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Sunday, May 31, 2009

ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE JAZZ


ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE JAZZ
AROUND ROBERT WYATT (2009)
320 KBPS


Robert Wyatt's status as a living English institution now equals that of, say, Stephen Fry. So much so, that there's a danger of the shy, self-effacing man being swamped by wearying hyperbole. But, just as you're about to surrender to cynicism, along comes something as wonderful as Around Robert Wyatt: a collaboration between the bearded one and Daniel Yvinec and his French ten-piece Orchestre. One listen and any doubts about Wyatt's are laid to rest.
The album does this is by taking Wyatt's compositions as well as his most famous cover versions (cf: Shipbuilding), re-casting them in a jazz setting. These expanded, joyous, limber explorations of the basic bones of Wyatt's work reveal structures that are both rock solid and light as a feather. Hardly surprising when you consider thay were all originally written and performed by a jazz fan, albeit one who never considered himself to be a 'proper' musician.
Highlights are pointlesss, but easy examples are Rokia Traore's incredible reading of Alifib. The child-speak of the Rock Bottom classic fits her mouth to a tee. The incredible duo of Yael Naim and Arno, balance delicacy with cartoon gruffness to highlight Wyatt and partner Alfreda Benge's unflinching look at their relationship, Just As You Are (from his Cuckooland album). And Daniel Darc's lounge version of the Matching Mole perennial, O Caroline which eventually lurches into Tom Waits noir? Believe me, it works.
Wyatt, himself, joins the throng on several pieces and his voice sounds rejuvenated by the experience, especially on the bonus version of his obscurity, Rangers In The Night, which benefits from modern looping techniques to achieve an other-worldliness. The Orchestre features players of outstanding calibre, especially the guitar and banjo of Pierre Perchaud who swoops, plunks and grinds. Yvinec's innovative arrangements leave enough room for the songs to breath again, buffing up material grown dull with over-familiarity.
If you've recently tired of Wyatt, or people banging on about how marvellous he is, get this album. Your faith will be restored. It deserves as much hyperbole as it can get.


1 The Song (feat. Robert Wyatt)
2 Alifib (feat. Rokia Traoré)
3 Just as You Are (feat. Yael Naïm, Arno)
4 Caroline (feat. Daniel Darc)
5 Kew Rhone (feat. Robert Wyatt)
6 Shipbuilding (feat. Yael Naïm)
7 Line
8 Alliance (feat. Camille)
9 Vandalusia (feat. Robert Wyatt)
10 Del Mondo (feat. Irène Jacob)
11 Te Recuerdo Amanda (feat. Robert Wyatt)
Bonus Tracks
12. P L A
13. Gegenstand
14. Rangers In The Night
15.Just As You Are

ARNO


ARNO
A POIL COMMERCIAL (1999)
320 KBPS


Here, you're having what might very well be Arno's most furious outburst. In 13 songs, this Belgian rock legend (previously know as the leader of the emblematic indie rock formation TC Matic) produces tasty compositions covering a wide range of styles: hysterical pop ("Mercy"), rock ("European Cowboy"), edgy chanson ("Dans mon lit"). Some tracks here smooth the the lot a bit such as the slightly oriental "Oh la la la !" or the bluesy "Mon anniversaire".
As he usually does, Arno wrote ironic lyrics which hide was a sensitive man he really is.
A Poil Commercial is a very recommanded release from one of Europe's most peculiar artists. Try it.


1. Fantastique
2. Dans Mon Lit
3. European Cowboy
4. Ronde Et Belle
5. Mercy
6. Oh La La La !
7. Mon Anniversaire
8. Sous Ton Balcon
9. Tatouages Du Passé
10. High And Dry
11. Sitting In A Car
12. J'Ai Un Problème
13. Je Suis Un Homme

MOTHER LOVE BONE


MOTHER LOVE BONE
MOTHER LOVE BONE (1992)
320 KBPS


It wasn't death but life that brought Mother Love Bone to the attention of the world in the end. Andrew Wood's premature passing was a personal tragedy to all who knew him and to the band's hometown fanbase, but the group had barely made a mark beyond the Shine EP, and Apple was less a debut album than a memorial. But when Seattle's music took over the commercial stratosphere, with Gossard and Ament steering Pearl Jam to undreamed-of heights, it was inevitable that a re-release would occur — something further confirmed when "Crown of Thorns" became one of the many radio hits from the soundtrack to Singles. For all the after-the-fact money-making thanks to Polygram, about the only thing that makes it a rip-off to the earlier fans is the inclusion of one unreleased track — "Lady Godiva Blues," which sounds more than a little like one of the Cult's neo-boogie efforts circa Electric. Wood certainly has Ian Astbury's gift of gab and vocal projection, though it's likely Rick Rubin would have recorded the guitars a lot more forcefully; either way, it's not essential for those who have everything else already. For newcomers, though, this collection is all that is needed, compiling as it does the full contents of both Shine and Apple into one package. The second disc only contains the Shine take of "Capricorn Sister" and "Lady Godiva Blues" itself; given the presence of numerous demos on bootlegs, including a version of Argent's "Hold Your Head Up," it seems a lot more could have been added. It's a fairly minor quibble, though, given all the fine music, whether it's the stomp of "Holy Roller" and "Half Ass Monkey Boy" or the fragile beauty of "Stargazer" and "Crown of Thorns." Ament's amusing but heartfelt liner notes, complete lyrics, and a slew of pictures of Mother Love Bone memorabilia help round out the release.


1. This Is Shangrila
2. Stardog Champion
3. Holy Roller
4. Bone China
5. Come Bite The Apple
6. Stargazer
7. Heartshine
8. Captain Hi-Top
9. Man Of Golden Words
10. Capricorn Sister
11. Gentle Groove
12. Mr. Danny Boy
13. Crown Of Thorns
14. Thru Fade Away
15. Mindshaker Meltdown
16. Half Ass Monkey Boy
17. Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns
Bonus Tracks
18. Capricorn Sister (Shine Version)
19. Lady Godiva Blues

BORIS


BORIS
PINK (2005)
320 KBPS


This album is an absolute winner. Haven't heard anything this exciting on the metal side of things since last year's Pelican release. These Japanese avant-rockers take you on a queasy and supremely loud ride thru' the best of American and British rock styles of the last forty-odd years and do these styles as well as pretty much anyone has ever done them because Boris do psych, punk, metal, sludge, shoe-gazer, whatever (that's my preferred term for them right now: "whatever-metal") absolutely on their own terms.
You'll be able to get a good part of their story in last Sunday's NYTimes Magazine feature (May 28, 2006!!!) on Sunn O))) and their Southern Lord label. It's all about how bands like Boris and Sunn O))) are putting a new and surreal face on metal. No longer is it just a choice between hair metal and thrash metal, Metallica and grindcore, songs about decapitation and songs about world-loathing. Boris's self-described dada approach puts them at the vanguard of "metal" bands (you've got to use this term loosely with these bands, 'cos they are bound and determined not to be crammed into a box; the best ones definitely succeed). Mastodon uses free-jazz drumming behind their punishing grind, Pelican's instru-metal creates beauty out of ambient time and harmony shifts . . . Boris? Boris does it all with a constant layer of shifting feedback beneath the wall of sound (think a louder and meaner VU or Bloody Valentine). They can be as disorientingly slow as the Melvins (from whom they draw their namesake--a classic song on _Ozma_); the difference is that they have their own unique lyrical approach and take the feedback attack in a less monolithic direction than do the Melvins. They can slap you upside the head with the terse directness of Motorhead, replete with a stinging guitar solo from Wata (that rare metal creature--a woman lead player). Again, this isn't quite your uncle's Motorhead, though. The feedback beneath infinitizes the sound, as Emmanuel Levinas might say if he theorized metal.
Lest you think this is merely a tour of loud music courtesy of three skillful Japanese impresarios, I implore you to buy this album. Words can only begin to express the visceral, emotional, and intellectual sensations that this band evokes. As is the case with all the best music, metal or otherwise, this is music that begs to be FELT. Like I said at the beginning of the review, there's a good chance that this uncompromising music will make you feel queasy, like the best of roller-coaster rides. Ride it all the way through, though, and you have one unforgettable and addictive experience. You'll get on over and over again and feel a new rush every time you hit the mad bends, curves, and topsy-turvies of this one.


