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Sunday, May 2, 2010


Hello everybody,

You might have noticed that, lately, my links get deleted or reported to rapidshare. I have tried re-uploading some of them but they got reported again.
I have no choice but to stop posting for an undetermined amount of time. It may be a week, it may be a month, I might as well stop posting altogether.
My goal was to share music so that people can try it before they decide if they want to buy the real thing or not. I know many people just download music and never buy it even if they really enjoyed it, that's a shame and a poor way to prove your love to artists and certainly not a behaviour I can support.
Anyway, since I don't have enough time to fight whoever's reporting the content of the MOODSWINGS blog, I see no other choice than to call it quits.
Bravo, Mr. Deleter, you won this battle.


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Calling this August 1972 concert comprised exclusively of Stax artists "Wattstock" or even the "black Woodstock" pushes the boundaries of the day-long event past its breaking point. But there is no doubt that Wattstax, held in a jittery post-riot Watts atmosphere, was an iconic cultural milestone deserving of a better recorded legacy than the two double albums that initially emerged from it, both of which were surreptitiously padded with studio tracks to enhance the roster. This three-disc, nearly four-hour-long deluxe 35th anniversary edition gets it right--or more right--by excluding the bogus material, adding a over an hour of previously unreleased music, and presenting it in an expanded package that includes a detailed essay by Stax historian Rob Bowman. The show's gospel aspect is further highlighted with plenty of Staple Singers, the amazing Rance Allen Group, and obscure blues harp player Little Sonny ripping into an instrumental version of "Wade in the Water." Comedy snippets from a young Richard Pryor and Jesse Jackson's opening speech, which appeared in the associated film, could have been excised, but nearly entire sets from Carla and Rufus Thomas, the Bar-Kays, and David Porter are worthy additions. Only the ubiquitous "Theme from Shaft" remains from Isaac Hayes's hour-long closing, but his full performance is available separately. The Emotions, Johnny Taylor, Little Milton, and a few others who didn't play the actual festival were recorded at other L.A. venues in the days around the concert, bringing a bit of a spurious element to this otherwise classy souvenir from a historically important and vibrant occasion.

01. Dale Warren & The Wattstax' 72 Orchestra - Salvation Symphony (Previously Unreleased)
02. Rev. Jesse Jackson - Intoduction
03. Kim Weston - Lift Every Voice & Sing
04. The Staple Singers - Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na- Boom-Boom)(Previously Unreleased)
05. The Staple Singers - Are You Sure (Previously Unreleased)
06. The Staple Singers - I Like The Things About Me
07. The Staple Singers - Respect Yourself
08. The Staple Singers - I'll Take You There
09. Deborah Manning - Precious Lord, Take My Hand (Previously Unreleased)
10. Louise MCcord - Better Get A Move Onlouise MCcord
11. Lee Sain - Them Hot Pants (Previously Unreleased)
12. Little Sonny - Wade In The Water (Previously Unreleased)
13. William Bell - I Forgot To Be Your Lover (Previously Unreleased)
14. The Temprees - Explain It To Her Mamma (Previously Unreleased)
15. Frederick Knight - I've Been Loney (For So Long) (Previously Unreleased)
16. The Newcomers - Pin The Tail On The Donkey (Previously Unreleased)
17. Eddie Floyd - Knock On Wood

01. The Emotions - Peace Be Still
02. Golden - Old Time Religion
03. Rance Allen Group - Lying On The Truth
04. Rance Allen Group - Up Above My Head
05. The Bar-Kays - Son Of Shaftfeel It
06. The Bar-Kays - In The Hole
07. The Bar-Kays - I Can't Turn You Loose
08. The David Porter Show - Introduction
09. David Porter - Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)
10. David Porter - Can't See You When I Want To
11. David Porter - Reach Out And Touch Somebody's Hand
12. Richard Pryor - Niggas
13. Richard Pryor - Arrestlineup
14. The Emotions - So I Can Love You
15. The Emotions - Group Introductionshow Me How

01. Little Milton - Open The Door To Your Heart
02. Mel & Tim - Backfield In Motion
03. Johnnie Taylor - Steal Away
04. Albert King - Killing Floor
05. Carla Thomas - Pick Up The Pieces
06. Carla Thomas - I Like What You're Doing To Me
07. Carla Thomas - B-A-B-Y
08. Carla Thomas - Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)
09. Carla Thomas - I Have A God Who Loves
10. Rufus Thomas - The Breakdown
11. Rufus Thomas - Do The Funky Chicken
12. Rufus Thomas - Do The Funky Penguin
13. The Soul Children - I Don't Know What This World Is Coming To
14. The Soul Children - Hearsay
15. Isaac Hayes - Theme From shaft


BOX SET (1996)
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The Misfits' legend grew over the years following the original band's breakup to warrant an increasing number of compilations like Legacy of Brutality and the boldly titled Collection (followed some years later by, but of course, Collection II). Sometimes worthwhile, sometimes incredibly slapdash, they fueled the fire but still did the fans a major disservice, especially given the repetition and overlap on many releases. Though it has its flaws, the coffin-shaped Box Set finally put things as right as seems possible with the Misfits, exhaustively covering all the releases the late-'70s/early-'80s version of the group put out (the exception being Walk Among Us due to a label-rights situation). The first two discs feature, respectively, the material on the two Collection releases and Legacy of Brutality, Evilive, and Earth A.D.. The third compiles a slew of different demo and recording sessions, including the original trio lineup (with Danzig on electric piano) on the "Cough/Cool"/"She" single takes, while the fourth presents the planned-but-never-released-as-such Static Age for the first time. Though recording quality itself varies widely over the discs and arguably some of the mastering could have been sharper (Danzig's own occasional remastering jobs in previous years weren't used here), it's still an explosive and exhaustive effort that any fan needs. The biggest downside: While the sessions on the third disc are thoroughly detailed, the studio cuts on the first two discs are placed without comment as to which sessions produced them, while aside from Evilive and Earth A.D. most of the time it's not clear in the slightest which takes were the ones actually released at the time by the band. The accompanying booklet does a good job in making up for this, though; besides a great band history from then-roadie/photographer and future Danzig bassist Eerie Von, there are complete lyrics for every song, a slew of amazing photographs from concerts and other shoots, and an exhaustive discography.

Disc 1
Collection 1
1. She
2. Hollywood Babylon
3. Horror Business
4. Teenagers From Mars
5. Night of the Living Dead
6. Where Eagles Dare
7. Vampira
8. I Turned Into a Martian
9. Skulls
10. London Dungeon
11. Ghouls Night Out
12. Astro Zombies
13. Mommy, Can I Go Out & Kill Tonight?
14. Die, Die My Darling
Collection 2
15. Cough/Cool
16. Children in Heat
17. Horror Hotel
18. Halloween
19. Halloween II
20. Hate Breeders
21. Braineaters
22. Nike-A-Go-Go
23. Devil's Whorehouse
24. Mephisto Waltz
25. Rat Fink
26. We Bite

Disc 2
Legacy of Brutality
1. Static Age
2. T.V. Casualty
3. Hybrid Moments
4. Spinal Remains
5. Come Back
6. Some Kinda Hate
7. Theme for a Jackal
8. Angelfuck
9. Who Killed Marilyn?
10. Where Eagles Dare
11. She
12. Halloween
13. American Nightmare
14. 20 Eyes
15. Night of the Living Dead
16. Astro Zombies
17. Horror Business
18. London Dungeon
19. Nike-A-Go-Go
20. Hate Breeders
21. Devil's Whorehouse
22. All Hell Breaks Loose
23. Horror Hotel
24. Ghouls Night Out
25. We Are 138
Earth A.D.
26. Earth A.D.
27. Queen Wasp
28. Devilock
29. Death Comes Ripping
30. Green Hell
31. Wolfsblood
32. Demonomania
33. Bloodfeast
34. Hellhound
Disc 3
Sessions 1977
1. Cough/Cool
2. She
Date unknow, no studio
3. Who Killed Marilyn?
4. Where Eagles Dare
5. Horror Business
6. Teenagers From Mars
7. Children in Heat
Date unknow, songshop
8. Night of the Living Dead
9. Where Eagles Dare
10. Vampira
11. Violent World
12. Who Killed Marilyn?
13. Spook City USA
14. Horror Business
Master Sound Production
15. I Turned Into a Martian
16. Skulls
17. Night of the Living Dead
18. Astro Zombies
19. Where Eagles Dare
20. Violent World
21. Halloween II
Reel Platinium
22. 20 Eyes
23. I Turned Into a Martian
24. Astro Zombies
25. Vampira
26. Devil's Whorehouse
Date unknow,
Mix-O-Lydian or Newsoundland
27. Nike-A-Go-Go
Date unknow, studio unknown
28. Hate Breeders
29. 20 Eyes
30. Violent World
Disc 4
Static Age
1. Static Intro
2. Static Age
3. T.V. Casualty
4. Some Kinda Hate
5. Last Caress
6. Return of the Fly
7. Hybrid Moments
8. We Are 138
9. Teenagers From Mars
10. Come Back
11. Angelfuck
12. Hollywood Babylon
13. Attitude
14. Bullet
15. Theme for a Jackal
16. Static Outro

