The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Phantom FMFor the last few months, I have eschewed my eclectic dial twiddling to concentrate on listening to the output of Phantom FM on the basis that, I am in the market for new music, by which I mean music that sounds new and has not just been released lately. On my MP3 player at present sits, to give a few examples, music by Emma Kirkby, Regina Spektor, Alison Krauss, John Tavener, Miles Davis, AC/DC, Modest Mouse, Clive Barnes, Nursat Fateh Ali Kahn, Jan Garbarek, Joan Osbourne, John Spillane, Brad Mehldau, Prince, Ray LaMontagne, Solomon Burke, Metallica and Laura Veirs. A pretty wide range of music I would think, much of it recent, and all of it individualistic. My taste has always moved between genres; in the same year that I bought albums by Steve Earle and The Police, I also bought records by Ted Hawkins, Tom Waits and Tommy Makem & The Clancy Brothers. Much of the above is not often heard, if at all, on Irish commercial radio stations.

So, you would think that I would be the ideal target audience for Phantom FM. Well, think again because I have found the choice of music I have listened to on Phantom FM to be monochromatic and, well, rather samey. A bit like eating nothing else but chicken curry for two months. Far from offering choice and new music, the station is offering up a diet of shows where the playlists are interchangeable. Ok, its only been on air a few months I know but its still hard to talk about single show having a unique personality and I certainly could not imagine the station ever offering a home to individualistic broadcasters such as John Kelly, Andy Kershaw or the great BP 'The Beep' Fallon.

However, the format of Phantom is very familiar and after a while I twigged why. Phantom FM is essentially a single genre US style radio station in disguise. Far from offering a wider choice of new music, if thats what you want to call Artic Monkeys, it is actually offering a narrower choice. I always felt that 'indie kids' had a very narrow and not very exciting taste in music. Now, I have the proof. Think I'll stick to roaming the dial for another while. 

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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'.