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Non-Prog Album Reviews

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Topic: Non-Prog Album Reviews
Posted By: TheGazzardian
Subject: Non-Prog Album Reviews
Date Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:08
Introduction

This website is a community of music lovers. We are all drawn here by our love for prog, but I don't believe that is the only reason we stay. Their are tons of websites out there that deal with the genre to various levels that we could visit. 

I believe that the reason that Prog-Archives has been successful so far has been the tools it provides us with to discuss our  music in depth, mostly the forums and the review system.

One of the recurring themes on PA has been the fact that most of us love music beyond the realm of prog. But on this site, such music does not have the same support.

Intention

What I am intending to accomplish through the creation of this topic is to give us a place to really discuss music that we like outside of the prog realm. This is a place to come and review music that isn't prog.

The value will be, in addition to the increased avenue of discussion, the ability to be exposed to new music. I don't know about the rest of you guys, but of late, I've made many a purchase because an album sounded promising based on a review that hit the PA front page. In fact, this (+ the streaming music) has become the dominant way I purchase music these days. As can be expected, that means that I am listening almost exclusively to prog - which is not necessarily a bad thing ;)

Nonetheless, some well written reviews about music by those who appreciate many of the same things in music I do could help me broaden my musical horizons.

Format

In order to keep these reviews close to as informative as the reviews on PA, I recommend including the following information:

Band Name and description: Enough information that those not familiar with the band will have a vague idea what is being reviewed. 

Band Information: Genre, Country of origin, anything else deemed useful

Album information: Name, year of release, album image

The Review (obvious - should follow progarchive guidelines)

Rating - should follow prog archives ratings, but replace the word "prog" with the respective genre the music is from.

Prog Appeal - your opinion of how strongly this album would appeal to fans of progressive music. I have created some guidelines for the meaning:

1) No appeal to progressive music listeners
2) Light or historical appeal to progressive music listeners
3) Strong appeal to progressive music listeners
4) I believe this album is so progressive that it should be included on the archives.

Happy progging, and I look forward to seeing many reviews!



Replies:
Posted By: TheGazzardian
Date Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:35
Let me start this off with one of my all time favorite non-prog albums :)

Band: Midnight Oil (Australia, 1976-2002)

Midnight Oil was an Australian alternative rock act. They are best known in the western world for their hit single, Beds are Burning, off the album Diesel and Dust (their 6th album), although I hear that they are well loved in their native Australia. For years before they were known as Midnight Oil, they toured as The Farm, and after Peter Garret joined the band, they incorporated some progressive rock elements into their sound. The band is known for its political activism, including holding a concert protesting the Exxon Valdez oil spill in front of the Exxon offices in New York. Frontman Peter Garrett was actively involved in politics during the career, and the reason for the bands split in 2002 was so that he could continue his political career.

Album: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (1982)

Rating: Overall, an excellent album that I would rate as a masterpiece (5 stars).

Prog Appeal: For fans of progressive music, I would give this album huge praise. If the entire bands output was like this, I would be trying to get them into the archives as crossover or some such - but as it is, I can only give this 3 stars (Strong appeal to progressive music listeners).

Review:
Midnight Oil is known for their hard rocking tracks, and even by this point that was considered a crucial part of their sound. However, they decided to begin this album with a bit more sedate sound. The opening track, Outside World, is mostly instrumental, with some sparse vocals. This was initially my favorite track off the album, for it was like nothing I had heard at the time, and it kept me coming back until the album grew on me more than I had expected it would.

But those who doubted that this album would rock would give their fears to rest with the next track, "Only the Strong", which I can only describe as a blistering, almsot angry rocker. This is followed by Short Memory, which is a bit less direct in its instrumental approach, yet none the less impassioned. The lyrics are extremely powerful, as it lists terrible things that man has done in succession, followed by the chorus of "Short Memory, must have a short memory".

Read About It is another impassioned song, and I remember seeing the video for this one and being stunned by the power of the video (which describes deforestation in australia and the rate at which species go extinct). The song still has strong bite on its own.

Scream In Blue is where the band shows off their progressive influences the most, I think. Once again, we are treated to some tumultuous, hard rocking instrumentals, which come to a sudden stop halfway through the song, where Peter Garret comes in with what I believe is one of his most potent vocal experiences (from the percentage of the Oils discography I've heard, anyways). When he utters the last line, "When I scream, I scream in blue, I scream in blue", I get shivers. 

The second half of the album begins with US Forces, which sounds like a pretty upbeat song but is once again full of politically charged lyrics (this time, the Oils are criticising America's foreign policy). This is followed by Power And The Passion, another excellent Oils single that rocks much harder than US forces. The middle section gives the band some chance to show off, including some excellent drumming from Rob Hirst.

Maralinga follows Power And the Passion, and it is probably the most sedate track on the album, barring Outside World, but without the cool atmosphere of the aforementioned track. Regardless, it is still an excellent track, but I would argue that it is the weakest on the album.

Nonetheless, it is followed by the extremely catchy "Tin Legs and Tin Mins", before the album finishes on a blistering note with "Somebody's Trying To Tell Me Something". (At the end of the album, there is a long sustained note. On the vinyl, this was held into the runout groove (I know that term because I looked it up on wikipedia :) ), and on the CD this is emulated by the vote being sustained for 40 seconds. 



Posted By: Atavachron
Date Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:40
it's a cool idea for a thread (kind of a site within a site Shocked), maybe I'll post a review in the future



Posted By: Logan
Date Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:51
Great idea for a thread indeed, and very well executed.  I don't have a review at this time, but really liked your review of my favourite Midnight Oil album (and I like Midnight Oil considerably).


Posted By: TheGazzardian
Date Posted: January 26 2010 at 21:55
Originally posted by Logan Logan wrote:

Great idea for a thread indeed, and very well executed.  I don't have a review at this time, but really liked your review of my favourite Midnight Oil album (and I like Midnight Oil considerably).

Thanks :) It's my favorite album by them too, but I've only heard their stuff from Place Without a Postcard to Earth and Sun and Moon - missing both their early and late stuff still.


Posted By: UMUR
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 02:45
Great idea. Now I can review Katatonia.

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http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/" rel="nofollow - Metal Music Archives

https://rateyourmusic.com/~UMUR" rel="nofollow - UMUR on RYM


Posted By: seventhsojourn
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 03:17

Brilliant idea!



Posted By: Slartibartfast
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 06:48
I'd been thinking about starting a thread like this.  I've got such a backlog of prog albums I'd like to review.  I'll be back. Big smile

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Released date are often when it it impacted you but recorded dates are when it really happened...



Posted By: Raff
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 06:58
I believe this is a wonderful idea, well-thought out and expressed in an extremely mature way. Kudos to Stephen for starting this thread - which I hope will prosper for the good of the siteClap.

Now, if I wasn't surrounded by prog albums to review for that 'other' site, I'd very gladly contribute to this thread... Unfortunately, as of late it takes me an inordinately long time to produce a decent review, which of course is a pity. 


Posted By: Kotro
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 07:57
Originally posted by Slartibartfast Slartibartfast wrote:

I'd been thinking about starting a thread like this.  I've got such a backlog of prog albums I'd like to review.  I'll be back. Big smile
 
That's two of us, it's long overdue. A big huzzah to Gazz for taking the step forward from idea to execution. May I suggest that an index of albums reviews be created in the first post? Preferably with a direct link to the review, as I sense this topic will quickly grow beyond one page. 
 
In the meantime I move for this thread to be sticked.
 
Clap


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Bigger on the inside.


Posted By: lazland
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 15:44
A fantastic idea, and one which I feel would add even more to the richness and diversity of the site.

How the hell I'd have time to review anything is, of course, another thing, given that I don't have time to do many prog reviews these days, but I will definitely get around to reviewing those excellent Tansads & Levellers albums of mineClap


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Enhance your life. Get down to www.lazland.org


Posted By: progkidjoel
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 16:03
I'm very tempted to write a review for the album in my sig, Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight. I think I will later today

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Posted By: SaltyJon
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 16:07
Nice idea for a thread indeed, I don't have too many non-prog albums but if I get the inclination to review any of them I'll surely come here to do it. 

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http://www.last.fm/user/Salty_Jon" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: Finnforest
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 16:22
I really wish we just had a legit straight "rock" sub section where we could add everybody and write reviews for real.  The site's name and emphasis could remain prog, with a users options to present either "prog-only" or "prog and rock' albums on their main lead page.  Thus, people who want it to remain just as it currently is could have it that way, and those who want to "see" all the album reviews could select the "prog and rock" option to tailor their homepage. 

That would be so cool.  And it would get many of the bands here who fall just short of our prog criteria.  We could then rival RYM in titles and scope. 

Max?Smile




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Posted By: Kotro
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 17:02
Originally posted by Finnforest Finnforest wrote:

I really wish we just had a legit straight "rock" sub section where we could add everybody and write reviews for real.  The site's name and emphasis could remain prog, with a users options to present either "prog-only" or "prog and rock' albums on their main lead page.  Thus, people who want it to remain just as it currently is could have it that way, and those who want to "see" all the album reviews could select the "prog and rock" option to tailor their homepage. 

That would be so cool.  And it would get many of the bands here who fall just short of our prog criteria.  We could then rival RYM in titles and scope. 

Max?Smile


 
I made a similar suggestion when I first arrived at the PA forum. Didn't get much support then, and the little feedback I did get veered towards the "too complicated to implement" argument. I think this model proposed by Gazz will suit us better for the time being - I repeat that it should be made a sticky and perhaps even get a link in the homepage, but that might be asking too much.


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Bigger on the inside.


Posted By: Icarium
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 17:23
^ when you can play golf on the moon then adding another link i will think is possible or Mission Possible Cool 


Posted By: TheGazzardian
Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 18:31
Originally posted by Finnforest Finnforest wrote:

I really wish we just had a legit straight "rock" sub section where we could add everybody and write reviews for real.  The site's name and emphasis could remain prog, with a users options to present either "prog-only" or "prog and rock' albums on their main lead page.  Thus, people who want it to remain just as it currently is could have it that way, and those who want to "see" all the album reviews could select the "prog and rock" option to tailor their homepage. 

That would be so cool.  And it would get many of the bands here who fall just short of our prog criteria.  We could then rival RYM in titles and scope. 

Max?Smile



My thoughts (from the outside looking in) are that the difficulty with this wouldn't lie so much with the backend side of things so much as the content. As an example, for me to be able to review a Midnight Oil album in the PA system, someone would have to add them, add a bio, add a discography, etc., and yet that would be music that most of the audience here wouldn't care to see about, and would ultimately just clutter up the front page for guests if enabled by default. If it wasn't enabled by default, then most people probably wouldn't know to turn it on when they got their account, and so all of the effort of adding artists, albums, etc. would be viewed by very few people. 


Posted By: TheGazzardian
Date Posted: February 13 2010 at 12:35
Band: Swimfail (Canada, 2006-2009)

Swimfail was a Canadian project by Josiah Tobin. During its lifespan, he released 4 full length albums and two EPs, as well as an EP of scrapped material from an album that he hoped to write at some point in the future. The album's future is now in doubt, as after the release of his 2009 album, "Vermin", Josiah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V70ReEGAYI0 - announced that he was ending the Swimfail project. He intends to continue making music in the future, but if he does, it will be under a different moniker.

As Josiah is the sole studio member of the band, some of the instruments are synthesized. Josiah himself plays drums, keyboards, guitar and bass. To describe the bands music would be difficult because there is a high amount of variety between the albums. Borerer, the 2006 release, was an entirely ambient soundscape. Self Centered Tales from the Project that Failed, Vermin, and Extreme Disappointment are both more industrial in their approach. Happily Destroyed EP was another ambient album, yet sounds completely different than Borerer. Lastly, Invisible Stray was an acoustic album.

Album: Extreme Disappointment (2008)

Rating: 4 stars

Prog Appeal: 2 - light appeal to progressive music listeners. 
The music does not fit into any existing prog mould, but the creativity and underlying theme should have some appeal to fans of progressive music. 

Download Link: http://www.swimfail.com/music/releases/extreme_disappointment/swimfail_extreme_disappointment.zip - Album as mp3s  | http://swimfail.com/music.html - Swimfail download page

Review:
The Truth: Josiah Tobin is a friend of mine. When a friend sends you music, you listen to it once or twice, give them some feedback, and potentially never return to it. Swimfail was a different animal for me. Borerer caught my ear with "Dead Fans Don't Stand Still (Channel Song)", but it was with his second album (Self-Centered Tales From the Project That Failed) that Josiah converted me from a friend to a fan.

When Extreme Disappointment came out, I must admit to largescale excitement on my behalf, and also a bit of trepidation (this was, after all, his first full length since Self-Centered and I was concerned it wouldn't be as good). I had no need to worry, for Extreme Disappointment quickly became my favorite Swimfail album, and has refused to give up that position since.

Of all the Swimfail albums, this is the one with the most cohesive concept. Not only that, but the concept is actually quite interesting and exceedingly well done in its implementation. The concept is simple: Extreme Disappointment is an album about how a band, Swimfail, released an album, Extreme Disappointment, that was critically panned as Extremely Disappointing. But the love that Josiah put into this album doesn't end there. The album is 13 songs long, but interspersed between these 13 songs are 8 other tracks called "ED1-8". Each of these are actually about the story around the album.

To exemplify the disappointingness of the album, imaginary reviews of the album explaining how poor it is are interspersed within. But Josiah's sense of humour goes further than that - the reviews are self referential! One even says, "Josiah Tobin, the sole studio member of the one personproject, has fallen under fire from a good number of critics who seem to think that the albums name is all too appropriate, citing everything from perceived production issues to the pompousness with which the between song interludes are conducted." This humour and execution is truly excellent.

The concept doesn't end there. In fact, the concept continues to both before and after the album, with the introduction of a "villain" character - a voice that appears during some of the songs, criticizing Josiah for the methods he used and the way he structured the songs. The villain shows up first in "Fauxpas" - although that's not entirely true. in ED4, we get to hear what is presumably the person who played the villain character in a phone conversation with Josiah, where he is being told his role in the album. In ED8, the last track on the album, we even get treated to an interview between the villain's player and a female journalist, during which the actor himself actually complains about how he didn't entirely agree with the way the album was done (and even complains about the absurdity of there being an interview with the villain's voice actor at the end of the album!). As if this weren't enough of a mind-messing experience, the villain is also self-referential. In his first appearance, he criticizes Josiah for "writing in that villain buff theme to tell you off", and later in the album, he again criticizes Josiah this time for "using his own voice for everything" (for, other than the journalist at the end, every voice on the album is Josiah's own.

The villain can be, like the reviews, hilarious, but there's more to it to. Beyond the humor apparent in these characters, it also reveals a lof of the insecurities that artists go through when they release their art. Will they be criticized for the way they did things? Did they make it the best that they could? Will people like it, or will they be slammed for it? In Turqoise Shift, the last track, Josiah and the villain square off, and the villain complains to Josiah, "This is a good riff. You could have made a great song out of this. Why did you have to go and turned it into a half-assed rehash for our final confrontation, huh?", revealing yet another layer of insecurity in the artist. This additional openness makes the album a bit more open, and gives it that additional appeal.

Okay, so obviously, I really love the way that Josiah did the concept for this album. But a concept on its own does not a good album make. It requires good music to go along with it, and to be well integrated with the music. For an album that is about how terrible it is, Josiah could easily have written the worst music of his career and claimed it was "part of the project". But that would be too easy, and Josiah has too much care for what he does to hurt his art in such a way. 

The music for this album is mostly excellent, with some low points. The music is built mostly on industrial riffing guitars with programmed drums. The bass does make a few interesting appearances, most notably on "Frontman" and in the instrumental interlude of my favorite track on the album, "Another Angel". The vocals are mixed bag. Josiah makes use of cookie-monster vocals in some cases, but he also puts his voice out there in it's normal form as well. Normally I hate the cookie-monster vocals, and in some cases they do ruin the experience for me (I find "What Gives" to be almost unlistenable), but for the most part Josiah uses them in such a way that does not harm the music. 

When Josiah does sing, it works a lot better in my opinion. He has grown a lot more confident since Self-Centered Tales, and layers the vocals a lot less in this album. While his voice is not going to stun anyone, it is a case of it working very well within the music. And although Josiah does not have a huge vocal range, he is able to sing with varied tones to his voice, thus providing variety.

In terms of how well the music and the concept mesh, in this case it works quite well. The interludes do not seem to effect the flow of the album at all, and fit in quite naturally. Several of them overlay the music (some reviews, and occasionally the villain), but this works quite well, as they are talking ABOUT the music. I really love the way the album starts, as well. I know that Josiah is a fan of the game "Myst", so I imagine that the intro was somewhat inspired by the game - the way that the people in the books only seem to come through half the time before you find the pages to allow them to come through more clearly. Josiah speaks over fuzzy sounds and is cut off at various points in time. "You may feel a little disoriented on your first listening experience," Josiah warns. "This album contains unique shifts in reality that can have extremely unpredictable results on the universe contained within these recordings. You will know a reality shift has occurred when you hear this sound." (At this point, the sound plays, a reality shift occurs, and we are introduced to the first track off the album).

Okay, so I've made the point before that Josiah loves self referential humour. One last thing I'd like to point out is that he even manages to reference his bands name in the first real song, "Kid", with the line, "I know you swim, fail, and drown". Okay, not a happy line, but I also love self referential humour so it gets me every time.

As far as highlights go, the album has some strength up front, with the decent "Kid", the extremely catch "Meme", the slower and lower but amazing "FrontMan", and "Protector", but it is the second half of actual songs that I like best. Where the opening of the album is full of fast-paced, heavier tracks, by the second half Josiah has slowed down and toned it down a touch, which fits closer with my taste in music. "Hollow Pages" is an amazing track, with airy vocals and light guitars that have an almsot Space-rock feel. It is followed by my favorite track off the album, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI6syexnK1g - Another Angel , which features some of the most interesting lyrics on the album, as well as the most varied instrumentation. I would rate this as the "proggiest" part of the album, and I find the instrumental break i the middle of the song simple, yet hugely effective.

Wilkinson Road is an interesting track, with an underlying static sound providing a beat and nice guitars laid overtop. Overall, a really nice, simple little song with some nice clean guitar playing made a bit more unique by the unusual static sound that builds up nicely. This song sort of ties into the theme of the album too, as the singer begs, "Hey now, hey now, please don't run away - I have so many important things to say", a note about how an artist is trying to make a claim on the attention of their audience. 

ED7 shows the villain at his his most insane, before the laid back "Turqoise Shift" starts. (And although one of the "pompous-ass fake reviews" refers to it as "Avant-Gard noise experimentation", don't expect RIO/Avant prog ;) ). It is more along the lines of a clean guitar riff over more distorted instruments, with the villain and Josiah conversing about the quality of the album and the creative process. 

And yet, at the end, we even get a somewhat happy ending, when Josiah says to the villain, "Maybe people like me need to stop listening to voices like you." Maybe the artist shouldn't let all the possible insecurities that they have along the way effect their ability to release their art. But just when you think that you've found some great meaning behind the album, Josiah ends it with, "F**k the message" (to which the villain replies, "Is that it? Huh, okay").