1. Farewell
2. Pink
3. Woman On The Screen
4. Nothing Special
5. Blackout
6. Electric
7. Pseudo-Bread
8. Afterburner
9. Six, Three Times
10. My Machine
11. Just Abondoned Myself

Saturday, May 30, 2009

SALTY THE POCKETKNIFE


SALTY THE POCKETKNIFE
SALTY THE POCKETKNIFE (2003)
192 KBPS

Salty the Pocketknife's eponymous debut huffs gas from the alt-metal and post-grunge pipelines and spits the take into a pot of its own making. The fact that (in)famous TV geek Dustin Diamond plays bass for Salty is of no significance; that the entire record is louder and more ambitious than Bug Guts, vocalist Rosebud, and guitarist Scott Ireland's old band, is. Cuts like "Shiny Lies," "Sever," and "Red Panties 145" cram straightforward influences (Stone Temple Pilots, No Doubt) into oddly shaped, yet engaging templates of lurching rock fuzzery; depending on which voice she's using, Rosebud can suggest the singers of either group. "Rim Goblin" twists churning funk metal around decadent, whooping lead vocals; for "Buck the Quo," Rosebud channels Vince Neil over even more fractured riffing from Ireland. The album's late portion is its most schizophrenic — "Magic Garbage Ride," for example, begins with whispers and introspective guitar noodling before downshifting into an impersonation of what a rabid Judy Tenuta would sound like fronting a rap-metal band. This lusty, restless shape-shifting can be as irritating as it is unique; it can leave the listener a bit bewildered, like the vague "I don't get it" notion non-bassists can get when listening to Primus. Still, Salty offers plenty for the curious, patient music fan.

1. Shiny Lies
2. Sever
3. Señor Gonzo
4. Deus Ex Machina
5. Snack Break
6. Red Panties 145
7. Butterfly Feat
8. Rim Goblin
9. Buck the Quo
10. Pour No Gasoline
11. Magic Garbage Ride
12. Pissin' Outside

DECONSTRUCTION


DECONSTRUCTION
DECONSTRUCTION (1994)
320 KBPS

Deconstruction was a one-off project of two former members of Jane's Addiction, bassist Eric Avery and guitarist Dave Navarro. The group was originally to have also included former Jane's drummer Stephen Perkins, but Perkins opted to join up with Perry Farrell in Porno for Pyros, as newcomer Michael Murphy took his spot in the trio. Deconstruction issued a lone, self-titled album in 1994 for Warner Bros., but failed to support the release with a tour — leading to the recording sinking from sight shortly after its release. Navarro would later go on to join the Red Hot Chili Peppers, record a solo album, and participate in several Jane's Addiction reunion tours, while Avery declined to take part in the Jane's reunions, opting to concentrate a new band, Polar Bear.

1. L.A. Song
2. Single
3. Get at 'Em
4. Iris
5. Dirge
6. Fire in the Hole
7. Son
8. Big Sur
9. Hope
10. One
11. America
12. Sleepyhead
13. Wait for History
14. That Is All
15. Kilo

NEVERMORE


NEVERMORE
NEVERMORE (1995)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

The very first Nevermore album came as something of a surprise when it first appeared in 1995.At the time, straight metal was considered outdated and old. In that environment, this album came as a breath of fresh air and was a valuable addition to the musical spectrum.
Warren Dane had revealed his magnificent voice in 80´s metal hopefuls Sanctuary, yet it is with Nevermore that he has truly excelled. His voice fits perfectly in this band which has a special sort of sometimes intricate riffing, a suitable mix of tempos in their repertoire and quality song-writing to top it all off.
This album kicks off with the top number, “What tomorrow knows”, a heavyweight monster of a riff leading the way for some great vocals, a song that could just go on and on and you wouldn’t want it to stop. Unfortunately it does. No need for despair though, after a while track three, “The sanity assassin” comes along to bring you to life again with a great chorus that really gets you going.
“Garden of gray” also makes the grade, but can’t match the opening tracks in terms of sheer quality. From here on the album holds up well, without having the absolute highs reached on the first half but still oozing of confidence and well-constructed tunes. The closing track “Godmoney” brings the album to a fine end, and you can’t help being impressed once again with Dane’s magnificent voice.
This album is well representative of what Nevermore is about, solid metal with great vocals.

1. What Tomorrow Knows
2. C.B.F.
3. The Sanity Assassin
4. Garden of Gray
5. Sea of Possibilities
6. The Hurting Words
7. Timothy Leary
8. Godmoney
Bonus Tracks
9. The System's Failing
10. The Dreaming Mind (Demo)
11. World Unborn (Demo)
12. Chances Three (Demo)
13. Utopia (Demo)



IN MEMORY (1996)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

More progression from the ex-Sanctuary boys as this EP shows the Politics style on the horizon. The track Optimist or Pessimist especially shows the heavy turn the band is about to take. 5 songs and every one of them is single worthy. I place this about on par with their first release since it has better songs, but has less material of course.
Every track on this EP belongs here. This is not your typical EP in that there are no remixes, radio edits, live versions, or other crap band's generally use to fill up space. There is one cover, but we'll forgive them as it is an Extremely good cover. Anyone who can make Bauhaus sound that good has talent indeed.

1. Optimist or Pessimist
2. Matricide
3. In Memory
4. Silent Hedges / Double Dare
5. The Sorrowed Man
Bonus Tracks
6. The Tiananmen Man (Demo)
7. The Seven Tongues of God (Demo)
8. Passenger (Demo)
9. This Sacrament (Demo)
10. 42147 (instrumental) (Demo)

UNIVERS ZERO


UNIVERS ZERO
HERESIE (1979)
224 KBPS

Univers Zero that had recorded their excellent debut album experienced a few line- up changes; as a result, their music, while remaining enriched with tension and dissonance, became more sinister - yes, "Heresie" is a musical manifesto of impending evil, delivered with an inscrutable touch of distinction inherited from the combined influences of Bartok, Prokofiev, concrete chamber, plus some Gothic-meets-horror movie flavours. Pure electrifying obscurity brought by the most notable act from the Belgium avant-garde scene. If there is something such a mixture of the inscrutable delirium of radical insanity and the breathtaking pain of the darkest corners of hell. well, it is properly incarnated in the energetic sonic display delivered right here by Berckmans, Denis, Hanappier, Saeger and Trigaux. The woodwinds and the violin are usually the most prominent elements of the ensemble's overall sound, although it is also fair to note that Denis' drumming serves as an excellent asset, due to its solid precision, dramatic pulsation and effective anchoring for his four partners' sonic turmoil. Meanwhile, Trigaux manages to provide some sort of frame and support with his keyboard interventions and guitar textures, although constant resistance to "conventional" consistence is the name of UZ's game. King Deconstruction rules the repertoire, conquering it with an army of multiple dissonant layers, aggressive counterpoints and bizarre adornments. I certainly do not recommend this album for UZ starters, although the converted RIO-and-Zeuhl fan must already regard "Heresie" as an absolute classic (I'd suggest getting started with Henry Cow's first 2 albums and Magma's first 4 before trying UZ for the first time). The 25+ monster piece 'La Faulx' kicks off the album, portraying all the features mentioned above with a vengeance. Its relentless multitude of successive crescendos and exulting moods are properly counterpointed by some occasional melodically structured passages, which provide an air of momentary solace amidst all the Storm und Drang. The other two pieces are both 13+ minutes long: 'Jack the Ripper' and 'Vous le Saurez en Temps Voulu', are not as overtly infernal, but they're powerfully disturbing all the same and they certainly fill up the album's landscape in a cohesive manner. Special mentions go to the harsh violin shades in track 2 (perhaps a symbol of the fatalities that the infamous Ripper inflicted on his victims) and the intense counterpoints of tympani, strings and oboe that build up the somber solemnity of track 3 right up to its agonistic finale - a proper closure for this homage to Thanatos. "Heresie" is an outstanding prog masterpiece preciously located on one of the most experimental margins of the genre.

1. La Faulx
2. Jack the Ripper
3. Vous le Saurez en Temps Voulu

Friday, May 29, 2009

SERGE GAINSBOURG


SERGE GAINSBOURG
ROCK AROUND THE BUNKER (1975)
320 KBPS

A very controversial album in its time, and still disturbing. Gainsbourg, who during his childhood had to hide from the nazis and their French accomplices, dared to record this rock'n'roll album which mocks the nazis with word plays. He is probably the only person who could do this ... He used the same musicians than in Vu de l'extérieur, but the styles of both albums could not be more different. ... Not his first album to listen, if you are discovering him but still an enjoying experience.

