The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


It was Jim Carroll over at the journal of record who tipped us off about Malajube, a five-piece from Quebec whose 2006 record 'Trompe l'Oeil' has recently been released in Europe.

As with a lot of innovative music these days, this album gleefully jumbles up genres  - there are bits of '70s AM rock, new wave, folk and even a touch of indie-pop. It sounds fresh, inventive and full of energy - the immediate (if a bit too obvious) comparison would be to 'Funeral' by Arcade Fire.

So, the new Arcade Fire with 2007's smash hit indie album? Probably not. You see, your local record dealer's just going to bury it in his 'world' music section because they sing in French.

But while singing in French will probably put off a lot of English-language punters, that shouldn't dissuade the French, right? Wrong. French-language music from Quebec is considered deeply uncool here in 'la Hexagone'- behind Celine Dion there's a horde of equally-bland balladeers (names like Mylene Farmer, Garou and Lara Fabian; apologies to any French readers who've just got sick all over their computers) who come to France to seek their fortune.

And French people generally ridicule the Quebecois for their accents, just as they do with the Belgians and Swiss for having the nerve to speak French in a Belgian or Swiss accent (and just like how the Irish accent was mocked in Britain until the 1990s). English-speaking Quebec acts like Arcade Fire or Rufus Wainwright don't meet this barrier (this Maginot Line, if you will) of linguistic credibility.

Malajube have already been and gone around Europe before anyone seemed to notice them - they played in Dublin earlier this month, and supported Arcade Fire here in Paris.

However, they'll be back for some European festivals this August - in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and a French festival called Les Nuits Secretes (at Aulnoye-Aymeries, in the north-east near Lille and the Belgian border). No news yet of any Irish festival appearances - but in the meantime you can listen to the entire album on their MySpace page, and you can watch the video for the wonderful pop thrills of 'Montreal -40°C' below. Remember; in French the 't' is silent in 'Montreal'. Now that's not too scary to listen to, is it?

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We don't know much about this guy (right). He calls himself PacoVolume; he's French but he sings in English. We came upon him only because he supported Simple Kid in Paris last week - however, we spent much of his set waiting impatiently for the Cork boy to come on.

And then right at the end PacoVolume plays his ace: a marvellous song called 'Cookiemachine' which we've heard a couple of times on the radio without catching the singer's name. It has a Super Furry Animals sound to it, and the chorus is wonderful.

It's taken from PacoVolume's album 'Manhattan Baby', which came out at the tail end of 2006. Unfortunately, none of his other songs even come close to the brilliance of 'Cookiemachine', which is just waiting to be a hit! hit! hit!

No video for it yet - but you can listen to it on PacoVolume's MySpace site, along with other tracks of his. There's also an MP3 version of it available at the bottom of this post from music bloggers Milk Milk Lemonade.


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Lonely China Day was back in action last night at 2 Kollegas, the curiously named but cosy little bar in a park better known for its drive-in cinema in Beijing's northerly Chaoyang district. The band passed up on a tour of Israel in April because the band broke up. "They were pissed," says Matt Kagler, boss of Tag Team Records which signed the band in 2005. Two band members who unexpectedly quit the band in April are being replaced. The band has a new drummer.

The band played its music to an eye catching screen backdrop featuring graphics laid over footage of Beijing. The film was shot and edited by a young filmmaker and band fan who makes documentaries at Chinese Central TV (CCTV). The whole effect was reminiscent of a Primal Scream live experience, and Lonely China Day likes to fiddle plenty of electronic content into its guitar-driven tunes. Even though the film has been stripped down to squiggly primary colours the cranes and stop-start traffic jams (and terrible driving) of mini-vans make it obvious this is Beijing.

Lonely China Day has made its name for snazzy graphic design and artwork in its shows and album releases. Last night band handlers were selling t-shirts at the door, also designed by the band. "They're arty guys,"  Kagler explained over beers at 2 Kollegas. During the band's tour of USA this spring LCD made such a big impression on New York Times critic Jon Pareles that he has since written five articles on the band and its label, says Kagler. He plans on doing a lengthy feature on the group in August for the NYT's glossy weekend magazine. Good timing, considering the band is releasing its new album in the US in July.

