Articles

09
Marina & the Diamonds 'The Family Jewels'
A review of the album The Family Jewels by Marina & the Diamonds Review Snapshot: Put a striking Greek girl in Wales who grows up to have a London accent and you get Marina Diamandis, better known as Marina & the Diamonds. Her long awaited debut ‘The Family Jewels’ is a shameless pop album, mixed with a hint of indie and sprinkled with some eccentricity. This, it turns out, is a winning combination. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Having recently been put on almost every ‘One to Watch for 2010’ list Marina & the Diamonds had a lot to live up to with ‘The Family Jewels’. Detailing the world around her and the apparent perils of being a woman in the 21st Century (“Girls are not meant to fight dirty/Never look a day past thirty”) makes for an interesting listen. The second track on the album, ‘Shampain’, has an 80s glam feel and slight similarities to Ladyhawke’s sound. S... [Read on]
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08
A review of the album 'It's Blitz!' by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Review Snapshot: Have Karen O’s NY art-rock knuckleheads sold their guitars and bought turntables? The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: “It’s Sh*t!” It’s not quite actually. It might have been a title worth a (mild) chortle if that were the case. However if you’re already a fan it could be your initial reaction. Those familiar with their brash and rattling sound, roughly cut between the dusty granite canyons of New York and inspired by the “avant-punk” of sultry lead singer Karen O’s Ohio, may feel this lightning bolt of an album singe their senses and offend their rock sensibilities.   It is an alien discomfort, the reverse to seeing your beloved nerdy bestest-friend you used to play war-games with come home from college recast as a woman-melting Don Juan. In "It’s Blitz!" the band pump voltage into their previous experimentation with studio sorcery.   TV On The Radio magi Dave Site... [Read on]
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06
Power of Dreams
Twenty years ago an alarmingly young band from Dublin released a debut album full of near-flawless indie-pop tunes. It had a confidence and ambition that was at odds with their youth and it is still talked about to this day as one of the great Irish debuts of all time. The album was called ‘Immigrants, Emigrants And Me’ and the band were Power of Dreams. Formed by songwriter Craig Walker (above, right) in 1989 while he was still at school, along with his brother Keith on drums and their friend Mick Lennox on bass, the success of the album brought a certain level of fame and critical plaudits on the youngsters, both here and abroad. Flash forward two decades and I am sitting at Craig Walker’s kitchen-table listening to his recollections of the highs and lows of the last twenty years. Walker, now a youthful 38, looks back with pride on that debut album and the subsequent success his band enjoyed in the early Nineties. I tell him that his band was the first Irish band I ... [Read on]
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22
Valerie Francis
CLUAS fires some questions at Valerie Francis, creator of Choice Music Prize nominated album Slow Dynamo. Tell us about the album - its conception, creation, response... Is there anything you'd go back and change about it now? I wouldn't change a thing. I don't think it's good to think like that. We did exactly what we wanted to do at the time and we did it the best we could. I couldn't ask for anything more. I feel that making a record is capturing those songs right then and there. It's a moment and that is how they were meant to be in that moment. A musical Polaroid. I always wanted to make an album and it took a while to make it a reality. I had a few failed attempts at getting started. I think frustration turns into drive after a while. Jimmy [Eadie, the album's producer] is a good friend and I pretty much begged him to record my album. At that stage I just knew I needed to do it and I needed to get people involved who would see it through to the e... [Read on]
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22
Sounds of System Breakdown
Sounds of System Breakdown, the electronic, pop, dance rock brain child of Rob Costello released their debut album in January. Cluas caught up with Rob Costello from the band for a few words just prior to the release to find out their plans. The Album was launched on the 27th Jan. Is it a culmination of songs built up over the last three years or new stuff? Is most of the work a product of the group or are there solo tunes from Rob that were worked on after you became a three-piece? The album is a mix of old and new, some of it dating back to 2005. The songs were mostly written by me but the arrangements on the album were very much influenced by our work on the live show as a three piece. Bands tend to get grouped and packaged nowadays it seems, every group has to have a trendy genre tag attached. Industry and media folks call you guys electro-punk, is that fair do you think? Do you see yourselves as electro? Or as a band who play and write lots of songs that don't consti... [Read on]
