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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SCORPIONS


SCORPIONS
VIRGIN KILLER (1976)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

Recorded just before the band began cranking out their earliest hits on classic albums like Lovedrive and Animal Magnetism, Virgin Killer is the first of four studio releases that really defined the Scorpions and their urgent metallic sound that was to become highly influential. While there are no tracks recognizable to the casual fan like "Blackout" and "Another Piece of Meat," on Virgin Killer, serious fans of the group treasure this 1977 collection. Some all-time Scorpions standouts like "Pictured Life" and the title cut have all the necessary guitar chops and fierce falsetto melodies to get even the most jaded heavy metal old-timer teary eyed with nostalgia. Perhaps Virgin Killer isn't as focused as the brilliant Lovedrive or as tuneful as either Animal Magnetism or Blackout, but the group's trademark enthusiasm (the single element that separated and defined them, especially during the occasionally over-serious days of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal) and dexterity shines through on this near-historic heavy metal collection.

1. Pictured Life
2. Catch Your Train
3. In Your Park
4. Backstage Queen
5. Virgin Killer
6. Hell Cat
7. Crying Days
8. Polar Nights
9. Yellow Raven

FAD GADGET


FAD GADGET
GAG (1984)
256 KBPS

The listener knows he or she is in for a surprise after seeing singer Frank Tovey covered in feathers on the front cover. It says something about insanity and madness, yet Tovey stands there with his arms up, embracing it all.
And he does embrace everything on Gag with a wit and humor all his own. The opening track Ideal World is a great synth romp with its loud roar of synthesizers and politically charged vocals. "The sun never shines in an Ideal World" is just a taste of Tovey's cynical verbatim that intrudes in nearly all of Gag's tracks.
Highlights include Ideal World, Collapsing New People, Jump, and the infectious Ad Nauseum, the album's finale, delivering a series of sick, twisted synthesized arrangements (recognizeable in many modern industrial recordings) mixed with Tovey's sardonic commentary about society, aptly summed up by one of Tovey's best lines on the album: "I choke on the gag, but I don't get the joke."
This one's worth it, not only for Tovey's true talent, a mixture of social illness and true ingenuity, but also for the influence this album and Fad Gadget's other works have had on other artists.

1. Ideal World
2. Collapsing New People
3. Sleep
4. Stand Up
5. Speak to Me
6. One Man's Meat
7. Ring
8. Jump
9. Ad Nauseam

SUEDE


SUEDE
HEADMUSIC (1999)
320 KBPS

Coming Up was every bit the triumphant comeback Brett Anderson and company were expecting and it was a terrific little record, but it did suggest that Suede had begun to reach the limits of Ed Buller's production ideas, while also feeling a little superficial. The very fact that its sequel was produced by Steve Osbourne, the man behind classics LPs from New Order and Happy Mondays, suggested they were returning to the dark undercurrents of their first two records, yet, Head Music is Coming Up, Pt. 2. Working with Osbourne has added some vague elements of electronic and dance music to Suede's signature sound, but these primarily manifest themselves in the form of gurgling analog synths and canned, old-school drum machines. Essentially, they're just window-dressing, since the songs themselves are extensions of the glam flash of Coming Up. While that hardly qualifies as an artistic progression, it hardly qualifies as a bad album either, and they've never sounded quite as unself-conscious as they do here. Suede even gets downright silly at times, whether it's the goofy puns of the title track or the ridiculously intoxicating stomp "Elephant Man." It's hard not to miss early Suede — the psychedelic "Indian Springs" comes close to capturing the feel, but it's bright, not menacing, and the ballads are pretty, not majestic — but even in this streamlined incarnation, nobody does this kind of trash pop as alluringly as Suede. Nobody can turn out a single as thrilling as "Electricity," nobody can grind out sex'n'drugs anthems as electrifying as "Can't Get Enough," or swoon as fetchingly as "She's in Fashion." When it comes down to it, nobody makes cheap sleaze sound so alluring.

1. Electricity
2. Savoir Faire
3. Can't Get Enough
4. Everything Will Flow
5. Down
6. She's in Fashion
7. Asbestos
8. Head Music
9. Elephant Man
10. Hi-Fi
11. Indian Strings
12. He's Gone
13. Crack in the Union Jack

THIRD EYE


THIRD EYE
HARDWARE (1994)
320 KBPS

The clear attraction of this, yet another Bill Laswell 90's era ex-Parliament mutation here, is funk giants Bootsy Collins and Buddy Miles together, who come right out the gate on "Got A Feelin'" with such ferocious groove and laid-back bad intent, the rest of the album can't possibly hope to compete. Even if you don't dig the vibe of this album, Buddy is going to get your attention for sure right around 0:45 of this lost Band of Gypsies track. All three musicians are magnificent here, "Sugah Bear" Miles wailing like a banshee, Bootsy and Salas driving it HARD and then bringing the song back into a nice little blues jam at the end, which Stevie proceeds to slowly chew to pieces, like a hungry blues bobcat. There are two clear Bootsy-dominated tracks, the slinky space sounds on "Hard Look," and the hard funk of "Leakin" where Collins also takes a vocal turn. Revisiting this album after a few years, its clear that Salas is the underappreciated element here. A well-traveled player who does not have nearly the pedigree of his bandmates, he nonethess holds his own, providing a very low-key presence and driving these monster funk excursions with sure-footed riffing, sweet Hendrixy tones, and respectful, low-key solos. Elsewhere he does a nice Electric Ladyland impersenation on "500 Years". Producer Bill Laswell and Salas's mix is nice and raw, especially around the kit, with some trademark Laswell psychadelic touches. Just for good measure there Gary Mudbone Cooper, and George Clinton add some vocal touches. Fans of Hendrix, any incarnation or refraction of P-Funk, and driving soulful hard rock are going to want to give this a listen. If you're lucky enough to find a copy of this out-of-print gem, don't even think about it, just buy it. And crank it.

1. Got a Feelin'
2. Waiting on You
3. What's Goin' Down
4. Love Obsession (When the Eagle Flies)
5. Hard Look
6. Shake It
7. Walls Came Down
8. 500 Years
9. Tell Me
10. Leakin'

BLOC PARTY


BLOC PARTY
A WEEKEND IN THE CITY (2007)
320 KBPS

From the post-post-punk of their early EPs to Silent Alarm's sprawl of sounds and ideas, Bloc Party has never shied away from reinventing their music. They continue to evolve on A Weekend in the City, an unashamedly ambitious, emotional album that builds on where they've been before but still feels like a departure. Silent Alarm's eclecticism was one of its biggest strengths; not knowing exactly which Bloc Party you were going to get from song to song -- arty punks, unabashed romantics, or righteously angry rockers -- made for thrilling listening. They make the earnest, anthemic sound that was on the fringes of Silent Alarm the heart of A Weekend in the City, and it works remarkably well. It helps that the band's feelings are as focused as the music is. A Weekend in the City revolves around Kele Okereke's thoughts on life in 21st century London; in his eyes, it's a few highs and moments of belonging, surrounded by a lot of loneliness and disappointment -- not to mention racism, homophobia, and religious hypocrisy. On A Weekend in the City, Bloc Party is sadder, wiser, and more heart-on-sleeve than ever -- almost embarrassingly so, especially when compared to their aloof post-punk influences. The album's opening salvo, "Song for Clay (Disappear Here)," immediately signals that vulnerable is the new brash: "I am trying to be heroic in an age of modernity," Okereke whispers, backed by tremulous keyboards and guitars. Even when the song unfolds into searing rock, it stays intimate and implosive. Okereke still sings like there's no time to waste, but his songwriting is tempered by experience. He's become a striking lyricist, conveying ambivalence and yearning in remarkably direct terms. Over "Waiting for the 7:18"'s wintry pizzicato strings and glockenspiel, he sings, "If I could do it again, I'd climb more trees/I'd pick and I'd eat more wild blackberries"; on "Kreuzberg," he sums up the hollowness that follows a string of one-night stands: "What is this love? Why can I never hold it? Did it really run out in those strangers' bedrooms?" The hopeful songs at the end of the album are just as eloquent, especially "I Still Remember," which wraps a complex attraction between two schoolboys in a sweet, almost singsong melody: "Every park bench screams your name/I kept your tie." Indeed, A Weekend in the City is often more remarkable for its emotional impact than its actual music, though Jacknife Lee's lush, layered production suits the album's scope (and just happens to be very radio-friendly as well). Many of the songs follow a predictable formula of hushed verses and big choruses, and while Matt Tong's drumming adds some bite to the album's slickness, the riffs throughout A Weekend in the City are distressingly similar to each other (although "Hunting for Witches"' depiction of thoughtless paranoia makes it a standout). A few tracks explore new sonic territory; not surprisingly, they're the ones that convey druggy escapism. "On"'s luminosity blurs the line between being high on drugs or a person, while "The Prayer" distills the ritualistic feel of dancing in a packed club with its massed vocals, heavy drums, and splattered guitars; later, "Where Is Home?" uses these sounds to express mournful anger instead of elation. Bloc Party fans who responded to their dark, angular art-pop might be disappointed, at least at first, with A Weekend in the City. This album isn't as brash or immediate as the band's earlier work, but its gradual move from alienation to connection and hope is just as bold as Silent Alarm, and possibly even more resonant.