Saturday, May 1, 2010


SONGS IN A & E (2008)
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Who would have thought that Jason Pierce's Spiritualized would have had any life in them after the rather uninspiring Amazing Grace in 2003? In the intervening five years, Pierce nearly died from double pneumonia. Near death experiences by their very nature are life-changing events. The music on Songs in A&E were recorded in that aftermath, but most of the album was written two years before he got sick; with so much of it about near death and survival, it feels like life imitating art. From the first notes of "Sweet Talk," it's obvious that a very different Spiritualized is up and about; an acoustic guitar, a sparse drum kit, the voice quartet, a few horns, and a minimal bassline fuel it. Pierce sweetly croons to a loved one in waltz time; his words are simultaneously appeasing and accusatory. The gospel chorus isn't as overblown as it was on Amazing Grace or Let It Come Down. They are in a support role, offering Pierce's reedy voice a fullness and authority it wouldn't have otherwise. The arrangement is lilting but powerful. How strange, then, the sounds of a ventilator that usher in the next track "Death Take Your Fiddle": "I think I'll drink myself into a coma/And I'll take every way out I can find/But morphine, codeine, Whisky, they won't alter/The way I feel/Now death is not around..."Death take your fiddle"/And play a song for me." Minor-key acoustic guitar and ghostly bass frame Pierce singing a mutant folk-blues that evokes Gary Davis' "Death Don't Have No Mercy." The backing vocals float wordlessly like death angels, hovering around the vocalist and giving the tune an otherworldly quality. But this isn't a song about dying; it's a song about coming close and cheating it; it's eerie. The proof? The next two tracks: "I Gotta Fire," and "Soul on Fire." The former is a taut, "Gimme Shelter"-esque rocker, the latter, a lush, uptempo love song. "Sitting on Fire" is a beautifully orchestrated love song: it's an admission of weakness and codependency but celebrates both of them at the same time: "Baby, I'm sitting on fire/but the flames put a hole in my heart/when we're together we stand so tall/But a part of me falls to the floor/Sets me free /I do believe it'll burn up in me for the rest of my life." Strings, vibes, marimbas, and drums crash in to the center of the mix carrying the protagonist into oblivion. "Yeah, Yeah" is a scorching rocker that feels like the Bad Seeds meeting the old Spacemen 3. "You Lie You Cheat," crashes in Velvets style with acoustic guitar and screeching feedback. The chorus sings atop a flailing drum kit, distorted strings, and wailing electric guitar. The marimbas and strings that power "Baby, I'm Just a Fool," sweetly underscore a very dark pop song, complete with "da-do-da-do-dat det-det-do's". It descends into beautifully textured chaos led by a loopy violin solo over seven minutes. Songs in A&E is the most consistent recording Spiritualized has issued since 1997's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. It contains the best elements of the band's signature sound, and paradoxically hedonistic yet utterly spiritual lyric themes. That said, newly focused energy, willfully restrained arrangements, and taut compositions give the set a sheer emotional power that no Spiritualized recording has ever displayed before, making it, quite possibly, their finest outing yet.

1. Harmony 1 (Mellotron)
2. Sweet Talk
3. Death Take Your Fiddle
4. I Got a Fire
5. Soul on Fire
6.. Harmony 2 (Piano)
7. Sitting on Fire
8. Yeah Yeah
9. You Lie You Cheat
10. Harmony 3 (Voice)
11. Baby I'm Just a Fool
12. Don't Hold Me Close
13. Harmony 4 (The Old Man...)
14. The Waves Crash In
15. Harmony 5 (Accordion)
16. Borrowed Your Gun
17. Harmony 6 (Glockenspiel)
18. Goodnight Goodnight


(A'S, B'S & RARITIES 1998-2004) (2006)

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Five Men in a Hut is basically the final roundup for Gomez's Hut/Virgin years, but it's a positive boon for fans, especially in the U.S. In the U.K., each Gomez album had at least a few associated singles, but they never got the same treatment stateside. Since each album had a certain specific "sound" to it, one can see how some of these songs wouldn't have fit with the album they were recorded with, but the B-sides were hardly throwaways. In fact, the B-sides were often excellent and allowed the band to try different things and stretch out a bit. Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline gathered a few of these tracks, but more than half of Five Men in a Hut is comprised of B-sides (and two previously unreleased tunes) so ultimately all the A's and B's of many of these singles are now readily available. Each disc of this set is packed with music; it would have been difficult to include much more. Highlights include the country-ish "Tanglin'," "Best in Town," and the hilarious "Dire Tribe." There's a wonderful cover of Charley Patton's "Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues" and they put a horn section to good use on "Chicken Bones." "Air Hostess Song" borders on electronica, as does the vocodered "ZYX." Since each album was different from the others, it's really interesting to hear all the different Gomez sounds together on the same album. This would make an excellent introduction to the band, but it's at least as exciting for the longtime fan (if not more so) since more than half of this material has been difficult if not impossible to track down. Ultimately, excluding the alternate mixes of album tracks and live cuts that weren't included here, there are only seven remaining songs that exist only on singles. Songs like "Who's Gonna Go to the Bar," the epic, sprawling "Gomez in a Bucket," and the vinyl-only "Wham Bam" will apparently remain unavailable, but Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline and Five Men in a Hut together will satisfy all but the most rabid Gomez collector. Five Men in a Hut is a great summation of this fantastic band's early years.

Disc 1
1. Whippin' Piccadilly (Turbo Version)
2. Best In The Town
3. Catch Me Up (Edit)
4. Ping One Down
5. Tanglin'
6. Bring It On (Radio Edit)
7. Champagne For Monkeys
8. ZYX
9. Step Inside
10. Blind
11. Pop Juice
12. 78 Stone Wobble
13. Royalty
14. Old School Shirt
15. Air-hostess Song
16. Sweet Virginia
17. Mississippi Boweevil Blues
18. Old China

Disc 2
1. Rhythm And Blues Alibi (Pre-Mellotron Version)
2. Silhouettes
3. Silence
4. Butterfly
5. Get Myself Arrested
6. Dire Tribe
7. We Haven't Turned Around
8. So
9. Shot Shot
10. Chicken Bones
11. Flight
12. Pick Up The Pieces
13. Big Man
14. Sound Of Sounds (Single Version)
15. Pussyfootin'
16. Coltrane
17. M57
18. Diskoloadout


WHAT'S NEW (1962)
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Sonny Rollins' mid-sixties experiment with bossa nova was completely different than was Stan Getz''Jazz Samba.'Getz was going for a mass audience, and he got it with his mellow album, the first real 'smooth jazz' hit. Instead, Rollins stayed true to his bop and avant garde roots, using bossa nova as a surgeon uses a scalpel, to dissect and deconstruct familiar melodies and turn them into something new. This hip reinterpretation of standards is Sonny's trademark, and in this album it's uncompromising. The whole album is interesting and highly original, but I will only comment on one cut, Rollin's deconstruction of a sentimental broadway ballad from 'Camelot.' He takes the kitch out of this tune and turns it into a fierce meditation on the origins of jazz, the mystery of rhythm, and the fundamental particles of melody. Rollin's version of 'If Ever I Would Leave You' is nothing less than this: one of the greatest tenor solos in the history of jazz.

