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Saturday, January 31, 2009


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The soundtrack to the Jonathan Demme documentary, Stop Making Sense captures the Talking Heads live in 1984 on what would turn out to be their last major tour. This collection, and the film, is a true gift to the band's fans, a testament to the Heads' extraordinary talent, both in the studio and especially onstage. Frontman David Byrne infuses each song with a jolt of energy and drama that could only have come from a late-'70s art-school student. Now-classic tracks such as "Psycho Killer," "Girlfriend is Better," "Once in a Lifetime," "Take Me to the River," and "Burning Down the House" have never sounded better. This expanded 1999 reissue includes all nine of the original tracks, plus seven previously unheard cuts, including "Heaven," "Found a Job," and "Crosseyed and Painless."

1. Psycho Killer
2. Heaven
3. Thank You For Sending Me An Angel
4. Found A Job
5. Slippery People
6. Burning Down The House
7. Life During Wartime
8. Making Flippy Floppy
9. Swamp
10. What A Day That Was
11. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
12. Once In A Lifetime
13. Genius Of Love (Tom Tom Club)
14. Girlfriend Is Better
15. Take Me To The River
16. Crosseyed And Painless


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Long Island's favorite metal-lite purveyors continued their comeback in 2001 with this unexpectedly accomplished set of new songs. Boasting the core of the original band with Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, Eric Bloom, and Alan Lanier, Curse of the Hidden Mirror stays rooted in the group's tough yet jangly approach but ups the ante with strong material that often matches, yet doesn't quite surpass, the band's best music. A return to the stylistic triumph of Agents of Fortune and the similarly titled Mirrors, the revived quintet coalesces around sharp riff-based rockers that show a band that has matured but hasn't lost its cosmic edge. Simplistic rockers like "Here Comes That Feeling" float on a fluently melodic bed, and when they slip into ballad mode, as in "Out of the Darkness," it's done without an ounce of pretension. Even the tougher rockers like "Good to Feel Hungry" and "Stone of Love" — the latter co-penned by R. Meltzer (who worked with them in the '80s) and one of this album's highlights, a song as good as anything they've ever written — never slip into either stiffness or, worse, self-parody. Roeser keeps his solos on low burn, never overstaying his welcome, and vocalist Bloom doesn't force his still-smooth voice, belying his age (early fifties) and veteran status. The opening tuneful rocker "Dance on Stilts" could easily fit on either one of the group's classic first four studio albums, as could the appropriately titled "One Step Ahead of the Devil," which is a high compliment indeed. In fact, except for a few slips on the simplistic "I Just Want to Be Bad," a track that's as bland as it sounds, Curse of the Hidden Mirror is a remarkably consistent, subtle, and even poetic album that expands their sci-fi undercurrents without getting lost in space. It's far better than some of the group's limp late-'80s work and stands as one of the finest albums of their nearly three decade — and counting — career of evil.

1. Dance on Stilts
2. Showtime
3. The Old Gods Return
4. Pocket
5. One Step Ahead of the Devil
6. I Just Like to Be Bad
7. Here Comes That Feeling
8. Out of the Darkness
9. Stone of Love
10. Eye of the Hurricane
11. Good to Feel Hungry



LIFE TIME (1987)
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The inital release for the Rollins Band that has maintained itself as the apex of the groups output to this very day. The music is a jazz/metal hybrid that is truely frightening, especially with the serious and intense Hank out in front of it. The ultimate document of alienation, Rollins has yet to equal (or even come close to) the fury that "Lifetime" is. The rerelease adds the three tracks leftover from the sessions that later formed the studio side of the "Do It" EP (which is also well worth seeking out for it's live side..possibly the best of Rollins live recordings). They are covers that Rollins makes his own (a problem he had on "Hot Animal Machine") they also fit with the seamless whole of "Lifetime".
A great achievment, one of the essential underground CD's of the 80's and a must for any alternative music collection.

1. Burned Beyond Recognition
2. What Am I Doing Here?
3. 1,000 Times Blind
4. Lonely
5. Wreck-Age
6. Gun in Mouth Blues
7. You Look at You
8. If You're Alive
9. Turned Out
10. Do It
11. Move Right In
12. Next Time

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Henry Rollins is now no longer the just the lead singer of the legendary and sadly depared Black Flag (my favorite punk band of all time), he now leads the successful and experimental Rollins Band, has recorded quite a few hillarious spoken word albums (a string of T.V. specials based in it followed), and has played parts in many movies. Though he does all of that very skillfully, he has yet to capture the intensity and rawness of his solo recordings "Hot Animal Machine" and "Drive By Shooting E.P." (both make their home on this lovely C.D.). Even though he seems not to have found his niche at this point in time, Henry still shines with this extreme and intelligent record. Besides Rollins's voice and writing ablity, "Hot Animal Machine" contains many memorable riffs but some shakey drum work. The songs on the album range from flat out in-your-face punk music ("Black and White", "Followed Around") to a more experimental sound reminisent of his later years ("A Man and a Woman", "No One"). I for one love this record. It is original and - though there are many references to what his has done and is currently doing - different than anything he has ever done. The best tracks on 'Hot Animal Machine' are "There's a Man Outside", "Followed Around" (my favorite), "A Man and a Woman", and "Ghost Rider" (Suicide cover). Also, the cover of the blues classic "Crazy Lover" is golden.
For the 'Drive By Shooting" E.P., Rollins and Haskett (Chris, guitar) try all sorts of different things. The cool-as-he ll opener 'Drive By Shooting' has a surf rock type guitar riff playing with very differnt lyrics than you might expect. Also, it shows Henry at his vocal peak! The genius "Can You Speak This" is the highlight of the dual album. It is for the most part spoken word, but just brilliant. Also, the message behind "Men are Pigs" would not make that many ment happy (listen to it and you'll know what I mean). As the title implies (well blatantly states), this is the last punk album that Rollins recorded, so all you Black Flag fans will be happy!Though I perfer Black Flag and the Rollins Band to this, it makes a mark on music just the same. A must buy for diehard Rollins fans!

1. Black and White
2. Followed Around
3. Lost and Found
4. There's a Man Outside
5. Crazy Lover
6. A Man and a Woman
7. Hot Animal Machine 1
8. Ghost Rider
9. Move Right In
10. Hot Animal Machine 2
11. No One
12. Drive by Shooting
13. Ex-Lion Tamer
14. Hey Henrietta
15. Can You Speak This
16. I Have Come to Kill You
17. Men Are Pigs
18. There's a Man Outside (Reprise)

Friday, January 30, 2009


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The Zombies were perhaps the most British-sounding of all British Invasion groups, and yet they never scored a hit record in their native U.K. The band released three great singles over here, including the wonderful "Time of the Season," which concludes this 1968 masterpiece, frequently called Britain's version of Pet Sounds. This 30th anniversary edition presents both the stereo and mono versions (and there are substantial differences) of the melancholic, keyboard-dominated pop that flowed from Rod Argent and bassist Chris White. The Zombies' main songwriters explored "psychedelic" themes from odd angles. Here songs address a letter to a girlfriend in jail ("Care of Cell 44") and war ("Butcher's Tale"). There's even a "flowers-in-their-hair" hippie anthem (the gorgeous "Hung Up on a Dream"). Totally of its time, and, nevertheless, a timeless classic.

