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Tuesday, March 31, 2009


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What set the Pogues apart from any number of other energetic Irish traditional bands was the sheer physical force of their performances, the punky swagger of their personalities, and Shane MacGowan's considerable gifts as a songwriter. Unfortunately, none of these qualities comes through very clearly on their first album, Red Roses for Me. While the Pogues are in good form here, the production (by Stan Brennan) is thin and lacks the body or nuance to capture the finer details of the performances, robbing this recording of the fire the group would display on their later albums. And it's clear that MacGowan had not yet fully matured as a songwriter; there are a handful of superb songs here, such as "Transmetropolitan," "Streams of Whiskey," and "Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go," but some of the others suggest MacGowan was still learning how to fit all his ideas into his songs. Red Roses for Me is good and rowdy fun, but on Rum Sodomy & the Lash and If I Should Fall from Grace with God, the Pogues would prove they were capable of a lot more than that. [In 2006, Rhino Records gave Red Roses for Me a long-overdue reissue, with remastered audio, new liner notes (an enthusiastic appreciation from filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and a witty essay on the group's early days from Gavin Martin), and six bonus tracks. While "The Leaving of Liverpool" and "The Wild Rover" sound like quickly recorded demos and the version of "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" pales in comparison to the later recording on Rum Sodomy & the Lash, "Whiskey, You're the Devil" and "The Repeal of the Licensing Laws" kick up plenty of dust and would have added to the album's impact.]

1. Transmetropolitan
2. Battle of Brisbane
3. Auld Triangle
4. Waxie's Dargle
5. Boys from the County Hell
6. Sea Shanty
7. Dark Streets of London
8. Streams of Whiskey
9. Poor Paddy
10. Dingle Regatta
11. Greenland Whale Fisheries
12. Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go
13. Kitty
Bonus tracks
14. Leaving of Liverpool
15. Muirshin Durkin
16. Repeal of the Licensing Laws
17. And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda
18. Whiskey You're the Devil
19. Wild Rover


JUS DE BOX (2007)
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Arno will always surprise us. Getting older (he was 48 when Jus de Box was released) he delivers his most uncompromised , most rocking album to date. It is true that his broken voice perfectly fits the bill and, since all the songs are pretty good, he succeeds where so many youngsters fail.
Of course, those who already know the man will find his usual poetry, his witty sense of songwriting. Those who are not yet acquainted to the man will be surprised not to have heard of him before. Maybe being from Belgium, singing in Dutch, French and English (with equal success) didn't help...
Arno is a peculiar chap and an artist everyone should, at least, try. Jus de Box is a good starting point.

1. Enlève Ta Langue
2. I'M Not Into Hop
3. Mourir A Plusieurs
4. Miss Amérique
5. Reviens Marie
6. From Zero To Hero
7. Jusqu'Au Bout
8. Hit The Night
9. Douce
10. Red Lipstick
11. Toute La Nuit
12. Een Boeket Met Pisseblommen (Ostendais)
13. Les Filles De Mon Quartier
14. Help Me Mary


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So where does a band go after releasing the most defiantly experimental record of its career? If you're the Flaming Lips, you keep rushing headlong into the unknown — The Soft Bulletin, their follow-up to the four-disc gambit Zaireeka, is in many ways their most daring work yet, a plaintively emotional, lushly symphonic pop masterpiece eons removed from the mind-warping noise of their past efforts. Though more conventional in concept and scope than Zaireeka, The Soft Bulletin clearly reflects its predecessor's expansive sonic palette. Its multidimensional sound is positively celestial, a shape-shifting pastiche of blissful melodies, heavenly harmonies, and orchestral flourishes; but for all its headphone-friendly innovations, the music is still amazingly accessible, never sacrificing popcraft in the name of radical experimentation. (Its aims are so perversely commercial, in fact, that hit R&B remixer Peter Mokran tinkered with the cuts "Race for the Prize" and "Waitin' for a Superman" in the hopes of earning mainstream radio attention.) But what's most remarkable about The Soft Bulletin is its humanity — these are Wayne Coyne's most personal and deeply felt songs, as well as the warmest and most giving. No longer hiding behind surreal vignettes about Jesus, zoo animals, and outer space, Coyne pours his heart and soul into each one of these tracks, poignantly exploring love, loss, and the fate of all mankind; highlights like "The Spiderbite Song" and "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate" are so nakedly emotional and transcendently spiritual that it's impossible not to be moved by their beauty. There's no telling where the Lips will go from here, but it's almost beside the point — not just the best album of 1999, The Soft Bulletin might be the best record of the entire decade.

1. Race For The Prize
2. A Spoonful Weighs A Ton
3. The Spark That Bled
4. Slow Motion
5. What Is The Light?
6. The Observer 7. Waitin' For A Superman
8. Suddenly Everything Has Changed
9. The Gash
10. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
11. Sleeping On The Roof
12. Race For The Prize [Mokran Remix]
13. Waitin' For A Superman [Mokran Remix]
14. Buggin'

Monday, March 30, 2009


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Electric Light Orchestra's more modest follow-up to Eldorado is a very solid album, if not as bold or unified. It was also their first recorded at Musicland in Munich, which became Jeff Lynne's preferred venue for cutting records. At the time, he was also generating songs at a breakneck pace and had perfected the majestic, quasi-Beatles-type style (sort of high-wattage Magical Mystery Tour) introduced two albums earlier. The sound is stripped down a bit on Face the Music, Louis Clark's orchestral contributions generally more subdued than on Eldorado, even when they compete with the band, as on "Strange Magic." The soulful "Evil Woman" was one of the most respectable chart hits of its era, and one of the best songs that Lynne ever wrote (reportedly in 30 minutes), while "Strange Magic" showed off his writing in a more ethereal vein. "One Summer Dream," which is written in a similar mode, also has a touchingly wistful mood about it but is a somewhat lackluster finale compared to the albums that preceded and followed this one. The requisite rock & roll number, "Poker," is a quicker tempo than anything previously heard from the band, the guitar is pumped up louder than ever. And "Down Home Town," an experiment in achieving a country & western sound, is fresh at this point and more interesting than the equivalent material of Out of the Blue.

1. Fire On High
2. Waterfall
3. Evil Woman
4. Nightrider
5. Poker
6. Strange Magic
7. Down Home Town
8. One Summer Dream
Bonus tracks
9. Fire On High Intro (Early Alternate Mix)
10. Evil Woman (Stripped Down Mix)
11. Strange Magic (U.S. Single Edit)
12. Waterfall (Instrumental Mix)


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Before they were on par with Rush as Canada's prog-rock heroes, Triumph were earnestly forging away to develop their sound. In The Beginning captures just that: the band's debut recording while they were still finding and developing the formulas that would make them so successful. The opening "24 Hours A Day" wouldn't sound out of place during the finest moments of Boston's catalog, but the majority of the tunes found herein are highly informed by the presence of Led Zeppelin. Gil Moore's take on the infamous Bonham stutter kick of the bass drum, the exact chord progression found on the climax of "Stairway to Heaven" is also the anchor to "Don't Take My Life", and the comparisons go on and on. But that's not to say In The Beginning is a total loss, far from it. It's the cornerstone from which their house of prog-rock greatness was built.

