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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NEIL YOUNG


NEIL YOUNG
ON THE BEACH (1974)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

Sparse, underproduced, and at times downright dour, On the Beach was Neil Young's first studio album after Harvest had transformed him into a mainstream superstar two years before. It was a career move akin to "pissin' in the wind," as the artist himself describes life on one of the album's most famous lines. Young had already recorded the harrowing Tonight's the Night, his indictment of '60s drug culture and the damage done, but his label rejected it as too abrasive. So the artist gave them this instead. Less mournful but still haunting, the album is basically Young's rejection of rock stardom and what had become of the counterculture, covering a range of subjects, including Richard Nixon and Patty Hearst (the epic "Ambulance Blues"), his affair with actress Carrie Snodgrass ("Motion Pictures"), and, most famously, years before it became "chic" to do so, Charles Manson (the rocking "Revolution Blues"). "Vampire Blues," meanwhile, seemed to be about all those topics, as well as Young himself. Full of despair and little hope, On the Beach would nevertheless eventually come to be reappraised as a rock culture masterpiece.

1. Walk On
2. See The Sky
3. Revolution Blues
4. For The Turnstiles
5. Vampire Blues
6. On The Beach
7. Motion Pictures (For Carrie)
8. Ambulance Blues

ARNO & THE SUBROVNICKS


ARNO & THE SUBROVNICKS
WATER (1994)
320 KBPS

This album is not an Arno album and shouldn't be considered as such. It didn't get much praise from the critics when it was released and went almost unnoticed by the potential buyers. This may come as a surprise when considering Arno's reputation even in 1994 but one has to remember this was, for the Belgian singer/songwriter, a recreation from his solo career, and a good one at that!
Reuniting with some old friends from the TC Matic era, Arno has cooked a broken down rock and blues album which bears the influence of Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and Ian Dury. Yes, I know, that's quite an impressive list and the album lives to it.
True the production of Mike Butcher (better know for his work on Black Sabbath's Sabotage) helps pack it up nicely but it's Arno's talent that inhabits this electric feast and turns it into a work of Art. Not an easy one for sure, but certainly an album which will put a few smiles on a few faces.

1. Meet the Freaks
2. A Eux Je Montre Mon Derrière
3. I Couldn't Get Up
4. Hot Head
5. Freddy
6. The Smell of Roses
7. Watch Out Boy
8. Chicken Song
9. What the F. Is Going'on
10. I Am Still Allright
11. Rock Them Out
12. Women Beat
13. Mathilda

NOMEANSNO


NOMEANSNO
0+2=1 (1991)
320 KBPS

Nomeansno is an odd band from Vancouver, Canada, who sound like they're from San Francisco. Virtuoso musicians (old guys too), they play their own invented form of punk rock, which features choppy rhythms, bass slapping, avant-garde noodling, and wacky lyrics. 0 + 2 = 1 is among their most far-out records. The songs here are incredibly long and somewhat repetitive. They don't necessarily need to be as long as they are, but this is the band's style, and listeners will either dig it or not be able to stand it. Nomeansno counts many musicians among their fans, and plenty of punks. The opening song "Now" has a fine acoustic guitar riff, and "The Valley of the Blind" is maybe the punkest song on the record, and also a winner. "0 + 2 =1" is pretty weird, while the closing "Joyful Reunion" is an epic tune that is among their best. This record isn't a knockout like Wrong, but it has a lot of great moments.

1. Now
2. The Fall
3. 0 + 2 = 1
4. The Valley of the Blind
5. Mary
6. Everyday I Start to Ooze
7. When Putting It All In Order Ain't Enough
8. The Night Nothing Became Everything
9. I Think You Know
10. Ghosts
11. Joyful Reunion

PERIO


PERIO
MEDIUM CRASH (1999)
320 KBPS

Perio is a french duet formed by Sarah Froning and Eric Deleporte. Sarah and Eric met while playing in Françoise Breut's band, Squad Femelle. They released three albums on the now defunct Lithium label. Their music is a fresh, tasteful blend of indie rock best describes a subtle mix of Mercury Rev and Neil Young with the French-pop touch which gives 'em sort of an edge.
Sadly, this album, though a winner from begining to end, didn't get the duet the respect and fame they deserved. May it not kill your curiosity, you'd miss quite a little lost gem.

1. The Shore
2. Billboard (2)
3. Enemies For Life
4. Lopsided
5. No Western Land Fits Your Passion
6. Cut And Paste - Graceland
7. Sunday Painter
8. Dirt Supreme
9. Golden Burrito
10. Cahaba Heights
11. Charlie's Last Chance Club
12. Birthday Cake
13. Color Me Human
14. Billboard (1)

HORACE ANDY


HORACE ANDY
LIVING IN THE FLOOD (2000)
320 KBPS

Horace Andy is one of the true living legends of reggae, a great falsetto singer whose earliest work established a roots reggae foundation upon which numerous other singers would later build, and who has managed to continue to make vital and influential music throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century, largely thanks to his collaborations with the British trip-hop band Massive Attack. It's Massive Attack's Melankolic label that has given Andy a place to hang his hat, first with the career overview Skylarking, and now with an outstanding album of all-new material. The sound here is strictly roots, with real drums and horns (inexplicably, there are no musician credits), old-fashioned reggae grooves and cultural lyrics. Andy is singing as beautifully as ever (on every track except "True Love," which finds him painfully off pitch), and on such highlight tracks as "Juggling" and the epochal "Living in the Flood," you'd swear he was still in his 20s.

1. After All
2. Smiling Face
3. Juggling
4. My Lord
5. Seven Seals
6. Johnny Too Bad
7. Doldrums
8. Right Time
9. True Love
10. Living in the Flood
11. Girl of My Dreams
12. Some People
13. Don't Blame the Children

Monday, June 29, 2009

JOHNNY THUNDERS


JOHNNY THUNDERS
SO ALONE (1978)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

Following the drug-fueled implosion of the Heartbreakers, Johnny Thunders bounced back with his first solo outing, So Alone. Featuring a veritable who's who of '70s punk and hard rock — Chrissie Hynde, Phil Lynott, Peter Perrett, Steve Marriott, Paul Cook, and Steve Jones, among others — the record was a testament to what the former New York Dolls guitarist could accomplish with a little focus. Much like Thunders' best work with the Dolls and Heartbreakers, So Alone is a gloriously sloppy amalgam of R&B, doo wop, and three-chord rock & roll. Despite the inevitable excesses that plagued every Thunders recording session, Steve Lillywhite's solid engineering job and a superb set of songs hold everything together. A cover of the Chantays' classic instrumental "Pipeline" leads things off, and is a teasing reminder of what a great guitarist Thunders could be when he put his mind to it. The record's indisputable masterpiece is "You Can't Put Your Arms Round a Memory," a wrenching, surprisingly literate ballad in which Thunders seems to acknowledge that his junkie lifestyle has doomed him to the abyss. Songs like "Leave Me Alone," "Hurtin'," and the chilling title track continue the theme of life inside the heroin balloon. Fortunately, all this back-alley gloom is leavened by some memorably animated moments. "London Boys" is a scathing reply to the Sex Pistols' indictment of the New York punk scene, "New York." The funky "Daddy Rolling Stone" features the inimitable Lynott on background vocals, while the rave-ups "Great Big Kiss" and "(She's So) Untouchable" are terrific examples of Thunders' raunchy take on classic R&B. Sadly, Johnny Thunders never followed up on the promise of his solo debut. His subsequent records were a frustrating mix of drug-addled mediocrity and downright laziness. But for one brief moment, he seemed to put it all together. That moment is So Alone.