1. Care of Cell 44
2. A Rose for Emily
3. Maybe After He's Gone
4. Beechwood Park
5. Brief Candles
6. Hung up on a Dream
7. Changes
8. I Want Her, She Wants Me
9. This Will Be Our Year
10. Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)
11. Friends of Mine
12. Time of the Season
Bonus tracks
13. I'll Call You Mine
14. She Loves the Way They Love Her
15. Imagine the Swan
16. Smokey Day
17. If It Don't Work Out
18. I Know She Will
19. Don't Cry for Me
20. Walking in the Sun
21. Conversation off Floral Street
22. I Want You Back Again
23. Gotta Get a Hold of Myself
24. Goin' Out of my Head
25. She Does Everything for Me
26. Nothing's Changed
27. I Could Spend the Day
28. Girl Help Me


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After stalling a bit with their 1982 album Revelations, Killing Joke nearly split up, with lead singer Jaz Coleman disappearing to Iceland in order to "survive the apocalypse." By the time Coleman returned to the band, bassist Youth was gone and replaced by Paul Raven, a perfect fit who would stay on board as the band found its way up the charts over the next few releases. As a reaction to all these comings and goings, this is a decidedly tribal album that opens with a track called "The Gathering," follows it with the "join the mob" anthem "Fun & Games," and features words like "we" and "us" throughout the album. The ultimate communal moment, "Let's All Go (To the Fire Dances)," is also the key track, with guitarist Geordie Walker bouncing between crunching barre chords and a Duane Eddy-on-steroids riff while Raven and drummer Paul Ferguson throb like a veteran rhythm section. Even if Coleman's lyrics are filled with venom as always, he's rounding up allies to fight the system here and considering the idea of connecting with his audience rather than just confronting them. Fire Dances bridges Killing Joke's primal past with their more melodic, accessible future and without compromising any of their thunder.

1. The Gathering
2. Fun & Games
3. Rejuvenation
4. Frenzy
5. Harlequin
6. Feast of Blaze
7. Song & Dance
8. Dominator
9. Let's All Go
10. Lust Almighty
Bonus tracks
11. Me Or You
12. Wilful Days
13. Dominator (Version)
14. The Gathering (Original Alt Version)
15. Dominator (John Peel Session)
16. Frenzy (John Peel Session)
17. Wilful Days (John Peel Session)
18. Harlequin (John Peel Session)


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As if emerging from a swanky beach house, The Boys hit a smooth and consistently rich stride on their sixth album. "Discoteca" and "Single" accompany a sophisticated pleasure traveler with Spanish rhythm, "Metamorphosis" recapitulates an introverted man's growing up, while the beautiful "It Always Comes As A Surprise" seems to capture the northerner's amazement at his first night in tropical paradise. The self-referential "Electricity" and proud stances of "Up Against It" and "To Step Aside" show an artistry and intellectual cleverness that never falls out of rhythm, while "Se A Vida E," "Before," and "Saturday Night" celebrate sweetness in life without running aground, as happy anthems so often do, on shallow bromides, cliches, or repetitiveness. The Pet Shop Boys have given us a library of fine albums, and often, even finer remixes, and this inventive and pleasurable album perhaps shows them at their best so far.

1. Discoteca
2. Single
3. Metamorphosis
4. Electricity
5. Se A Vida E (That'S The Way Life Is)
6. It Always Comes As A Surprise
7. A Red Letter Day
8. Up Against It
9. The Survivors
10. Before
11. To Step Aside
12. Saturday Night Forever
Bonus tracks
1. Somewhere (Extended Mix)
2. A Red Letter Day (Trouser Enthusiasts' Autoerotic Decapitation Mix)
3. To Step Aside (Brutal Bill Mix)
4. Before (Classic Paradise Mix)
5. The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On (International Club Mix)
6. Se A Vida É (Pink Noise Mix)
7. Discoteca (Trouser Enthusiasts' Adventures Beyond The Stellar Empire Mix)

Thursday, January 29, 2009


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On his recent releases, the French clarinettist/saxophonist Louis Sclavis has offered heartfelt tributes to Charles Mingus (Napoli's Walls), improvisations with a classical sax ensemble (L'Engrenage) and a voyage into funk, electronic and ambient music (L'imparfait des Langues). Sclavis's albums are all breathtakingly different. His latest is no exception: it's two CDs' worth of brief pieces played with expanded groups, documenting the prolific composer's work for theatre and film. Sclavis is a gifted melodist, and though improvisation is secondary on the 40 pieces here, his tonal subtlety, rhythmic inventiveness and Ellingtonesque imagination as an ensemble writer make these pieces charming, surprising and occasionally disconcerting. There are Gypsy dances, gliding waltzes and laid-back tangos, light-stepping oompah themes, soft funk against sighing strings hooks, even a jiving New Orleans bluesiness to La Mobylette Bleue. The pumping Dia Dia could be a John Surman solo feature for bass clarinet, and Sclavis's swooping clarinet over the didgeridoo-like sound of the lower-pitched woodwind creates an unfolding drama on Pour Sarkis. Most of the music is song-structured, but there are occasional rumbling, gurgly, semi-abstract soundscapes, such as the rich and collectively jazzy Le Monstre Dans la Forêt. Regular Sclavis partners, such as the soulful and earthy trumpeter Jean-Luc Cappozzo and the eloquent accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier, make the composer's rich-hued writing and playing all the more colourful.

Disc 1
1. La vie des autres
2. La vie des autres valse
3. Dia Dia part 1
4. Dia Dia part 2
5. Après lui
6. Vivre me tue
7. Sables
8. Grand comme le monde quatuor
9. Grand comme le monde
10. La Mairie
11. Java des prés
12. Sur la paille
13. Télémarche
14. Rag for Bill
15. L'Usine
16. Horizon
17. Adio Mamma
18. Ligne de fuite
19. Les heures lentes
20. La Valse du Parc
21. Cité city citta program

Disc 2
1. La mobylette bleue
2. Hymne bulgare
3. Pour Sarkis
4. Plus beau que jamais
5. Givre
6. La vie ouverte
7. Marche d'Electre
8. Le deuil sied à Electre
9. Les colonnes blanches
10. Nandri
11. De Lorient à Pondichery
12. Zitto
13. Zitto marche
14. Pueblo Lejano
15. Automne
16. Automne valse
17. Le rêve de Jean
18. Le monstre dans la forêt
19. Cité city citta program


LET'S JUST BE (2007)

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It's hard to resist the urge to rock out once in awhile. Let's Just Be is proof that even the most smooth-voiced and pop-minded singer-songsters must get their ya-yas out now and again. On some songs, Arthur conjures the early '70s spirit of Mick Jagger while on others he seems to be shooting for Marc Bolan. His most ragged-sounding and strictly rock and roll album to date, the record has a very loosely hewn feel which reaches an apex during the 20 minute (plus) "Lonely Astronaut." That song starts out as a pleasant enough country warble then mutates into a sloppy rave-up before dissolving into a bizarre mantra of the word "I" chanted atop an acoustic guitar and what sounds like a cement mixer, before slipping back into the warble bit. This disc is charming in its own way, and clearly was a blast for all involved--but a tad more editing might have been nice.

1. Diamond Ring
2. Good Life
3. Precious One
4. Spacemen
5. Take Me Home
6. Chicago
7. Cockteeze
8. Lonely Astronaut
9. Cocaine Feet
10. Let's Just Be
11. Shake It Off
12. Lack A Vision
13. Gimme Some Company
14. I Will Carry You
15. Yer The Reason
16. Star Song



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The term "grunge" has often been associated with Neil, and no one epitomizes the term better than him. Broken Arrow is rock at its slow, crawling, best. To understand why so many people virtually worship this guy's music, especially when he melds with Crazy Horse, you need to let yourself enter his music as if you were entering a dark and turgid river, and then just let it take you on a journey. If you try to analyze this album, you'll never figure it out.
Broken Arrow is all about deep longing, and struggling for some light in a dark world. The first three tracks on the album create a trance-like mood that can evoke a mystic state in the listener. There is a sense of the divine underlying the best music, from Beethoven, to Mahler to Robert Simpson. It's there in the jams of the Dead, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and Eric Clapton in his heroin days. If you let yourself go into this album, you will sense the mystic as strongly as in other great Neil and Crazy Horse jams (Powderfinger, Cortez the Killer, Change Your Mind, Love and Only Love, Down by the River, Last Dance, etc.).
In "Big Time," every pluck of Neil's guitar is a quest for something beautiful that has been lost, or a dream that is fading-an recurring Neil Young image. About six minutes into the song there's a classic Neil Young and Crazy epiphany that explodes with beauty.
"Loose Change" starts out optimistically, but becomes is a quest for something that is never found. It's like a cry for the sun during a horribly dark and gloomy day and, no matter how powerful the cry, the sun never seems to break through. About half way through the song, it's as if Neil and Crazy Horse get stuck in the mud, and the river just goes round and round the same notes. I've read somewhere that this part of the song was a sort of an aural wake for David Briggs, a long time collaborator and friend of Neil's.
"Slip Away" makes me thing of the great jams of the seventies (I was only a kid then) that are missing in the instant-gratification I-Pod stuffing music of today. Almost symphonic in scale, it's long, abstract, and has moments of true profundity.
Some folks have criticized the rest of the songs as throwaways, but they're not. The dark river runs through each of them and, although they seem lighter and more tuneful, oddly transcendent images of old souls flying through darkness ("Scattered) and not being asleep when he's lying down ("This Town") abound.
The last song on the album, "Baby What You Want From Me", sounds like a bootleg recorded from the back of a small but noisy bar while Neil and Crazy Horse were playing. The band is distant and you hear a lot of the clatter of drinks clinking. There's one part where someone in the audience actually says, "Where's the door?" When listening to this song with my friends, we'd wait for that line to come. Somehow it fits in with the song and finishes the album with a strong sense of otherworldliness.
Broken Arrow is Neil and Crazy Horse at their slow, dark, turgid best. It's not for surface dwellers, but once you get caught up in its powerful undercurrents, you will never be able to leave.