1. Nazi Rock
2. Tata teutonne
3. J'entends des voix off
4. Eva
5. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
6. Zig-zag avec toi
7. Est-ce est-ce si bon?
8. Yellow Star
9. Rock Around the Bunker
10. S.S. in Uruguay


L'HOMME A LA TÊTE DE CHOU (1976)
320 KBPS

Serge Gainsbourg has never been better in establish a concept thematicelly in terms of words and music. Each piece of this wonderful opus has a musical setting that is coherent in it's ensemble. 32 minutes of pure joy and delight. The famous Gainsbourg talking voice over was of course used before in recordings like "Je t'aime moi non plus", "Initiales BB" and the previous concept album "Histoire de Melody Nelson", but never with that panache with the lyrics. "Variations sur Marilou" can resume Gainsbourg's whole catalogue of themes and obsessions. Sit down,forget your presomptions about the often called dirty man of French music and listen to signifiant music by a creatively inspired artist. If you are wondering about the meaning of the lyrics of "Variations sur Marilou", it's actually about woman masturbation. No kidding here,just the truth.

1. L'Homme À Tête de Chou
2. Chez Max Coiffure Pour Hommes
3. Marilou Reggae
4. Transit À Marilou
5. Flash Forward
6. Aéroplanes
7. Premiers Symptômes
8. Ma Lou Marilou
9. Variations Sur Marilou
10. Meurtre À l'Extincteur
11. Marilou Sous la Neige
12. Lunatic Asylum

PRAXIS


PRAXIS
PROFANATION:
PREPARATION FOR A COMING DARKNESS (2008)
320 KBPS

Given the dynamic history of the band's previous work, "Profanation" will surprise even the most devoted Laswell and Buckethead fans. That being said, this record takes a wide range of vocalists, instrumentalists, and genres of music and (in typical Laswellian fashsion) integrates them into a coheisive satisfying whole. Some of the stand out pieces are "Furies" (Iggy Pop), "Sulfer & Cheese" (Serj Tankian), "Ruined" (w/ Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida), & "Babylon Blackout" (Otomo Yoshihide). There also seems to be some common themes running throughout the lyrics (and the cover art). Check it out for yourself and make the connection. My only real compliant is that Bootsy is not anywhere on the album...Now that is a real shame.

1. Caution
2. Worship
3. Ancient World
4. Furies
5.Galaxies
6. Sulfur and Cheese
7. Larynx
8. Revelations Part 2
9. Ruined
10. Garbage God's
11. Babylon Blackout
12. Endtime

SONIC YOUTH


SONIC YOUTH
DIRTY (1992)
320 KBPS

Countless critics site Daydream Nation as Sonic Youth's premier album, but I would choose Dirty. My love for Sonic Youth stems from the layers they add to a simple Rock/Pop song while still making it accessible to the general public, and not the elitest artist or musician. For me, Dirty is that album. It shows you can be different, but still write beautiful music. Take "Sugar Kane" or "Purr". Both tracks contain elements of pop masterpieces, but in the style of Sonic Youth.
My favorite track on the album is "Chapel Hill", which is a great example of Sonic Youth in general. It's a well written rock song broken up by a minute and a half of guitar solo in the form of noise and distortion. Also wonderful is "Theresa's Sound-World", a track that opens quietly and builds into an intense wall of distorted guitars.
If you don't own a single Sonic Youth album but you're still big into early Alternative artists like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins or the Pixies, pick up Dirty. Or, if you're into Built To Spill, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Modest Mouse... and for some reason don't have this album, you should. Sonic Youth is, no doubt, listed as an influence of all these groups. This is Sonic Youth's best selling album for a reason, and that reason is that it's one of the most appealing album to mainstream rock fans. This album (or Experimental...) is a great starting point for someone who doesn't own a Sonic Youth album.

1. 100%
2. Swimsuit Issue
3. Theresa's Sound-World
4. Drunken Butterfly
5. Shoot
6. Wish Fulfillment
7. Sugar Kane
8. Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit
9. Youth Against Fascism
10. Nic Fit
11. On The Strip
12. Chapel Hill
13. JC
14. Purr
15. Creme Brulee

THE CONCRETES


THE CONCRETES
IN COLOUR (2006)
320 KBPS

"In Colour" may not be a significant step forward musically for the veteran Swedish band The Concretes, but it's probably their most accessible album to date. It's filled with their typically infectious and mildly quirky yet sometimes gorgeous pop songs. Led by the fragile yet soulful croonings of petite lead singer Victoria Bergsman, the songs have a delicate and distinctive quality to them that grows on you with each listen. The opening song "On the Radio" is a catchy, melodic tune that wills its way into your heart via Bergsman's sweet vocals. "Change in the Weather" is a wistful country-flavored track that's as light and cozy as a warm pillow. Meanwhile "Chosen One" is a deceptively simple ready-for-radio pop tune given an edge by prominent guitars and Bergsman's slightly off kilter line readings.
Sadly, Victoria Bergsman and the rest of the group seem to have had a falling out in 2006, leading to her split from The Concretes and her pursuit of a solo career. Meanwhile, The Concretes look to carry on without her. Judging from quality of the 12 songs on "In Colour" it would seem that both The Concretes and Victoria Bergsman have more than enough talent to continue making great music on their own.

1. On The Radio
2. Sunbeams
3. Change In The Weather
4. Chosen One
5. Your Call
6. Fiction
7. Tomorrow
8. As Four
9. Grey Days
10. Way Of Life
11. Ooh La La
12. Song For The Songs

Thursday, May 28, 2009

HERBIE MANN


HERBIE MANN
PUSH PUSH (1971)
REMASTER
320 KBPS


I'm not usually a big fan of Herbie Mann. My first introductions to him were Glory of Love, and London Underground. Glory of Love had some nice melodies and subtle arrangements, but maybe if it wasn't a flute playing the lead melody, it would be better. But, over all, it was just very boring.
As for London Underground, this was very much Jazz-Rock, but it was more 75% rock, 25% jazz. I don't know, the flute sound isn't "full" enough for that kind of energy.
After these listening experiences, my aunt got me Herbie Mann at the Village Gate, which seemed uterly boring.
But.....with this album, a total different story. This is great fusion, jazz-rock, contemporary jazz, whatever you want to call it. This is that classic cover. (not one of the most sexiest covers of all time)
The musician appearences make this album even more enoyable. With this album, I'll sure check out some more 1970's Herbie Mann recordings. Herbie done good with this one!


1. Push Push
2. What's Going On
3. Spirit In The Dark
4. Man's Hope
5. If
6. Never Say Goodbye
7. What'd I Say
Bonus Track
8. Funky Nassau

WHITESNAKE


WHITESNAKE
LOVEHUNTER (1979)
REMASTER
320 KBPS


Released in 1979, Lovehunter is the band's fifth album, counting Coverdale's early solo albums. To my ears, Lovehunter, while undeniably bluesy, is a bit more of a straightforward rock album than say Northwinds or White Snake. There are enough hard rock elements to bring to mind Led Zeppelin as well as Coverdale's previous band Deep Purple. It still lacks the slicker AOR/hair metal/whatever touches that made 1987 and Slip of the Tongue so memorable, but Lovehunter is still a very solid hard rock album with very few tracks that could be considered filler. The sound is a bit dated, but I think that the album holds up pretty well considering a quarter century has passed since its original release date. Highlights include the title track, "Mean Business", and the completely rocking "Walking in the Shadow of the Blues", which has become one of my favorite Whitesnake tunes.
I can't really call this an essential album, but I'd definitely recommend it to all serious Whitesnake fans, as well as anyone into old school blues-based rock & roll.


1. Long Way from Home
2. Walking in the Shadow of the Blues
3. Help Me Thro' the Day
4. Medicine Man
5. You 'N' Me
6. Mean Business
7. Love Hunter
8. Outlaw
9. Roco 'N' Roll Women
10. We Wish You Well
Bonus Tracks
Andy Peebles Radio 1 Session
11. Belgium Tom's Hat Trick
12. Love to Keep You Warm
13. Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City
14. Trouble

SEU JORGE


SEU JORGE
CRU (2004)
320 KBPS


Seu Jorge is a voice straight out of the favelas, Rio de Janeiro's notoriously violent slums where grinding poverty and desperation exist side-by-side with a musical hotbed. Once a homeless street child, he broke into the big time in the 2002 film, City Of God, an unsparingly frank look at life and death in the old neighborhood. Then he was prominently featured on the soundtrack to director Wes Anderson's comedy The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, where he put a whole new spin on vintage David Bowie songs. On Cru (Raw), Jorge is in his element, alternately growling or crooning amid acoustic guitars, harp-like cavaquihnos and shrieking, whining cuicas (friction percussion played with an oil-soaked rag). He remains confrontational, whether delivering a political rant (Eu Sou Favela), expressing disgust over the ubiquity of grotesquely huge breast implants (Mania De Peitão), or applying hip-hop to carnival percussion (Bem Querer). The set is rounded out with covers of Don't, a Lieber and Stoller tune that was a hit for Elvis Presley, and Chatterton, from the lethal pen of the late French singer-composer-agent provocateur Serge Gainsbourg.


