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Thursday, April 30, 2009


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Perhaps I am an apologist for Rahsaan Roland Kirk, I don't know. If I am then I should be smacked, because he needed no one to make apologies for him. The Case of the 3-Sided Dream in Audio Color is a case in point. The namby-pamby jazz critics, those "serious" guys who look for every note to be in order before they'll say anything positive, can shove it on this one. They panned the hell out of it in 1975, claiming it was "indulgent." Okay. Which Kirk record wasn't? Excess was always the name of the game for Kirk, but so was the groove, and here on this three-sided double LP, groove is at the heart of everything. Surrounding himself with players like Cornell Dupree, Hugh McCracken, Richard Tee, Hilton Ruiz (whose playing on "Echoes of Primitive Ohio and Chili Dogs" is so greasy, so deliciously dirty it's enthralling), Steve Gadd, and others from that soul-jazz scene, it's obvious what you're gonna get, right? Nope. From his imitations of Miles Davis and John Coltrane on "Bye, Bye, Blackbird" to his screaming, funky read on "High Heel Sneakers" to his Delta-to-New-Orleans version of "The Entertainer," Kirk is deep in the groove. But the groove he moves through is one that is so large, so universal, deep, and serene, that it transcends all notions of commercialism versus innovation. Bottom line, even with the charming tape-recorded ramblings of his between tunes, this was his concept and it works like a voodoo charm. Here's one for the revisionists: This record jams.

1. Conversation
2. Bye Bye Blackbird
3. Horses (Monogram Republic)
4. High Heel Sneakers
5. Dream
6. Echoes Of Primitive Ohio And Chili Dogs
7. The Entertainer (Done In The Style Of The Blues)
8. Freaks For The Festival
9. Dream
10. Portrait Of Those Beautiful Ladies
11. Dream
12. The Entertainer
13. Dream
14. Dream
15. Portrait Of Those Beautiful Ladies
16. Dream
17. Freaks For The Festival
18. Horses
19. Bye Bye Blackbird
20. Conversation
21. Telephone Conversation


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For an artist such as Ben Harper, who's reflective blend of acoustic soul & organic stripped down blues and R&B, coupled with his emotional singer/songwriter approach gave his debut album "Welcome to the Cruel World" a great starting point, for those tired of music lacking any intellectual content. But it was this, his fiery politicised second album "Fight for your mind", that he was to truly make his mark on the musical landscape.
This is a intimate and deeply introspective record, that not only looks inwards, but frequently looks at the world from the perspective of a enraged musical poet (Harper's influences such as: Dylan, Hendrix, Bob Marley, are clear to see). Because for a track like "Another Lonely Day" which is largely minimal in its instrumentation, and relies mostly on Ben's soul-folk singing to carry the emotional impact of this song, (think stripped back folk, with some lovely slide guitar), it went some way to prove that Ben wanted people to hear what he had to say, rather than just purely focus on the music.
"Burn one Down" which is actually a Pro-weed song, with Harper brazenly declaring ""if you don't like my fire, then don't come around, yes I'm gonna burn one down.", shows that Ben like the protest songs of someone like Dylan, many years before him for instance, hasn't shy-ed away from controversial subject matters.
"Ground on Down" is unquestionably my favourite track, Ben hooks up the electric guitar for a occasionally feedback drenched throwdown, that has more place on a rock album, such is its explosive energy, with Harper assuming the lyrical stance of a righteous commentator over the energetic guitar that is probably the nearest he's come to sounding like an infuriated Jimi Hendrix, in this insistent, almost slightly aggressive rock-out.
There is an undeniable sense of Harper wanting to get a lot of his chest, as quite of few of the songs deal with social/racial injustice to some degree, as "Fight For your Mind" & "Oppression" immediately spring to mind, with unsettling guitar tones which range from poignant one minute, to curiously uplifting the next. Although none of this would mean anything without some inspired writing by Harper, that easily surpasses his debut in structure and musical dynamics. In fact Ben would never truly match (much less surpass what was achieved here), this level of articulation and poetic lyrical content, although with impressively strong musical arrangements.
If your looking for a Ben Harper Cd, and your not interested in collecting his albums, then without doubt Its widely known that this was his most significant effort on the album market, and although his other albums are certainly worth a look if you like his music. The combination of righteous finger pointing, consice lyrics and, cerebral blues-folk would never quite have the same bite, as this, his finest album.

1. Oppression
2. Ground On Down
3. Another Lonely Day
4. Please Me Like You Want To
5. Gold To Me
6. Burn On Down
7. Excuse Me Mr.
8. People Lead
9. Fight For Your Mind
10. Give A Man A Home
11. By My Side
12. Power Of The Gospel
13. God Fearing Man
14. One Road To Freedom
Bonus Tracks
15. Wicked Man
16. Not Fire Not Ice


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Like TRIUMVIRAT's previous album ("Illusions on a Double Dimple"), "Spartacus" is based around a theme, this time the gladiator Spartacus in ancient Rome, and the slave uprising that he led. The sales of the "Sparacus" LP were even better than "Illusions", particularly in the USA. TRIUMVIRAT have been compared by many with EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, or called an ELP-imitator. Certainly some of their music appears influenced by ELP but, in my opinion, has more of a pop feel to it, or maybe it's just more melodic. This is certainly true of "Spartacus": I find myself whistling along to some of it rather than wanting to play air-guitar, if you know what I mean!
The music is perhaps a bit twee on a couple of the tracks, but nevertheless it's a great album; not up to the standard of "Illusions" in my opinion, but still a worthwhile addition to the collection of a progressive/symphonic rock fan. There are plenty of great synthesiser and keyboard moments throughout the album, and some very good guitar and drum playing too.
The 2002 CD re-release is a digital re-master of the original LP, and the sound quality is good. A couple of extra tracks have been included, one is a live version of the first track on the album (which, incidentally, shows how well the band played live) and the second is a previously unreleased track which I also like.

1. The Capital Of Power
2. The School Of Instant Pain
- a. Proclamation
- b. The Gladiator's Song
- c. Roman Entertainment
- d. The Battle
3. The Walls Of Doom
4. The Deadly Dream Of Freedom
5. The Hazy Shades Of Dawn
6. The Burning Sword Of Capua
7. The Sweetest Sound Of Liberty
8. The March To The Eternal City
- a. Dusty Road
- b. Italian Improvisation
- c. First Success
9. Spartacus
- a. The Superior Force of Rome
- b. A Broken Dream
- c. The Finale
9. Spartacus
- a. The superior force of Rome
- b. A broken dream
- c. The finale
Bonus tracks
10. The Capital Of Power (live)
11. Showstopper (previously unreleased)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


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THE STORYTELLER, the debut from alto saxophonist Uri Gurvich, blends the classic swing and structure of post-bop with melodies that reference traditional Jewish folk and Sephardic influences. The album seems right at home on John Zorn's Tzadik label with its emphasis on contemporary Jewish composers, yet it feels more straightforward and accessible than much of the Tzadik catalog. Gurvich is clearly steeped in the influence of MY FAVORITE THINGS-era John Coltrane, along with Middle Eastern roots music, but he and his crack band bring these elements together in a way that is fresh, forward thinking, and listener-friendly.

1. Midbar Suite
2. Ha'bonim
3. Ani Ma'amin
4. Prophecy
5. Nigun
6. Joseph the Storyteller
7. Oasis
8. Masabacha


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Steve Vai offers the following words of advice about Fire Garden, his fifth solo album: "This is essentially a double CD packed onto one. In this package there are over 74 minutes of music. Phase I (for the most part) is all instrumental music, and Phase II (for the most part) is all vocal selections, with the exception of 'Warm Regards.' ... Being as dense as it is, this CD may best be experienced by devouring it in pieces, but those with a strong constitution may dare to consume it whole as it is." Seldom has an artist provided more telling liner notes for his own album. Fire Garden is indeed a dense album, filled with a never-ending array of sonic textures and guitar tones. Unlike most guitar heroes, Vai doesn't treat music as a way to demonstrate his technical skill. Instead, he channels his astonishing technical skill into creating soundscapes that will showcase his virtuosity as often as not. The result is a guitar album that is enjoyable for non-guitar freaks, as well. Vai's vocals still have a way to go before they are as expressive as his instrumental work, but this subtle and dense concept album is the closest he's ever gotten to integrating the two sides of his musical personality together. An impressive effort.