Yet another one of my favorite non-prog albums. 

One last tidbit about the care Josiah put into every aspect of this album: If you check out the track listening, each track name is one letter longer than the one before it.

1. Kid
2. Meme
3. Bunny
4. Letter
5. Faux-Pas
6. Frontman
7. Protector
8. What Gives
9. Adumbration
10. Hollow Pages
11. Another Angel
12. Wilkinson Road
13. Turquoise Shift


Posted By: halabalushindigus
Date Posted: February 15 2010 at 14:50
Band:  GEORGE HARRISON   "BRAINWASHED"   (2000)
 
In this album, released in 2000, George Harrison reveals everything inside. The information one recieves could not come from a Paul McCartney or a John Lennon because they would never admit such personal information. George, here, talks about his habits, his mistakes, his cancer, and ultimately, his death.
 
I find this album to be a brave, literary stroke of penmanship.
 
On "Vatican Blues" he remarks.."so how come nobody really noticed, puff of white-smoke knocked me out"  "Looking For My Life"............." I never found it out, till I was down upon my knees, looking for my life" The news that his cancer was terminal. He talks about his adventures "on the avenue, I have been employed"  I Dare not submit all the actual text for it is not my Song. He then sees his death and says goodbye. "Run So Far" and a bidding "farewell" to his wife ."Never Get Over You". THEN THE LESSON "Between The Devil and the deep blue sea" where a wistful phrase " I should hate you....but I guess I love you" 
 
"Rocking Chair in  Hawaii reminds us "that if we don't get the picture"
R. I. P. George Harrison  Lead Guitarist - The Beatles         


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assume the power 1586/14.3


Posted By: halabalushindigus
Date Posted: February 17 2010 at 14:49
Just bought "Red Rose Speedway" from ebay brand new remastered and I'm sooo happy. It's KICK!!
and for only for 5 bucksTongue
 
Not going to review the album here because I found out The Album was engineered by, get this,
Alan Parsons  Glyn Johns  David Hentschel   OMG!!!  that's all you need to know! as far as I'm concerned
 
Seriously, how can you go wrong with those 3 masters at the controls.Thumbs Up
 
R.I.P. Lovely LindaHeart


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assume the power 1586/14.3


Posted By: halabalushindigus
Date Posted: February 17 2010 at 18:52
I know this is an album review catagory and not for just yakin' like I am but I can't believe after listening to "Red Rose Speedway" two times over that I have the song "C moon" in my head.
 
"C Moon"  go figure
 
P.S.  thanks Samuel Adams
 


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assume the power 1586/14.3


Posted By: Tsevir Leirbag
Date Posted: February 17 2010 at 19:09
As many other people have said, this is a very good idea for a thread. Maybe we should get it stickied?

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Les mains, les pieds balancés
Sur tant de mers, tant de planchers,
Un marin mort,
Il dormira

- Paul Éluard


Posted By: halabalushindigus
Date Posted: February 18 2010 at 02:58
what's it all to you?
 
C"MOON TO ME!!!
 
C'MOON ARE WE!!!!
 
C'MOON IS SHE!!!
 
what's it all about?
 
(repeat)
 
going to bed now which reminds me you british  what should I  say> My name is halabalushindigus
cuz McCartney is playing HI HI HI and you know what progkidjoel and T equality7whatever my pussy face was in his movie shot so dig that


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assume the power 1586/14.3


Posted By: halabalushindigus
Date Posted: February 18 2010 at 03:04
Progarchives needs a Christian Thread
R.I.P. george Harrison
 
and dear johnny too


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assume the power 1586/14.3


Posted By: TheGazzardian
Date Posted: February 22 2010 at 23:13
Band: Death Cab For Cutie

Truthfully, I don't know a lot about DCFC. I got into them several years ago when my girlfriend sent me an mp3 over the internet that got stuck in my head. In my head, they are synonymous with "Indie Pop", and I have heard many bands that remind me of them over the years. Whether or not they are the original pioneers for their sound, or just the first I've heard, I can't say, for it's not a sound I loved quite enough to explore the history of very deeply.

Album: Plans (2005)

Rating: 3 stars (good, but non essential)

Prog Appeal: 1 (no appeal)

Review:

This album re-entered my awareness when Joel mentioned it in some thread, claiming it was a "prog album by a non-prog band". This made me curious enough to relisten and see how much it lined up with my new understanding of what prog was as a genre. This listening session was also prompted by my girlfriend asking to listen to the album.

Right off the bat, with "Marching Bands of Manhattan", I remember this music quite clearly. The ingredients are all here - light guitars, piano, thoughtful lyrics. But at the same time, this is a somewhat interesting experience for me, for I have never paid much attention to this song before. Death Cab For Cutie predates the time when I started paying close attention to albums, back when I used to pick the songs that stood out and toss them into a playlist. Marching Bands is not quite amazing, but it definitely has more to it than I realised before.

Then we are onto "Soul Meets Body", the song that made me buy this album all those years ago. Can you say infectiously catchy? And while this song is arguably a love song, the lyrics don't feel tired or tread over. In fact, this is one aspect of Death Cab For Cutie I remember liking a lot back in the day.

Following Soul Meets body is Summer Skin. This one is a quiet piece, but I remember liking this one a lot before, and I am enjoying it as much now. A nice, dreamy song with lyrics that make me think, just a little bit.

Different Names For The Same Thing is the next surprise for me on this album, another one that I never paid a lot of attention to before. Like Summer Skin, it is a bit quieter, but it actually has lyrics that interest me a bit more.

I WIll Follow You Into The Dark is another track that demonstrates Death Cab's ability to pen love songs that don't sound quite so tired and drab. The introduction of death into this track makes it a bit darker than what many would like from a love song, but in a strange way, it makes it that much more romantic.

Your Heart is an Empty Room, even with me paying attention, seemed to float right on past me, but it is followed by Someday You Will be Loved, perhaps one of the hardest rocking tracks on the album. (That isn't saying a whole lot, for Death Cab For Cutie are unashamedly light, but that also makes this song stand out more). This song is almost a reverse love song - it's a song about how the singer doesn't love the girl, but someday, someone will. 

Crooked Teeth is catchy, although I find it to be a bit less interesting than either Soul Meets Body or Someday You Will be Loved.

What Sarah said starts off with nice pianos, before Ben Gibbard starts singing. The lyrics are good, but overall, it feels like just another quiet Death Cab song, very similar in sound to Marching Bands of Manhattan, Summer Skin, etc., and by this point in the album, the sound is no longer as fresh. Regardless, the story the song tells is quite poignant and sad, and matched with "I Will Follow You Into the Dark", thematically similar (love and death). (In fact, it's similar enough that I'm likely to start paying even more attention to the lyrics of this album to see if there is any narrative that connects these two songs). The song ends on a wistful piano.

Brothers on a Hotel Bed is another song with a somber feeling, although instead of being about death and love, this is about how the burning passion of love burns down over time. Stable Song, too, is quiet, although it emphasizes the acoustic guitar more than the pianos. If it had been the first quiet song in a row, or even not the fourth, I would say that it was an alright way to end the album, but the lyrical content is not as interesting as the three before it, so it just feels like the album is petering out by this point. It does get a bit more energy near the end, with the introduction of some electric guitar, but ultimately by this point in time I'm tired of this sound.

A decent album with some great tracks and some really interesting lyrical content, but by the end of it, too many songs that sound the same for me to give it a lot of praise. 3 stars.


Posted By: Kotro
Date Posted: March 16 2010 at 14:39
Band Name: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, USA rock band.
 
Album: B.R.M.C. (1999/2001)
 
Tracklist:
  1. "Love Burns" – 4:05
  2. "Red Eyes and Tears" – 4:00
  3. "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song)" – 4:38
  4. "Awake" – 6:12
  5. "White Palms" – 4:55
  6. "As Sure as the Sun" – 5:52
  7. "Rifles" – 6:59
  8. "Too Real" – 4:55
  9. "Spread Your Love" – 3:45
  10. "Head Up High" – 5:35
  11. "Salvation" – 6:06

Originally self-released in 1999, then re-launched by Virgin in 2001 (which is the edition we're reviewing here), B.R.M.C. is the excellent debut of raunchy rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Appearing more or less in garage-rock circuits at the same time as The Strokes, BRMC are actually a lot darker and moody than the New Your group. And that makes them a lot more interesting in my book. 

This debut album is filled with angst and melancholy, all of with are channeled to the distorted electric guitar playing and heavy drumming, creating a wall of sound similar to what one might find in another power trio right here on PA, Amplifier.  As this is a song album, built on the strengths of individual material, there are strong numbers and weaker ones. Of the eleven tracks present, seven are quite sublime: the moody yet catchy straight up rocker Love Burns, the psychedelic Red Eyes And Tears (almost Barrett-era Floyd sounding), the distorted guitar-driven Awake, the somber As Sure As The Sun (again with some very early Floydian riffs and a hint of shoegazing), the eerie epic Rifles, complete with opening vocal harmonies, a ghostly guitar riff and a richly laid bed of synths, the dreamy pop-rock of Too Real, and the heavy take on a standard blues lick provided by Spread Your Love. The remaining four tracks don’t deserve much praise from me, but relegating them to “filler” would be unfair, as some of them clearly fall among fan favorites (for instance, the critically acclaimed punk-rock single Whatever Happened To My Rock ‘n’ Roll is easily one of my least favorites). You can see, however, that there is plenty material here to fully apreciate, and there is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the great albums kickstarting 21st century rock n' roll, while remaining on a niche of its own far from other all-too-similar alternative/indie rock outputs.  

Rating - StarStarStarStarStar: an excellent addition to any self-respecting rock collection.  

Prog Appeal - this album should appeal strongly to the more alternative hard rock-oriented prog fans, as it bring to memory the likes of equally heavy but as diverse bands as The Stooges, psychedelic Pink Floyd at its heaviest, Amplifier or even My Bloody Valentine.
 
 


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Bigger on the inside.


Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: March 17 2010 at 04:57
 
 
Altars Of Madness (1989)
by Morbid Angel
13 tracks, 51 mins (reissue + 3 remixes)
http://www.morbidangel.com/ - http://www.morbidangel.com/
 
I have not traditionally listened to much  death metal but I think excellence shines through no matter what the genre. I came upon Altars Of Madness after a recommendation from Mikael Akerfeldt, whose band Opeth was the group which made me (and many others here it seems) see death metal and growled vocals in a new light. I became interested in their predecessors, many of whom I had heard of, but not really listened to and wondered if I would enjoy them or find them noisy nonsense.
Well noisy nonsense is certainly out there to be had, but not in this case. Altars Of Madness is arguably one of the best non-progressive death metal albums of all time. It seems to occupy a similar place in death metal to Slayer's Reign In Blood in thrash metal- in some ways what they're doing is quite limited in scope and even iterative but. they. do. it. so. well. Even with such brutal compositions, the musicianship of Morbid Angel comes shining through and is undeniable.
 
 
This is extreme rock, sure to get the blood pounding and the pulse throbbing. Riff after riff comes ripping through the speakers and you start to understand what people in mosh pits are feeling. Unspeakably exciting (especially in the context of 1989) their combination of electrifying guitar solos and beserk drumming (complete with a few complex time changes to engage the brain though things stay too rocking for a proggy atmosphere to ever emerge) makes for granny scaring at its finest. Unfortunately the vocals aren't quite up to the standard of the music- they're not necessarily bad but they have the usual growling issues of being hard to discern and fairly monotonous but the energy of the music carries thing along nicely so it's not a big issue.
Their lyrics tend to be very violent and, as with a lot of these guys, anti-religion which may worry some people. I don't think that they are theatrically posing as bad boys though, I think a lot of the offensive lyrical content of these groups is misunderstood as being either overgrown children trying to shock or monobrowed morons who actually mean it. I think really what's going on is that a lot of these groups came from smalltown conservative backgrounds where their parents through the church often told them what to do and when to do it and suggested that God would punish them etc and this was their way of tearing that down, of pronouncing it false and telling listeners to confront the ugliness in life without using religion to explain it away.
The only problem with the record is that it gets a bit samey after a while and even at only 39 minutes (original album length not including the redundant remixes) it's enough for me. There are a few interesting touches about though, such as the reversed cymbals that open Immortal Rites or the high ghostly vocals that appear in the middle of Chapel Of Ghouls. Chapel Of Ghouls is my favourite track on the album, having a sort of mini-epic quality and some really great playing. Very impressive particularly considering this was their debut- lots of chops for noobs.
 
 
In my opinion, Altars Of Madness is a great record to try if you'd like a real adrenalin, a no holds barred kick up the keister if you're feeling a bit overfed and sleepy after one Yes record too many. It is the rawest of MA's records, not hinting at the more experimental/serious (but perhaps less spirited) vibe of later albums, but that is precisely why it grips me. While not sounding like punk at all, the same attitude of :"f**k you and your ideas about music and life, EAT THIS" is present and accounted for, though unlike many others, Morbid Angel have the skill to approach cacophony but to keep control and deliver the goods.
 
4/5
 
Fun Fact: Each Morbid Angel album title begins with the next letter of the alphabet but they only got as far as H. Sadly, we will never know how they would have handled X. Perhaps that is why they broke up?


Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: March 18 2010 at 04:09

The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (2010)

by The Besnard Lakes
10 tracks, 46 mins
http://www.thebesnardlakes.com/ - http://www.thebesnardlakes.com/
 
I heard the buzz around The Besnard Lakes' previous album The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse but never actually got around to listening to it. So when I saw they had a new one out, I thought I may as well give it a try, having had a pretty good time with most things that Jagjaguwar records puts out. And that remains true.
The Besnard Lakes, centred around husband and wife Jace and Olga, make alternative pop music. If alt-pop sounds like an oxymoron, think of someone like Animal Collective- definitely alternative, but definitely infectious and catchy. Besnard Lakes don't sound like AC but the similarity is that they take an unusual route to the usual goal of a pop song- it is enjoyable, deceptively accessible music.
There are really only 8 songs- Like The Ocean Like The Innocent and Land Of Living Skies both feature intro tracks that don't stand as separate pieces- so fortunately the hit rate is quite high. The Besnards tend to take their time on their songs, buildings layers of warm fuzz and beautiful vocal harmonies, often simultaneously invoking sunny days and dark nights, a fascinating and bewitching juxtaposition. At least once though, they just roll out a good little pop-rock song that wouldn't be too out of place on the radio in the form of And This Is What We Call Progress, a toe tapper that doesn't disengage despite hanging around for five minutes. Far more typical of the album however is Albatross with its slow pace and lovely vocal trade-offs between Olga and a multi-tracked Jace.
 
 
Of the longer, more epic tracks, the nine minute opener Like The Ocean Like The Innocent is probably a bit overlong but is a wonderful introduction to the BLs all the same, successfully moving from ambience, to a beautiful keyboard opening, to some sweet high singing from Jace and then drums coming in, the rock factor hitting and a great chorus assisted by Olga. The penultimate track, Light Up The Night, is also a real winner with that soaring, hugely powerful chorus and the rich, careful build-up that lets loose at the end.
Downsides? The other epic, Land Of Living Skies, bores me a little bit, not really seeming to do much not done more memorably elsewhere. And Light Up The Night would certainly make a better closer than the slightly dull The Lonely Moan- it's Olga's solo spot but disappointingly given how much I love her singing elsewhere on the album, she seems to be holding back here but instead of the hushed, mysterious effect I assume she wanted, it makes things uninteresting.
All the same this is some pretty good alt-pop and if you're an old Beach Boys/wall of sound fan, you should definitely check The Besnard Lakes out.
 
3.5/5
 


Posted By: Kotro
Date Posted: March 19 2010 at 07:15
Artist: Jeff Buckley
 
AlbumGrace (1994)
 
Tracklist:
  1. " /wiki/Mojo_Pin - " – 5:42
  2. " /wiki/Grace_%28Jeff_Buckley_song%29 - "  – 5:22
  3. " /wiki/Last_Goodbye - " – 4:35
  4. " /wiki/Lilac_Wine - " – 4:32
  5. " /wiki/So_Real_%28Jeff_Buckley_song%29 - " – 4:43
  6. " /wiki/Hallelujah_%28Leonard_Cohen_song%29 - " – 6:53
  7. " /wiki/Lover,_You_Shouldve_Come_Over - " – 6:43
  8. " /wiki/Corpus_Christi_Carol - " – 2:56
  9. " /wiki/Eternal_Life - " – 4:52
  10. " /wiki/Dream_Brother - " – 5:26

Reviewing daddy Buckley for PA got me thinking about his son Jeff, specifically of his legendary album Grace. Released in 1994, it was considered at the time one of the finest debut albums of all-time, a springboard for greater this to come from this young artist with undeniable musical pedigree. Alas, Jeff died three years later while working on the follow-up to his first album.

So what’s Grace all about?  Well, to begin with, it’s a pop-rock album filled with love-hate tunes. The terrible cover art gives the impression we are about to hear a hippie crooner, but what we get is closer to this wild notion of Tim Buckley fronting Led Zeppelin. The first two tracks are co-written by the legendary experimental guitarist Gary Lucas and, certainly not by chance, are the ones I consider the best among the seven original compositions on the album. They open Grace with a great demonstration of power and finesse, a talent in composition not expected from a debutant – but then again, that’s probably Lucas’ finger. The remaining original material is not that exciting, falling in between rockier love ballads (Last Goodbye, So Real, Lover You Should’ve Come Over) and inconsequent heavier songs all following the same structure (Eternal Life, Dream Brother). The album also includes three cover songs, of which the most famous is the excellent phantasmagoric rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Lilac Wine and Corpus Christi Carol won’t harm your hears, but are really nothing compared to the originals.  

More due to Jeff’s own life rather than his musical talents, this album has gained an impressive following, and much of the generations going through adolescence in the mid-90’s have been hailing it as one of the most perfect albums ever released – it is not. If you scrape the album you will find an album filled with a lot of emotion, but very few focus, treading genres in search of the perfect fit, worrying too much with the beautiful, and not very much with the memorable (the only true exceptions being the title-track and the haunting Cohen cover).

Rating - StarStarStar: a good addition to any rock collection.  

Prog Appeal - Not much. This album should please fans of daddy Buckley, hopeless romantics, women in general, and anyone who enjoys sensible and intelligent pop music. Just don’t go looking for Prog in it.   
 


