Entries for 'Niamh Madden'

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21
Bandjo 'Bandjo'
A review of Bandjo's debut album Review Snapshot: This welcome slice of Swedish prog-rock oozes sophistication, its ominous gems like shining soundscapes. Synth, 70s, flute, oriental notes – is there anything the duo haven’t covered on this album? A mere seven tracks long, this first full-length album from Stockholm’s finest leaves you wanting more. The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: Bandjo. The name suggests a cowboy kicking back with his beaten up banjo, tinkling a few chords while chewing on straw. That’s certainly why I didn’t expect Bandjo to be a prog-rock Swedish band. The name may not fit the bill, but their name fades into meaninglessness when you focus instead on their unique blend of post- and prog-rock. The duo consists of Stockholm’s Jacob Haage and Fredrik Johansson. They debuted in 2008 on the B-side of label Force Majeure’s compilation: "Force Majeure; Force Vol.1: Tung... [Read on]
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27
Olof Arnalds 'Innundir Skinni'
A review of the album 'Innundir Skinni' by Ólöf Arnalds Review Snapshot: Dreamy beauty graces this short but sweet album by Iceland’s Ólöf Arnalds. Her voice represents a fairy world with the accompanying artists and her own instrumentation providing a stunning backdrop to her kingdom. Heavenly. The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10 Full Review: It’s not often I spend my time imagining an elfin creature sitting on a toadstool, swinging its legs, guitar in hand. But Ólöf Arnalds is this little elf. Her latest album Innundir Skinni evokes images of another world, an emerald landscape shining in the midst of a kingdom of fairies. I know, I know. But it is the most beautiful world I’ve come across this year. One voice enters our consciousness with the opening track. A powerful a Capella Ólöf begins on Vinur Minn and is then joined by guitar, percussion, strings, and additional voices. Th... [Read on]
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19
Somadrone and Twinkranes (live in Dublin)
Somadrone and Twinkranes (live in Mill Street Studios, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Twinkranes fused frenetic drumming and looped bass, while Somadrone saturated the studios with a luminosity of noise, discord and ambient musings. A night I won't be forgetting any time soon. The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: I like beards. When I walked around Mill Street Studios last night, I noticed it held a bearded-population of roughly 62.5%. This was going to be a good night. And what a venue. Stooping in through a small stable door, we were greeted by a candle-lit walkway leading into the two rooms of the studios. This clandestine venue made me feel special – while everyone else was dancing to The Prodigy, I was sipping a can of Preszky and sitting in front of a white petal net. There were couches and fairy lights and a lamp that looked like it was made out of coconut and mushrooms. This was the perfect setting for experimental rockers Twinkran... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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16
Pearl Jam 'Backspacer'
A review of the album Backspacer by Pearl Jam Review Snapshot: If you want the smooth waves of the surf, some rocking little riffs and more fine songwriting from Eddie Vedder, then Backspacer is for you. Die-hard fans like myself ought not to be disappointed.  The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: What's not to like about Eddie Vedder? Surfer, writer, and a mysterious creature that puts forth his vision of the world with a voice that has only grown better with age. More importantly, Vedder is the iconic figure in Pearl Jam, the Seattle rock band that survived the 90s and have become enriched as the group continues to play to sold-out venues. Backspacer represents a mellowing of the group, with lyrics that reflect a more relaxed Vedder. As if to prove this, the album bursts forth not with the heady rushes of a track like 'Go' , but rather with a Johnny B. Goode style blues riff on 'Gonna See My Friend.' This slice of home-grown Amer... [Read on]
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16
Fnessnej 'Stay Fresh, Ey'
A review of the album Stay Fresh, Ey by Fnessnej Review Snapshot: A compelling collage of sounds from a German five-piece whose name is almost impossible to pronounce. Part chip-tune, part post-rock, Stay Fresh, Ey is a playful album that offers new delights on each listen. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Some song titles aren't made for memory. '1360280' is a fine example of this. But then when the artist's name appears equally scrambled, it all starts to make sense. Whisking together seemingly incongruent flavours is a speciality of Fnessnej. The quintet's music is self-described on their website as 'instrumental postkutsche rocknroll elektroge frikkelballer post blahabblaha'. Quite the mouthful. Fnessnej are masters of blending bleeps and ticks, rock riffs, synth sounds and syncopated drumming on a rich palate of musical fervour. The album's first track 'Duplex Knaller' begins playfully, with four short clownlike... [Read on]