1. 24 Hours a Day
2. Be My Lover
3. Don't Take My Life
4. Street Fighter
5. Street Fighter (Reprise)
6. What's Another Day of Rock & Roll
7. Easy Life
8. Let Me Get Next to You
9. Blinding Light Show/Moonchild


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Having established himself as a folk singer-songwriter of considerable weight with 2002's--take a deep breath--Lifted, or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, Conor Oberst takes the opportunity to experiment here. Released simultaneously with the more conventional follow-up disc, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn sees the Omaha-based leader of Bright Eyes teaming up with a diverse set of musicians that includes Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner for a collection of songs that aim to recreate the alien landscapes of Radiohead but more often come off sounding like midperiod Depeche Mode.

1. Time Code
2. Gold Mine Gutted
3. Arc of Time (Time Code)
4. Down in a Rabbit Hole
5. Take It Easy (Love Nothing)
6. Hit the Switch
7. I Believe in Symmetry
8. Devil in the Details
9. Ship in a Bottle
10. Light Pollution
11. Theme to Pinata
12. Easy/Lucky/Free

Sunday, March 29, 2009


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The King of Rock & Roll's 1968 Christmas television special and corresponding LP needed no other title than ELVIS (emblazoned in letters as tall as the record itself), but it became enshrined as "The '68 Comeback Special." During the late '60s, several years removed from live performance of any kind, Elvis had become something previously unimaginable: safe. His recorded output and material were strictly controlled to maximize profits, his appearances were limited to movie theaters, and only his friends saw the uninhibited rebel that had shocked America during the mid-'50s. But when Presley and Colonel Tom Parker agreed to record a Christmas television special to be directed and co-produced by Steve Binder, it became the catalyst for a comeback. Binder's previous involvement in television (the widely respected T.A.M.I. Show and Hullabaloo) had proved that he understood the best way to present rock music in a television context. On the eve of recording, Binder and his tested crew were on track to produce an excellent show (with dramatic and thematic set pieces tied to Elvis' performances), but it was Binder's chance witnessing of an informal after-hours jam in Elvis' dressing room that transformed a sturdy television vehicle into one of the signal moments in Elvis' career. Binder proposed that Elvis perform part of his special in an informal sit-down jam session, spending time reflecting on the Elvis sensation of the late '50s while he performed some of his old favorites with a group of friends. Although initial reception to the idea was lukewarm (from the Colonel especially), Elvis finally agreed and, with only a few days before taping, invited two of his earliest bandmates, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana, to join him.

Although he exhibited more nerves than he ever had in the past — a combination of the importance this chance obviously presented plus the large gap between the psychedelic music culture of 1968 and the rather quaint rock & roll of ten years earlier — Elvis delivered an incredible performance throughout the television special. His vocal performances were loose and gutsy, and his repartee was both self-deprecating and sarcastic about his early days as well as his moribund film career ("There's something wrong with my lip!...I got news for you baby, I did 29 pictures like that"). He was uninhibited and utterly unsafe, showing the first inkling in ten years that life and spirit were still left in music's biggest artistic property. The resulting LP, NBC-TV Special, combined sit-down and stand-up segments, but probably over-compensated on the stand-up segments. Several previous RCA compilations (Memories: The '68 Comeback Special and Tiger Man) issued more of the sit-down shows, but for the 40th anniversary of its recording, RCA released The Complete '68 Comeback Special, a lavish four-disc box set. It collects the original LP plus bonus tracks on the first disc, then presents Elvis' complete performances of the two sit-down shows and two stand-up shows on two successive discs. A fourth disc includes earlier rehearsals for the special that find Elvis incredibly loose and joking with friends as well as the audience. Although four discs centering on a single show verge on overkill for any but the most enthusiastic fans, what impresses about The Complete '68 Comeback Special is how much it prefigures the rest of Elvis' career. Dramatic, intense, driven, and earthy, frequently moving but not without the occasional cloying note, Elvis during the '70s was the apotheosis of rock music, a righteous blend of rock and soul, gospel and pop, blues and country.

Original Album
1. Medley: Trouble/Guitar Man
2. Medley: Lawdy, Miss Clawdy/Baby, What You Want Me To Do/Heartbreak Hotel/Hound Dog/All Shook Up/Can't Help Falling In Love/Jailhouse Rock/Love Me Tender
3. Medley: Where Could I Go But To The Lord/Up Above My Head/Saved
4. Medley: Blue Christmas/One Night
5. Memories
6. Medley: Nothingville/Big Boss Man/Guitar Man/Little Egypt/Trouble/Guitar Man
7. If I Can Dream
8. It Hurts Me
9. Let Yourself Go
10. A Little Less Conversation
11. Memories (stereo mix)
12. If I Can Dream (stereo mix)

First "Sit Down" Show
1. That's All Right
2. Heartbreak Hotel
3. Love Me
4. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
5. Blue Suede Shoes
6. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
7. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
8. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
9. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
10. Blue Christmas
11. Trying To Get To You
12. One Night
13. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
14. One Night
15. Memories
First "Stand Up" Show
16. Heartbreak Hotel
17. Hound Dog
18. All Shook Up
19. Can't Help Falling In Love
20. Jailhouse Rock
21. Don't Be Cruel
22. Blue Suede Shoes
23. Love Me Tender
24. Trouble
25. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
26. If I Can Dream

Second "Sit Down" Show
1. Heartbreak Hotel
2. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
3. Introductions
4. That's All Right
5. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
6. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
7. Blue Suede Shoes
8. One Night
9. Love Me
10. Trying To Get To You
11. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
12. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
13. Blue Christmas
14. Tiger Man
15. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
16. Memories
Second "Stand Up" Show
17. Heartbreak Hotel
18. Hound Dog
19. All Shook Up
20. Can't Help Falling In Love
21. Jailhouse Rock
22. Don't Be Cruel
23. Blue Suede Shoes
24. Love Me Tender
25. Medley: Trouble/Guitar Man
26. Medley: Trouble/Guitar Man
27. If I Can Dream

First Rehearsal
1. I Got A Woman
2. Medley: Blue Moon/Young Love/Oh, Happy Day
3. When It Rains It Really Pours
4. Blue Christmas
5. Medley: Are You Lonesome Tonight?/That's My Desire
6. That's When Your Heartaches Begin
7. Peter Gunn Theme
8. Love Me
9. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
10. Medley: Blue Christmas/Santa Claus Is Back In Town
Second Rehearsal
11. Danny Boy
12. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
13. Love Me
14. Tiger Man
15. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
16. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
17. One Night
18. Blue Christmas
19. Baby, What You Want Me To Do
20. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
21. Blue Moon Of Kentucky


30 #1 HITS (2002)

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In 1987, RCA released a one-disc Elvis compilation called The Number One Hits that featured 18 tracks. So how did the label come up with 12 additional number ones (13 if you count the sensational "A Little Less Conversation" remix that brings the King into the 21st century as a bona fide dance/electronica star)? Well, the '87 compilation featured only Billboard number ones. "In the Ghetto" and "Burning Love" never reached the top there, nor did "Way Down," despite every copy of that 45 selling out on both sides of the Atlantic following Presley's 1977 death. Instead, the new compilers have used the major pop charts in both the U.S. (including Cashbox) and U.K. to determine inclusions. The tracks have all been remixed from original masters, which proves awesome at best (some of the songs have never sounded crisper if, at times, slightly antiseptic) and problematic at worst. Purists will definitely quibble. "A Fool Such As I," for instance, sounds like Elvis rerecorded his vocals. Hank Garland's great guitar solo also sounds different. It might be an alternate take. That's definitely the case with "The Wonder of You." A few lyrics are even different, meaning this isn't the same version as the original 45. Of course, none of that should matter to the newcomers. Despite the complaints, this is arguably the best single disc Elvis primer to date. Real fans will want to explore much deeper for treasures to be found, but albums like this guarantee that this is one king who will deservedly live very long, if not forever.