Phase 1
1. There's A Fire In THe House
2. The Crying Machine
3. Dyin' Day
4. Whookam
5. Blowfish
6. The Mysterious Murder Of Christian Tiera's Lover
7. Hand Of Heart
8. Bangkok
9. Fire Garden Suite
Phase 2
10. Deepness
11. Little Alligator
12. All About Eve
13. Aching Hunger
14. Brother
15. Damn You
16. When I Was A Little Boy
17. Genocide
18. Warm Regards


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While his debut album ran with the Wall of Sound crowd to the detriment of some interesting ideas, Jacques Lu Cont came into his own with the second Les Rythmes Digitales album. Consider Darkdancer as Lu Cont's senior thesis in the major course of study: "History of Dance Music: The Early to Mid-'80s." And give him straight A's because he's obviously done his homework and actually studied the texts, without resorting to rote memorization and subsequent regurgitation come test time. Every club-oriented stylistic speed-bump of the decade is right here, including the era of female dance-pop before Madonna (yes, it did exist) with "Take a Little Time," an earnest little electro-groover that earns Lu Cont bonus points for utilizing the crucial '80s diva Shannon. "Hypnotise" is a nice little electro-paranoia track to fit in with Bambaataa's "Planet Rock," and "Brothers" takes on streamlined dance intellectualism a la New Order (with a straining pseudo-bassline to match). The house era is probably best represented, with nods to Chicago jacking house — complete with stuttered vocal tags — on the standouts "Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)" and "Music Makes You Lose Control." Even when he strays into territory last inhabited by Level 42, as on "Sometimes" (with Nik Kershaw on vocals), a great song and a great production rescue Lu Cont from anything potentially cringe-worthy. That's the secret of Darkdancer; well-written songs and excellent production skills — plus a sense of fun that takes no prisoners — make artistic originality nothing more than an academician's game.

1. Dreamin'
2. Music Makes You Lose Control
3. Soft Machine
4. Hypnotise
5. (Hey You) What's That Sound?
6. Take a Little Time
7. From: Disco To: Disco
8. Brothers
9. Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)
10. About Funk
11. Sometimes
12. Damaged People

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


KANGABA (2008)
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David Neerman is a composer and a vibraphonist. His artistic will is best described as diverse and curious as he played with musicians from many countries and styles (from african music to jazz and electronic music). Lansiné Kouyate is the son of African legendary singer Siramori Diabaté. Balafonist, he played with reknown figures such as Salif Keita, Baaba Maal or Omar Sosa.
Kouyate and Neerman met first met in 2003 and soon became friends and started to dream about the music they could invent for themselves. It took them 5 years to finally release their first collaboration on the excellent label "No Format!". Neither jazz, nor World Music, the virtuoso Balafonist and the free-spirited Vibraphonist created a language and a sound of their own with aerial tracks, psychedelic influences. Kangaba is a great album those into imaginative music should check out..

1. Here
2. Djanfa Magni
3. Niokomé
4. Boloba
5. Tiziri
6. Bamanan Don
7. Le Destin II
8. Touma (feat. Mamani Keita & Moriba Koita)
9. Momo
10. Kanga Dub


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After two Eps in 2006 & 2007, Tesa finally released their debut full length in 2008. Rather short (32 minutes), and containing only 6 tracks, Heartbeatsfromthesky is a talented display of post metal. The main influences here are probably Isis, Breach and Cult of Luna but the band, coming from Latvia, has its own sound managing both heavy guitars and tripping climates in a very convincing way. The production should have been better and the band certainly didn't have a good enough engineer and/or enough time to perfect their recording. That said, it's still a rather professional album, a band those into post metal should check and a promise for the future in a field now overcrowded with uninspired formations ready to jump on one of metal's latest trends. Something a passionate and emotional band such as Tesa is not. Be curious, give it a try and go to their website ( where their previous recordings are available for free.

1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. V
6. VI


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From the opening squeal of feedback to the final caught cymbal crash, "Sperm Ridden Burden" pretty much defines the harder side of Roadside Monument. The song is brief, brutal, raw, and so agonizing (it's about an unwanted pregnancy) that Jonathan Ford was rarely able to get through it live.
From the cycling guitars and swelling horns and strings to the spoken reading of Dostoevsky's "White Nights," "Iowa Backroads" and "Apartment Over the Peninsula" pretty much define the lush side of Roadside Monument. They are capable of breathtaking beauty as few peers could even imagine.
Most songs fall somewhere in between. "Kansas City" is the single best thing here. Its roaring end section--bass and drums pinging and banging like a garage door spring in a cement mixer, Ford's slightly out of tune voice cutting through weakly--is sheer brilliance. "Crop Circles" features an intriguing section where the drums and bass are in 3/4 while the guitar is in 4/4, creating a swirling, off-kilter mess that only lines up every 12 measures, almost like a storm-tossed boat settling in a trough before being swept onto another crest. Then in chimes Ford, howling from the back of the studio, almost as an afterthought, "Where are all my friends?" "Tired of Living With People Who Are Tired of Living," the best title in recent memory, is almost pop, except for its extended, meditative middle. "My Hands Are the Thermometers" positively roars, a pulsing, cacophanous trainwreck of ideas. "Sunken Anchor" is the most harrowing account of salvation since St. Francis of Assisi. No one said pushing the boundaries was easy.
Jonathan Ford and Doug Lorig both have weak, brittle voices at best--witness Ford's voice cracking horrifically when he screams "I will survive!" on "Sperm Ridden Burden"--but that's all part of the effect. Matt Johnson lays down a beat, be it steady and affecting or ripsaw brutal, and they just build up from there. It sounds so simple on paper. It's the way bands used to do it all the time. Nothing processed. Nothing pretentious. It's the sound of a handwritten, chickenscratch lyric sheet, written on a receipt and set to music, long before writing your lyrics in a chickenscratch fashion became faux cool.
Helmet meets Sunny Day Real Estate meets Rites of Spring meets June of 44 meet Slint meets......? Maybe so.
But this is not "Emo." This is not "Math Rock." This is music as it should be done: heart, instruments, and no boundaries. Stop listening for the perfect harmonies. They're not here--they're all on the pop CDs. Stop listening for the guitar solos. I think you're looking for Journey. Just listen.

1. Sperm Ridden Burden
2. Eight Hours Away From Being A Man
3. John Wayne Marina
4. Sunken Anchor
5. Iowa Backroads
6. Kansas City
7. Tired Of Living With People Who Are Tired Of Living
8. Compressor District
9. Apartment Over The Peninsula
10. Corp Circles
11. My Hands Are Thermometers

Monday, April 27, 2009


HA 'OROT (2009)
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Saxophonist, clarinet player, and composer Greg Wall is deeply rooted in the klezmer tradition (as evidenced by his work with Frank London in the group Hasidic New Wave). Wall's interest in Jewish music and culture continues with his Tzadik release, HA'OROT, which combines the spiritual writings of Hebrew poet Rabbi Avraham Itzchak HaCohen Kook with Wall's genre-stretching blend of traditional Jewish folk and free jazz. An intriguing modern interpretation of the meaning of Jewish mysticism, HA'OROT is an adventurous project that brings together warring impulses toward both tradition and experiment.