1. Pipeline
2. You Can't Put Your Arms Round A Memory
3. Great Big Kiss
4. Ask Me No Questions
5. Leave Me Alone
6. Daddy Rollin' Stone
7. London Boys
8. (She's So) Untouchable
9. Subway Train
10. Downtown
Bonus Tracks
11. Dead Or Alive
12. Hurtin'
13. So Alone
14. The Wizard

SIGUR RÓS


SIGUR RÓS
AGAETIS BYRJUN (1999)
320 KBPS

The Icelandic band Sigur Ros, by this point in their career, have redefined and expanded their sound enough times to completely avoid categorization. Are they rock? Are they ambient? Or are they simply some breed of sophisticated pop? The only thing for certain is that Sigur Ros aren't afraid of being themselves, and have an awe-inspiring artistic freedom. Throughout this sprawling sophomore album, Sigur Ros created possibly their most accessible and simultaneously memorable album of their careers. The strategy utilized on Ágætis Byrjun is the same that was used on Von and would be used on future albums () and Takk. That strategy is simple. More means more. Which is ironic, because the opening introduction track is exactly the melody that the listener would want expanded on to about five minutes. This may seem like a pretentious move, but many have mistaken Sigur Ros' all-over-the-place style and relentless experimentation for pretentiousness only to gradually realize that it is true beauty and the art of learning while writing songs. Really, it is quite impressive how consistent this album stays. The bands style here is to combine subtle atmospheric instrumentation with emotive, soaring melodies. These songs sound huge, both in length and in scope, and the result is surprisingly warm. This also sounds very unlikely, almost too good to be true. But what do you know, Sigur Ros pull it off, against all odds. From the opening Svefn-G-Englar, vocals are given extremely relaxed treatment and strings and a lovely melody is gradually explored. It's hard to believe it, but every track is standout. Around the middle, the album shifts into a more dark, melancholy mood for the extent of two songs, Ny Batteri and Hjartao Hamast, which help to make Ágætis Byrjun Sigur Ros' most representative album. The extent of my gruff is that the band repeats themselves a little here and there, but who doesn't like more of a good thing? Happy, sad, lovely, dark, bright, relaxing, urgent. Sigur Ros are all of these things and more on their many albums, and this is the one that just happens to be the best. Sigur Ros is a wonderful band with myriad wonderful sounds. Start here.

1. Intro
2. Svefn-G-Englar
3. Starálfur
4. Flugufrelsarinn
5. Ný Batterí
6. Hjartaõ Hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm)
7. Viõrar Vel Til Loftárasa
8. Olsen Olsen
9. Ágaetis Byrjun
10. Avalon

ZZ TOP


ZZ TOP
ANTENNA (1994)
320 KBPS

Like precious few bands from the '70s whose best work is mummified daily thanks to classic rock radio, ZZ Top just keeps rolling on into the next decade. There's much to love here, from the downright nasty stomp of "Fuzzbox Voodoo," the powerhouse slow blues of "Cover Your Rig," the bass-pumping looniness of "Girl in a T-Shirt," to the slow grind of "Breakaway." While Billy Gibbon's guitar tones on this album are highly reminiscent of Tres Hombres (an early high-water mark for the band), the high production sheen from their '80s albums remains intact. But Gibbons hasn't played with this much over-the-top abandon since their pre-beard 'n' babes days, and that's what separates this album from the three that came before it.

1. Pincushion
2. Breakaway
3. World of Swirl
4. Fuzzbox Voodoo
5. Girl In A T-Shirt
6. Antenna Head
7. PCH
8. Cherry Red
9. Cover Your Rig
10. Lizard Life
11. Deal Goin' Down
12. Everything

Sunday, June 28, 2009

[RE-UP] FISH


By request, here are 5 re-ups from FISH's back catalogue.Not all are as great as the classic albums (Vigil & Sunsets on Empire in case you were wondering) but they all have good moments and, anyway, FISH's solo works, unlike those of his ex-bandmates from Marillion, are always interesting enough not to be a waste of valuable time, so...Enjoy.


FISH
SONGS FROM THE MIRROR (1993)
320 KBPS

Recorded in Summer 1992, Songs From The Mirror was an album of cover versions and a tip of the hat from Fish to all the artists who had influenced, inspired and given him the confidence to enter the music scene.
Classic compositions by artists like The Who, Moody Blues, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Sandy Denny, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Argent and The Kinks are all included and given Fish's unique interpretation.
Recorded during a period when Fish had been in litigation with his previous record company, he needed a project to rediscover his love of music and also some time to regain confidence in his songwriting, so a return to his musical roots seemed the logical move.

1. Question
2. Boston Tea Party
3. Fearless
4. Apeman
5. Hold Your Head Up
6. Solo
7. I Know What I Like
8. Jeepster
9. Five Years


FISH
ACOUSTIC SESSIONS (1994)
320 KBPS

This is Fish. In the turmoil of screaming guitars, this is a new view of unplugged sessions. The man has a voice...the voice is a dream. The music is just backgroundfilling. Maybe this is a little harsh to the musicians, but the name Fish is on the cover, and he is the man on the foreground.

1. Lucky
2. Internal Exile
3. Kayleigh
4. Fortunes Of War
5. Dear Friend
6. Sugar Mice
7. Somebody Special
8. Jumpsuit City
9. Lady Let it Lie


FISH
FORTUNES OF WAR (1994)
320 KBPS

Initially sold as 4 different cds to fit the first box, this is one of Fish' singles from his 1994 album, "Suits". Here, you'll find a collection of live tracks both from his early years (Marillion) and from his solo career. A nice pack for the fans and a good live for others. Try it!

CD ONE
01. Fortunes Of War (Single Edit)
02. Somebody Special (Live, Norwich)
03. State Of Mind (Live, London)
04. Lucky (Live, Newport)

CD TWO
01. Fortunes of War (Live, London)
02. Warm Wet Circles (Live, Newport)
03. Jumpsuit City (Live, London)
04. The Company (Live, London)

CD THREE
01. Fortunes of War (Acoustic Session June '94)
02. Kayleigh (Live, London)
03. Internal Exile (Live, London)
04. Just Good Friends (Acoustic Session July '94)

CD FOUR
01. Fortunes of War (Acoustic Session July '94)
02. Sugar Mice (Live, London)
03. Dear Friend (Live, London)
04. Lady Let It Lie (Acoustic Session July '94)


FISH
RAINGODS WITH ZIPPOS (1999)
320 KBPS

"Raingods With Zippos" is yet another great installment in the musical life of the man we affectionately call FISH. Once again FISH is joined by Steve Wilson (PORCUPINE TREE) who adds some of absolutely amazing guitar solos and expressions. "Raingods With Zippos" is very much in the same vein as "Sunsets.." but perhaps just a bit more relaxed sounding. FISH seems to be able to time after time come up with new fresh ideas. "...Zippos" is superb music and has not been off my CD Player in some time. Standout track for me is FISH's epic (24 mins) "Plague Of Ghosts" which moves through many different mood swings making some real haunting impressions. Throughout FISH commands the attention of the listener and as always has lots to day about human nature. In a lot of ways "...Zippos" is a self-reflective album which creates massive nostalgia attacks.

1. Tumbledown
2. Mission Statement
3. Incomplete
4. Tilted Cross
5. Faithhealer
6. Rites Of Passage
Plague Of Ghosts:
7. (I) Old Haunts
8. (II) Digging Deep
9. (III) Chocolate Frogs
10. (IV) Waving At Stars
11. (V) Raingod's Dancing
12. (VI) Wake-Up Call (Make It Happen)


FISH
FELLINI DAYS (2001)
320 KBPS

Personally, I think this is an excellent Fish album. "3D" is great as an atmospheric and moody opener that really rocks out for the last four-plus minutes; "Tiki 4" is simply masterful, the accoustic guitar riff and smooth vocals make it so pleasant and joyous that I could listen to the song over and over all day long -- and I have; "Dancing in Fog" has a great flow to it, and I find I cannot help but feel an urge to dance to the beat (though the hip-hop remix of it is probably the worst thing Fish has ever produced!); "The Pilgrim's Address" is effective as an anti-war song (the line about "killing a man whose father loved him just like me" is especially haunting given the current state of world affairs); and "Clock Moves Sideways" is a powerful prog-rock closer reminiscent of the "Fugazi" sound (and not just because the word appears in the chorus at the end). I even like "Long Cold Day" -- it's great to listen to if you are going through an ugly breakup and feeling a bit bitter. What's good on "Fellini Days" is very, very good indeed and essential to any serious Fish fan. I highly recommend it.