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22
The 2010 Choice Music Prize nominees
Now in its fifth year, the Choice Music Prize is well established as a key milestone on the Irish music scene's calendar. The albums shortlisted for this year's prize represent a diverse and intriguing mix of Irish releases of the last year. The winner will be announced in Vicar Street on 3 March 2010 (8 of the 10 nominated acts are confirmed to play on the night). Always going that extra 1609 metres for its readers, CLUAS prepared a set of questions for each act nominated for the 2009 award. We've so far gotten replies from 6 of the 10 acts, check out the links below to see what each act had to say: Interview with Valerie Francis (nominated for her album 'Slow Dynamo') Interview with Dark Room Notes (nominated for their album 'We Love You Dark Matter') Interview with Adrian Crowley (nominated for his album 'The Season of the Sparks') Interview with Laura Izibor (nominated for... [Read on]
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20
Dark Room Notes
CLUAS fires some questions at Darragh of Dark Room Notes, the creators of the Choice Music Prize nominated album We Love You Dark Matter. Tell us about the album - its conception, creation, response... Is there anything you'd go back and change about it now? Well the album was a important for us as it helped us say "OK this is where we're at, let's put out these songs that we've road tested at gigs, record them as best we can and start writing for a second album, let's keep moving forward".  So we recorded live, a track a day over 14 days and kept a momentum in the studio of "this is a nearly live album". The response has been amazing and the album is now getting a global release on BBE records, we've already started writing the second album, what we would change on We Love you Dark Matter? The original art work was banned, that was a shame.   Award nominations aside, were you happy with the response the album received? ... [Read on]
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20
Adrian Crowley
CLUAS fires some questions at Adrian Crowley, creator of the Choice Music Prize nominated Season of the Sparks. Tell us about the album - its conception, creation, response... Is there anything you'd go back and change about it now? I had already begun writing songs for Season Of The Sparks by the time Long Distance Swimmer was released. I recorded it over the course of fourteen days in Dublin. I'd head over to the studio on the 121 bus with a plan for the day ahead. It seemed to come together easily and I had a clear vision of how I wanted it to sound. I try and develop the songs as much as I can outside the studio so when it came to recording the songs they were down in pretty much one take. The response has been great with reviews and general good will coming from previously unexplored territories thanks to a new record deal with an amazing label. I'm still proud of the album and can't say there's anything about it I would alter. I'll soon be think... [Read on]
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20
Laura Izibor
One of the nominees for the 2010 Choice Music Prize CLUAS fires some questions at Laura Izibor, creator of Choice Music Prize nominated album Let The Truth Be Told. Tell us about the album - its conception, creation, response... Is there anything you'd go back and change about it now? There was no real concept involved in making the album. I was just a 17 year old girl writing songs in her bedroom about real & honest things. I wouldnt changed a thing. Let The Truth Be Told captured a very pure and timeless part of my life. Award nominations aside, were you happy with the response the album received? I was extemely happy with the response to the album. So many people connnected to it and that is all you can ask for as an artist. How relevant do you think music awards really are to musicians and music fans? I think its always nice to receive any recognition for your hard work especially when it is from such a credible awards as Choice Music P... [Read on]
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15
A review of the album 'Two Suns' by Bat for Lashes Review Snapshot: ‘Two Suns’, released by Bat for Lashes in April 2009, was recently nominated for a Brit award. From the first song a haunting sound, almost hymnal at times, is created. It's not an initial jaw dropper of an album however it will grow on you. Soon enough you’ll find yourself wandering around humming the songs off this album unknowingly. Lyrically beautiful and musically underrated, it is deserving of much more praise than it has received. An album that rightly propels this songstress into the limelight.  The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Bat for Lashes is a one woman show; Natasha Khan is the singer/ songwriter and multi instrumentalist behind the name and she recently received a much deserved nomination for Best British Female Solo Act at the 2010 Brit awards. ‘Two Suns’ - her second album - was released back in April 2009 and slowly, but surely, has been rising in popularity. I’ve grown to love i... [Read on]
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