1. Heartbreak Hotel
2. Don't Be Cruel
3. Houd Dog
4. Love Me Tender
5. Too Much
6. All Shook Up
7. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
8. Jailhouse Rock
9. Don't
10. Hard Headed Woman
11. One Night
12. (Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As!
13. A Big Hunk O'Love
14. Stuck On You
15. It's Now Or Never
16. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
17. Wooden Heart
18. Surrender
19. (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame
20. Can't Help Falling In Love
21. Good Luck Charm
22. She's Not You
23. Return To Sender
24. (You're The) Devil In Disguise
25. Crying In The Chapel
26. In The Ghetto
27. Suspicious Minds
28. The Wonder Of You
29. Burning Love
30. Way Down
31. A Little Less Conversation (Jxl Radio Edit Remix)

Saturday, March 28, 2009


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Having already pioneered folk-rock via their electrified versions of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger songs such as "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn Turn Turn," the Byrds helped midwife yet another new musical form in 1966 on this, their third album. Influenced by Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, Jim McGuinn's atonal 12-string guitar on the suitably titled "Eight Miles High" was a psychedelic omen of things to come. Pointing in other new directions, too, are the prescient country-rock tune, "Mr. Spaceman," string-aided updates of folk evergreens "Wild Mountain Thyme" and "John Riley," and David Crosby's fusion-y "I See You" and "What's Happening?!?!" On this album, plenty.

1. 5D (Fifth Dimension)
2. Wild Mountain Thyme
3. Mr. Spaceman
4. I See You
5. What's Happening?!?!
6. I Come and Stand at Every Door
7. Eight Miles High
8. Hey Joe
9. Captain Soul
10. John Riley
11. 2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)
Bonus tracks
12. Why? [Single Version]
13. I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider)
14. Psychodrama City
15. Eight Miles High [Alternate RCA Studios Version][Alternate Take]
16. Why [Alternate RCA Studios Version][Alternate Take]
17. John Riley [Instrumental]


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After the success of Horses, Patti Smith had something to prove to reviewers and to the industry, and Radio Ethiopia aimed at both. Producer Jack Douglas gave "the Patti Smith Group," as it was now billed, a hard rock sound, notably on the side-opening "Ask the Angels" and "Pumping (My Heart)," songs that seemed aimed at album-oriented rock radio. But the title track was a ten-minute guitar extravaganza that pushed the group's deliberate primitivism closer to amateurish thrashing. Elsewhere, Smith repeated the reggae excursions and vocal overlaying that had paced Horses on "Ain't It Strange" and "Poppies," but these efforts were less effective than they had been the first time around, perhaps because they were less inspired, perhaps because they were more familiar. A schizophrenic album in which the many elements that had worked so well together on Horses now seemed jarringly incompatible, with Radio Ethiopia Smith and her band encountered the same development problem the punks would — as they learned their craft and competence set in, they lost some of the unself-consciousness that had made their music so appealing.

1. Ask the Angels
2. Ain't It Strange
3. Poppies
4. Pissing In A River
5. Pumping
6. Distant Fingers
7. Radio Ethiopia
8. Abyssinia
Bonus track
9. Chiklets


THE PEAK (2007)
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After his Crumble project that has seen some resonance in foreign countries such as Japan, Australia or Belgium, French songwriter Stéphane Garry is back with Pokett and one of the best album released in France in 2007. Here, you'll dind some delicate indie pop rooting itself in the sounds of Elliott Smith, Yo La Tengo, Jim O'Rourke, Swell, Wilco, etc. Kind of impressive, isn't it? Well, the album lives up to the expectations such influences may create. It's delicate, cleverly arranged and simply beautiful. It is true that Mr. Garry has teamed up with talented musicians starting with Sandrine Boyer and her sweet voice.
If you want something sweet and melodic but never pedestrian, Pokett will light up your eyes, make your heart beat a little faster. Yes, it's that good!

1. Party crasher
2. Strange
3. Eastern doll
4. Anything today
5. Follow
6. When I fail
7. I don't
8. If you ever
9. Peek a boo


1916 (1991)
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Few bands can experience the constant personnel shifts that have plagued Motörhead and still manage to keep their signature sound intact. Bassist Lemmy Kilmister--the only original member to hang on for the band's entire wild ride--had a vision of proto-thrash-metal that has proved too pure and simple to ever require tinkering. Recorded more than a decade and a half into the band's career, 1916 offers a high-energy mix of bone-crunching metallic mayhem that is loud, fast, and intense but never takes itself too seriously. A piece of seriocomic braggadocio such as "I'm So Bad (Baby I Don't Care)" or "Ramones," a nod to the pioneering punk band, is typical. A notable exception, however, is the title track, a bleak ballad cataloging the horrors of World War I through the eyes of a doomed teenage soldier.

1. One to Sing the Blues
2. I'm So Bad (Baby I Don't Care)
3. No Voices in the Sky
4. Going to Brazil
5. Nightmare/The Dreamtime
6. Love Me Forever
7. Angel City
8. Make My Day
9. R.A.M.O.N.E.S.
10. Shut You Down
11. 1916

Friday, March 27, 2009



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This album, a studio suite, is wrapped in mysticism. The four cards that serve as a booklet feature cabalistic signs, esoteric diagrams, a quote from Alaister Crowley and a dedication to esoteric filmmaker Kenneth Anger. A short note by John Zorn establishing a parallel between the tools and craft of musical composition and magic is the only given explanation. The aura of mystery invites an analysis of the constituents and structures of the work, for better or worse — and in any case it's fun to do on your own, so this reviewer will not expose his personal conclusions on the subject. The musicians involved are Cyro Baptista, Jennifer Charles, Greg Cohen, Beth Hatton, Bill Laswell, Rebecca Moore, Mike Patton, Jim Pugliese, and Jamie Saft. They appear only one, two or three at a time. Each of the seven movements is based on a specific, non-reoccurring instrumentation, and explores a form of meditation, trance or anything possibly leading to spiritual revelation. "Invocation" is a delicate piece based on organ drones, while the 13-minute "Sex Magick" takes the form of a tribal percussion mantra. The piano melody in "Sacred Rites of the Left Hand Path" provides the most soothing moments and together with the first track is reminiscent of the level of writing found in Duras. "Lucifer Rising" is made of overdubbed sensual female vocals, while "Leviathan" serves up an ear-splitting slab of death metal (which can be a source of trance too, you know). "Mysteries" completes the circle with electric piano and light percussion. "Leviathan" aside, I.A.O. makes a calm, enjoyable listen and beyond its mystical claims, it includes some strong compositions.

