmy and surprisingly dry Friday evening in the beer garden of Crawdaddy is not entirely unpleasant. However the prospect of having to enter a cramped, dark and sweaty room is not exactly enticing, even if it is to see a band that are reluctantly forced to refer to themselves as “Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack composers” in advertisements desp... [Read on]
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11
Review Snapshot: The Enemy is an anagram of The Jam. The Cluas verdict? 3 out of 10 Full Review: Did you know that The Enemy is an anagram of Paul Weller and The Jam? Nope, neither did I. When I first put on this album I must admit I thought I was going to love it especially when the first lyric I heard was, “Call the police, cos things are getting ugly”. At last a proper rock ‘n roll record, full of bile, anger and big guitars. But then, as I listened and listened again to this debut in my car, something strange started to happen. I began to hum along, but not to the actual songs on the record. Nope, I began to hum along to Jam classics such as ‘That’s Entertainment’, ‘Going Underground’ and ‘Town Called Malice’. Something funny has happened in modern pop music, where once bands did everything in their power to create a unique sound quite unlike anyone else, now they strive to create a sound so similar to a... [Read on]
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10
Happy Mondays 'Uncle Dysfunktional'
Review Snapshot: An interesting listen, though far from a masterpiece. Loose, funky and eclectic, the flaws are many but outnumbered by the positives. May not be destined for commercial success, but the Mondays have once again created a solid and enjoyable album. The CLUAS Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Over two decades have passed since the Happy Monday's were formed, a period during which a hedonistic career has seen many rises and falls in creative and commercial fortunes. So while their latest album Uncle Dysfunktional is not so much a make or break record, can it show Shaun Ryder rising Lazarus-like one more time? The album is informed heavily by its new make up – the only members of the original Happy Mondays are Shaun Ryder, Bez and Gaz Whelan - resulting in a sound vastly different from before. It is almost like the sound of Black Grape – loose and eclectic, with a number of musical touch points. One criticism that can be easily levelled at t... [Read on]
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