1. 3D
2. So Fellini
3. Tiki 4
4. Our Smile
5. Long Cold Day
6. Dancing in Fog
7. Obligatory Ballad
8. Pilgrim's Address
9. Clock Moves Sideways

Saturday, June 27, 2009

JOHN ZORN (ELECTRIC MASADA)


JOHN ZORN
ELECTRIC MASADA
AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS (2005)

320 KBPS

John Zorn's At the Mountains of Madness presents two sets (Moscow, Ljubljana) recorded at the end of a lengthy European tour. The band is exactly the same as on The 50th Birthday Celebration, Vol. 4 and many of the same tunes are performed, but the performances actually feel very different. Perhaps there was something of wanting to put on a good show for the Europeans vs. playing comfortably at home in familiar surroundings (at Tonic), but this set is a good deal rowdier than the 50th Birthday Celebration. Certainly, the band is at the top of their game after all the touring, and everyone seems to have kicked up the energy a notch or two. There's a lot more conducted improvisation than on the previous Electric Masada release. Ikue Mori's laptop contributions seem to play a more prominent role, and Marc Ribot does some thoroughly deranged things with a delay (which haven't been heard on an album before). Jamie Saft and Zorn are also in fine form and the rhythm section is amazing, especially the dual drum attack of Kenny Wollesen and Joey Baron. Thanks to their improvisational skills, you hardly notice that the program is much the same on both discs. Score another one for John Zorn and company. At the Mountains of Madness is a winner.

Disc 1
1. Lilin
2. Metal Tov
3. Karaim
4. Hath-Arob
5. Abidan
6. Idalah-Abal
7. Kedem
8. Yatzar

Disc 2
1. Tekufah
2. Hath-Arob
3. Abidan
4. Metal Tov
5. Karaim
6. Idalah-Abal
7. Kedem

PARABELLUM


PARABELLUM
DENSE MICROSILLON A FAISCEAU
DE LUMIERE COHERENTE (1989)
320 KBPS

What a delightful little punk gem Parabellum is! Born in the 80s in Paris and signed to the 3rd historical label of the French 80s alternative rock scene, Gougnaf Mouvement, lead by singer/guitarist Schultz (also a founding member of Los Carayos), Parabellum were the perfect answer to late 70s English punk: they rocked just as well while still having that twist of "frenchless" which lead them to cover the anarchist prison song "Cayenne," re-write, in a punk fashion, the lyrics of Jacques Brel's legendary "Amsterdam" or cover the theme of a talking duck TV-children show "Saturnin".
Parabellum also had its share of classics of their own writing (La bombe et moi, Welcome to Paradise, Osmose 99, Anarchie en Chiraquie) which easily compete with the afformentioned covers, they just rocked!
This 21 songs compilation in fact is the whole of the band's recordings for Gougnaf. They were taken from their 2 multi-artists compilations, their 4 7", their 12" and their mini-lp recorded from 1984 to 1988 for the Parasian anarcho-punk faction.
The closest comparison I could do of Parabellum is telling you they were kind of like a rockier Sex Pistols fronted by a French Joe Strummer with a slice of humour and a solid French litterature background.
So okay now, you know just what you have to do to get a taste of the one and only PARABELLEMUM. Enjoy.

1. SVP 08 38
2. Momo (la petite balle du samedi soir)
3. La bombe et moi (1)
4. Père Noël
5. Doc bollocks
6. Stalag 27
7. Berceau néo caveau
8. Amsterdam
9. Welcome to Paradise
10. Papa
11. Cayenne
12. Kozak surboum
13. La bombe et moi (2)
14. Joyeux Noël
15. L'amour à 45 à l'heure
16. RIP
17. Osmose 99
18. Cherry Bomb
19. For You
20. Anarchie en Chiraquie
21. Saturnin

ATOMIC OPERA


ATOMIC OPERA
FOR MADMEN ONLY (1994)
320 KBPS

The third and least well-known band to emerge from Texan producer Sam Taylor's prog-metal stables (the first and second were King's X and the Galactic Cowboys, respectively), Atomic Opera bore most of his trademark sonic elements: chorused vocals, eloquent spiritual lyrics, complex stop-start riffs, and an impressive combination of melody and crunch. In fact, the band's first effort, For Madmen Only, pretty much breached the gap between the aforementioned bands, providing a slightly less ambitious take on King's X brilliantly colored soundscapes (see "Joyride" and "War Drum") while dabbling in the Cowboy's "thrashier" tendencies (as in "Justice"). They never quite manage either band's consistency, however, stumbling on the rather uneventful "All Fall Down" and completely striking out on the incredibly irritating "Achilles' Heel," which plods along for almost six minutes while wallowing in supposedly deep, but actually repetitively inane lyrics (think R.E.M.'s "Stand" to the power of ten). On the other hand, they concoct a near-perfect single with the excellent "I Know Better," and just barely miss the mark with the dreamy "This Side of the Rainbow." Further highlights include the intricate arrangements of "December," "Blackness," and the epic "New Dreams" -- an awe-inspiring piece which gradually develops into a nine minute hard rock bolero. In short, this is challenging stuff which takes repeated listens to sink in. It will likely appease the King's X crowd, but will prove a difficult meal for the unprepared.

1. Joyride
2. Justice
3. Achilles' Heel
4. I Know Better
5. All Fall Down
6. War Drum
7. Blackness
8. December
9. This Side of the Rainbow
10. New Dreams

Friday, June 26, 2009

NEIL YOUNG


NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE
AT THE FILLMORE 1970 (2006)
320 KBPS

For years, fans of Neil Young and Crazy Horse have been waiting for an official chance to hear Crazy Horse live with original leader Danny Whitten, the insanely talented guitarist who died of a heroin overdose in late 1972, inspiring Tonight's the Night. Tuned-in fans have been awaiting this very set for at least a dozen years, as it was originally to be tacked onto the end of a Decade-style triple CD of outtakes. Thankfully, this well-recorded live set from the infamous Fillmore East was well worth the wait. Here are scorching, extended takes of "Down by the River," "Winterlong," and "Cowgirl in the Sand," each propelled by guitar interplay so delightful you have to keep rewinding to hear it again. In fact, bits of it seem to prefigure the ways that Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine would feed off each other in the band Television, only with less of a sweet edge. But the world doesn't need any more arguments that Young was a proto-punk; what the world does need is at least a dozen more releases from Neil's archives! And hopefully, with this awesome live album, the floodgates have truly been opened and there are many more to come, in the vein of Dylan's Bootleg series. This disc is worth it alone for the version of "Wonderin'," a tune not officially recorded until many years later in Neil's weird '80s rockabilly phase.

1. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
2. Winterlong
3. Down by the River
4. Wonderin'
5. Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown
6. Cowgirl in the Sand

NEVERMORE


NEVERMORE
DREAMING NEON BLACK (1999)
320 KBPS

Definetely one my favourites Nevermore album, only second to Dead Heart in a Dead World. The album sets the tone, pace and feeling of the album, and so many emotions are provoked by the atmosphere of the album.
Warrel Dane is on top form, his vocals are haunting, perfect for the storyline, the Jeff Loomis fills in the gaps with some brilliantly heavy guitar work, the riffs are crushing and biting, the solo's merge into the songs so well, and the drums add to the pace and anger of the album.
Dreaming Neon Black stands out as the best song on the album, its slower than some of the other songs but the chorus is brutally powerful, Dane shines on this one... Deconstruction hit me as well as a good song, the intro is chilling. Other songs that are highlights, the moody 'lotus eaters', Cenotaph is unusually chilling, and Forever is perhaps the most depressing song put to speakers. All in all, a brutal metalfest that doesn't let up until the final note. Whether you like Nevermores style or not, this one is a winner!

1. Ophidian
2. Beyond Within
3. The Death of Passion
4. I am the Dog
5. Dreaming Neon Black
6. Deconstruction
7. The Fault of the Flesh
8. The Lotus Eaters
9. Poison Godmachine
10. All Play Dead
11. Cenotaph
12. No More Will
13. Forever

LUSCIOUS JACKSON


LUSCIOUS JACKSON
NATURAL INGREDIENTS (1995)
320 KBPS

Luscious Jackson's debut EP, In Search of Manny, was a hipster favorite, setting the band up perfectly for a breakthrough to a larger audience with its first full-length album, 1994's Natural Ingredients. Given the richness of Manny, it seemed like the group could go any number of ways. The road the band chose, unfortunately, was the least adventurous. Instead of exploring the debut's darker recesses, the band smoothed the surfaces and turned on the sunshine, resulting in a record significantly brighter than the debut, but also considerably less compelling. Although Manny never quite deviated from its homemade rap-rock template, it always felt unpredictable; here, the music starts with the sunny, bustling "Citysong" and stays in a similar funky alt-rock groove for the remainder of the album. It's an appealing sound, particularly for the summer, but it's also a little monotonous, particularly because the songwriting isn't nearly as strong as it was on the EP. There are a few exceptions to the rule — "Citysong" and "Deep Shag" both exploit this brighter sound well — but they're all pushed to the front of the record, and they're overshadowed by the rest of the record, which is all rather formless (even the sociopolitical posturing feels directionless, never resonating as strongly as the sketches of urban life from Manny). So, this is a groove record, where the feel and the rhythms matter more than the individual songs, which wouldn't be bad if the grooves had variety or grit. As it stands, it's a nice, listenable record, but ultimately a little forgettable, which is a considerable disappointment after the rich In Search of Manny, which had feel, varied grooves, imagination, and songs.