1. Songs for Clay (Disappear Here)
2. Hunting for Witches
3. Waiting for the 7.18
4. Prayer
5. Uniform
6. On
7. Where Is Home?
8. Kreuzberg
9. I Still Remember
10. Sunday
11. SRXT

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DAVID BOWIE


DAVID BOWIE
TONIGHT (1984)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

On the basis of Tonight, it appears that David Bowie didn't have a clear idea of how to follow the platinum success of Let's Dance. Instead of breaking away from the stylized pop of "Let's Dance" and "China Girl," Bowie delivers another record in the same style. Apart from the single "Blue Jean," none of the material equals the songs on Let's Dance, but that doesn't stop Tonight from becoming another platinum success. Tonight is a nice album that has its moments and, if you forget it's Bowie, it'll work even better.

1. Loving the Alien
2. Don't Look Down
3. God Only Knows
4. Tonight
5. Neighborhood Threat
6. Blue Jean
7. Tumble and Twirl
8. I Keep Forgettin'
9. Dancing with the Big Boys

THE STRANGLERS


THE STRANGLERS
LA FOLIE (1981)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

La Folie is a welcome album in the Stranglers' oeuvre, mainly a collection of tight, punchy songs that often suggest the forthright approach of American new wave bands. With one exception, the songs are shorter and more pointed, harking back to the comparative conciseness of some of the tunes on the band's first two albums, Rattus Norvegicus and No More Heroes, though acidic lyrics still predominate. "Non-Stop" is a typical example, featuring a half-spoken vocal that suggests Lou Reed, a Cars-influenced organ sound, and a bouncy, dance-derived drum beat; this particular song is atypical, however, because it employs a blues-oriented progression. An interesting excursion is encountered in the song "Golden Brown," a subdued, jazz-influenced number with purring vocals, a coolly executed synthesizer/harpsichord backing texture, and a periodically stumbling beat. Only the plushly understated title track suggests the sprawl typical of the group's immediately preceding releases. This fine album is well worth trying.

1. Non Stop
2. Everybody Loves You When You're Dead
3. Tramp
4. Let Me Introduce You To The Family
5. Ain't Nothin' To It
6. The Man They Love To Hate
7. Pin Up
8. It Only Takes Two To Tango
9. Golden Brown
10. How To Find True Love And Happiness In The Present Day
11. La Folie
Bonus tracks
12. Cruel Garden
13. Cocktail Nubiles
14. Vietnamerica
15. Love 30
16. You Hold The Key To My Love In Your Hands
17. Strange Little Girl

LIMBOMANIACS


LIMBOMANIACS
STINKY GROOVES (1990)
320 KBPS

With the Red Hot Chili Peppers' ascension in the 1980s, it became downright fashionable in "alternative rock" circles to combine rock and funk. One of the better funk-rock releases of the early '90s was the Limbomaniacs' Stinky Grooves — an inspired fusion of P-Funk, Washington D.C.-style go-go, rap and hard rock/heavy metal. Drawing on influences ranging from Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to Parliament/Funkadelic to Trouble Funk to Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C., the sweaty, intense band is much more individualistic and recognizable than many of its peers. Though the Limbomaniacs sometimes employ sampling, they do so sparingly and are far more reliant on "real instruments" than technology. Bootsy Collins and Maceo Parker appears as distingushed guests on Stinky Grooves, a CD that should have enjoyed much recognition, but sadly, was all but ignored.

1. Butt Funkin'
2. Maniac
3. Free Style
4. Porno
5. Shake It
6. That's the Way
7. The Toilet's Flooded
8. Pavlov's Frothing Dogs

HÜSKER DÜ


HÜSKER DÜ
WAREHOUSE: SONGS AND STORIES (1987)
320 KBPS

It's cleaner and more produced than any of their records, which is one reason why many Hüsker Dü fans have never fully embraced their second double album, Warehouse: Songs and Stories. Granted, Warehouse boasts a fuller production — complete with multi-tracked guitars and vocal, various percussion techniques, and endless studio effects — that would have seemed out of place a mere two years before its release. However, Flip Your Wig and Candy Apple Grey both suggested this full-fledged pop production, and it's to Hüsker Dü's credit that they never sound like they are selling out with Warehouse. What they do sound like is breaking up. Although there was a schism apparent between Bob Mould and Grant Hart on Candy Apple Grey, they don't even sound like they are writing for the same band on Warehouse. But the individual songs on the album are powerhouses in their own right, as both songwriters exhibit a continuing sense of experimentation — Hart writes a sea shanty with "She Floated Away" and uses bubbling percussion on "Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope," while Mould nearly arrives at power pop with "Could You Be the One?" and touches on singer/songwriter-styled folk-rock with "No Reservations." Warehouse doesn't have the single-minded sense of purpose or eccentric sprawl of Zen Arcade, but as a collection of songs, it's of the first order. Furthermore, its stylish production — which makes pop concessions without abandoning a punk ethos — pointed the way to the kind of "alternative" rock that dominated the mainstream in the early '90s. In all, it was a fine way for one of the most important bands of the '80s to call it a day.

1. These Important Years
2. Charity, Chastity, Prudence, And Hope
3. Standing In The Rain
4. Back From Somewhere
5. Ice Cold Ice
6. You're A Soldier
7. Could You Be The One?
8. Too Much Spice
9. Friend, You've Got To Fall
10. Visionary
11. She Floated Away
12. Bed Of Nails
13. Tell You Why Tomorrow
14. It's Not Peculiar
15. Actual Condition
16. No Reservations
17. Turn It Around
18. She's A Woman (And Now He Is A Man)
19. Up In The Air
20. You Can Live At Home

BORDERLINE


BORDERLINE
FROM TALES TO REALITY (2008)
320 KBPS

The French emo scene has, for too long, been a deserted place. We had Vanilla, Dead Pop Club, Elevate Newton Theory... All good bands but none gained any success. Now, finally, 2008, Borderline appears out of nowhere. It's really strange actually since the emo hype seems to have vanished and the most successfull bands coming from it (The Used, My Chemical Romance) now struggle to make people forget they once were emo. So what it is? A temporal shift of some sort or just that the lads from Borderline just do their thing because they're enjoying it. I'd go with the latter. All in all, it's not a bad album we're having here, it reminds me of Armor for Sleep, Further Seems Forever or Hawthorne Heights. Problem is, who wants emo anymore. If you do, you're in for a nice treat, if you don't just pass your way but you'd be missing a good little album.

1. The Path
2. Fallen Angel
3. For Now And Ever
4. Life Comes (You Fall...)
5. Goodbye Yesterday
6. Broken
7. Interlude
8. No Second Chance
9. So Much More
10. No Resting Sleep
11. Death Note
12. Break In Flames
13. It Hurts To Leave
14. Goodbye Yesterday (Acoustic)
15. For Now And Ever (Acoustic)

Monday, September 28, 2009

HERBIE HANCOCK


HERBIE HANCOCK
FAT ALBERT ROTUNDA (1969)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

Centered around some soundtrack music that Herbie Hancock wrote for Bill Cosby's Fat Albert cartoon show, Fat Albert Rotunda was Hancock's first full-fledged venture into jazz-funk — and his last until Head Hunters — making it a prophetic release. At the same time, it was far different in sound from his later funk ventures, concentrating on a romping, late-'60s-vintage R&B-oriented sound. with frequent horn riffs and great rhythmic comping and complex solos from Hancock's Fender Rhodes electric piano. The syllables of the titles alone — "Wiggle Waggle," "Fat Mama," "Oh! Oh! Here He Comes" — have a rhythm and feeling that tell you exactly how this music saunters and swaggers along — just like the jolly cartoon character. But there is more to this record than fatback funk. There is the haunting, harmonically sophisticated "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" (which ought to become a jazz standard), and the similarly relaxed "Jessica." The sextet on hand is a star-studded bunch, with Joe Henderson in funky and free moods on tenor sax, Johnny Coles on trumpet, Garnett Brown on trombone, Buster Williams on bass, and Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums. Only Williams would remain for Hancock's 1977 electric V.S.O.P.: The Quintet album to come. In addition, trumpeter Joe Newman, saxophonist Joe Farrell, guitarist Eric Gale, and drummer Bernard Purdie make guest appearances on two tracks.