1. Invocation
2. Sex Magick
3. Sacred Rites Of The Left Hand Path
4. The Clavicle Of Solomon
5. Lucifer Rising
6. Leviathan
7. Mysteries


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French Bazaar is one of the best studio albums of Belgian singer/songwriter Arno. Each and every influence of his is here displayed offering great variety in a very convincing manner. His broken voice sometimes evokes Tom Waits but the music and its mix of pop, rock and chanson is a whole other business on which influences from Jacques Brel and Serge Reggiani can often be witnessed. Poetic and unique, Arno knows how to craft efficient songs.

1. Chic Et Pas Cher
2. La Vie Est Une Partouze
3. Françoise
4. Fais Gaffe
5. Chanteur De Charme
6. Lili
7. Femme Riche
8. In Love Avec Une Dj
9. 40 Ans
10. Vide
11. Bonbons
12. Voir Un Ami Pleurer
13. La Fête


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After more than a year spent on the road behind their breakthrough self-titled debut--just how many times can Alex Kapranos sing "Take Me Out" without getting his skinny tie into a knot, anyway?--you might expect the members of Franz Ferdinand to feel a little frayed around the edges. But if You Could Have It So Much Better was supposed to be a bloated sophomore album focusing on bad airline meals and cold hotel swimming pools, somebody forgot to tell the Mercury Music Prize winning Scottish quartet. Instead, the Franzies return with a disc packed with thrilling punk-pop treatises like the single "Do You Want To," political rabble-rousers such as opener "The Fallen," and lovely psychedelic ballads that explore the common ground between the Beatles and Bowie, like "Eleanor Put You Boots On" (about Eleanor Freidberger of the Fiery Furnaces, no less). It's a stunning, confident piece of work.

1. The Fallen
2. Do You Want To
3. This Boy
4. Walk Away
5. Evil And A Heathen
6. You're The Reason I'm Leaving
7. Eleanor Put Your Boots On
8. Well That Was Easy
9. What You Meant
10. I'm Your Villain
11. You Could Have It So Much Better
12. Fade Together
13. Outsiders

Thursday, March 26, 2009


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Yes, this is the one with "Stairway to Heaven" on it. It's the second release from the '88 tour, a double live CD originally released in 91. Also heard on MAKE A JAZZ NOISE HERE and BROADWAY THE HARD WAY, this band featured a five-piece horn section and was perhaps the most versatile and technically accomplished touring band that FZ ever had. This is demonstrated in the boggling range of material heard on this album.
The recordings are from performances and soundchecks, and feature old favorites and premiere recordings. Along with the deranged version of "Stairway" (FZ claimed he'd never heard the original version!), there's an equally deconstructed "Ring of Fire" and a live cover of "Bolero" -- yes, the Ravel one. There's also a "Jimmy Swaggart medley" including "Lonesome Cowboy Burt," "More Trouble Every Day" and "Penguin In Bondage;" with new lyrics inspired by Swaggart's sexual misadventures.

Disc 1
1. Heavy Duty Judy
2. Ring of Fire
3. Cosmik Debris
4. Find Her Finer
5. Who Needs the Peace Corps?
6. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
7. Zomby Woof
8. Zoot Allures
9. Mr. Green Genes
10. Florentine Pogen
11. Andy
12. Inca Roads
13. Sofa No. 1
Bonus track
(not on European versions)
14. Bolero

Disc 2
1. Purple Haze
2. Sunshine of Your Love
3. Let's Move to Cleveland
4. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
5. "Godfather Part II" Theme
6. Few Moments With Brother A. West
7. Torture Never Stops, Pt. 1
8. Theme from "Bonanza"
9. Lonesome Cowboy Burt [Swaggart Version]
10. Torture Never Stops, Pt. 2
11. More Trouble Every Day [Swaggart Version]
12. Penguin in Bondage [Swaggart Version]
13. Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue
14. Stairway to Heaven


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Ted Nugent's third and best-selling album for Epic cemented his position as a hard-rock icon. With this 1977 album the Motor City Madman loudly proclaimed that he would leave his loin-clothed, alpha-male stamp on the mangy hide of rock music. Songs such as the anthemic title track and "Sweet Sally" brought a melodic sensibility to hard rock that would later inform the music of Cheap Trick. The instrumental "Home Bound" expands on the soaring guitar line of Steve Miller's "Swingtown," and "Workin' Hard, Playin' Hard" stands as a testament to the rock & roll lifestyle rivaled only by Kiss's "Rock and Roll All Nite." This remastered reissue includes bonus live versions of "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" that testify to the sexually charged excitement of Nugent's fierce live show.

1. Cat Scratch Fever
2. Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
3. Death by Misadventure
4. Live It Up
5. Home Bound
6. Workin' Hard, Playin' Hard
7. Sweet Sally
8. Thousand Knives
9. Fist Fightin' Son of a Gun
10. Out of Control
Bonus tracks
11. Cat Scratch Fever [Live]
12. Wang Dang Sweet Poontang [Live]


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This 15 songs selection may very well be the best way to enter New Model Army's massive discography. It's not all the good things delivered by Justin Sullivan's band but it's good enough if you've never heard of the band before. Their unusual blend of gothic rock is well represented by some classics songs from their EMI era in a little over one hour. Be curious, try it.

1. Stupid Questions
2. 225
3. 11 Years
4. Courage
5. Space (Live)
6. Heroes
7. 51st State
8. Vanity
9. No Rest
10. Ballad Of Bodmin Pill
11. Deadeye
12. Smalltown England (Live)
13. Drag It Down
14. Charge
15. The World