1. Intro
2. Citysong
3. Deep Shag
4. Angel
5. Strongman
6. Energy Sucker
7. Here
8. Intermission
9. Find Your Mind
10. Pele Merengue
11. Rock Freak
12. Rollin'
13. Surprise
14. LP Retreat

Thursday, June 25, 2009

[POLL] BENJAMIN BRITTEN


Hello People!

For this one I expect many comments as I'm asking for your opinion. I have a 37 cds boxset displaying the entire works of English XXth Century composer Benjamin Britten.
As you might imagine, that's quite a lot of work to upload so, I thought I could span it in a Moodswings Special week. I don't want to put it on line if too few people are interrested.
Tell me what you think and, if you want it, I'll post it sometimes in August.

Stay tuned.

Here's two videos so that you can make up your mind:








Also, the only gratification I get by doing this blog is your comments. Don't be shy, comment! It's always nice to read you.

WHITESNAKE


WHITESNAKE
COME AN' GET IT (1981)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

The band went into Startling Studios at the tail end of 1980/early 1981 and recorded one of the early greats alongside the classic 'Ready An' Willing'. Released in April 1981 and entering the UK chart at number 2 this was early Whitesnake (pre 'Slide It In' or the Marsden years) at their peak. The most gobsmacking tracks of this 100,000 seller were more often than not written solely by David Coverdale, an example of his ever growing prowess. This was a cock sure Whitesnake, confident from the success of 'Ready An' Willing', effortlessly knocking out vintage blues rock. Stand out tracks are in abundance; 'Child Of Babylon' (epic song showing off DC at his best, some of the most frightening singing you'll ever hear), the grooving title track and the monolithic anthem 'Don't Break My Heart Again' with its nod towards a more pop metal direction. As on 'Ready An' Willing' the Purple duo Jon Lord and Ian Paice, turned in solid professional performances. The fun blues boogie numbers 'Would I Lie To You' and 'Wine, Women An' Song' were brilliantly humorous and even more fun when played live! The stand out track for me however has to be 'Till The Day I Die' with it's superb vocal performance and lyric reminiscent of 'Ain't Gonna Cry No More' arguably the best pre 'Slide It In' track. Also of note is the typically old-school guitar work from Moody/Marsden throughout the album, especially on the song 'Hit An' Run' which given a bit more development in the chorus department could have been a classic. Neil Murray's bubbling basslines can also be heard throughout to great effect. The production by Martin Birch however, left a lot to be desired. The record sounds dry and flat compared to some of Whitesnake's contemporaries in the hard rock genre at the time.
As great an album as it was it was apparent that the 'Snakes had taken this style as far as it could go. To release another album like this would be resting on their laurels, hence the farce that became 'Saints and Sinners'. Some would say that this was the last great early 'Snakes record although others may point out that this was where the band had stopped progressing musically. It was time to shed a couple of skins...

1. Come an' Get It
2. Hot Stuff
3. Don't Break My Heart Again
4. Lonely Days, Lonely Nights
5. Wine, Women an' Song
6. Child of Babylon
7. Would I Lie to You
8. Girl
9. Hit an' Run
10. Till the Day I Die
Bonus Tracks
11. Child of Babylon (alternate version)
12. Girl (alternate version/rough mix)
13. Come an' Get It (rough mix)
14. Lonely Days, Lonely Nights (alternate version/rough mix)
15. Till the Day I Die (rough mix)
16. Hit an' Run (backing track)

CHEVAL DE FRISE


CHEVAL DE FRISE
FRESQUES SUR LES PAROIS SECRETES DU CRANE (2003)
320 KBPS

What can you do with an electro-acoustic guitar and drums? Cheval De Frise can make a whole wonderful insane album.
Cheval De Frise's music is an avant/math/noise-rock which is at times reminiscing Upsilon Acrux, Ruins and Don Caballero and yet they definitely have a sound of their own, easily identifiable and original.
A lot as Cheval De Frise manage to do in their albums and in this one in particular. Brilliantly going from the acoustic fast paced parts to the more twisted electric sounding ones; they manage to convey in their music vitality and complexity intertwined. It is fast-going, intense and determined, going forward all the time, without looking back or to the sides. It is a fantastic harmonious monologue-a-deux of the two musicians on their drums and acoustic and the electric guitar. It is not as weird as it might sound; rather the intensity of it might deter listeners and give a strong impression of hyper-complexity; this is indeed sophisticated and intricate but not as inaccessible as other avant-rock bands are. Rather it is quite accessible to my ears. They do show at times a hyper-fast typical math- rock characteristic a-la Don Caballero, but for the most part, the acoustic guitar is played ultra-fast which gives the chaotic impression a-la Ruins. I for one also feel that they have a good sense of melody, which may sound weird to people unfamiliar with this sort of style. However, this album would resemble even more other avant/math-rock bands if melody would not be part of it. The tunes here are as important as the complexity. This is not a stage to show only their skills as players, but also their talent as composers of a particular style that is more often than not, not associated with beauty. However, I find it is inherent to their sound. The electric guitar gives a good measure of variety to the intensity of the tracks; it also serves as good peaking point, a further climax in a multi-climatic track structure album. It also gives another dimension to the sound, keeping it from being too one dimensional. The album is made up of mostly short tracks, which goes well with this sort of style, and yet as I listen to it, there is a feel of continuity in a way that there is a sort of connecting thread linking the various tracks.
One thing that must be said: the musicianship is astonishing! The energy that the two musicians put into each track is amazing and probably equals that of entire albums of other bands. Both the guitar playing and the drumming are phenomenal; they are virtuosic, fast and accurate, passionate and jagged. This album is a delight to listen to not only for the music but also for this aspect, which is the brilliant playing.
This is a frantic ride, a fabulous avant-rock album that will please those looking for a rush and excellent fast and furious musicianship, highly recommended.

1. Lucarnes des Combles
2. Bora Lustrai
3. Le Puits
4. Deux Nappes Ductiles
5. Songes de Pertes de Dents
6. Fresques sur les Parois Secrètes du Crâne
7. L'Agonie dans le Jardin
8. Phosphorescence de l'Arbre Mort
9. IX
10. Chiendent

BLACK GRAPE


BLACK GRAPE
IT'S GREAT WHEN YOU'RE STRAIGHT...YEAH (1995)
320 KBPS

Pretty much a Happy Mondays continuation, but less frantic. 'Straight' was a big hit in the UK, and is a surprisingly successful album, mixing bizarre stream-of-consciousness narration with indie beats, a bit like The Fall but happier. It came out at the heigh of britpop and helped soundtrack the summer of '95, with 'Reverend Black Grape', 'In the Name of the Father' and 'Kellys Heroes' getting masses of airplay on the briefly funkified Radio One. They're all fun singles - lots of beats and guitars and samples with Shaun Ryder over the top and Bez probably dancing somewhere in the studio - and the rest of the album is just as well-crafted. 'A big day in the north' is an atmospheric sort-of-ballad, 'Tramazi Party' is a shout-along terrace-anthem that never was, and it peters out towards the end but is still good fun.
It shouldn't really work, but it does - Ryder can't sing in a conventional sense, he has a vocal range of one wobbly semitone, but his semi-rapping, semi-whining voice is amazingly soulful, and whilst dancer and hanger-on Bez doesn't even appear on the record his vibe seem to exude forth from the speakers. The production is deviously clever, putting the above into a professional framework, and it's basically the Happy Mondays, but more modern.