1. Wiggle Waggle
2. Fat Mama
3. Tell Me A Bedtime Story
4. Oh! Oh! Here He Comes
5. Jessica
6. Fat Albert Rotunda
7. Lil' Brother

HOOVERPHONIC


HOOVERPHONIC
BLUE WONDER POWER MILK (1998)
320 KBPS

Thanks to the radio ubiquity of "2Wicky" (from their debut album, A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular), Hooverphonic won mainstream attention and early admission into the trip-hop pantheon. But this Belgian group's sound was always closer to the warm etherealness and pop aspirations of bands like Australia's Single Gun Theory than the wispy experimentalism of Britain's Portishead. Well, they'll probably still be labeled a trip-hop band, but Blue Wonder Power Milk is essentially an electronica-tinged symphonic pop album--and a very strong one, at that. The breathy coo of new vocalist Geike Arnaert melds effortlessly with the languid beats of tracks like "Club Montepulciano" and "Eden" as well as with the more muscular drum & bass of "Battersea." In fact, almost all the songs--many of which are augmented by simple string arrangements--possess a beguiling beauty guaranteed to keep your finger on the repeat button. Highly recommended.

1. Battersea
2. One Way Ride
3. Dictionary
4. Club Monterpulciano
5. Eden
6. Lung
7. Electro Shock Faders
8. Out of Tune
9. This Strange Effect
10. Renaissance Affair
11. Tuna
12. Magenta
13. Blue Wonder Power Milk

DANNY GATTON


DANNY GATTON
88 ELMIRA ST. (1991)
320 KBPS

After years of knocking around the Washington, D.C.-area circuit, local guitar legend Danny Gatton finally got to cut his first album for a major label. It was indeed worth the wait, spot-welding blinding speed and immaculate chops that went in a million different directions (jazz, country, rockabilly, blues, you name it) to a musical sensibility that made this all-instrumental album a whole lot more than just yer average fretboard wanking jam-fest. Gatton's Telecaster really shines on diverse material ranging from Martin Denny's "Quiet Village" to the roadhouse shuffle "Funky Mama" to the off-the-wall rendition of the theme to The Simpsons. Kudos to Elektra for having the corporate balls to put this out; short, chunky, and middle-aged, Danny Gatton was a bona fide guitar hero for the '90s, putting the lie to the hard canard that only speedburner metal mega-hair dudes can make the front covers of the guitar mags.

1. Funky Mama
2. Elmira St. Boogie
3. Blues Newburg
4. Quiet Village
5. Red Label
6. In My Room
7. The Simpsons
8. Muthaship
9. Pretty Blue
10. Fandingus
11. Slidin' Home

TRICKY


TRICKY
ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES (1998)
320 KBPS

What's really tricky is following up a debut as innovative and exquisite as 1995's Maxinquaye. Third time out (fourth if you count 1996's perplexing duets project Nearly God) and the artist formerly known as Adrian Thaws is still struggling to find the right balance of ambition and ability on Angels with Dirty Faces. The album has its moments: including a stirring collaboration with Polly Harvey on the bluesy "Broken Homes" and singer Martina Topley-Bird's eerie rendering of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" on "Carriage for Two." If you liked the claustrophobic mire of last year's Pre-Millennium Tension, Angels won't disappoint. Otherwise, you may find it a downer.

1. Money Greedy
2. Mellow
3. Singing The Blues
4. Broken Homes
5. 6 Minutes
6. Analyze Me
7. The Moment I Feared
8. Talk To Me (Angels With Dirty Faces)
9. Carriage For Two
10. Demise
11. Tear Out My Eyes
12. Record Companies
Bonus tracks
13. Peyote Sings
14. Taxi

ALL


ALL
PERCOLATER (1992)
320 KBPS

What these guys lack in the field of aggressive, hard-hitting punk, they make up for in cuteness. Percolator is All's most playful album and the recording refrains from laying it on thick with tales of heartbreak and bad days — this time around, it's more about just having fun. If the instrumental tracks such as "Charligan" and "Birds" fail to bring the mood to an uppity level, "Dot," "Nothin'," and "Breath" will definitely strike a nerve. There's even a nod to hair metal with a song ressembling Def Leppard's Pyromania era, "Hot Plates." A fun album I tell you.

1. Charligan
2. Nothin'
3. Dot
4. Nobody's
5. Wonder
6. Minute
7. Birds
8. Empty
9. Mo. 63
10. Egg Timer
11. Gnugear (Hot)
12. Hotplate
13. Hey Bug
14. Breathe

Sunday, September 27, 2009

POP MADE IN FRANCE

Today's post is of archeological value as well as an enjoyable curiosity. On four volumes, you have some of the best pop/rock singles recorded in France in the late 60s and seventies. Some have not aged well, some are as fresh as they were on their release date. Very few of these bands have reached a popular status outside of France, notable exceptions are Greece's Aphrodite's Child, French progressive rock leaders' Ange, Michel Jonasz, Daniel Balavoine or Jean-Jacques Goldman. Of course, this collection is a mixed bag with its hits and misses but even the misses have something gratifying for the musical archeologist.
In addition, I give you two compilations from two of the finest indie labels of the late 90s, early 00s including names that should ring a bell in some of you's memories.
Enjoy.

POP MADE IN FRANCE VOL. 1 (2008)
1. Les Brumes De Chatou - Triangle
2. Turn Back Time - Time Machine
3. Je Suis Justte Un Rock'N'Roller - Les Variations
4. Faust 72 - Dynastie Crisis
5. Monte-Carlo - Jupiter Sunset
6. Le Vieux De La Montagne - Ange
7. Shame On You - Alan Jack Civilization
8. City Break Down - Zoo
9. Got Me - Costa-Yared-Costa
10. Le Pensionnaire - Jean Schultheis & Trust
11. Goin' Away - Jean-Jacques Goldman & Tai Phong
12. La Lumière Et La Folie - Daniel Balavoine & Presence
13. Sad Harold - Doc Dail & Ticky Holgado
14. Le Matind Es Magiciens - Martin Circus
15. Le Roseau - Alice
16. Aime Toi Toi-Même - Decuyper & Ilous
17. Il Faut Croire A L'Amour - Labyrinthe
18. A Little Peace Of Mind - Trianglophone
19. Méfies-Toi Des Avions - Starshooter
20. Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Loose - Pop Tops
21. Les Marins - Total Issue
22. Flop - Le Système Crapoutchik
23. Maraveda - Pachyderm

POP MADE IN FRANCE VOL. 2 (2008)
1. Le Rock Plus L'Electricité - Papillon
2. Back To The City Again - Jean-Jacques Goldman
3. Maries Toi Pour Qu'Il Ait Un Père - Jacques Mercier
4. Heureux Les Innocents - Ilous
5. Attention Aux Fleurs - Georges Costa & Michel Costa
6. Adieu La Terre - Michel Jonasz
7. Baby Sitter - Jean-Louis Mahjun
8. Time To Get Better - Marc Tobaly
9. Châteaufort Blues - Claude Angel
10. Mamy Blue - Joel Daydé
11. Keep On Running - Experience
12. Tri Martlod - Alan Stivell
13. Baby I Feel So Fine - Gilbert Montagné
14. Un Jour De Chance - Albatros
15. Anna (D'Une Seule Nuit) - Epoque
16. Elmouth Le Mammouth - Le Quartet De Lyon
17. Come See Me - Little Bob Story
18. Le Tueur - Bijou
19. Elle - Santamaria
20. Slag Solutionpart 1 - Jo Buffalo'S Band
21. Snoopy Travel - Experience
22. Time To Get Better Part2 - Marc Tobaly

EUROPEAN 60s AND 70s POP GROUPS
MADE IN FRANCE VOL. 1 (2008)
1. Blow Your Cool - Triangle
2. Rain 2000 - Titanic
3. Baxter Williams - Les Irrésistibles
4. Eleonor Rigby - Ilous And Decuyper
5. Troubled Lizzy - Costa-Yared-Costa
6. Seven Horses In The Sky - Pebbles
7. Sympathy - Los Bravos
8. Down The Road - Les Variations
9. Two Castles - Jupiter Sunset
10. What Am I To Be - Zoo
11. I'm Alive - Experience
12. Stone Me - Doc Dail
13. I Want To Live - Aphrodite'S Child
14. Ella Ella - Axis
15. Love And Care - Pop Tops
16. Cherie Sha La La - Anarchic System
17. Live Your Life - The Kinetic
18. Never At All - Micky And Tommy
19. Sad Soul - Micky And Tommy & Ronnie Bird
20. Woudiwoudi - Century
21. Love, Love Is There - Classical M
22. Sister Jane - Tai Phong
23. Daytime - 5 Gentlemen
24. Hocus Pocus - Wallace Collection