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Bigger on the inside.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: March 20 2010 at 02:39
Damn you, I came to this thread to write about this album and I see I was beaten to it.  LOL  Grace is my favourite 90s album forever and ever. Smile  I agree that it doesn't have much prog appeal and perhaps even outside prog, its appeal is not universal but for those who love it, there are few things as precious in life as Grace album. Heart  He doesn't have much in common with Tim Buckley's folk rocking too, save the falsetto wizardry...in general, his music is sentimental, precious and replete with Hindustani/Sufi influences which particularly appeals to my sensibilities. While we'll never know how much he would have built on his promise, he offered a tantalizing alternative to er... the alternative rock music of the time.  I mean, I have a bit of a problem with mainstream rock being all dirty and ugly or lofty and pompous (Radiohead, Muse, U2).  Jeff's music and singing was so beautiful in a very natural and spontaneous way, we needed/need a few more like those. Cry


Posted By: tamijo
Date Posted: March 20 2010 at 03:08
Great idear - beeing logisticly impossible to include everything on PA this is the way to go.
But maby some ADM would consider splitting it into 3-4 sticky sub genre treads, like :
Classical Reviews
Rock Reviews
Jazz Reviews
Other Reviews   
 
 


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Prog is whatevey you want it to be. So dont diss other peoples prog, and they wont diss yours


Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: March 20 2010 at 03:15
Actually, the best thing to do (for this idea, not necessarily for PA) would be to give it its own folder, a non-prog reviews folder. Then each review could get its own thread and not be lost in the winds of a single thread.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: March 20 2010 at 03:28
Artist:  Stevie Wonder

Album:
   Songs in the key of life (1976)




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_in_the_Key_of_Life - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_in_the_Key_of_Life

His homepage leads to where you buy it from Itunes Shocked so I am posting the wikipedia page for the track listing. 

Hmmm...Stevie Wonder is my favourite Western music artist and certainly one of my all time favourite Western singers.  And this album is his magnum opus.  Suffice it to say that the album truly lives up to its title.  This is indeed an astonishingly diverse collection of tracks which somehow put together produce a consistent and pleasing flavour (that is to say, the idea of putting together a wide variety of music in one umbrella doesn't come off as gimmicky).  It would be an obvious hyperbole to say that there is a song for every key of life here and yet it would not be overstating the case too much, for from naughty (I Wish), contemplative (Summer Soft) to romantic (Knocks Me off my feet) to joyful (Isn't She Lovely), there is a song for every mood here and it all rings true and sincere, as only it can when the man executing it is Stevie Wonder.  The thing that sets him apart - and always has - from much of the pop crowd is the sheer spontaneity of his music craft.  He wrote these songs because he loved them, not to fill disc space and/or generate the 'hit', though succeed it did. So, the proceedings never sound contrived or overdone or plain artificial, if anything the quantity and quality of music gets overwhelming to keep pace with.  It is also worth mentioning here that I cannot think of any other singer who would be able to maintain his distinct personality through such vast and diverse material, but Stevie pulls it off effortlessly. 

What I do have a problem with is the prolonged codas in many songs, be it Love is in need of love or Joy Inside My Tears, not to mention Another Star which simply goes on and on, though the flute interlude is very enjoyable for a prog fan. LOL  But while the album is not as consistent as his previous three masterpieces - Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness's first finale - at its best moments, it surpasses mostly everything on these three, be it Summer Soft, All Day Sucker, Sir Duke, Have a Talk with God, so on.  If I had to pigeonhole the music, I would say it's classic R&B, which means the songs will sound 'happy' and will be piano/keyboard-based for much of the time.  But to reiterate a point already made, Saturn for instance sounds nothing like Pastime Paradise which in turn has nothing in common with Contusion (jazz fusion?).   Also, while the proceedings are largely rooted in pop form, there is yet much compositional complexity to be devoured here, so it's not quite what you'd expect if you have a typical pop album with its assembly line creations in mind.  If my review is not particularly helpful, I am afraid I simply have to throw up my hands in the air, for it's hard to tame this gigantic beast of an album.  It can only be experienced, not explained.  The production is excellent and the long list of sessions performers do their job immaculately, while the blind genius enthralls all the time on mike, keyboard, harmonica and drums. 

Rating:  StarStarStarStarStar  Flawless?  No.  Perfect? Yes.

Prog Appeal:  This is certainly progressive songwriting (in terms of ideas, not necessarily the structures) but the lack of electric guitar/rock influences in most songs and the generally breezy, accessible nature of the music could potentially be off putting for the prog rock fan.  It's not however necessary to be an out and out pop music lover either to like this album, for nor am I.












Posted By: Kotro
Date Posted: March 20 2010 at 04:16
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

Damn you, I came to this thread to write about this album and I see I was beaten to it.  
 
Roger, like with normal PA reviews, I don't suppose we are limited to one review per album - you should review Grace if you wan't to, especially since you seem to show a lot more love for the album than I do. Thumbs Up 


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Bigger on the inside.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: March 20 2010 at 04:20
Great, will do that, but a bit later...let this thread grow, then I will post mine so that people don't have to turn the pages. Wink


Posted By: Kotro
Date Posted: March 20 2010 at 04:21
Originally posted by Textbook Textbook wrote:

Actually, the best thing to do (for this idea, not necessarily for PA) would be to give it its own folder, a non-prog reviews folder. Then each review could get its own thread and not be lost in the winds of a single thread.
 
I was thinking along the lines of a reviews-only topic, sticked, with a review index on the first post, and linked to the Home Page, and a separate, non-sticked reviews discussion topic. But your idea is quite good and really not that hard to implement - perhaps something to take to big chiefs? 


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Bigger on the inside.


Posted By: ExittheLemming
Date Posted: March 20 2010 at 05:06
Originally posted by Kotro Kotro wrote:

Band Name: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, USA rock band.
 
Album: B.R.M.C. (1999/2001)
 
Tracklist:
  1. "Love Burns" – 4:05
  2. "Red Eyes and Tears" – 4:00
  3. "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song)" – 4:38
  4. "Awake" – 6:12
  5. "White Palms" – 4:55
  6. "As Sure as the Sun" – 5:52
  7. "Rifles" – 6:59
  8. "Too Real" – 4:55
  9. "Spread Your Love" – 3:45
  10. "Head Up High" – 5:35
  11. "Salvation" – 6:06

Originally self-released in 1999, then re-launched by Virgin in 2001 (which is the edition we're reviewing here), B.R.M.C. is the excellent debut of raunchy rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Appearing more or less in garage-rock circuits at the same time as The Strokes, BRMC are actually a lot darker and moody than the New Your group. And that makes them a lot more interesting in my book. 

This debut album is filled with angst and melancholy, all of with are channeled to the distorted electric guitar playing and heavy drumming, creating a wall of sound similar to what one might find in another power trio right here on PA, Amplifier.  As this is a song album, built on the strengths of individual material, there are strong numbers and weaker ones. Of the eleven tracks present, seven are quite sublime: the moody yet catchy straight up rocker Love Burns, the psychedelic Red Eyes And Tears (almost Barrett-era Floyd sounding), the distorted guitar-driven Awake, the somber As Sure As The Sun (again with some very early Floydian riffs and a hint of shoegazing), the eerie epic Rifles, complete with opening vocal harmonies, a ghostly guitar riff and a richly laid bed of synths, the dreamy pop-rock of Too Real, and the heavy take on a standard blues lick provided by Spread Your Love. The remaining four tracks don’t deserve much praise from me, but relegating them to “filler” would be unfair, as some of them clearly fall among fan favorites (for instance, the critically acclaimed punk-rock single Whatever Happened To My Rock ‘n’ Roll is easily one of my least favorites). You can see, however, that there is plenty material here to fully apreciate, and there is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the great albums kickstarting 21st century rock n' roll, while remaining on a niche of its own far from other all-too-similar alternative/indie rock outputs.  

Rating - StarStarStarStarStar: an excellent addition to any self-respecting rock collection.  

Prog Appeal - this album should appeal strongly to the more alternative hard rock-oriented prog fans, as it bring to memory the likes of equally heavy but as diverse bands as The Stooges, psychedelic Pink Floyd at its heaviest, Amplifier or even My Bloody Valentine.

 


Really liked the track you posted, sorta That Petrol Emotion via the Velvets via Television. Excellent stuff.


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Posted By: Icarium
Date Posted: March 20 2010 at 09:16
Review Synchronicity - The Police

  http://www.google.no/imgres?imgurl=http://www.homotron.net/images/homotron/Police-album-synchronicity.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.homotron.net/2008/06/homotron_deal_of_the_day_polic.html&h=500&w=500&sz=211&tbnid=f1InYRd4Yros8M:&tbnh=130&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3DSynchronicity&hl=nn&usg=__GInel06PWsIPfVXliM-61KNJne4=&ei=k8SkS6u3Gcvr-Aa1n5TABg&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=4&ct=image&ved=0CBQQ9QEwAw">http://www.homotron.net/images/homotron/Police-album-synchronicity.jpg

  1. "Synchronicity I" – 3:23
  2. "Walking in Your Footsteps" – 3:36
  3. "O My God" – 4:02
  4. "Mother" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Summers - Andy Summers ) – 3:05
  5. "Miss Gradenko" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stewart_Copeland - Stewart Copeland ) – 2:00
  6. " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity_II - Synchronicity II " – 5:02
  7. " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Every_Breath_You_Take - Every Breath You Take " – 4:13
  8. " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_Pain - King of Pain " – 4:59
  9. " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrapped_Around_Your_Finger - Wrapped Around Your Finger " – 5:13
  10. "Tea in the Sahara" – 4:19
  11. "Murder by Numbers" (Words: Sting, Music: Andy Summers) – 4:36
this is the last studio release from the British new wave, post punk, world, reggae and rock band, with the lineupp Gordon Sumner (Sting), Andy Summer and Stewart Copeland (originaly from USA),  who had some huge hits on radio and there biggest hit come from this album.

I don't know quite what style of music there is on this album but sure it is eclectic, ranging from New Wave,, world, Jazz, Avant garde, pop/rock, reggea, dare I say Neo prog and post punk.
i will guide through a track by track review

1 Synchronicity Prt 1. this is In My Opinin some of the greates rock songs and album starters, some sort of Vibraphone starts this song which will be looped thorough the hole song, then some HI hat strokes by the drumer, then the pounding bass line by Sting, and what follows is greatnes, a solid and agressive track, and then a nice bridge, i realy like the pace of this song fast, agressive (agian), realy interesting sounds from the guitar, Andy Summer is a master of making untradisjonal sound of the guitar and predates Tom Morello in manny aspects. Brilliant track
2. Walking in Your Footsteps - is more in a World music landskape, carribean influeced, congas and other percussive instruments and atmospheres laid by the guitar and bass with simple but efficiant effects. you can almost smell the Amazon Forest. I also think there is some anti war message in the lyrricks  Nice track
3. O My Good - opens with a solid bass groove with some effects (and probably frettless) and saxophone and Synth atmosphere. nice pulseing drum beat, some nice guitar effects, the world music influence is here as well but with more Jazzy approach, also a bit prog influence in an almost post rock fassiond overall atmosphere, nice sax solo and the sax plays the last notes. great song and then .....
4. Mother (Andy Summer) - one song not sung by Sting, well and what a song this is, very strange, Avant Garde, often dissmissed by the pop crowed  and often said to be the weak point of this album. starts of with some sopran sax, frettless bass indo/raga guitar and some untradisjonal drum beat and time sig. verry good guitar solo and mad vocals. I would call this Progressive rock, and sounds a bit like Elephant Talk by King Crimson, Quirk and strange also a bit Gentle Giant ish. raga rock and exotic, interesting song, not great but funny. 
5. Miss Gradenko - very good lead guitar meoldies, melodic bass line, funcky, great corouse, one of the best guitar solos i have heard jazz guitar with a toutch of avant, great song with fantastick guitar solo.
6.Synchronicity II - WOW this song is fantastic, starts off with some guitar strumming, some synth chords, and then a fantastic drum groove, pounding bass (simple but awsome), wonderfull vocal lines, infectios guitar lines wonderfull riff, brilliant tone, great bridge/mid part i can't find anything wrong about this song, my favourte police song. FANTASTIC (not very Objective sorry)
7. Every Breath You Take - the Big hit, nice pop song, mellow not so loud as the previos song and give you a time to think and to reflect, about the message of this song (which are to many to put to words atleast for me) also coverd by P Diddy after the passing of Notourios B.I.G and that gives this song even a bigger impact and momentum. great song (even if it is overplayd on radio)
8. King of Pain - starts off with some bass, vibes, piano, some nice chord changes, nice bass line, then comes the pulseating groove that keeps the attention of the listener wile it builds upp to the corous, with some nice guitar riffs, a lot of temposhifts in this song, slow , fast, intensive but still a lot of space, Reggea influence, nice guitar solo, ambient part that gives you the chills. Art rock: Good song
9. Wrapped Around your Finger - my second or theard favourite on this album, wonderfull atmosphere provided by a frettless bass and guitar, piano a lot of subteltle tones and complex harmonies wile kept subtle, this song demands many listnes, if you want to grasp what is spessial about this song, alot of hidden detales, nice bridge, Sting plays a different bass line on the third verse and the tones he choose ther is just magical, Amazing... great vocal line - Pure Bliss
10. Tea In the Sahara - start wtih some subtle bass groove, atposphere, saxophone, guitar and synth reggea influenced, nice tune, with pre post rock sound, ( i wonder how much the Police have influnced Talk Talk)
11. Murder By Number - fast  rim shots starts this song, this song have an jazz/avant verse, i realy like the corous, almost swing in the verses, nice drumming by Copland he is such a great drummer great song. a bit repetative corous but that is mariginal

StarStarStarStarStar solid five stars or more like 4,30 masterpeace of rock (and did I say that the production on this album is prestine clear)
 
Prog appeal : i'm sure this album have enough progressive elements to appeal to prog-fnas, verry ecelectic album cover a lor of styles, some of them are presented as subgenres on Progarchives. like avant, jazz, indo/raga rock.



Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: March 22 2010 at 04:34
 
A Badly Broken Code
by Dessa
14 tracks, 47 mins
http://www.doomtree.net/ - http://www.doomtree.net/
 
To people who don't pay particular attention to it, hip-hop seems to be a coastal thing. We got the smooth, violent gangster stuff on the West Coast and we got the gritty, violent gangster stuff on the East Coast. Of course things are never that simple and if you look closer you'll find a much more complex musical palette within hip-hop than what is offered up by the mainstream. Of course hip-hop gets made between those two coasts, and I don't just mean Chicago and Detroit which have suitably gangster reps. In this case we're talking about Minnesota which has one of the most active and vibrant alt-hip-hop scenes in the country.
Meet Dessa, a spoken word artist turned rapper/singer who affiliates with the acclaimed collective Doomtree. Doomtree cohort POS hit big in 2009 with his third LP Never Better's compelling mix of rap music with hardcore punk. Can Dessa's combination a Lilith Fair MC and traditional singing of a variety of styles also win the day?
Well, yes and no. A Badly Broken Code is a good album, but it's not a great one. It's a quality product and Dessa is certainly talented and interested but the album lacks the knockout punch needed to break through the sturdy preconceptions surrounding hip-hop which create the situation whereby the very people who would probably like this will never check it out. But for a start off, not only is this not typical hip-hop, a lot of it is not hip-hop at all. The beautiful, cascading vocal work of the a capella Poor Atlas shows that Dessa can really sing and isn't at all confined by the expectation that she only rap due to being a Doomtree artist. Go Home is a straight R&B song- a bit of a dull one but it's no embarrassment. And there are other genre-busting moments but my favourite is The Chaconne, the kind of song I wish they were playing on the radio. A poignant lyric, a fragile hook from Matthew Santos, Dessa's understated and expertly delivered singing on the verses- a real winner.
 
 
However, great though this would be as a single (crazily it isn't one) no other song on the record casts the spell over me this one does.
So we've seen that she can go right outside the hip-hop box, but what about when she gets in it? You'll find her doing the traditional bragging on the swaggering, brass laced The Bullpen and repping her posse Doomtree (though in a genuine, touching way) on Crew. But you'll also find her advising an abused girlfriend on how to get away with seeing that her boyfriend has an "accident" on Alibi or narrating an intense phone call with an ex lover that sees them running through their whole messed up relationship on the tense Mineshaft II. Or there's the quirky opener, Children's Play, where she talks about the odd but anchoring connection she shares with her younger brother even as her parents misunderstood the two of them and eventually divorced.
Musically the beats use a range of instrumentation- the oriental string plucking of Children's Play, the bassoon underpinning the 40's flavoured hip-hop of Dixon's Girl (the actual single), the klezmer inflected Matches To Paper Dolls, the more explosive drumming that comes into play when Seamstress gets angry. Yet as I mentioned earlier, the album still feels sort of grey. Dessa and her team do all these things well, but not excellently- the X factor to make this brilliant is missing.
Still, A Badly Broken Code is a good debut and if Dessa improves on future releases, alternative hip-hop may have a new queen in town, though A Badly Broken Code itself may be a little too niche to give her that push. Thoroughly worth checking out if you'd like to see intelligent rap from a female perspective.
 
3.5/5
 


Posted By: Atkingani
Date Posted: March 22 2010 at 21:16
Stickied to check if it'll grow...