1. Reverend Black Grape
2. In The Name of the Father
3. Tramazi Parti
4. Kelly's Heroes
5. Yeah Yeah Brother
6. A Big Day in the North
7. Shake Well Before Opening
8. Submarine
9. Shake Your Money
10. Little Bob

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ALAIN SOUCHON


ALAIN SOUCHON
ULTRA MODERNE SOLITUDE (1988)
320 KBPS

Ultra Moderne Solitude probably is the album with which Alain Souchon went from post-teenage French pop chanson to the style he's nowadays known for (dandyesque romantic pop chanson... kinda.). Of course, that means lyrics and musics aren't as nicely naive as they used to be but, since the previous formula was running a little thin, it's quite a good news that this talented singer/songwriter managed to adapt and evolve.
There are some killer songs here: Les Cadors, Quand J'Serai KO, Dandy and, also a sweet duet with Jane Birkin (Comédie) and since the rest of the songs are almost up to those highlights, what you're having here is a strong, highly entertaining slice of French Chanson/Pop like it was done in the 80s, and very well done that is.

1. Ultra Moderne Solitude
2. Les Cadors
3. Quand J'serai KO
4. La Chanson Parfaite
5. Comédie
6. Dandy
7. J'attends Quelqu'un
8. La Beauté d'Ava Gardner
9. Normandie Lusitania
10. On se Cache des Choses

THE PAPER CHASE


THE PAPER CHASE
HIDE THE KITCHEN KNIVES (2002)
320 KBPS

On their second full-length release and third overall, Dallas' the Paper Chase (or the pAper chAse, as they like to have it spelled) have quite obviously made their best album to date. This four-piece has gotten through the occasional annoying traits that harried the group on previous outings, working out a series of songs that breathes success. While their first album, Young Bodies Heal Quickly, You Know was unique and creative, it was pestered by the lack of an appreciable structure, knowing that it wanted to be appreciated by a wider audience, yet still delving into the noise and chaos genres that bands such as Black Dice and Merzbow are known for. While those styles are great in and of themselves, it was obvious the pAper chAse were having identity problems. The situation continued to a lesser extent on their follow-up EP on Divot Records, CTRL-Alt-Del-U. The emphasis on rhythm and drive and a dedicated focus to direct the message with a more palatable approach has helped the band overcome any previous falterings to make a successful album of 13 manic, chaotic, and frantic songs. Utilizing samples, noise, and the occasional saxophone, this brilliant quartet has once again served up an album that delves into frontman John Congleton's panic-stricken mind. Hide the Kitchen Knives is quite clearly the pAper chAse at their best: pissed off, scared, panic-striken, and giving listeners one hell of a wonderful ride.

1. I Did a Terrible Thing
2. Where Have Those Hands Been?
3. I'm Gonna Spend the Rest of My Life Lying
4. A Nice Family Dinner for Once
5. Don't You Wish You Had Somemore
6. I Tried So Hard to Be Good
7. A Little Place Called Trust
8. Sleep with the Fishes
9. So, How Goes the Good Fight
10. God Forgive Us All
11. AliverAlungAkidneyAthumb
12. Drive Carefully, Dear
13. Out Come the Knives

LAIBACH


LAIBACH
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTARS (1996)
320 KBPS

Jesus Christ Superstars is a little different from the Laibach of the past. The hard industrial feel is still there on several songs but the album as a whole tends to lean towards a more heavy metal feel, lots of explosive guitar riffs and even a less electrical feel. Overall the album is very solid and well produced. The covers are still here (i.e. the title track and even a cover of Prince's "The Cross.") All in all a very good effort from this veteran industrial band from Slovenia.

1. God Is God
2. Jesus Christ Superstar
3. Kingdom of God
4. Abuse and Confession
5. Declaration of Freedom
6. Message from the Black Star
7. The Cross
8. To the New Light
9. Deus Ex MacHina

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DAVID BOWIE


DAVID BOWIE
SPACE ODDITY (1972)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

This 1969 release features David Bowie's first hit single, "Space Oddity," and sets the tone for the spacey Ziggy Stardust to come. But other than the title track, Space Oddity isn't a glam-rock album. For that phase, one must move ahead to 1970's The Man Who Sold the World. These folk-based tracks largely present Bowie as a surrealist singer-songwriter. The uncharacteristically bitter and sarcastic "Letter to Hermione" is the most impassioned track here, presenting, as it does, the angry side of this master of cool. While still earlier recordings are noted for their Anthony Newley affectations, Space Oddity is where the Bowie myth begins to take shape.

1. Space Oddity
2. Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed
3. Don't Sit Down
4. Letter to Hermione
5. Cygnet Committee
6. Janine
7. An Occasional Dream
8. Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud
9. God Knows I'm Good
10. Memory of a Free Festival

CURVE


CURVE
COME CLEAN (1997)
320 KBPS

Just as fans were beginning to wonder if the duo Curve would ever return from their self-imposed exile, they returned with their best album to date, Come Clean. Still combining largely electronic music with alternative hooks and lines, members Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia returned to a now-popular form of music they helped create years ago. Although the album's two best tracks had previously appeared on their late-1997 EP Chinese Burn (the title tracks from both the EP and the full-length), there are plenty of other strong tracks in attendance. "Something Familiar" may be the band's most melodically accessible track yet, while the extremely overdriven distortion and abrasive tones of "Dogbone" are just the opposite. Unlike many electronic bands, the duo makes it clear that they don't just go for musical overkill, as evidenced by the slow electronic groove contained in "Killer Baby," and the mid-paced dance-rock of "Cotton Candy." Come Clean is the welcome return of a band that deserved attention when it first appeared years ago, and may get it in the electro-friendly late '90s.

1. Chinese Burn
2. Coming Up Roses
3. Something Familiar
4. Dogbone
5. Alligators Getting Up
6. Dirty High
7. Killer Baby
8. Sweetback
9. Forgotten Sanity
10. Cotton Candy
11. Beyond Reach
12. Come Clean
13. Recovery

DREAM EVIL


DREAM EVIL
THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL (2004)
320 KBPS

By now I'm sure you know who Dream Evil are but just in case you don't I'll say this, cheesy metal with big name metal producer Fredrik Nordstrom, ex-Mercyful Fate/King Diamond drummer Snow Shaw, and guitarist of a million bands Gus G.
This new album is the obvious progression for Dream Evil. The band started out on Dragonslayer in 2002 playing straight up power metal with moments that harkened to the 80's that was much too cheesy for some (Heavy Metal Jesus anyone?). Last year the band came out with their new album, (less than a year since the first was released) Evilized, which pushed the more traditional 80's metal elements to the forefront, sounding less like Hammerfall and the like. Now here we have The Book of Heavy Metal, there is NO power metal here. Yes, that's right, none whatsoever.
This album is pure straight up 80's heavy metal. Think early 80's Judas Priest, with a heavy leaning towards British Steel with some touches of Manowar and Def Leppard (most notably the track Let's Make Rock). The lyrics are still cheesy as all hell too, I mean just look at Let's Make Rock, The Sledge, and the title track. The cheese isn't really a bad thing and I know I never hated that element of their music but I know MANY people who find the cheese element too overpowering.
Another thing to take notice of with this album is the lack of speed. There are no fast double bass songs here. For some this might make things a bit boring but there is still dynamics on the album and it never feels like the songs are running together.
I think this review is long enough already but just to give a bit better idea I'll say that with this album you will get a solid heavy metal album. From Judas Priest to Ozzy (some of the vocals in No Way) to even a touch of arena bands (Let's Make Rock).
It's a good, no frills heavy metal album that you can lose yourself in, headbang, and feel the power of metal.

1. The Book of Heavy Metal (March of the Metallians)
2. Into the Moonlight
3. The Sledge
4. No Way
5. Crusaders' Anthem
6. Let's Make Rock
7. Tired
8. Chosen Twice
9. M.O.M.
10. The Mirror
11. Only for the Night
12. Unbreakable Chain

Monday, June 22, 2009

GUY KLUCEVSEK


GUY KLUCEVSEK
DANCING ON THE VOLCANO (2009)
320 KBPS

Guy Klucevsek is an accordion virtuoso who is a rare combination of exceptional composer and exceptional performer. He has released or performed on dozens of marvelous recordings over many years, including work with Laurie Anderson, Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas, John Zorn, and Accordion Tribe, to name just a few. This may well be his best work yet.
Besides Guy on accordion and piano, this CD features Steve Elson on clarinet, bass clarinet and soprano sax; John Hollenbeck on drums and percussion; Pete Donovan on acoustic bass; and Alex Meixner on accordion. The band achieves an ensemble sound that is at once unique and familiar, transiting seamlessly in the interstices between conventional instumental genres like jazz, classical, and avant-garde. Eminently listenable, this album keeps revealing new layers of intricacy each time you play it. The music is beautiful, the performances are phenomenal. Highly recommended for anyone interested in new musical horizons.