1. Hatzofeh Le'Tovah (The One Who Seeks The Good)
2. Techiya (Renewal)
3. Me'Olam Rachok (From A Distant World)
4. Hootzeeuni Leervaya (Take Me Out To The Overflowing)
5. Migun Ha'Rave #1 (Rav Kook's Melody)
6. Shofar
7. Shuva Ruchi (Return My Spirit)
8. Nigun Ha'rav #2 (Rav Kook's Melody)
9. Lachashei Ha'Havaya (The Whispers Of Existence)
10. Ma'Aynei Ruchi (The Wellsprings Of My Spirit)
11. Dror (Freedom)
12. Anee Maleh Ahavale'Elohim (I Am Filled With Love For God)
13. Sheer Merooba (The Four Fold Song)
14. Ha'Tzofeh Le'Tovah
Link removed by request from the artist. Please check Greg Wall at Myspace


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Perhaps the finest achievement of David Sylvian's enigmatic career, Dead Bees on a Cake represents a graceful personal and spiritual exploration. Set to a lush, ethereal, engaging bed of distinctive and sophisticated pop arrangements, it combines the best qualities of Sylvian's post-Japan work. Four years in the making, it is artful and tasteful from the opening Bryan Ferry-style ballad "I Surrender" to the bluesy "Midnight Sun" and the delightful "Krishna Blue." There are contributions from sometime collaborator Ryuichi Sakamoto as well as a classy, eclectic group of musicians including Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Talvin Singh, and Sylvian's brother, Steve Hansen, but Sylvian is definitely in the fore here. Dead Bees on a Cake will be a surprising discovery for fans of Sade, John Martyn, and the Blue Nile, and it may afford Sylvian overdue recognition as an uncommonly gifted pop composer and singer.

1. I Surrender
2. Dobro #1
3. Midnight Sun
4. Thalheim
5. God Man
6. Alphabet Angel
7. Krishna Blue
8. The Shining Of Things
9. Café Europa
10. Pollen Path
11. All Of My Mother's Names (Summers With Amma)
12. Wanderlust
13. Praise (Pratah Smarami)
14. Darkest Dreaming


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The debut album by Dan Reed is a real fine effort. The music is (radio oriented) rock with a touch of funk, and it's melodic and catchy most of the time. This album is by far the band's best and I won't be surprised if songs like "Ritual", "Get to you", "Forgot to make her mine", and "I'm so sorry" got stuck in your head. When this album was released it sure felt like a fresh breath. Too bad Dan Reed and the guys kinda lost it along the way.

1. World Has A Heart Too
2. Get To You
3. Ritual
4. Forgot To Make Her Mine
5. Tamin The Wild Nights
6. I'm So Sorry
7. Resurrect
8. Baby Don't Fade
9. Human
10. Halfway Around The World
11. Rock You All Night Long
12. Tatiana

Sunday, April 26, 2009


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Asian Dub Foundation's album debut finds the band with their chops fully intact, even at this early date. Dr. Das' rapping flow is speedy and intricate, though continually inflected in the same ways (very reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha). The production and programming, by Steve Chandrasonic and Dr. Das, is the real highlight here, incorporating traditional Indian percussion and instruments, but constantly name-checking contemporary dance styles like bhangra and ragga jungle. The haunting vocals that open "Rebel Warrior" make it a highlight, while Chandra's deep drum programs provide continual thrills.

1. Witness
3. Jericho
4. Rebel Warrior
5. Journey
6. Strong Culture
7. TH9
8. Tu Meri
9. Debris
10. Box
11. Thacid 9 [Dub Version]
12. Return to Jericho [Dub Version]


YES (1994)
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It's amazing that just a few simple instruments - a sax, drums, and a two-string bass - can come together to create something as complex and ingenious as Morphine's music. I sincerely regret that I never had the opportunity to see them live before vocalist Mark Sandman died doing what he loved the most - on stage in 1999. Morphine had so much more left to teach the music world - and Sandman's death was every music-lover's loss.
Yes is an excellent album - one of my all-time favorites. It's driven by the band's trademark sax - which seems to have a mind of its own. And Sandman's hypnotically playful vocals are dark and distorted - part spoken, part sung.
The songs are erratic and slurred. They feel pleasantly intoxicating - like a few too many gin and tonics. "Whisper" is lazy and seductive - like a Caribbean sunset. "I Had My Chance" sounds like the drunken ramblings of a street-corner bum. The entire album is a collection of experiments - concluding with a curveball. "Gone for Good" is quiet, peaceful, and acoustic - sad, but sweet. It's so unlike the rest of the album, but it's absolutely beautiful.
If you're musically open-minded and looking for something out of the ordinary, Yes is the album to buy. You won't be disappointed. It'll give you a great buzz - and you won't have to deal with the headache the next morning.

1. Honey White
2. Scratch
3. Radar
4. Whisper
5. Yes
6. All Your Way
7. Super Sex
8. I Had My Chance
9. The Jury
10. Sharks
11. Free Love
12. Gone For Good


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It was great to see Rob back and you can tell they really gave it there all on this album. This album should be marked as a classic for most Priest fans. The album starts off with a classic metal guitar riff with Judas Rising then the powerhouse drums kick in and it gets real heavy. And we hear Rob's scream over the music with powerhouse vocals. Deal With The Devil is a great rocker which talks about the beginning of the band as they started out playing in a church of holy Joseph. This one will get your adrenaline flowing. Revolution rocks and in this one Rob sounds kind of sinister which only adds greatness to the song. I love Worth Fighting For. If it's not my favorite it's definetly one of my favorites. This songs sounds like a pretty cool chil metal song. Demonizer is vicious rocker with powerhouse screaming from Rob. Wheels Of Fire keeps the album in a great direction. Another classic from this album. nice rhytehm and lead guitar parts here. Angel is a ballad and this is where the album kind of crashes. I don't like ballads and I find this song boring so I usualy skip it. Hellrider picks up the heavy adrenaline pace again but this song isn't one of my favorites. Eulogy is another slow piece but I really like the guitar line on this one and it is only about 3 minutes long. Lochness is bland sounding to me. Parts of it sound cool because I picture a castle when I hear it but I find most of it boring and it just goes on a little too long. As far as the great songs go they more then make up for the not so good songs and this should be ranked with the other classic Priest albums. If you're a metalhead or Priesthead and you don't have this album yet you really need it.

1. Judas Rising
2. Deal With The Devil
3. Revolution
4. Worth Fighting For
5. Demonizer
6. Wheels Of Fire
7. Angel
8. Hellrider
9. Eulogy
10. Lochness

Saturday, April 25, 2009


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Over the years, the name Praxis has been applied to a number of loose configurations of musicians either fronted or produced by Bill Laswell, going back to an experimental 12-inch in the early `80s on Celluloid Records. Since then, a revolving army of innovators has contributed to Praxis projects. This disc includes P-Funkers Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell each contributing one lengthy track: "Deathstar," with Collins' free-form bass explorations, and "Crossing," featuring Worrell's psychedelic improvisation on a distorted Hammond organ. Also thrown into the mix are Mick Harris (Napalm Death, Scorn) and Yamatsuka Eye (The Boredoms) screaming at the top of their lungs, plus Blind Idiot God, John Zorn on some shrill alto parts, and lots of ambient samples from Shinya Tsukamoto's cult film Tetsuo: The Iron Man.

1. Cold Rolled/Iron Dub
2. Crossing
3. Deathstar
4. Nine Secrets
5. Rivet
6. Stronghold
7. Suspension
8. The Hook


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One album before Styx cut loose with an honest-to-goodness concept album, Kilroy Was Here, they flirted with the idea on Paradise Theater. The concept here has something to do with the decline of America in the '70s, based on the condemnation and destruction of the Paradise Theater, a famous showplace in the band's hometown of Chicago. Truth be told, the concept hasn't held together that well, though the individual songs have, led by the optimistic ballad "The Best of Times," and the rockers "Too Much Time on My Hands" and "Snowblind." Dennis DeYoung gives some of his most theatrical performances throughout, presaging his overly ambitious Kilroy concept, but also his successful run performing in the legitimate theater, as Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar. Paradise, meanwhile, was about as good as it got for Styx.