EUROPEAN 60s AND 70s POP GROUPS
MADE IN FRANCE VOL. 2 (2009)

1. Over The Shadow - Total Issue
2. Bird In Hte Wind - Time Machine
3. Come Along - Les Variations
4. Serenade - Wallace Collection
5. Shadows In The Moonlight - Jupiter Sunset
6. Macumba - Titanic
7. Baby Don'T You Come Back Home - Alan Jack Civilization
8. Hard Times Good Times - Zoo
9. Why (Did You Take So Long) - Century
10. Such A Lovely Voice - Classical M
11. A Lot To Do - Trianglophone
12. Pop Corn - Anarchic System
13. No Time To Lose - Georges Costa & Michel Costa
14. Crazy Week - Holly Guns
15. Sea Side Shuffle - Jo Sony Arvern System
16. Suzanne - Pop Tops
17. Do It Now - Joel Daydé
18. What Are You Doing Now ? - Peter Haller
19. Mary Blind Mary - Laurent
20. I'Ve Got Myself A Little Girl - Charles Brutus McClay
21. The Brain (Du Film 'Le Cerveau') - The American Breed
22. Ronnie - Welch Farrar & Marvin

LE VILLAGE VERT PRESENTE
PANORAMA (1997)

1. Les Carton - Superflu
2. Princesse de Cire - Czerkinsky
3. Tira mi su - Pierre Bondu
4. Something About G.A. - Télépopmusik
5. Le Dernier Mot - Autour de Lucie
6. Pour un Mouvement - Orly
7. On Baisse les Bras - Matthieu Malon
8. Eu Sei Que Vou te Amar - Mercedes Audras
9. Indians - Parades

ICI D'AILLEURS (2001)
1. 1/79 - Dominique Petitgrand
2. This Is Just to Say (Live) - Bed
3. It Ain't No Funny At All - Bästard
4. Magre - Madrid
5. Avant la Chute - Yann Tiersen
6. Roma Amor (Live) - The Married Monk
7. F.31 Bis: Zimbalon - Fugu
8. L'Amorce des Consignes - Dominique Petitgrand
9. Elevator Baby - Amor Belhom Duo
10. Foxhole - Bed
11. Locate Radiation - Bästard
12. Stuck (Demo) - The Married Monk
13. La Dispute (remix by Third Eye Foundation) - Yann Tiersen
14. 700 Millions de Grelots - Madrid
15. Shiver the Timber - David Grubbs
16. F.37: Pianolyre - Fugu

Saturday, September 26, 2009

MIOSSEC


MIOSSEC
FINISTERIENS (2009)
320 KBPS

For his 7th studio album, Christophe Miossec has collaborated with another artist from Britany, Yann Tiersen. People who'd hoped it would sound like a mix of both artists works are in for a disappointment, it's pure Miossec it's all about. So what has Tiersen brought to the songs? And good compositions is the answer, plain and simple. Other than that, "Finistériens" is pretty much Christophe Miossec doing his thing only slightly better than he did on his two previous albums ("1964" and "L'étreinte", which weren't bad, mind, just a little too predictable lyric-wise). So what we're having here is basically chanson with the spoken/sung voice, good lyrics and that's pretty much it, the stylistic revolution will have to wait a little longer. Meanwhile, we can still enjoy an artist who knows how do do his job and does it well.

1. Seul ce que j'ai perdu
2. Les Joggers du dimanche
3. À Montparnasse
4. Les Chiens de paille
5. CDD
6. Nos plus belles années
7. Jésus au PMU
8. Haïs-moi
9. Fermer la maison
10. Loin de la foule
11. Une fortune de mer

DAVID BOWIE


DAVID BOWIE
1.OUTSIDE, VERSION 2 (1996)
320 KBPS

After the failure of 'Black Tie, White Noise', David Bowie returned to the musical scene with this conceptual album that represented the reunion of Bowie and Brian Eno once again since late 70's. There are very good songs in this record, like 'I'm deranged' (included in the opening credits of the disturbing David Lynch's film 'Lost Highway'), 'Strangers When We Meet' (a new version taken from the soundtrack of 'The Buddha Of Suburbia') that contains a wonderful piano performance by Mike Garson, 'The Motel', 'Wishful Beginnings' or 'Hallo Spaceboy', to cite but a few examples. Same as its predeccesor, 'Outside' is a catalyst of various musical styles (Rock. Techno, Jazz, Pop, Ambient, Electronic music) that will be probably remembered as one of Bowie's most audacious works.
'Outside' is, in my opinion, his most respectable album since the fantastic 'Scary Monsters' from 1980. Some pieces like 'We Prick You' or 'The Voyeur of Utter Destruction' are quite Techno for me, but this record is still being an enjoyable experience and very recommended to anyone who likes Bowie's music.

1. Leon Takes Us Outside
2. Outside
3. Heart's Filthy Lesson
4. Small Plot of Land
5. Segue - Baby Grace (A Horrid Cassette)
6. Hallo Spaceboy
7. Motel
8. I Have Not Been to Oxford Town
9. No Control
10. Segue - Algeria Touchshriek
11. Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)
12. Segue - Ramona A. Stone/I Am With Name
13. We Prick You
14. Segue - Nathan Adler, Pt. 1
15. I'm Deranged
16. Thru' These Architects' Eyes
17. Segue - Nathan Adler, Pt. 2
18. Strangers When We Meet
19. Hallo Spaceboy (Pet Shob Boys Remix)

ROSE CHRONICLES


ROSE CHRONICLES
SHIVER (1994)
320 KBPS

Rose Chronicles was a Canadian alternative rock band in the 1990s. The band, from Vancouver, consisted of vocalist Kristy Thirsk, guitarist Richard Maranda, bassist Judd Cochrane and drummer Steve van der Woerd. Their musical style merged elements of the shoegazing scene with ethereal vocals in the style of Sarah McLachlan and the Cocteau Twins.
You have stumbled across a rare prize. A relatively unknown band that everyone should know. When you listen to them the first time, listen to the entire album. If you don't think you like it, listen again. I know it's tough but truth be told I didn't like them either. It is very layered and melodic; the attention to every sound is incredible. Kristy Thirsk's voice is that of a fallen angel, at times haunted, brooding, and scorned - but still reaching to the heights of heaven. Her range is astounding, and her solo career has included some fine work with other artists. The lyrics are truly worth reading; all are Thirsk's creations, which surely improves her performance of them. Do not worry if you aren't into lyrics, the sounds alone are worth the listen. Speaking of listen, "Awaiting Eternity" is a fine introduction to the album. Their music varies but it can be said to represent it well. "Dwelling" is a personal favorite - one of many, but sets itself apart. "Visions" is enchanting, "Diedre" is moving, and all seem to speak to you. A must try.

1. Dwelling
2. Glide (Free Above)
3. Nothing's Real
4. Deidre
5. Brick and Glue
6. Undertow
7. Bottle Song
8. Visions
9. Shiver
10. Forgotten
11. Awaiting Eternity

EMILIANA TORRINI


EMILIANA TORRINI
LOVE IN THE TIME OF SCIENCE (2000)
320 KBPS

Most people have heard her unique vocals, singing the hauntingly, sorrowfully creepy "Gollum's Song" during the closing credits of "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers." But very few people know Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini by name. Which is a shame, because her trip-hop/electronica album, "Love in the Time of Science," is a unforgettable one.
While sitting firmly on a seat of trip-hop and gentle pop, Torrini stretches her wings with a variety of musical types. It's made up of light electronica like the cool, sweet "To Be Free," and murky pop ballads with a slightly morbid edge. "Keep my daughter in a jar/she can't get out/she won't go far," Torrini croons in one song.
She keeps the cool, dark edge with the eerie "Wednesday's Child" and "Telepathy," the offbeat jazz of "Dead Things," and even a few songs that are fun and upbeat pop, singing about friends who hang out and goof around in the summertime. There's even alien avant-pop that defies classification, where Torrini sings creepily about how tuna fish float with "bellies to the moon."
Comparisons to Bjork are inevitable, since they hail from the same country and have similar vocal styles. However, Torrini's music is smoother and less distant, less electronic and more organic. It's also graced with more traditional instrumentation and a warmer sound. Her music is a different shade of electronica-pop.
Her voice has a haunted, slightly eerie quality. Furthermore, it has the flexibility to be warm one moment, chilly and creepy the next, allowing her to gracefully slide from one kind of song to another. Her thick Icelandic accent makes her singing even more enchanting.
The writing of the songs ranges from surreal ("Tuna Fish") to pleasantly ordinary ("Summerbreeze"), using simple and evocative words for jumbled feelings. "But if it's so good being free/Would you mind telling me/Why I don't know what to do with myself?" she asks plaintively at the very start.
Far from a Bjork clone, Emiliana Torrini produces a superb solo album. Combining the best of electronica and pop, "Love in the Time of Science" is startlingly memorable and well worth it.