1. March of the Lazy Prognosticators
2. Dancing on the Volcano
3. Amazing Graves - Part 1 Intro
4. Amazing Graves - Part 2 Waltz
5. Grooved Shoulders
6. Bone Dance
7. Night Traveler (After Mary Oliver)
8. The Man with the Rubber Head (A Waltz)
9. Meet Me on the Midway
10. Soft Landing
11. The Return of Lasse
12. Any Day Now
13. Closer by Far

RUSH


RUSH
RUSH (1974)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

Rush's roots were always blues based. Their idols were Cream, The Who, The Yardbirds, etc. This album is a prime example of these influences, it's very bluesy, and has no connection with the prog Rush was to become. Drummer John Rutsey, while no Neil Peart, still did a fantastic job with the music they did. Some complain that this album sounds too much like everything Led Zeppelin had ever done, sure there are example of similar sounding stuff, and I only find it to be a minor inconvenience. The mentionable tracks here are Finding My Way, In the Mood, What You're Doing, and the ever popular Working Man. Lifeson's guitar work was not as complex or intricate as it would come to, and Geddy's bass and vocal work was good but not as good as it would become. If you can get past the Zeppelinisms, then you can find an enjoyable album.

1. Finding My Way
2. Need Some Love
3. Take a Friend
4. Here Again
5. What You're Doing
6. In the Mood
7. Before and After
8. Working Man

THE AUTEURS


THE AUTEURS
AFTER MURDER PARK (1995)
320 KBPS

For years, The Auteurs have stood apart from the growing maelstrom of Brit pop. Sure, they're English and Luke Haines writes what could be called pop songs, but they just don't fit the mold. They're the square pegs who look askance at the round holes of formula. That may be why they chose to have Steve Albini produce this. The Auteurs sound good here--strong, crunchy. Some muscle has replaced the feyness of their previous releases, as if they've been spending time at the musical gym. It helps that Luke's songwriting keeps improving, and he's looking outside himself for subjects. James Banbury's cello and Hammond organ have become fully integrated into the sound and they're not afraid of dragging in strings and horns. But when you get down to it, the song's the thing, and Luke's written some beauts. "Unsolved Child Murder" could almost be the younger, darker cousin of "Eleanor Rigby." "Light Aircraft on Fire" and "The Child Brides" fairly crackle. They'll never be Oasis, or even Pulp, but they don't want to be. The Auteurs have finally established a real identity of their own.

1. Light Aircraft on Fire
2. Child Brides
3. Land Lovers
4. New Brat in Town
5. Everything You Say Will Destroy You
6. Unsolved Child Murder
7. Married to a Lazy Lover
8. Buddha
9. Tombstone
10. Fear of Flying
11. Dead Sea Navigators
12. After Murder Park

Sunday, June 21, 2009

ORNETTE COLEMAN


THE ORNETTE COLEMAN QUARTET
THIS IS OUR MUSIC (1960)
320 KBPS

Never has a title been more accurate than the Ornette Coleman Quartet's This Is Our Music. With Coleman in the lead, the legendary quartet (which also included bassist Charlie Haden, trumpeter Don Cherry, and drummer Ed Blackwell) literally created a new "harmolodic" jazz language that destroyed popular conventions of harmony, melody, and rhythm. It's an accepted concept that Coleman still uses today, but it was never more controversial than when the band cut this music in 1960. Even though Coleman fans can find the material that made up this album on Rhino's Beauty Is a Rare Thing box set, this is the first time that the original landmark album is available domestically on CD in its original format. Unfortunately, there is no new deluxe packaging or additional material, but the music has been remastered to give this album its best production values ever. Released on the Sepia-Tone archive label, this reasonably priced reissue is required listening for any fan of adventurous jazz.

1. Blues Connotation
2. Beauty Is A Rare Thing
3. Kaleidoscope
4. Embraceable You
5. Poise
6. Humpty Dumpty
7. Folk Tale

NOIR DESIR


NOIR DESIR
ONE TRIP, ONE NOISE (1998)
320 KBPS

"One Trip, One Noise" is a remix album by French rock superstars Noir Désir. As always with this kind of projects, there are hits and misses among the tracks. Gladly, the heights are good enough so that the lows doesn't matter much.
Among the killer tracks here, you'll find the dub oriented "One Trip, One Noise" (courtesy of Treponem Pal), the passionate strings of A Ton Etoile cooked by Yann Tiersen, the almost jazzesque "Lolita Nie en Bloc" or the frantic chaos indie-noise rockers Sloy have made of Les Ecorchés.
Overall, as remixes album go, "One Trip, One Noise" is entertaining enought so that everybody will find something worthy of attention.

1. One Trip One Noise [Treponem Pal Mix]
2. Oublie [Replicant Mix]
3. Fin de Siècle (G.L.y.O.) [Andrej Mix]
4. Le Fleuve (A.M.P.) [mix]
5. A L'Arrière des Taxis [Al Comet Mix]
6. Tostaky [Gus Gus Mix]
7. Lolita Nie en Bloc [Anna Logik Mix]
8. Á Ton Étoile [Yann Tiersen Mix]
9. Lazy [Zend Avesta Mix]
10. Septembre en Attendant (Un Jour Á Belgrade) [Andrej Mix]
11. Tostaky [Telepopmusik Mix]
12. Les Écorchés [Sloy Mix]
13. 666.667 Club [Tilos Clan Mix]

HÖYRY-KONE


HÖYRY-KONE
HUONO PARTURI (1997)
320 KBPS

So now I finally managed to grab this crazy finnish guys after I learnt to love their heirs Alamaailman Vasarat since quite a while. Don't worry Hugues you spelled it correctly. I had always problems with asking somebody whether he knows them. Huono Parturi was their second album and supposed to be their more mature one (haven't listened to their debut unfortunately).
It starts with a gregorian chant where we can admire the awesome tenor vocals of Topi Lehtipuu. Second track comes almost like an explosion with an incredibe heavyness and really fantastic cello and violin. Karhunkaato is a bit weird one, as well rather heavy and with vocals again. The devil's ride through the madhouse continues with the following tracks. Crazy but they manage all the time to keep it still within a listenable and enjoyable frame. Just an awesome mix of different styles like chamber music, Zheul, Crimson, Metal and whatever else. Almost impossible to describe, you have to listen to this stuff. But as Jimbu wrote already, if you're not used to stuff like Alamaailman Vasarat or even tougher, better check it before buying.
An absolute must-have for any open-minded and adventurous music fan.

1. Beata Viscera
2. Terva-Antti Ku Häihin Lähti
3. Karhunkaato
4. Lumisaha
5. Baksteri
6. Huono Parturi
7. Ullakon Lelut
8. Tottele
9. Kala
10. Laahustaja
11. Laina-Ajalla

BLACK STONE CHERRY


BLACK STONE CHERRY
FOLKLORE AND SUPERSTITION (2008)
320 KBPS

Black Stone Cherry evoke a sense of warmth and community on Folklore and Superstition, the Kentucky quartet’s sophomore release. Led by frontman Chris Robertson, the band members address love, sex, war, family and ghost stories in their Southern-style hard rock that expertly segues from swamp rock to piano ballads to soulful sing-along numbers. It’s a highly versatile collection with many high points.

1. Blind Man
2. Please Come In
3. Reverend Wrinkle
4. Soulcreek
5. Things My Father Said
6. The Bitter End
7. Long Sleeves
8. Peace Is Free
9. Devil's Queen
10. The Key
11. You
12. Sunrise
13. Ghost of Floyd Collins

Friday, June 19, 2009

ALAIN SOUCHON


ALAIN SOUCHON
C'EST COMME VOUS VOULEZ (1985)
320 KBPS

With his 7th album, Alain Souchon gets closer to rock than he ever did before. The arrangements of Michel Coeuriot perfectly fit the sensitive, elegant songwriting of Souchon. As usually, his friend Laurent Voulzy wrote a few musics in here like, for example, "J'veux du Cuir", one of the album's winner. Other highlights include the cinematic "La Ballade de Jim", the Loui Chedid co-written "Vous êtes lents" the gorgeous "Portbail" or the title track, "C'est Comme Vous Voulez" but all the songs are actually quite good.
While he was already well known and successful with his previous works, this album surely defined What Souchon was to become: a leading figure that ultimately influenced the new chanson scene which appeared in the 90s. A must try.