1. Tive Razao
2. Mania De Peitao (Large Chested Mania)
3. Chatterton
4. Fiore De La Citta
5. Bem Querer (My Dear)
6. Don't
7. Sao Gonca
8. Bola De Meia
9. Una Mujer
10. Eu Sou Favela (I Am Favela)

JESUS JONES


JESUS JONES
PERVERSE (1993)
320 KBPS


When Jesus Jones first hit the airwaves in 1991 with Right Here, Right Now I thought they had an interesting sone with a cool hook. I bought the album and thought it was ok at best. When Perverse came out in 93 I bought it to see if they had anything else worth listening to. I was floored!! In a time when electronica was just starting to do something interesting Jesus Jones blew everything away with Perverse. This album was at least 5 years ahead of it's time. In my opinion it could be released today and still kick ass. Too bad most of the listening public didn't give them a chance after Doubt. Everyone missed out.


1. Zeroes and Ones
2. Devil You Know
3. Get a Good Thing
4. From Love to War
5. Yellow Brown
6. Magazine
7. Right Decision
8. Your Crusade
9. Don't Believe It
10. Tongue Tied
11. Spiral
12. Idiot Stare

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

EMILE PARISIEN QUARTET


EMILE PARISIEN QUARTET
ORIGINAL PIMPANT (2009)
320 KBPS


After a first album that displayed a will to try new things within the jazz spectrum, Emile Parisien Quartet, one of France's hottest new formations, is back with Original Pimpant. Their new offering is yet another tour de force of free jazz (aka jazz that doesn't follows the genre's codes) which is both upbeat/entertaining and refined/reflective. There's a big dose of humour as well as a neatly mastered sense of melody there. A must try for any jazz lover.


1. Sanchantor de Profundis
2. Darwin à la Montagne
3. Requiem Titanium
4. Le bel à l’agonie
5. Sopalynx

BUCKETHEAD


BUCKETHEAD
BERMUDA TRIANGLE (2002)
320 KBPS


The "Bermuda Triangle" is a project consisting of guitarist phenom Buckethead (Gn'R, Praxis, El Stew, Deli Creeps), and multi-instrumentalist/producer Extrakd (El Stew, Gonervill). Musically it is a collage of hip-hop and electro-esque beats, dark eerie samples, and live instrumentation played by Buckethead and Extrakd. One track features blazing live drumming by current Gn'R drummer and good friend, Brain. They made this record on a portable digital eight track, made between trips to L.A. and the Bay Area. Fans of underground instrumental hip-hop and trip-hop will love this record, as well as existing Buckethead fans wanting to hear his latest work in a futuristic, nearly all instrumental format.


1. Intro
2. Davy Jones Locker
3. Flight 19
4. Mausoleum Door
5. Sea of Expanding Shapes
6. The Triangle, Pt. 1: Extrakd
7. Bionic Fog
8. Forbidden Zone
9. Telegraph Land of the Crispies
10. Pullin the Heavy
11. Phantom Lights
12. Jabbar on Alcatrazz Avenue
13. Beestro Fowler
14. Splintered Triplet
15. Whatevas
16. Sucked Under
17. Isle of Dead
18. The Triangle, Pt. 2
19. 911

LYLE LOVETT


LYLE LOVETT
THE ROAD TO ENSENADA (1996)
320 KBPS


After the more experimental themes and misanthropic bit players populating his prior album, I Love Everybody, the songs on this superb 1996 set return to the more affable, earnest, but still knotty balance established by Lyle Lovett on his first four albums. He spins amiable yarns about his preferred headgear ("Don't Touch My Hat") and larger-than-life love objects (the one-eyed "Fiona"), sways hilariously through the backfired seductions of the samba-paced "Her First Mistake," and swings buoyantly through "That's Right (You're Not from Texas)," then ropes the equally droll Randy Newman into a tongue-in-cheek duet on "Long Tall Texan." In between, he sneaks a fresh string of dark love songs ("Private Conversation," "I Can't Love You Anymore") that sustain his formidable standards. Forget the forced issue of his putative ties to "new country": Lovett is simply one of the best American singer-songwriters extant, whether playing raconteur, philosopher king, or wounded romantic.


1. Don't Touch My Hat
2. Her First Mistake
3. Fiona
4. That's Right (You're Not from Texas)
5. Who Loves You Better
6. Private Conversation
7. Promises
8. It Ought to Be Easier
9. I Can't Love You Anymore
10. Long Tall Texan
11. Christmas Morning
12. Road to Ensenada

R.E.M.


R.E.M.
NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI (1996)

REMASTER
320 KBPS


New Adventures, despite its studiocentric title, is a snapshots-from-the-road record in the tradition of Neil Young's Time Fades Away and Jackson Browne's Running on Empty. Like them, it captures a where-am-I-and-why ambience, even with its concert and sound-check material reworked in post-tour sessions. This is very much a transitional album, its feel somewhere between the chamber-folk sweep of Out of Time and Automatic for the People and the distortion-pedal party that raged on Monster. It's the work of a band pretty near its peak consolidating familiar sounds and styles while tinkering with the edges.


1. How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us
2. The Wake-Up Bomb
3. New Test Lepper
4. Undertown
5. E-Bow The Letter
6. Leave
7. Departure
8. Bittersweet Me
9. Be Mine
10. Binky The Doormat
11. Zither
12. So Fast, So Numb
13. Low Desert
14. Electrolite

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BRIGITTE FONTAINE


BRIGITTE FONTAINE
RUE SAINT LOUIS EN L'ÎLE (2004)
320 KBPS


French vanguard pop chanteuse Brigitte Fontaine returns with Rue Saint Louis en L'Île, an homage to her street and section of Paris. Leaving the many guest stars — Archie Shepp, Sonic Youth, et. al — of her wonderful Keleland album behind, Fontaine is found in the company of her constant musical companion, Areski Belkacem doing the lion's share of musical accompaniment and arranging, though there are duets with Mouss et Hakim on the stomping post-modern cabaret tune "Le Nougat," and the Gotan Project on the title track. Fontaine's futurist pop focuses this time on paying homage to the small infinitesimal details of life in her neighborhood and its vices and problems. "Man With the Motor Bike" is an homage to Edith Piaf being freely adapted from the 1956 version by the great singer and her tribute to Simone DeBeauvoir in "Le Chanson de Simone," is a standout stunner. Also notable is the haunting and beautiful "Le Veuve Cliquot" ("The Widow Cliquot") and the moving "Le Voile a l'ecole" ("The Veil at School") with Areski doing his best Serge Gainsbourg. In all, this is an utterly charming, beautiful and accessible album by the most iconoclastic pop singer n Paris, and one of the most original musical personalities in the world.


1. Betty Boop en Août
2. Sous 200 Watts
3. Rue Saint Louis en l'Île
4. La Veuve Clicquot
5. Fréhel
6. Le Voile À l'École
7. Mado
8. La Chanson de Simone
9. Le Nougat
10. Et Caetera
11. Eloge de l'Hiver
12. Le Grand Jamais
13. Folie
14. L' Homme à la Moto

ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT


ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT
HUURO KOLKKO (2009)
256-320 KBPS


The Hammers of Hell (their name translated into English) return for their fifth great album! Their unique, heavy sound, which combines folk forms and RIO complexity and extended instrumenation remain in place and the band consists of Jarno Sarkula-saxes, clarinets, Erno Haukkala-trombone, tuba & piccolo trombone, Miikka Huttunen-pump organ, grand piano & melodica, Tuukka Helminen-cello, Marko Manninen-cello and Teemu Hanninen-drums and percussion. Get a taste of this unique band.


1. Mielisaurus
2. Liskopallo
3. Meressä Ei Asuta
4. Natiivit
5. Luonto Tuli Lähelle
6. Tujuhuju
7. Luola
8. Omalla Ajalla
9. Lautturin Viivat

COCTEAU TWINS


COCTEAU TWINS
HEAD OVER HEELS (1983)
320 KBPS

Losing original member Heggie might at first have seemed a troubling blow, but in fact it allowed the duo of Fraser and Guthrie to transcend the darkened one-note gloom of Garlands with Head Over Heels. The album introduces a variety of different shadings and approaches to the incipient Cocteaus sound, pointing the band towards the exultant, elegant beauty of later releases. Opening number "When Mama Was Moth" demonstrates the new musical range nicely; Fraser's singing is much more upfront, while Guthrie creates a bewitching mix of dark guitar notes and sparkling keyboard tones, with percussion echoing in the background. Other songs, like the sax-accompanied "Five Ten Fiftyfold" and "The Tinderbox (Of a Heart)" reflect the more elaborate musical melancholy of the group, while still other cuts are downright sprightly. "Multifoiled" in particular is a charm, a jazzily-arranged number that lets Fraser do a bit of scatting (a perfect avenue for her lyrical approach!), while "In the Gold Dust Rush" mixes acoustic guitar drama into Fraser's swooping singing. Perhaps the two strongest numbers of all are: "Sugar Hiccup," mixing the mock choir effect the band would use elsewhere with both a lovely guitar line and singing; and "Musette and Drums," a massive, powerful collision of Guthrie's guitar at its loudest and most powerful and Fraser's singing at its most intense.