1. If Ever I Would Leave You
2. Don't Stop the Carnival
3. Jungoso
4. Bluesong
5. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
6. Brownskin Girl


PUMP (1989)
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Where Permanent Vacation seemed a little overwhelmed by its pop concessions, Pump revels in them without ever losing sight of Aerosmith's dirty hard rock core. Which doesn't mean the record is a sellout — "What It Takes" has more emotion and grit than any of their other power ballads; "Janie's Got a Gun" tackles more complex territory than most previous songs; and "The Other Side" and "Love in an Elevator" rock relentlessly, no matter how many horns and synths fight with the guitars. Such ambition and successful musical eclecticism make Pump rank with Rocks and Toys in the Attic.

1. Young Lust
2. F.I.N.E.
3. Love in an Elevator
4. Monkey on My Back
5. Janie's Got a Gun
6. The Other Side
7. My Girl
8. Don't Get Mad, Get Even
9. Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man
10. What It Takes

Friday, April 30, 2010


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In 1970 Ferrer returned to France, where he started working on what he perceived as his first "real" album. Serving brooding prog rock accompanied by more personal lyrics, Métronomie was co-created with long time friend Bernard Estardy.
Though the album went nowhere commercially, its not-so-representative leadoff track, "La Maison Près de la Fontaine," proved a huge mainstream success in France. This apparently irritated Ferrer, whose growing contempt for show business led him to view it as the umpteenth misconception of his artistic vision.
With time, Métronomie became a cult album whose progressive/psychedelic sweetness is still as fresh as it was when it was first released.
Véritable Variétés Verdâtres is not of the same caliber. Though it's not a bad album it certainly isn't as ambitious as Métronomie. Still, Nino's worst is better than what most other 70s mainstream French artists could produce and since VVV is not Nino's worst it has enough good moments to content the music lover.
May this double set serve as an intriduction to an artist too often seen as "the funny guy" because of his 60s hits "Mirza" and "Le Téléfon". A dire misconception of Nino Ferrer's work.

1. Métronomie
2. Les Enfants De La Patrie
3. Métronomie 2
4. Cannabis
5. La Maison Près De La Fontaine
6. Isabelle
7. Freak
8. Pour Oublier Qu'On S'Est Aimé

Véritables Variétés Verdâtres
1. Ouessant
2. Il Pleut Bergère
3. Joseph Joseph
4. Ah Les Americains
5. On Passe Trop De Temps
6. Mashed Potatoes
7. L'Inexpressible
8. Sud Express
9. Valentin


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A Belgian rock band, Ghinzu (if it sounds a bit familiar, it's because they were named from a popular brand of TV infomercial knives that could cut through cans) formed in 1999. Sticking with their own label (Dragoon), Ghinzu avoided signing issues when the need came to release their debut, Electronic Jacuzzi, in 2000. (The album would get a reissue with an altered track listing in 2004.) After a pair of highly successful live shows, and a new album out (2004's Blow) in countries outside of La Belgique, Ghinzu began making waves in the central European pop world, eventually landing a gig opening for the reunited Stooges in 2005. In 2008, Ghinzu was to be found in the studio, working on full-length number three, and plotting further domination of Belgian rock.
It was a big challenge for Ghinzu to make this 3rd album; first because it took them 4-5 years to make it...and second, 'Blow' is an instant classic - how can you do something better?
But we're talking about gifted musicians who know where they want to go and what they want to do, they were audacious enough to look at themselves in a MIRROR and to produce an album that sums up everything Ghinzu are: powerful, magic, talented and funny.

1. Cold Love
2. Take It Easy
3. Mother Allegra
4. Mirror Mirror
5. The Dream Maker
6. The End of the World
7. This Light
8. This War Is Silent
9. Je T'Attendrai
10. Birds in My Head
11. Kill the Surfer
12. Interstellar Orgy


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Lords of Acid's 1997 release, Our Little Secret is an open book. Never daring to depart from lyrics that read like the stage directions of a porno flick, fans need only focus their attention on Lords of Acid's musical agenda. The songs still maintain the basic acid house recipe of fat, buzzy bass lines and disorienting rhythms. This album adds a little of all current dance music trends, from trip hop to drum & bass to keep the formula current. "LSD=Truth" rattles with amped organic drum sounds reminiscent of Meat Beat Manifesto. The first couple of tracks are drilled with speed metal guitars. Stylistically, this album is merely a tangent to Lords of Acid's debut album Lust. If this is your first Lords of Acid purchase, go with Lust--it's a better album. If you are collecting, the lyrical shock value will have worn thin on you by now, but the music is twisted enough to keep you engaged.

1. Rubber Doll (Opus)
2. Lover (Cantata)
3. Fingerlickin' Good
4. LSD = Truth (Solo)
5. Man's Best Friend
6. Cybersex (Sherzo)
7. Pussy (Round)
8. Deep Sexy Space (Chorale)
9. Doggie Tom (Overture)
10. (Concerto For) Me and Myself
11. Spank My Booty (Reprise)
12. Power Is Mine (Coda)
13. You Belong to Me (Theme)


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Not long after Ten unexpectedly topped the charts, Pearl Jam became notorious for their intense live performances. Even more notable than the group's unbridled energy was their willingness to stretch out their songs or throw in covers, reminding jaded audiences that rock concerts could be electric and energetic. Their Seattle peers were equally (sometimes more) compelling, but Pearl Jam skillfully made arena rock feel as intimate as a punk club show — something that no other band of their time could do. Instead of building this reputation throughout the course of the '90s, the quintet let it fade away as they became embroiled in a vicious battle with Ticketmaster that ultimately proved unfruitful. Not only did the court cases tie up several years of touring, they also refused to play any venue with contracts with Ticketmaster once it was finished — which meant they played off-market venues that were difficult to reach, thereby decreasing their potential audience substantially. Once 1998's Yield didn't move as much as anyone expected, the band released Live on Two Legs a few short months later. It was culled from Yield's supporting tour, and the difference is substantial — Pearl Jam still sounds good, but they lack the wild energy that distinguished their early years. Professionalism has its good points, however, and it's true that Live on Two Legs is eminently listenable, thanks in no small part to a fine track selection illustrating that the best moments of No Code and Yield rank with Ten, Vs., and Vitalogy. For all the good points — the tight interaction, the occasional nifty solo, Eddie Vedder's powerful performance — the album never quite catches fire. Instead, Live on Two Legs is a souvenir, a thank you to fans who have stood by throughout the years, and on those terms, it's successful.

1. Corduroy
2. Given to Fly
3. Hail Hail
4. Daughter
5. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
6. Untitled
7. MFC
8. Go
9. Red Mosquito
10. Even Flow
11. Off He Goes
12. Nothingman
13. Do the Evolution
14. Betterman
15. Black
16. Fuckin' Up


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Disc 1:

Heat is the sixth album by Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes. It reached number 2 on the ARIA album charts in 1993, and features the singles Sweat It Out, Stand Up, Stone Cold and Right By Your Side. Those who love classic rock will appreciate this album and Jimmy's raspy, rocky voice.

1. Sweat it Out
2. Wheels in Motion
3. Stand Up
4. Burn Baby Burn
5. Something's Got a Hold
6. Love Thing
7. Talking to You
8. Stone Cold
9. Wait for Me
10. Tears We Cry
11. Right by Your Side
12. A Little Bit of Love
13. I'd Rather be Blind
14. Not the Loving Kind
15. Knock Me Down
16. Catch Your Shadow

Disc Two:

Legendary Australian singer/rocker Jimmy Barnes, formerly the lead singer of Cold Chisel, asked the band Badloves to collaberate with him on his Australian top 5 double platinum album Flesh and Wood. In partnership they recorded a cover version of The Band's classic "The Weight" at Barnes' home studio in Bowral, just south of Sydney. "The Weight" was the first single lifted from the album and became a top 5 single hit on the Australian charts in 1993.