1. To Be Free
2. Wednesday's Child
3. Baby Blue
4. Dead Things
5. Unemployed in Summertime
6. Easy
7. Fingertips
8. Telepathy
9. Tuna Fish
10. Summerbreeze
11. Sea People
Bonus Tracks
12. To Be Free (Live)
13. Summerbreeze (Live)

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS


STONE TEMPLE PILOTS
CORE (1992)
320 KBPS

Stone Temple Pilots were positively vilified once their 1992 debut, Core, started scaling the charts in 1993, pegged as fifth-rate Pearl Jam copyists. It is true that the worst moments of Core play like a parody of the Seattle scene — titles like "Dead and Bloated" and "Crackerman" tell you that much, playing like really bad Alice in Chains parodies, and the entire record tends to sink into gormless post-grunge sludge. Furthermore, even if it rocks pretty hard, it's usually without much character, sounding like cut-rate grunge. To be fair, it's more that they share the same influences as their peers than being overt copycats, but it's still a little disheartening all the same. If that's all that Core was, it'd be as forgettable as Seven Mary Three, but there are the hits that propelled it up the charts, songs that have remarkably stood the test of time to be highlights of their era. "Sex Type Thing" may have a clumsy anti-rape lyric that comes across as misogynist, but it survives on its terrifically lunk-headed riff, while "Wicked Garden" is a surprisingly effective piece of revivalist acid rock. Then, there's the slow acoustic crawl of "Creep" that works as well as anything on AIC's Sap and, finally, "Plush," a majestic album rock revival more melodic and stylish than anything grunge produced outside of Nirvana itself. These four songs are enough to salvage a decent if not spectacular debut.

1. Dead & Bloated
2. Sex Type Thing
3. Wicked Garden
4. No Memory
5. Sin
6. Naked Sunday
7. Creep
8. Piece of Pie
9. Plush
10. Wet My Bed
11. Crackerman
12. Where The River Goes
Bonus Tracks
13. Sex Type Thing (Swing Type Version)
14. Sex Type Thing (Live)

Friday, September 25, 2009

MUSE

MUSE
THE RESISTANCE (2009)
320 KBPS

With its titanic guitar solos, symphonic suites, and multi-layered melodies, Muse's fifth album operates under the assumption that bigger is better. This is the very definition of a super-sized album, an album that takes its cues from Queen, its lyrics from science fiction novels, and its delivery from rock opera. It's also the first time that Muse has truly sounded like Muse, as few bands since Queen have so readily explored the intersection of bombast and extravagance. The Resistance is most certainly extravagant -- there are snatches of classical piano entwined throughout, not to mention bilingual lyrics, concert hall percussion, coronet solos, and song titles like "Exogenesis: Symphony, Pt. 2 (Cross-Pollination)" -- but it's also quite beautiful, capable of moving between prog rock choruses and excerpts from Chopin's "Nocturne in E Flat Major" within the same song. Presiding over the mix is frontman Matthew Bellamy, a man who seemingly aspires to be both Brian May and Freddie Mercury. He plays guitar, pounds the piano, and composes the album's orchestral parts, but his strongest asset is his voice, a sky-scraping tenor dripping with so much emotion that it's almost lewd. He croons, whispers, annunciates, and belts with confidence, a combination that makes him one of England's most dazzling singers in recent memory. And since a virtual mountain of voices is better than a single voice (remember: bigger is better), Bellamy also multi-tracks himself, creating towering stacks of harmonies during songs like "Resistance," "Undisclosed Desires," and the colossal "United States of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage)."
The band's tendency to pile excess upon excess doesn't always yield strong results, and there's a fine line between, say, the anthemic beauty of "Guiding Light" and the bizarre Timbaland-meets-Depeche Mode ambiance of "Undisclosed Desires." Even so, The Resistance is by and large a fantastic record, culminating in a three-song suite that finds the group jumping from classical movements to guitar fretwork to sweeping, swaggering, operatic rock. Those songs occupy the final 16 minutes of the disc, and while they'd likely make a bigger impact earlier in the track list, their mere presence indicates that Muse is finally growing comfortable with its own aspirations. Black Holes and Revelations may be a more commercial record, but The Resistance is Muse's most realized effort to date.

1. Uprising
2. Resistance
3. Undisclosed Desires
4. United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage
5. Guiding Light
6. Unnatural Selection
7. MK Ultra
8. I Belong To You/Mon Coeur S'ouvre A Ta Voix
Exogenesis: Symphony
9. PART I (Overture)
10. PART II (Cross Pollination)
11. PART III (Redemption)

ALAIN BASHUNG


ALAIN BASHUNG
CHATTERTON (1994)
320 KBPS

Chatterton, Alain Bashung's 9th studio album, was a step in a new direction for France's cult rocker. Here, the influences range from rock to country and new age without Alain ever losing an inch of his personality. Of course, there's the unrestistable hit, Ma Petite Entreprise, but the rest of the album is just as good. All in all, Chatterton is yet another great album which displays Bashung's unique class and elegance as well as his uniqueness in the musical scene. A must hear.

1. A Perte De Vue
2. Que N'Ai-Je
3. Ma Petite Entreprise
4. Elvire
5. Un Ane Plane
6. Après D'Apres Hostilités
7. J'Avais Un Pense Bête
8. J'Passe Pour Une Caravane
9. Danse D'Ici
10. A Ostende
11. L'Apiculteur
12. J'ai Longtemps Contenplé

EULCID


EULCID
THE WIND BLEW ALL THE FIRES OUT (2002)
320 KBPS

Almost as well known for their side projects, collaborations and connections with CAVE IN’S Stephen Brodsky and the vibrant Boston hardcore scene as their own considerable musical abilities — drummer Matt Redmond played with Brodsky in KID KILOWATT. CONVERGE’S Kurt Ballou briefly played drums in EULCID, and Law and Brodsky have recently formed NEW IDEA SOCIETY — EULCID’S The Wind Blew All The Fires Out is unquestionably a remarkable album, firmly standing on its own merits and music. A throwback of sorts to the post-rock/punk of early ’90s DC-inspired fury and DIY ethos, yet somehow never dating itself, The Wind Blew All The Fires Out retains all the energy and aggression of its predecessors yet reveals itself as an impeccably crafted and thoughtful endeavor. Utilizing layers of melodies, moods and tapestries of sound beneath the initial crash of EULCID’s fury, interwoven with meticulous playing that is at times restrained and at others nearly frenzied, The Wind! Blew All The Fires Out swirls in discordance excess while retaining melody and hooks, all the while being driven by the faltering yet perfect screams of Law. The Wind Blew All The Fires Out is not as much a traditional album as it is an adventurous and remarkable sonic journey posing as one.

1. Reaction Impulse Theory
2. To the Death of Intellectualism
3. Single Sender
4. To the Death of Irony
5. Forcing Forever Stopping Forever
6. Perfect
7. Persimmons
8. The Wind Blew So Hard All the Fires Went Out
9. Nickel Red
10. The Ocean vs. the Sand
11. Double Point Double Switch
Bonus Tracks
The Crane EP (1998)
1. Polite Guest
2. Postscript About Dancing
3. Dulling Gage
4. What to Do with Absent Space
5. Short Instrumental (Cranes)

THE AYNSLEY DUNBAR RETALIATION


THE AYNSLEY DUNBAR RETALIATION
THE AYNSLEY DUNBAR RETALIATION (1968)
320 KBPS

This wonderful drummer, well-known for his work in the other great english blues groups like John Mayall's Bluesbreakers or Jeff Beck Group, founded this short lived band in the early '68. Their first album contain nine tracks. Six of them wrote other great member, multiinstrumentalist Victor Brox. Especially My Whiskey Head Woman, great blues with Victor's trumpet game is excellent. Get it.