1 When Mama Was Moth
2 Five Ten Fiftyfold
3 Sugar Hiccup
4 In Our Angelhood
5 Glass Candle Grenades
6 In the Gold Dust Rush
7 The Tinderbox (Of a Heart)
8 Multifoiled
9 My Love Paramour
10 Musette and Drums


SUNBURST AND SNOWBLIND (1983)
320 KBPS

Released shortly after the majestic Head Over Heels album, Sunburst remakes one of that album's songs, the gorgeous rush of "Sugar Hiccup." The mock choir effect which Guthrie would employ even more fully on later songs becomes even more prominent, his own performance more striking and beautiful. Fraser's vocals change little, being just as fantastic as on the earlier cut, though she does add a touch more extra singing at points. The rest of the songs are of equal quality, each distinct in their own way. "From the Flagstones" begins with a lovely flanged guitar, a prominent drum pattern carrying the song as a whole. Fraser's singing throughout is wonderful, practically turning cartwheels at points. "Hitherto" moves at a slightly faster pace, Fraser's singing building upward on his line of the verse to a shimmering guitar line; Guthrie's main countermelody is also grand, a few simple descending notes that sound just perfect. "Because of Whirl-Jack" wraps everything up with the fastest song of the bunch, reminiscent of the pace of earlier songs like "Feathers-Oar-Blades" and "In Our Angelhood," but with a lighter air thanks to prominent acoustic guitar and piano.

1. Sugar Hiccup
2. From the Flagstones
3. Hitherto
4. Because of Whirl-Jack

CURSIVE


CURSIVE
DOMESTICA (2000)
320 KBPS


A hard-rocking emo album about heartbreak? How stunningly original! Look at this album art, too — this is hardcore, baby. Snicker. Sarcasm (and a pretentious name format) aside, Cursive’s Domestica is a damn good piece of hard emo/indie rock. Tim Kasher’s voice and lyrical abilities lend themselves to the subject matter, as does his recent divorce. So long as one doesn’t mind the fact that many of the songs lack a chorus, this may be the album at the top of the emo pile. Most of the tracks here have interesting structures that follow either a verse-solo-verse-bridge-random solo or 2nd bridge-verse format, or something completely new. Unfortunately, the lyrics on Domestica aren’t up to par with those on Cursive’s previous album, Storms of Early Summer, or those of his side project, The Good Life. Instead, these suspected autobiographical lyrics make repeated references to an angelic lover and a thrown telephone. Nonfiction is nice, but variety is preferable. At any rate, Domestica is one of those albums that will grab you - whether it lets go depends on your taste.


1. Casualty
2. Martyr
3. Shallow Means, Deep Ends
4. Making Friends and Acquaintances
5. Red So Deep
6. Lament of Pretty Baby
7. Game of Who Needs Who the Worst
8. Radiator Hums
9. Night I Lost the Will to Fight

Monday, May 25, 2009

THE BLACK HEART PROCESSION


THE BLACK HEART PROCESSION
AMORE DEL TROPICO (2002)
320 KBPS

From their impressions of a southwestern Afghan Whigs to their mimicry of Concrete Blonde and Beat Happening, The Black Heart Procession are making some of the best-and darkest background music around.
From the Hitchcock-ready piano driven slink of "The Invitation" to the ghostly howls heard on "Tropics of Love," BHP seemed poised to make the hippest horror movie soundtrack you've ever heard. Their lyrics are less poetic than simple narration of something wicked this way coming. Paulo Zappoli taunts the listener, "did you not see / wasn't it clear...the signs on the road...the writing on the wall," while percussionist Joe Plummer pounds away at what sounds like a broken snare drum stuck in a bathroom stall.
Zappoli and fellow multi-instrumentalist Tobias Nathaniel add layer after layer of chirping organs and pulsating synthesizers instead of going the usual verse-chorus-bridge highway. The end result is a sort of undead Yo La Tengo-if that makes any sense. Picture hoards of classic movie monsters laboriously jamming with Lou Reed and David Bowie in an abandoned amusement park just before Scooby and the Mystery Machine gang arrive.
Call it post-gothic or The Cure gone convincingly trip-hop. Whatever it is-it certainly isn't music to listen to in daylight. Rather, it's the perfect album for a newly opened opium den, or maybe the last song in a Roman Polanski or Darren Aronofsky film. It's good stuff-but it's not for the faint of heart.

1. The End of Love
2. Tropics of Love
3. Broken World
4. Why I Stay
5. The Inviation
6. Did You Wonder
7. A Sign on the Road
8. Sympathy Crime
9. The Visitor
10. The Waiter #4
11. A Cry for Love
12. Before the People
13. Only One Way
14. Fingerprints
15. The One Who Has Disappeared

I'M NOT A GUN


I'M NOT A GUN
WE THINK AS INSTRUMENTS (2006)
256-320 KBPS

We Think As Instruments perfectly describes John Tejada`s and Takeshi Nishimoto`s ongoing journey, exploring the possibilities of a two-piece band, bringing together delicate electronics and free-floating acoustic instruments. The tracks perfectly blend both worlds the artists originally grew up in and push the hybrid of digital tightness and soulful playfullness into a new dimension.

1. Soft Rain In The Spring
2. Ripples In The Water
3. Move
4. Long Afternoon
5. A Letter From The Past
6. Rush Hour Traffic
7. Unseen Moment
8. Blue Garden
9. As Far As Forever Goes
10. Continuous Sky

WILLIAM SHATNER


WILLIAM SHATNER
HAS BEEN (2004)
320 KBPS

After his rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" on the infamous Golden Throats album (though it first appeared on the Transformed Man LP), one could argue that the world needed a new William Shatner album about as much as it needed a big-screen remake of TJ Hooker. But Shatner's back all the same with an intriguing, introspective collection of mostly spoken-word tracks that are all the more compelling when it becomes clear that Has Been is, in fact, no joke. Ben Folds played on and produced the record, creating rich, melodic, and varied pop musical backgrounds to Shatner's world-weary, boozy-suave yet thoroughly impassioned delivery. Joe Jackson, Aimee Mann, Henry Rollins, Brad Paisley, and Adrian Belew also stop by to lend their divergent talents. Highlights include the Rollins/Shatner rant "I Can't Get Behind That" and the Folds/Mann/Shatner collaboration "That's Me Trying", which tells the painful story of an attempted family reconciliation. Shatner mixes a healthy amount of self-awareness with a just a dollop of self-mockery and then combines it all with plenty of raw vulnerability to create an effect that is surprisingly touching, highly entertaining, and unlike any music you've ever heard.

1. Common People
2. It Hasn't Happened Yet
3. You'll Have Time
4. That's Me Trying
5. What Have You Done
6. Together
7. Familiar Love
8. Ideal Woman
9. Has Been
10. I Can't Get Behind That
11. Real

DREAM EVIL


DREAM EVIL
EVILIZED (2003)
320 KBPS

Are you ready for one Hell of a mix between Power Metal and Traditional Metal? because that's what this is. But then again, what can you expect from Dream Evil, who brought us the instant classic "Dragon Slayer?" I have a feeling that these guys are going to remain very consistant throughout their career.
What we have here is a beautiful mix of songs. There are a couple of fast songs thrown in between a larger number of faster tracks, ensuring that this album will not bore you. I find it very easy to listen to the entire CD in a single sitting. The guitar work is amzing. Gus may be a young guy (22 years old I believe), but he is one of the best guitar players I have ever heard. The solos that he performs will leave you gaping. The rythm guitar and bass hold the beats steady throughout the song, with no fuck-ups to be found... and they are excellent beats, I must say. Ya know, the kinds that will stick with you for a long time after you've turned off your stereo. The very clear recording also adds tot he effect. Snowy Shaw's drumming is simply stunning. I guess he's had enough practice after playing with Mercyful Fate, huh? He actually uses complex beats unlike some other drummers (like Jimmy DeGrasso, Megadeth's current drummer), to help spice up the song. Listening to his fills and short solos makes you wonder how a guy can move his arms about so fast, using such a small drumset! The vocalist fuckin' blew me away. He is definitely one of the best I've ever heard. For the quieter songs, he is able to make his voice nice and soft, and for the louder, faster songs, he can make it fittingly intense. The chorus parts in the songs are extremely catchy, and I garuntee that you will be humming them to yourself even days after you've listened to the CD. They will undoubtedly stick with you for a looong time.
Overall, this is just an awesome record. If you are a fan of the classics like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, or if you are into Blind Guardian and such, this is record is a must-have.