1. A.D. 1928
2. Rockin' the Paradise
3. Too Much Time on My Hands
4. Nothing Ever Goes as Planned
5. Best of Times
6. Lonely People
7. She Cares
8. Snowblind
9. Half-Penny, Two-Penny
10. A.D. 1958
11. State Street Sadie


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Priest's second album with Owens proved to definitely be a lot stronger than "Jugulator" - taking back a bit of the usual trademarks in the form of a lot of melody and decent solo's coupled with a bit of experimentation.
While there still are a few weaker tracks ("Cyberface" & "Jekyll And Hide") it appears that the average quality of the songs is a lot higher than the ones to be found on "Jugulator". One problem though which also plagued that previous album is the production - instead of sounding dry and boring, Glenn opted for a spacey nu-metal sound for part of the tracks this time - having silly and crap effects and sounds inbetween what are basically quite decent songs - definitely something that Priest DOESN'T need to be succesfull...
It also seems that Ripper has even grown a little bit more in his role as singer / frontman and shows off an entirely new side of his voice - instead of constantly seeking higher registers - there's a lot of very powerfull midrange singing to be found on here - which fits him very well (although the odd shriek wouldn't have been bad either mind you)...
Sadly enough this is a very underrated and overlooked album.

1. Machine Man
2. One On One
3. Hell Is Home
4. Jekyll And Hyde
5. Close To You
6. Devil Digger
7. Bloodsuckers
8. In Between
9. Feed On Me
10. Subterfuge
11. Lost And Found
12. Cyberface
13. Metal Messiah

Friday, April 24, 2009


COUP (2008)
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Coup is a prime example that you don't need a whole band to make a truly remarkable album. The mere fact that Ilan Rubin has written the music for and recorded every instrument for this album is beyond belief. Being able to do every single thing on an album is one thing. But to have it be one of the best concept albums in recent memory is a whole new thing.
Every song on Coup has this sort of dark and brooding presence about it that sends goosebumps down my spine with each passing of a song. The addition of a classical piano really adds to the mystique and the feeling put behind Coup. Heavy influence of Queen can be heard within the song "Time Erase", in which Rubin overlays a tantalizing harmony that is followed by an intricate piano solo where Rubin shows off his incredible talent. "This War Time" is a radio friendly song with something unique about it that makes the song easy to listen to. The rhythm has a catchy sing-a-long quality that just makes every passing second more enjoyable than the last. "Somethings" is somewhat of a power ballad. It's not extremely complex like most of Rubin's other songs. In fact, it remains quite simple with a nice drum/piano harmony while the bass lays down a nice rhythm to allow Rubin to unwind his beautiful voice.
The addition of piano among many other things makes Coup a truly unique album. The piano allows Rubin to show off more of his vocals abilities without overshadowing the other instruments. But since he does everything himself, there's no hurt feelings or over inflated egos getting bruised. It will be very hard to top this album, but given Rubin's musical genius and his experience with many top notch bands, I expect a very bright and amazing future for this 20 year old prodigy.

1. The Collapse
2. Order Restored
3. All These Changes
4. Take Control
5. Time Erase
6. Haunt My Mind
7. This War Time
8. The Credit “We” Deserve
9. Tap Dancing In A Minefield
10. Somethings


CHARGE (1990)
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Considering the way that HR with the Bad Brains could go from scorching thrash to deep, DEEP dub reggae, I thought that his solo stuff would be nothing but phenomenal--not that I was expecting him to Brains stuff without Brains (which I despise in solo efforts), but I figured him for being able to do something deep and spiritual and creative.
But I wasn't that crazy about the first ventures. Human Rights and such projects seemed rather stilted and inconsistent. But this particular disc made it pretty clear that the previous efforts were just the equivalents to sticking his toes into the galactic river, because _Charge_ has a lot of great stuff on it, all directed forward in what feels like a very unified vision.
It is unfortunate, as another reviewer has pointed out, that HR's solo work may go underappreciated because it doesn't fit easily into either realm of the dichotomy of what some may think are Bad Brains fans (too slow for punkers, too fast for rastamen), but HR and Know and Daryl and Earl made it very clear from the start of the Brains era that they wanted to redefine musical borders. Moreso, they wanted to forget about borders altogether and look more at the meaning of the music than its category--how else would you be able to call the Brains a gospel group?
For HR, clearly the music is about its meaning rather than its label. Maybe a little more easily categorizable as reggae than some other efforts, _Charge_ is full of the strongest stuff of reggae--anger, outrage, a cry for justice, all over a danceable rhythm. From "Rasta" to "Just Because I'm Poor" to "Selassie Fee," HR makes spirituality and the right fight just another natural part of the universe. The reggae is a little harder than what you have on "I Love I Jah", and thrash this isn't, but HR has something to teach ALL of you about Jah and about music, so listen.

1. Rasta
2. Shame In Dem Game
3. Just Because I'm Poor
4. While You Were Sleeping
5. Dancing Souls
6. Charge
7. Selassie Fee
8. Saddest Day
9. Let Luv Lead (The Way)
10. It's Reggae


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Oh, how the masses laughed when they heard the once mighty Judas Priest had hired a singer from a Priest cover band to replace indomitable original vocalist Rob Halford. But on 1997's Jugulator, the band's first new album in seven years, it's Priest who get the last laugh. Admittedly, it's kind of strange to hear Tim "Ripper" Owens screeching like the ghost of concerts past, but the band's rhythmic assault is fiercer than ever, mixing aggressive death metal riffs with the group's tried and true melodic grind.
So, okay, this is not up to the classics, but most of post-Screaming for Vengeance Priest isn't anyway.

1. Jugulator
2. Blood Stained
3. Dead Meat
4. Death Row
5. Decapitate
6. Burn in Hell
7. Brain Dead
8. Abductors
9. Bullet Train
10. Cathedral Spires

Thursday, April 23, 2009


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Awesome mixture of exotic acoustic and electric elements, rhythms and tonalities. Ginger Baker is a world traveler and this has heavy leanings to African themes but Bill Laswell's production brings it out of the village into the studio, but just barely.
The drumming and percussion throughout the album goes beyond the boundries of both rock and world music. Bass duties are handled by Laswell and Jah Wobble, often both on the same track. Exotic guitars played by tonemaster Nicky Skopeltis. No vocals, no need for them here.In fact I've played this recording since it first came out (circa 1989) but not until writing this review now did the abscence of vocals even dawn on me.
Middle Passage is an album of six masterful arrangements of various intensities from bold to simmering. I like Laswell's production style but on some recordings he gets to "loop happy" and looses ground, but not here this is a great meeting of real playing with only a slight sense of production.
Ginger Baker is one of the most recognisable names in drumming the world over, despite over a 10 year sabbatical from the music industry (mid 70's until mid-late 80's) and also being an artist with integrity, taste and intention.
For those of you who are aware of his sublime Horses and Trees album Middle Passage is like the next progressive step in strength and intensity but with relativly similar exotic acoustic/electric instrumentation.
The overall picture presented by the music? maybe something like having a big bowl of saucy spiced hot stew inside the flame and insense lit brick and clay walls of an African-Asian hashish lunchoenette den.

1. Mektoub
2. Under Black Skies
3. Time Be Time
4. Alamout
5. Basil
6. South to the Dust


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In 1990, after having recorded the Grammy Award-winning album "Guitar Shop" with Jeff Beck, drummer Terry Bozzio and keyboardist Tony Hymas met in France to jam with guitarist Hugh Burns and sax player, Tony Coe. The results were three albums of boundary stretching improvisational music which encompassed styles ranging from fusion, folk, ethnic and world beat.

