The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Aideen O'Flaherty'

02

This week, it seems, is a week for a change in band line-ups. First there was the frankly surprising news that Caroline McKay, the drummer for Glasvegas, has decided to leave James Allen & Co.

This was followed by the announcement of Matt Rubano and Matthew Fazzi’s departure from Taking Back Sunday. And I was just getting over seeing Taking Back Sunday without Fred Mascherino!

Meanwhile, while temporarily taking a break from mourning the demise of Copeland (they had so much left to give!) I went out and bought Laura Marling’s latest album ‘I Speak Because I Can.’ Simply put, it’s one of the best music purchases I’ve ever made. Here’s a brilliant video of her perfroming the first single from the album, ‘Devil’s Spoke.’

 


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
30
Laura Marling 'I Speak Because I Can'
A review of the album 'I Speak Because I Can' by Laura Marling Review Snapshot: The second album from folksy songstress Laura Marling highlights why I fell in love with her music in t...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
22

The ‘Greatest Hits’ album. We’re all familiar with it in some capacity, usually the ploy of the record label. It used to be that greatest hits albums signalled the end of a band, as though they were saying, “Right, this is as good as we’ll ever get.” Now, they seem to occur intermittently. Remember the odd Biffy Clyro singles release a few months ago? I’m just cautiously waiting for there to be a ‘Best Of’ album for Elbow.

There are very few ‘Best Of’ or ‘Greatest Hits’ albums that I like, and I’m certain this is the same for almost every other music fan.  I thought The Cure’s Greatest Hits was pretty good. While naturally it was filled with their most commercially successful songs you could tell the songs weren’t just thrown together, that some thought was put into the track listing and it worked out perfectly. I mean, of course I’ll bemoan them for not including ‘Fascination Street’, ‘Catch’ or ‘Prayers for Rain’, but whatever song selection is picked for these albums I always have some sort of issue with the tracks that either are, or aren’t, on it.

While in some instances the Greatest Hits album is merely an introduction to the band for some people, sometimes a band has so much excellent material that it’s incredibly hard to narrow it down into one album. The Smiths’ Very Best Of is a prime example of this, with no less than 23 songs on the album. And prior to that album release there were two volumes of ‘The Best Of The Smiths’. Some bands, it seems, should just remain untouched. If you were to go out and pick up any one of The Smiths’ albums it would be filled with consistently enthralling material. There was never really any need for a ‘Very Best Of’.

On several occasions some bands are unaware that their label is compiling a ‘Best Of’ album, let alone going to release one. Free from any consultation from the band, it proves an irritating and sometimes embarrassing addition to their discography.  This happened to AFI in 2004, when they left their then-label Nitro, the label released a collection of songs from their previous albums that they saw as being the best. It’s still something the band rarely talk about, but when they do the disdain is always evident.

So, are greatest hits album really so heinous? The Best of R.E.M captures the band at various different stages in their career, and no doubt provides an excellent introduction to the band. Similarly, the Best of Depeche Mode is a stunning collection of their songs. Maybe without those albums, very few bands would be appreciated as much as they are now. In some instances, it can shine a light on a band that had previously been only vaguely known by people. Here’s hoping that Doves’ Best Of garners them all of the attention they’ve so long deserved. The verdict? The Greatest Hits album: a necessary evil.


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
18

Congratulations are in order after Adrian Crowley won the Choice Music Prize with the brilliant ‘Season of the Sparks’ album. He had some tough competition in the form of Valerie Francis’ ‘Slow Dynamo’ and Bell X1‘s  ‘Blue Lights on the Runway’ among many others. A CLUAS interview with him can be read here.

I recently got Fionn Regan’s ‘Shadow of an Empire’, which has a lot more electric instrumentation than his debut ‘The End of History.’ While it doesn’t entirely veer away from the folk style he’s known for it does display his immense musical talent, sometimes experimenting with some more traditional sounds.

He has the lyrical sensibilities of Bob Dylan with the sometimes melodious and engaging vocal style of Johnny Cash. Judging by this album, Regan can only ever get more interesting and creative with his music.