1. Watch 'N' Chain
2. My Whiskey Head Woman
3. Trouble No More
4. Double Lovin'
5. See See Baby
6. Roamin' and Ramblin'
7. Sage of Sidney Street
8. Memory of Pain
9. Mutiny

KIP WINGER


KIP WINGER
FROM THE MOON TO THE SUN (2008)
320 KBPS

This album is not a hard rocking album, don't expect another Winger release. This is an album filled with great melodies and atmospheric tunes that are soothing and introspective, yet still grooving and catchy. There are strong classic rock undercurrents flowing beneath the music, yet it still sounds contemporary, relevant, and original. There are hints of world music injected into the proceedings, likely from his collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Cenk Eroglu, hailing from Istanbul, Turkey.
I was instantly grabbed by the opening notes of "Every Story Told" with its use of samples and synth blended with layered acoustic guitar and Winger's strong voice. This leads the way for such numbers as "Nothing", the melancholy "Where Will You Go," and Middle Eastern-flavored instrumentals like "Ghosts".
From the Moon to the Sun strikes me as a deeply personal album for the songwriter. There is much sadness throughout, balanced with moments of hope and redemption. The music here is filled with the emotion of a man working through tough emotions, letting them all out in the recording studio. I never thought Kip had great tonal range as a singer, and that remains true here, but his passion makes up for any range issues in his music. Just listen to him sing, brimming with emotion without a tinge of sentimentality. Frankly, this may be the best music I have heard from him.
I've seen Kip Winger perform a solo acoustic show and I was terribly impressed with his ability; it opened my eyes to the artist that I took for granted so many years ago. While I was, and still am, a fan of Winger I cannot say I ever thought much of him as an artist thinking my enjoyment was purely nostalgic. After hearing that live performance and this recording, I'm amazed at the artistry that he displays. Perhaps I wouldn't be if I paid more attention to his earlier solo work. Be that as it may, I find this album downright enchanting.
Bottomline. This is an album that should not be ignored or written off. It is a mature work from an artist who seems to be more comfortable in his own skin as he grows older. When the majority of songwriters may begin petering out, he has only grown stronger.

1. Every Story Told
2. Nothing
3. Where Will You Go
4. Pages and Pages
5. Ghosts
6. In Your Eyes Another Life
7. Runaway
8. California
9. What We Are
10. One Big Game
11. Why
12. Reason to Believe
Europe only bonus track
13. Monster (Remix)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

PEARL JAM


PEARL JAM
BACKSPACER (2009)
320 KBPS

Pearl Jam made peace with their hard rock past on their eponymous eighth album, but its 2009 sequel, Backspacer, is where the group really gets back to basics, bringing in old cohort Brendan O'Brien to produce for the first time since 1996's Yield. To a certain extent, the band has reached the point in its career where every move, every cranked amp, every short tough song is heralded as a return to form — call it the Stones syndrome — and so it is with Backspacer, whose meaty riffs have no less vigor than those of Pearl Jam; they're just channeled into a brighter, cheerier package. Despite this lighter spirit, Pearl Jam remain the antithesis of lighthearted good-time rock & roll — they're convinced rock & roll is a calling, not a diversion — but there's a tonal shift from the clenched anger that's marked their music of the new millennium, a transition from the global toward the personal. Ironically, by looking within the music opens up, as the group isn't fighting against the dying light but embracing how this most classicist of alt-rock bands is an anachronism in 2009. Of course, Pearl Jam were an anachronism even back in 1992, worshiping the Who instead of the Stooges, but this odd out-of-phase devotion to the ideals of post-hippie, pre-punk rock is better suited to bandmembers in their forties than in their twenties; fashion has passed them by several times over, leaving Pearl Jam just to be who they are, comfortable in their weathering skin. Pearl Jam battled their success for so long, intent on whittling their audience down to the devout, that it often felt like a chore to keep pace with the band because no matter the merit of the records, they always felt like heavy lifting, but that's no longer the case: here, as on the self-titled 2006 album, it sounds as if they enjoy being in a band, intoxicated by the noise they make. This means, all things considered, Backspacer is a party record for Pearl Jam — a party that might consist of nothing but philosophical debates till the wee hours, but a party nonetheless — and if 18 years is a long, long wait for a band to finally throw a party, it's also true that, prior to Backspacer, Pearl Jam wouldn't or couldn't have made music this unfettered, unapologetically assured, casual, and, yes, fun.

1. Gonna See My Friend
2. Got Some
3. The Fixer
4. Johnny Guitar
5. Just Breathe
6. Amongst The Waves
7. Unthought Known
8. Supersonic
9. Speed Of Sound
10. Force Of Nature
11. The End

A CAMP


A CAMP
COLONIA (2009)
320 KBPS

When A Camp's understated debut album emerged in 2001, it was inevitably overshadowed by Nina Persson's day job as frontwoman for the globally successful Cardigans. But with that band's commercial star dimmed and their very future in doubt, this wintery, sixties-soaked second record seems less side dish and more main course. As such it's tart, sweet and satisfying.
Colonia was produced by Persson with her film composer husband and it shows, with her piercing vocals framed by lusciously atmospheric arrangements. Take the opening The Crowning, a waltzing, twinkling lament that packs a lyrical punch (as with fellow Swede Jens Lekman, Persson is vastly more adept with English than most homegrown indie plodders). Or hear how Persson's voice floats hauntingly over music box whirring on Bear On The Beach.
Stronger Than Jesus is as good, built from the kind of melancholy guitar line, weaving central melody and celestial harmonies that McAlmont and Butler perfected on their two unjustly neglected albums. Love Has Left The Room and I Signed The Line are similarly direct, and as melodically and emotionally rich as the Cardigans at their loveliest, while the heavily orchestrated To Be Human is effortlessly affecting.
The only real criticism of Colonia is that the frosty, wistful mood can veer towards saminess, although when A Camp experiment on Here Are Many Wild Animals, the results are mixed. This song has a ravishing, energised chorus, but is marred by kitschy vocal effects and handclaps, the sole remnant of Persson's recent Adam Ant obsession. As for the ambient instrumental Eau De Colonia, it's both inoffensive and inessential.
But these are minor gripes, and the overwhelming impact of Colonia is of a singer and songwriter in total command of her powers. Perhaps the return of The Cardigans isn't as desirable as it once seemed.

1. The Crowning
2. Stronger Than Jesus
3. Bear On The Beach
4. Love Has Left The Room
5. Golden Teeth & Silver Medals
6. Here Are Many Wild Animals
7. Chinatown
8. My America
9. Eau De Colonia
10. I Signed The Line
11. To Be Human
12. The Weed Got Here First

MILES DAVIS


MILES DAVIS
TUTU (1986)
320 KBPS

The controversial but memorable Tutu is mostly a duet between Miles Davis and the many overdubbed instruments of producer Marcus Miller (although violinist Michal Urbaniak, percussionist Paulinho da Costa, and keyboardist George Duke are among the other musicians making brief apperaances). Certainly the results are not all that spontaneous, but Davis is in top form and some of the selections (most notably the title cut) are quite memorable.

1. Tutu
2. Tomaas
3. Portia
4. Splatch
5. Backyard Ritual
6. Perfect Way
7. Don't Lose Your Mind
8. Full Nelson

SORTILEGE


SORTILEGE
LARMES DE HEROS (1986)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

Sortilège was - with Trust, Blasphème, Adx, Vulcain, Warning and a few others - one of those bands who struggled to win France over to heavy metal. That was back in the 80s and, trust me I was there, that wasn't an easy task at all. It meant small independant labels, poor production, very little promotion, playing on small stages with a crappy sound and too few people coming. It would have made sense if those bands were bad, shame is they weren't. Sortilège, for example, was a great classical heavy metal band. With a super-melodic and apt vocalist, two skilled axemen and an efficient rhythm section, they produced something that could have competed with German and English bands of the same era. Thing is, for that to happen, people should at least have been informed of the very existence of Sortilège and, apart from a few die-hard metal fans, none were.
Larme de Héros, their third album, is both their best and last album. Like the two preceeding opuses, it has a sub-par production but don't let that stop you from trying it After all, wasn't Sortilège number one fan none other than Death's leader, Mr Chuck Shuldiner? If that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will. If you're a fan of 80s metal you ought it to yourself to try it, you won't be disappointed.

1. La Hargne Des Tordus
2. Chasse Le Dragon
3. Le Dernier Des Travaux D'Hercule
4. Quand Un Aveugle Rêve
5. Mourir Pour Une Princesse
6. La Montagne Qui Saigne
7. Marchand D'Hommes
8. Messager
9. La Huitieme Couleur De l'Arc-En-Ciel
Bonus tracks
10. Sagittarius
11. Elephant Man
12. Win Her Heart
13. Flesh And Bones

BERNARD BUTLER


BERNARD BUTLER
PEOPLE MOVE ON (1998)
320 KBPS

Bernard Butler's solo career was extremely brief, two years and two albums at Creation, bookended by collaborations with David McAlmont. People Move On is a laid back album in general, and thi was Butler setting his musical stall out; producing, writing, and arranging the whole thing, as well as mixing and recording, he also plays most of the instruments himself bar drums.
The music is expansive, the songs are huge; take, Woman I Know and Autograph, the first pastoral, the other epic. There are upbeat rockers here too, check out You Just Know with it's circular sub Paul Weller rhyff, and the anthemic Not Alone. There are a lot of slower accoustic numbers with big arrangements, People Move On itself, A Change Of Heart and In Vain being the most obvious. There is the huge tidal wave of Spectoresque sound When You Grow, with an impossibly massive sounding guitar solo, and the huge hit, the subtly layered and deeply beautiful, Stay. The only real stripped down moment is the warmly crafted accoustic song You Light The Fire, just guitar voice and harmonica, gently played and well judged.
Anyone expecting a Suede album will be disappointed, Bernard had truly moved on by this point, but listen carefully and what you have is the other half of what he was to do with ex-Suede front man Brett Anderson in The Tears, one half Suede rockers, other half sound paintings. Have a listen...