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Guigo

~~~~~~


Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: March 23 2010 at 04:27
Blakroc (2009)
by Blakroc
11 tracks, 36 mins
http://www.blakroc.com/ - http://www.blakroc.com/
 
 
One of the age old knocks against rap from people who usually haven't really listened to it in the first place is that it "doesn't use real musicians/instruments." While I would argue that turntablism and beat construction programmes are instruments that require musically able people to operate them well, an easier way around it is to turn to hip-hop artists that use real instrumentation. The mighty Outkast had a fondness for real musicians and The Roots, one of hip-hop's greatest acts, actually are a band but generally they're quite thin on the ground. Let us not speak of Limp Bizkit who a decade on still make people shudder and vomit every time someone suggests rap/rock.
So yes, Blakroc is a rap/rock project. Or should that be rap/blues-rock? Because the musos in question providing the backdrop are Ohio's Black Keys. Damon Dash, who runs Jay-Z's label, is a huge fan and got together with the band about putting together beats for rappers and Blakroc, who have this album in the can and are working on another, is born.
 
 
Listen to What You Do To Me there and you'll see the results for yourself. An authentic, bluesy sound with soulful vocals from the Keys' Dan Auerbach and Nikki Wray (whose versatile voice leaps from modern R&B to 30s wailing as she pleases over the four tracks she appears on) lay down the chorus, before Jim Jones raps calm and cool before Billy Danze takes the second verse in his typically explosive, excited fashion- and both styles fit the music. The Keys clearly know how to adapt to their current situation.
However, I will freely admit that What You Do To Me is above the standard of most of the rest of the album. The Black Keys seem a bit timid- rather than really getting into the whole concept of the album, most of their music could pass for normal hip-hop beats. There's a nice lick here and there on tracks like Hope You're Happy and Done Did It but mostly they play it conservative- you keep waiting for them to kick it up a gear but they rarely do.
As for the MCs, we're sorted. The only guy I didn't already like was Jim Jones but he drops his usual vapid nonsense for the best verses I've heard from him. NOE was an unknown quantity to me- he comes off as a Jay-Z clone but at least he does it well. Pharoah Monche drops a goodie on Dollars And Sense and legends like Mos Def, Raekwon and Q-Tip are also in the mix. The only bung note is RZA- he does well on Dollars And Sense but drops the ball on Telling Me Things, sounding like he's going to cry and referencing Mork And Mindy which doesn't fly for me. Special mention goes to Coochie, a charming little ditty about well.... if you don't know, ask your dad. It's a simple, even stupid song, but stupid in a good way, dirty fun with The Black Keys appropriately scuzzing it up. Ludacris sounds more fired up here than he does on his medicore new album Battle Of The Sexes but the real treat is the latest posthumous appearance from Old Dirty b*****d, a man who was so uncharismatic that he somehow came out the other side and become charismatic again. Coochie annoyed me at first, but grew on me as the dumb, unreformed fun that it is.
However, the record is not a triumph. Its length and lack of cohesion suggests it could've spent a little longer in the oven- a few songs like On The Vista and Stay Off The f**king Flowers feel like sketches which aren't fully developed. There's certainly a good sound in here but I don't think everything was done that could've been to draw it out.
I'm glad they're making a second album, but not so much because I need to hear more of this, but because I want them to come back and do it right. Then we might have something to really roc about.
 
3/5
 


Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: March 25 2010 at 04:24
Boca Negra
by Chicago Underground Duo
10 tracks, 55 mins
http://www.thrilljockey.com/artists/?id=10011 - http://www.thrilljockey.com/artists/?id=10011
 
 
This is almost certainly the most puzzling review I've ever written. I've reviewed "difficult" music before- f**k Buttons spring to mind- but I've always been able to say whether I like or recommend it even if I couldn't quite capture the sound in words. With Chicago Underground Duo's latest, I'm really grasping at shadows putting things on paper- Frank Zappa's great quote "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture" has never been more applicable for me.
Drummer Chad Taylor plays in Iron And Wine but the last thing you should do is let that be a reference. Nothing of Sam Beam's influence is to be found here.
The cover gives a clue- it's not clear what the point is, the band are obscured, you can't quite tell what effect they're going for, at first I didn't even notice the title/name was written on it, appeared to be one of those pure image covers. This kind of throwing-off the audience is par for the course on Boca Negra.
Imagine if Autechre tried recording with live instruments. Though CUD are rooted in jazz, on this record there's a lot of tracks that seem to depart entirely from it, even in a free/experimental jazz sense. Perhaps we have found the genre of post-jazz? I hesitate to call it prog/fusion because while it's BIZARRE at times which rings up the prog-ometer there's very little rock/fusion feel to it. This is not technical. Dizzying solos aren't there. Nor is it freeform improvising. Nor is it ambient. Sometimes rhythm/melody seem to be entirely absent though music is being played.
With a track like Left Hand Of Darkness, I'm really not sure what the duet of cornetist and drummer are doing. Alien clanging and whiney noises titter along for a few moments with the odd sudden shift in pitch or volume or pattern. They do this very slowly and carefully too- it doesn't feel at all haphazard but as though it has been very painstakingly put together. The track, like a few of the quiet ones, keeps feeling like it is going to collapse into silence altogether though there's always another subtlely unexpected noise about to burble up and have you striving to find the connections. And just when you think this is going to end up a successor to Metal Machine Music, something that feels a bit like a groove/song kicks up two minutes in, as the marimba finds a line and the cornet slots into place over it, but if you don't sit down and concentratedly listen to the music, the contrast between desperate reaching for sound and then the relief of identifiable elements, which I think is the intention, is lost. But at the same time, sitting down and giving all of your mind to just these four minutes is quite draining and at no point particularly fun. By the time you get to the truely obscure Roots And Shooting Stars near the record's end, where electronic whispers and cornet that alternately drones and sqawks eventually metls into barely audible marimba twinkling (but you can't quite relax because by this point you're sure something baffling is just around the corner) one feels quite exhausted despite not having moved at any time.
However, the entire record is not this obtuse. Green Ants and a cover of Coleman's Broken Shadows are on offer, though both seem to raise the question "What is jazz and what is two guys fooling around on their instruments?" There are moments when they find great grooves and trills and moments when it feels as if I had put two eighth graders in an instrument storage room, said "Whatever" and then hit record.
Yet just to make this a real record that is everything yet not quite anything, there is an accessible patch in the middle, from the 5th to 7th tracks. Confliction begins in an obstreperous fashion with someone slowly beating a piano as though they're trying to piss people off while cornetist Mazurek occasionally pipes up as if he's in the next room and doesn't know the mic is picking him up. So of course this being this record, after two minutes of that, they go straight into an enjoyable Dave Brubeck type jam. Quite why it had to be preceded by the piano equivalent of water torture I couldn't say but sixth track Hermeto makes up for some of the awkwardness by giving us a lush, beautiful piece of atmospherics where marimba and what I think is a thumb piano mix with wind sounds to soothe us after all the mental hopping we've been doing. And seventh track Spy On The Floor is actually groovy and after the drums come in after a short, quiet, but logical intro has no surprises up its sleeve and works as evidence that these guys can really play when the fancy takes them.
All in all, this not a record I like or dislike. Maybe my musical IQ isn't high enough or I haven't listened to enough experimental jazz to get this but I can neither praise it highly as I didn't really enjoy myself but nor can I pan it as Despair type trash because I can feel a definite creative, intelligent talent in the framework, even if it's not speaking a language I understand. But please, feel free to give it a try if you're adventurous- maybe you can find the words to evaluate it that continue to elude me.
 
2.5/5


Posted By: R-A-N-M-A
Date Posted: April 05 2010 at 21:48
The Kinks - Arthur: Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire

5/5



Details:
1969

Essential Records


Ray Davies - Vocals, Keybords, Rhythm Guitar, Producer
Dave Davies - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
John Dalton - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mick Avory - Drums, Percussion

A Side:
Victoria - 3:40
Yes Sir, No Sir - 3:46
Some Mother's Son - 3:25
Drivin' - 3:21
Brainwashed - 2:34
Australia - 6:46

B Side:
Shangri-La - 5:20
Mr. Churchill Says - 4:42
She's bought a hat like Princess Marina - 3:07
Young and Innocent Days - 3:21
Nothing to Say - 3:08
Arthur - 5:27

History:
Arthur was recorded and released in 1969 shortly after a ban on the Kinks touring the United States had been lifted. Arthur was not commercial success when compared to their early work: like Kinks, home of the rock classic You Really Got Me. It reached 105 on the Billboard album charts in the US and failed to chart in the UK. This was still an improvement over it's critically successful but poor selling predecessor: The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society. Arthur is widely regarded as the Kinks best work and it set the stage for their return to commercial success on it's follow up Lola Vs. the Powerman & the Money-Go-Round.

Review:
Arthur is one of the great unsung albums of all time. It is a mix of some the best straightforward riff-rock, balads and odd sounding (to North American ears at any rate) british dancehall inspired music. Toss into the mix a lively horn section, a healthy dose of blues rock and everpresent keyboard accompaniment and you have a recpie for a great album. Of course the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts and the cooks have to be given full credit for their work. The master chef is bandleader and cheif song writer Ray Davies. The songs are all lyrically solid and like all good pop rock songs seldom overstay their welcome. There are few if any throw away tracks.

Arthur: Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire is the story of Arthur a regular guy whose gone through all the trials and hardhardships of life and come out in one piece. He now lives a pieceful if boring existance. After the loss of his son in the Korean war he packs up and heads for Australia. Arthur is a quintessenially british album. It exudes it's island roots brought about by four years of exile while the rest of the british invasion was raging across the pond. Arthur is based in-part on the Davies brother's brother-in-law who moved to Australia with their sister of whom they were very fond.

The album kicks off with a great up beat rocker, maybe the best one actually. It is about a by-gone era of british supremacy. When Dave comes in with those first riffs overtop of Ray's easy going backing guitars, the hooks sink in and never let go. Solid vocals. The shuffling and cynical Yes sir, No Sir about the state of the common soldier comes next. It isn't quite as up beat but the chorus line is no less addictive.

Following the first two more rock oriented tracks comes the album's first balad: Some Mother's Son. It is about the loss of generations of young men in warfare. It is characteristic for it's use of harpsichords. Some might say it's a touch preachy, but this is nowhere near John Lennon's league. The levity returns with Drivin'. Within the first verse war has been cast off for a carefree sunday drive. The lightest track on the album follows straight after the most serious. Succeeding Drivin' is the shortest track Brainwashed. It's theme is the monotony of working life. It is anything but boring. It is fast paced compared to most of the album. Funky guitar work and typically impecable lyrics are front and centre.

Australia is one of the curiosities of Arthur. This is where the dance hall hits like an atom bomb. It starts with smooth vocals and fairly minimal backing. This is probably one the catchiest pitches for a move the otherside of the planet ever written. I can't help but be reminded of the 1950s aesthetic when I hear it. Part way through the song converts into a prolonged blues rock out. I think this is as close as Arthur ever gets to being long winded. It is a welcome change to the slightly odd vocal work which preceeds it however. I still like, however I would call it one of the weaker tracks on the album.

After Australia we return to the balads with Shangri-La which is about Arthur and his comfortable home life. I like it better than Some Mother's Son, mostly for it's excellent chorus line and groovy second half. Things slow down and get a little bluesy yet again with Mr. Churchill Says. It is loaded with quotes and anecdotes from Churchill and other british World War II era political personalities. The delivery boarders on satirical; not in a mean spirited or mocking way. Like a good many tracks on Arthur Mr. Churchill Says has a a change up partway through. The second half is very groovy and likely contains the best solo guitar work on the album.

The second primarily dance hall piece is She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina. This one is about regular folks emulating the british upper class. It's a a bit cheesy for my tastes. The Harpsichord and other keyboards for most of the backing until a change up into more eratic and sound effect laden send up. The delivery of the dance hall concept is much stronger than on Australia.

Young and innocent days is the final Balad from Arthur. It is perhaps the least remarkable track on Arthur and as close as the Kinks come to having a throw away track. The Kinks as ever remain solid. Soothing vocals and the best keyboard work on the album keep it from being banal.

Arthur closes like it opens, with two solid rockers. Nothing to Say, which touches on family relations. These rockers are the big reason you should get Arthur. The riffs are picture perfect! The Finale is the title track Arthur. Maybe not quite as great as Nothing to say, but it is a show of upbeat solidarity for the eponymous hero.

Arthur is the kind of album where you'll find yourself singing along with every track before you've even heard it all the way through. Arthur is a must have for anyone. It will be especially cherished by those who are want for unadulterated rock music. I think it is good enough to convert people to the cause too, so even if you don't really think you like this sort of stuff I say give it a try. All it'll cost you is the better part of an hour out of your life at most. The Kinks score a 5/5 for Arhur: Or the Delcline and Fall of the British Empire and a place in my personal top ten albums.

Prog Appeal:
While excellently written and played, Arthur is an uncomplicated album. Folk proggers out there might like the stripped down style and dance hall influences. If what you are looking for is overly elaborate and complex compositions look elsewhere.


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Posted By: maani
Date Posted: April 26 2010 at 22:07
Great idea!  However, I think I better not participate because (i) I will become completely and totally addicted to it, and (ii) I will absolutely dominate the thread.  LOL.  So...I will refrain for now.  LOL.


Posted By: R-A-N-M-A
Date Posted: May 06 2010 at 00:16
Come now, give it a go. I want to review another one and I don't want to be the douche who throws down two posts in a row.

-------------


Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: May 06 2010 at 06:04
I'll probably do another one sooner or later. My enthusiasm was dulled by a sense that no one was reading them. And that Chicago Underground Duo record was a pretty scary review, not really convinced I managed it.


Posted By: AtomicCrimsonRush
Date Posted: May 07 2010 at 10:15
Don't get me started as I will waste all my time posting reviews on this thread. However i will be back here to post a few that i love.
 
 
 
 
 


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Posted By: halabalushindigus
Date Posted: May 07 2010 at 12:50
^ which would be preferred

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assume the power 1586/14.3


Posted By: R-A-N-M-A
Date Posted: May 07 2010 at 23:36
Originally posted by AtomicCrimsonRush AtomicCrimsonRush wrote:

Don't get me started as I will waste all my time posting reviews on this thread. However i will be back here to post a few that i love.


It's fairly apparent that if this thread survives, it is destined to become the pet album thread. That's not necessarily a bad thing though. If it's good enough for one of us to love it's probably worth the rest of us giving it a chance.


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Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: May 13 2010 at 04:24
 
Boxer
by The National
12 tracks, 43 mins
http://www.americanmary.com - www.americanmary.com
 
I went down to the shops and grabbed new The National album High Violet. But before listening to it, I decided to revisit their previous two albums, both of which I consider excellent, Alligator and Boxer. Alligator is excellent and I may review it also soon but something happened with Boxer which shows how much I like it- I realised how much I love this album and am listening to it instead of trying the new one. High Violet will have its work cut out dethroning this, but The National may just have what it takes to do that.
And like a lot of the best albums, this is grower. In fact it's a grower's grower. In fact I'm still noticing new things about it, like how good Bryan Devendorf's drumming is- check him out on Brainy. But he plays that excellently without being the least bit flashy or overbearing about it. Like everything else about the band, it is subtle and understated and requires attention and time to be noticed. This is a band of real songcraft.
I was also shocked after first encountering them back in 2005 to find that they are American- there is an extremely English vibe to them, with Matthew Berninger's tranquilised undertaker voice and depressive wit and the music's reminiscence of Joy Division giving pop rock a go. The song seem to be what Leonard Cohen might produce if he tried to go commercial though as you can imagine it's still not that commercial. Still, there are tracks with a warm glow and choruses which at first pass seem indistinguishable from the verses till you begin to feel the little swells and variations The National tuck into their tunes.
 
 
Most of the album goes for a more somber, twilight feeling, the kind of thing you might listen to on a lonely bus going home late with a distant lit city skyline out the window. As well as more alt-pop-rock (Mistaken For Strangers is particularly strong with a great dumline and the most high-impact chorus of the album) the album drifts seamlessly into more unexpected territories such as the extremely sinister acoustic pub-folk inflected Green Gloves, probably my favourite song on the album. There's also the droning horns of Racing Like A Pro. What could be awkward experiments are saved by Berninger's expert vocals. His delivery and phrasing and choice of words are just right- he seems to deadpan and convey a lot of emotion at the same time, the love child of Tom Waits and Morrissey (lyrically, not vocally, though Waits' dunken aura can be felt here.)
Listen to the atmosphere his delivery creates on Brainy. It's like Interpol with good songs.
 
 
From opener Fake Empire's playing of two tempos at once to closer Gospel which moves about as much as music so quiet and undynamic could- The National create mental pyrotechnics without sonic ones- this is a deeply rich album and just about perfect. After three years, I'm not bored in the slightest. Excellently written songs performed excellently. I don't just like every track, I LOVE every track. There are no weak moments. Those who demand explosions and dramatic events may be deeply uninterested at first but I've seen this album persist and punch through to people who at first thought it wasn't for them. I can't recommend it enough and I hope that you can look past this embarrassingly gushing love letter to give it a try :)
 
5/5
 
 
 


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 19 2010 at 18:13
   Being the FNG, I need to ask if we are allowed to disagree and comment on the posted reviews? I have differing opinions on 4 or 5 of these albums (that I have owned or heard), but don't really feel they need another review from me. How does it work out here in the forum?


Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: May 19 2010 at 21:43
I think disagreement, comments and even full "Second Opinion" style re-reviews are entirely welcome, otherwise the thread becomes a dead end. As long as you avoid the "YOU'RE A STUPID IDIOT" type of disagreement I can't see why anyone would mind :)


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 19 2010 at 22:47
Okay, I will comment. This is a cool thread. I haven't done any reviewing yet, but I plan to, and wanted to to give my own personal quick comment on a few of the albums that were already reviewed -that I have experienced or owned. Nobody take this personally though. This is IMHO.
 1-Death Cab For Cutie-Plans...I really like this album, and I think the prog appeal rating should be higher than 1! These guys are quite original and creative. Overall  I would personally rate this album higher than:
 2-Midnight Oil (which is nowhere near a 5 in my book). For some reason many of the Aussie bands don't appeal to me, and I suspect it's because of my dislike for Country music which seems to have somehow influenced all of Australia. (But I do like AC/DC, The Divinyls, and Flash and the Pan). I find Peter Garrett annoying and grating.
3-Jeff Buckley...I think he is highly over-rated, and the songs are weak. No appeal to me, sorry. May be a good addition for a pop fan. Many try to compare him to Matt Bellamy or Thom Yorke, but the songs are simply too weak, boring and pop for me. It takes more than a great voice.