1. Big Time
2. Loose Change
3. Slip Away
4. Changing Highways
5. Scattered
6. This Town
7. Music Arcade
8. Baby What You Want Me To Do (Live)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


COOL FIRE (2008)
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Paul Moravec is one of those rare composers these days who writes music that is not only original, but is also listenable, yea, even enjoyable. Ever conscious of the power of a good melody, Mr. Moravec combines a winsome way with a tune with a very careful and thought-out use of dissonance to create music that is not only instantly memorable, but worthy of repeated listening. It’s a fresh change of pace from what spills out of most copies of Finale and Sibelius these days.
Moravec’s style is clearly American and yet it is somewhat difficult to pin down his influences. His melodies are not theatrical like Leonard Bernstein’s, nor are they colloquial like Aaron Copland’s, yet they are fresh. Further, Mr. Moravec, who has won the Pulitzer Prize for music, has managed to avoid the kind of episodic and disconnected formal style that ensures only a single performance of much new music. Rather, he says what he needs to say in just the right amount of time and stops. It is this compactness of expression and his careful attention to the sound and blend of instrumental timbres that makes his music so very appealing.
The three works on this program were composed for the Brigehampton Chamber Music Festival, long a stalwart summer event in New England. The Chamber Symphony is scored for seven instruments. It opens with a virtuosic fast movement that features an energetic underpinning from the piano and percussion with lyrical swathes draped on by the winds and strings. The tender slow movement reminds me a bit of Poulenc with its spicy harmonic language the floats gently between tasty jazz chords and blissful major triads. The third movement, labeled "Quick" is just that, a sprightly romp through a musical playground with everyone running as fast as they can. The work closes with a substantial finale that begins slowly and peacefully and ends in another fun game of chase.
The tender Autumn Song for flute and piano is reminiscent of Prokofiev to these ears with some sweeping gestures in the piano and a flute part that often soars above the thick piano texture to make itself known. Marya Martin and Jeewon Park give a warm and sensitive performance, just thoughtful enough to be reflective, but not so over-ripe as to be maudlin.
Finally, Cool Fire rounds out the program. This three movement work scored for flute, piano and string quartet is more adventurous perhaps than the other two pieces, but nonetheless reflects Moravec’s penchant for lyricism and his ability to write energetic and intricate counterpoint in fast sections.
All the performances here are of the first order, and it is evident that these players have spent some time with the music and have internalized it. There is a palpable sense of purpose to the playing; serious when called for and utterly fun when appropriate. Kudos to Naxos for making a goodly chunk of Mr. Moravec’s music available to us in recent months, but at only forty-five minutes, it would have been nice to have had one more piece on this otherwise fairly flawless recording.

Chamber Symphony
1. 1. Lively
2. 2. Slow, Singing, Rubato
3. 3. Quick
4. 4. Serene - Vivace!
5. Autum Song
Cool Fire
5. 1. Quick!
6. 2. Tenderly, Singing
7. 3. Con fuoco



Beauty Pill is an indie rock band from Washington DC with band members once/currently affiliated with Smart Went Crazy, Del Cielo, Most Secret Method, Bald Rapunzel, Druids, Casino Action, Soccer Team, The Routineers, Faraquet, Medications, Ida, Jon Langford, and Heat Better Scream.
The brain child of Chad Clark, Beauty Pill creates atmospheric indie rock including subjects such as drug use, murderous thoughts and events, and complex love relations. Beauty Pill has had two previous female vocalists, Joanne Gholl and Rachel Burke. The steady line up includes Chad Clark (vocals, guitar, song writing), Jean Cook (vocals, keyboard, percussion), Basla Andolsun (bass guitar), and Drew Doucette (guitar).
Beauty Pill began as a studio project with Chad Clark, Joanne Gholl, and Abram Goodrich. They were the creative force behind The Cigarette Girl From the Future. Ryan Nelson was brought in as they tried to become a touring outfit, and Joanne and Abram dropped out as they were unable to commit to such a band. Then, Rachel, Basla, and Drew joined, and they began playing shows together. In Fall 2004, Rachel moved back to Seattle to be closer to her family, and Jean Cook was brought in to take over vocals and wurlitzer. After brief tour in the fall and winter of 2004-5, Beauty Pill went into "hibernation," during which Ryan Nelson left the band. He was replaced by Devin Ocampo and Chad Molter.
In June 2006, Chad Clark took over a fan-created MySpace and began posting updates about Beauty Pill, including a new song and tourdates. The current touring band includes Basla Andolsun (bass), Chad Clark (voice, guitar, treatments), Jean Cook (voice, wurlitzer, skilletophone, strings), Drew Doucette (guitar), Devin Ocampo (drums, guitar) and Chad Molter (percussion, guitar, drums, bass). Clark attributes the band's relative inactivity from 2003 - 2006 to the time commitment required to operate Silver Sonya, the studio he runs with Aloha's T.J. Lipple and Devin Ocampo.
Participating in the April 2007 benefit shows for Callum Robbins, the band was augmented by Cale Parks and T.J. Lipple, both of Aloha, performing drums and percussion on two separate kits. Chad Clark announced that the forthcoming record has been delayed due to recording and record label issues. At this time, no release date has been given.

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1. The Ballad of Leron & Lele
2. Copyists
3. You Are Right to be Afraid
4. Quote Devout Unquote
5. You, Yes You

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1. Goodnight For Real
2. Lifeguard In Wintertime
3. The Mule on the Plane
4. Prison Song
5. The Western Prayer
6. Won't You Be Mine
7. Such Large Portions!
8. Nancy Medley, Girl Genius, Age 15
9. Quote Devout Unquote
10. Drive Down the Cost
11. I'm Just Gonna Close My Eyes for a Second
12. Terrible Things

Tuesday, January 27, 2009



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British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage, one of the most acclaimed and widely-performed composers of his generation, was appointed Composer in Residence of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2005. His works skilfully blend classical and jazz idioms, modernism and tradition. These four performances were admired and enjoyed by critics, audiences and musicians and have an electrifying quality which is captured on these live recordings - not only première recordings, but in two cases live recordings of world premières.

1. Scherzoid
Evening Songs
2. 1. Almost Dreaming
3. 2. In the Half Light
4. 3. Still Sleeping
When I Woke
5. 1. The Turn of Time
6. 2. When I Woke
7. 3. Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed
Yet Another Set To
8. 1. Cut Up
9. 2. A Soothing Interlude
10. 3. Another Set To


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Mötley Crüe's albums were a lot like episodes of Married With Children in the sense that they may not be great works of art but can be darn entertaining. With Bob Rock serving as producer, the L.A. headbangers savor the joys of trashy, unapologetically decadent fun on Dr. Feelgood — an album that makes no pretense at being anything else. While nothing here is quite as commanding as "Shout at the Devil," "Wild Side," or "Live Wire," such hook-oriented MTV smashes as "Kickstart My Heart," the amusing "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)," and the title song are infectious and hard to resist, and helped make this the best-selling Mötley Crüe album ever, as well as providing their first Top Ten singles. Unfortunately, the album would be lead singer Vince Neil's last album with the band. Neil's departure — and pop-metal's decline in popularity in the mid-'90s — proved to be severe blows to Mötley Crüe.