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Posted in: Blogs, Beijing Beat
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It would be impossible to write about Ham Sandwich without addressing their chosen moniker. Ham Sandwich, in my opinion, is right up there in the ‘so bad it’s good’ list of band names alongside Bastard Sons of Boris Karloff, I’m from Barcelona and The Flaming Lips. The reason it’s a great name is because it’s not only eye-catching but it’s fun along with it, as the band themselves state “a band called Ham Sandwich manages to dispense with the expected clichés of what a modern indie band should be.” However, it’s not only their name that dispenses with any preconceptions you may have.
The last time I saw Ham Sandwich perform their frontman, Podge McNamee was wearing a gladiator outfit. It was bizarre, but it was much more original than seeing another indie band in their skinny jeans et al uniform. The gig, one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever attended, even included tickertape. Not something you’re likely to see The Things, a band who take themselves far too seriously, do any time soon.
Surprisingly, given the digital age we operate in, the band doesn’t have a website, using Myspace for its online activities instead.   Of course, by using Myspace and YouTube, they are clearly not naïve about what it takes to have your music heard by a, generally, fickle and fleeting musical audience. What is refreshing though, at a time when musicians compare the size of their Myspace friends as opposed to, well, something else, is that the band are not just using the technology to carefully cultivate an image or to project themselves as being more than just musicians. Instead Ham Sandwich concentrate on making great music first, and then using technology to share it.
It is here where a lot of bands could learn from Ham Sandwich. Forget about your name, forget about your image, if you make great music, people will eventually listen. It may well seem like more work than coming up with a fantastic image or employing every possible gorilla marketing stunt you can imagine (take a bow: The Urges), but as a music fan I’d much rather buy great music, than buy into an image.

Ham Sandwich play Mullingar tonight and Whelan’s tomorrow night.   The video below is their Late Late Show performance of 'click click BOOM.'


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Posted in: Blogs, Key Notes
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Ten years on the seminal film about Beijing’s counter cultural scene seems dated, but its star, Cui Jian, still deserve credit for sticking with his music when times were tough. Nearly no one showed up at the Cherry Lane recently for a showing of Beijing Bastards, the film made in 1993 by Zhang Yuan and only recently legalized in mainland China.

The film centres around the lives of a group of Beijing malcontents, zeroing in on 20-something Karzi, a moody malcontent who tries to get his pregnant girlfriend to give him another chance. A half-dozen other characters include Cui Jian, who plays himself and contributes a moody score. The story line also includes his band being shuffled around like ducks between rehearsal rooms: locals don’t like, or understand, the din.

Today’s Beijing is unrecogniseable in the film: no traffic jams, no foreign business people/slackers, no Starbucks.  The Cherry Lane screening was interrupted by several of the mobile phone tones ubiquitous on today’s streets. There’s a lot more wealth in China, and some more rock n roll, but most youths have given up protest songs for the urban dream of apartment and car, more achievable than ever in go-getting modern China.

The Cherry Lane is an old Peking Opera house used as a non-profit artnouse film house on the weekends. Beijing Bastards has never been shown in a mainstream cinema in China.

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Posted in: Blogs, Beijing Beat
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COIS FHARRAIGE 2007 Ireland's First Surf & Music Festival

A weekend of live music from the best of Irish and International acts
will be staged in a Kayham Tent, with a capacity of 4,500 each night,
over looking the Atlantic Coast in Kilkee Co. Clare.

Friday September 7th
Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Blizzards, Roisin Murphy, Majella Murphy

Sunday September 8th
Ocean Colour Scene, Republic of Loose, THE ENEMY, 28 Costumes

Sunday September 9th
Kila, Tom Baxter, Buffalo Souljah, Delerontos, THE WOMBATS, Amy MacDonald

Further acts to be announced.

A carnival of watersport activities will kick off across Kilkee bay
over the three day weekend and an official Surfing Event on the
breathtaking Doughmore beach in Doonbeg on Saturday the 8th in
association with the West Coast Surf Club.

Tickets for Cois Fharraige Surf Festival go on sale on Friday June 29th at 9am.
In person: From 99 Ticketmaster outlets Nationwide
24hr hotlines: Tel: ( ROI ) 0818 719 300 / 0818 719 330 ( NI ) 0870
243 4455 Buy online:

Tickets for each individual day 29.50 euro
Early Bird Three day Festival Ticket 69.50 euro
( Available to purchase until August 18th 2007 only )

Three day Festival Ticket 84.50 euro
( Available to purchase from August 19th 2007 )

All tickets include booking fee

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There's no better way to mark today's French national music festival than with news of new music from France's greatest living pop star.