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


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Roberto Juan Rodriguez may be best known as a go-to drummer for a wide array of musicians ranging from Rubén Blades and Marc Ribot to T-Bone Burnettand Paul Simon. While there's no doubt that these gigs are his bread and butter, they are far from the sum total of his passion and gifts — his own records are. The First Basket is his fourth offering for John Zorn's Tzadik imprint. The previous three, including the provocative, big-band set Les Danzon de Moises wove together rhythms from his native Cuba and the Caribbean with melodies from klezmer, Yiddish folk songs, and surf tunes. While his other delightful recordings — 2004's Baila! Gitano Baila! And 2006's Oy Vey! Ole! — showcase somewhat smaller ensembles, they were no less groundbreaking or thrilling. 2009 sees the release of The First Basket, the soundtrack to the documentary film of the same name by David Vyorst about the origins of the Basketball Association of America (BAA) that later became the National Basketball Association (NBA). Rodriguez has composed a brilliant score for a film about the origins of American basketball in the ethnic Jewish neighborhoods of New York, from the ash cans placed on the stoops of brownstones to Madison Square Garden.
Rodriguez has assembled a 15-piece ensemble to perform his music here; it includes some of the brightest lights of the New York vanguard jazz and new Jewish culture scenes: Frank London, Brad Jones, Peter Apfelbaum, Gilad Harell, Uri Sharlin, Oz Noy, Meg Okura, and many more. There are 30 cues in this work that range from under 30 seconds to six-and-a-half minutes. The moaning "Shofar" commences the seamless score; it is named for the Jewish horn used to mark the beginning of religious ceremonies and Rodriguez plays the instrument. It gives way to the ensemble piece "Ellis Island," based on a Hebrew folk melody, played on clarinets, strings, bass, and accordion with trombone entering the mix to underscore the feelings of memory, longing, and melancholy. The mood doesn't remain, however as "Euro Trash Jewish Hoops," begins with funky trip-hop rhythms and loops, heavily reverbed surf-cum-Spanish-style guitar, rolling bass and Harell's clarinet. It is one of the many juxtapositions that add such breadth and depth to the score. The truth of the matter is that while Jewish music is the beating heart of Rodriguez's work, it is simply one part of a mix that claims rhumba, son, rock, ska, dub, salsa, jump jazz and blues, and more as part of the mix: "Red Auerbach" is named for the famous player and coach. It is a roiling blend of snaky blues guitar and B-3 with a funky bassline and shuffling drum kit. New Orleans-style jazz — complete with trombone, trumpet, banjo, and clarinets — makes "Birth of Basketball" a joy to listen to. Then there's scratchy hip-hop at the heart of the Yiddish melody that underscores "The Holyland Dribble," and the stomping, burning klezmer of "Kid's Club Lower East Side," brings the listener back to the narrative movement of both film and score.
If The First Basket is a film about the Jewish contribution of basketball to the North American experience, then Rodriguez's score places it in the context of American music as well: jazz, hip-hop, funk rock, and Latin musics morph with Jewish music into this crazy melting pot of sounds this nation breathes out each day. The First Basket is easily Rodriguez's most ambitious project to date, and his most fully realized; it cannot be recommended enough.

1. Shofar
2. Ellis Island
3. Euro Trash Jewish Hoops
4. Catskills Jump
5. Kosher Rasta
6. Jewish American March
7. Red Auerbach
8. Doina 1
9. Jewish Suburbs
10. Ode to Ozzie Perry
11. Philadelphia Spahs
12. Catskills New York
13. Workman's Circle
14. Jacob's Basketball
15. Birth of Basketball
16. Holyland Dribble
17. Doina 8
18. Mezinka
19. 1936 Olympics
20. R & B Mezinka
21. Demarcation Line Lower East Side
22. Sabbath
23. Red Holzman
24. Anti-Semitism
25. Kid's Clubs Lower East Side
26. City College Crime Scene
27. Nat Holman
28. Doina 4
29. Settlement Houses
30. Jerusalem Momenta


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Winter's debut album for Columbia was also arguably his bluesiest and best. Straight out of Texas with a hot trio, Winter made blues-rock music for the angels, tearing up a cheap Fender guitar with total abandon on tracks like "I'm Yours and I'm Hers," "Leland Mississippi Blues," and perhaps the slow blues moment to die for on this set, B.B. King's "Be Careful with a Fool." Winter's playing and vocals have yet to become mannered or clichéd on this session, and if you've ever wondered what the fuss is all about, here's the best place to check out his true legacy.

1. I'm Yours and I'm Hers
2. Be Careful With a Fool
3. Dallas
4. Mean Mistreater
5. Leland Mississippi Blues
6. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
7. When You Got a Good Friend
8. I'll Drown in My Own Tears
9. Back Door Friend
Bonus tracks
10. Country Girl
11. Dallas (With Band)
12. Two Steps from the Blues


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Chamber music was a prominent feature of Enescu’s music from his earliest years. Though separated by almost four decades, the two Cello Sonatas were not published until 1935. The First is indebted in many respects to Brahms and to Enescu’s French contemporaries, but the Second, dedicated to Pablo Casals, could only be by Enescu in its density of thought and subtlety of expression. The finale is marked à la roumaine, which aptly describes the work’s overall character and the profile of its material.

Cello Sonata in F minor, Op. 26, No. 1
1. I. Allegro Molto Moderato
2. II. Allegretto Scherzando
3. III. Molto Andante
4. IV. Presto
Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 26, No. 2
5. I. Allegro Moderato Ed Amabile
6. II. Allegro Agitato, Non Troppo Mosso
7. III. Andantino Cantabile, Senza Lentezza
8. IV. Final A La Roumaine

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


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Likely exercising the same controlling approach that he was notorious for, from his work with every act from the New York Dolls to XTC, Todd Rundgren brought in legendary backup vocal duo Flo & Eddie as well as a cellist, two horn players (including NRBQ member Donn Adams), and himself on keyboards. The end result is simply fantastic, fusing the post-punk charge of the first two albums (Ely still sounds great as always, from the first song on, while Tim Butler acquits himself well on bass) with a new synth-based approach that works wonders. Ashton's guitar often settles back in the mix a bit to allow Rundgren's wall of sound to come together fully, often with great success. The title track is a great example of this, an inspirational anthem where Ashton fully and appropriately lets go right at the end. The most well-known song is one that, for the Furs, was their most atypical single to date: "Love My Way." Butler's very Bowie-like vocals and lyrics slyly celebrate and ponder the triumphant synth rock scene of the time, while Rundgren's often quirky keyboards take the lead in place of Ashton's guitar and Flo & Eddie wordlessly vocalize at the end. "Goodbye" has a brisk, horn-driven punch underscoring Butler's wickedly sour au revoir to a past love; "Sleep Comes Down" mixes Tim Butler's lovely bassline and Rundgren's piano; "President Gas" wryly takes a shot at Reagan while avoiding obvious platitudes; and "Yes I Do" ends on an almost sweetly romantic note, even as the cello/drum-driven arrangement surges along.

1. Forever Now
2. Love My Way
3. Goodbye
4. Only You and I
5. Sleep Comes Down
6. President Gas
7. Run and Run
8. Danger
9. No Easy Street
10. Yes I Do (Merry-Go-Round)
Bonus tracks
11. Alice's House [Early Version]
12. Aeroplane [Non-LP B-Side]
13. I Don't Want to Be Your Shadow [Non-LP B-Side]
14. Mary Go Round
15. President Gas [Non-LP B-Side][Live]
16. No Easy Street [Live]


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Leroy Anderson etched out his own unique place in American music – a composer rigorously trained in the classical tradition whose records topped the pop charts, a meticulous arranger of music whose own melodies were crafted with inventive precision. Here, in the first complete cycle of Anderson’s orchestral music, the Anderson family has made available several pieces that the composer did not release, with some first recordings scattered among the familiar and not-sofamiliar titles. Volume Four concentrates on Anderson’s many arrangements, as well as revisions or alternate versions of his own works, including Alma Mater, a reworking of his 1939 suite Harvard Sketches.