The album covers a lot of different ground, starting from the raucous and hooky ‘Protection Racket’ to the personal and intimate in ‘Lines Written in Winter’. Throughout the album it seems as though not a word was wasted in the lyrics, everything has some sort of significance.

Here’s an interesting snippet of the song ‘Protection Racket’, the first single from ‘The Shadow of an Empire’.


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
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, bet...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
03

The Courteeners have stormed back into the consciousness of indie fans with their impeccable second album ‘Falcon’. They’ve created a distance between the Oasis style lad-rock that was so prevalent on their debut ‘St. Jude’, which has the potential to get them a much larger audience. Like almost every indie band in the land they’ve got strings on this album, but only as a subtle addition to the foot-stomping and energetic guitars and drums which blaze throughout. If you thought ‘St. Jude’ was good, then you’ll be blown away by ‘Falcon’.

Besides the fascinating photography the CD booklet is adorned with, there’s an album of consistently interesting and attention-grabbing tracks. The aptly titled opening track ‘The Opener’ details front man Liam Fray’s love for his hometown of Manchester, while their latest single ‘You Over Did It Doll’ makes a cross over into a previously unseen side of The Courteeners, primarily due to the dance style of the song. It’s something which could easily be considered quite bizarre, but they’ve got it right on point. The whole album is collection of thoughtful and heartfelt tracks, but mainly with an upbeat tempo. ‘Falcon’ easily has the potential to be one of the best albums of 2010.

In other news the NME Awards took place in London’s Brixton Academy last week hosted by the ever affable Jarvis Cocker. As per usual there was a shortage of Irish acts getting a look-in. However, Villagers’ recent signing to the legendary Domino label may just change that. Paul Weller was awarded the ‘Godlike Genius’ award and people with mullets everywhere rejoiced at the possibility that he just might make them fashionable again. On the live performances front there was a staggering collaboration between Biffy Clyro and Marina & the Diamonds on ‘Many of Horror’.  Have a look at the surprisingly suited collaboration below:


 


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
22

So, first on the agenda is the sassy, strong and stunning all female choir Gaggle. I interviewed the front woman of Gaggle a few months ago and since then Gaggle have signed to the Transgressive label (home to a certain Graham Coxon) and are releasing a single entitled ‘I Hear Flies’, the mesmerising video for which can be found here. They’ve received glowing reviews for their live performances, their live show has yet to hit Irish shores but considering how much their profile is raising it’s probably only a matter of time.

Meanwhile Dev Hynes, AKA Lightspeed Champion, has recently released his second solo album ‘Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You.’, and it’s available to stream for a limited time here. It’s a strange yet appealing concoction of various different genres - he jumps from dance to soulful in the space of a few minutes. It all is, of course, well worth a listen. And it certainly doesn’t hurt when it’s being streamed for free.

Back on Irish shores Valerie Francis' astounding debut ‘Slow Dynamo’ has been nominated for the Choice Music Awards, and she was nominated in the Best Irish Female category at the Meteor’s this year, and deservedly so. To get a taster of what perfectly crafted and beautifully expressive acoustic music should sound like then mosey on over to her MySpace here.

Lastly, Welsh songstress Marina Diamandis, better known as the front woman of Marina and the Diamonds, has recently released her debut album ‘The Family Jewels’ and it’s already been certified Silver in the UK. Packed full of catchy tunes, including her most recent single off the album, ‘Hollywood’, and the infectious ‘I Am Not A Robot’ it’s a must for any shameless pop fan. In order to introduce you to the world of Marina and the Diamonds, for the uninitiated here’s the video for ‘I Am Not A Robot.’

 

More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
12

It’s no secret that a lot of bands find making their second album more nerve-wracking than their first, for a multitude of reasons. After the initial high of actually releasing their debut, and depending on how successful it was, there’s the fear that it will never match the acclaim of their debut. Arctic Monkeys are a prime example of this, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ was the UK’s fastest selling debut album, reached number 1 in both Ireland and the UK and cemented their place in music history. Their second album ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ was never going to be able to live up to its predecessor. But the Arctic Monkeys still released it almost a year after their hugely successful debut instead of mulling over it for too long.