1. C'est Comme Vous Voulez
2. Faust
3. Les Jours Sans Moi
4. La Vie Intime Est Maritime
5. Portbail
6. La Ballade De Jim
7. Pays Industriels
8. Pourquoi Tu T'prépares
9. J'veux Du Cuir
10. Vous Êtes Lents

IQ


IQ
EVER (1993)
320 KBPS

IQ has been one of my all time favorite neo-prog bands and rates on an equal footing to the likes of MARILLION, PALLAS and PENDRAGON in my opinion. Ever is certainly the pinnacle album to have from IQ as it blends all elements delivering a well balanced, full concept like album. Musicianship is exceptionally high here with some great guitar/bass interplay covered by detailed, dark, symphonic synths which are surrounded by the detailed and solid drumming/percussion of Paul Cook. Peter Nichols delivers a solid vocal workout as well and brings in my opinion his best to the band here.

1. The Darkest Hour
2. Fading Senses:
I. After All
II. Fading Senses

3. Out Of Nowhere
4. Further Away
5. Leap Of Faith
6. Came Down

WOODY HERMAN


WOODY HERMAN
THE RAVEN SPEAKS (1972)
256 KBPS

In the 60s and 70s, Woody was always trying out new things with varied results. As a result, the pop arrangements on this album sound a bit dated today, but the jazz-oriented material sounds great no matter what the decade. High points are Alan Broadbent's "Reunion At Newport," "Bill's Blues," and Tony Klatka's interesting reworking of "Watermelon Man." Coincidentally, all three of those tunes feature solos by the underrated trumpeter Bill Stapleton. Pat Martino is also on the album but unfortunately doesn't solo.
It's all typical Woody, and any fans of the Herd will enjoy this outing.

1. Fat Mama
2. Alone Again (Naturally)
3. Watermelon Man
4. It's Too Late
5. Raven Speaks
6. Summer of '42
7. Reunion at Newport 1972
8. Bill's Blues

NEVERMORE


NEVERMORE
ENEMIES OF REALITY (2003)
320 KBPS

Enemies of Reality is an amazing successor to "A Dead heart in a dead world". It’s way different than any other Nevermore album. It sounds way heavier and groovy. Warrel's vocals and Loomis's guitar work is spectacular in this album. The opening track "Enemies of Reality" is a killer. The opening riff is mind blowing. Jeff puts out 3 outstanding solos in the song. The chorus of the song is catchy and addicting. Ambivalent is rather boring but Warrels vocals save this songs dignity. Never Purify has a rather poor start. I personally don’t like songs starting of with vocals, but in this song it keeps significance. Tomorrow Turned Into Yesterday is slow but yet good. Its an average song nothing really worth mentioning about it, I Voyager has a sick solo on it. That made the whole song worth it. Create the infinite is another good track. Who Decides sort of reminds me of the old Nevermore and has its own sound. Noumenon, this song is disgusting. I have no idea why this song was put in. It’s long, boring and slow. Seed Awakening has some sick riffs by Loomis done on it. Warrel's vocals are ok but the guitar and drum work is spectacular.

1. Enemies of Reality
2. Ambivalent
3. Never Purify
4. Tomorrow Turned Into Yesterday
5. I, Voyager
6. Create the Infinite
7. Who Decides
8. Noumenon
9. Seed Awakening

Thursday, June 18, 2009

FREDDIE HUBBARD


FREDDIE HUBBARD
BACKLASH (1967)
320 KBPS

To jazz fans under the age of 30, the name Freddie Hubbard probably won't signify a superstar. From the 1960s to the late 1980s, however, he was the third-best trumpeter in the music (behind Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis). Illness triggered a decline in the 1990s, but, thankfully, there are still numerous reissues that recall his greatness. Backlash, from 1966, finds the former member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in a jazz-R&B hybrid mood with pianist Albert Dailey, drummer Otis Ray Appleton, saxophonist/flutist James Spaulding, and percussionist Ray Barretto. Technically, Hubbard's robust Clifford Brown-influenced chops are in full effect. "On the Que Tee," "Up Jumped Spring," and the title track all reflect the soulful spell of Lee Morgan's hit "Sidewinder." But this date is best remembered for giving the world the first version of Hubbard's lovely jazz standard "Little Sunflower." With the lilting Latin tinges provided by Barretto, Hubbard floats above those rhythms with lyrical ease, reminding us of the majesty of his music.

1. Backlash
2. The Return Of The Prodigal Son
3. Little Sunflower
4. On The Que-Tee
5. Up Jumped Spring
6. Echoes Of Blue

RUSH


RUSH
CARESS OF STEEL (1975)
320 KBPS

After heavily displaying their influences throughout their first two albums, Rush decided on Caress of Steel that it was time to break away from the pack. And seemingly at the same time, Neil Peart's lyrical genius really began to shine through for the first time. This is the first great Rush album, and I have no idea how so many people have overlooked it. As always, the band's playing is stunning (though it would get to be even more so in following years), and their great song ideas were really starting to come through. While the group's compositions would still get better with their next few albums, these were the first signs of their brilliance, and it blows away their first two records.
"Bastille Day" is a fantastic rocker with very meaningful and direct lyrics. The riffs are more powerful than anything they'd done up to that point, and Geddy's vocals are at their most agressive. "I Think I'm Going Bald' may have a catchy riff, but it's really somewhat of an unremarkable, goofy track. This is more than made up for by the mellow "Lakeside Park", which is extremely well performed, and really just a very enjoyable track. However, it's after these three songs that the record gets ambitious. "The Necromancer" is their first 10+ minute song, and while it has some great moments and does a fantastic job at establishing different moods, the narraration really causes me to lose some interest in the track. Still, some of Alex Lifeson's best early guitar work can be found on this track, and it's well worth the time it takes to listen to it. However, it gets blown out of the water by their first sidelong track, the stunning "Fountain of Lamneth". While it doesn't flow seamlessly like their later epics, the band is in top form for the entire thing, and never has Geddy's high pitched screaming worked so well. Add Neil Peart's brilliantly descriptive lyircs to the equation, as well as the always flawless guitar work of Alex Lifeson, and you've got yourself a hell of a song. It doesn't drag at any point, and it made it extremely obvious that Rush had great things ahed of them.
I'm one of the select few who actually preffers Caress of Steel to 2112. While 2112 has one stunning track and then a whole side of mediocre ones, Caress is fairly consistent, and really shows the band coming into their own in every sense. While I don't suggest making it one of your first Rush albums, don't be concerned that you won't like it either.

1. Bastille Day
2. I Think I'm Going Bald
3. Lakeside Park
4. The Necromancer:
I) Into The Darkness
II) Under The Shadow
III) Return Of The Prince
5. The Fountain Of Lamneth:
I) In The Valley
II) Didacts And Narpets
III) No One At The Bridge
IV) Panacea
V) Bacchus Plateau
VI) The Fountain

SLOY


SLOY
PLANET OF TUBES (1996)
320 KBPS

This, my friends, is one of the best bands ever created in France. One of the rare bands we French people can be proud of. Nothing less.
Shellac, Rapeman, Big Black or also Devo lovers will be fond of this album of crazy noise rock. Idolize and Chocolate Sperm tracks are opening the album : that's it, welcome to Sloy's World. I can't explain precisely with technical words (I'm French, hey) but if you like big sounds from whipping snare drums, noisy side of guitars and bass guitars directly inspired by the Stranglers, then this is for you. You'll appreciate the production by Steve Albini (yeah, the big one), giving this not-so-famous band a role in first parts of Shellac gigs and PJ Harvey's tours.
Believe me, even if it's not as excellent as their first album, it's very good anyway.
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1. Idolize
2. Chocolate Sperm
3. Bull
4. Air
5. Spraying With 1.6 KHZ
6. Red
7. Saw
8. Eat Your Toy
9. Lick Me
10. Tubes
11. Arms

RAE & CHRISTIAN


RAE & CHRISTIAN
NORTHERN SULPHURIC SOUL (1998)
320 KBPS

Northern Sulphuric Soul features the duo navigating the slender divide between jazzy hip-hop, mid-tempo nu-soul, and mainstream house. Nine of the thirteen tracks feature guest vocalists, from Texas and Veba (the latter a Rae & Christian regular) to the Jungle Brothers, Jeru the Damaja, and JVC Force. Surprisingly, R&C are equally masterful on the dance tracks and the hip-hop cuts; though most of the songs aren't exactly barnburners, it's obvious that every aspect of these productions have been labored over. Dance listeners can always count on deep basslines, but hardly ones that are as intricate as they are on Northern Sulphuric Soul.