1. Woman I Know
2. You Just Know
3. People Move On
4. A Change Of Heart
5. Autograph
6. You Light The Fire
7. Not Alone
8. When You Grow
9. You've Got What It Takes
10. Stay
11. In Vain
12. I'm Tired

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

EMILIE SIMON


EMILIE SIMON
THE BIG MACHINE (2009)
320 KBPS

To say I've been eagerly expecting Emilie Simon's 3rd long play (not counting her sweet soundtrack to "La Marche de l'Empereur") is a massive understatement. Since her debut self titled album, I've been hooked on her Kate-Bushy voice, clever electronic arrangements and divinely precise pop songwriting. When news came that her brand new album was to be released on September 21rst I was beyond excited but also blocking any sound that could come to me. I wanted to live the whole experience not spoiling it by bits and pieces and, well, was I right! On "The Big Machine" Emilie seems to have chosen yet another path to express herself. She now sounds like Kate Bush's heir which could be embarrassing if the songs weren't THAT good. There are still hints of her electronica's past but these have sunk in a more organic background. Some will regret what might look like a commercial gesture, I'm sure it's not and even if it was, it's so well done that it doesn't spoil my pleasure one bit. Also, there are no more songs in French on "The Big Machine" which clearly shows the international aim of the album.
To sum things up, I would say this album will please those who like Kate Bush and regret that she's so rare, those who like pop done with taste and wit and just about every good music lover in the universe. GET IT NOW!

1. Rainbow
2. Dreamland
3. Nothing to do with you
4. Chinatown
5. Ballad of the big machine
6. The cycle
7. Closer
8. The devil at my door
9. Rocket to the moon
10. Fool like us
11. The way I see you
12. This is your world

COLIN BLUNSTONE


COLIN BLUNSTONE
ONE YEAR (1971)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

The Zombies disbanded before their classic Time Of The Season smashed onto radio airwaves, and lead singer Colin Blunstone took to a desk job.
One year later, he grew tired of insurance or whatever it was and got back in the studio. Armed with fellow Zombs Chris White and Rod Argent as co-writers and producers, Colin managed to record what I consider the most beautiful and precious record in my collection. One Year is a very, very special record to me, so much that it’s actually hard to even mention here.
Three tracks feature backing by the band Argent, and have a lite rock feel, but the rest feature Colin’s gentle voice over a tightly arranged and dynamic chamber orchestra. She Loves The Way They Love Her kicks it off with the album’s full band sound. It takes some getting used to as it’s not quite Zombies and perhaps a little too produced, but believe me, this one will get you in the long run with its amazing melody and Colin’s excellent vocal work. The other rock band songs include Caroline Goodbye and Mary Won’t You Warm My Bed, both excellent, upbeat tunes. It’s the orchestra numbers that will get you on this record though. Songs like I Can’t Live Without You, Her Song, and Let Me Come Closer To You will simply KILL you!!
If you are in the market for records that grow on you more and more each time you listen, this is made for you. I wasn’t sure what to think about One Year when I finally tracked it down (luckily, it’s easily available these days) but after a few years with it, it is definitely one of my favorites.

1. She Loves The Way They Love Her
2. Misty Roses
3. Smokey Day
4. Caroline Goodbye
5. Though You Are Far Away
6. Mary Wont You Warm My Bed
7. Her Song
8. I Cant Live Without You
9. Let Me Come Closer To You
10. Say You Dont Mind

RUSH

RUSH
VAPOR TRAILS (2002)
320 KBPS

'To fully understand, is to fully forgive'. Okay, we're lucky we even had Vapor Trails. After all the turmoil is Neil's life, this album is very acceptable. Not a classic, but superior in many ways in their 1990-2002 period. The songs are about reflexion and irony. I don't quite remember such mature and intense writing by Peart in a while. In this album, the extremes are evident. When it's good, it's good (One little victory, How it is, Vapor Trails, Earthshine, Sweet Miracle, Secret Touch, Ghost Rider) and when it's bad...it is (Freeze, Out of the cradle). A good 70% of the album is above Roll the Bones or Test for Echo. So I don't know why it gets so much bashing. Blaming Rush for being harder and more metal is non-appropriate because that's what they do best. Synths are Rush's best ally, but they make bad leaders. Lee is a very average keyboard player, but they do know how to make it sound nice. But this time, it's back to basics and it feel refreshing. Never Rush sounded so hard and abrasive. Lots of frustration and mixed feelings in Vapor Trails. Listen carefully. Feel the resignation and the desillusion of Neil's lyrics. A very dark and 'rusty' feeling. Don't expect Moving Pictures or Signals, what they did best is behing them. But Vapor Trail is the only album they made like this, so it's worth the try... Good? No...better!

1. One Little Victory
2. Ceiling Unlimited
3. Ghost Rider
4. Peaceable Kingdom
5. The Stars Look Down
6. How It Is
7. Vapor Trail
8. Secret Touch
9. Earthshine
10. Sweet Miracle
11. Nocturne
12. Freeze (Part IV of Fear)
13. Out Of The Cradle

SUEDE


SUEDE
COMING UP (1996)
320 KBPS

Brett Anderson carried on after Bernard Butler's departure, adding a teenage guitarist and restructuring the intent of Suede, if not the sound, for their third album, Coming Up. The most striking thing about Coming Up is the simplicity. Gone are the grand, sweeping gestures of both Suede and Dog Man Star, leaving behind the glam, which is now spiked with an invigorating sense of self-belief — Anderson is out to prove that he's a survivor, and he does give a damn whether you believe he is or not. So Coming Up has none of the lush, melancholy, and paranoid overtones of Dog Man Star. It's about celebrating being young, going out, taking drugs, having sex, and living life. And it sounds just like it reads — Richard Oakes pounds out fizzy, fuzzy guitar riffs while the rhythm section lays back with dirty, sexy grooves and new keyboardist Neil Godling exudes a sultry, unattainable cool. Even on the wistful ballads "By the Sea" and "Picnic by the Motorway," there's none of the enveloping melancholy that consumed Dog Man Star — they're as optimistic as the buoyant, melodic rockers that comprise the rest of the album. As a statement of purpose, Coming Up is unimpeachable. Though it doesn't break any new ground for the band — unless you count the newfound sense of optimism — it's a remarkable consolidation and crystallization of Suede's talents and all the evidence anyone needs that Brett Anderson was always the guiding force behind the band.

1. Trash
2. Filmstar
3. Lazy
4. By The Sea
5. She
6. Beautiful Ones
7. Starcrazy
8. Picnic By The Motorway
9. The Chemistry Between Us
10. Saturday Night

IAN MOORE


IAN MOORE
MODERNDAY FOLKLORE (1995)
320 KBPS

Modernday Folklore is an awesome album from Ian Moore. While originally known as a blues guitarist, Moore expanded his sound on this album with impressive results. Moore's playing is very fiery blues sounding similar to both Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jimi Hendrix.
But Modernday Folklore isn't just for blues fans as there's much diversity on this album. Every track here is very strong. Blues-rockers such as "Muddy Jesus", "Bar Line 99", and "Train Tracks" are killer highlighting Moore's excellent playing. His use of the wah-wah pedal on these tracks only add to the intensity. There's also excellent acoustic tracks here such as "Daggers" and "Home" with Moore's quiet vocals bringing out the best in each track. Then there's the R&B tinged 'Lie" and "Stain" which are highlighted by their punchy horn lines and background vocals. Slower tracks such as the gospel like "Morning Song", "Dandelion" and "Today" are also very strong. The haunting "You'll Be Gone" with its dark vocals and production is also an awesome track. An excellent album from an artist who should have much more recognition.