1. Break the Chains
2. By My Side
3. Fight You 'Till the End
4. Evilized
5. Invisible
6. Bad Dreams
7. Forevermore
8. Children of the Night
9. Live a Lie
10. Fear the Night
11. Made of Metal
12. The End

Sunday, May 24, 2009

BRIGITTE FONTAINE


BRIGITTE FONTAINE
GENRE HUMAIN (1995)
320 KBPS

While Fontaine's 1988 album "French Corazon" would never have seen the light of day if it had not been for a Japanese fan, the singer's 1995 album "Genre humain" owed its existence to a very special French fan, Etienne Daho. Daho, who had made a name for himself in the 80's as the King of French pop, may have appeared an unlikely bedfellow for an avant-garde non-conformist such as Fontaine but the pair worked well together. Daho co-wrote a couple of tracks with Fontaine - such as the song "Conne" (the other tracks on the new album were co-written by Fontaine and Areski as usual) and also helped produce the album, bringing in his old music friends Les Valentins and Arnold Turboust to help with the musical arrangements. Fonatine's new album "Genre humain", which tapped into modern musical trends such as rai and hip hop, was not only highly acclaimed by French music critics, it also proved a huge hit with the public. The album's title track and Fontaine's new version of "Comme à la radio" both received an extensive amount of airplay on French radio.
Fontaine's long-awaited comeback on the French music scene was accompanied by a radical change of image. The singer shaved her head and began to dress in black, hiding her fun-loving and rather mischievous personality behind this austere new image. But while Fontaine's look might have changed, her influences remained exactly the same. When the singer returned to perform at the Café de la Danse (from January 31st to February 10th 1996), her music was still tinged with colourful Oriental influences and Arab melodies. By the spring of 96 Fontaine had attained new heights of popularity and on May 3rd the singer was even invited to perform at the legendary Olympia, the most prestigious music venue in Paris. From that point on Fontaine became one of the most sought-after guests at that summer's music festivals, and she went on to appear at all the major events including Le Printemps de Bourges and the Francofolies festival in La Rochelle. At the end of the year Brigitte Fontaine received a prestigious award, the Grand Prix National de la Chanson française.

1. La Femme à Barbe
2. Genre Humain
3. Le Magnum
4. Conne
5. Belle Abandonnée
6. Dans la Cuisine
7. Comme à la Radio
8. Interieur de Nuit
9. Hammam en Plein Air
10. Le Train Deux-Mille-Cent-Dix
11. Il Se Mèle à Tout Ca
12. J'adore pas

CRITTERS BUGGIN


CRITTERS BUGGIN
GUEST (1995)
320 KBPS

Critters Buggin are one of the best, and relatively unknown, sounds to come out of the early 90s Seattle Grunge scene. This is their first of four albums and it is hard to say which one is the best as all of them hold their own (although Amoeba can be a bit difficult given its completely ambient styling). As other reviewers have written, they combine as many styles of music as one can imagine and turn them into a new sound.
This band also deserves respect in that they never went commercial with their music. They had hundreds of offers for their music to be in commercials and movies and they turned down every single one, preferring to stay true to the music they created. If you like them check out Nash Kato, Ponga, and Shawn Smith. Also, you can find the saxaphone player, Skerik, on the Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade cds.

1. Shag
2. Kickstand Hog
3. Critters Theme
4. T-Ski
5. 5/4 FTD
6. Fretless Nostril
7. Double Pot Roast Backpack
8. Naked Truth
9. Lobos

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS


DIRTY PRETTY THINGS
WATERLOO TO ANYWHERE (2006)
320 KBPS

His former Libertines bandmate may grab all the headlines, but Carl Barat's Dirty Pretty Things seem to have grabbed all of the tunes on Waterloo To Anywhere. Like The Jam, The Clash and even The Kinks, the Dirty Pretty Things have an innate ability to take their basic guitar-bass-drums setup and make them sound unmistakeably English. Of course, frontman Barat's laconic London accent helps, but it's more than that. The music, with it's mixture of punk rock and ska, owes a large debt to the aforementioned Clash--and, like them, the Dirty Pretty Things also know how to write a catchy tune, as anyone who's heard the single "Bang Bang You're Dead" will attest. Moreover, the lyrics are as reflective of contemporary Britain as anything by The Streets (particularly "You F*cking Love It"). Best of all, like the best punk albums, Waterloo to Anywhere is short, sharp and possessed of a tangible urgency--the album's 12 songs clock in at just about 36 minutes. Considering the shambles that Barat's former colleague Pete Doherty has become, it's particularly encouraging to hear something as good as Dirty Pretty Things rise from the ashes of the Libertines.

1. Deadwood
2. Doctors & Dealers
3. Bang Bang You're Dead
4. Blood Thirsty Bastards
5. The Gentry Cove
6. Gin & Milk
7. The Enemy
8. If you Love a Woman
9. You Fucking Love It
10. Wondering
11. Last Of The Small Town Playboys
12. B.U.R.M.A.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

ARNO


ARNO
CHARLES ERNEST (2002)
320 KBPS

I don't know a single bad album made by ARNO, from the early TC MATIC's albums till now.
This Belgian singer-songwritter deserves an international success.
He is not afraid to sing in french , english or dutch, to mix blues ,rock and traditional Belgian beats, sounds and humour.
He is a real poet, a great performer and has an unusual voice.
ARNO is often seen as the new Jacques Brel, I believe his work goes farther, it is much more diversified and of course contemporary.
Just like ALEX HARVEY was...maybe a lil too weird and too honest to be recognised on a largest scale.

1. Lola Etc.
2. Je Veux Nager
3. Mother'S Little Helper
4. Ma Femme
5. They Look At Me
6. Elisa
7. Amor
8. Zlle A Eu
9. Lovin' You
10. Il Est Tombé Du Ciel
11. Not In Love
12. Honky Tonk
13. Hey Sister
14. Pas Heureux Ni Malheureux
15. Solo Gigolo

BLUR


BLUR
MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH (1993)
320 KBPS

As a response to the dominance of grunge in the U.K. and their own decreasing profile in their homeland — and also as a response to Suede's sudden popularity — Blur reinvented themselves with their second album, Modern Life Is Rubbish, abandoning the shoegazing and baggy influences that dominated Leisure for traditional pop. On the surface, Modern Life may appear to be an homage to the Kinks, David Bowie, the Beatles, and Syd Barrett, yet it isn't a restatement, it's a revitalization. Blur use British guitar pop from the Beatles to My Bloody Valentine as a foundation, spinning off tales of contemporary despair. If Damon Albarn weren't such a clever songwriter, both lyrically and melodically, Modern Life could have sunk under its own pretensions, and the latter half does drag slightly. However, the record teems with life, since Blur refuse to treat their classicist songs as museum pieces. Graham Coxon's guitar tears each song open, either with unpredictable melodic lines or layers of translucent, hypnotic effects, and his work creates great tension with Alex James' kinetic bass. And that provides Albarn a vibrant background for his social satires and cutting commentary. But the reason Modern Life Is Rubbish is such a dynamic record and ushered in a new era of British pop is that nearly every song is carefully constructed and boasts a killer melody, from the stately "For Tomorrow" and the punky "Advert" to the vaudeville stomp of "Sunday Sunday" and the neo-psychedelic "Chemical World." Even with its flaws, it's a record of considerable vision and excitement.

1. For Tomorrow
2. Advert
3. Colin Zeal
4. Pressure on Julian
5. Star Shaped
6. Blue Jeans
7. Chemical World - Intermission
8. Sunday Sunday
9. Oily Water
10. Miss America
11. Villa Rosie
12. Coping
13. Turn It Up
14. Resigned - Commercial Break

SLAVE MASTER


SLAVE MASTER
UNDER THE 6 (1994)
320 KBPS

Though Under the 6 features P-Funk alumni Michael Hampton and Gary "Mudbone" Cooper, it is really the brainchild of frontman Islam Shabazz and guitarist Bill McKinney. Hampton gets to play his trademark fiery guitar solos, especially on "Down" and "Freedom," and Cooper's trademark background vocals are in evidence, but this recording is still only tangentially related to P-Funk. Mostly, it's an odd, intriguing, mixture of pounding thrash metal and Nation of Islam rhetoric (there are even snippets of speeches by NOI founder Elijah Muhammad). At times, such as on "Freedom" and "Godless," it can be riveting. Unfortunately, it can also get monotonous, especially since there is very little variation in the tracks. All are basic thrash metal rockers, devoid of keyboards or any other instrumentation, and none of the compositions are particularly complex. It seems especially strange that this album should lack much in the way of textures, since producer Bill Laswell is famous for interspersing unusual ideas and sounds into albums he usually produces. Ultimately, On the 6 will most likely interest fans of adventurous speed metal (such as Megadeth), but fans expecting more P-Funk-like fare will be disappointed.