1. March Past 9 145 749 B
2. Quanah Parker
3. Kill King Rat
4. Jennifer
5. Entre Le Tigre et L'Euphrate
6. Dancing for the Elders
7. Moonwatcher


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Pomposity, bombast, pretension and prog-rock: they're four crimes that blight the landscape of modern music and Origin Of Symmetry--the second record by Teignmouth, U.K. angst-rockers Muse--is guilty of every single one. But the truly astonishing thing about this record is the way it twists every one of these cardinal musical sins into spectacularly silly and starkly individual strengths. Where their debut album Showbiz was rightly dismissed as little more than Radiohead-lite, here Muse sound defiantly like their own band: on "New Born", they're torn somewhere between the purity of front man Matt Bellamy's angelic vocal tones and the corruption of a huge, dirty, distorted bass riff that electrifies the sound into crackling life; on the fraught, operatic "Bliss", they sound like an unholy--but very welcome--cross between synth-heavy Krautrock legends Tangerine Dream and youthful choirboy angst-peddlers JJ72; and even a wonderfully dippy take on the Nina Simone-popularised jazz standard "Feeling Good" is carried off with the requisite deadpan countenance. Bellamy's impassioned voice, in particular, is on spectacular form, soaring skywards until it cracks into a beautiful falsetto reminiscent of Jeff Buckley's greatest vocal moments. So gloriously overblown, it deserves to be huge--Origin Of Symmetry is a fascinating, flamboyant and satisfyingly individual album.

1. New Born
2. Bliss
3. Space Dementia
4. Hyper Music
5. Plug in Baby
6. Citizen Erased
7. Micro Cuts
8. Screenager
9. Dark Shines
10. Feeling Good
11. Megalomania

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


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In losing the cheque that would pay for her piano courses, a 6 year old Mélissa Laveaux forged herself quite the destiny. She’ll eventually become a self-taught musician, by ear and through books. Thankfully, her mother has a liking for French singer-songwriters and Haitian big band jazz during long sessions of hair braiding. While her father, a guitarist in his downtime, spontaneously offers her a guitar in the summer of her 13th year.
Would one call Laveaux’s music an eclectic mix? Without a doubt, how else could it be described? Born in Montréal in 1985 to immigrated Haitian parents, she grows up in Ottawa (Ontario), in a mostly Anglophone community. One of her first challenges was then to integrate herself to her new environment without leaving behind anything cherished from her original francophone and creole culture.
At the crossroads of her multiple identities, Mélissa becomes increasingly aware of the gap that lies between her life at home and her outside environment. A creative adolescent, she finds refuge in music, piecing mix tapes of late night radio hits to the more than slight disappointment of her parents, both teachers with hopes of her becoming a physician. She developes her music taste palette with North American folk music (Joni Mitchell, Feist, Tracy Chapman), British trip hop (Martina Topley-Bird, Morcheeba), alternative psychedelic Brazilian music (Adriana Calcanhotto, Os Mutantes), recent highlights in hip hop and nu-soul (Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, The Fugees), voices that have become institutions in the African-American music (Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin) as well as more geographically distant stars in world music (Rokia Traoré, Lhasa…).
Brewing all of these influences into a mix of naiveté et instinctive brilliance, working daily on her guitar skills, Mélissa constructs her own, very personal, very rhythmic style of instrumental accompaniment. Soon she starts composing her first lyrics, her first songs. From hereon, this very contemporary songwriting, integrating all of her underlying culturally existential facets, instead of branding them with a political message, opts for the road of intimate storytelling, the adventure of a free voice speaking candidly in all confidence to an audience.
But music isn’t everything. Like her siblings, she is determined to pursue her studies, with the hopes of working in the field of Social Sciences, feeling the urgency and need to keep expressing herself artistically and academically seeing both as mutually influential. “One cannot go without the other. I need music to live and to live to inspire my music”, states the deeply convinced 23 year old. University of Ottawa becomes her alma mater, discerning her with a Bachelor of Arts in Ethics & Society.
During her studies, she performs at the open mic night at the graduate student pub. A young percussionist spots her and encourages her to jam with him and eventually form a band. As a duo, Mélissa tours with Rob Reid on weekends, playing campus pubs and small bars in Canada as well as garnering some attention from local and national media (CBC, SRC) and music institutions (Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, Montreal International Jazz festival). At 21 years old, she self-produces an album she puts up on myspace. 2007 comes and the French label No Format!, seduced, takes off to see her play in Montréal and signs her right away. That same year, she records her album, ‘Camphor & Copper’, produced out of base tracks from the original self-produced album.
Apart from two magnificently reinvented cover versions of lesser known originals (Elliot Smith’s « Needle in the hay » and Eartha Kitt’s « I Wanna be Evil ») that could be considered the imaginary bounds of her musical universe, her repertoire is composed of original pieces of an impressive maturity and freshness only found amongst the best in her field. With this album, Mélissa releases in one blow, all of the creative energy stored during years of learning and straightaway finds the right tone. Minimalist arrangements privilege the energy and poetic impact of her wording. Her voice, alone, unfurls, majestic and fragile, profound and sensual, furrowed with deep stirring under the immediate seduction, almost reworked and rearranged by the ever-present trilingualism in her life: the fluidity of the English, the nonchalant syncopation of the Kreyol, and the harmonic sophistication of the French.
Without a doubt, with such an album, the 23 year old Haitian-Canadian makes a startling debut in the small circle of the promising singer-songwriters of our era.

1. Scissors
2. My Boat
3. Chère Trahison
4. Ulysses
5. Interlude Haïti
6. Koudlo
7. Dodo Titit
8. Needle In The Hay
9. Interlude Voyeur
10. Games Of Unrest
11. Akeelah'S Heel
12. I Want To Be Evil


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By the mid-'90s, Material was simply another word for Bill Laswell, so as Laswell's fascination with ambient mysticism grew, so did Material's tendencies in that direction. After 1991's dark and reggae-inflected The Third Power, Hallucination Engine's long, spacy jams aren't exactly a dramatic departure, but the combination of Wayne Shorter and various North African elements is certainly interesting. In fact, the array of guest musicians is more diverse than ever: Trilok Gurtu, Jonas Hellborg, Zakir Hussain, Bootsy Collins — the list goes on and on and even includes William Burroughs (who intones a hilarious list of "Words of Advice" over a churning mid-tempo funk groove). In his ambient mode, Laswell has been accused of turning too little music into too much track length, and there's some justice to those criticisms; here, "Black Light" and the unbelievably well-named "Eternal Drift" both plod along for far too long with far too little development. But that William Burroughs track kicks in just as you're about to fall asleep, and it's followed immediately by a very funky and very jazzy remix of "Cucumber Slumber." "The Hidden Garden/Naima" proposes an interesting juxtaposition of Arabic pop song and modal jazz, with dramatic and beautiful results, while "Shadows of Paradise" brings the album to a close with a gentle whimper, not a bang.

1. Black Light
2. Mantra
3. Ruins (Submutation Dub)
4. Eternal Drift
5. Words Of Advice
6. Cucumber Slumber (Fluxus Mix)
7. The Hidden Garden/Naima
8. Shadows Of Paradise


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When Whitesnake broke into the spotlight with Slide It In (1984), a battalion of cynical critics predicted the band's success couldn't last, but Coverdale and company silenced all the naysayers with 1987's self-titled album, which rocketed to No. 2 on the Billboard album chart. The record was driven by the pumping rocker "Here I Go Again" and the tender power ballad "Is This Love," but the band's mainstream appeal might have had as much to do with their unabashedly sexual videos as with their bubblegum metal. The clips, which seemed to splash across MTV every 20 minutes, starred Coverdale's girlfriend and B-movie actress Tawny Kitaen, and highlighted her busty, scantily clad body in various provocative poses, a metalhead's wet dream.