Irish Suite
1. I. The Irish Washerwoman
2. II. The Minstrel Boy
3. III. The Rakes of Mallow
4. IV. The Wearing of the Green
5. V. The Last Rose of Summer
6. VI. The Girl I Left Behind Me
7. To a Wild Rose (arr. L. Anderson for orchestra)
8. Summer Skies
Scottish Suite
9. I. Bonnie Dundee
10. II. Turn Ye To Me
11. III. The Bluebells of Scotland
12. IV. The Campbells are Coming

13. Blue Tango (version with voice)
14. Forgotten Dreams (arr. R. Wendel for voice and orchestra)
15. Belle of the Ball (version with voice)
Alma Mater
16. I. Chapel Bells
17. II. Freshman on Main Street
18. III. Library Reading Room
19. IV. Class Reunion

20. A Christmas Festival


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March ör Die is the tenth album by the British heavy metal band Motörhead. It was recorded and released in 1992.
Recorded at Music Grinder Studios, Los Angeles, three drummers participated in the making of this album: Phil Taylor, who was fired after "I Ain't No Nice Guy" was recorded (because he didn't learn his drum tracks), Tommy Aldridge who recorded most of the material on this album on a sessional basis only, and Mikkey Dee, who recorded the "Hellraiser" single (the song was originally co-written by Lemmy for Ozzy Osbourne's No More Tears album. Osbourne is also signed to Epic Records.)
The album was produced by Peter Solley with the exception of Hellraiser which was produced by Billy Sherwood, and used in the 1992 movie Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.
It's not a bad album but it's not a great one either. Too commercial to be a real Motörhead offering and not enough to hit the charts. A chance of pace was to follow.

1. Stand
2. Cat Scratch Fever
3. Bad Religion
4. Jack the Ripper
5. I Ain't No Nice Guy
6. Hellraiser
7. Asylum Choir
8. Too Good to Be True
9. You Better Run
10. Name in Vain
11. March Ör Die

Monday, March 23, 2009


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The music of composer-saxophonist John Zorn has never been predictable, and this collection of the maverick's string-quartet work is certainly no different. Cat O'Nine Tails starts the set off: a 13-minute exploration of jump cuts and lifted melodies; it's filled with the most perfectly deceptive ways that Zorn can confuse, trick, and humor his listeners. The piece never settles down, owing as much debt to (Carl) Stalling as Stravinsky. The Dead Man, a piece Zorn thinks of as his imagined "soundtrack" to "necessarily short S/M scenes," consists of 13 jarring suites of note-bending meditations and string shrieks. But things do get serious. Memento Mori--a 1992 piece that Zorn admits is a challenge for most listeners--transitions synapse-delicate passages to melodious bars with alarming beauty. On the achingly gorgeous Kol Nidre, Zorn infuses a near-minimalist composition with Jewish melodies to powerful effect. This is Zorn's ode to the music of Arvo Pärt (and late Beethoven)--a highlight. While Zorn's best-known chamber music has been played by the Kronos Quartet, the jazz lineup on this disc is no less impressive: Joyce Hammann and Mark Feldman on violins, Lois Martin on viola, and Erik Friedlander on cello.

1. Cat O'nine Tails
The Dead Man
13 Specimens for String Quartet
2. Variations
3. Sonatas
4. Manifesto
5. Fanfare
6. Meditation
7. Rondo
8. Romance
9. Blossoms
10. Fantasy
11. Folio
12. Nocturne
13. Etude
14. Prelude
15. Memento Mori
16. Kol Nidre


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David Coverdale's first effort after Deep Purple reveals his affection for Blues, Rythm and Blues, ballads and Hard Rock.
Some songs might take a while to be completly accepted such as Goldies Place or Peace lovin' man, true r'n'b/soul tracks, others like Whitesnake or Lady could have been recorded during the Stormbringer sessions.
Two major and irresistable ballads- Blindman and Hole in the sky-contrast with the fun-spirited Celebration or Time on My side. All that together forms a cool steady very optimistic album.
Note that Simon Philips is on the drums and Roger Glover at the production. Slowly the snake is crawling...beware of the Snakebite!

1. Lady
2. Blindman
3. Goldies Place
4. Whitesnake
5. Time on My Side
6. Peace Lovin' Man
7. Sunny Days
8. Hole in the Sky
9. Celebration
Bonus tracks
10. Peace Lovin' Man [Take 1]
11. Sunny Days [Take 1]


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After posting two recent albums from Jil Caplan, I felt it was time to unravel the sweet charms of her 80s/early 90's past. This 1996 compilation displays the best tracks from her first four albums (released between 1987 and 1993) aka the Jay Alanski era.
What you're having here is classy pop/chanson that's often described as commercial but remains interesting and literate enough not to fall in the "easiness" often witnessed with artists such as Zazie. Jil's voice has a charm unlike any other and, if the music is easy, it's "Françoise Hardy" easy which is a compliment. A nice compilation.

1. Comme Sur Une Balançoire
2. Tout C'Qui Nous Sépare
3. Tu Verras (O Que Sera)
4. Cette Fille N'Est Pas Pour Toi
5. Natalie Wood
6. Oh ! Tous Les Soirs
7. La Frontière
8. L'Hôtel Des Quatre Malheurs
9. As-Tu Deja Oublié ?
10. Entre Les Tombes
11. Lumière
12. La Grande Malle
13. L'Age De Raison
14. Les Clés
15. Les Deux Bras Arrachés
16. Les Mots
17. La Charmeuse De Serpents

Sunday, March 22, 2009


EDITION (2008)
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One of the great post-war figures in French musical life, Landowski was not only a very fine composer, but an administrator non-pareil, restructuring musical institutions, reforming French opera and founding many musical groups, including the Orchestre de Paris. His music eschews the more outré developments of the Twentieth Century, instead relying on traditional forms, key centres and an individual lyricism spiced with recognisably modern flavours such as the use of magnetic tape, the Ondes martenot and various electro-acoustic instruments. This selection of symphonies, concertos, opera, dramatic, choral and chamber works presents a superb guide to this brilliantly imaginative and immediately accessible composer's fascinating output. Currently somewhat neglected on CD, this collection brings together the complete Landowski recordings on the Erato label. Enjoy!

Piano Concerto No.2
1. I Moderato
2. II Calme
3. III Allegro vivace
Concerto for Ondes Martenot, Strings and Percussion
4. I Andante - Allegro moderato
5. II Adagio - Allegro
Concerto for trumpet and electro-acoustic instruments
6. I Cantiques d'un soir [Andantino]
7. II Chant pour une feuille morte [Allegro moderaro]
8. III Cortège [Andante]

Symphonie n° 1 "Jean de la Peur"
1. Allegro moderato "Car elle naquit des mystères du monde..."
2. GAllegretto scherzando "Et Jean pensa détruire la Peur en tuant les mystères"
3. Adagio "Mais lentement une autre Peur se leva et cette Peur-là le regardait du dedans"
Symphonie n° 3 "Des Espaces"
4. Grave
5. Allegro deciso
Symphonie n°4
6. Andante - Allegro moderato
7. Allegro vivace
8. Calme
9. Allegretto
10. Allegro moderato - Allegro vivace

Symphonie n°2
1. Allegro moderato
2. Adagio
3. Allegro vivace

Le Fantome de l'Opéra
1. L'Opéra aux premières heures du matin
2. Madame Carlotta danse à décrocher le lustre ce soir
3. La jeune fille traverse le miroir
4. Le fantome conduit le bal
5. Un premier baiser , Horreur... c'est un monstre
6. Les rats
7. La messe de mariage ou la danse des morts