1.Godless
2. Heal
3. Damnation
4. Come Out
5. Day of Requital
6. Final Call
7. Walk the Water
8. Down
9. Each One, Teach One
10. Freedom

Friday, May 22, 2009

THE FLAMING LIPS


THE FLAMING LIPS
AT WAR WITH THE MYSTICS (2006)
320 KBPS

'The Soft Bulletin' and 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots', the Flaming Lips' previous two albums, have both received the sort of praise that doesn't come along very often. And this, inevitably, means that we're due a backlash. They couldn't put a foot wrong on '...Bulletin' and 'Yoshimi...', so there was no way they could maintain the same level of excellence for the third time. Right? Well, yes and no as it turns out. Firstly, the Flaming Lips are to be applauded for daring not to trot out the same formula for a third consecutive time. Had they done so, the album would have been treading water, resting on laurels - whatever you want to call it. The off-the-wall oddity of old makes something of a return: the swooning beauty of their two previous efforts is tempered with more of their pre-fame inverted acid drenched punk pop.
Opener 'The Yeah Yeah Yeah' song certainly taps into this vein: think Talking Heads criss-crossed with the Beach Boys at their bounciest and you won't be far wrong. If it's a welcome change, then the Scissor Sisters dirge that is 'Free Radicals' certainly isn't. In terms of pace 'At War With the Mystics' sprints out of the blocks with these two upbeat numbers, but then subsides into blissful melancholy for the next several numbers before resurfacing into chirpy mode with the cheesy verse/glorious chorus goggle-eyed chant that is 'It Overtakes Me'. As a whole this rather destabilizes the balance of the album, and certainly doesn't work first time out. But the second quarter of the album is certainly worth revisiting, featuring as it does moments of real power - most notably on 'My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion', every bit the equal of their dreamscape 'Yoshimi...' efforts. All the good work, alas, is almost undone by the bloated 'It's Dark...Is It Always This Dark' suite tacked on to the end of the otherwise majestic 'The Sound of Failure' and the pointless half-baked noodle of 'The Wizard...'
If the first half is maddeningly inconsistent then it doesn't bode well for the second half. Remarkably, the second half of the album is far stronger. There is one possible duff track in 'Haven't Got A Clue', which is something the band could have knocked out in their sleep if we're honest. But the closing trio of the album is probably the best closing trio to an album they have ever done and almost makes you forgive the below par tracks beforehand. 'The W.A.N.D.' is a triumphant return to 'Transmissions...'/ 'Clouds Taste Metallic' era Flaming Lips, only this time with added stinging guitar spice and extra catchiness. Future single for sure. The absurdly titled 'Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung' is surely one of the Lips' all time top five songs - definitely the best song Pink Floyd never wrote at the very least, and with emotional euphoric clout (the second 'Now we'll be forever holding hands' line is a glorious moment) to boot. And after all the impressive 'look what we can do' musical fireworks, Wayne, Steven and Michael pull it out of the bag by stripping it back to a simple piano for the final album track 'Goin' On'. A gloriously understated piece, it is decisively melancholic in subject matter but oddly comforting in tone. It's a perfect finale to a sprawling, often experimentally grandstanding work.

1. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
2. Free Radicals
3. The Sound of Failure
4. My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion
5. Vein of Stars
6. The Wizard Turns On...
7. It Overtakes Me
8. Mr. Ambulance Driver
9. Haven't Got a Clue
10. The W.A.N.D.
11. Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung
12. Goin' On

GINGER BAKER TRIO


GINGER BAKER TRIO
GOING BACK HOME (1994)
320 KBPS

Ginger Baker knows his way around, through, above, and beyond rhythm. This CD is cool, crisp, concise. Ginger Baker, Bill Frisell, and Charlie Haden play so well together that it seems they have always been together playing and that we have just tapped into this ever playing stream of music. Frisell once more shows why he is one of the best guitarists on the planet, often by what he does not play. Haden bass playing blends perfectly with the flashy drumming of Baker. At time the mood gets mighty dark on this recording, but then you find yourself uplifted by the powerful interplay of three great musicians who have tapped into some mighty cool energy.

1. Rambler
2. I Lu Kron
3. Straight No Chaser
4. Ramblin'
5. Ginger Blues
6. Ain Temouchant
7. When We Go
8. In The Moment
9. Spiritual
10. East Timor

THE ALOOF


THE ALOOF
SEEKING PLEASURE (1998)
320 KBPS

The Aloof's third album saw them sink still deeper into despondency, as titles such as "Lies", "Wasting Away" and "Alone" attest. Singer Ricky Barrow is less to the fore in an album punctuated by subdued instrumentals like "Morning Spangle". When he does appear, as on "What I Miss The Most", the album exceeds even "One Night Stand" in its epic melancholia. Seeking Pleasure shifts stylistically to some hitherto unoccupied terrain between The Cure and DJ Shadow, a sort of high techno-goth underscored with huge bass riffs, frantic drums and dark cloudbanks of synth. The album title and songs like "I Find Fun" depict hedonism as a desperate pastime, filling a void. Such despair was uncommon in 1990s dance music.

1. Morning Spangle
2. What I Miss The Most
3. Going Home
4. I Find Fun
5. N89
6. All I Want Is You
7. Lies
8. Wasting Away
9. Personality
10. Alone

Thursday, May 21, 2009

YAEL NAIM


YAEL NAIM
YAEL NAIM & DAVID DONATIEN (2007)
320 KBPS


To begin with, this album was meant to focus solely on guitar and vocals. But little by little Yael and David Donatien, who encouraged her to sing in Hebrew, padded out the architecture and formed a team. Xavier Tribolet (drums), Laurent David (bass), Voed Nir (cello) and Julien Feltin (electric guitar) joined them as well as S.Husky Huskolds for the mix (Tom Waits, Fiona Apple, Me’Shell Ndegeocello). The instrumentation is pretty minimalist here yet incredibly colourful with the participation of the brass section, the Mellotron, the cello and some programming. Recorded in the young woman’s flat in Paris the 13 songs contain a part of Yael happy (Endless Song of Happiness) and a melancholic (Paris, Lonely) existence. Some of them, like Yashanti or Lachlom dive into dreams, others like Baboker bathe in the serenity found at the break of day. Shelcha looks at a love with no future. The most outrageous is of course the cover of Britney Spears’ Toxic. Listening to these little marvels could possibly remind us of old friends like Tori Amos or Fiona Apple. Yet the ensemble isn’t witness to excessive borrowing or exaggerated marking, but quite the contrary revealing a sincerity and absolute musical clarity. In fact it is quite astonishing how something that sounds so familiar could seduce our ears with such a nude and original beauty. Perhaps it is due to the dominance of Hebrew, a language so rarely sung in this context, that comes across as universal as Cesaria Evora’s Portuguese Creole? Or is it the simply the very freshness exhaled by the personality of this young woman who discovers in New Soul - sung in English with a contagious optimism – that she is "a new soul, in this foreign world, hoping to learn a little"? "It was when I was really young that I sincerely believed to be an old soul reincarnated and I could even say it gave me a sense of superiority over others. But then as I subsequently did everything the wrong way round I concluded that it was actually my first time on earth and that I should learn to be a more humble." On Far Far, she herself delivers this other perspective, that of a little girl who chases her dreams but who can only achieve them by accepting the "beautiful mess inside". In short both her own personal history and that of this simply magical record.


1. Paris
2. Too Long
3. New Soul
4. Levater
5. Shelcha
6. Lonely
7. Far Far
8. Yashanti
9. 7 Baboker
10. Lachlom
11. Toxic
12. Pachad
13. Endless Song Of Hapiness

DREAM EVIL


DREAM EVIL
DRAGONSLAYER (2002)
320 KBPS


It's the beginning of a journey filled with killing dragons with magic swords. Yes, the lyrics are cheesy... but that's what makes them hilarious to listen to! I garuntee that the first time you flip through the lyric book you will be greeted by a good laugh here and there, especially on "HMJ (Heavy Metal Jesus)."
As far as the music goes, it doesn't get much better than this. I don't mean to gay it up, but the singer has a fantastic voice, and is best displayed on "Losing You." His vocals go well with both the faster tracks on the album as well as with the slow one. And, of course, this wouldn't be Power Metal without the choir doing backing vocals. The instrumental parts are very well-done, as well. You can actually hear the diversity between the lead guitars, rythm guitars, and bass, showing you just how much time and effort was put into this piece. The guitar solos are damned impressive, especially since they're coming from such a young guy like Gus G! Those who are familiar with Snowy Shaw's work already know of the talent he has, and those who haven't are in for a big surprise! The drum parts are amazing, and he only uses a 4 or 5 piece drumset! All in all, the songs are very melodic and dramatic, and any fan of Power Metal is sure to be blown away by this release.