1. T. N. T. (Terror 'N Tinseltown)
2. Dr. Feelgood
3. Slice of Your Pie
4. Rattlesnake Shake
5. Kickstart My Heart
6. Without You
7. Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)
8. Sticky Sweet
9. She Goes Down
10. Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
11. Time for Change
Bonus tracks
12. Dr. Feelgood [Demo Version]
13. Without You [Demo Version]
14. Kickstart My Heart [Demo Version]
15. Get It for Free
16. Time for Change [Demo Version]


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Compared to the brash pop of Damon Albarn's Gorillaz side project and 1999's overtly emotional 13, Think Tank is a soulful and subtle affair—its tone possibly traceable to the departure of founding member Graham Coxon midway through its recording. There are classic Blur rock moments here, notably "Crazy Beat," which is cut from the same cloth as the classic "Song 2," and the painfully short but brilliant "We've Got a File On You," which sounds like agitprop punks Crass mixed up with a Moroccan snake charmer. But while Albarn still has an ear for a melody, without Coxon's guitars to subvert them, most of these songs sound like the work of a new band. "Caravan"'s sleepy rhythm plods at a camel's pace, while "Gene by Gene" employs cross rhythms to evoke desert images. Blur is now more about textures rather than standard rock rhythms. Some will find their evolution off-putting, but for fans who appreciate a band that refuses to sit still, Think Tank is a rewarding listen.

1. Ambulance
2. Out Of Time
3. Crazy Beat
4. Good Song
5. On The Way To The Club
6. Brothers And Sisters
7. Caravan
8. We've Got A File On You
9. Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Club
10. Sweet Song
11. Jets
12. Gene By Gene
13. Battery In Your Leg

Monday, January 26, 2009


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The message is simple in "You Are Never Alone," the fifth track on Vic Chesnutt's 11th album: "keep on keepin' on." Trite and cliché by any other artist, Chesnutt makes it work on what may be his most triumphant effort since 1996's About to Choke. Recorded in Montreal with the Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Deserter carries not a bell or whistle that dominated his last few records, stripping down and leaving Chesnutt's shrewd, witty lyrics and fragile, plainspoken voice center stage. Not to say the Georgia native is afraid to turn it up (see the echoing guitar attack "Everything I Say" and the stormy feedback of "Debriefing"), but he peels back the orchestral layers on the most indelible songs: the desolate ballad "Fodder on Her Sings," the aforementioned "You Are Never Alone," with its quivering keyboards and defying implications, and the graceful "Wallace Stevens," where the well-read artist dissects the works of a modernist poet. And, never fear, Chesnutt saves his most irritable self-deprecation for the closing "Rattle." That's when the car-accident paraplegic sings, "Can’t say I didn't rattle the load/But I'm keeping it on the road." Thanks, Vic, and keep on keepin' on.

1. Warm
2. Glossolalia
3. Everything I Say
4. Wallace Stevens
5. You Are Never Alone
6. Fodder on Her Wings
7. Splendid
8. Rustic City Fathers
9. Over
10. Debriefing
11. Marathon
12. Rattle


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First solo piano album for ex-Yougoslavian jazz pianist. This album is not just melodious, though it is, as it offers experimentations that sometimes recall of none other than John Cage.
If you like piano and you like jazz, you won't be disappointed by the strenght and grace developped throughout these 10 tracks.

1. Fingering
2. Who'S Bob
3. Multi Don Kulti
4. Solobsession
5. Don'T Buy Ivory, Anymore
6. Tout Neuf
7. Zulfikar-Pacha
8. Valse Hot
9. Mothers Of The Veil
10. Uci Me Majko, Karaj Me


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Who would have thought a novelist album could be any good? One thing's for sure, Michel Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles, Platform, The Possibility Of An Island) is no singer. He doesn't pretend to be one either which is a good thing as his speaking voice works just fine. Musics and arrangements here were skillfully crafted by none other than Bertrand Burgalat (Alain Chamfort, Pizzicato Five, Dominique Dalcan, Jad Wio, Einstürzende Neubauten, Ollano, Laibach, Katerine, Valérie Lemercier, Mick Harvey, April March, Supergrass, etc.) for his own label, Tricatel. The music is a tasty mix of lounge and psychedelia with a pop twist which creates the perfect background for Houellebecq's voice and lyrics. I've had this album since it came out and still play it once in a while which doesn't happen to me quite that often. Yeah, it's as good as it is. Be curious, try it.

1. Présence Humaine
2. Séjour-Club
3. Paris-Dourdan
4. Playa Blanca
5. Les Pics De Pollution
6. On Se Reveillait Tôt
7. Plein Eté
8. Célibataires
9. Crépuscule
10. Derniers Temps

Sunday, January 25, 2009


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In 1967, the phrase "New Thing" had been applied to free jazz, so when Sly Stone dubbed his debut A Whole New Thing, his addition of Whole was vital. He kicked out "Underdog" with long horn lines, fast rhythms, and his own urgent delivery--certainly an opening salvo that spoke multiple languages. The horn charts hit the soul tip, and the energy jumped in the psychedelic rock volcano with gusto. "Trip to Your Heart," with its warpy effects and stoned backing vocals, hit the high mark for the Family's foray into psychedlia, where "Turn Me Loose," with its rapid, jerking funk rhythms and quick, sharp horn blasts, made it clear that Sly was simpatico with the revolution that took the beats to the streets. And for good measure, "Let Me Hear It from You" is all slow-smolder, an expert R&B ballad delivered by bass virtuoso Larry Graham. The five bonus tracks round out what remains a far-reaching, claim-staking debut that belongs in every collection.

1. Underdog
2. If This Room Could Talk
3. Run, Run, Run
4. Turn Me Loose
5. Let Me Hear It From You
6. Advice
7. I Cannot Make It
8. Trip To Your Heart
9. I Hate To Love Her
10. Bad Risk
11. That Kind Of Person
12. Dog
Bonus Tracks
13. Underdog
14. Let Me Hear It From You
15. Only One Way Out Of This Mess
16. What Would I Do
17. You Better Help Yourself



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Australian composer and conductor, Sean O’Boyle, has conducted recordings and concerts with many leading Australian and international orchestras, including the Adelaide, West Australian, Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Barrier Reef Orchestra, The Queensland Orchestra, Dortmund Konzert, Lexington Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysian Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria. His compositions have been performed by all the major Australian orchestras; by European Orchestras including Berlin Philharmonic & BBC Concert Orchestra and by North American orchestras including the Dallas, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
Two world premiere recordings are presented in this new CD from Australian composer Sean O'Boyle. The pieces take listeners on a spiritual journey through the unique Australian landscape, expressing its forms and life in music. The Concerto for Didgeridoo was inspired by didgeridoo player William Barton, the soloist in this recording, who provided O'Boyle with the rhythms on which the piece is based. River Symphony symbolises the rivers of the world by telling the story of the Brisbane River and the eternal cycles of birth, death and renewal. Hardly essential but nice enough to lay ears on it plus, it's always nice to hear a new "voice" in classical music and O'Boyle sure is a promising one.

Concerto For Didgeridoo
1 Earth
2 Wind
3 Water
4 Fire
5 Storm Clouds Gather
6 Memory Of The Sea
7 Riverflow To Angry Waters
8 Dolphin, Platypus And Fish Dart In The Shallows
9 A New Purpose
10 Memory Of The Sea, Riverflow And River Of Life
11 River, Cities And Pollution
12 Lament For The River And Triumphant Return To The Sea


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When, after years with his historic band Téléphone and his following project Les Visiteurs, Loui Bertignac finally launches his solo career, he meant business. Recorded in New York with producer Tony Visconti (Bowie, T Rex, etc.), this album also features a bunch of talented session-men: Manu Katché (Sting, Peter Gabriel) on drums, Spyros Poulos on the piano and Richie Canata on saxophone. The lyrics, written by Olivier Lorsac, are quite good and perfectly fit Bertignac's world. Of course, you have the leader's guitar, a thing he's reknown for. In fact, he's in awesome form throughout the whole album. But, most important of all, one can feel the pleasure the musicians here present have taken in recording these songs which makes of Elle Et Lous an entertaining listening experience. In addition, you have the acoustic live sessions recorded by Bertignac and included in a limited version of the album. It's a nice pack every rock lover should try.