1. Still of the Night
2. Give Me All Your Love
3. Bad Boys
4. Is This Love
5. Here I Go Again
6. Straight for the Heart
7. Looking for Love
8. Children of the Night
9. You're Gonna Break My Heart Again
10. Crying in the Rain
11. Don't Turn Away
Bonus tracks
12. Give Me All Your Love [Live]
13. Is This Love [Live]
14. Here I Go Again [Live]
15. Still of the Night [Live]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


FRÖHN (2008)
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Ok... This one is a rare breed and I have to thank my BAISTOPHE partner Ayah Gagöhn for pointing it out to me. This is also something quite hard to track down but it's worth the search, trust me.
So what have we here? It's jazz, no doubt about it. Rather on the "free" side of things but not as hard to digest as usual free jazz might be. In fact, I thought it was quite easy to get into even though it still is a demanding experience. Don't even think of putting it as "wallpaper music", you should listen to it to let it reveal its beauty and cleverness.
Fröhn is a quintet with a clarinetist (Jean-Brice Godet), a saxophone (Frantz Loriot), a pianist/keyboardist (John Cuny), a bassist (Gaël Ascal) and a drummer (Eric Dambrin). A talented new French formation that deserves your attention.

1. Est-ce kiss?
2. Rédité Hû part.1
3. Les lignes de la main
4. En moins d'un minute
5. En plus d'un heure
6. Schisme
7. Rédité Hû part.2
8. J.O.R.
9. Mycoses Perdues
10. Myriam


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Here comes a new voice in the French scene. One that has everything to content those who like Chansons à la French and where influences from "Great Old Ones" (Barbara, Brel, Ferré) can be found, in a modern fashion that is.
The delicacy of L's voice and melodies fits well songs which have more layers than you'd initially think. The arrangements are kind of pop/rock oriented even if fado, classical music or jazz are part of this new-girl-in-town's musical universe.
Be one of the first to get a taste of L's talent on this sweet mini-album. omens are she's going to be big quite soon.

1. Les Hurleurs
2. Mes Lèvres
3. Petite
4. La Pluie
5. Jalouse
6. Mon Frère


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Denim is the project of Lawrence Hayward, formerly of the '80s jangly pop group Felt. Along with having a penchant for naming his bands after fabrics, Lawrence also has a tendency to write incredibly catchy, entertaining songs about seemingly nothing at all. Denim's 1992 self-titled debut album railed against the excesses of the '70s and '80s, and set Lawrence's tirades to a glittering glam-rock soundtrack. On Denim On Ice, he's still upset about pub rock and other more serious matters, but the music takes a new-wave turn, with prominent drum machines and synthesizers. Songs like "The Great Pub Rock Revival," "Shut Up Sidney" and "Silly Rabbit" mix Lawrence's goofy sense of humor with infectious hooks and melodies. Speedy, synth-heavy pop songs like "Romeo Jones Is in Love Again," "The Supermodels," and "Jane Suck Died in '77" are some of the album's highlights, as are the deeply cynical, funny and very British looks at everyday life in "Job Centre" and "Council Houses." Even the rare ballad on Denim On Ice — like "Synthesisers in the Rain" and "Myriad of Hoops" — crackles with Lawrence's dry wit. Though this import probably won't be released in the States, it's a must for Anglophiles and for anyone interested in some very personal, funny, offbeat music.

1. Great Pub Rock Revival
2. It Fell Off The Back Of A Lorry
3. Romeo Jones Is In Love Again
4. Bumburger
5. Supermodels
6. Shut Up Sidney
7. Mrs Mills
8. Best Song In The World
9. Synthesizers In The Rain
10. Job Centre
11. Council House
12. Glue And Smack
13. Jane Suck Died In 77
14. Grandad's False Teeth
15. Silly Rabbit
16. Don't Bite Too Much Out Of The Apple
17. Myriad Of Hoops
18. Denim On Ice

Monday, April 20, 2009


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Polnareff says it himself, this live album doesn't sound very good. At best, it could have been considered good in the 70s bootlegs' division. The problem is, this is not a bootleg! So why is it here at Moodswings where only quality matters. Because the musical content saves the average sound, of course! It's classic 70s Polnareff in top form with a great band and a very tight/inspired show. This album has yet to be remastered/re-released. The one I own is a 1989 reedition of the initial vinyl recording. Get it for the music and, if you're not too picky in the sound department, you'll get something quite tasty.

1. Le bal des laze
2. Tous les bateaux, tous les oiseaux
3. Je cherche un job
4. Qui a tué grand maman
5. La mouche
6. Âme câline
7. Dans la maison vide
8. Ca n'arrive qu'aux autres
9. Gloria
10. On ira tous au paradis
11. La trompette
12. Love me, please love me
13. Boogie woogie


ACME (1998)
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Yet another mess of colors (emphasis on mess) from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion that defies any particular grounding. This time, with Acme, the trio's fifth full-length, the frayed punk tones are replaced by more of a Beasties/Beck/Dust Brothers/white-guys-gone-phat sort of thing, where rat-a-tat beats and bone-crushing, speaker-frying bottom ends collide with shards of sweet soul, gospel, country, blues, and even some pummeling stoner rock as well as Spencer's own wacked-out Presley-Jagger vocal spew. Including the knob-twiddling participation of Steve Albini, Calvin Johnson, and, predominantly, the Automator (rapper-rocker Andre Williams gets the title of executive producer, whatever that means), Acme is an orgy of noise that occasionally even resembles actual songs. Certain to dazzle some, certain to scare plenty more.

1. Calvin
2. Magical Colors
3. Do You Wanna Get Heavy?
4. High Gear
5. Talk About The Blues
6. I Wanna Make It All Right
7. Lovin' Machine
8. Bernie
9. Blue Green Olga
10. Give Me A Chance
11. Desperate
12. Torture
13. Attack


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Genre is so passé. Antwerp twerps Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung (DAAU) join big boys Radiohead, TV on the Radio and others in taxing music taxonomists with kitchen sink audio alchemy. DAAU grew up under the auspices of Belgian brethren dEUS and Moondog Jr. (Zita Swoon), but musical comparisons to their early stage superiors are futile. Album opener ‘My Goodness! Poetry’ is a Klezmer incarnation of Apocalyptica covering The Fiery Furnaces covering Camille Saint-Saëns. My goodness! It’s free verse until ‘Raw Like Milk’, which finally resembles common song structure with melody and repetition and all that. But as you settle into its accelerated Mogwai build, you become intoxicated by their tipsy gypsy Mozart mash. Amidst so many musical deviations, the ‘2 + 2 = 5′ cover adds up to an unimaginative conceit to tune in Radiohead fans, a broad band dial that connects for me.
For all this deliberate musical dissociation, DAAU frequently get off to familiar phrases from film scores. But it’s probably too late to discover new lines in the mathematically limited world of music, anyway, and DAAU’s puree-set blender reduces their disparate influences to whispered hints of cinnamon and turmeric. Despite spicy metaphors, the album’s texture underperforms its writing. The songs’ energy and complexity require more than the sparse chamber instrumentation supplies. The album’s strongest track - ‘Even More Lost Souls’ (following ‘Lost Souls’ and ‘More Lost Souls’ from previous albums) - triumphs because of the soulful expression enabled by its simplicity and melancholy pace. The mournful drone remains tensely pre-orgasmic to the end.
Excepting the dub-percussion reggae track, ‘A Funny Little Feeling’, DAAU’s latest rocks through contemporary classical music but sounds like neither style. Blame the instrument selection: violin, accordion, cello, and clarinet. They’ve settled a bit since 2001’s Life Transmission, which made use of more styles than tracks. Still, after nine years and six albums, DAAU refuse to forge a signature style - but everything they serve is guaranteed fresh.