1. It Will Be Alright
2. The Weight (with The Badloves)
3. Ride The Night Away
4. Guilty (with Joe Cocker)
5. You Cant Make Love Without A Soul
6. Hell Of A Time (with Ross Wilson)
7. Brother Of Mine (with Tommy Emmanuel)
8. Fade To Black
9. Flame Trees
10. Still Got A Long Way To Go (with Diesel)
11. Still On Your Side
12. Stone Cold (with Don Walker)
13. Let It Go (with Deborah Conway)
14. We Could Be Gone (with Archie Roach)
15. Love Me Tender


MANTRA (1995)
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Straight edge has been a popular philosophy within portions of the hardcore community almost from day one, but New Yorkers Shelter arguably took it to its ultimate extreme with their incrementally strict interpretation of the concept, motivated by their Hare Krishna faith. If only their stylistic choices had walked as straight a path or showed as much creative integrity, because Shelter seemed to have an uncontrollable habit of switching musical gears with almost every new release, and 1995's Mantra was certainly no exception. The band's first album for Roadrunner Records, it countered the surprisingly mellow direction pursued by 1993's Attaining the Supreme with a partial return to their pure hardcore roots via welcome energy blasts like "Appreciation" and "Chance," yet also made plenty of room for surprisingly "establishment-friendly" melodic hard rock in "Here We Go Again" and "Letter to a Friend," as well as pop-punk like "Empathy," "Surrender to Your T.V.," and the title cut (which may or may not have been inspired by the mid-'90s successes of Green Day and the Offspring). Surprisingly, additional hardcore hybrids such as "Message of the Bhagavat," "Civilized Man" and "Not the Flesh" also contain serious attempts at honest-to-goodness rapping (!), and an inspired but confusing amalgam of all of the above crowds inside tellingly named album closer "Metamorphosis." This last song wasn't quite capable of elucidating (or justifying) the whys behind Shelter's head-spinning eclecticism to most conservative hardcore fans, but at least the quality of the material at hand — like the band's Krishna-driven message — was comparatively consistent (if at times tiresomely preachy) enough to make Mantra one of the band's strongest, most popular efforts.

1. Message of the Bhagavat
2. Civilized Man
3. Here We Go
4. Appreciation
5. Empathy
6. Not the Flesh
7. Chance
8. Mantra
9. Surrender to Your T.V.
10. Letter to a Friend
11. Metamorphosis

Thursday, April 29, 2010


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The Man-Machine is closer to the sound and style that would define early new wave electro-pop — less minimalistic in its arrangements and more complex and danceable in its underlying rhythms. Like its predecessor, Trans-Europe Express, there is the feel of a divided concept album, with some songs devoted to science fiction-esque links between humans and technology, often with electronically processed vocals ("The Robots," "Spacelab," and the title track); others take the glamour of urbanization as their subject ("Neon Lights" and "Metropolis"). Plus, there's "The Model," a character sketch that falls under the latter category but takes a more cynical view of the title character's glamorous lifestyle. More pop-oriented than any of their previous work, the sound of The Man-Machine — in particular among Kraftwerk's oeuvre — had a tremendous impact on the cold, robotic synth pop of artists like Gary Numan, as well as Britain's later new romantic movement.

1. The Robots
2. Spacelab
3. Metropolis
4. The Model
5. Neon Lights
6. The Man Machine


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Bruce Springsteen's debut album found him squarely in the tradition of Bob Dylan: folk-based tunes arranged for an electric band featuring piano and organ (plus, in Springsteen's case, 1950s-style rock & roll tenor saxophone breaks), topped by acoustic guitar and a husky voice singing lyrics full of elaborate, even exaggerated imagery. But where Dylan had taken a world-weary, cynical tone, Springsteen was exuberant. His street scenes could be haunted and tragic, as they were in "Lost in the Flood," but they were still imbued with romanticism and a youthful energy. Asbury Park painted a portrait of teenagers cocksure of themselves, yet bowled over by their discovery of the world. It was saved from pretentiousness (if not preciousness) by its sense of humor and by the careful eye for detail that kept even the most high-flown language rooted. Like the lyrics, the arrangements were busy, but the melodies were well developed and the rhythms, pushed by drummer Vincent Lopez, were breakneck.

1 Blinded By the Light
2 Growin' Up
3 Mary Queen of Arkansas
4 Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
5 Lost in the Flood
6 The Angel
7 For You
8 Spirit in the Night
9 It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City


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Haunting, romantic, and ultimately self-indulgent, David Sylvian's Gone To Earth is two albums in one. The first is a collection of gossamer adult pop with jazz, world beat, and atonal influences. Sylvian's world-weary voice quavers with emotion, and the tone of the disc's first half suggests Bryan Ferry doing some serious dream-journaling. Standouts are the brief but lulling "Laughter and Forgetting," the ethereal "Before the Bullfight," and "Silver Moon."
After that, things get a bit murkier with a set of nondescript instrumentals that seem ill-placed after 25 minutes of Sylvian's urbane vocal mysticism. If you're a fan of Eno's "Music for Airports," this section should appeal to you greatly. Otherwise, it will put you to sleep. If ambience is your thing, however (and, really, why would you be considering buying a David Sylvian CD if it wasn't?), this is a true classic.

1. Taking The Veil
2. Laughter And Forgetting
3. Before The Bullfight
4. Gone To Earth
5. Wave
6. River Man
7. Silver Moon
8. The Healing Place
9. Answered Prayers
10. Where The Railroad Meets The Sea
11. The Wooden Cross
12. Home
13. Upon This Earth


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Even had they never set foot in the Sooner State, the Starlight Mints would still face an endless stream of comparisons to fellow Oklahoma freaks of nature the Flaming Lips; when it comes to hallucinatory pop complete with sweeping string arrangements, poignantly strangled vocals, and lyrical references to giant centipede attacks, the comparisons pretty much come with the territory. Much to the credit of The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of, however, it took the Lips three or four records to get this good; embracing everything from rapturously Bowie-esque melodrama to odd Middle Eastern textures to pure noise cacophony, the Starlight Mints' debut maintains the element of surprise from track to track, as each song's journey from point A to point B proves as interesting for its ultimate destination as for the sonic detours it takes along the way.

1. Submarine #3
2. The Bandit
3. Sir Prize
4. Blinded by You
5. Valerie Flames
6. Sugar Blaster
7. Cracker Jack
8. Matador
9. The Twilight Showdown
10. Margarita
11. Pulling Out My Hair


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Martha Velez only issued five albums in her recording career of the 1960s & 1970s. But she has a cult fan following and her albums feature a host of guest musicians. Recorded in 1969, Fiends & Angels is making its worldwide CD debut & features Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Brian Auger, Christine McVie, Jim Capaldi, Mitch Mitchell and the list goes on.
the sound is straight out of the late sixties-a slight blending of instruments and voice that makes for a good,naturally warm sound. As expected,the quality of the backing band is great and helps place this album above the average run of the mill release. On various tracks its easy to hear which guitarist is playing,and while there are no long solos,the arrangements are just fine.
A lost gem you've got to listen to.

1. I'm Gonna Leave You
2. Swamp Man
3. Fool for You
4. In My Girlish Days
5. Very Good Fandango
6. Tell Mama
7. Feel So Bad
8. Drive Me Daddy
9. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
10. Come Here Sweet Man
11. Let the Good Times Roll


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

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


LIVE (2009)

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In 2008, Tom Waits launched a sold out tour, garnering intense critical praise by the press which called it the best live show of 2008. It thrilled fans across the world. For the occasion, Waits played in some in cities where he had never played before. Now comes the document of those concerts, 17 performances hand picked by Waits from along the tour. Leaning heavily on songs from his ANTI releases including a haunting Trampled Rose from Real Gone and roaring Get Behind the Mule from Mule Variations. Waits also digs into the vaults for tracks like a reimagined Singapore from 1985's Rain Dogs. Glitter and Doom Live will reside in the Waits catalog alongside earlier live albums like Nighthawks at the Diner and Big Time, both discs held on par with his classic studio releases by fans.

