Articles

15
Midlake (live in Dublin)
Midlake (live in Vicar Street, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Everything from the way the instruments sounded to the almost perfect set list, it was a night to remember.  Vicar Street was the perfect venue for this walking anachronism. Bigger than their previous Dublin venue (the Village) but not so big that it made us feel like strangers to them. Midlake: another act for concert lovers to add to the list of bands who are great live. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The opening act, Texan woman Sarah Jaffe, was the perfect warm-up for the main act. Her tones smooth and inviting, the drums a harsh and exciting contrast. The crowd of mainly students in grungy jumpers was only just beginning to form.  Shortly after her set Midlake ambled on. Unassuming, shy, even awkward, there was a real sense that the crowd’s welcome was unexpected. Their previous Dublin gig drew a much smaller crowd (which guitarist and vocalist Eric Pulidio joke... [Read on]
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13
Jenny Huston
2FM DJ and broadcaster Jenny Huston wrote a book profiling Irish bands and artists on the up. The book is filled with interviews on how they got there, got dropped, got signed again and split - before getting back together in some cases! It’s an enjoyable read and essential for both folks with an interest in Irish artists, as well as budding artists who will soon discover music as a career choice isn’t all glamour. Was the book a long time coming? Was it a long time work in progress or something that occurred to you as something you’d love to do? I was approached by Jo O'Donoghue (editor) from Currach Press in December 2008 asking me would I be interested it writing a book on emerging bands.  It was not something I had ever thought of doing. I gave it serious thought over Christmas and said yes in January.  Work started in February 2009, so it took the best part of nine months to complete.  I wanted to celebrate the various bands successes and... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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13
The Duckworth Lewis Method
On their Choice Music Prize nominated album The Duckworth Lewis Method CLUAS fires some questions at The Duckworth Lewis Method, creators of Choice Music Prize nominated album The Duckworth Lewis Method. Answered by Thomas Walsh (a.k.a. Duckworth). Tell us about the album - its conception, creation, response... Is there anything you'd go back and change about it now? It is a 'cricket pop' album, was conceived for fun and laughter, created through sheer bloodymindedness, sweat, toil and a dollop of talent here and there and the response has been phenomenal. Especially in the U.K where it spent 6 weeks in the album charts reaching the number 40 position (the week Micko Jackson popped his ivory clogs too). The only thing I'd change is one 'Am' chord but I won't tell you where or on which song that would be. How relevant do you think music awards really are to musicians and music fans? The pertinence of music awards is double edged. On... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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13
And So I Watch You From Afar
One of the nominees for the 2010 Choice Music Prize CLUAS fires a few questions at And So I Watch You From Afar, creators of the Choice Music Prize nominated album "And So I Watch You From Afar". Tell us about the album - its conception, creation, response... Is there anything you'd go back and change about it now? The album was the culmination of two and a half years' work; it captured the genesis of our wee band. The response has been nothing short of phenomenal, we're not exactly the most accessible band but people seem to be into it. Personally I wouldn't touch it, it's a moment of our lives, you can't change your past. You can learn from it but you can't alter it. Award nominations aside, were you happy with the response the album received? "Staggered" I think would be the correct answer! Critics seemed to be into it which was awesome, but the people that come to our shows or email us or make crazy videos and f... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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06
Cluster (live In Dublin)
Cluster (live in The Village, Dublin) Review Snapshot: So-called “pioneers of ambient music” fail to light fires at Dublin venue, The Village, but perform a convincing showcase for the latest “relaxing bathing tunes” CD collection. The Cluas Verdict? 4/10 Full Review: Cluster are a German electronic/experimental group which are often referred to as the “pioneers of ambient music”. When preparing to see them perform live, this tag is likely to raise your expectations. Which will be significantly lowered once the duo (Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius) begin playing their less than exhilarating set list. It would be unfair to strip the group of their “pioneer” status, as they have clearly influenced bands that have helped to shape music in the last 15+ years such as Air and Röyksopp. However their live performance left a lot to be desired when they played Dublin's The Village on Saturday, 6th of Feb... [Read on]
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04