Un enfant appelle
1. Un enfant appelle, loin, très loin
2. Je crois très bas
3. La nuit même où il fut livré
La Prison
4. I - L'attente "un meuble a craqué"
5. II - L'interrogatoire "ce n'était qu'une chanson"
6. III - La prison "il n'y a plus de temps"... "il n'y a plus d'âge"

La vielle maison
Premier Acte
1. Ouverture
2. Premier Tableau
3. Deuxième Tableau
4. Troisième Tableau
5. Quatrième Tableau
6. Cinquième Tableau
7. Sixième Tableau
Deuxième Acte
8. Septième Tableau
9. Huitième Tableau
10. Neuvième Tableau
11. Dixième Tableau
12. Onzième Tableau

Messe de l'Aurore
1. Introit
2. Kyrie
3. Gloria
4. Credo
5. Sanctus
6. Agnus Dei
7. Amen
4 Pieces for trumpet and organ "Cahier pour quatre jours"
8. I Jour du secret intérieur
9. II Jour de quête de soi
10. III Jour des regrets et des pardons
11. IV Jour de joie

Le Fou (Part I)
1. Ouverture et premier tableau "La vision de Peter Bel"
2. Deuxième Tableau "Le Cabinet du Prince"
3. Troisième Tableau "La Ville"

Le Fou (Part II)
1. Quatrième Tableau "Le laboratoire de Pierre Bel"
2. Cinquième Tableau "La Prison"

Saturday, March 21, 2009



Giacinto Scelsi, Count of Ayala Valva (La Spezia, January 8, 1905 – Rome, August 9, 1988) was an Italian composer who also wrote surrealist poetry in French.
He is best known for writing music based around only one pitch, altered in all manners through microtonal oscillations, harmonic allusions, and changes in timbre and dynamics, as paradigmatically exemplified in his revolutionary Quattro Pezzi su una nota sola ["Four Pieces on a single note"] (1959). His musical output, which encompassed all Western classical genres except scenic music, remained largely undiscovered even within contemporary musical circles during most of his life, until a series of concerts in the mid to late 1980s finally premièred many of his pieces to great acclaim, notably his orchestral masterpieces in October 1987 in Cologne, about a quarter of a century after those works had been composed and less than a year before the composer's death (he was able to attend the premières and personally supervised the rehearsals). The impact caused by the late discovery of his works was described by Belgian musicologist Harry Halbreich saying:
“ A whole chapter of recent musical history must be rewritten: the second half of this century is now unthinkable without Scelsi ... He has inaugurated a completely new way of making music, hitherto unknown in the West. In the early fifties, there were few alternatives to serialism's strait jacket that did not lead back to the past. Then, toward 1960–61, came the shock of the discovery of Ligeti's Apparitions and Atmosphères. There were few people at the time who knew that Friedrich Cerha, in his orchestral cycle Spiegel, had already reached rather similar results, and nobody knew that there was a composer who had followed the same path even years before, and in a far more radical way: Giacinto Scelsi himself.”
Dutch musicologist Henk de Velde, alluding to Adorno speaking of Alban Berg, called Scelsi “the Master of the yet smaller transition,” to which Harry Halbreich added that “in fact, his music is only transition.”
Here are the works for Choir and Orchestra as performed by Jürg Wyttenbach, the Radio/Television Polish Orchestra and the Choix of Krakow's Philarmonic Orchestra, ENJOY!

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Disc One
Aion (1961)
1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
Pfhat (1974)
5. I
6. II
7. III
8. IV
Konx-Om-Pax (1969)
9. I
10. II
11. III

Disc Two
Quattro Pezzi Per Orchestra
(Ciascuno su una sola)
1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. Anahit (Lyrical poem dedicated to Venus)
6. I
7. II
8. III
9. IV
10. V

Disc Three
Hurqualia (1960)
1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. Hymnos (1963)
Chukrum (1963)
6. I
7. II
8. III
9. IV



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Procol Harum's self-titled, debut album bombed in England, appearing six months after "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and "Homburg" with neither hit song on it. The LP was successful in America, where albums sold more easily, but especially since it did include "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and was reissued with a sticker emphasizing the presence of the original "Conquistador," a re-recording which became a hit in 1972. The music is an engaging meld of psychedelic rock, blues, and classical influences, filled with phantasmagorical lyrics, bold (but not flashy) organ by Matthew Fisher, and Robin Trower's most tasteful and restrained guitar. "Conquistador," "Kaleidoscope," "A Christmas Camel," and the Bach-influenced "Repent Walpurgis" are superb tracks, and "Good Captain Clack" is great, almost Kinks-like fun. Not everything here works, but it holds up better than most psychedelic or progressive rock.

1. Whiter Shade of Pale
2. Conquistador
3. She Wandered Through the Garden Fence
4. Something Following Me
5. Mabel
6. Cerdes (Outside the Gates Of)
7. Christmas Camel
8. Kaleidoscope
9. Salad Days (Are Here Again)
10. Good Captain Clack
11. Repent Walpurgis
Bonus tracks
12. Lime Street Blues [Single B'Side]
13. Homburg [Singke A'Side]
14. Monsieur Armand [from the "Rock Roots" Compilation]
15. Seem to Have the Blues (Mostly All the Time) [from the "Rock Roots" Compilation]

Friday, March 20, 2009


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Final album by the Clash's original Strummer/Jones incarnation, Combat Rock might also be considered as their most inconsistent. There were musical and ideological rifts developing within the band, and it shows: the experimentation is almost as wild as Sandanista!'s (and the biggest experiment is heading away from their punk shiftiness and into a commercial rock sound), but they seem to be enjoying it less. The band's stabs at funk and poetry aren't terribly successful, but it all came together for two massive hits: "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" has the biggest, stupidest, most perfect riff this side of "Louie Louie," and "Rock the Casbah" pulls the band's politics, fine-honed sarcasm, and saw-toothed guitar sound into the service of a dance-floor beat.

1. Know Your Rights
2. Car Jamming
3. Should I Stay Or Should I Go
4. Rock The Casbah
5. Red Angel Dragnet
6. Straight To Hell
7. Overpowered By Funk
8. Atom Tan
9. Sean Flynn
10. Ghetto Defendant
11. Inoculated City
12. Death Is A Star


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In my opinion, "Thunder Seven" was Triumph's last classic studio album. It capped a three album run with the band easily at the peak of their success. Three years prior showed the band firing on all cylinders with "Allied Forces" (1981); and a strong follow-up in '83 with "Never Surrender". "Thunder Seven" was followed by "The Sport Of Kings" (1986) and "Surveillance" (1987) - both simply under par albums in the eyes of fans and critics alike (not to mention the band not writing all their own material). "Thunder Seven" gave us two singles ("Spellbound" and "Follow Your Heart") - both surprisingly sung by drummer Gil Moore. The real gems are the deep album cuts that never made it to the FM radio waves - "Rock Out, Roll On" is a solid Rik Emmett rocker; "Time Goes By" hits you in the same vein as Allied Force's "Fight The Good Fight"; "Cool Down" sounds like it could have been written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant; "Time Canon" is a minute-and-a-half vocal (only) piece leading into the beautiful "Killing Time"; and two instrumentals - "Midsummer's Daydream" (receiving numerous guitar composition awards) and the stunning and uncharacteristic bluesy album closer "Little Boy Blues". For me, Triumph is/was always a guitar band first. Drums, bass and vocals were always great, but Rik Emmett's guitar was the show-piece here. Triumph seemed to be labeled Canada's 2nd best power trio (behind Rush), but I always thought they deserved more credit. Staying power with fans - "Thunder Seven" was certified gold in 2003, almost 20 years after its release.

