Entries for 'Aidan Curran'

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10
A review of the album 'Break Up The Concrete' by The Pretenders Review Snapshot: Though it leans more towards blues and country than its predecessors, the ninth album by Chrissie Hynde et al. is still recognizably safe classic rock. But slipping it into a Greatest Hits package feels needlessly defeatist. The Cluas Verdict? 4.5 out of 10 Full Review: This is odd: our review copy of the new album by The Pretenders comes in a double CD with a Best Of. What’s more, the hits compilation is Disc 1 of this set and the new album is Disc 2. You’d think it’d be a brave record company exec who’d propose this to Chrissie Hynde. Do you really need us to review The Pretenders’ hits? Surely you already know from constant airplay those smart late-‘70s rockers, radio-friendly ‘80s poppers and blustery ‘90s stadium ballads. (We’ll only point out that this compilation doesn’t include a catchy 1999 cover of The Divi... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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10
A review of the album 'Here Come The Vikings' by Astrid Williamson Review Snapshot: One glorious lyric aside, a record of chugging ones, epic ones, book-smart lyrics and all the regulars of indie-by-numbers. You’re a busy person with other records to hear and other things to do, so this needn’t detain you. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: The fourth solo album by former Goya Dress singer Astrid Williamson is more plugged-in and amped-up than her previous records. Unfortunately, while for her this might be a grand creative leap, for the listener ‘Here Come The Vikings’ is mid-table indie-rock of the sort you’ve heard many times before. To be fair, there are brief flashes of personality on show here. When she rocks out, like on opening ‘Store’, Williamson has a strong and soaring voice similar to ‘The Lion And The Cobra’-era Sinead O’Connor. But a lot of the uptempo tracks here are unori... [Read on]
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27
A review of the album Battle For The Sun by Placebo Review Snapshot: If this is how good Placebo sound when they choose to write about 'stepping out of the darkness and into the light' can somebody please arrange to shower Brian Molko with sunlight for the foreseeable future?  An album full of urgency and optimism, Battle for the Sun has the potential to be regarded as Placebo's finest work. The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10 Full Review: After 13 years, 5 studio albums and 10 million album sales, you would have to wonder what possible reasons Placebo have to keep going, especially after the loss of major label backing and Steve Hewitt, the band's drummer for the past 11 years.  Wonder no more, the reason is clear; after spending over a decade dealing with life in the shadows, Placebo, and Brian Molko in particular, have decided to focus on optimism and positivity, the result of which is Battle for the Sun (released June 8). Thos... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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18
DM Stith and The Acorn (live in La Maroquinerie, Paris) Review Snapshot: A cracking double bill of cinematic, romantic North American folk-rock to warm this cold Paris cellar. DM Stith is the quiet small-town Everyman with an otherworldly voice; The Acorn are your ideal college roommates. In their own ways, the two acts win over the crowd with their invention, sincerity and vision – though most punters will go home talking about Stith. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The average rock fan, on heading out on a Friday night, probably worries about catching things other than pneumonia or the common cold. But here we are in La Maroquinerie, a popular Paris venue, on a May evening and it actually feels chilly down here when normally these cellar walls are running with punter perspiration. You see, the place isn’t even half full – and whenever the door opens, a draught sweeps round the room. It’s odd that more people haven&r... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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11
Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert - WARP 20 (live in Cité de la Musique, Paris) Review Snapshot: To honour one of electronic music's best-loved labels, a birthday bash featuring two cult figures from different points on the spectrum of that genre. Vibert's DJ set is cool and seductive; Aphex Twin sets your head and entrails to spin-cycle. Two different live experiences but each great in their own way. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Gouging the mind’s ear for two decades now, Warp Records are currently celebrating their twentieth birthday by putting on shows in major cities around the world. The Paris leg at the Cité de la Musique comprises two nights: last night Pivot, !!! and Jarvis Cocker were among those getting the party started (Nightmares On Wax apparently pulled out at the last minute) and tonight Aphex Twin (right), Luke Vibert, Hudson Mohawke, Leila and Plaid are blowing out the candles. Luke Vibert is here doing a DJ set i... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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10