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06
MSTRKRFT (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Toronto’s electro remixers blast out the tunes to an adoring, dancing, day-glo crowd. Subtext? Not for the over-25s.  The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: ‘Isn’t that just Mr. Scruff spelt wrong?’ I was asked when heading to see Toronto duo MSTRKRFT at the Academy. No, it’s Mastercraft (also spelt wrong). The moustachioed men have remixed all your favourites: Buck 65, Death From Above 1979, Bloc Party, Metric, Justice. Due to arrive on at 12.30, the masters were supported during the wait by LA Riots, a DJ who decidedly kept quite serious but popped out some tech-house tunes for the filling crowd to bop to. Somehow we garnered a spot in the VIP lounge, which was ironically equipped with opposites in excess - a large wooden Buddha and several bottles of Cristal. Looking down onto the crowd I noticed many neon T-shirts and indoor sunglasses and began to feel a bit removed f... [Read on]
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26
Ellen Allien (live in The Twisted Pepper, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Reductionist beats. Minimum melody. This is minimal techno. And this, is dull.    The Cluas Verdict? 5.5 out of 10 Full Review: 'You Are Here,' the barman's T-shirt helpfully offered. 'Here' was the Twisted Pepper, but with its faux fur lampshades, dicks drawn on tables and scabby carpets, 'Here' felt very much like a surreal 'There.' 'Why do I feel like I'm in the middle of a 90s Tarantino movie?' my gig partner quizzically spoke aloud. And I wondered the same thing. There was a tall man in an Indiana Jones hat walking around and a hyperactive guy in a pink top and a Pogo sign was stuck up with cable ties and a couple of couples sat, waiting. The odd smells didn't offer any more coherence: The bar smelt of chocolate and cinnamon candles, the toilet's odour resembled boiled spuds and, eventually, the venue filled up with the scent ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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26
Funeral Suits, Angel Pier & Others (live in Andrew’s Lane Theatre) Review Snapshot: From post-punk posse to girl in a fur hat on synths, this IMRO gig proved that Dublin’s musicians are coming out with as much variety as a pick ‘n’ mix bag.  The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Feedback and static. This was the splice of Funeral Suits that hit me when walking into Andrew’s Lane Theatre, where a thin crowd quietly sipped drinks at tables. The three-piece band began with a Bloc Party style track, and rolled into other influences with the ease and enthusiasm of youths covering their favourite bands: Stone Roses, Maximo Park, The Cure. With blurred pixilated visuals onscreen behind him, the drummer looked like he was wearing Philip K. Dicks’ scramble suit. The band’s full sound was impressive, but nothing that has not been done before. When the yellow and pink rays of light streamed onto us, there was a calm after... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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18
Alias Empire  (live in Crawdaddy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Happy, dizzy, sweaty: Alias Empire rocked a sell-out Antics night with enough synths to wake yer granddad.  The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: I like disproportion. And I like sensory stimulation. This might explain my love of tiny daffodils, miniature Heroes and giant Jenga. It would also account for my pleasant feelings on walking into Tripod Wednesday night to see a huge white Raffaello on the ceiling, a giant stretched thong-like decoration, young girls with small knees and a DJ with a tiny head and gigantic round headphones. Crawdaddy filled up nicely as Antics began to sell out. The time waiting for Alias Empire (formerly Dry County) to take the stage was spent posing in front of visuals that consisted of whales, fish and other little monsters swirling around in a sea of colour. The music began with Jape and Morrissey and ended up getting all tech-house-like which got the crowd excited... [Read on]
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13
The IMRO Showcase Tour 2009 (The Sugar Club, Dublin) Review Snapshot: The IMRO gig at The Sugar Club showcased a number of talented new musicians who gained full audience appreciation with their varied sounds.  The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: There’s something about venues. With its tiered seating, shining disco ball, velvet curtain and candle-lit tables, The Sugar Club set up a serene and relaxed feeling the minute you took a seat. There was a real sense of 1950s nostalgia about the set-up. I almost felt like a member of the Back to the Future audience, awaiting Marty McFly’s inappropriate Johnny B. Goode guitar solo. The IMRO gig was full of band members, mates of mates, and mates of mates of mates, who showed up to give them support. Dublin alt-rockers I Phoenix were first up. Their solos were not as insane as Johnny B. Goodness, but with a powerful and intense sound they acted as a refreshing break from effects-heavy laptop bands.... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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