4-Stevie Wonder...I cannot stand Stevie in any way shape or form. The only thing worse would be Michael Jackson or "Papa Was A Rolling Stone". I wouldn't give it half a star . ;-) 
5-Police-Synchronicity- Yes. I do like this one. I pretty much agreed with that entire review.

 I had forgotten about the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I may have to pick that album up. It sounds like something I would enjoy.
 I do have an album or two I will review shortly, and then all of you can feel free to tell me how wrong I am.Big smile 


Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 00:05
Wow, I do believe this is the first person I've seen swing this hard on Stevie Wonder. I hope you've actually listened to his classic run of 70s albums and aren't just judging him on "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" or something ;)


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 00:41
  Sorry Embarrassed I never really liked anything he did, and yes I have heard most of it. I respect him, and think he's a cool guy and all...it's the jazz warbling/timing thing on everything he does. I can enjoy traditional jazz and a lot of cool jazz, but Stevie's style just bothers me...like country music.  I don't mind  one or two songs by  Al Green, and  the occasional gem by Coltraine, Miles Davis et. al, but as a rule I'm not a jazz fan. But then I can't stand Paul McCartney solo either Smile
 But I am a fan of Sade, Korpiklaani, Bjork, Final Virus, the Reverend Horton Heat...and Tchaikovsky.  To each their own right?


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 01:05
Originally posted by motrhead motrhead wrote:



3-Jeff Buckley.... Many try to compare him to Matt Bellamy or Thom Yorke, but the songs are simply too weak, boring and pop for me. It takes more than a great voice.


OK, I will respond to this because the rest is purely your taste and it's no concern of mine if you wouldn't give less than a star to my favourite Western music artist. LOL  Jeff WAS more than just a great voice(I hear this a lot about Annie Haslam too and it's frankly quite tiresome to have to explain things), he could beat the daylights out of both those gentlemen in singing (and I am a HUGE fan of Radiohead and Muse, so no prejudice here!) and was a brilliant songwriter too. I do not know at this point if it would be worth elaborating on the wonderful and unpredictable shifts in the vocal melody and chord sequences on just the title track of Grace, as also the incredible control over falsetto he displayed on the same song but if that is not interesting, don't know what is.  Maybe if there are other fans or somebody who is in a mood to reexamine opinions...


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 02:45
  I knew I would be treading on someones hallowed ground. Embarrassed I went out of my way a while back, and checked out Grace for myself. I agree Jeff had a great voice, and his is a sad story, but sometimes I think it's like the Heath Ledger /Kurt Cobain thing. His singing is too James Blunt (or dare I say it, John Mayer...nah, that's not quite fair) for my liking. I prefer someone like Perry Farell,or Matthew Good for intense vocals. Those guys sing from the cajones, but Jeff doen't quite convince me, except  on Hallelujah (no surprise, it's a Cohen cover like one of my all time faves by Concrete Blonde-"Everybody Knows"), but his other songs just seem a little weak to me.  
 As far as Matt Bellamy goes, check out Muse,"Hoodoo", or "Falling Away With You". Matt can sing too, while he plays the blistering guitar, or classical piano. I saw Muse in April, and they were freaking amazing live. 
 I am biased. I like my music to rock harder, or be more gentle and folkie. Jeff's music is lost somewhere in the middle and doesn't really grab me. It's reminds me of one of many  weak 80's albums that I can't really get into. 
 I do have Halelujah in my music folder on this laptop, but that's the only one of his.Tongue
 I'll shut up and duck now. lol


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 05:47
Originally posted by motrhead motrhead wrote:

  I knew I would be treading on someones hallowed ground. Embarrassed I went out of my way a while back, and checked out Grace for myself. I agree Jeff had a great voice, and his is a sad story, but sometimes I think it's like the Heath Ledger /Kurt Cobain thing. His singing is too James Blunt (or dare I say it, John Mayer...nah, that's not quite fair) for my liking. I prefer someone like Perry Farell,or Matthew Good for intense vocals. Those guys sing from the cajones, but Jeff doen't quite convince me, except  on Hallelujah (no surprise, it's a Cohen cover like one of my all time faves by Concrete Blonde-"Everybody Knows"), but his other songs just seem a little weak to me.  
 As far as Matt Bellamy goes, check out Muse,"Hoodoo", or "Falling Away With You". Matt can sing too, while he plays the blistering guitar, or classical piano. I saw Muse in April, and they were freaking amazing live. 
 I am biased. I like my music to rock harder, or be more gentle and folkie. Jeff's music is lost somewhere in the middle and doesn't really grab me. It's reminds me of one of many  weak 80's albums that I can't really get into. 
 I do have Halelujah in my music folder on this laptop, but that's the only one of his.Tongue
 I'll shut up and duck now. lol

Expressing an opinion is not treading on anybody's hallowed ground Smile, so why would I object to that?  I am responding to saying "takes more than a great voice", calling him overrated and now that he's a Heath/Cobain case.  Jeff has way more facility as a singer than Bellamy or Yorke, especially in oscillating smoothly between falsetto, mixed and head voice.  He also used to play guitar while singing live and had great facility on guitar too, for your info. Wink I don't think most serious fan overrate him because he had a great voice or died early, actually I didn't know he was dead the first time I heard Grace and I had already been swept away.  And while Grace is not hard rocking in the Muse sense, moments of it like in Mojo Pin, the title track or Forget Her are a lot more intense than any Muse.   It is quite amusing to hear Jeff get called overrated because so few even seem to perceive the full extent of his vocal wizardry or his unorthodox adventurism as a songwriter.  


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 10:25
 Okay we'll agree to disagree.Smile He is pretty good, I'll give you that...but to those saying he's better than Yorke or Bellamy, I won't agree, since I think Matt is better (IMHO).
 Mojo Pin doesn't work for me. The vocal (and song) sounds contrived like he was trying to be Robert Plant, and he just doesn't have the power. Now Blind Melon could have made that song work...
 This is why I don't own any of the later Queen albums. Freddy's vocals got to sound more and more contrived (yes, I understand that was always his style, but it seemed worse later) -like he was singing show tunes or something. I despise show tunes and voices warbling all over for the effect, unless it's a  Marlene Dietrich torch song.  
 I disagree about  Buckley's songs being more intense than Muse; I find just the opposite.
 So there we have it.  I'll wave the Muse flag, and you can wave Jeff Buckley's.Thumbs Up



Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 11:08
Originally posted by motrhead motrhead wrote:

  since I think Matt is better (IMHO).


What is IMHO better?  One prefers some singers to others, which is taste, and one establishes to a reasonable extent who is better.   I can easily establish that Jeff had far more control as also range than Matt, it's not a question of opinions because there are many things in music that can be observed and singing skills is one of them.
 
Quote The vocal (and song) sounds contrived like he was trying to be Robert Plant, and he just doesn't have the power.


Like hell he doesn't have the power when he can hit notes Plant couldn't have touched.   Once again, these are things that can be established.  And Robert Plant is only one aspect of the vocals and song, what about the Hindustani phrasing in that delicate landing in the middle?

 
Quote So there we have it.  I'll wave the Muse flag, and you can wave Jeff Buckley's.Thumbs Up



This is quite ridiculous, I have already said I am a Muse fan.  I didn't know being a Muse fan entails saying that Matt is a better singer than Jeff. Wink


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 11:45
In My Humble Opinion...it's just an opinion. I don't think you can establish either is better. It's too subjective. Okay, if you really want  to dissect things...I don't have a great voice myself, but I do have so-called "perfect pitch" which is why an evil freaking music teacher made me play trombone in schoolAngry... LOL. I tend to hear every freaking little inaccuracy in what others hear as a flawless performance and it drives friends nuts. (Which is why I have to be careful how much to say when I'm in my brother's studio - I'm too much of a perfectionist and have to learn when to call something good enough).
 I hear a few more inaccuracies in Jeff's phrasing that I generally do in Matt's. So what?Freddy Mercury was often guilty of worse, and Robert Plant was horrendous on that front. I was referring to the quality of Jeff's voice, not the notes he can hit. Yes Jeff sings more comlicated phrases. I don't happen to like that. It's just personal preference.Smile I"m sorry, but it all boils down to personal opinion. 
 You misunderstand about the waving flag thing. 
 Between Muse and Jeff Buckley, I prefer Muse. I thought you were saying you preferred Buckley to Muse. That's all. I wasn't commenting on whether or not you are a Muse fan.
 This is quite ridiculous. Let's drop it, and I'll get back to the review I'm working on. 
 Have a great day.


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 11:51
 BTW, the trombone thing in school traumatised me for life. I generally do not like horns any more, unless it's something  really special (like Miles Davis).  All I wanted then was to be a drummer. Now I have a Strat, so I guess it  worked out for the best Wink


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 11:55
Originally posted by motrhead motrhead wrote:

It's just personal preference.Smile I"m sorry, but it all boils down to personal opinion.


I stand by what I said about that and your post proves it. You are referring to what you like to hear in your singing, not the skill of the singer.  Obviously, Jeff's phrasing would at places be more inaccurate because they are often far more complicated. 

 
Quote You misunderstand about the waving flag thing. 
 Between Muse and Jeff Buckley, I prefer Muse. I thought you were saying you preferred Buckley to Muse.


Ok, misunderstood this, sorry. Embarrassed




Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 12:13
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

 
I stand by what I said about that and your post proves it. You are referring to what you like to hear in your singing, not the skill of the singer.  Obviously, Jeff's phrasing would at places be more inaccurate because they are often far more complicated.  


 Okay, I can accept that.. but...look at the simplicity of Paul Rogers phrasing-yet he is often called the best voice in rock. For me complicated doen't necessarily mean better. But again, it's only my opinion.Smile




Posted By: WalterDigsTunes
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 12:14
Originally posted by motrhead motrhead wrote:

Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

 
I stand by what I said about that and your post proves it. You are referring to what you like to hear in your singing, not the skill of the singer.  Obviously, Jeff's phrasing would at places be more inaccurate because they are often far more complicated.  


 Okay, I can accept that.. but...look at the simplicity of Paul Rogers phrasing-yet he is often called the best voice in rock. For me complicated doen't necessarily mean better. But again, it's only my opinion.Smile




Really? I thought the Voice of Rock was Glenn Hughes.


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 12:22
 I'm not touching that...LOL


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 17:39
Matthew Good Band-Underdogs



Underdogs 1997

Matthew Good (vocals, guitar)
Dave Genn (lead guitar/keyboard)
Ian Browne (drums)
Geoff Lloyd (bass) 

Tracklist:
1.Deep Six
2.Everything is Automatic
3.Apparitions
4.My Out of Style is Coming Back
5.Strangest One of All
6.Middle Class Gangsters
7.Rico
8.Prime Time Deliverance
9.The Inescapable Us
10.Indestructible
11.Invasion
12.Look Happy, Its The End of the World
13.Change of Seasons

 The Matthew Good Band was an alternative rock band from Coquitlam,BC,Canada. Formed in 1993, they released their first album in 1995 and eventually released four albums and two EPs before breaking up in 2002. Following their breakup, Matt went solo and has released five albums since then.

 Underdogs is the second album from the MGB, released in1997, and produced three hits; one of which, Apparitions, became the band's biggest hit. Matt is known for writing intelligent and often dark lyrics, usually involving some sort of social commentary beyond the usual teenaged angst lyrics common to the genre, and this album was no exception. Recurring themes are homelessness, the sorry state of Western society, and the evils of corporate greed. Matt is never afraid to tell it like it is, and is currently known as a political activist and blogger as well as a solo artist.
 Musically, MGB are hard alternative rock but aren't afraid to turn it down for a soulful vocal performance, and Matt can sing with the best of them. At times his vocals are reminiscent of Richard Ashcroft or maybe even Jeff Buckley, but easily switch to the hard edged sneer you would expect from a punk band-from snarling to soaring in a word. With the crunchy and melodic guitar playing of Dave Genn (now with 54-40), and the energetic and accurate drumming of Ian Browne, the music stretches beyond the boundaries of hard alternative rock -offering occasional glimpses of quiet yet forceful folk rock on Change of Season,and at other times delivering a louder, punk rock energy (Deep Six, and Look Happy,It's the End Of the World).
 Dave plays grunge guitar on Strangest One of All, and acoustic on Change of Season and The Inescapable Us; while a  slow soulful organ underpins Prime Time Deliverance.
 My personal favourites are: the hit Apparitions; Prime Time Deliverance,The Inescapable Us, Indestructible, and the slower Change of Season...but you won't find a weak track on this album.

RATING:
 I don't feel right giving many albums (other than Wish You Were Here) a 5 rating -to me this one probably deserves it, but I will try to be objective and will settle for 4-3/4 stars out of 5,only because the next MGB album "Beautiful Midnight" may have actually been better!

PROG APPEAL:
 Probably not a whole lot. It's pretty much rock and roll, but the vocals may appeal to those that can  appreciate a vocalist that isn't afraid to sing emotionally (Jeff Buckley fans may approve). These are catchy tunes, and are worth checking out.  













Posted By: clarke2001
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 17:54
This is a great idea! Perhaps we will have less ridiculous prog-related suggestions, and be able to enjoy music because it's, well, good music.


-------------
https://japanskipremijeri.bandcamp.com/album/perkusije-gospodine" rel="nofollow - Percussion, sir!


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 19:42
Originally posted by motrhead motrhead wrote:

Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

 
I stand by what I said about that and your post proves it. You are referring to what you like to hear in your singing, not the skill of the singer.  Obviously, Jeff's phrasing would at places be more inaccurate because they are often far more complicated.  


 Okay, I can accept that.. but...look at the simplicity of Paul Rogers phrasing-yet he is often called the best voice in rock. For me complicated doen't necessarily mean better. But again, it's only my opinion.Smile




I haven't ever heard Paul Rodgers but as such I don't even want to get into this best voice of rock business. It's very biased and favours only popular - and, usually, American - singers. Daniel Gildenlow never comes up for mention in these circles because he's singing and playing prog metal and is from Sweden. Dead


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 20 2010 at 23:33
 I'm not quick to pick favourites either, but I do defend the ones I like when someone criticizes them.I can't help myself, it's a psychological flaw, probably related to always cheering for underdogs.Embarrassed
I'm glad to see rogerthat standing up for Buckley. It was just such a discussion a while back that made me go listen to him, and I heard Hallelujah.

 Paul Rogers was the vocalist for Free, Bad Company, and lately Queen, and it was rock writers and magazine fans that picked him as the best voice in rock, not me (and he is English, now residing part time here in Canada). 
 I don't know if I really have a favourite vocalist. I'm more of a fan of really good songwriting plus good emotional vocals-in fact I'll take emotion over a perfect voice most of the time. My favourite vocalists tend to be women -Sinaed O'Connor, Bjork, Johnette Napolitano, KD Lang, Fiona Apple, Feist, Sade, Courtney Love...


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: May 21 2010 at 00:07
Actually I wasn't really trying to defend Jeff, I am just baffled when I hear people saying he's overrated.  Cmon, a few internet idiots overrating Hallelujah doesn't make Jeff the singer overrated, the appreciation he's received so far is grossly disproportionate to his talent.  And I have also not heard who are these people who mourn his death incessantly, maybe I could relate to the Cobain parallel better then because my admiration for Jeff has absolutely nothing to do with his untimely death.

I know all about Rodgers and that he sang for Queen, just never got around to listening to him.  By the way, Jeff was American. LOL I was in fact referring to those rock critics and fans with what I said, not you.  They just browse through the popular bands and pick the best singers from them.  Which is fine, but when somebody suggests an underrated name, they go, "Yeah, right, whatever, LOLZ".  It's that arrogant attitude of the mainstream press and circles that I hate.

I am not as a rule blown away by female singers but Annie Haslam, Karen Carpenter and Minnie Riperton are high up in my favourites.  Among the dudes, Stevie, Jeff, Ronnie James Dio who has recently left our world Cry and Daniel Gildenlow.

By the way, what you said about not finding lot of complicated phrasing to your taste was a good insight. Not that I am of a similar view, but maybe I understood better today why Jeff is underrated.  I am Indian and in our classical music, the singer reigns supreme and becomes a compositional tool rather than just an emotional vehicle to recite the verses so I was completely blown away to see a Western singer try to approach singing in a similar way .  But I guess that's not how Westerners like it. Confused




Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 21 2010 at 01:34
 Yes, there are a lot of unknown and under-rated gems out there. 
 Now that's two votes for Daniel Gildenlow. I have to check him out.
 I may not be typical of Westerners, I don't know. For me, music is a completely emotional experience, not a skills competition, but like you say, there are cultural differences and there is even a difference between North America and Europe. The emotion is why I can enjoy Neil Young's barely capable guitar playing, yet Malmsteen and Vai usually  bore me (and there's another can of worms opened, LOL), and after being bored by Satriani, he really surprised me playing very well with Chickenfoot (and I have to admit that for some reason I like Michael Schenker, despite his often less than emotional playing, but there's just enough). Even with prog, I want emotion with my technically interesting music, which Is why I am such a huge fan of Peter Gabriel. High-speed scales just don't do it for me.
 Speaking of cultural differences, when Rammstein released "Amerika" in the US, they changed the keyboard solo in the middle to a guitar solo so that it would be more palatable for North Americans, since many here dislike the prominent keyboard sound. (Luckily that's not a problem for prog fans, and Muse is changing the minds of young music fans in general over here.) 
 


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: May 21 2010 at 07:10
Emotions are very very important for me in singing and music as such too (and I love Gabs!).  If you noticed, I used the words "compositional device", not "demonstration of technical skills".  There is a difference between hitting notes simply because you can hit them even when they don't befit the song (*cough* Mariah Carey *cough*) and carefully developing the music through the voice (instead of instruments).  It is a pervasive aspect of Indian classical music and not to be confused with technical w**k, because Indian classical music combines virtuosity with emotion, aesthetic beauty and spirituality (and no, I am not being partisan here! LOL).  Barring Jeff and Annie Haslam (more in live performances), I haven't heard any other Western singer consistently incorporate this in their singing (who am I missing!), so as I realized today, maybe my origins made it much easier for me to perceive the worth of Jeff's singing and what makes it so unique, which may have been alien and possibly cold for Westerners...I don't know, it's all conjecture.    Anyway, my point is yes, I can enjoy a singer who keeps it simple (relatively!) and soulful in the same way I would enjoy blues guitar but if everybody had to sing or play only like that, Holdsworth or McLaughlin could never have moved forward. Virtuosity AND emotion is the ultimate and it should not be as elusive as it is in rock guitar because perfection is supposed to be beautiful and awesome, not cold and self indulgent.


Posted By: motrhead
Date Posted: May 22 2010 at 00:47
NAZARETH-The Fool Circle


-released 1981

Tracks:
1. Dressed To Kill  
2. Another Year  
3. Moonlight Eyes  
4. Pop The Silo  
5. Let Me Be Your Leader  
6. We Are The People  
7. Every Young Man’s Dream  
8. Little Part Of You  
9. Cocaine  
10.Victoria
 bonus cd tracks: 
11.Every Young Man's Dream 
12.Big Boy    
13.Juicy Lucy  
14.Morning Dew


Band Members:
Dan McCafferty - vocals
Manny Charlton - guitars
Pete Agnew - bass guitar, vocals
Darrell Sweet - drums

Additional Musicians:
Jeff Baxter – synthesizer, vocoder
Zal Cleminson – 12 string acoustic guitar on Cocaine
John Locke – keyboards

 Nazareth are a well known hard rock band from Scotland that have been playing together since 1969. They release their first album in 1971, and have released twenty four studio albums to date; plus a bunch more compilations, greatest hits, and live albums. They are easily recognized by the gravely-voiced vocals of Dan McCafferty, and are probably most famous for their song Hair Of the Dog.


