The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

08
Joe Echo
Musician Ciaran Gribbin (aka Joe Echo) is embarking on a solo career after a successful stint with acclaimed NI band Leya. He’s recorded with Paul Oakenfold, he’s written tracks for soundt...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Interviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
05
Switchfoot 'Hello Hurricane'
  A review of the album 'Hello Hurricane' by Switchfoot Review Snapshot: After jumping ship from major label Sony and creating their own indie label called lower case people ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
01

The summer is long gone but that doesn't mean we still can't have festivals; one of France's biggest music events begins tonight.

Les Trans Musicales takes place in Rennes, in the heart of Brittany, from 2 to 6 December. It being a university city, Rennes has a lively and established music scene. Now in its 31st year, Les Trans Musicales is a weekend of discovering new French and international music either on the festival site or in the city's bars.

When we say 'festival site', of course, we don't mean a field or football pitch - Brittany is much like Ireland climate-wise. The main Friday and Saturday shows are held in the Parc Expo, a complex of exhibition centres several kilometres outside Rennes, and fans are dependent on shuttle buses to get there and back. Meanwhile, the city centre bars are buzzing with young bands and visitors.

So, who's playing? Anyone you in Ireland might know?

Well, on Thursday night Erland Oye's project The Whitest Boy Alive are in a city centre venue called Liberté Bas along with four lesser-known acts. Friday out in the Parc Expo you could see Fever Ray, FM Belfast and Major Lazer among others. Then on Saturday you've got The Very Best (of that thin-sounding Afropop tune 'Warm Heart Of Africa' featuring Ezra Keonig from Vampire Weekend), one-hit wonder Mr Oizo... and that's it for recognisable names. But maybe some of the other acts will be big in 2010 - have a look through the downloadable programme (in pdf) and place your bets.

There's only one Irish act at Les Trans Musicales - Derry electro trio The Japanese Popstars are appearing on Saturday night.

You can find out more about the winter trip to Rennes on Les Trans Musicales' web site. Here are The Japanese Popstars showing their love for a cartoon series that also inspired Daft Punk - it's their video for the storming 'Rise of Ulysses':


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
28
The Antlers, Cymbals Eat Guitars (live in Paris)
The Antlers, Cymbals Eat Guitars (live at the Nouveau Casino, Paris) Review Snapshot: Two loud doses of U.S. alt-rock, which may be surprising for some fans of 'Hospice'. But at high volum...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Gig Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
28

If you know your Peter Pan, you'll remember that Wendy Darling was the oldest and wisest of the three children whisked off to Neverland. Once there, she seemed to buck the trend and become more mature and responsible, though without ever making the leap to modern-minded independence.

The Wendy DarlingsFrom Neverland we're whisked back to France and the central city of Clermont-Ferrand, mentioned plenty of times before on this blog. The Wendy Darlings (right) are a trio - a girl leading two boys, like their fictional counterparts. They make fun and catchy guitar pop that has one foot in '60s garage-rock and another in '90s indieness. We think they're great.

However, it depresses us to write this next bit: the lead singer calls herself Saddam Suzy and the two lads are Dr Poppy and DJ Sepia. Seriously, like - Saddam Suzy. It's best that we just move on and ignore that.

The Wendy Darlings have a limited edition 7-track EP out right now on UK label Lostmusic Records, called 'We Come With Friendly Purposes'. They're also getting exposure on CQFD, the new band community/contest of Les Inrockuptibles.

But if you want to hear their best songs, go to The Wendy Darlings' MySpace page. 'Enormous Pop' is the track featured on CQFD - there's a homemade YouTube video of the song set to some kitsch Japanese children's television show.

However, our favourite is 'Suffer Girl' - the title is a clever pun on the '60s surf-pop vibe of the song. Here are The Wendy Darlings playing 'Suffer Girl' with the accompaniment of - oh yes - line-dancing troupe The Hate It Loud Quadrille:

 


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
25

The Beat Poets 'The Making' E.P

Beat Poets - The Making EPCluas Snapshot: They have the earnest heart on sleeve lyrics, big sound and bigger choruses; The Beat Poets are poised to be the finest purveyors of stirring rock in a long time. If it’s your thing, check them out.

Cluas Verdict? 7/10

Full Review: The Beat Poets are on the up. Their latest offerings have been picked up by MTV USA and the BBC amongst others. The title track “The Making” is getting a lot of airplay on the radio. Things are going good for the band touted by some to be potentially the biggest band from NI since Snooze (sorry Snow!) Patrol.

So what’s the E.P like? Well if a pumping rhythm, honest emotive lyrics and an audible yearning for a big sound is your thing? It’s great actually. If you don’t, it’s awful. It’s that simple. The title track “The Making” has elements of The Verve, U2 amongst others in the sound. It’s perfectly crafted as a popular rock song. A steady penetrative build up, culminating in a catchy melodic, big chorus. It's a definite radio hit, and if anything personifies the bands competence in song construction. Quite often there are bands with all the raw talent in the world, but have no idea how to construct a song. The Beat Poets are no such act. Despite the fact that the emotive lyrics may grate a little, the songs sound cohesive. It makes for good listening.