1. My Goodness
2. Off The Record
3. Is This It?
4. Raw Like Milk
5. Guts
6. Of R*D*H*D
7. A Funny Little Feeling
8. Catfish Blues
9. A Shortcut To The Edge
10. Even More Lost Souls
11. In My Midnight Skies
12. Two Fast Dreams

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Singer/songwriter Jacques Brel created and performed a catalog of literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that brought him a large, devoted following in France. His audience eventually extended internationally, making him a major influence on English-speaking writers and performers including Leonard Cohen and David Bowie, while translations of his songs were recorded by a wide range of performers from the Kingston Trio to Frank Sinatra.

Born in Brussels, Belgium, on April 8, 1929, Brel was the son of Romain Brel, who worked in an import-export firm, but later became co-director of a company that manufactured cardboard cartons, and Elisabeth (Lambertine) Brel. He began playing the guitar at the age of 15. After quitting school, he took a job in his father's plant in August 1947. During this period, he became increasingly interested in music, beginning to perform while a member of a church youth group and starting to write his own songs. In 1952, he first performed on local radio, and in February 1953 he was signed by Philips Records, which released his debut single, "La Foire"/"Il Y A," in March. Its modest success led to professional bookings locally and, soon, a move to Paris, where he built up a following in the clubs. In July 1954, he made his first appearance at the prestigious Olympia Theater in Paris, followed by his first French tour, and at the end of the year Philips released his debut album, a nine-song, 10" LP called Jacques Brel et Ses Chansons. More touring followed, and he achieved a commercial breakthrough in 1956 when his song "Quand On N'A Pas Que l'Amour" (later adapted into English as "If We Only Have Love"), released on an EP, became a hit, reaching number three in the French charts. His subsequent LP releases were Jacques Brel 2 (1957), Jacques Brel 3 (1958), and Jacques Brel 4 (1959).

In 1960, Brel earned a U.S. release with American Début on Columbia Records, a compilation of Philips tracks. In France, he switched from Philips to the recently formed Barclay Records in March 1962, his first LP release for the label being the live album A l'Olympia 1962, followed by his first studio album in four years, Jacques Brel Accompagne Pas François Rauber et Son Orchestra. After performing mainly in French-speaking territories, he was becoming a star worldwide and touring internationally much of the year. In February 1963, he made his U.S. performing debut at Carnegie Hall in New York. American poet and singer Rod McKuen began writing English lyrics to Brel's songs, and the Kingston Trio recorded "Seasons in the Sun," McKuen's version of a song Brel had titled "Le Moribond," on their Time to Think LP in 1964. That year in France, Jacques Brel, Vol. 6 and another live album, Olympia 64, appeared.

In 1965, Reprise Records licensed tracks from Barclay for a U.S. release called Jacques Brel, and Brel returned to Carnegie Hall on December 4. In 1966, Damita Jo recorded "If You Go Away," McKuen's version of the Brel composition "Ne Me Quitte Pas," and it reached the charts. The wistful song, with its alternating happy and sad lyrics and lush melody, became a pop standard recorded by dozens of singers, including Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, and Neil Diamond. Also in 1966, Judy Collins put an English-language version of Brel's "La Colombe" ("The Dove") on her In My Life album (Joan Baez covered the same song the following year on her album Joan), and Glenn Yarbrough sang "The Women" ("Les Biches") on his LP The Lonely Things. Philips Records, meanwhile, weighed in with an American Brel compilation, The Poetic World of Jacques Brel.

Brel announced his retirement from concert work in 1966, giving a final series of shows in Paris at the Olympia in the fall, but after that he had six months of performances internationally to fulfill. These included appearances in the U.S., where Reprise issued Encore, another compilation drawn from Barclay, and Vanguard Records had Le Formidable Jacques Brel. His last concert came on May 16, 1967. He was not, however, retiring from other kinds of performing: he continued to record, his next LP appropriately being titled Jacques Brel '67 (though it turned out to be his last new studio album for a decade); he starred in his first feature film, the non-musical drama Les Risques du Metièr, before the end of the year (with nine more movies to follow through 1973, some featuring his music); and he also turned to the legitimate stage, translating and taking the leading role in a French production of the American musical Man of la Mancha that opened in Brussels on October 4, 1968, and moved to Paris, where it ran from December until June 1969. (A cast album was released.)

Overseas, meanwhile, his name was given greater prominence by a New York stage production in which he did not appear, an off-Broadway revue of his songs that, keying off of speculation about his decision to stop touring, was called Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. It opened at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village on January 22, 1968. Songwriter Mort Shuman and playwright Eric Blau had translated Brel's lyrics more closely than McKuen, conveying in English the pathos and wit of his story-songs, and the effect was overwhelming — the revue played nearly 2,000 performances, becoming one of the longest-running off-Broadway shows in history. Columbia Records released a double-LP box set of the complete show as an original cast album. The revue was revived on Broadway, in 1972 and 1981, and off-Broadway in 2006, and it was turned into a film in 1975, with Brel himself making a cameo appearance. The success of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris increased Brel's profile in English-speaking countries. In England, American expatriate Scott Walker's recording of "Jackie" (aka "La Chanson de Jacky") from the show hit the charts the month before the New York opening, reaching the Top 40. (Marc Almond's revival, drawn from his tribute album Jacques, made the British Top 20 in 1991.) "Jackie" was included on Walker's debut solo LP, Scott, which also featured Brel's "Mathilde," "Amsterdam," and "My Death" ("La Mort"), and Walker also put Brel songs on his subsequent albums Scott 2 (1968) and Scott 3 (1969). Other British Brel fans included David Bowie, who released a version of "Amsterdam" as a B-side single in 1973 while also performing "My Death" in concert, and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, which titled an album after Brel's song "Next" ("Au Suivant") in 1973. In the U.S., Judy Collins recorded "Marieke" for her Whales & Nightingales album in 1970; Frank Sinatra put "I'm Not Afraid" (a McKuen lyric for "Fils De") on the B-side of a single in 1971; Dionne Warwick scored a chart entry with "If We Only Have Love" in 1972; and at the end of 1973 Terry Jacks released a revival of "Seasons in the Sun" that hit number one in both the U.S. and the U.K., followed by a chart entry with his version of "If You Go Away."

Brel himself, meanwhile, continued to appear in French films, making his screenwriting and directorial debut with Franz in 1972 and memorably taking his final starring role opposite stone-faced Lino Ventura in Edouard Molinaro's 1973 black comedy L'Emmerdeur (released in the U.S. with the title A Pain in the A-), which was remade in 1981 with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as Buddy Buddy. In July 1974, having bought a yacht, Brel set off on what was intended to be a circumnavigation of the globe. But in October, while in the Canary Islands, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He went to Brussels for an operation to remove part of his left lung. After recovering, he returned to his boat and continued on his journey. In November 1975, he reached the Marquesas Islands, where he decided to stay. He returned to France in July 1977 to record a new album, Brel, issued in November. The LP became a massive hit, reportedly selling 650,000 copies on its first day of release and eventually topping two million copies. Suffering a recurrence of cancer, Brel again returned to France in July 1978 for treatment, but he died three months later at the age of 49. In France, Brel's reputation as one of the major singers and songwriters of the 20th century is secure. In the English-speaking world, his influence is limited by the language barrier and by his musical taste in traditional pop and cabaret, rather than the predominant style of the second half of the century, rock. Nevertheless, his lyrics, delving into personal, dark, and adult subjects, are in keeping with the trend toward frankness and seriousness of popular songwriting from Bob Dylan on and even anticipate that trend. As such, Brel is something of a French older brother to the likes of Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and all the confessional singer/songwriters who followed them. At the same time, his work, as translated into often bowdlerized English (especially in the McKuen versions), has extended his influence as a songwriter across genres. In addition to those already mentioned, the list of performers who have recorded Brel's songs is an amazingly broad selection of rock, pop, jazz, and country artists, including Karen Akers, Shirley Bassey, Acker Bilk, Ray Bryant, Glen Campbell, Ray Conniff, John Denver, Dion, Celine Dion, the Fortunes, Robyn Hitchcock, Shirley Horn, Julio Iglesias, Jack Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Brenda Lee, Ute Lemper, Vera Lynn, Al Martino, Paul Mauriat, Helen Merrill, Ronnie Milsap, Nana Mouskouri, Olivia Newton-John, Freda Payne, Pearls Before Swine, Mitch Ryder, the Seekers, Dusty Springfield, Bobby Vinton, Andy Williams, and Nancy Wilson.