 Fool Circle was Nazareth's thirteen release (including 1975's Greatest Hits),and after completely confusing their fans with their previous pop tinged album, Malice in Wonderland,  they further alienated the faithful by producing this intelligent and sophisticated record - the first half of which has the earmarks of a concept album -with intelligible lyrics,melodic keyboard and acoustic guitars  throughout -unlike anything they had ever released before.
 Some of the song lyrics deal with themes of Cold War tensions,fat cats and family values, accidental nuclear war,and the power and evils of the media -with a couple of syrupy love songs tossed into the mix to really confuse things. Moonlight Eyes is a heartfelt love song that deserves to be played at weddings,but who would ever think to look for a love song on a Nazareth album? The capper is an excellent cover version of J.J. Cale's Cocaine, and that would be the only track to get any airplay -being included on many compilation albums to follow.
 If you are familiar with other Nazareth albums like the classic Razamanaz, forget everything you know except for the sound of McCafferty's voice. This one is different,and to my ear, better. I was going to list the standout songs, but it's easier to list the ones that aren't. After looking over the list, I have to say every one of the original LP tracks is very good. The last four tracks are bonus tracks added to the CD, and they shouldn't have been in my opinion. Having owned the original album since shortly after it came out, I find the bonus tracks just don't fit. 
 Sadly, the Nazareth fans didn't really get this album, and everyone else thought it was just another Nazareth album. Thankfully, it was eventually released on CD, and we all have an oportunity to enjoy this rarity.

RATING: I would rate it at least 4-1/2 stars, but I am biased after almost thirty years of frequent listening. This is one of my top twenty or thirty albums.
PROG APPEAL: That's a tough call. I would guess that a couple of the tracks could interest the prog crowd, especially Let Me Be Your Leader. It is a very interesting and intelligent album, and I think it's worth a listen. For a 1980 album from a grungy, knuckle-dragging bunch like Nazareth, it's a real surprise.






Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: May 30 2010 at 04:57
About to do something odd here- that is, to review an album that was never actually released in this form. I've created my own version for review. Read on to the review itself for an explanation :)
 
 
The Alchemy Index
by Thrice
16 tracks, 63 mins
http://www.thrice.net - www.thrice.net
 
PROG INTEREST ALERT
 
In 2007 and 2008, alternative rock band Thrice released a series of four EPs, each one containing four songs that, lyrically and sonically, explored each of the four elements. There were flashes of brilliance but attempting to combine all four into one mega-album, I found the weaker songs continually irritating and that the 94 minute length was just too much. More than half the time Thrice were hitting it out of the box, but the times they weren't were enough to drag it down.
So I kicked out the two weakest songs for each element and made my own The Alchemy Index album, with sixteen of the original twenty-four tracks. I think it works really well and is a great listen and really feels like a complete album. If you're already into Thrice, let me know what you think of my playlist, or even get a few tracks off Itunes and see how you feel.
 
Tracklist
 
Fire
1 Firebreather
2 Backdraft
3 Burn The Fleet
4 The Flame Deluge
 
Water
5 Digital Sea
6 Open Water
7 Lost Continent
8 The Whaler
 
Air
9 Broken Lungs
10 The Sky Is Falling
11 Daedalus
12 Silver Wings
 
Earth
13 The Earth Isn't Humming
14 The Lion And The Wolf
15 Come All You Weary
16 Child Of Dust
 
(Note: Each of the final songs in each element is a sonnet set to music from the element's own perspective. The same tune is used for each, but the production/delivery is entirely different. The exception is water- water's sonnet, Kings Upon The Main, plods on and on and I had to cut it for the stronger water songs.)
 
And now, finally, the review!
 
Fire
As you might expect, the fire songs are the most volatile and rocking of the bunch, closest to Thrice's hardcore roots before they began to head in more progressive directions.
Firebreather begins with fire sirens before chunky guitars kick in and Dustin Kensrue's smouldering vocals fill out the sound. The lyric is a little hard to catch, but I believe it is about cremation, a great but unexpected angle to take in a song about fire. Firebreather is perhaps a bit musically simple but it is good fistpumping stuff and the bit where the choiral vocals kick in near the end is fantastic.
Backdraft, one of the more sinister songs Thrice have released, is a literal reference to the movie/phenomenon of Backdraft, where a seemingly out fire is reignited when you open a door and the oxygen comes in. Cleverly, the song makes this a metaphor for a dysfunctional relationship that keeps dying and flaring up destructively. Musically, the quiet, creepy verses (which demonstrate how much Kensrue sounds like Thom Yorke when he sings quietly, despite his loud voice sounding nothing like Yorke at all) explode terrifically into a chorus that feels a bit emotionally unhinged. Much like backdraft itself where the danger seems to have passed and then BOOM!
Burn The Fleet is next, the lyric a speech from a commander telling his soldiers to destroy the ships that took them to the foreign land they intend to conquer- retreat will be impossible so they will fight that much harder. This has happened several times, but apparently Kensrue was thinking specifically of Tariq Ibn Zayid. One of my favourite lyrics on a pretty lyrically impressive album and it is cheesy in just the right way to give it that epic, heroic flavour.
The fire section closes with the first sonnet, The Flame Deluge. WOW. The incredible RAGE and FURY the band unleashes here. It's almost unlistenable in its intensity and I'm sure that's quite intentional, though it does destroy the lyric, though it's fire talking about how ashamed it is of the way humans keep using it for destruction. This is about the closest I can imagine to what it would sound like if a volcano made a rock album.
 
Water
Ghosts of Radiohead again, as Digital Sea begins like it's going to turn into Everything In Its Right Place. However it turns out to be a lot more straightforward than that, a nice, cool piece of chilled electronic pop, which sets the tone for the sound of the water section. Digital Sea uses drowning as a metaphor for how we find ourselves being surrounded in technology which takes our lives over. "I am tangled in nets" etc.
Open Water mines similar territory sonically, though perhaps the tone is a bit more menacing. However, this time we get a big pop payoff in a lush, rich and catchy chorus that rises up like a wave. Lyrically, I think Kensrue is comparing the ocean, mysterious, cruel but the source of life, to god, bringing new meaning to "between the devil and the deep blue sea".
Next is Lost Continent, one of my favourites, corny though the sound and concept may seem to some. A very timely lyric, an obvious Atlantis reference, works as a comment on today's world. Like the Atlanteans, we are blind to the warnings as the water rises, soon to obliterate us all, until today's civilisation is just a legendary myth of a super-society that the descendants of the survivors doubt ever existed at all. I'm not saying I or Kensrue actually believe that will happen, but it's a very rich thought for poetry.
The last water song included is The Whaler, oceans as a metaphor for the divisons between people, the whaler out at sea and seperated from his family for years. An old timey feel is blended with a modern drumbeat for an interesting sound and the vocal parts are quite haunting.
 
Air
The air section is different from all the others in that it doesn't have a set sound. Whereas fire rocked, water was electronic/sleepy and earth will be rootsy and folksy, air (whether a creative accident or to deliberately suggest its capricious nature) is varied. Proceedings begin with Broken Lungs, Thrice's 9/11 song. Some will take exception to the lyric which indicates an American government conspiracy, but then Matt Bellamy's overt statement of the same belief doesn't seem to have hurt Muse's career much. The music for Broken Lungs goes from a quiet, pretty verse to an amped up chorus before a raging conclusion. "We want justice, we want the truth!"
The Sky Is Falling is a more conventional rocker, one of the pacier songs on offer, but the tense production and airy chorus keep it away from the mainstream. Lyrically, I think it's about the Israel/Palestine conflict- Kensrue doesn't take sides, but speaks about how the constant fear that death may fall on you from above eats away at your life.
Daedalus is of course about the legendary inventor and architect and is a retelling of the Icarus myth from his perspective. It is also a highlight of the entire album. Kensrue nails the lyric while guitarist Teppei Teranishi gets it just right, using his instrument to evoke the isolation Daedalus feels at the start, their ascent into the air and Icarus' fatal fall. The part where Daedalus cries "Oh gods why is this happening to me?" often brings a lump to my throat.
Silver Wings feels musically similar to some of the water music with its electronic vibe, but the breezy, whispery production really suits the element, and it is one of the prettier things on offer. Lyrically air wonders that it keeps everyone alive but is so abused by mankind's pollution in return.
 
Earth
To get a more earthy feel, the final segment finds Thrice putting the amplifiers and digital manipulators around, resulting in a more folksy sound. The Earth Isn't Humming is not actually an original, but a cover of a Frodus song. I must confess I have not heard the original and could not find it but I understand Frodus were a punk band so I imagine this is quite different. The bass is very insistent and gives the feel of things inevitably ticking along towards doom- tying into the lyric's concern that the earth is out of balance and the piper will have to payed.
The Lion And The Wolf I don't really get lyrically but I do like the creepy atmosphere the song creates. Nothing else on The Alchemy Index sounds quite like this. Whatever it's about, it's not particularly happy. I think perhaps it is about earthly concerns and animal instincts getting the better of us and leading to personal destruction.
Come All You Weary may appear depressing- it is a message to all the unwanted and downtrodden that when they die, the earth will receive them- but it is done in a very rootsy, raw way so that rather than being gloomy, it is oddly uplifting, a reminder that no matter how bad things are, when you've done all you can, eternal rest awaits you.
The closer, the final sonnet, Child Of Dust, is devestating as the earth, seeming to represent god, speaks of how it gave Eden but it was not enough for man's greedy grasp, who has proceeded to wreck everything around him. "And though I only ever give you love, like every child you've chosen to rebel..." But in the end, in death, man will return to Earth and perhaps his soul to god. At the song's conclusion, the sound goes funny because the microphone was actually placed in a coffin, sealed up and buried while it continued to record.
That was a cool idea, but I wish they'd done the same for all four sections, having a mic consumed in fire while recording remotely, sunk into the ocean in a bubble and perhaps let free into the air on a helium balloon to end each of the other sections.
 
Anyway, what we end up with is a very diverse and lyrically strong set of music that stimulates the brain, provides a bit of rock and pop and really pulls you in which is about the complete package. Yes, I did condense 4 EPs and prune eight songs (some are not so bad, such as the post-rock instrumental Night Diving- only water had an instrumental, perhaps they should've done one for each element- but some are definitely not worthwhile such as the interminably boring A Song For Milly Michaelson) so this is not what Thrice intended to present to its audience, but you know what they say about most double albums making one good album. While this makes one excellent album and I hope you check out the tunes that intrigue you.
Please let me know if anyone gives my imaginary album tracklist a go in its entirety ;)


Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: May 30 2010 at 16:08
Funny how you listen to an album for two years and suddenly get a different interpretation of a song. I just wrote how I think The Sky Is Falling is about Israel/Palestine but I was just listening to the album again and I all of a sudden realised it's actually about Hurricane Katrina, or at least the lyrics make a lot more sense with that interpretation. Ties into the air theme a lot better too.


Posted By: Niv
Date Posted: June 12 2010 at 12:26
The Antlers



Hospice is The Antlers' third album, released in 2009. It's a concept album, and the story is about a man who falls in love with a depressed and abusive cancer patient at the hospital he works in. The patient ends up dying beside him, and he is stricken with grief and regret.

The music itself is a beautiful melancholy, packed with raw emotion and sorrow. The main features are the powerful use of piano, Peter Silberman's beautiful echoing voice and the band's soft instrumentation and use of distortion. Hospice is the most emotional album I've ever listened to, and is quickly becoming one of my all time favourites.

1. Prologue - It starts with a haunting piano, and horror movie-ish background noise. Ghostlike whistling leads into the next track.

2. Kettering - (Named after the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre) The background noise is gone, and there is only piano, such solemn, heartwrenching piano, and a soft high voice. All the emotion is spilled out in a depressing minimalistic style. The drums and guitar come in, but the piano is still at the forefront, preaching the sad message. And the song finishes with a lone whispering voice, howling silently into the night.

3. Sylvia - Starting with distorted bleeping background noise, the vocals are as emotional as the previous track, until the introduction of guitar. Everything bursts into life, it briefly turns into a rock song with melody for the chorus then back again to a slowly building verse, before another chorus. It finishes with soft acoustic guitar and an even softer voice.

4. Atrophy - More piano/vocal introduces this song, and slowly, gradually builds up, with a few lightly tapped cymbals adding to the tension. Helicopter blades and bells are introduced before ending with an acoustic/vocal verse.

5. Bear - Piano/vocal theme again, it's incredible how such a simple method can produce such an effect, it's just one of the wonders of good music. The acoustic guitars come in briefly and the vocals pick up, constantly changing the song's tempo and structure, swinging back and forth from minimal emotion and melodic rock, similar to Sylvia.

6. Thirteen - Merging seamlessly from the end of Bear, Thirteen starts with an echoing, ambient sound and moves into an undescribable and grand piece of music.It ends with a high, long drawn voice and slow paced piano

7. Two - Starts with an acoustic/vocal arrangement again, but a more delicate sound, that is until the electric instruments come in. The voice picks up too, with a hint of anger and a few cusses accentuating that. And so it continues through the rest of the song, making this one of the more upbeat songs on the album.

8. Shiva - Shiva starts with piano, but quickly moves to acoustics and has a warmer feel than the previous songs. A glimmer of hope, even. There's some brass in the background, and it finishes as it started with piano and acoustic guitar.

9. Wake - Distortion and a solemn howling set the tone back for the penultimate track, and the first few verses are sad ones. The soft thud of a bass drum starts a slow buildup, the howling all the while casting a bleak yet beautiful portrait. An intermission of piano leads into another verse, and the music builds up, and builds up, and builds up into a chorus of anguish, raw emotion and power. The sound is absolutely massive in scale, and it is a grand force of a song, before it slowly fades into silence.

10. Epilogue - An acoustic/vocal only reprise of Kettering with different lyrics, which ends in a simply haunting distorted piano riff. What better way to finish, then with a chilling rendition of the best song on the album.

Rating: 5 stars. This piece of music impacted me emotionally more than any other music has done, and for the sheer effect, I personally feel it's earned full marks.

Prog Appeal: Although it's a concept album, musically it's not very progressive. Although I don't know much about time signatures, it's got a pretty slow paced tempo. The most noticable feature would be the use of various bells, effects and distortion.


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Posted By: octopus-4
Date Posted: June 30 2010 at 11:32
This could be a good idea, but scrolling down the post is not easy and there's no possibility to search for a specific artist or album. On the other side, this is PA, so there's no sense in discussing about Bob Marley or Patti Smith here. Should anybody create www.rockarchives.com I'll be happy to join. 

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Curiosity killed a cat, Schroedinger only half.
My poor home recorded stuff at https://yellingxoanon.bandcamp.com


Posted By: Alitare
Date Posted: July 21 2010 at 22:21
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Tom Waits

Bone Machine (1992)

An album made by the spirits of everything dead or dying.

Album Rating: 9

Overall Rating: 13

Best Song: It's a complete journey, but for personal reasons, I DON'T WANNA GROW UP.

Tom has channeled most every dark emotion a body can experience, at this point. He's usually tackled tons of varying emotions all in one package, oft times with a bare-bones central theme, such as in Closing Time, or tied together by a coherent atmosphere, like with Small Change, but never before has he so thoroughly, so hauntingly, so f**king sincerely channeled the aura of death and dying than on Bone Machine. Where his singing is normally dirty as hell, and rough like drinking hot ash, here it's almost as if he's taken it to a new level, with a sort of despairing gospel howl. Atmospherically, it's like walking across a desert wasteland, littered with animal bones and decaying husks, all littered about, just barely visible with your eyes.


It's not that he just shoves DEATH in your face as if you have to accept it all, whether you want to, or not. No, he puts the big D right under your nose, so you get the actual urge to look for it, thinking it might be some hidden desert treasure, but when you uncover it, i's just more DEATH, same as everywhere else. Upon uncovering said bone gems, you might let out a frenzied shriek similar to how Tom belts out the chrus to the opening track. It's almost this dreary spoken word piece about all manner of bleak imagery, then from out the bowels of hell he roars with pure anguish. It's creepy, 'cause you can sing along with it.


As usual, he packs the album with loads of shorter songs (barely over two or three minutes, on average), so there are plenty of ideas present. All of 'em got the cold rub of the grave over them, but there's diversity here, dammit. You'll get a few tracks that could have fit snugly on Small Change, such as Who Are You, with the somber and melancholy piano lines bleeding under his weepy moan. The greatest positive element of having all these songs at such short running times is, as usual, to keep the listener from getting bored, because in all honestly, the songs here aren't too complex or varied, but good god, what an atmosphere!


As with most later Tom Waits records, you'll get the melancholy ballad pieces, the pseudo-spoken word poetry beat sessions, the jazzy, gruff rockers, and the big fusion of differing rootsy styles, all drenched in the disturbing percussion that, fitting well with the album's title, sounds exactly like a bone machine. You'll get your religious rebukes, odes to murder, and ghstly images of rot and ruin. Amidst this is a song that instantly hits my heart, and takes me to my emotional knees. I Don't Wanna Grow Up hs to be the most upbeat song here, but for some reason it feels like the most bleak and depressing to me. It feels like the most sincere rejection of the horrors of adulthood, from the eyes of either some poor kid who doesn't want to grow up, or, more even more frighteningly, someone who has already grown up, and reaches into his deepest soul to try and fight back the pain, knowing that it's futile in the end.


The melodies are all haunting. Some are low key, ohers are right visible, but most folks will still have to dig pretty deep to see the beauty of this record, and believe me, it's truly beautiful when you look at the topic like he does. For those of you who think this is all just a little too much darkness, the guy has the decency to include one of his notable "uplifting" tracks, as the finale, which acts as a sort of internal coping method for all the oppressive musical hollows. I happen to think it fits everything, masterfully, and only a guy like Tom could pull it off so convincingly. If this collection lacks anything, it's real rich diversity, and a couple of the linking tracks start too feel a little too much like filler. Still, I've yet to find such a grim depiction of death and decay in music.


*****



Posted By: The Truth
Date Posted: July 21 2010 at 22:29
Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited
 
 
A real treasure, this one.  Bob put his valuable (to everyone but himself) folkie reputation on the line by releasing an almost entirely rock album (Desolation Row is obviously still folk).  But wow he created something great and really influenced modern music with it.  Thanks to this lovely album we learned that rock songs could have inquisitive lyrics and that was a major step closer to prog.  But the songs themself all sound raw (a lot of the instruments not properly tuned) and wonderful at the same time.  Bob's nasally voice that others have a hard time agreeing with I immeadiately fell in love with and that was in large part why he is one of my favorite artists ever.
 
Not a good review really but still...
 
5 golden stars StarStarStarStarStar


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http://blindpoetrecords.bandcamp.com/" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: catfood03
Date Posted: July 25 2010 at 20:58
Originally posted by TheGazzardian TheGazzardian wrote:



Rating: Overall, an excellent album that I would rate as a masterpiece (5 stars).


Good choice! For me it's a tie between this and Diesel and Dust as fave Oils album.  Clap


Posted By: SaltyJon
Date Posted: July 25 2010 at 22:55