Disc 1
1. Lucinda/Ain't Goin Down (Birmingham 07/03/08)
2. Singapore (Edinburgh 07/28/08)
3. Get Behind The Mule (Tulsa 06/25/08)
4. Fannin Street (Knoxville 06/29/08)
5. Dirt In The Ground (Milan 07/19/08)
6. Such A Scream (Milan 07/18/08)
7. Live Circus (Jacksonville 07/01/08)
8. Goin' Out West (Tulsa 06/25/08)
9. Falling Down (Paris 07/25/08)
10. The Part You Throw Away (Edinburgh 07/28/08)
11. Trampled Rose (Dublin 08/01/08)
12. Metropolitan Glide (Knoxville 6/29/08)
13. I'll Shoot The Moon (Paris 07/24/08)
14. Green Grass (Edinburgh 07/27/08)
15. Make It Rain (Atlanta 07/05/08)
16. Story (Columbus 06/28/08)
17. Lucky Day (Atlanta 07/05/08)

Disc 2
1. Tom Tales


DIVE DEEP (2008)
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Longtime Morcheeba fans that found their sunshine bright album The Antidote a complete disappointment couldn't ask for a better follow-up than Dive Deep. Making that other unloved effort seem like a mislabeled side project, Dive Deep finds multi-instrumentalists the Godfrey brothers returning to the murky, moody kind of downtempo and trip-hop of their early days, just without original vocalist Skye Edwards, or for that matter, Antidote's vocalist Daisy Martey. Instead, they go about it Zero 7 style, utilizing a series of guest vocalists including smooth rapper Cool Calm Pete, alternative singer/songwriter Thomas Dybdahl, and most surprisingly, pop/rock veteran Judie Tzuke, who brings a welcome, folk-tinged sound that serves to connect the dots here between soft rock and Portishead. Tzuke's "Enjoy the Ride" and "Blue Chair" are the mellow highlights to curl up with, while Dybdahl's trilogy of songs -- "Riverbed," "Sleep on It Tonight," and "Washed Away" -- finds his poetic musings on all things melancholy perfectly packaged in Morcheeba's lazy sway. Special mention goes to newcomer Bradley Burgess who delivers "Run Honey Run" with all the hippie grace this John Martyn cover deserves. If Burt Bacharach and the bedazzling side of '60s rock influenced The Antidote, Martyn, Bert Jansch, and Fred Neil are the more earthy and literate artists brought to mind by Dive Deep. The change does the Godfrey brother's music good, bringing it more in line with the Morcheeba name and the masterful good songs/good vibes combination that made their first two full-lengths so haunting.

1. Enjoy the Ride
2. Riverbed
3. Thumbnails
4. Run Honey Run
5. Gained the World
6. One Love Karma
7. Au-Delà
8. Blue Chair
9. Sleep on It Tonight
10. The Ledge Beyond the Edge
11. Washed Away


JAWBOX (1996)
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Aside from slicker production from John Agnello and more direct lyrics, not much separates Jawbox's only non-transitional record from For Your Own Special Sweetheart. It could be argued that the band could have gotten a little too comfortable playing together or just plain too damn skilled. At times it sounds so effortless that you wonder if they could have sleepwalked their way through the recording. Granted they never sound as if the passion isn't there, but the clean, dirt-free production might detract from that to a casual listener's ears. The band's arrangements are just as strong as ever, perhaps more so. But another issue is an apparent too-worked-over nature. Were overdubbed acoustic guitars really needed? Were all those additional layers really necessary? They sound like a kid who breezes through an anatomy exam, finishing half an hour before anyone else — the kid decides to stay at his desk and scribble the internal organs of a nurse shark, rather than risk the embarrassment of looking like such a smarty-pants to the rest of the class.
More frustrating than anything else was that the slicker-sounding record left no impact on modern rock radio. But then again, just how many Top 40 hits deal with topics like all the B.S. and fake national pride U.S. students are fed in their history classes? And how many times do you hear a song with schizo time signatures and a chorus that goes something like "Take the big man down/Forktie/Chump crown"? It's no "Semi-Charmed Life," after all. Though this sadly ended up being the band's swan song, there really was no way for the band to top themselves. No point in going back to college when you graduated magna cum laude.

1. Mirrorful
2. Livid
3. Iodine
4. His Only Trade
5. Chinese Fork Tie
6. Won't Come Off
7. Excandescent
8. Spoiler
9. Desert Sea
10. Empire of One
11. Mule/Stall
12. Nickel Nickel Millionaire
13. Capillary Life
14. Absenter
15. Cornflake Girl (Tori Amos cover)


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A quartet hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, the Kingsbury Manx make music in the classic English pop tradition. On its self-titled debut, the band seamlessly blends its home country's indie rock trappings with overseas influences. The Kingsbury Manx is the aural equivalent of a cozy winter fire, with English flavors cloaked in warm, humming organs, acoustic guitars, and tender melodies. It's an unassuming, musically whimsical, minor triumph.
Throughout, the band spins quaint melodies that date back to the days when the concept record was the ultimate test of a group's possibilities as well as its limitations. The tunes have a ring of familiarity, although their sources cannot be directly traced. The Manx may have pilfered a book of Christmas carols for the opening "Pageant Square." "Fanfare," on the other hand, sounds like a slice of early Pink Floyd. On The Kingsbury Manx, these songs are of a piece with more modern material like the instrumental "Blue Eurasians." This song is the indie rock equivalent of an aimless "jam" and can be equally indulgent and uncommunicative; however, the Manx keep a hand on the reigns and adhere to structure, ultimately sticking to a more passive ebb and flood of dynamics. The members have the sort of pedestrian voices common amongst the '90s wave of British groups like Ride and Slowdive. This suits the material fine, and only becomes a problem on one song — beginning with an effortless interplay of cascading guitar tones which are kept as the song's backdrop, "Piss Diary" finds the vocalists singing a chorus of Simon & Garfunkle-esque harmonies almost out of their range.
The Kingsbury Manx's debut is a success largely because ambition and capability are rarely out of balance. Mining simple melodies to build textures and develop songs, the group avoids the sort of garish missteps made by more zealous, less accomplished pop acts.

1. Pageant Square
2. Regular Hands
3. Piss Dairy
4. Cross Your Eyes
5. Blue Eurasians
6. Hawaii in Ten Seconds
7. How Cruel
8. Fields
9. New Old Friend Blues
10. Whether or Not It Matters
11. Fanfare
12. Silver Trees

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


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Newly revised, this is the definitive version of a Zorn masterpiece! Loosely inspired by the remarkable worlds of Henry Darger, Lewis Carroll and Unica Zürn which throw childlike innocence against a backdrop of violence and perversion, Chimeras is one of Zorn's greatest works in the classical tradition. A work of fantasy and imagination scored for a Pierrot Lunaire ensemble plus percussion, the work has been resequenced, remastered and a brief, fleeting newly recorded postlude has been added. Dramatic and colorful, Chimeras is a work filled with femininity, innocence, beauty and violence.

1. One
2. Two
3. Three
4. Four
5. Five
6. Six
7. Seven
8. Eight
9. Nine
10. Ten
11. Interlude
12. Eleven
13. Twelve
14. Postlude


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Bob Dylan returned from exile with John Wesley Harding, a quiet, country-tinged album that split dramatically from his previous three. A calm, reflective album, John Wesley Harding strips away all of the wilder tendencies of Dylan's rock albums -- even the then-unreleased Basement Tapes he made the previous year -- but it isn't a return to his folk roots. If anything, the album is his first serious foray into country, but only a handful of songs, such as "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," are straight country songs. Instead, John Wesley Harding is informed by the rustic sound of country, as well as many rural myths, with seemingly simple songs like "All Along the Watchtower," "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine," and "The Wicked Messenger" revealing several layers of meaning with repeated plays. Although the lyrics are somewhat enigmatic, the music is simple, direct, and melodic, providing a touchstone for the country-rock revolution that swept through rock in the late '60s.