An acoustic version of one of the bands favourites “Bloodline” follows. Again it’s constructed perfectly, building verses around a melody on the up and then a chorus that hits the heights. “Race” could be on any U2 record between 1980 and 1983 and it’s no shame. This track’s strong point is the pulsating rhythm section. The bass line in particular drives the song. It’s more of the same style touted in the opener. It’s not bad at all.

If you like your stadium rock, and you want your front man to wear his heart on his sleeve then this is for you. Ok it’s not U2, but it’s not Snow Patrol either. “The Making” hits download and stores November 30th. In this reviewers opinion it’s worth a download, if even for curiosity, altogether solid stuff.

Kevin Coleman


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
23

La Flèche d’Or, the much-loved music bar in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, opened again last night (23 November), having been closed since the end of April.

As we told you, the licence on the premises – a former railway station served by the train that gives the bar its present name – expired on 30 April and complaints from local residents about sound levels meant that major renovation work would be necessary for a new licence to be granted. This being a costly intervention possibly offset by the venue’s popularity and name recognition, the licence was taken on jointly by two established promoters – Alias Production and Asterios Spectacles, operators of successful Paris concert halls like the Bataclan and the Maroquinerie.

So, what does the new Flèche look like? Quite like the old one (right), actually – there have been no visible structural changes but we presume the walls are now packed with insulation. There are a couple of layout improvements – the bar is now along the back wall where the few tables were, and the sound desk has been moved from the centre to the side. The crow’s-nest lighting desk has been taken down, so the Flèche lampies have come back to earth. There is no longer a bar in the smoking patio outside, which also has fewer seats. This being Paris, where the natives smoke like chimneys, most local punters should be happy that the previous overcrowding in the corner has been relieved (though it was still busy last night between sets).

Even in the last six months of its existence, the old Flèche had abandoned the free-to-entry policy that attracted music-ravenous punters like your correspondent. But at least the charade of “free entry but obligatory ticket to buy a drink, but free entry” has been dropped – to get in last night it cost eight euro, a price which includes one drink at the bar. However, like at music festivals here, you must pay a refundable deposit of one euro for your plastic cup. Will customers wait patiently at a crowded bar to get their one euro refunded at the end of the night, or will they write it off? (Those euros add up.) Still, eight euro to see four acts is always good value and the Flèche’s international reputation means that there’ll be quality somewhere on the line-up.

So, what about the music last night?

Launching the good ship Flèche d’Or was American singer-songer Chris Brokaw. Unfortunately, his dour Dylan-esque folk-rock wasn’t a great way to whip up a frenzy on such an auspicious night. Next on stage were The Two, a local boy-girl folk-pop duo whose love-and-angst English lyrics were cringefully naff and clichéd. Still, they had celebrity support – actress Charlotte Rampling was there to cheer them on. (We figure that a lady with her was the mother of the girl singer.)

Then came the star of the night – Evan Dando, for an acoustic solo set. He hasn’t aged a day since his mid-‘90s indie pin-up heyday – same long, dangling fair hair and sun-kissed good looks. And those songs from ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ and ‘Come On Feel The Lemonheads’ are just as ageless. The strength of those songs is the tension between Dando’s happy-go-lucky stage persona and the melancholy in his voice and lyrics. (‘Confetti’ and ‘My Drug Buddy’, two songs that always inspire celebratory audience participation, are really very dark and lonely in their subject matter.) And, of course, their undeniable catchiness. That said, his later songs are a little whimsical and insipid – so we propose that Evan Dando is the Paul McCartney of alt-rock.

Brokaw joined Dando onstage for the final furlong, which included a sincere and unironic version of Christina Aguilera’s hit ‘Beautiful’ and a gorgeous acoustic rendition of ‘Ride With Me’. No rock-outs like ‘Rudderless’ or ‘Alison’s Starting To Happen’ but most other bases covered in an hour-long set – Lemonheads fans were well satisfied last night.

Upcoming shows at the Flèche include our fellow Irishman in Paris, Perry Blake, this Thursday and The Raveonettes in early December. Full listings are available on the Flèche d’Or MySpace page.

The Flèche is back, baby! From last night’s relaunch here’s Evan Dando and Chris Brokaw performing ‘Ride With Me’:


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
21

Of course, the big news from Paris is the fall-out from last Wednesday's World Cup qualifier. After the extraordinary events of the game, thousands of fans in green and white gathered on the Champs-Elysées, which had to be closed. A minority of troublemakers chanting anti-French slogans clashed with riot police. The upshot is that France has been plunged into self-questioning about its moral and cultural position.

Yes, it was certainly a major event, Algeria's win over Egypt and qualification for next year's finals.

In other news, you might have heard that Ireland lost controversially to France in our own play-off match. Your correspondent was at the Stade de France with the travelling Irish fans; it was an incredible evening with a heartbreaking finale. But thankfully we Irish haven't lapsed into undignified self-pity, crass rabble-rousing and sanctimonious moralising on the national airwaves.