Originally posted by motrhead motrhead wrote:

 BTW, the trombone thing in school traumatised me for life. I generally do not like horns any more, unless it's something  really special (like Miles Davis).  All I wanted then was to be a drummer. Now I have a Strat, so I guess it  worked out for the best Wink

Really?  I loved playing trombone in high school, and I still like playing it on occasion.


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http://www.last.fm/user/Salty_Jon" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: TheGazzardian
Date Posted: July 25 2010 at 23:40
Originally posted by catfood03 catfood03 wrote:

Originally posted by TheGazzardian TheGazzardian wrote:



Rating: Overall, an excellent album that I would rate as a masterpiece (5 stars).


Good choice! For me it's a tie between this and Diesel and Dust as fave Oils album.  Clap

The Oils released a lot of good records - I'd say Red Sails in the Sunset and Blue Sky Mining are both the top contenders against 10, 9..., but Deisel and Dust (and Earth and Sun and Moon) aren't very far behind.


Posted By: catfood03
Date Posted: July 26 2010 at 21:26
Originally posted by TheGazzardian TheGazzardian wrote:

 
The Oils released a lot of good records - I'd say Red Sails in the Sunset and Blue Sky Mining are both the top contenders against 10, 9..., but Deisel and Dust (and Earth and Sun and Moon) aren't very far behind.


I also love Redneck Wonderland, despite the abundance of electronic elements that seemed trendy at the time, I think the songs are really strong on it.  The early albums aren't that bad either with Head Injuries being my fave from that period.


Posted By: AtomicCrimsonRush
Date Posted: July 30 2010 at 19:33
^^^ you guys are into Australian iconic bands! I am impressed. Midnight oil are awesome i have all their albums, best ones being Blue Sky Mining, 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and Red Sails in Sunset
 
 
 


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Posted By: AtomicCrimsonRush
Date Posted: July 30 2010 at 19:56
OK I got to get into this non prog reviewing. I have some on metal archives but this is a perennial favourite!
 
 
 
HIT AND RUN - GIRLSCHOOL
 
genre: NWOBHM
 
 
year: 1981
 
lineup:
Enid Williams (Bass, Vocals) 
Kim McAuliffe (Rhythm Guitar, Vocals)
Kelly Johnson (lead guitar, vocals)
Denise Dufort (drums)
 
 
 
 
CD version
 

Tracklist

1. C'mon Let's Go (3:36)
2. The Hunter (3:14)
3. (I'm Your) Victim (2:40)
4. Kick It Down (3:01)
5. Following the Crowd (3:07)
6. Tush (2:14)
7. Hit and Run (3:07)
8. Watch Your Step (3:19)
9. Back to Start (3:30)
10. Yeah Right (3:19)
11. Future Flash (4:25)
12. 1-2-3-4 Rock 'n' Roll (3:31)
13. Furniture Fire (2:58)
14. Take It All Away (3:43)
15. Midnight Ride (3:16)
16. Race With the Devil (2:49)
17. Play Dirty (5:02)
18. Emergency (2:49)
19. Breakout (Knob in The Media) (3:20)
20. Flesh and Blood (2:13)
21. Bomber (3:36)
22. Nothing to Lose (3:13)
23. Live With Me (3:18)
24. Like It Like That (3:26)

Total Time: 78:58
 
*****
I have all the Girlschool releases from the 80s and I can say without reservation that “Hit and Run” was the best thing they ever did. Every song is killer metal with innovative lead breaks and wonderful singing from Enid, Kim and Kelly. This is the best material that Kelly would contribute to Girlschool before her departure from the band.

I saw a lot of these tracks played in a TV concert on a late night rock TV show and the next day I was in the record store buying the vinyl album. I had been waiting for an all girl band to kick some serious butt with distorted guitars and melodic singing; it was the ideal band in my teen years. I had grown up with the raucous legend Suzi Quatro and the less heavy The Runaways who were pioneers of girl metal. Girlschool took it to the next level with intense riffs and shout out loud choruses. Kelly was a master on guitar and her voice was sultry but defiant. It was love at first sight for me when I saw her on that mini special with leopard skin top and low slung axe around her hips. The band were in their best line up on this second album; Enid Williams was a bassist but had a turn at the softer vocals when needed; Kim McAuliffe was the rhythm guitar who sung some songs but took over later as lead vocalist when Kelly departed; Denise Dufort stayed hidden behind her drums but was a real rebel off stage; and the incomparable lead vocalist, lead guitarist, Kelly Johnson, was always at her best during these early years of the band.

The album begins with the glorious chugging guitar that sounds like a car engine starting up and then revving into high gear and then the drums pound in and we are on our way with a grinding Motorhead style riff. Kelly is extraordinary, singing with attitude and with clean female vocals that hit you like a ton of bricks; “Speeding down the motorway, Let slow life pass us by, Another mile another day, some action in our lives, We're on our way, Living for today, C'mon let's go (Let’s go!)” The chorus, as was the trademark for the band, was raucous shouting designed to rev up any crowd. There is a crunching scratchy guitar rhythm that mimics the drum patterns as the guitars continue to rev like motorcars. The second verse is pure 80s metal, aggressive and focussed on pressing the pedal to the metal; “Engines screaming red hot rage, We're gonna reach an all time high, Speed crazed racer rip my mind, 'Cause you know you're gonna hit the sky” Kelly’s vocals are divine when she tears out these rockers. Denise is drumming her heart out throughout this metal banging classic. Brilliant.


Kelly was also capable of softer vocals such as on ‘The Hunter’ that was always a highlight on this album. It features a ‘Born to be Wild’ style riff and tempo. The lyrics are suggestive and sultry; “Tracking her down, with a dream kind of smile, Moving up closer....but something doesn’t feel right, touching her skin... you wonder if it’s all right and how did this begin, The Hunter...” The chorus is sung in whispers with an echo. The lead break is Kelly burning it up with very bluesy lead licks and some driving bass rhythms.

Other highlights are ‘Following the Crowd’ with a very strong drum beat and hypnotic groove. The title track is the powerful hit single with some awesome verses that stay in the head; “I was out in the cold, Alone in the night, How could I carry on? Felt so empty inside, All you gave me were promises, Nothing better than lies, Hit and run!” The single charted fairly well but they were never a singles band, though it did better than a lot of their previous singles it is fair to say.

I was always a fan of ‘Back to Start’ which is the slowest track but it has some fabulous guitar licks and one of the best lead breaks on the album. The lyrics are more thoughtful and sung with clean vocals from Enid; “Looking forward for my future, never could refuse, trying to find my motivation... nothing left for me, all I’m able to see, is I need some time, because I made up my mind, I’m back to start”. Love the way she sings this with depth and feeling.

‘Kick it Down’ is a fun song that just rocks along at a moderate pace with very distorted guitars crashing keeping a driving beat. The lyrics are again about standing up to the system and people who are against you; “Tired of people telling you what to do, Kick down the door still I gotta prove to you, I got the safe on my own, but I must get off my pride, You must keep on going till you reach the other side, Tell you what I'm going to do Kick it down!” The lead break is very good again with some fret melting licks.

‘Tush’ is a fun rocking cover version of the classic that many bands have covered and this sounds like the ZZ Top version. 'Im Your Victim' has some good melodic metal passages. 'Watch Your Step' has a memorable chorus and very cool metal guitars in the lead breaks. There is not a bad song on this.
 

One of the most popular Girlschool tracks is the raucous crazy ‘Yeah Right’ that always appeared in concert. The filmclip even featured Motorhead’s drummer appearing in ladies clothing, waving a rolling pin in the spoken section that mocks parental advice, with the standard teenage answer, and goes like this; “And don't forget, don't stop out too late again tonight... (yeah right)... I'm warning ya’...(yeah right)...And don't drink too much....(Yeah Right!)” The shout on the last part obviously means Girlschool are planning to do the opposite of the motherly advice. It is fun and has some very heavy guitars. Enid sings it very well and she is great on bass on this too. The verses basically explain the theme of rebelling against parents; “Hanging round the bar never getting very far, gonna let my sorrows drown, Leaning on the wall, 'till I start to fall, gonna get the vodka down, Better understand, gotta get it while I can, gonna have some fun tonight, I've done it all before but I still want more, gonna carry on til it's light, And they're always telling me, You can't do that, you can't do that...” This would be a running theme of Girlschool echoing the distrust and misery of their childhood years driving them to the rock scene, similar to The Runaways in many respects who also sung about leaving home despite parents pleading not to (listen to them on ‘Born to be Bad’ for a heart wrenching look at teenage runaways). I think Girlschool just wanted to have fun and rock hard and they did it without listening to what they should or should not be doing.
 

The last track on the vinyl version is the brilliant ‘Future Flash’ with a relentless guitar riff and Kelly beautifully elegant on vocals; “like a fish out of water, a scaly skin... don’t believe what they tell you, it’s only a lie, but you shouldn’t have to fight, live and let die, out to get you, they’re coming our way, out to get you!” I always loved these lyrics and I think many teens like me in the 80s, could relate to them. The lead break is scorching where Kelly performs hammer ons and speed licks to perfection. The refrain is interesting with Kelly whispering, “rock and roll rat race... they lower their voices to make us feel sad...” The ending of the song is backmasked vocals and it sounds bizarre and compelled me to play the vinyl backwards to try and hear what they are saying; and they are singing to Disney’s ‘The Aristocats’ song; “we are Siamese if you please, We are Siamese if you don’t please.” As the ending continues with strange screaming guitars and choral harmonies there is another backmasked message. I checked it out and it’s Kelly saying, “and there’s only one thing I can say about all this and that’s bollocks!” well, I tend to disagree, Kelly, this album is far from that.

It is a lot of fun to listen to on a Friday night cranked up to 10. Every track is fantastic with some of the best girl metal I have ever heard. The Cd version now has a plethora of extra tracks that are part of the greatest collecton found on most compilations including the quintessential "Girlschool Collection" anthology, such as 'Take It All Away', 'Midnight Ride', 'Race With the Devil' and 'Emergency'; all hugely popular for the band. In conclusion, it is brilliant 80s metal from the NWOBHM. Girlschool did everything right on this classic.
 
 
 
 
PROG? not a sceric, unless you count the strange structure of 'Future Flash', the ending was a lot of creativity or it may have just been to fill up the album, in any case I hold this album dear to my heart. sadly other Girlschool albums lacked the creativity and dynamism of this album.
 
RIP guitarist: Kelly Johnson
 
 
Heres a final clip put to the hilarious vision from Grindhouse Death Proof
 
 


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Posted By: AtomicCrimsonRush
Date Posted: August 14 2010 at 05:00
Bump
 
someone post a cool non prog review


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Posted By: catfood03
Date Posted: August 18 2010 at 21:38
Originally posted by AtomicCrimsonRush AtomicCrimsonRush wrote:

Bump
 
someone post a cool non prog review



I've made lots of non-prog reviews on my Amazon profile. Perhaps I'll post some from this list...



5.0 out of 5 stars Prince - Controversy
5.0 out of 5 stars Various Artists - Warp20 (chosen)
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparks - Whomp That Sucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Yello - Solid Pleasure
5.0 out of 5 stars KMFDM - Xtort
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple Minds - Early Gold
5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight Oil - 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1


4.0 out of 5 stars Food for Animals - Belly
4.0 out of 5 stars Clark - Turning Dragon
4.0 out of 5 stars KMFDM - Tohuvabohu
4.0 out of 5 stars Andrew Weatherall - The Bullet Catcher's Apprentice
4.0 out of 5 stars Front 242 - Geography
4.0 out of 5 stars Diagram of Suburban Chaos - Status Negatives
4.0 out of 5 stars Erasure - Live: Sheffield 03/10/05
4.0 out of 5 stars Autechre - Untilted
4.0 out of 5 stars Autechre - Oversteps
4.0 out of 5 stars Severed Heads - Haul Ass
4.0 out of 5 stars Anthony Petraeus - Mutant Theater
4.0 out of 5 stars Beans - Now, Soon, Someday
4.0 out of 5 stars B52's - Nude on the Moon
4.0 out of 5 stars Deftones - Diamond Eyes

3.0 out of 5 stars Mira Calix - Skimskitta
3.0 out of 5 stars Ministry - The Last Sucker
3.0 out of 5 stars Bibio - The Apple and The Tooth
3.0 out of 5 stars Gus Gus - 24/7
3.0 out of 5 stars Anti-Pop Consortium - Flourescent Black

3.0 out of 5 stars Yvat - Gliae

3.0 out of 5 stars Two Lone Swordsmen - The Fifth Mission
3.0 out of 5 stars Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care
3.0 out of 5 stars
Autechre - Quaristice
3.0 out of 5 stars
Depeche Mode - Construction Time Again
3.0 out of 5 stars Depeche Mode - A Broken Frame
3.0 out of 5 stars Various Artists - Fullmetal Alchemist (Complete Best)
3.0 out of 5 stars Ratatat - Classics
3.0 out of 5 stars Skinny Puppy - Bites
3.0 out of 5 stars Ladytron - The Witching Hour
3.0 out of 5 stars The Cure - Faith
3.0 out of 5 stars Erasure - Cowboy


2.0 out of 5 stars Aphex Twin - Drukqs
2.0 out of 5 stars KMFDM - Don't Blow Your Top

1.0 out of 5 stars Mike and Rich - Expert Knob Twiddlers
1.0 out of 5 stars Matmos - Rat Relocation Program
1.0 out of 5 stars LFO - Sheath



Posted By: catfood03
Date Posted: August 18 2010 at 21:45
Here's one of the above listed...




5.0 out of 5 stars Various Artists - Warp20 (chosen)

When Warp first announced it's 20 year anniversary collections I was hoping for something a bit more inclusive for a tracklist. Many of the fascinating artists that I became hooked onto Warp as a label are absent from this 2 disc set. It would take more real-estate to house them all onto one collection and even with the deluxe box-set that this release is culled from it would be a monumental task. There is simply too much good music from this one label.

As far as the selections are concerned there is little to debate about. The first CD's tracklist, determined by an open voting poll, represents mostly the "greatest hits" from each of the ten artists voted on. Warp built it's name and reputation on the strength of it's electronic artists during the 90's so its not surprising there is a heavy tilt towards that facet of the label's history. These tracks are all strong, from the sleazy vibe of Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker", the thumping tempo of Battles' "Atlas", the classic sleek sounds of "LFO", and the spastic freak-out of Autechre's "Gantz Graf". My only wish is that, at only 48 minutes, the first disc could have room for 5 or more "runner-ups" from the voting list.

The second disc is even more curious, with all selections chosen by one individual, Warp co-founder Steve Beckett. Again, these are all good choices, most of which were new to my ears upon first listen. I would not have nessecarily chosen the Broadcast or Squarepusher selections here as the best from each respective artist, but overall this disc has the fun and sense of discovery of receiving a mix-tape from a good friend. (I know I just aged myself with that last comment.) This CD runs well over an hour.

In short, this is an excellent overview of Warp's impressive 20 year run and a great sampler for the curious.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: September 12 2010 at 03:56

Right, I will do this somewhat 'prog-related' review. It's not prog at all, of course, but has prog artists. 


Annie Haslam - Annie in Wonderland (1977)






Tracklist:

1.Introlise/If I Was Made of Music
2.Never Believed in Love
3.If I Loved You (cover)
4.Hunioco
5.Rockalise
6.Nature Boy (cover)
7.Inside my life
8.Going Home (cover)

While it's understandable that an album, as I will shortly point out, which is not particularly great would not be much sought after among music fans in general, I don't really understand why even among Renaissance/Annie Haslam fans, this one doesn't get much attention.  Even Still Life and Blessing in Disguise seem to have been received more favourably.  Its inconsistency, which I will address, is most definitely an issue.  But, this is also the only one of Annie's solo albums recorded at her peak in the 70s and it shows. For the moment she gets some music to bite into, she is able to make something unique with it.  Further, sure, it's a pop album but really, if you are a fan of Renaissance, you don't really mind Annie Haslam singing pretty pop songs all that much, surely?  The difference between Captive Heart (from the same year on the Novella album) and If I Loved You is certainly not like night and day. If anything, I would argue Annie sounds even better on the latter, which is the case whenever this album hits the spot.  I am sure the artwork hurts too, but again, Renaissance aren't exactly renowned for that either, are they?

However, I will address the inconsistency first.  This album was produced  and largely written by Roy Wood (who also played many of the instruments) during the brief interval when John Tout needed a rest and the band (Renaissance) were neither recording and touring and it does seem a bit hastily put together.  Songs like If I Were Made of Music seem to have potential which however hasn't been brought to fruition.  Never Believed in Love and Hunioco are throwaway.  Inside my life, penned by Camp, only foreshadows the blandness to come in future Renaissance efforts (salvaged by some good guitar from Wood in the coda).  The material is also so eclectic that there is no sense of unity or a cohesive personality in the album.  This perhaps also works to its favour in a certain sense because it lets you cherry pick what you want. 

Now, the things that do work, in ascending order.  Nature Boy...the singing on the verse is pretty good but we swiftly realize this is not quite Annie's forte.  Watch out for the stunning jazz vocalizations though, she's more versatile than she's credited to be.  And some of the excursions, particularly a swiftly descending run right at the end, slay!  It's also interesting how well her voice blends with jazz guitar here and with organs and violins in Renaissance albums, all when she's vocalizing, mind.    

If I Loved You may be 'just' a cover of an old pop song but I would suggest you to ignore the genre and take in the singing.  This must be hands down the best version of this song.  It certainly wipes the floor with Barbara Streisand's cold and loungey take on the song.  By now, Annie's singing craft appears to have matured and peaked - contrast this with the relatively flat, emotionally, that is, singing on Let It Grow.  Four years from there, she's become an even better singer.   I haven't mentioned Roy Wood's arrangements yet but I will start now - it's absolutely gorgeous here, very dreamy and romantic, which already gives this version a headstart over the bland (imo) original even before Annie's singing kicks in.  Paul Mc Cartney was apparently in the studio when this was recorded and said her voice sent shivers down his spine. I am inclined to agree.

Going Home, of course, is a traditional funeral song based on Dvorak's New World Symphony.  Once again, beautiful arrangements, this time sparse and sombre.  The song is also paced in a very unhurried way, giving all the time in the world to Annie to lay down the mood.  And once again, she is able to come up with a very distinct and powerful interpretation of a song much sung.  There is no affectation in her singing nor any of the angst and bitterness that often comes through in rock's takes on death.  There's a solemn acceptance of fate that is yet very touching.  To my mind, this is already a better showcase of Annie's singing than any classic Renaissance song and I haven't got to Rockalise yet!

Rockalise is in my opinion the best Annie has ever sung in the studio.  I am quite baffled how this song is mentioned so less in fan circles.  On the surface, it might come across as exhibitionism - high pitched operatic singing without lyrics and with the refrain repeated several times, with drums stepping in in the second half of the song.  But pay close attention to Annie's singing and you cannot fail to be moved.  We live in times where musicians get slammed for being technical.  Well, here's an example of how to be very technical and still do it very elegantly and with feeling.  She demonstrates how to hit the soprano C off both the head voice and whistle voice but there is clearly the underlying purpose of evoking a lighter shade of voice in doing so which dispels any notion of technical exhibitionism.  Further, her vocalizations are so precise, even in terms of the exact  degree of attack she puts behind every note, that it almost sounds like an instrument playing some music rather than a voice.  Above all, it is very touching and when hitting such stratospheric notes, she sounds unexpectedly vulnerable and fragile (again, a quality I have not really come across much in her singing with Renaissance).   I would particularly pinpoint the 'variation' at 2:10 thereabouts - very delicate.  I am not too fond of opera singing (and I don't know if I can call this opera, so I will stick to saying it is sort of operatic) but Annie with her magnificent technique executes it very beautifully and effortlessly.    Instead of describing the song in so much detail, maybe I should have summed it up in one line:  if you haven't heard Rockalise, you haven't heard Annie Haslam, period. 

In summary, Annie In Wonderland, while not strictly a solo album because Annie doesn't write her own music, presents an interesting side to her singing which could have been explored further.  But I guess they didn't know then that Renaissance would slide after A Song For All Seasons.  Heaven knows this kind of pretty and polite but sincere and soulful music may not have found much favour in the 80s even if she had worked with Roy Wood.   But there's tantalizing potential here for a different direction which still remains true to the quintessence of her singing (unlike say Camera Camera).  

As for the rating, I would rate it 4.5/5 for the peaks but barely 2-2.5 for the lows.  I will give a three star on balance but would highly recommend it to fans of this singer.  If there's any solo work of Annie Haslam you need, this is the one.  