1. John Wesley Harding
2. As I Went Out One Morning
3. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
4. All Along the Watchtower
5. The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
6. Drifter's Escape
7. Dear Landlord
8. I Am a Lonesome Hobo
9. I Pity the Poor Immigrant
10. The Wicked Messenger
11. Down Along the Cove
12. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight


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Opeth's fourth studio album see's them expanding their sound, continuing in a prog trend. This album starts to show off some of Mikael's more emotional, mellow vocals. I think on the first albums he wasn't very confident with singing, he usually favoured death metal screams (which i also love). He has such a beautiful singing voice and it stands out well on this album. I think this one is a lot mellower than the others, especially their previous effort, "My Arms Your Hearse". This album has a lot more balance on it. The metal sections are still strong, powerful and blow the listener away. The death metal screams work really well when they are used. There are more acoustic breaks and classical guitar passages, as well as their trademark gloomy aura that sounds like a ghost in the fog (which would explain why all their album covers have ghostly presences on them).
Opeth's sound has very much matured on this album, their blend of metal and classic acoustic passages and breaks are a lot more consistent than before. This album shows off Mikael Akerfeldt to be (in my opinion) the best songwriter in the field of death metal. Opeth give us so much variability in their guitar sound that it can appeal to fans of heavy metal as well as those that like amazing acoustic work. Mikael can safely go down as one of the best acoustic players out there, combined with his incredible voice, he has a magic touch which puts him up there with the big players. He is very original and such a treat to listen to.
"Still Life" is Opeth's step into a brave new world (compared to the three albums before this). It is very confident and they have obviously settled into a comfortable sound and formula for making a great record that conquers both balance and fluidity. This album is very mature and an amazing listen in terms of metal as well as progressive rock.

1. The Moor
2. Godhead's Lament
3. Benighted
4. Moonlapse Vertigo
5. Face Of Melinda
6. Serenity Painted Death
7. White Cluster


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The first two songs on this New York college sophomore's debut album are the best, layering happy funk on the sampled foundations of the Doors' "Soul Kitchen" and Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Coppola, a chanter, rapper, and singer from Long Island, New York, affixes a cow picture to her album sleeve, poses in kinky hair like Coolio, names the album for a Spanish phrase meaning "goat sucker," and creates catchy melodies to complement all this playfulness. "I'm a Tree" is a summer single worthy of the Jackson 5's "ABC" or Hanson's "MMMBop," and Coppola's DJ complexity occasionally aspires to the level of Beck or M.C. 900 Ft. Jesus.

1. I'm a Tree
2. Legend of a Cowgirl
3. Naked City (Love to See It Shine)
4. It S All About Me, Me, and Me
5. Piece
6. Karma and the Blizzard
7. One of These Days
8. Pigeon Penelope
9. Soon (I Like It)
10. Forget Myself
11. Da Da

Monday, April 26, 2010


RELAPS (2008)
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Founding members of the Rock In Opposition movement, Univers Zero have continued to change and grow and develop over their entire career, while still keeping a ensemble sound and spirit that is easily recognizable. Relaps presents something that Univers Zero's fans have been hoping for for decades; a peek into the recorded archives of one of the greatest avant-rock ensembles since mid 1970s! This CD documents the final 1980s line-ups of Univers Zéro before the band's long sabbatical from recording and touring. The live sound is excellent throughout and the CD features a 16 page booklet with a informative history of the band during this time period as well as rare, never-seen photos. The line-ups featured on Relaps are the quintet who recorded UZED and the septet who recorded Heatwave. The material is drawn from those two albums, with the live setting providing some different arrangements and even greater fire to the pieces; I found the pieces taken from Heatwave to be particularly inspiring and outrageous. There is also a short, otherwise unheard composition included here. While UZ continue to play truely awesome gigs and develop the material that will be found on their next studio album, Relaps provides a chance for the listener to catch up with some never-released and exciting recordings from a truly classic band!

1. L'Etrange Mixture du Docteur Schwartz
2. Presage
3. Parade
4. Ligne Claire
5. Emanations
6. Heatwave
7. The Funeral Plain
8. L'Etrange Mixture du Docteur Schwartz (free-style version)


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With its cinematic origins The Odd Couple is the natural title for the second album by a pair who seem to spend as much time in wardrobe as the studio and whose recordings are often compared to film scores. Their greatest hit, 2006's "Crazy" was even built around a chunk of a spaghetti western soundtrack. Yet after the success of 2006's excellent St Elsewhere, the collaboration of singer Thomas "Cee-Lo Green" Callaway and producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton has become a permanent institution. The Odd Couple certainly lives up to expectations, and though there is no obvious smash to match "Crazy", it's a smoother affair than their often hyperactive debut, the unsettling "Open Book" aside. Highlights include the excellent, agitated lead-off single "Run", a smart slice of off kilter pop-soul, and its most obvious successor, the instant classic "Surprise". "Going On" manages to weld an eighties pomp-pop introduction to a surprisingly vulnerable Cee-Lo performance while the plaintive, bluesy "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" catches him at his most soulful. "Whatever" is a cute, rather bratty sixties pastiche halfway to Britpop (though no Englishman ever used the expression "y'all") while the warped bubblegum pop of "Blind Mary" and the more traditionally ominous "Would Be Killer" are opposite sides of the same twisted coin. Informed by rap and dance, but occupying their own unique genre, Gnarls Barkley continue to soundtrack the movie that, so far, exists only in their heads.

1. Charity Case
2. Who's Gonna Save My Soul
3. Going On
4. Run [I'm A Natural Disaster]
5. Would Be Killer
6. Open Book
7. Whatever
8. Surprise
9. No Time Soon
10. She Knows
11. Blind Mary
12. Neighbors
13. A Little Better


SAIL AWAY (1994)
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Great White must be one of the best American hard rock bands from the dreadful "hair metal" era. Wanna know why? Well, simply because when most of the other bands from that scene played party rock'n'roll with a bigger sound, GW had a little something extra, a.k.a. the blues, to enrich their sound and make it less of a "Mode du Jour"... On Sail Away, the guys took a bold move by tryin' their hands on mellower material. Indeed, most of the tracks featured here are acoustic numbers works! And with the addition of the live CD, where singer Jack Russell makes his first imprinted impression of Robert Plant (Babe [I'm Gonna Leave You]) and a few of the bands classics thrown in for good measure, it's a package which will please the blues, rock and hard rock lovers.

1. A Short Overture
2. Mother's Eyes
3. Cryin'
4. Momma Don't Stop
5. Alone
6. All Right
7. Sail Away
8. Gone With The Wind
9. Livin' In The U.S.A.
10. If I Ever Saw A Good Thing
Bonus Disc
Anaheim Live
1. Call It Rock N' Roll
2. All Over Now
3. Love Is A Lie
4. Old Rose Motel
5. Babe (I'm Gonna Leave You)
6. Rock Me
7. Once Bitten Twice Shy


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Working from the same basic formula that made their debut a winner, Dodgy perfected their approach with their second album, Homegrown. The trio's hooks and melodies are sharper, making songs like "Staying Out for the Summer," "Melodies Haunt You," "So Let Me Go Far" and "Making the Most Of" indelible slices of energetic modern rock. There are still a few stray moments where the band gets by on sound, not songs, but Homegrown is overall a tight, invigorating record.

1. Staying Out for the Summer
2. Melodies Haunt You
3. So Let Me Go Far
4. Crossroads
5. One Day
6. We Are Together
7. Whole Lot Easier
8. Making the Most Of
9. Waiting for the Day
10. What Have I Done Wrong?
11. Grassman

Sunday, April 25, 2010


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Nearly three decades since they first came together during informal sessions at O'Donoghue's Pub in Dublin, the Dubliners remain one of the most influential of Ireland's traditional folk bands. Unlike their counterparts the Clancy Brothers, the Dubliners have never strayed from the raw looseness of the pub scene. Whereas the Clancys were well-scrubbed returned Yanks from rural Tipperary, decked out in matching white Arab sweaters, the Dubliners were hard-drinking backstreet Dublin scrappers with unkempt hair and bushy beards, whose gigs seemed to happen by accident in between fist fights.
Get a taste of the real celtic music with this 4 CDs set featuring 80 songs that smell like Guiness and make you want to drink, dance, yell, fight and love.