1. Muddy Jesus
2. Society
3. Today
4. Daggers
5. Bar Line 99
6. Dandelion
7. Lie
8. Train Tracks
9. Monday Afternoon
10. You'll Be Gone
11. Stain
12. Morning Song
13. Home

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DAVID BOWIE


DAVID BOWIE
SCARY MONSTERS (1980)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

Side One of Scary Monsters is, in my view, the single best side of music to be found on any Bowie album - not least because of the astonishing musicianship of King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp ('I've been spraying burning guitar all over David Bowie's new album', as he said at the time) and the supple bass playing of Bernard Edwards. And the songs themselves - from the throat-tearing opener 'It's No Game' (with a frantic Japanese commentary in the background), to the searing title track (check out the guitars on this one!) to the Space Oddity follow-up 'Ashes to Ashes' and the metallic dance track 'Fashion' - rank among his best. It would be surprising if the high standard could be maintained on Side Two - and it isn't. 'Teenage Wildlife' is a highlight - a mini rock-opera that has wonderfully expressive singing and inspired playing - but the tracks that follow it - 'Scream Like a Baby', 'Because You're Young' - are weak in comparison. Still, if I had to choose one album by Bowie to take to a desert island, it would be this one - the perfect antidote to sunshine and blue skies. (It's remarkable to think that the album that followed this, three years later, was 'Let's Dance'.) If you want to sample the music of David Bowie when he was at or near his creative peak, then order this CD. Highly recommended.

1. It's No Game, Pt. 1
2. Up the Hill Backwards
3. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
4. Ashes to Ashes
5. Fashion
6. Teenage Wildlife
7. Scream Like a Baby
8. Kingdom Come
9. Because You're Young
10. It's No Game, Pt. 2
Bonus Tracks
11. Space Oddity (Re-recorded single b'side, 1979)
12. Panic in Detroit (Re-recorded, previously unreleased, 1979)
13. Crystal Japan (Japanese single a'side, 1979)
14. Alabama Song (UK single a'side, 1979)

THE JUDAS FACTOR


THE JUDAS FACTOR
BALLADS IN BLUE CHINA (1999)
320 KBPS

The Judas Factor have done something that few bands are ever able to do: they discovered what differentiates art from noise. They have managed to create a record, Ballads in Blue China, that not only has the energy to move the listener but allows the listener to enter into the moods and emotions that created it. You don't just listen to this record; you experience it. This New York outfit features members of 108, Ressurection, and Threadbare. However, one listen to this LP will demonstrate that this band is not interested in reliving it's past. Musically you will find no overwhelming influence. The sound ranges from a driving aggressiveness to total dissonance to quiet and troubled. Lyrically, it is one of the most honest and thought provoking records to have ever been made. You won't be supplied with flags to wave or slogans to chant. However, what you do get is a record that sincerely captures the minds and hearts of those who created it. The Judas Factor takes us on a thirty-minute cathartic journey of darkness, torment, regret and beauty. Ballads in Blue China reveals an honesty and vulnerability that will surely leave a mark in the music scene for years to come.

1. Beauty Mark
2. That Beautiful Old Victorian Bathtub
3. As I Lie Down To Die
4. Essay
5. Will You Wait Up For Me?
6. Choose Your Poison
7. My Favorite Stranger
8. If You Are Going To Kill Then Murder
9. Re-Invent
10. Intangibles
11. Stealing Away
12. The Last Song

EDITORS


EDITORS
THE BACK ROOM (2005)
320 KBPS

Sure, The Editors are a bit dour, what with songs like "Blood" and "Bullets" and "Fall" sporting baleful themes. And the oft-noted similarity between them and Interpol will be apparent to listeners on the near-instant basis of the bands' singers, who share a bellowy, stentorian voice, which means, really, that both are fond of Joy Division's Ian Curtis. The Editors, in fact, come closer to Joy Division (geographically they're nearly kin, being from Manchester). Deploying an instrumental color palette of their dark early-80s predecessors, The Editors win with chiming guitar work--as on "Someone Says," which shifts rhythms a la Interpol even while sounding wider-ranged and better-lit. Vocally, Tom Smith can wobble the edges with tremors of urgency stoked by Chris Urbanowicz's guitar atmospherics and occasional outbursts. "Fingers in the Factories," a lyrically mirthless little number that interjects a stellar combo of simple beat and bright-toned guitars to charge up the labor-related lyrics, driving Smith to an emotional charge, something that lots of post-Echo and the Bunnymen ensembles have difficulty doing convincingly. The Editors manage energy in the service of drama, a near-necessity in rock.

1. Lights
2. Munich
3. Blood
4. Fall
5. All Sparks
6. Camera
7. Fingers in the Factories
8. Bullets
9. Someone Says
10. Open Your Arms
11. Distance

THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH


THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH
CARRY ON UP THE CHARTS, THE BEST OF (1994)
320 KBPS

Carry On up the Charts: The Best of the Beautiful South was the surprise British hit of 1994, going platinum five times between its late fall release and the summer of 1995. The success was surprising, because while the Beautiful South had been modestly popular, their last few albums were sliding down the charts. However, their hits collection, Carry On up the Charts, flew to number one and stayed there for weeks. It's nothing more than all their singles, yet compiled together they make the most convincing case for the Beautiful South's sly, cynical sophisticated pop.

Disc 1
1. Song for Whoever
2. You Keep It All In
3. I'll Sail This Ship Alone
4. Little Time
5. My Book
6. Let Love Speak Up Itself
7. Old Red Eyes Is Back
8. We Are Each Other
9. Bell Bottomed Tear
10. 36D
11. Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud)
12. Everybody's Talkin'
13. Prettiest Eyes
14. One Last Love Song

Disc 2
Bonus Disc
1. Diamonds
2. They Used to Wear Black
3. Throw His Song Away
4. Trevor You're Bizarre
5. Love Wars
6. You Just Can't Smile It Away
7. But 'Til Then
8. Size
9. Frank and Delores
10. I Started a Joke
11. Woman in the Wall
12. Danielle Steele (The Enemy Within)
13. In Other Words I Hate You
14. His Time Ran Out

BIG CHIEF


BIG CHIEF
PLATINUM JIVE (1994)
320 KBPS

With a grungey guitar attack and sludgy sonics, Big Chief's early records sound like prototypical '90s Seattle — except the band is from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Formed by members of several popular local groups (Laughing Hyenas, Necros, McDonalds, Posse From Hell), Big Chief embraced a wide swath of hard-rock influences, ranging from righteous homeboys the MC5 and the Stooges to Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer and Black Flag. The twist is in the funk, however; Big Chief hails from George Clinton country, too, and their debt to Dr. Funkenstein — an obligation none of their forbears knew from — would become obvious later on.
The quintet more than makes amends, though, on its major-label debut, Platinum Jive. The rock/funk synthesis is even more seamless, resulting in heavy music that drives hard and with great invention — including ample spicy sonic details provided by flutes, horns and deftly arranged backup vocals. There's a rap number ("Bona Fide," with Schoolly D) and a soul croon called "Simply Barry," but mostly Platinum Jive rocks and roils, from the slamming opener "Lion's Mouth" through the trippy "Your Days Are Numbered" and the relentlessly rhythmic "The Liquor Talkin'." Kudos also to the packaging, a hilarious sendup of greatest-hits albums that even lists fictional solo records by the individual Big Chiefs (Henssler's is called The Sexual Intellectual).

1. Lion's Mouth
2. Take over Baby
3. John's Scared
4. M.D. 20/20
5. Map of Your Failure
6. Bona Fide
7. Armed Love
8. Philly Nocturne
9. Locked Out
10. All Downhill from Here
11. Liquor Talkin'
12. Sick to My Pants
13. Your Days Are Numbered
14. Clown Pimp
15. Simply Barry
16. Lot Lizard

Monday, September 21, 2009

YUSEF LATEEF


YUSEF LATEEF
THE BLUE YUSEF LATEEF (1968)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

A master of the tenor sax and myriad other woodwind instruments, Yusef Lateef is joined on this 1968 date by an all-star ensemble that features trumpeter Blue Mitchell, bassist Cecil Brooks, and guitarist Kenny Burrell. They delve into the spirituals on "Juba, Juba," and the blues on "Othelia," "Back Home," and "Six Miles Next Door." "Moon Cup" is an impassioned Afro-Eurasian eclipse of the medieval plainchant and Filipino chant, while "Get Over, Get Off, and Get On" sounds like it could be a track from the original Shaft. The standout track is "Like It Is," a hypnotic midtempo blues composition laced with strings, background vocals, and Lateef's exotic sax and bamboo flute. Here's further proof that this master's aural explorations broadened jazz and paved the way for world music's enduring popularity.

1. Juba Juba
2. Like It Is
3. Othelia
4. Moon Cup
5. Back Home
6. Get Over, Get Off and Get On
7. Six Miles Next Door
8. Sun Dog
Bonus Track
9. Db Blues