1. Spellbound
2. Rock out, Rock On
3. Cool Down
4. Follow Your Heart
5. Time Goes By
6. Midsummer's Daydream [Instrumental]
7. Time Canon
8. Killing Time
9. Stranger in a Strange Land
10. Little Boy Blues [Instrumental]


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On their sixth and most straightforwardly clean album, Nebraska's Bright Eyes once again integrate a revolving cast of players to the mix, including Portland tunesmith M. Ward and alt-country queen Gillian Welch. But the band remains at the helm of forever-wunderkind Conor Oberst, and the fruitful songwriter has one-upped 2005's I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning with a proficient and accessible ensemble of expansive pop orchestrations and ornate folk songs that chronicle his traverses across the American panorama. Oberst's voice quakes and wanders through South Dakota lore and Sunshine State chicanery, always the perfect vehicle for his threadbare lyrics. "Take the fruit from the tree/Break the skin with your teeth/Is it bitter or sweet/All depends on your timing," he forewarns in "Cleanse Song," a psychedelic merry-go-round of a soundtrack that joins the Scottish-tinged "Soul Singer in a Session Band" and singalong single "Four Winds" as Cassadaga's finest. The 13-song-record is certain to open more doors for a band whose recognition has soared with every release since Oberst was just 14.

1. Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)
2. Four Winds
3. If the Brakeman Turns My Way
4. Hot Knives
5. Make a Plan to Love Me
6. Soul Singer in a Session Band
7. Classic Cars
8. Middleman
9. Cleanse Song
10. No One Would Riot for Less
11. Coat Check Dream Song
12. I Must Belong Somewhere
13. Lime Tree

Thursday, March 19, 2009


ARTAUD (2004)
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Listening to Artaud's debut album is a bit like listening to Steve Reich or Philip Glass for the first time, not an easy thing to do. It's complex and incredibly compact. But, if you push the experience a little bit further, it reveals itself in all its beauty and grandeur.
Originally a jazz bassist, Vincent Artaud grew up between two worlds, those of jazz and classical music. Using the full range of his skills and roots, he has built a fascinating mix consisting of minimalism and jazz to which he added his love of the most arty soundtracks (i.e. not those of Hollywood).
There are not enough composers like Artaud, his is a rare breed. His music will please those who like Zorn's Filmworks and Ornette Coleman's explorations. Yes, it's that good!
Don't miss the opportunity get Artaud's debut!
(his second album has already been posted on Moodswings and it delivers more of the same magic. Use the search engine to find it)

1. Element 12
2. Downtown
3. Agarta
4. Evola
5. Dasverbrechen
6. Isaac Resonnant
7. Element 1
8. St Barthelemy
9. Primo
10. Bereshit


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Live After Death," for any lover of heavy metal, is a necessity, along with live recordings such as Ozzy's "Tribute" and Zeppelin's BBC recordings. This is where the spandex 80s metal reached its high-point for British rock/metal. The album is wonderfully mixed and recorded. The remastered version is a step up from the original as well, and the songs are even spliced in different places for the remaster (the older cut did not include Bruce Dickinson's chatter before each song but rather at the back end of the previous song; also, on the older version, Churchill's speech was lumped in with "Aces High" but now it's a separate track). On the older versions, one only received the tracks up until "Running Free," but the double-CD remaster is faithful to the old vinyl and cassette versions of the album which include the final tracks recorded in the UK. A must have.

Disc 1
1. Intro : Churchill'S Speech
2. Aces High
3. Minutes To Midnight
4. The Trooper
5. Revelations
6. Flight Of Icarus
7. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
8. Powerslave
9. The Number Of The Beast
10. Hallowed Be Thy Name
Disc 2
1. Wrathchild
2. 22 Acacia Avenue
3. Children Of The Damned
4. Die With Your Boots On
5. Phantom Of The Opera


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More than 3.5 million debut records sold are enough to stuff any band from Lowestoft, UK, with a follow up full of bohemian rhapsody, and with one-time Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker in tow, the Darkness has managed to parcel its sophomore effort with notoriously ogress riffs and (Freddie) Mercurial bravado. Led by audacious (and high-octave) singer Justin Hawkins, the foursome channels the pompous arena rock of the late-seventies with flaunting glam bands like Slade and T-Rex, parading mellotrons, flugelhorns, sitars and saxophones into a bawdy mix already conquered by double-barrel Gibsons and layered vocals. While the assemblage of power ballads ("Dinner Lady Arms," "Hazel Eyes") hearkens back to mid-eighties MTv, the Darkness brightens the play list with hook-heavy rockers like "Is It Just Me," "Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" and "Girlfriend." And with a sarcastic spirit and stretch-limo approach, there's no telling whom the band might round up to produce its third record (if there ever is one). Is George Martin available?

1. One Way Ticket
2. Knockers
3. Is It Just Me?
4. Dinner Lady Arms
5. Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time
6. Hazel Eyes
7. Bald
8. Girlfriend
9. English Country Garden
10. Blind Man

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


320 KBPS

Throughout their existence, the Canadian power-prog trio has steadfastly released a lengthy live collection every fifth album. Released in 1981, Exit is Rush's second (and best) such release, and it captures the band at the very top of its artistic (and commercial) curve--before keyboard and synthesizer work became central to its sound as opposed to providing mere accents. When they embarked on this tour, Rush had just released Moving Pictures, which continued their move away from longer suites and featured more streamlined song craft. Exit, however, offers a perfect blend of winding, fusion-leaning, virtuoso instrumentals ("YYZ," "La Villa Strangiato"), extended sci-fi epics ("Jacob's Ladder," "Xanadu"), sentimental ballads ("Closer to the Heart" in unison with the whole crowd, "The Trees"), and tauter songs ("Free Will," "Tom Sawyer," "Spirit of Radio") that represent the best of all worlds. Musically, they generated a huge amount of sound for three men (especially Geddy Lee's mammoth bass lines and Neil Peart's octopus-like percussion); lyrically, Peart's fantasia may be pseudo-poetry, but it is poetic, and it may be adolescent wisdom, but it is wise.

1. The Spirit Of Radio
2. Red Barchetta
3. YYZ
4. A Passage To Bangkok
5. Closer To The Heart
6. Beneath, Between & Behind
7. Jacob's Ladder
8. Broon's Bane
9. The Trees
10. Xanadu
11. Freewill
12. Tom Sawyer
13. La Villa Strangiato