1. Oubliez-Moi
2. Ma Petite Poupée
3. Vas-Y Guitare
4. Interdit
5. Le Fugitif
6. Demantibule
7. Vanessa
8. La Maison Blanche
9. Une Vie De Chien
10. L'Arroseur Arrosé
11. La Fille D'Essaouira
Bonus Cd
Bertignacoustic - Live
1. Le Fugitif
2. Oubliez-Moi
3. Ma Petite Poupée
4. Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
5. Cendrillon
6. Pinball Wizard (The Who)
7. Jack
8. My Generation (The Who)
9. La Fille D'Essaouira
10. Ruby Tuesday (The Rolling Stones)
11. Démantibule
12. Purple Rain (Prince)
13. Help (The Beatles)
14. Ces Idées Là
15. It's All Over Now Baby Blue (Bob Dylan)

Saturday, January 24, 2009


ANTHOLOGY 1997-98 (2008)
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Faraquet's in a funny place: At least a decade after the singles cuts and split-EP tracks collected on this disc, it's obvious the band's post-hardcore was pointing in a direction in which much of the underground would shortly follow. It's also just idiosyncratic enough that the post-hardcore bandwagon took a parallel but different path than the one foreshadowed by the D.C. band.
For an art-rock band like Faraquet, that's the best of all possible worlds. Anthology 1997-98 corrals a 10-song set of nearly impossible to find Faraquet tunes that stakes a claim on the trio's vision and unique identity. How many bands can make such a claim a decade after they tapped their first record?
Faraquet bounced around the Washington, D.C. art-rock community from 1997 to 2001, releasing singles on a variety of labels -- Dischord, 404, Mis En Scene -- before cutting its sole long-player for Dischord, The View From This Tower in 2000. Although Anthology makes it clear that the band was second-runners in a scene carved out largely by Jawbox and Fugazi, Faraquet is a much-needed reminder of the D.C. scene's post-hardcore heyday. Like its contemporaries, Faraquet mixed brainy, convoluted arrangements with the muscle of workingman's hardcore, for the now historic blend of post-punk protozoa.
Showing off everything from the wildly, almost jazz-like chops of a band able to command an arrangement that jitters, jumps and threatens to whirl off into abstract noodling, only to be relentlessly keel-hauled back to the earth. In "Call It Sane," a skittery guitar picks its way through bales of wiry post-hardcore noodling, syncopating and running away from a churning rhythm section. "Review" flutters on stop-on-a-dime dynamics, but instead the band crafts a pop tune, switching between rich vocals and a post-rock guitar jam that doubles as a hook. Both songs have one foot in the D.C. post-hardcore world and the other in a more elaborate, far-reaching post-rock sensibility that was budding in the underground in the day. "Study in Movement," true to its name, flickers between post-rock abstract guitar, building into a jazzed-out frenzy. "Parakeet" and "Sea Song" show off the same ideals that would later blossom in instrumental indie, packaging up musician-friendly complexities, though setting them against a more salt-of-the-earth base that quickly eluded that scene.
Faraquet isn't a replacement for your beloved Jawbox collection, but it isn't meant to be. Anthology wraps up a string of singles that, amazingly, still sounds important and fresh 10 years after they were written. That's reason enough to tip your hat to this trio.

1. Parakeet
2. Um Die Ecke
3. The Whole Thing Over
4. Call It Sane
5. Study In Movement
6. Yo-Yo
7. Review
8. Rex
9. Conversations
10. Sea Song


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With this second album, the ten musicians of Sinsemilia confirmed their position as the finest reggae band of the French scene. Still angry but not without humour, Sinsemilia excels in the role of the voice which doesn't want to be silenced. But do not let the political content put you off, Sinsemilia are, above all, a great reggae band that doesn't even fear to cover timeless classics as La Mauvaise Reputation from George Brassens' repertoire here shows.
Their reggae is both energetic and danceble and Résistances is, to this day, their finest release. So, if you're looking for reggae but are tired of the same old Jamaican sounds, let Sinsemilia into your house, you will not regret it.

1. La Flamme
2. Fight Here
3. La Mauvaise Reputation
4. I'M On War
5. De L'Histoire
6. Defenseurs De La Paix ?
7. L'Amour Comme Arme
8. From Loneliness To Madness
9. Dans L'Camion
10. Douanier 007
11. Roots On War
12. Hold Up
13. Je Prefere Cent Fois


AKT XV (2008)
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This concert, recorded in Bourges in 1979, is a moment of pure grace by its extreme tension coupled with the daring musical risks here taken. Those who were lucky enough to see it still remember it.
Latest installment of the Magma live series, AKT 15 was anxiously expected. Chosen for the richness and originality of its musical content, this exceptional archive is a vivid proof of the extraordinary talent displayed by the cult band Magma, let it be said that this sounds more like a good bootleg than an official live recording which is good enough considering the performance here given. If the energy which always inhabited Magma is here recognizable, it is also the only recording published for this very line-up. A must have.

Disc 1
1. Entrée en scène
2. Retrovision
3. The Last Seven Minutes
4. Ürgon Gorgo
5. Korusz XXVI

Disc 2
1. Entrée en scène
2. Hhai
3. Nono
4. Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh

Friday, January 23, 2009


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Conte de L'incroyable Amour is Tunisian composer and oud virtuoso Anouar Brahem's follow-up to his excellent ECM debut, Barzakh. Like its predecessor, this release contains original material that mixes Arabic music and jazz improvisation and features a stellar band comprised of some of Turkey's finest musicians (this time out Brahem is joined by clarinetist Barbaros Erkose, nay (reed flute) player Kudsi Ergune, and the percussionist from Barzakh, Lassad Hosni). In contrast to Barzakh's livelier mood, though, the sound here is more meditative and even stark at times, especially on solo flights by both Brahem ("Iram Retrouvee") and Erkose ("Etincelles") and by way of Erguner's ethereal improvisations ("Diversion"). The pace picks up on the sympathetically played and joyous ensemble piece "Conte de L'incroyable Amour" and on the impassioned Brahem and Erkose duet, "Nayzak." ECM's typically sparse and airy production compliments Brahem's ascetic material without making it sound too dry. A wonderful album that, upon repeated listening, reveals many transcendent moments.

1. Etincelles
2. Le Chien Sur Les Genoux De La Devineresse
3. L'Oiseau De Bois
4. Lumière Du Silence
5. Conte De L'Incroyable Amour
6. Peshrev Hidjaz Homayoun
7. Diversion
8. Nayzak
9. Battements
10. En Souvenir D'Iram
11. Iram Retrouvée
12. Epilogue


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Mendleson are an arty chanson/indie rock band from France. The overall mood of the music here leans towards melancholy and many influences such as Bashung, Neil Young, Lou Reed (Coney Island Baby era), and more, can be found.
This album is beautiful, daring and, if it isn't, with all the sadness within, the perfect album for a sunny morning, it sure is a damn fine album to accompany the gloom that sometimes takes us all.
I won't comment any further on the music and the texts as I don't want to spoil the quite unique experience this album is.
All you have to know is that, If you have any interest in music that is not amazingly happy, this one will make your day.

