Entries for 'Aidan Curran'

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05
Joanna Newsom (live in Paris)
Joanna Newsom (live in La Villette, Paris, 31 May 2010) Review Snapshot: An excellent album takes flight as a sensational live show. With careful arrangements, the indie harpist and her band deliver a dramatic and stirring performance with all the force of a full orchestra. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: "Kate Bush," says someone behind us, trying to describe tonight's star before she appears on stage. It's an understandable comparison, given that both ladies write idiosyncratic songs which they then sing in an arabesque upper register. But it would be more interesting and accurate to compare Joanna Newsom with Owen Pallett, appearing at the same venue the following night as part of an imaginative 'Villette Sonique' series of shows. Ostensibly indie acts, both singers make sweeping, ambitious music beyond categorisation, flavoured by diverse influences like show tunes and American folk - yet ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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30
Ellie Goulding 'Lights'
A review of the album 'Lights' by Ellie Goulding Review Snapshot: Bland production, innocuous songs, unimaginative reheating of last year's mainstream breakthrough album - if this is the Sound of 2010, roll on 2011. The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10 Full Review: Critics Choice at the Brit Awards, BBC's Sound of 2010 winner - Ellie Goulding has a lot to justify with her debut album. What do you do if you're the next big thing? Sound as much as possible like the last big thing, it seems. From first note to last, 'Lights' is a blatant and relentless pitch at mainstreaming the anthemic electronic-folk-pop of Florence And The Machine. The production is coffee-table electronica from a catalogue - beats scurry brainlessly out of a box like lobotomised lab mice and all instrumentation is as unobstrusive as the sessioners playing it. The songwriting follows suit, adhering to what we can call the ... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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30
Channel One 'Sound To Light'
A review of the album 'Sound To Light' by Channel One Review Snapshot: The intriguing and likeable blend of electronica and shoegazing by this Dublin quartet will attract listeners from all points of the indie compass. It's forceful enough to make a good first impression and subtle enough thereafter to keep you hooked. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The members of Channel One come from a background of punk and rock bands but together they make a sound that draws on electronica, post-rock and shoegazing. The Dublin-based foursome have already built up a live following and played at SXSW, CMJ and other international festivals. Now, after a couple of singles and EPs since 2005, we have their first album. And it's quite good. The reference points are easy to identify - My Bloody Valentine, Mogwai, Sigur Ros and M83, amongst others. Layers of hazy guitars contrast with clean electronic beats, and any vocals are performed head-down and mumb... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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28
The Antlers, Cymbals Eat Guitars (live in Paris)
The Antlers, Cymbals Eat Guitars (live at the Nouveau Casino, Paris) Review Snapshot: Two loud doses of U.S. alt-rock, which may be surprising for some fans of 'Hospice'. But at high volume and with lots of reverberating bass, The Antlers reveal even more of the emotions that inspired that fabulous album. Cymbals Eat Guitars, at war with your eardrums, are an uncomplicated pleasure. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Every band on tour will stop in Paris - but alternative rock and pop have a relatively small audience in the French capital. So tonight two great American bands, Cymbals Eat Guitars and The Antlers, are playing on the same bill in a small venue in the hip Oberkampf district at only 15 euro a ticket. And still the place isn't even two-thirds full. (It was a similar story for another cracking double bill, DM Stith and The Acorn, that we reviewed for you back in May.) Tonight's show is part of the Custom series organised by Fren... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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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]
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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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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]
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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]
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