Manu Chao will release his new album 'La Radiolina' on 27 August. The first single taken off the album is 'Rainin' In Paradize', and you can watch the video below. Warning: it's fairly ordinary stuff -  a real disappointment compared to his electrifying back catalogue. And the video's terrible too. But if you like it, the track can be downloaded for free from Manu Chao's website.

No news yet of European tour dates or an Irish show (he's currently doing shows in North America) - hopefully Irish promoters will have learned by now just how huge an international star Manu Chao really is. In summer 2004 he was booked to play an Irish show at...Whelan's. The show eventually took place at... The Point, which he could have filled three times over, such was the demand for tickets, even with Metallica playing at the RDS arena on the same night.

Some astute Irish promoter will surely book him for a huge outdoor show, certain of the fact that every Spanish, Italian and French person in Ireland (thousands, we assure you - and that's not even including the hordes of summer students) will flock to see him.

Anyway, here's the video for 'Rainin' In Paradize':

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In France, the longest day of the year is also the longest night - 21 June is Fete de la Musique, France's national music day. It's a bit like St Patrick's Day but without the parade, the rain or the streetside vomiting.

Every French city, town and village has organised free outdoor musical events of all genres. Many venues also enter into the spirit and put on free shows.

Two Irish acts will play in Paris for the festival. Our recent Eurovision entrants Dervish are in concert at the Irish Cultural Centre, near the Pantheon. Alternatively, Simple Kid is on the bill at the Maroquinerie, a cosy little venue in the east of the city. We know which of those we'll be at.

The festival is now celebrated in cities across the world, and Dublin's large French community is also getting involved.

'French Music Feast' at Crawdaddy features traditional chanson francaise from Thomasi, some self-explanatory rock sounds by Mon Cote Punk and some world music sounds from Killdahype and various other DJs late into the night.

Full details are available at

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I was having a few quiet beers with one of my mates the other night and the conversation turned to music, and shortly after, to heated argument as we struggled to agree who was and who was not a rock and roll star. It all started when I dissed Gary Lightbody and, for good measure, Chris Martin. My friend reacted badly to this as they are two of his favourite musicians and before we knew it we were citing record sales, critical reviews, respective fanbases, brands of endorsed musical instruments, favoured pastimes and anything else we could think of to attack or defend the general thesis. Finally, I threw my hands up in the air in exasperation and said, "Sweet Jesus, would Chris Martin look good in a black leather jacket ?" at which my mate froze, mouth open, pint in mid air and then exclaimed, "Say that again". "Ok mate, would any of your heroes look good in a black leather jacket?" "That's it, that's the acid test, isn't it?". he responded.

You see, you can talk all you like about popularity but when it comes down the wire, the real test, the black leather jacket test, is whether you look good in one and if you do then, regardless of whether you are a musician or even a dolphin trainer, then you are, without question, a rock and roll star. So, take a bow, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Bono and The Ramones, you all look great in the cowhide.

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At the moment, adverts are running on the television for ‘Top Gear Anthems’, the latest BBC album to take advantage of both the popularity of the world’s greatest motoring programme and Jeremy Clarkson’s creaking taste in rock and roll. All the usual Dad Rock compilation favourites are here; Boston, Steppenwolf, Queen, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Hawkwind, ZZ Top, Motorhead and Queen to name just a few along with some more modern bands, Son Rock if you will, such as Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park and Feeder. I gotta say I wouldn’t listen to any of this stuff regardless if I was behind the wheel of a car or not. So, in honour of my misspent early teens, when one of my guilty pleasures was to whiz around Dublin at night on my Raleigh 10 Speed racer listening to ‘Heatseeker’ by AC/DC on my Walkman (its illegal and dangerous to listen to music whilst on your bike kids) I have put together this list of top notch, road tested driving music for your speed orientated listening pleasure, but I urge you to keep an eye on the speedometer if you listen to them, because Sound Waves advocates safe, responsible driving.