Disc 1
1. Scanner
2. Crétin
3. Personne Ne Le Fera Pour Nous #2
4. Une Chambre D'Hôtel
5. Le Sens Commun
6. J'Aime Pas Les Gens
7. Sans Moi
8. 1983 (Barbara)

Disc 2
1. Micro-Coupures
2. Dans Tes Rêves
3. Joyeux Noël Jackie
4. La Honte
5. Plusieurs Jours Et Plusieurs Nuits
6. Rien
7. Hop
8. Le Monde Disparaît


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A stunning return to form. As assembled by producer Bill Laswell, there's not really a PiL to speak of - it's basically Lydon and a group of session musicians - but who's complaining when these guests include Steve Vai, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Ginger Baker? With its emphasis on big guitars and big drums, "Album" was written off by the unenlightened as PiL going stadium rock, but Lydon's confrontational lyrics and caterwaul vocals, and the abundance of Eastern melodies, help steer this away from the realm of conventional 80s metal. "Anger is an energy" is the mantra of "Rise": one of PiL's finest moments ever, the song manages to be both a tribute to Lydon's Irish heritage and also a scathing indictment of Apartheid torture practices. Lydon's impassioned vocal presence has never sounded so graceful. Elsewhere, the album is rife with surprising and very effective musical flourishes: never is this more evident than on the closing "Ease," a beautiful, monumental mood/rock piece with synth, sitar and didgeridoo (and a killer Vai guitar solo). In a marked contrast to the sporadic quality of the two previous PiL studio albums, there's no filler here: EVERY track is a highlight. "FFF" is a rollicking opener in which Lydon lashes out at a former friend/colleague ("Farewell my fairweather friend/On you no one can depend"). Lydon continues the apocalyptic themes of "World Destruction" (his 1985 single collaboration with Afrika Baambattaa and Laswell) on "Round" ("Mushrooms on the horizon") and the mistanthropic, catchy numbers "Fishing" ("Talking to you is a waste of time/Go crawl back into your dustbin"), "Bags," and "Home" ("Better days will never be"). Easily PiL's most essential 80s moment (apologies to all those "Flowers Of Romance" fans), "Album" is second only to "Metal Box" as the best PiL album ever. It's an extraordinary, non-condescending and underrated highlight of a largely boring musical landscape (a.k.a. the 1980s). NOTE: in keeping with the generic packaging of this release, the LP was titled "Album," the CD "Compact Disc" and the cassette "Cassette."

1. F.F.F.
2. Rise
3. Fishing
4. Round
5. Bags
6. Home
7. Ease

Thursday, January 22, 2009



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Jazz's greatest piano trio. This is the best way to describe the 25-year partnership between Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. They are an institution of jazz and My Foolish Heart is their 18th recording, all on ECM. The double album was recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2001 and is an exhilarating and playful performance which romps through the history of jazz as the trio plays pieces by Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Gerry Mulligan and more, as well as a scattering of show tunes and standards from the Great American Songbook. This album is - in terms of the musical range addressed - one of the most comprehensive in the discography of Jarrett, Peacock and DeJohnette.

Disc 1
1. Four
2. My Foolish Heart
3. Oleo
4. What'S New
5. The Song Is You
6. Ain'T Misbehavin'

Disc 2
1. Honeysuckle Rose
2. You Took Advantage Of Me
3. Straight, No Chaser
4. Five Brothers
5. Guess I'Ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry
6. Green Dolphin Street
7. Only The Lonely


ZEPHYR (2008)
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Very few names come to mind when one's looking for an artist representing didgeridoo in Europe, Phillip Péris is one of those. Faithful ambassador of this aerophonic aborigenous instrument, Phillip Péris began taming it some 20 years ago. On "Zéphyr", he is accompanied by a bunch of talented musician allowing him to construct interesting and haunting tribal soundscapes like very few others can.
"Zéphyr" has its lot of new things with the companionship of another rare instrument, the shamisen (some kind of three strings banjo from Japan here mastered by Hideaki Tsuji) and some indian tablas (here played by another Japanese artist, Kengo Saito) . Phillip Péris, due to the versatily of the band surrounding him, allows himself to unravel his talents as a diphonic singer and play jew's harp which he studied with the reknown master Trân van Khé.
The sixty minutes of "Zéphyr" invites us to take a break wih otherworldly sounds and soothing ambiances, something quite rare for us westerners used to the crazy rhythms of big cities and the tasks of everyday life.

1. Jongara
2. Zéphyr
3. Himalaya elephant walk
4. Flight of the little blue bird
5. Cosmos
6. Yidaki solo


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During her career, Polly Jean Harvey has had as many incarnations as she has albums. She's gone from the Yeovil art student of her debut Dry, to Rid of Me's punk poetess to To Bring You My Love and Is This Desire?'s postmodern siren; on Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea — inspired by her stay in New York City and life in the English countryside — she's changed again. The album cover's stylish, subtly sexy image suggests what its songs confirm: PJ Harvey has grown up. Direct, vulnerable lyrics replace the allegories and metaphors of her previous work, and the album's production polishes the songs instead of obscuring them in noise or studio tricks. On the album's best tracks, such as "Kamikaze" and "This Is Love," a sexy, shouty blues-punk number that features the memorable refrain "I can't believe life is so complex/When I just want to sit here and watch you undress," Harvey sounds sensual and revitalized. The New York influences surface on the glamorous punk rock of "Big Exit" and "Good Fortune," on which Harvey channels both Chrissie Hynde's sexy tough girl and Patti Smith's ferocious yelp. Ballads like the sweetly urgent, piano and marimba-driven "One Line" and the Thom Yorke duet "This Mess We're In" avoid the painful depths of Harvey's darkest songs; "Horses in My Dreams" also reflects Harvey's new emotional balance: "I have pulled myself clear," she sighs, and we believe her. However, "We Float"'s glossy choruses veer close to Lillith Fair territory, and longtime fans can't help but miss the visceral impact of her early work, but Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea doesn't compromise her essential passion.

1. Big Exit
2. Good Fortune
3. A Place Called Home
4. One Line
5. Beautiful Feeling
6. The Whores Hustle And The Hustlers Whore
7. This Mess We' Re In
8. You Said Something
9. Kamikaze
10. This Is Love
11. Horses In My Dreams
12. We Float

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


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Formed in the early 80s in Yugoslavia, The No Smoking Orchestra is he formation of filmmaker Emir Kusturica. Recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this live has been inspired by the critically movie of the band's leader, "Life Is A Miracle". Basing the shows on the music the band cooked up for the movie, The No Smoking Orchestra met great success with audiences throughout the world hence the need to immortalize the madness that happened on stage.
Those who already know the band know what is to be found here, for the others, this is a clever and energetic mix of ska, rock, punk and gypsy music that is displayed. If the band's music always sound happy it never forgets to be emotional too and this concert proves what a great experience a performance from this one of its kind formation is.
Get it and enjoy!

1. Intro
2. Fatal Wounds
3. Drang Nach Osten
4. The Judge Plays Boccherini Minuet
5. Upside Down
6. Ja Volim Te Jos
7. Meine Stadt
8. Vasja
9. Wanted Man
10. Introduction For Romeo
11. Was Romeo Really A Jerk?
12. Pitbull Terrier
13. Devil In The Business Class
14. Bubamara
15. When Life Was A Miracle
16. Introduction Of The Orchestra


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Flowing in an ether not unlike the one surrounding Tortoise, the Rachel's count 10 members in their band, none of whom plays a plainly rocklike instrument--but all of whom know the force of well-executed musical drama. Their songs are built on Rachel Grimes's piano and Jason Noble's guitars (and both of their miscellaneous instruments) and expand with the addition of trumpet, cello, viola, and percussion. Noble hails from Rodan (and another Kentucky-bred band, Slint, even shows an impress on these complex musical proceedings) and brings some indie-rock cred to this bunch, but aside from that, the Rachel's are a rather plainly drawn group of musicians going for a postrock and post-chamber-music vibe. They do a fine job, making music that sounds anxious in its small-nugget mullings. Edward Grimes's drums make a nice spinal column for the band, which at times seems washed out in minor keys and a calculated approach to not varying the group's formula or its hybrid after-classical mix too much. Like Pullman's Turnstyles and Junkpiles--which brought together reps from Tortoise, Rex, and Come--this recording both stays its unflappably midtempo, richly drawn course and sounds like an homage to a particularly somber musical mood, one the Rachel's portray very well.