Midlake 'The Courage of Others'
A review of the album 'The Courage of Others' by Midlake  Review Snapshot: Texan band Midlake are a rare find. The lead vocals are strong, yet haunting, mellow yet powerful. “The Courage of Others” is the band’s long awaited third album, following their 2006 concept album “Trials of Van Occupanther”. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review:  Tim Smith, with his warm vocals and poetic song writing skills have been responsible for transporting me well and truly back to 1891, where the band's second album, “Trials of Van Occupanther” is set. Therefore I was somewhat nervous about this album, fearing it would not live up to the expectations built by their previous joyous success. However, “The Courage of Others” has done something I prayed it would; it took the beautiful woody, sounds of the forest they  had previously established, and embellished it. Removing from it the... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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03
Pilotlight 'The Post War Musical'
A review of the album The Post War Musical by Pilotlight Review Snapshot: The Post War Musical is a beautiful debut record from an Irish band who have aren't afraid to explore old themes with a new perspective. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The French philosopher Alain Badiou coined the phrase inaesthetic to refer to the creation of art.  In his Handbook of Inaesthetics, Badiou opined that artistic endeavours were both immanent and singular. They are immanent in the sense that their truth is given in their immediacy and singular in that their truth is found in the work of art and the work of art alone.  To Badiou, the critic and his/her analysis doesn't particularly matter.  The truth, the beauty and the merit of a piece of music exists not in my words, or the words of my kin, but in the work itself. That's not to say you shouldn't read what I'm about to say about Pilotlight's debut long player, The Post War ... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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02
Caruso
Dubliners Caruso are preparing to embark on a European tour and recently signed a European publishing deal. Since the release of their debut album, 2007's The Watcher and The Comet, they’ve been going from strength to strength with their affecting acoustic melodies. Front man Shane O’ Fearghail answered the following questions for me.. Many musicians find recording an album, particularly their debut, a challenging and draining experience. Did this prove to be true to you during the recording of The Watcher and the Comet? Recording The Watcher And The Comet was an amazing experience. It was challenging and it did take a lot out of me but it also brought an energy that was all its own. That creative spark that you get when you are in a studio. In the flow... a flow that drives you and keeps you going... so much so that food and sleep go out the window! The album was recorded in three one week sessions over three months and three full moons. It captured evert... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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24
Review of EP released by Belfast band Yes Cadets Cluas Snapshot: Fused pop, rock n roll, art house synthesisers & jumpy vocals make YES CADETS potential darlings of the UK music scene this year. The songs are snappy, catchy and the melodies delicious. YES CADETS are going to be big. Fast. Cluas Verdict? 9/10 Full Review: YES CADETS formed in Belfast in 2008. Only a year in and they have on their hands a belter of an EP to flaunt their wares with. First things first, YES CADETS are not about ground breaking new styles of music. Make no mistake, there are elements of everyone from Franz Ferdinand to Gary Numan in here. The key thing for this reviewer is that the songs are quality. The EP has five tracks, and any of them could make the radio as a single. Opener “Rufio” is bouncing, and infectious. Sweeping synth, constant drumming and a pop vocal that drags the listener in, it’s excellent. Lead single “Canada” continues in the same vein. N... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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23
Way to Blue - The Songs of Nick Drake (live in London)
Way to Blue - The Songs of Nick Drake (live in the Barbican Theatre, London) Review Snapshot: Curated by Joe Boyd, various musicians gather to pay tribute to Drakes unique songwriting. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Way to Blue has just completed a three date tour of the UK, featuring a five-piece house band and seven-piece string section. The Barbican theatre was sold out on Saturday night with the show taking on the same format as the Leonard Cohen tribute a few years ago – everyone takes a turn, one or two songs each, and then collaborations at the end. The singers featured on the show were chosen to display the versatility in Drake’s material. Robyn Hitchcock performs “Parasite” with electric guitar, Vashti Bunyan turns “Which Will” into a jaunty baroque string led piece, Lisa Hannigan transforms “Black Eyed Dog” into an upbeat stomper and pianist Zoe Rahman gave “One of These Things... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, UK
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