320 KBPS
1. La Haine
2. Grand Jacques (C'Est Trop Facile)
3. Il Pleut "Les Carreaux"
4. Le Diable "Ca Va"
5. Il Peut Pleuvoir
6. Il Nous Faut Regarder
7. Le Fou Du Roi
8. C'Est Comme Ca
9. Sur La Place
Bonus tracks
10. S'Il Te Faut
11. La Bastille
12. Prière Païenne
13. Il Y A
14. La Foire
15. Sur La Place
320 KBPS
1. Quand On N'A Que L'Amour
2. Qu'Avons-Nous Fait, Bonnes Gens?
3. Les Pieds Dans Le Ruisseau
4. Pardons
5. La Bourrée Du Célibataire
6. L'Air De La Bêtise
7. Saint-Pierre
8. J'En Appelle
9. Heureux
10. Les Blés
Bonus track
11. Quand On N'A Que L'Amour

320 KBPS
1. Demain L'On Se Marie (La Chanson Des Fiancés)
2. Au Printemps
3. Je Ne Sais Pas
4. Le Colonel
5. Dors Ma Mie
6. La Lumière Jaillira
7. Dites, Si C'Etait Vrai (Poème)
8. L'Homme Dans La Cité
9. Litanies Pour Un Retour
10. Voici
Bonus tracks
11. Voir
12. L'Aventure
13. Dites, Si C'Etait Vrai (Poème)

320 KBPS
1. La Valse A Mille Temps
2. Seul
3. La Dame Patronnesse
4. Je T'Aime
5. Ne Me Quitte Pas
6. Les Flamandes
7. Isabelle
8. La Mort
9. La Tendresse
10. La Colombe

320 KBPS

1. Marieke
2. Le Moribond
3. Vivre Deobut
4. On N'Oublie Rien
5. Clara
6. Le Prochain Amour
7. L'Ivrogne
8. Les Prénoms De Paris
9. Les Singes
Bonus tracks
10. Marieke (Version Flamande)
11. Laat Me Niet Alleen (Ne Me Quitte Pas)
12. De Apen (Les Singes)
13. Men Vergeet Niets (On N'Oublie Rien)
14. Le Prochain Amour

320 KBPS
1. Les Prénoms De Paris
2. Les Bourgeois
3. Les Paumés Du Petit Matin
4. Les Flamandes
5. La Statue
6. Zangra
7. Marieke
8. Les Biches
9. Madeleine
10. Les Singes
11. L'Ivrogne
12. La Valse A Mille Temps
13. Ne Me Quitte Pas
14. Le Moribond
15. Quand On N'A Que L'Amour

320 KBPS
1. Les Bourgeois
2. Les Paumés Du Petit Matin
3. Le Plat Pays
4. Zangra
5. Une Ile
6. Madeleine
7. Bruxelles
8. Chanson Sans Paroles
9. Les Biches
10. Le Caporal Casse-Pompon
11. La Statue
12. Rosa
Bonus tracks
13. Il Neige Sur Liège
14. Pourquoi Faut-Il Que Les Hommes S'Ennuient?

320 KBPS
1. Amsterdam
2. Les Timides
3. Le Dernier Repas
4. Les Jardins Du Casino
5. Les Vieux
6. Les Toros
7. Tango Funèbre
8. Le Plat Pays
9. Les Bonbons
10. Mathilde
11. Les Bigotes
12. Les Bourgeois
13. Jef
14. Au Suivant
15. Madeleine

320 KBPS
1. Les Bonbons
2. Les Vieux
3. La Parlote
4. Le Dernier Repas
5. Titine
6. Au Suivant
7. Les Toros
8. La Fanette
9. J'Aimais
10. Les Filles Et Les Chiens
11. Les Bigotes
12. Les Fenêtres
Bonus tracks
13. Quand Maman Reviendra
14. Les Amants De Coeur

320 KBPS
1. Ces Gens-Là
2. Jef
3. La Chanson De Jacky
4. Les Bergers
5. Le Tango Funèbre
6. Fernand
7. Mathilde
8. L'Age Idiot
9. Grand-Mère
10. Les Désespérés
Bonus tracks
11. Mijn Vlakke Land (Le Plat Pays)
12. Rosa (Version Flamande)
13. De Burgerij (Les Bourgeois)
14. De Nuttelozen Van De Nacht (Les Paumés Du Petit Matin)

320 KBPS
1. Mon Enfance
2. Le Cheval
3. Mon Père Disait
4. La...La...La...
5. Les Coeurs Tendres
6. Fils De...
7. Les Bonbons 67
8. La Chanson Des Vieux Amants
9. A Jeun
10. Le Gaz
Bonus track
11. Les Moutons

320 KBPS
1. J'arrive
2. Vesoul
3. L'ostendaise
4. Je suis un soir d'été
5. Regarde bien, petit
6. Comment tuer l' amant de sa femme quand on a été élévé comme moi dans la tradition
7. L'éclusier
8. Un enfant
9. La bière
Bonus tracks
10. La chanson de Van Horst
11. L'enfance

320 KBPS
1. L'Homme De La Mancha
2. Un Animal
3. Dulcinéa
4. Vraiment Je Ne Pense Qu'A Lui
5. Le Casque D'Or De Mambrino
6. Chacun Sa Dulcinéa
7. Pourquoi Fait-Il Toutes Ces Choses?
8. La Quête
9. Sans Amour
10. Gloria
11. Aldonza
12. Le Chevalier Aux Miroirs
13. La Mort

320 KBPS
1. Ne Me Quitte Pas
2. Marieke
3. On N'Oublie Rien
4. Les Flamandes
5. Les Prénoms De Paris
6. Quand On N'A Que L'Amour
7. Les Biches
8. Le Prochain Amour
9. Le Moribond
10. La Valse A Mille Temps
11. Je Ne Sais Pas

320 KBPS
1. Jaurès
2. La Ville S'Endormait
3. Vieillir
4. Le Bon Dieu
5. Les F...
6. Orly
7. Les Remparts De Varsovie
8. Voir Un Ami Pleurer
9. Knokke-Le-Zoute Tango
10. Jojo
11. Le Lion
12. Les Marquises
Bonus tracks
13. Sans Exigences
14. Avec Elégance
15. Mai 40
16. L'Amour Est Mort
17. La Cathédrale

320 KBPS
1. À Deux
2. Dites, Si C'était Vrai (Poème)
3. Les Gens
4. La Haine
5. Départs
6. Le Diable
7. Qu'Avons-Nous Fait, Bonnes Gens
8. L'Ange Déchu
9. Les Pieds dans le Ruisseau
10 La Bastille
11. Ce qu'il Nous Faut
12. L'Accordéon de la Vie
13. Je Suis l'Ombre des Chansons
14. S'il Te Faut
15. Ballade
16. L'Orage
17. Les Pavés
18. Le Fou du Roi
19. La Foire
20. Sur la Place
21. Il Peut Pleuvoir
22. Les Deux Fauteuils
23. Les Enfants du Roi
24. Le Troubadour
25. Il Nous Faut Regarder
26. C'est Comme Ça
27. Si Tu Revenais
28. Le Pendu