1. A French Galleasse
2. On Demeter
3. The Last Light
4. Kentucky Nocturne
5. Honeysuckle Suite (Sugar Maple - Elm - Sweetgum)
6. Artemisia
7. Old Road 60
8. An Evening of Long Goodbyes
9. Cuts the Metal Cold
10. The Mysterious Disappearance of Louis LePrince
11. Forgiveness
12. Hearts and Drums


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As a long-time admirer of Neil Young and Pearl Jam, I always fancied this album would be a worthwhile and memorable project. I was not disappointed. Mirror Ball is similar to some of Neil Young's other "jam" albums - Ragged Glory, Broken Arrow - in essence, but is quite a bit wider in scope. While the "incompetent yet brilliant" musicians of Crazy Horse have always personified the Garage Band That Made It Really Big and are the adequate and ideal band for backing Neil Young's rawer, less lyrically ambitious, more jam-heavy songs, you usually know just what to expect from the Neil Young & Crazy Horse albums - and that's just what you get. Rarely do they challenge their bandleader. Pearl Jam, while not featuring Yes-level musicianship, are nonetheless a tighter and more focused (not to mention more famous - hence, the automatic higher expectations) band - and they do push Young at points on this recording. Here he has written far more ambitious songs than he usually does in the context of this type of album: his lyrics here are some of his best ever - vivid, imagistic, startling, and captivating. The album also pushes the envelope musically. In addition to Neil, one of rock music's best and most distinctive guitar players, we have Pearl Jam's two fine players - Mike McCready and Stone Gossard - as well. They create, together, some truly great musical interplay on this record. Although still raw in essence, these songs move beyond the musical (and lyrical) level that you would expect from this type of Neil Young album: it's another level of sophistication. Neil has also written some truly great songs for this record - Song X, Peace and Love, Downtown, Scenery, and, especially, I'm The Ocean. An essential record for Young fans; Pearl Jam fans should take the dive as well.

1. Song X
2. Act Of Love
3. I'M The Ocean
4. Big Green Country
5. Truth Be Known
6. Downtown
7. What Happened Yesterday
8. Peace And Love
9. Throw You Hatred Down
10. Scenery
11. Fallen Angel


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Arguably, The Fathomless Mastery is one of the most anticipated death metal records of year, partly due to the return of Mikael Åkerfeldt to vocal duties (which cancels out the loss of Dan Swano), and partly due to the fact that the bands two full length’s (2002s Resurrection Through Carnage and superb but slight step back and less homage-ish of 2004s Nightmares Made Flesh), were pretty much perfect death metal records. Well, add number three to that list of perfection, as The Fathomless Mastery, indeed in part to the return of Åkerfeldt, improves over the Peter Tägtgren led Nightmares Made Flesh and feels much more like the debut in pace, structure and presence.
Armed with the expected modernized Stockholm buzz and rumble as well as Åkerfeldt’s absolutely perfect growl, The Fathomless Mastery starts with the urgent and classically structured "At the Behest of Their Death" highlighting the bands perfect mix of classic, malevolent moodiness of (early) Entombed/Grave and Dismember inspired death metal flocked with just enough Floridian technicality and time changes to make it more than a pure homage. From there, tracks like "Process of Disillumination", churning standout "Mock the Cross", slicing "Treasonous", chunky "Devour the Feeble", classic mid song throes of "Earthrot" and other standout "Hades Rising" (the section at 3:00 is to die for) and perfectly atmospheric closing of "Wretched Human Mirror" deliver timeless structures and riffage and Åkerfeldt’s seems to be on a post Watershed catharsis unleashing some truly demonic vocals. His supergrpoup cohorts and primary song writers, Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström (Katatonia, Diabolical Masquerade, Bewitched), Swano replacement Per "Sodomizer" Eriksson (21 Lucifers), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia) Martin "Axe" Axenrot (Witchery) all perform with a passion and precision that only veterans of the scene and lovers of the genre could do, managing to make the Stockholm sound come across with a new found intensity and tightness while still culling all the genre’s best traits.
On the very small down side, there is no sure fire, instant classic track a la "Like Fire", "Cry My Name" or "Eaten", but each of the 11 tracks are all damn fine in their own right and the album itself a superb display of death metal perfection that isn’t blast beats and breakdowns, just pure, honest riffs and memorable moments-just like it was in the early 90s. It’s Not quite up to par with Resurrection Through Carnage, but improves on Nightmares Made Flesh, and is ultimately a contender for my year end honors. Fathomless mastery indeed.

1 At the Behest of Their Death
2 Mock the Cross
3 Iesous
4 Wretched Human Mirror
5 Treasonous
6 Devouring the Feeble
7 Hades Rising
8 Slaughtering the Will to live
9 Earthrot
10 Process of Disillumination
11 Drink from the Cup of Heresy

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


OXYGENE (1976)
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Jean Michel Jarre, son of film composer Maurice Jarre, is one of the true pioneers of electronic music. Oxygene is one of the original e-music albums. It has withstood the test of time and the evolution of digital electronica. Jarre's compositional style and his rhythmic instincts were his strong points in 1976. While his popularity has escalated exponentially over the years, he never quite achieved the quality of this amazing recording. The innocence and freshness provide most of its charm. Jarre's techniques and ability provide the rest. This epic CD will certainly appeal to fans of electronic music regardless of which sub-genre they're fond of.

1. Oxygene, Pt. 1
2. Oxygene, Pt. 2
3. Oxygene, Pt. 3
4. Oxygene, Pt. 4
5. Oxygene, Pt. 5
6. Oxygene, Pt. 6


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The British heavy metal rebirth of the late '70s and early '80s provided more than its share of impressive headbangers. A product of the scene that also gave the world Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Girlschool, and Diamond Head, Angel Witch wasn't a huge commercial success but enjoyed a loyal underground following in England and Europe. This superb debut album was the band's finest hour. Melodic yet forceful and intense, classics like "Sorceress," "White Witch," and "Angel of Death" illustrate Angel Witch's artistic debt to fellow Britons Judas Priest, Rainbow, and Black Sabbath. The Londoners' lyrics are consistently gothic and underscore their interest in the occult, a subject that has caught the interest of more than a few metalheads. Headbangers who haven't experienced the pleasures of Angel Witch owe it to themselves to hear this metal classic.

Original Album
1. Angel Witch
2. Atlantis
3. White Witch
4. Confused
5. Sorcerers
6. Gorgon
7. Sweet Danger
8. Free Man
9. Angel of Death
10. Devil's Tower
Non-Album Tracks
11. Loser
12. Suffer
13. Dr. Phibes
14. Flight Nineteen
15. Baphomet
16. Hades Paradise
BBC Friday Rock Show Session 14-3-80
17. Sweet Danger
18. Angel of Death
19. Extermination Day
20. Angel Witch


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At first, Lisa Ekdahl's squeaky, girlish voice may seem inappropriate for the pop standards she has chosen to make her trade, but given some time, her voice and laid-back style become endearing. True, she occasionally seems mannered and borrows heavily from her inspirations (most notably Billie Holiday), but she shows signs of developing her own style throughout her second American album, Back to Earth. Like its predecessor, When Did You Leave Heaven, Back to Earth was recorded with the Peter Nordahl Trio and has a charming mellow vibe. Nordahl has an elegant turn of phrase and his rhythm section — drummer Ronnie Gardiner and bassist Patrik Boman — has a light touch that keeps the focus on Ekdahl. It is true that her voice may strike some listeners as odd, but it's girlish, not thin, which means she can nail the emotions of the songs. There may be a few missteps here and there, but she delivers ballads ("What Is This Thing Called Love?," "The Laziest Gal in Town," "Now or Never") as well as swing ("Down with Love," "I Get a Kick Out of You"). Yes, the selections are a little predictable and Ekdahl is a bit of an acquired taste, but ultimately, Back to Earth is quite charming.

1. Stranger On Earth
2. Nature Boy
3. Now Or Never
4. Laziest Girl In Town
5. It Had To Be You
6. Down With Love
7. What Is This Thing Called Love
8. Tea For Two
9. The Lonely One
10. I Get A Kick Out Of You
11. Just For A Thrill
12. Night And Day
13. Plaintive Rumba

Monday, January 19, 2009


320 KBPS

Based in France, Zakarya is one of the most exciting and cutting edge bands working in the ever-growing community of Radical Jewish Culture. Always thought provoking, their fourth CD for Tzadik presents an imaginary film score about the life and thought of Martin Behaim, the 15th century cosmograph/converso who was the first to represent the world as a sphere. Blending new music, klezmer, rock and jazz in their inimitable "klezmer jazzcore" style, this is more madness from one of France's most creative young bands.