She bangs the drum: Celtic tigress Imelda May onstage in Paris, 17 November 2009 (photo: Rafael Garcia)The night before, Dublin retro-rocker Imelda May had given a tonic for the troops at a small cabaret bar near Bastille called Le Réservoir. On page two of The Ticket in last Friday's Irish Times you may have seen the striking photo (right) by Paris freelance snapper Rafael Gomez Enriquez (check out his impressive website for more of his concert shots and pictures from his travels), with a few words from your CLUAS Foreign Correspondent (Paris) underneath. In such an intimate venue, especially one up a side-street and with motorbikes outside, May's brand of rockabilly and blues felt exciting and authentic. It's hard to see how she can capture that feeling on record or in an enormodome like the O2 in Dublin - so Irish expats should take advantage of May's tentative steps in foreign cities and smaller clubs.

Speaking of the Irish Times, you might have seen Jim Carroll's rave report on Canadian indie-folk-rockers Hey Rosetta! (The exclamation mark is theirs, not ours.) Well, the band were in Paris this weekend so your correspondent went to check them out. They took part in an independent music symposium on Saturday afternoon but we decided to see them the night before as part of a new band event at Le Gibus, a club between République and the Canal Saint-Martin.

Only a dozen or so people showed up to see their show, a 25-minute slot between some energetic Libertines-loving schoolkids and a dire hard rock band. Happily, On The Record was on the money: Hey Rosetta! were wonderful. Their vibe is proudly epic and aspirational and poetic, something like Mike Scott's 'big music' from the mid-'80s or a rocked up version of DM Stith's widescreen dreamscapes. (Tim Baker's voice, soaring yet sensitive, is especially evocative.) But their music is still melodic and tightly constructed, without a pick of self-indulgence. They haven't any Irish show lined up at the moment but that's sure to change: make sure you see them.

We hear you in Dublin were also treated to a special concert lately: the double bill of St Vincent and Grizzly Bear. On Saturday night their European tour reached La Cigale in Paris - barely. En route from the Crossing Borders festival in The Hague their tour bus broke down, meaning that both acts arrived in Paris two hours late. All this time the venue doors were closed and fans had to queue along Pigalle for those two hours.

As soon as the doors opened, St Vincent went straight onstage for a shortened set of only four songs. Because fans were still trying to get into the venue when she started, most people missed the first song and many missed the second and third. Your correspondent missed the first two. (Something similar happened for her at La Route du Rock: her set started just as the gates were opening, meaning that a lot of her French fans also missed the start of her show there too - so Saturday night must have seemed like a bad joke to them.) Then Annie Clark's fans were stunned and angry to hear her say goodnight after fourth song 'Marrow'. It was almost as disappointing as events in the Stade de France (for the Irish in the audience at least).  

Grizzly Bear, for their part, got in a good hour onstage. (Paris venues must obey a strict and punitive curfew, so a late finish wasn't possible.) We had been disappointed with them at La Route du Rock in August when their sound seemed vapid and disjointed - but indoors we could hear better the heavy echo effects on vocals and instruments, making for a more satisfying experience. Feist, living in Paris, joined the band to coo along to a glorious 'Two Weeks'. And the encore version of 'He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)' was agreeably odd and unsettling. Unfortunately, earlier events conspired to somewhat spoil the mood, especially for St Vincent fans. But in hindsight and hindhearing Grizzly Bear were great. Just don't ever take a lift off them - as well as Saturday's breakdown they had a minor bus crash in Austria earlier in the week, thankfully with no serious injury or damage.

So, an eventful few days for us in Paris. This coming week we hope to see Evan Dando on Monday night at the launch of the newly-refurbished Flèche d'Or, the legendary indie venue that was closed for major soundproofing works earlier this year. On Tuesday night there's a fantastic line-up at the Nouveau Casino: The Antlers, Cymbals Eat Guitars and Liquid Architecture, all for just 15 euros. (Please don't let anything happen to their bus...) And Yo La Tengo are playing the Bataclan on Sunday night.

Anyway, from Saturday night's ill-fated show at the Cigale, here's Grizzly Bear and Feist (looking quite feisty with those boxing moves) doing 'Two Weeks':


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
21
La Roux 'La Roux'
A review of La Roux's debut album Review Snapshot: Electro-pop duo La Roux’s debut album is filled with the haunting vocals of Elly Jackson and the synthesized beats of Ben Laingmaid.&nb...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
19
The Flaws
Successful Irish band The Flaws have been in hibernation since their tour for their first album, Achieving Vagueness. This summer, they performed at a number of festivals, and released a single, '...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Interviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
Page 20 of 132First   Previous   15  16  17  18  19  [20]  21  22  23  24  Next   Last   

Search Articles

Nuggets from our archive

2004 - The CLUAS Reviews of Erin McKeown's album 'Grand'. There was the positive review of the album (by Cormac Looney) and the entertainingly negative review (by Jules Jackson). These two reviews being the finest manifestations of what became affectionately known, around these parts at least, as the 'McKeown wars'.