A review of the album 'Posthumous Success' by Tom Brosseau Review Snapshot: The sound of a singer-songer in creative transition and perhaps finding his true voice. This album’s folk foundations are weak when exposed to attentive listening, but Brosseau’s other aspect is an alt-rock swagger that infuses this record with wit and personality. The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10 Full Review: The self-deprecating title of Tom Brosseau’s third album suggests that this North Dakota native may be of that rare species: a male acoustic singer-songer with a sense of humour. And for the most part this is true. ‘Posthumous Success’ is a likeable sort of record that brings a refreshingly alternative range of influences to bear on the familiar old folk-pop format. ‘Big Time’, with its wry declaration of wannabe ambition, shudders with a treated electric riff that would sound at home on stage at the Enormodome. There’s a trium... [Read on]
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08
A review of the album 'Royal Family - Divorce' by Storsveit Nix Noltes Review Snapshot: Balkan folk instrumentals tarted up with punk riffing and a brief spell of shoegazing squall. The genre sound is done well but the lack of variety in the tracks means your interest will wear off very soon, though it's probably good fun live. The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: The band’s name is sufficiently Scandinavian and melodic to suggest that they deal in catchy tunes – and with that allusion to Hollywood hellraiser Nick Nolte, arse-kickingly catchy tunes at that. Plus, that album title can only be said in a Lydon-esque sneer. This seemed promising. Imagine our disappointment, then, to hear a full album of instrumental Balkan folk. For that, dear friends, is what ‘Royal Family Divorce’ by Icelandic post-rock supergroup Storsveit Nix Noltes gives you. If you’ve ever seen a film by Emir Kusturica, then you’ve hear... [Read on]
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06
Alias Empire
By now you’ve probably heard the news that Choice-nominated indie-electro merchants Dry County have changed their name to something more distinctive and less country-rock. Ahead of the band’s upcoming shows around Ireland, Alias Empire’s Kevin Littlewood tells CLUAS about recording the new album, getting the new name known and making music in the recession-plus-Internet era.   You're currently working on your second album. What can you tell us about writing and recording it so far? When (and how) do you expect to release it? Very soon after the 1st album was finished we were writing again. It's a constant process. The whole idea of making albums for us is that each one sums up a particular time and mood with obvious progression from the last. You need to always push yourself to make better records. Some bands find a formula and just stick to it, but I think we'd get very bored putting out the same stuff.   The new material we’re w... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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23
Carly Sings (live in La Bellevilloise, Paris) Review Snapshot: Despite incessant audience noise and diabolical sound problems, which she really should just put aside, Carly Sings pulls out a strong performance of fine material - including some promising new songs. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Tonight’s venue, a trendy music bar in the slightly bohemian 20th district of Paris, is full of lively punters out for a good time. For Carly Sings, this is bad news indeed. You see, La Bellevilloise is fashionable because its clientele like to hang out here and chat with friends while having live music in the background as sonic wallpaper. By the bar it’s standing room only, as packed and noisy as a Friday evening train station. The disinterested audience din is overwhelming, quite possibly the loudest we’ve ever heard at a concert. More used to dedicated Dublin listeners, Carly Blackman is up against it tonight. You’d hardly ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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17
A review of the album 'Blue Lights On The Runway' by Bell X1 Review Snapshot: Uninventive indie rock dressed up in the too-large suit of Talking Heads, the new Bell X1 album has little in the way of invention or excitement. It would take a tectonic shift in their creative thinking for this band to become relevant or interesting again. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: It’s a coincidence that the two major Irish album releases of spring 2009, ‘No Line On The Horizon’ by U2 and ‘Blue Lights On The Runway’ by Bell X1, have such similar titles. Apart from sounding alike, both titles evoke images of sky and travel. And both are aspirational and ambitious: they tell us that U2 know no boundaries and Bell X1 are revving for take-off. In fact, the Kildare band’s fourth studio album is flat and unadventurous, like an interminable taxi round the runway without ever leaving the ground. The funkiness of ‘Fl... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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