1. Just Before
2. Rosa
3. Nakete Shtetl
4. Manuel Labor
5. Ballade
6. The Golem Again
7. Lafko
8. The Thing In the Secret Room
9. Meeting C.C. Part 1
10. Meeting C.C. Part 2
11. Ed
12. Sailors & Captains


EXILE (1990)
320 KBPS

Oryema is one of a very small handful of artists that hail from Uganda that can be had on cd, and we are blessed for that.
His unique introspective style is what makes this album as special as it is. You can hear the intense melancholia and pain that he has endured in the lyrics, including his exile from his homeland, his yearnings for his land of Anaka, his attempts to soothe his widowed mother. It's all right there for the world to hear.
Add to his poignant vocals the additional help from both Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno, whose studio textures add immensely to the songs he works on, and the album is an instant gem.

1. Piny Runa Woko
2. Land Of Anaka
3. Piri Wango Iya
4. Ye Ye Ye
5. Lacan Woto Kumu
6. Makambo
7. Jok Omako Nyako
8. Solitude
9. Lubanga
10. Exile


BLACK ICE (2008)
320 KBPS

Unlike any other band of their stature, AC/DC truly don't care about the world at large. They see no triumph in their longevity, they long ago dismissed not only the idea of artistic statements but the very notion of artistic growth: they aren't good or bad, they simply are. They have nothing left to prove, so perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that their albums lack any sense of urgency or motivation. AC/DC never rush to cut a record; they wait until Angus Young has collected enough riffs to hammer out an album's worth of songs, then they file in one by one to lay down their tracks with a big-budget producer, who inevitably gives them a clean, mammoth sound that's no different than what came before. Rick Rubin couldn't change this pattern on 1995's Ballbreaker and Brendan O'Brien can't change it on 2008's Black Ice. He encourages the band to add a bit of color here and there, so they grace "Stormy May Day" with some sloppy slide guitar and turn "Rock N' Roll Dream" into an expansive neo-ballad cousin of Bad Company's "Rock N Roll Fantasy," but O'Brien's crisp, colorful production only emphasizes how AC/DC could stand to be a little less careful on record.
It's the eternal AC/DC paradox: at its core, their music is brutal and primitive, but their records are slick, overly cautious, and bloated, stretching out to 15 tracks when they should be no longer than ten. AC/DC haven't lost their knack for great, simple rock & roll and Black Ice is graced by a few terrific tracks. In fact, as it opens with the "Highway to Hell" boogie of "Rock N Roll Train," the stuttering "Skies on Fire" and "Big Jack," it seems that Black Ice might be the great latter-day AC/DC record the group has yet to deliver, but as the next 12 tracks spool out over the next hour, the album slowly slides into a too-comfortable groove, fueled by too-tight rhythms and guitars that sound loud but not beefy. This polished, precise rock & roll is good enough, at least in small doses, but Black Ice delivers a whopping dose, puffed out to nearly an hour, running so long it all kind of washes together — a problem that is endemic to all AC/DC albums after Back in Black. This shift can't be placed on the shoulders of Brian Johnson, who may never have been able to match Bon Scott no matter how much he mimics the man, but it's simply a symptom of the band's massive popularity, where they have no compelling reason to release a record every other year, so they make albums twice a decade, inevitably spending too much time sculpting their recordings when they'd be better off bashing them out. At their peak, AC/DC recorded their albums quick 'n' dirty and the music felt that way, too. Age has turned their tasteless insurgence into vulgar tradition but that's not the problem, nor is it the band's refusal to change because, let's face it, when a band does one thing this well there's no need to change. AC/DC can still sound invigorating — and make no mistake they do here, as much as they ever do on a latter-day record — but they just need to tighten up, cut back, crank it up, and sound a little rude again. After all, what's the point of being the filthiest band in rock & roll if you're going to make albums as polite as Black Ice?

1. Rock N Roll Train
2. Skies On Fire
3. Big Jack
4. Anything Goes
5. War Machine
6. Smash N Grab
7. Spoilin' For A Fight
8. Wheels
9. Decibel
10. Stormy May Day
11. She Likes Rock N Roll
12. Money Made
13. Rock N Roll Dream
14. Rocking All The Way
15. Black Ice


THE BEST (2002)
320 KBPS

Λucifer (sometimes spelled Aucifer, pronounced Lucifer because of the Greek letter "L" lambda "Λ") is a Japanese rock group, best known for contributing several of their songs to the popular anime, Kaikan Phrase. The band was formed in 1999, and disbanded in early 2003. They officially debuted on 15 September 1999 with their big hit single Datenshi BLUE, and became increasingly popular thereafter.
Λucifer was put together for the Kaikan Phrase anime to promote it. The anime was based on the popular shōjo manga by Mayu Shinjo. The band members of real life Λucifer changed their names to match with their anime/manga counterparts, except for the vocalist, who kept his name instead of changing it to Sakuya (the main character's name). Several of Λucifer's songs were used in the anime, along with songs of other j-rock bands like GLAY, Feel and e.MU. However, the band decided to go on even after the anime had ended, and continued to release more music afterwards.
Then finally on 25 October 2002, over two and a half years after the anime had ended, they announced that they were breaking up. Following the announcement, they did their last tour entitled "Λucifer Last Live 2002-2003 Energy" from 16 December 2002 to 10 January 2003, which included 9 shows. After that, they appeared for the last time in a TV music show, PopJam, on 11 January and then did their very last show (which was also their first show done abroad) at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand on 19 January.

1. Datenshi Blue
2. C no binetsu
3. Tokyo gensou
4. Lucy
5. Midnight Crow
6. Carnation Crime
7. Junk Ciy
8. Love & Pain
9. Tsubasa
10. Hypersonic Soul
11. Ego vision
12. Regret Regret
13. Shooting Star
14. Desire
15. Realize
16. See You
17. Hurry

Sunday, January 18, 2009


320 KBPS

This three-disc package of the Manc punk demigods' complete 45s catalogue amounts to 1979's 'every home should have one' hits collection Singles Going Steady— "plus". That "plus" includes: 1977's historic Devoto-sung, Hannett-produced "Spiral Scratch" EP; their later Hannett productions (1980's swan song Parts 1,2,3 EP); and a decade's worth of reunion water-treading. Inevitably, the innovation of the first 31 tracks (pre-split) is rehashed in the remaining 23 (post-reformation), though not enough to taint everything from "Breakdown" to "Harmony In My Head".
All in all, this is a great introduction to the Buzzcocks.

Disc 1
1. Breakdown
2. Times Up
3. Boredom
4. Friends of Mine
5. Orgasm Addict
6. Whatever Happened To?
7. What Do I Get
8. Oh Shit!
9. I Don't Mind
10. Autonomy
11. Moving Away from the Pulsebeat
12. Love You More
13. Noise Annoys
14. Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've?)
15. Just Lust
16. Promises
17. Lipstick
18. Everybody's Happy Nowadays
19. Why Can't I Touch It?
20. Harmony in My Head
21. Something's Gone Wrong Again
22. You Say You Don't Love Me
23. Raison d'Etre
24. I Believe

Disc 2
1. Are Everything
2. Why She's a Girl from the Chainstore
3. Airwaves Dream
4. Strange Thing
5. What Do You Know
6. Running Free
7. I Look Alone
8. Alive Tonight
9. Serious Crime
10. Last to Know
11. Successful St
12. Isolation
13. Innocent
14. Who'll Help Me Forget?
15. Inside
16. Do It
17. Trash Away
18. All Over You
19. Libertine Angel
20. Roll It Over
21. Prison Riot Hostage

Disc 3
1. Totally from the Heart
2. Thunder of Hearts
3. Soul on a Rock
4. Jerk
5. Don't Come Back
6. Oh Shit!
7. Sick City Sometimes
8. Never Believe It
9. Paradise
10. Steve Diggle and Tony Barber Interviewed By Alan Parker