Entries for 'Dean Van Nguyen'
Originally published by Dean Van Nguyen on May 31, 2011
Review Snapshot: An uninspiring new project from Nine Black Alps' former bass player Martin Cohen, Yucca's fuzz-pop is tedious and unengaging.
The Cluas Verdict? 4 out of 10
Full Review: At a time when British rock music was feeling pretty good about itself as a slew of post-Libertine style bands dropped records of varying quality to the enthusiastic music press, Nine Black Alps were something of an anomaly. Most apparent was that, unlike most of his contemporaries, singer Sam Forrest didn’t perform in a heavily-accented style. Instead he drained any evidence of their Mancunian roots from his voice as the band looked to early-nineties grunge music for inspiration. Their output was sometimes absorbing, but these footpath-crumbling rock anthems didn’t sit well next to Franz Ferdinand’s disco stomps or Maximo Park’s choppy pop that were fashionable at the time. Despite some initial positive write-ups for their first album Everything Is, Nine Black ... [Read on]
Originally published by Dean Van Nguyen on January 14, 2010
A review of the album 'Teen Dream' by Beach House
Review Snapshot: Beach House's third album is a full of gentle melodies, rich in Autumn tones, and heavy on guitar reverb. Business as usual then.
The CLUAS verdict? 6 out of 10
Teen Dream sees the proverbial “double edged sword” swinging right back in Beach House’s direction with the same amount of force and velocity that Devotion, their sophomore album, generated in 2008. That’s the drawback of having a sound so distinctive - escaping it can be problematic. On album number 3 they all too comfortably slide back into their groove, creating an album that sounds like a straight forward continuation of their previous work.
Like an old pair of slippers that become so familiar you couldn’t remember what colour they were without taking a sneaky glance, Teen Dream fits the band a little too snugly. Their trademark sou... [Read on]
Originally published by Dean Van Nguyen on July 14, 2009
A review of the album 'Dark Days / Light Years' by Super Furry Animals
The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10
A few months ago I compiled a playlist of my favourite Super Furry Animals’ tracks stretching back to their debut Fuzzy Logic right through to their most recent effort Hey Venus! Listening on shuffle, what struck me was the consistency in their back catalogue's sound. Every song happily stood by the next, as if they all could have appeared on the same record. SFA have been remarkably consistent in terms of their sound and the quality of their output, a trait that is exceptionally rare these days. Remember this is a band that formed around the same time Radiohead cut Pablo Honey. A band that has seen the rise and fall of so called “generation defining bands” like The Libertines, and one that has outlasted just about all of their Britpop contemporaries they were once called the alternative to. After sixteen years, nine albums, and four... [Read on]
Originally published by Dean Van Nguyen on March 14, 2009
Spinnerette (live in 02 Islington Academy, London)
A scan over Queens of the Stone Age's Wikipedia page reveals no fewer than nineteen groups considered to be 'associated acts', including Spinnerette, the latest vehicle for former Distellers frontwoman Brody Dalle. The association here is that Dalle is married to Queen's main man Josh Homme and by mentioning this I've committed a cardinal sin in the eyes of her superfans, who will immediately make the point that her career was a success before the two's union. This is true, and I apologise to those fans who turned up to see the new band perform at London's O2 Islington Academy, including the friend who accompanied me (who is a superfan, as well as being my main reason for being at the gig). But my point is that on early evidence, while Spinnerette might be pigeonholed into this clutch of acts, they have the potential to be one of the better ones on Homme's speed dial.
The scene for their first e... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
Originally published by Dean Van Nguyen on March 26, 2008
Review of the album 'New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)' by Erykah Badu
Review Snapshot: Soul Queen Erykah Badu attempts to tackle black America's political woes and social ills as well as jump start the genre with an ambitious prog-soul disc, the first in a two part series. In the world of iTunes and .99c tracks, this is an old fashioned album harking back memories of Curtis Mayfield leading the listener to realise that the more the world changes, the more the problems remain the same.
The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10
If anyone looks uncomfortable in the era they were born its Erykah Badu. She remains so firmly routed in the 70s her records sound like uncovered gems from back in the day, before R&B’s soulful grooves were replaced radio friendly, bass heavy club anthems. In a world where being an R&B artist usually means you’re black and you sing pop songs, singers who display that indescribable characteristic “soul... [Read on]