1. Chasing the Dragon
2. In Flames You Burn
3. Save Us
4. Kingdom of the Damned
5. The Prophecy
6. The Chosen Ones
7. Losing You
8. The 7th Day
9. Heavy Metal in the Night
10. H.M.J.
11. Hail to the King
12. Outro

GALAXIE 500


GALAXIE 500
COPENHAGEN (1997)
320 KBPS


Galaxie 500 was a master of its art. Its simple pop songs are the foundation of an intricate universe that seduces listeners with layers of dreamy guitars, jazzy percussion, and translucent vocals. The band lets a song's tension build, andthen manipulates it in appealing directions. On COPENHAGEN,recorded live by Danish National Radio in 1990, the trio drifts through stellar originals, and tries its hand at covers, including a brooding version of The Modern Lover's "Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste". Long compared with The Velvet Underground, it's no surprise to hear the band tackle "Here She Comes Now", but Galaxie 500's version is uniquely its own.
Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is why the band brokeup shortly after this recording. Galaxie 500 helped pave the way for American indie rock in the late '80s/early '90s. While the rest of the world was celebrating REM (or lip synching to Bon Jovi records), Galaxie 500 held true to its own unique vision. Though each member went on to make outstandingmusic elsewhere (Luna/Damon & Naomi), Galaxie 500's career was as influential as it was disappointingly brief.


1. Decomposing Trees
2. Fourth Of July
3. Summertime
4. Sorry
5. When Will You Come Home
6. Spook
7. Listen The Snow Is Falling
8. Here She Comes Now
9. Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

POLAR


POLAR
JOUR BLANC (2008)
320 KBPS


Born in Ireland but living in Switzerland, Polar first played in rock bands in which he didn't feel at ease. Moved and influenced by artits such as Nick Drake, Tim Buckley or Neil Young, it's in his kitchen that he records, alone, his first album in 1996. Sang in english, somber and minimalistic it will set the tone for his following recordings while receiving critical praise. "Bi-Polar" (1998), more electric, and "Somatic" (2002), with electronic influences will follow confirming his talent. Always looking to renew his style, Polar decided it was time to try something else in another language, French. For "Jour Blanc" the realisation of this project with lyrics written by Christophe Miossec. The result is a passionate, heartfelt album that will please those who enjoyed his previous works and seduce new people. Polar certainly is an artist to follow.


1. Le Cri
2. Le Brasier
3. Le Chalet
4. Au Verso De Ce Monde
5. 8h30
6. Epines
7. Accroche-Toi
8. Ciel, Lac, Orage Etc...
9. L'Impasse
10. Tremblement

LISA GERMANO


LISA GERMANO
SLIDE (1998)
320 KBPS


Lisa Germano is an extremely unique artist. Her voice, her sound, her lyrics - all of it very different. So most of her takes a little bit to get into. While Slide is a little bit more accessible than past albums, it is no exception to that rule haha.
Starts off with the extremely catchy (well, for a Lisa song!) and almost organic sounding "way below the radio". Familiar Lisa territory is covered, with her glum outlook on life - but there is a little bit more of an optimistic look on it especially on "Reptile".
Some songs are so beautiful (Gullotine, Wood Floors) in their simplicity, that it reminded me that you didn't need layers of didn't instruments to make a great song.
My favourite track is probably "If I think of Love", but all are great. If you like music that pushes the line with creativity, you will love Lisa Germano. Highly suggested. You also might want to look into her previous releases, especially Geek the Girl.


1. Way Below The Radio
2. No Color Here
3. Tomorrowing
4. Electrified
5. Slide
6. If I Think Of Love
7. Crash
8. Wood Floors
9. Turning Into Betty
10. Guillotine
11. Reptile

NEVERMORE


NEVERMORE
THE POLITICS OF ECSTASY (1996)
REMASTER
320 KBPS


The circle never ends….the purpose never changes face….the learning now begins…
These words would be just enough to describe the majesty of this album. But we chose the hard road, to review in cold words this heartbeating anthem of modern music. Off we go, then.
1996, one year after the beginning of the latter Warrel legacy called Nevermore, the guys from Seattle gathered forces again, also came in touch with former death metal guitarist Pat O’Brien and proceeded to record one of the best albums of the 90’s. “The Politics Of Ecstasy” is a magnificent work of rock music, and it is surely the one that set Nevermore as the hottest prospect for the second half of the nineties.
The first and foremost that you notice about this album, is Warrel. This glorious vocalist/frontman from Seattle makes once again the difference and sets the score too high for the competition. Like a chameleon, he switches styles and voices like only Geoff Tate does (no comparison of course, completely different vocalists). Sometimes he sounds like a fragile wreck in a raging sea; yet some others he is the raging storm itself. The guy is exceptionally talented in a way that seems unfair for other metal singers. His lyrics also are once again, as in their debut, just history. Psychedelic, political, social, personal, no matter what subject or style he chooses to write, he delivers the goods.
And then of course, it’s the band. Van Williams and his pounding double bass style combined with marvellous rolls and rides along with Jim Sheppard and his bulldoze-like sounding basslines make a rhythm section that many thrash/death bands would like to have. Jeff Loomis, joining forces with a guitarist famous for his monstrous sound, Pat O’Brien, gains points in riffing techniques and their combined work sets the album off to a higher level.
Everything inside the album, starting from the classic riff of “The Seven Tongues Of God” (which, by the way, is probably the most sophisticated yet edgy anti-christian song ever written) right until the final sighs of “The Learning” is sheer quality. Don’t spend time on the rather mediocre picture cover, open the jewel case and see one of the best layouts ever done in a metal album. “Wake up – your rights are gone”, while the surprised eyes gaze you in a really mesmerizing way.
Highlights of this album in my opinion are a really hard matter. Phew….yeah, after all, real classics have no highlights. And this is exactly the case here. A real metal classic, one of those that all songs are of extraordinary quality. You can make no exceptions on this one. Choking on the puke of their industry, regurgitated propaganda ministry…Acid words in an ultra album, an album that most bands would like for a swansong, yet for Warrel and his comrades, it was just the beginning of a majestic career.


1. The Seven Tongues of God
2. This Sacrament
3. Next in Line
4. Passenger
5. The Politics of Ecstasy
6. Lost
7. The Tiananmen Man
8. Precognition
9. 42147
10. The Learning
Bonus Track
11. Love Bites (Judas Priest cover)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

R.E.M.


R.E.M.
ACCELERATE (2008)
320 KBPS


This is it. This really is the one: the killer comeback R.E.M.'s long-suffering original fans have been hoping for since the band detoured into electronic introspection in 1998. Peter Buck's guitars are front and centre, driving the tracks rather than decorating their edges. Mike Mills can finally be heard again on bass and backups. Stipe's vocals are as rich and complex and scathing as ever, but for the first time in a decade he sounds like he believes every word. And finally, at long last, it feels like a human being is manning the drums again. It's exuberant, angry, joyous, wild - everything the last three albums, for all their deep and subtle rewards, were not. Superficially, this feels like the true successor to "New Adventures in Hi-Fi", or what that album itself might have been had the band bunkered down in the studio for a month rather than putting down tracks on the road. But in reality it's better. Ten years of studio-based experimentation and tweaking a new line-up have paid off. Tight, rich and consummately professional, the immediate loose-and-live feel of "Accelerate" is deceptive. This really is an exquisitely crafted album that repays close listening, just as the last three did for those of us who bothered. The crucial difference is that it ultimately feels less studied, less worried-over, less cautious - because it doesn't need to be. The band sound present, engaged, completely confident in their direction and abilities. Best of all, they sound like they're enjoying themselves again. And that joy is irresistible. No matter what your view of the last three albums (I liked them all), you've got nothing to complain about here. This kind of music really is what R.E.M. do best, and they deliver it in spades.


1. Living Well Is The Best Revenge
2. Man-Sized Wreath
3. Supernatural Superserious
4. Hollow Man
5. Houston
6. Accelerate
7. Until The Day Is Done
8. Mr. Richards
9. Sing For The Submarine
10. Horse To Water
11. I'm Gonna DJ