Other bands, namely Klaxons, seem intent on delaying their second album for as long as is humanly possible. Why? Probably because they know it’s unlikely they’ll release another ‘Golden Skans.’ Or, alternatively, some bands could be hoping their second album will launch them into the mainstream, like My Chemical Romance’s ‘Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge’ or Paolo Nutini’s ‘Sunny Side Up.’ Also to be considered is the fear that your band will be dropped from their label if your second album isn’t up to par.

So, who has to worry? Well, do you remember Kate Nash? She’ll be finally releasing her follow-up to ‘Made of Bricks’ this year. It’s very likely that she’s expecting for it to be scrutinised and compared to her debut (I think everyone knows it will be). And there’s no doubt that Florence and the Machine will have a hard time matching the success of their debut ‘Lungs’, same goes for White Lies.

The correct formula for a second album, if any, is hard to grasp. Most bands want to change their sound, be more “grown up” but also don’t want to alienate their original fans. It’s a hard game to play. Jack Penate made a brave move after his unremarkable first album ‘Matinee’. While his debut did garner him some fans, myself included, it was only ever okay. He re-evaluated his sound and in 2009 returned with ’Everything is New’, consisting of more genre flirting as opposed to his previous “indie kid with a guitar” style. And, of course, his second album definitely gained much more positive attention than his debut.

And lastly are the musicians who couldn’t care less about second album syndrome. Dev Hynes, formerly of Test Icicles, seems to eat, breathe and sleep songs. Better known as Lightspeed Champion, he’s currently gearing up to release his second LP ‘Life is Sweet, Nice to Meet You’ and has also written songs for various other musicians. Interestingly, in the past he’s hinted that he released other material under a pseudonym. Perhaps a perfect example of someone who appears to have music flowing through his veins, the release of his second album doesn’t seem to phase him at all.

Possibly my favourite second album of the noughties is Elbow’s ‘Cast of Thousands.’ It’s a tricky thing, making a second album. The first album is  for you to prove yourself as a musician, by the third one you’ll probably have been pigeonholed. It used to be all about the debuts, maybe this will be the decade of album numéro deux?


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
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 ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Interviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
01

Firstly New Yorkers White Rabbits combine strong vocals and catchy hooks seamlessly. Switching flawlessly from piano to jagged guitars and acoustic tracks throughout their second album ‘It’s Frightening’ shows that it’s probably time to believe the hype.

The soulful vocals of Blue Roses, aka Laura Groves, show similarities to The Joy Formidable’s Ritzy and a nod to 60s girl group The Shangri-La’s.  She’s self described as “writing songs for instruments I can't play yet and making choirs out of my voice” with songs adorned with tambourines and memorable lyrics. ‘Anyone Who Knows What Love Is’ wouldn’t sound out of place in the backroom of The Cavern in the 60s. A rare glimpse of an artist whose songs may be new, but appears to hold nostalgia for the past without sounding like a distempered tribute act.

Preparing to tour with White Lies and Enter Shikari are Scottish hopefuls Twin Atlantic. At times drawing comparisons to You Me At Six and Biffy Clyro as a result of their heavy rock sound intertwined with pop rock a la You Me At Six. ‘What Is Light? Where Is Laughter?’ is a highlight, and your ears will thank you for listening to it.

Though all three currently don't have plans to tour in Ireland as of yet there's always hope! Closer to home, Irish indie favourite Fionn Regan will be touring Ireland in March and will be playing in Vicar Street on the 13th of March. The dates are as follows:

  

          5th March      Electric Avenue        Waterford  

     6th March      Dolan's                    Limerick

7th March     School of Music      Cork

 10th March   Nerve Centre           Derry

     11th March   The Empire              Belfast

  12th March   Roisin Dubh           Galway

          

Overall, this year is looking good for Irish live music. Additionally, Happy February!


More ...

[Read more...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
Page 2 of 4First   Previous   1  [2]  3  4  Next   Last   

Search Articles

Nuggets from our archive

2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.