1. The Molly Maguires
2. Champion at Keeping Them Rolling
3. The Lark in the Morning
4. The Lowlands of Holland
5. Lord Inchiquin
6. The Newry Highwayman
7. Springhill Mining Disaster
8. Boulavogue
9. Joe Hill
10. My Darling Asleep/Paddy in London/an T-Athair Jack Walsh
11. Smith of Bristol
12. The Town I Loved So Well
13. Fiddlers Green
14. Killieburn Brae
15. The Rare Old Time
16. The Musical Priest/the Blackthorn Stick
17. Biddy Mulligan
18. Spancil Hill
19. The Saxon Shilling
20. The Parting Glass

1. Free the People
2. The Greenland Whale Fisheries
03. The Lord of the Dance
4. Skibbereen
5. The Thirty Foot Trailer
6. The Downfall of Paris
7. The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
8. Alabama'58
9. The Louse House of Kilkenny
10. Avondale
11. The Prodigal Son
12. Scorn Not His Simplicity
13. The Spanish Lady
14. The Old Triangle
15. Ojos Negros
16. Drops of Brandy/Lady Carbbery
17. Cunla
18. The Unquiet Grave
19. Sam Hall
20. Molly Malone

1. Building Up and Tearing England Down
2. Song for Ireland
3. Matt Hyland
4. Doherty's Reel/Down the Broom
5. The Captains and the Kings
6. The Night Visiting Song
7. The Waterford Boys/the Humours of Scariff/the Flannel Jacket
8. The Jail of Cluain Meala
9. Down by the Glenside
10. Farewell to Carlingford
11. Donegal Danny
12. The Hen's March to the Midden
13. The Gartan Mother's Lullaby
14. The Bonny Boy
15. High Germany
16. The Ploughboy Lads
17. Last Night's Fun/the Congress Reel
18. Johnston's Motor Car
19. A Gentleman Soldier
20. God Save Ireland

1. The Fermoy Lassies/Sporting Paddy
2. The Black Velvet Band
3. Mcalpine's Fusiliers
4. Dirty Old Town
5. Belfast Hornpipe/Tim Maloney
6. Kelly the Boy From Killane
7. Take it Down From the Mast
8. Finnegan's Wake
9. The Comical Genius
10. The Four Poster Bed/Colonel Rodney
11. Hand Me Down Me Bible
12. All for Me Grog
13. The Wild Rover
14. Blue Mountain Rag
15. Whiskey in the Jar
16. Seven Drunken Nights
17. Home Boys Home
18. Three Lovely Lassies From Kimmage
19. The Holy Ground
20. Monto


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Cut from the same cloth as bands like Great Big Sea, Black 47, and the Pogues, the Young Dubliners put some rock 'n' roll in their Irish ditties. Here on its sixth album, the L.A.-based band looks back to the old country, mostly reinterpreting some of the Emerald Isle's greatest songs. Pogues fans will recognize such classics as "If I Should Fail To Fall From The Grace Of God" and "Pair Of Brown Eyes," and there are two Dubliners songs too, but the rest are traditionals as well as one original and one song adapted from a Patrick Kavanagh poem. Likely best enjoyed in the company of friends, this album is prime fodder for night of drinking in the pub thanks to the sing along choruses and big crunchy guitar parts. It's a fair piece from the tradition, but this band manages to keep the communal aspect of Irish music intact, and that means this tribute hits just the right note.

1. Follow Me Up to Carlow
2. If I Should Fall From Grace With God
3. I'll Tell Me Ma
4. Weila Waile
5. Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore
6. McAlpine's Fusiliers
7. Ashley Falls
8. The Foggy Dew
9. A Pair Of Brown Eyes
10. The Leaving Of Liverpool
11. The Rocky Road To Dublin
12. Raglan Road
13. The Auld Triangle

Saturday, April 24, 2010


FREE WILL (1972)
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Gil Scott-Heron's third album is split down the middle, the first side being a purely musical experience with a full band (including flutist Hubert Laws and drummer Pretty Purdie), the second functioning more as a live rap session with collaborator Brian Jackson on flute and a few friends on percussion. For side one, although he's overly tentative on the ballad "The Middle of Your Day," Scott-Heron excels on the title track and the third song, "The Get Out of the Ghetto Blues," one of his best, best-known performances. The second side is more of an impromptu performance, with Scott-Heron often explaining his tracks by way of introduction ("No Knock" referred to a new police policy whereby knocking was no longer required before entering a house, "And Then He Wrote Meditations" being Scott-Heron's tribute to John Coltrane). His first exploration of pure music-making, Free Will functions as one of Scott-Heron's most visceral performance, displaying a maturing artist who still draws on the raw feeling of his youth.

1. Free Will
2. Middle of Your Day
3. Get out of the Ghetto Blues
4. Speed Kills
5. Did You Hear What They Said?
6. King Alfred Plan
7. No Knock
8. Wiggy
9. Ain't No New Thing
10. Billy Green Is Dead
11. Sex Education: Ghetto Style
12. ...And Then He Wrote Meditations


320 KBPS

Tinariwen strip rock down to its basic building blocks of rhythm, guitars, and voice. On their second CD there are no fancy studio tricks or multiple overdubs. They stick to what they've shown they do well — keep the music raw and emotional. While there are similarities to the desert blues of Mali, these Tuareg nomads from the Western Sahara are as much as rock band as the Stones at their best, capable of conjuring up magic with a guitar riff or lick. Oftentimes, the music has the same bluesy, undulating, hypnotic rhythm of a camel crossing the sand, as on "Aldhechen Manin." But they can also crank the amps and unleash something to tingle the spine and feet, which they do on "Oualahila Ar Tesninam," as frantic and primal a piece of rock & roll as you're likely to find. There's even a touch of rap on "Arawan." But there's a complexity in their basic approach, the interlocking layers of electric guitars and the plaintive, defiant voices. To listen to Tinariwen is to believe once more in rock and its power. This is angry and passionate; it's dangerous music in the very best sense. Western bands might have forgotten how to rock as if their lives depended on it; Tinariwen can teach them.

1. Amassakoul 'n' Ténéré
2. Oualahila Ar Tesninam
3. Chatma
4. Arawan
5. Chet Boghassa
6. Amidinin
7. Ténéré Daféo Nikchan
8. Aldhechen Manin
9. Alkhar Dessouf
10. Eh Massina Sintadoben
11. Assoul


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Beck has always been known for his ever-changing moods — particularly since they often arrived one after another on one album, sometimes within one song — yet the shift between the neon glitz of Midnite Vultures and the lush, somber Sea Change is startling, and not just because it finds him in full-on singer/songwriter mode, abandoning all of the postmodern pranksterism of its predecessor. What's startling about Sea Change is how it brings everything that's run beneath the surface of Beck's music to the forefront, as if he's unafraid to not just reveal emotions, but to elliptically examine them in this wonderfully melancholy song cycle. If, on most albums prior to this, Beck's music was a sonic kaleidoscope — each song shifting familiar and forgotten sounds into colorful, unpredictable combinations — this discards genre-hopping in favor of focus, and the concentration pays off gloriously, resulting in not just his best album, but one of the greatest late-night, brokenhearted albums in pop. This, as many reviews and promotional interviews have noted, is indeed a breakup album, but it's not a bitter listen; it has a wearily beautiful sound, a comforting, consoling sadness. His words are often evocative, but not nearly as evocative as the music itself, which is rooted equally in country-rock (not alt-country), early-'70s singer/songwriterism, and baroque British psychedelia. With producer Nigel Godrich, Beck has created a warm, enveloping sound, with his acoustic guitar supported by grand string arrangements straight out of Paul Buckmaster, eerie harmonies, and gentle keyboards among other subtler touches that give this record a richness that unveils more with each listen. Surely, some may bemoan the absence of the careening, free-form experimentalism of Odelay, but Beck's gifts as a songwriter, singer, and musician have never been as brilliant as they are here. As Sea Change is playing, it feels as if Beck singing to you alone, revealing painful, intimate secrets that mirror your own. It's a genuine masterpiece in an era with too damn few of them.

1. The Golden Age
2. Paper Tiger
3. Guess I'm Doin' Fine
4. Lonesome Tears
5. Lost Cause
6. End Of The Day
7. It's All In Your Mind
8. Round The Bend
9. Already Dead
10. Sunday Sun
11. Little One
12. Side of the Road


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Calvin Russell is back with a new album recorded in Austin, Marrakech and Paris with producer and guitarist Manu Lanvin.
At 65, the Texan country-bluesman delivers his usual mix of blues, rock and country, one that made him famous iin France and Europe but failed to gain him more than a local audience in his homeland. His deep and touching voice is still here and so are the lyrics which tell the tales of everyday people as well as the story of his life.
Along the 12 songs of Dawg Eat Dawg, you'll hear a man that manages to mix the best of tradition and modernity. You'll also find the theme song from the latest "Lucky Luke" movie (directed by James Hutt and featuring Jean Dujardin, "Gangster of Love) as well as a duet with French actor Gérard Lanvin, "5 m²" inspired by the words of Charlie Bauer who was Jacques Mesrine's, the French public enemy #1 in the 70s, partner in crime.