Track: New Sensations

Artist: Lou Reed

Album: Perfect Night Live In London

Verdict: I took my GPZ out for a ride / The engine felt good between my thighs”. Lou Reed’s song is a paean to the simple pleasures of his Kawasaki motorcycle as he heads out from New York on a summer’s day for Pennsylvania and ends up in a road side bar. This live version of the song was recorded at the 1997 Meltdown Festival in London and it kicks ass, especially when Lou Reed instructs the band to, “Crack that Mother Fucker open”. Oh yeah


Track: Thunderstruck

Artist: AC/DC

Album: Live

Verdict: This song is like listening to bolt lightening making its way from Angus Young’s guitar to a massive speaker stack. The best example I can find of what I like to call “Live Energy Audience Transfer Dynamics”.


Track: Steve McQueen

Artist: Sheryl Crow

Album: C’mon, C’mon

Verdict: Sheryl was once engaged to the Texan thunderbolt that is Lance Armstrong, a man who began his autobiography with the words, “I do everything at a fast cadence” so she knows a thing or two about speed. In this song, she admits that she wants to be, “Like Steve McQueen / All I need’s a fast machine” before making sly comments about rock stars in the Whitehouse and pop stars who look like porn. I wonder who she is talking about?


Track: You Wreck Me

Artist: Tom Petty

Album: Wildflowers

Verdict: I first heard this on a country music radio station as I was driving down a highway in Kentucky. “Tonight we ride, right or wrong” sings Tom Petty as his band lock together to ride that tune down the road. Its one of his best songs and yet it does not appear on any of his Greatest Hits releases.


Track: Dominion / Mother Russia

Artist: The Sisters of Mercy

Album: Floodland

Verdict:  Anyone who thought that Jim Steinman’s work with Meatloaf was the pinnacle of more is more music production has never heard his work with British Goth rockers The Sisters of Mercy. This song is the opener for their hit album ‘Floodland’ and has it all, a massive drum beat, grandiose lyrics, a killer guitar lick, graveyard vocals, choir and a saxophone solo. If you are ever planning on driving through Death Valley make sure you pack this track.


Track: Cold Metal

Artist: Iggy Pop

Album: Instinct

Verdict: I saw Iggy Pop when he supported Madonna at Slane and he was brilliant, calling the disinterested crowd a bunch of mother fuckers and jumping around the stage like a seven year old that has eaten too much candy. This is my favourite track by the Godfather of Punk and features Glen Matlock and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols on bass and guitar. Threw my hide in an automobile / Heard a song called drive the wheel”. Sure, it’s a three chord trick but its one which ends with a prescient green message, “Better save a tree”. Trevor Sargent would be proud.


Track: Paper In Fire

Artist: John Mellancamp

Album: The Lonesome Jubilee

Verdict: ‘Jack & Diane’ was arguably John ‘Cougar’ Mellancamp’s biggest hit but this song is by far his best rocker; a lovely mixture of rolling guitar lick, Southern American instrumentation and drum kit fireworks.


Track: Tennessee Plates

Artist: John Hiatt

Album: Slow Turning

Verdict: This wonderful, country rock track tells the story of a car thief who steals a Cadillac with the aforementioned plates and takes it for a drive across Memphis with the police in hot pursuit before ending up in Tennessee Prison where he spends his days making, eh, Tennessee plates. If you ever find yourself on the run from the Gardai down the M50 this is the one to play.


Track: Keep The Car Running

Artist: Arcade Fire

Album: Neon Bible

Verdict: “Men are coming to take me away / I don’t know why but I know I can’t stay”. If that’s not a reason to get in a car and drive into the night as fast and as far as you can, then I don’t know what is. Once again, this is a song with a rolling lick and a fast paced beat and its opening echoes Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’.


Track: Light of Day

Artist: Bruce Springsteen

Album: MTV Plugged

Verdict: No list of motorway music would be complete without the inclusion of a song by that poet of the open road, Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen. This was written as the title song for a Michael J Fox movie and was recorded live for an MTV special where Bruce discarded the acoustic instruments for his trusty Fender. “Been driving five hundred miles / Got five hundred to go / I got Rock & Roll music on the radio”. What else do I need to say? Take it away Bruce...

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Nuggets from our archive

2002 - Interview with Rodrigo y Gabriela, by Cormac Looney. As with Damien Rice's profile, this interview was published before Rodrigo y Gabriela's career took off overseas. It too continues to attract considerable visits every month to the article from Wikipedia.