1. Divine Sounds
2. Anything You Want
3. Swansong (For A Nation)
4. Now I Lay Me Down
5. The Hush
6. All I Ask
7. Swimming Pool
8. Fool
9. Catch A Rude Awakening
10. Play On (Grand Central)
11. Bring The Drama
12. Flip The Mic
13. Spellbound

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ME'SHELL NDEGEOCELLO


ME'SHELL NDEGEOCELLO
BITTER (1999)
320 KBPS

Bitter is an appropriate title for Me'Shell Ndegéocello's third album. Inspired by a torturous romantic relationship, Bitter surges with emotions, and most of them are shaded with regret, remorse, or bitterness. Undoubtedly, the relationship was painful, but it has given Ndegéocello an artistic focus missing on her two previous albums. It provides a sorrowful, meditative emotional template that she matches with moody, slow songs that flow into each other. It's the kind of album that demands close listening, otherwise it has the tendency to fade into the background. For some listeners, concentrated listening may be a little difficult, given the bleak emotions of the music, but Ndegéocello's subtle songcraft truly reveals itself upon close inspection. And, with repeated plays, Bitter reveals itself as the most personal — and in many ways, most rewarding — album of her career.

1. Adam
2. Fool Of Me
3. Faithful
4. Satisfy
5. Bitter
6. May This Be Love
7. Sincerity
8. Loyalty
9. Beautiful
10. Eve
11. Wasted Time
12. Grace

DAVID BOWIE


DAVID BOWIE
HUNKY DORY (1971)
320 KBPS

The precursor to Bowie's masterpiece, The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory points in many of the same musical directions as Ziggy, with Bowie camping it up outrageously through a mixture of cabaret piano, coquettish lyrics and soaring vocals. After the hard rock "The Man Who Sold The World", Mick Ronson's guitar is turned down in favour of plenty of piano and acoustic guitar, as Bowie proves his mettle as a masterful singer-songwriter. Not a dull note is struck on the whole album, which flits from opener "Changes" to the vampy "Oh! You Pretty Things" to the heart-wrenching "Life On Mars?" with a seemingly impeccable ear for a tune. Flirty, sexy and irresistibly seductive.

1. Changes
2. Oh! You Pretty Things
3. Eight Line Poem
4. Life On Mars?
5. Kooks
6. Quicksand
7. Fill Your Heart
8. Andy Warhol
9. Song For Bob Dylan
10. Queen Bitch
11. The Bewlay Brothers

GRYPHON


GRYPHON
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE (1974)
320 KBPS

The definitive album from these lads, although I have a soft spot for their debut album. Start with this one (as there are no weak moments) and then proceed to later stuff if one is into Yes and the earlier stuff if one likes folk, pre-renaissance or medieval music. Some of the traditional/fundamentalist folkies must have really been disappointed with this one , but 25 years later , this seems like a logical successor to Midnight Mushrumps. Four tracks all around the 10 min area with diverse amount of rock instrument makes this almost a fusion album (not in jazz-rock terms , though) and greatly improved songwriting techniques are the main reasons for the vast improvement on their previous works.
Much recommended to anyone loving acoustic music , with a severely different feel than your average prog album.

1. Opening Move
2. Second Spasm
3. Lament
4. Checkmate

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

WHITESNAKE


WHITESNAKE
SAINTS & SINNERS (1982)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

What a difference a year makes. After releasing the thoroughly disappointing Come an' Get It, Whitesnake made up for it in spades with 1982's excellent Saints & Sinners, their best record yet. Perhaps it was the arrival of new guitarist Mel Galley (replacing founding member Bernie Marsden) that re-energized the band. The dull, midtempo numbers of recent years were largely gone, replaced by rowdy bursts of bluesy aggression like "Rough an' Ready," "Bloody Luxury," and the downright nasty "Young Blood." David Coverdale also reached new heights with the astounding heavy blues of "Crying in the Rain" (a lyrical relative to Elmore James' "The Sun Is Shining" if there ever was one) and the timeless power ballad "Here I Go Again." Most Americans only came to know these songs when they were butchered into ridiculous power metal five years later, but for true Whitesnake fans, these original versions make Saints & Sinners well worth seeking out.

1. Young Blood
2. Rough An' Ready
3. Bloody Luxury
4. Victim Of Love
5. Crying In The Rain
6. Here I Go Again
7. Love An' Affection
8. Rock An' Roll Angels
9. Dancing Girls
10. Saints An' Sinners
Bonus Tracks
11. Young Blood (monitor mix/early vocals)
12. Saints An' Sinners (monitor mix/early vocals)
13. Soul Survivor (unfinished, unreleased song)

CHEVAL DE FRISE


CHEVAL DE FRISE
CHEVAL DE FRISE (2000)
320 KBPS

What can you do with an electro-acoustic guitar and drums? Cheval De Frise can make a whole wonderful insane album.
Cheval De Frise's music is an avant/math/noise-rock which is at times reminiscing Upsilon Acrux, Ruins and Don Caballero and yet they definitely have a sound of their own, easily identifiable and original.
A lot as Cheval De Frise manage to do in their albums and in this one in particular. Brilliantly going from the acoustic fast paced parts to the more twisted electric sounding ones; they manage to convey in their music vitality and complexity intertwined. It is fast-going, intense and determined, going forward all the time, without looking back or to the sides. It is a fantastic harmonious monologue-a-deux of the two musicians on their drums and acoustic and the electric guitar. It is not as weird as it might sound; rather the intensity of it might deter listeners and give a strong impression of hyper-complexity; this is indeed sophisticated and intricate but not as inaccessible as other avant-rock bands are. Rather it is quite accessible to my ears. They do show at times a hyper-fast typical math- rock characteristic a-la Don Caballero, but for the most part, the acoustic guitar is played ultra-fast which gives the chaotic impression a-la Ruins. I for one also feel that they have a good sense of melody, which may sound weird to people unfamiliar with this sort of style. However, this album would resemble even more other avant/math-rock bands if melody would not be part of it. The tunes here are as important as the complexity. This is not a stage to show only their skills as players, but also their talent as composers of a particular style that is more often than not, not associated with beauty. However, I find it is inherent to their sound. The electric guitar gives a good measure of variety to the intensity of the tracks; it also serves as good peaking point, a further climax in a multi-climatic track structure album. It also gives another dimension to the sound, keeping it from being too one dimensional. The album is made up of mostly short tracks, which goes well with this sort of style, and yet as I listen to it, there is a feel of continuity in a way that there is a sort of connecting thread linking the various tracks.
One thing that must be said: the musicianship is astonishing! The energy that the two musicians put into each track is amazing and probably equals that of entire albums of other bands. Both the guitar playing and the drumming are phenomenal; they are virtuosic, fast and accurate, passionate and jagged. This album is a delight to listen to not only for the music but also for this aspect, which is the brilliant playing.
This is a frantic ride, a fabulous avant-rock album that will please those looking for a rush and excellent fast and furious musicianship.

1. Connexion Monstrueuse Entre un Objet et Son Image
2. Noblesse De l'Echec (1)
3. Constructions d'Ecorces d'Arbres
4. Langue Hastee
5. Lundi Deux Mars
6. Un Pont et des Eaux Noires Limoneuses
7. Incline Et Chenu
8. Le Feu, Le Lin et la Bougie
9. Les Canaux Sont Ouverts, Les Moustiques Meurent, Le Monstre Disparait
10. Mille Courbettes Cheval De Frise
11. Douche Froide, Harmonium Cheval De Frise
12. Le Vestibule des Laches Cheval De Frise
13. Noblesse de l'Echec (2)