1. Like A Revolution
2. 5m²
3. Halloween
4. To You My Love
5. Texas Blues
6. Sweetest Tenderness
7. Rolling Wheel
8. Gangster Of Love
9. Are You Waiting ?
10. Dawg Eat Dawg
11. Too Old To Grow Up Now
12. 5m² (Feat. Gérard Lanvin)


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In the five years between their debut album and 1999's Eyewitness, it's obvious that Shades Apart have learned how to write consistently catchy melodies. Eyewitness is a little too polished to be a straight-up punk rock record, and it sounds a little too indie to fall into the generic post-grunge category — it falls somewhere in between. But even if they aren't exactly treading musical territory that's uncommon for the '90s, what matters most is that the band has written a strong set of songs, and that's ultimately what pushes the record over the top.

1. Edge Of The Century
2. Sputnik
3. Stranger By The Day
4. Valentine
5. 100 Days
6. Chasing Daydreams
7. Know It All
8. Time Machine
9. Second Chances
10. Starry Night
11. Gabrielle
12. Speed Of Light

Friday, April 23, 2010


THE TURN (2008)
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When a musician can boast such a command of melody and a voice of such soaring intensity as Fredo Viola, you could be forgiven for anticipating a record that's all too eager to stake out its comfort zone and defend it to the death. Yet while most singer/songwriters who know how to craft a tune are content to do just that, tipping the hat here and there to the sacred conventions of Nilsson, McCartney, and Wilson, Viola uses that facility purely as a launching pad for some of the most audacious and thrilling vocal arrangements to be heard on a pop record for many a year. Viola says he initially multi-tracked his voice to fill in for all the instruments he couldn't play. Yet in doing so he has inadvertently evolved a technique that, while it evokes sources as diverse as tribal chants, doo wop, Ligeti, Gregorian chant, and the Beach Boys at their most psychedelic, ultimately leaves you with that rarest of feelings — that you are in the presence of something truly original. The Turn certainly contains enough evidence that, should commercial realities ever begin to bite, Viola could easily make his way as a master tunesmith. Even such two-minute pop marvels as "The Original Man" and "Friendship Is" are nevertheless brimming with harmonic and rhythmic twists. Yet while the voice is Viola's weapon of choice, his instrumental arrangements — mostly keyboard-based — are full of immaculately tailored sonic adventure. Only the strummed acoustic guitars of "Red State," a somewhat timid choice for a single, share a border with the merely humdrum. At its peak, however, The Turn is genuinely breathtaking. The title track is a thing of sinuous beauty, while "Robinson Crusoe"'s evocation of childhood games is one of the most uplifting slices of pure pop melody cloaked in luscious textures since "Penny Lane." Best of all is "Death of a Son," a pocket symphony that evolves from a state of choral grace to an exuberant celebration crackling with handclaps and (literal) fireworks. All told, The Turn is a triumphant reminder of pop's golden age, not in any nostalgic sense but in the way it captures that magical moment before commercialism and innovation became mutually exclusive concepts. So often in these days of bedroom studios, you get the feeling that experimentation is nothing more than a handy smokescreen for the inability to write a coherent melody. Fredo Viola is confirmation, if it were needed, that there's a very real distinction to be made between pushing envelopes for the sake of it and letting the imagination soar.

1. The Turn (A Pagan Lament)
2. The Sad Song
3. Friendship is...
4. Red States
5. The Original Man
6. Risa
7. Robinson Crusoe
8. K Thru 6
9. Moon After Berceuse
10. Puss
11. Death Of A Son
12. Umbrellas


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OK, "Like A Hurricane" and "Star Of Bethlehem" have been available on CD for years ("Decade"), and "American Stars & Bars" is sort of a Frankenstein effort, combining material from the aborted "Homegrown" album and featuring a mish-mash of Crazy Horse & Stray Gators with Emmylou, Linda and Nicolette thrown in. However, forget all that. The three essential "Lost CD Tracks" are: 1). "Hey Babe"...Nice easygoing Neil that would have sounded perfectly at home on the "Comes A Time" album, 2). "Bite The Bullet"...He must have been channeling BB King when he recorded the solo on this, because it is atypical of his "spray the air with random notes and feedback for ten minutes" style: brief (30 seconds or so), precise, and it stings like a big ol' mother bee. Plenty of bad attitude whammy bar vibrato being squeezed out of his beloved "Old Black" on this one, folks. Nicolette (and particularly Linda) shout / chant "Bite The Bullet" like a crazed mantra as Neil and the band slash and burn through three and a half minutes of the toughest, loudest, cleanest music he's ever recorded. EVER. Listen to it and you'll know why some people use the words "Neil Young" and "Lou Reed" in the same sentence. Finally, 3). "Hold Back The Tears"...which backs off a bit in intensity from "Bullet" but still features many of the dynamics that make that track great (Linda and Nicolette, and a memorable chorus). Legendary stuff that still smolders 26 years later.

1. Old Country Waltz
2. Saddle Up the Palomino
3. Hey Babe
4. Hold Back the Tears
5. Bite the Bullet
6. Star of Bethlehem
7. Will to Love
8. Like a Hurricane
9. Homegrown


CONTRA (2010)
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The scholarly Upper West Side Soweto of Vampire Weekend’s debut sounded self-assured, but on Contra, they step out of their ivory tower with just as much confidence. In all senses of the term, this is a sophomore album. The band still flaunts the collegiate sense of discovery that made Vampire Weekend charming — and sometimes too precious — but with more maturity and creativity. Another Discovery is just as much of a force on Contra as any of the band’s much-noted influences (Afro-pop, Paul Simon’s Graceland): Rostam Batmanglij’s electro-hip-hop-pop project with Ra Ra Riot’s Wes Miles, which released its album LP after the pair found acclaim with their day jobs. While Vampire Weekend aren’t as shiny and sugary as Discovery, some of that adventurousness rubbed off on Batmanglij’s Contra production, which plays to the band’s biggest strength: inspired juxtaposition. The album’s artwork, which pairs a blonde WASP princess in a popped-collar polo shirt with the term given to Nicaraguan rebels, hints at the flair with which Vampire Weekend play mix-and-match on Contra. They throw listeners into the deep end with “Horchata,” which features a four-on-the-floor beat, thumb piano, rubbery synth bass, and massed harmonies — almost everything except the spry guitars that helped define their first album. “California English” goes farther, tweaking Ezra Koenig’s yelp with Auto-Tune, the bête noire of those who value “realness” in their music; for Vampire Weekend, it’s just another instrument for them to play with. On paper, Contra’s hybrids seem more contrived than they actually sound: “Giving Up the Gun” fuses baile funk, house and stadium rock into a sweet melody propelled by choppy rhythms. “Diplomat’s Son” is even more far-fetched and fantastic, adding samples of M.I.A. and Toots & the Maytals — exactly the kind of things you’d expect to hear on a young globetrotter’s iPod — to nostalgic chamber pop. The album bustles with so many sounds and ideas that it challenges listeners to decide where to put their ears first, particularly on the single “Cousins,” a blur of guitars and jump-cut drums that sounds like abstract punk. Despite this busyness, Vampire Weekend are looser and less cryptic than on their debut, allowing them to tell stories like “Holiday,” an Iraqi war protest set to skanking guitars (ever the font snob, Koenig can’t resist mentioning a headline in “96-point Futura”). Even the few quiet moments are complex: “I Think UR a Contra” closes the album by wanting, and hating, the kind of privilege that brings “good schools and friends with pools.” And though the band is committed to change, the same joy that soared through Vampire Weekend pops up on “White Sky,” which boasts a melody so irrepressible that Paul Simon just might want to borrow it. With Contra, Vampire Weekend make Auto-Tune and real live guitars, Mexican drinks, Jamaican riffs and Upper West Side strings belong together, and this exciting lack of boundaries offers more possibilities than anyone could have expected.

1. Horchata
2. White Sky
3. Holiday
4. California English
5. Taxi Cab
6. Run
7. Cousins
8. Giving Up The Gun
9. Diplomat's Son
10. I Think Ur A Contra