Posted By: JJLehto
Date Posted: October 06 2010 at 03:19
I've done a good bit of non prog reviews.
I really like your format actually. I shall use it in the future when I review more non prog albums on PA.

Too lazy to re write my old ones though LOL


Posted By: Catcher10
Date Posted: October 16 2010 at 13:57
This is cool!....just found this thread. I'm a huge funk/R&B listener as that pretty much is where my music life began.....I will only review non-prog related albums. I will try to keep them short and pretty.
Here's my first one......
 
Artist: Parliament (1977)
Album: Funkentelechy vs The Placebo Syndrome
Genre: R&B/Funk
 
 
Track Listing:
1. Bop Gun (Endangered Species) 8:32
2. Sir Nose d'Voidoffunk 10:10
3. Wizard of Finance 4:32
4. Funkentelechy 10:55
5. Placebo Syndrome 4:20
6. Flashlight 5:46
 
Well what can you say, George Clinton the master of funk and just plain weird stuff on the R&B side...the man has an imagination for sure (I'm sure helped along by some marij Wink).
Anyhow arguably Parliaments best album. The funk just runneth over on this one.....(BTW it is a concept album)
 
Bop Gun...nice little guitar diddy and beat, then turns into a fullfledge party, bop gun sound effects and addictive chorus. The Horny Horns section doing their thing on this one also.
 
Sir Nose...the title says it all. Voice alterations galor (vocoders)....the story sets Sir Nose as the all-time public enemy #1 in the Parliament world, in this case its Starchild fighting the fight.
Both are on the album cover, ofcourse Starchild operating the "Bop Gun". The song is setup to start slowly then just buildup to a frothy funk fest. Sir Nose will never dance...
 
Wizard of Finance..nice doo-wop slow song, change of pace from the first 2. The sax in the begining gives it a throwback feel, sing along chorus...Sly Stone influence here?
 
Funkentelechy..a monster of a song! Clinton uses witty lines and humor to tell us how the funk can rid us of those trying to control us. Using lines that refer to commercials of the day "you derserve a break today" and the classic " would you trade your funk for what's behind door number 3?"
 
Placebo Syndrome..slowest song on the album, cool chorus and vocals. Describes how we should not be strayed in the Syndrome....I think its a jab at the Disco clubs.
 
Flashlight...the most sampled song in the Parliament catalog. This is a beast of a song, clearly Parliaments signature track. Just a great synthbass beat, infectious guitar groove thru the whole song, Bootsy Collins' drumming sets the pace for this song. Listen closely you can pull out the battle between Sir Nose and Starchild......the bop gun sounds. Will Sir Nose finally dance?
"everybodys got a little light under the sun...." says Clinton signaling that we can all overcome fear.
 
Without a doubt an album which still to this day influences many in the world of R&B and probably the hip/hop world too.
 
Rating: StarStarStarStar 1/2 (4.5). A Funk classic....
Prog Appeal: (2) it certainly has a historical prescence. The nature of the long songs, story line/concept may lend some interest to the Prog world.


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Posted By: Catcher10
Date Posted: October 20 2010 at 15:46
Sticking with R&B
 
Artist: Earth, Wind & Fire
Album: All n' All (1977)
Genre: R&B
 
 
Track Listing:
1. Serpentine Fire 3:50
2. Fantasy 4:37
3. In the Marketplace (interlude) 0:43
4. Jupiter 3:11
5. Love's Holiday 4:23
6. Brazilian Rhyme (interlude) 1:21
7. I'll Write A Song for You 5:24
8. Magic Mind 3:39
9. Runnin' 5:51
10. Brazilian Rhyme 0:53
11. Be Ever Wonderful 5:06
 
Non rock, Earth, Wind & Fire are my most listened to and without a doubt my favorite group....All due to this album. This their 9th album, show cases the amazing musical creativity of Maurice White. After the group took a long trip to Brazil and I also believe Egypt, they were inspired by the sites and sounds of both. This album has many musical references to Brazil, the album artwork is directly related to Egypt with futuristic references in the artwork too. It started with the pyramids and then ends with space flight....
 
In my desire to keep these short I will just highlight the album.
 
Serpentine Fire starts the album and sets the bar very high. The slow beat of drums, percussion, cow bells and rhythmic motion helps this one get the album going. Maurice's singing is some of the best here, and ofcourse the EW&F horn section is at its best on this one.
Fantasy, the megahit of this album. About a man who takes a ride on a spaceship to find his dreams, finds the place of Fantasy. Verdine White's bass playing is so tight, sets the pace on this one clearly and Phillip Bailey's amazing voice...just superb.
Then we get one of the many "interludes" of this album, which is kind of a EW&F trademark. This first one features Maurice playing his kalimba, which is an African finger piano, as he plucks it to make the distinctive African sound, again this becomes a trademark sound of EW&F.
Jupiter continues their theme of space/fantasy travel and features Al McKay's great rhythm guitar work and some of my favorite EW&F horn work. The whole group shows off their vocals on this one.
 
Earth, Wind & Fire are known for many things, on this album they solidified one long standing attribute of the group.....the funky, hot, mesmerizing love songs. Back in the 70's in Jr high and High School, I soooo remember doing the thang on the dance floor with that cute girl to the tunes of Earth, Wind & Fire. To this day if I play a bunch of their slow songs, the wife knows what comes next!
This album has three of the most amazingly written slow/love songs in R&B
Loves' Holiday, I'll Write A Song For You and Be Ever Wonderful.
 
The 2nd one features Phillip Bailey at his best vocally, so smooth in his falsetto voice...also some great 12 string acoustic work by Al McKay.
Maurice White sings lead on the other two, but Maurice and Phillip together is vocal harmony, literally.
 
Magic Mind, a quick funky tune featuring all the singers at their best, catchy chorus keeps this one afloat.
Runnin' (instrumental) just showcases the groups high level of instrumental talent, starting with a nice keyboard/synth entry by Larry Dunn. Much Brazilian musical influence on this one, percussion, horns, drums and the trademark EW&F vocal harmonies.
 
EW&F encompass all that is good about music....Jazz, Fusion, Blues, Rock and World musical influences. This album has it all. A perfect place to start if you have any interest in one of the most influential R&B groups of the 70' and 80's......I have seen them live 6 times, their shows are amazing, you will not sit down, your feet, body, head are moving the whole time. Back in the 70's they incorporated a lot of magic in their shows. Disappearing performers, hidden doors, floating band members, both magicians Doug Henning and David Copperfiled produced the on stage magic portion.
 
Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
Prog Appeal: (1) maybe 2 but only interest would be in the use of alternative instruments ie Kalimba and lyrics based on fantasy and the instrumentals. The album abounds with full string accompanyment on a lot of songs..


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Posted By: Textbook
Date Posted: October 28 2010 at 05:30
Rip The Jacker
by Canibus
13 tracks, 44 mins
http://canibuscentral.ihiphop.com/site/index.php - http://canibuscentral.ihiphop.com/site/index.php
 
"If you think that you can find a better flow
I can find a dinosaur on the Galapagos archipelago"
 
"f**k ya'll, you don't impress me and no one can match me,
an emcee so ill I got AIDS scared to catch me"
 
That is not dead which can eternal rhyme...
One of the greatest lyricists of all time, Jamaica's Germaine "Canibus" Williams has not had the greatest career of all time. First coming to attention in the late 90s with a series of electrifying guest spots, the wheels quickly came off when his first two albums, hyped up as blockbusters, sold poorly due to poor production and Canibus' rhyming being too intense and complicated for most mainstream markets. A career hurting feud with the much more popular LL Cool J, and the fact that his third album actually did suck, did not help either.
With his fourth album, 2002's Mic Club, Canibus seemed to abandon his dreams of mainstream success and decided to take his formidable lyrical skills to a more hardcore approach, deliverying conceptual tracks with elaborate scientific content.
But it was 2003's Rip The Jacker where Canibus delivered his masterpiece. The key ingredient actually was not him- he had already been and would be afterwards, a phenomenal MC, able to spin off minute after minute of complex, head spinning, refreshing and jaw dropping rhymes. What was different about RTJ is that Canibus had excellent production on board, meaning for once that the album *sounded* good and wasn't just brilliant lyrics delivered in a humdrum way. All beats were handled by Stoupe from Jedi Mind Tricks and his haunting, sinister sounds are the perfect match for Canibus' academic and intense approach.
After a short intro which introduces the concept of The Ripper, the dark side of Canibus' personality, he creates the rap universe on Genabis. Love that music too, beautiful yet chilling. (Spot the Phillip Glass sample!)
 
 
Over the course of the album Canibus uses elaborate and dense wordplay, continually leaping from topic to topic, as the listener's mind races to catch up with him. They're the kind of lyrics you can appreciate for months or years as there are always new things to realise about what he's saying. This is 21st century poetry. Stoupe's gothic beats are the icing on the cake, whether using Eastern flavours and a Cirque du Soleil sample on Levitibus or going in for Feta Kuli and an epic, sweat inducing string melody (with some Fela Kuti in there too). From the nightmarish Psyche Evaluation to the oddly affecting No Return where Canibus rapidly weaves three detailed scenarios for his own death, it's quality all the way, but a real highlight is the absolutely crushing Cemantics, a lyrical masterclass with an EXCELLENT beat.
 
 
Of course the elephant in the room is the closing track, Poet Laureate II. Poet Laureate was a track on Mic Club where Canibus attempted to write the most advanced lyric he could. It was mildly successful but the following year when working on RTJ he felt he could outdo and came up with Poet Laureate II. An example of the still-in-its-infancy progressive rap/hip-hop, it is not simply Canibus's 7 minute lyrical rampage where he spits 100 bars of the most demanding lyrics on the album without a pause that puts it in this category but Stoupe's decision to have three different musical sections before returning to the opening beat for the finale that makes it resemble a prog rock song in structure. It also displays Canibus' talents to not just write these lyrics but deliver them with excellent intensity and cadence and to twist words so they rhyme when you might not expect them to. It is unstoppable.
 
 
After hearing these tracks you are officially forbidden from complaining that all rap is about bitches and drugs ever again.
Though Canibus has continued to push even further in his astonishing lyrical power, he has never made an album that *sounds* this good since as he seems to have an iffy ear for beats, making this the one to own, though those who find themselves getting hooked on his lyrical style should also pick up Mic Club, C Of Tranquility, For Whom The Beat Tolls and the 50 minute 1000 bar monstrosity that is Poet Laureate 2's successor, Poet Laureate Infinity. (Canibus, 2000 BC and Melatonin Magic are good too, but best avoid C True Hollywood Stories, Mind Control and Hip Hop For Sale, albums on which he either lyrically misfired or really dropped the ball on the beats.)
Canibus is hardly the only rapper to push rap lyrics to such advanced places but he is one of the best and deserves respect from anyone who enjoys seeing the English language pushed to its limits.
 
5/5


Posted By: seventhsojourn
Date Posted: November 17 2010 at 14:45

All About Eve by All About Eve

 

All About Eve

 

Tracklist

 

Flowers In Our Hair.

Gypsy Dance.

In The Clouds. 

Martha’s Harbour. 

Every Angel. 

Like Emily.

Shelter From The Rain.

She Moves Through The Fair.

Wild Hearted Woman. 

Never Promise (Anyone Forever).

Apple Tree Man.

What Kind Of Fool. 

In The Meadow.

Lady Moonlight.

 

I nearly choked on my cheeseburger when I saw John Davie’s review of ‘Heyday’ by The Church yesterday. Not that I have any issues with The Church being here on ProgArchives, very far from it in fact, but I simply didn’t know they were here! My only excuse for this oversight is that, while I’ve been a member since December 2009, the last Church review was posted a month before I joined. I just never thought to search the site for them.

 

I’ll get around to posting some reviews of The Church in the future but in the meantime I’d like to hopefully draw some attention to another fine ‘80s band, All About Eve. Funnily enough, All About Eve (AAE) have links to The Church, although they’re actually much closely associated with The Mission. AAE emerged from the UK’s musical mire during the middle of the decade with their own distinct brand of folksy Goth-rock. They started out as a trio when former ZigZag journalist Julianne Regan (vocals) joined up with Andy Cousin (bass) and Tim Bricheno (guitar), both of whom had been members of Goth band Aemotii Crii. Full-time drummer Mark Price joined later, during the recording of the first AAE album. They were originally called The Swarm but changed their name to All About Eve after Regan watched the movie of the same name at her parents’ house.

 
Not the infamous performance.
 

They recorded four studio albums before disbanding, although they subsequently reformed around the turn of the millennium and released several live albums. Bricheno was the first to jump ship when he joined The Sisters Of Mercy, with Marty Wilson Piper of The Church being his replacement. Cousin subsequently joined The Mission, while Price later worked with Del Amitri as their percussionist. Regan has kept herself busy with various offshoots and projects, notably The Eden House (a collaborative project with Tony Pettitt, formerly Fields Of The Nephilim).

 
Extended version, but basically the same as on the album. 
 

When Regan was asked by Wayne Hussey to sing backing vocals on ‘Severina’ from The Mission’s debut studio album, this initiated a series of collaborations between the two bands. AAE supported The Mission on their first tour and this was instrumental in them winning a contract with Phonogram. Between 1985-87 they recorded four singles for the independent Eden label, but they released their self-titled debut album on the major label in 1988. Regan continues to collaborate with Hussey; at present they are working on a joint venture under the name Hussey-Regan.

 
Lovely pictures with this video.
 

Paul Samwell-Smith, a founding member of The Yardbirds, produced AAE’s debut. Incidentally, he has also produced works by Jethro Tull, Renaissance and Amazing Blondel. Most of the songs were written in Regan’s bedsitter, with the band more or less working as a three-piece. As stated above, AAE had the support of The Mission for this album. Wayne Hussey reciprocated for Regan’s contribution to ‘God’s Own Medicine’ by supplying backing vocals to ‘Shelter From The Rain’. Hussey and Simon Hinkler produced ‘Lady Moonlight’, while drummer Mick Brown guests on four tracks on the album.

 
 

The album contains no less than five singles, including the top-10 hit ‘Martha’s Harbour’. This song is of course notorious for the incident on Top Of The Pops where Regan and Bricheno sat in silence because their backing track wasn’t played through their monitors. The songs here combine folk and Goth rock, with lyrics that are inspired by nature and mysticism. These are exemplified on the chiming ‘80s guitars of the band’s nod to hippiedom, ‘Flowers In Our Hair’, and the folk magic of the lilting ‘Gypsy Dance’. Other highlights include the Byrds-inspired jangling of ‘In The Clouds’ and the vigorous rock of ‘Every Angel’. In fact the first seven songs on here must rank together as one of the best series of consecutive songs on any ‘80s album. Furthermore, the lush acoustic layers of shimmering ballads like ‘Shelter from The Rain’ and ‘Like Emily’ are perfectly matched by lyrics about emerald ships and fallen angels.
 
'kin awesome live version!

 

I don’t really like having to assign arbitrary ratings to albums but in this case the music can speak for itself via the YouTube videos. Having said that, this is a great album well worthy of 4-stars, and in fact it’s not a kick in the bahoochie off 5-stars.

 

Finally, AAE have several connections to progressive music. They recorded a cover version of ‘See Emily Play’, while David Gilmour played on two of their songs, ‘Are You Lonely’ and ‘Wishing The Hours Away’ (none of which appear on this album though - check out their ‘Keepsakes’ retrospective collection for these tracks). During the band’s mid-90s hiatus Regan occasionally performed live with Fairport Convention, and she performed on Judy Dyble’s ‘Talking With Strangers’, which also features Robert Fripp. In addition, she has contributed a track (‘Shaping The River’) to ‘Leader Of The Starry Skies’, a tribute album and fundraiser for Tim Smith of Cardiacs. This is due for release on 6th December, but check Dick Heath’s thread here for further details on pre-ordering the CD. A very worthwhile cause deserving of all our support.

 
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=72349 - http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=72349  

 



Posted By: R-A-N-M-A
Date Posted: December 02 2010 at 19:50
So, this new album by the band Moon Safari has been plastered all over the front page of the site for roughly the last forever. Which is nice and all, it's getting great reviews. I'm sure I'll get around to checking it out at some point. In the mean time I can't help but think of another (perhaps) even more marvellous Moon Safari. Without further ado, I give you:

Air - Moon Safari

4.5/5


Them Details:

When: 1998 (Year of the Tiger)
Where: France
What: The debut album by a pair of French dudes whose only mission in life at this point appears to be helping you get your chill on something fierce.

La femme d'argent - 7:11
Sexy Boy - 4:58
All I Need - 4:28
Kelly Watch the Stars - 3:45
Talisman - 4:17
Remember - 2:34
You Make It Easy - 4:02
Ce matin là - 3:39
New Star in the Sky - 5:41
Le voyage de Penelope - 3:11

My Two Cents (CAD):

This is easily the most chilled out album I own. It's funky catchy and a little bit weird in its own way. It's an album I liked the moment I heard it and I think you might too.

Why did I like it the moment I heard it? Because the first thing I heard was La femme d'argent. Or for the non-French inclined: The Silver Lady. Its hip, hipper than anything you've heard in the last decade; a mix of sly keyboard work with a dabble of sequencer and a mellowed out baseline. It's both riveting and relaxing. I've never really heard anything quite like it. The rest of the album is still very good, but I could stop listening after La femme and be in seventh heaven.

Sexy Boy (or for the non-French inclined: not you) was the single from the album, and I understand a pretty big hit in its own time and place. For my part, it isn't my favourite track on the album, but I can see the appeal. It's a little bit heavier (If you can call that heavy) than most other things on the album and certainly catchy. It just seems to rub me the wrong way. I think the subtly accented vocals just don't totally do the trick for me. They're better elsewhere, like New Star.

All I Need is one of the most at east tracks on an album that feels like a bean bag chair on an ocean of whipped cream. The vocals again aren't the tops, but everything else about this track elates me. Once we move away from the lyrical stuff and into the more abstract this piece is stunning. The low droning synth which comes in towards the end is superb.

Kelly Watch the Stars is one of my top picks from Moon Safari, it's short and the lyrics are exceedingly repetitive, but its all part of the hypnotic trance Air has you under. It's a little more upbeat and up tempo than many of the other tracks so it feels like it lasts a little longer than it actually does. I love it though, it's catchy as hell.

Talisman drops it down a register but keeps the up tempo and turns the funk up to 6! I know that's not crazy, but this isn't a crazy album. It's an excellent track regardless. The bass and keyboards are working in perfect harmony; this one also gets a big thumbs up from me. It does get shown up a little later though, by its sleazy counterpart Le voyage de Penelope.

Remember begins the part of the album that I don't quite like as much as the first section. The songs are still good, but the just don't catch your attention the way that La Femme or Kelly do. Remember is the shortest track on the album, and likely my least favourite. This is due again to the vocals, they are the most similar to Sexy Boy, but the balance of the track just isn't as good.

You Make It Easy, is a sexy little bit of mood music. Air, went on to be the masters of make out music. When you hear Easy, it's well... easy to hear why. It's much better than Remember and maybe on par with all I need. What makes it so romantic? Why that most sensual of all instruments, the wood block! Don't believe me, hear it for yourself.

Ce matin là (That morning there) is a song that I always forget about, but it's really cool. It's a lounge music masterpiece. It makes you want grab your lady (or dude, I don't judge) and do sweet sweet things to her. Here is more than a hint of Burt Bacharach about it. This adds to its vintage appeal. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful piece of music.

The concept behind the track New Star in the Sky is the saying every time a child is born, a new star appears in the sky. If you were doing the right things during You Make it Easy and Ce matin là, you're probably well on your way to creating your own little new star. It's a very gentle and sentimental piece. It's ok. Kinda nor here nor there. This is the most relaxed piece on the album. Very good for helping you drift off to sleep. I know a couple of people who swear by it.

Le voyage de Penelope, brings us out of the near comatose state we've been in for the last little while for a stunning and balls to the walls finale. That is to say as close as Air's balls are gonna get to any walls. It has a well mixed combination of synth and acoustic instrumentation in a low key but up tempo set up, like Talisman as mentioned before. This is right up there with Kelly for my second favourite track.

I it is a totally consistent album thematically, but it doesn't always deliver musically. That said, nothing is worse than good and in many places it's exceptionally so. This album has gotten straight under my skin. I've probably listened to it as much as Never Hear the End of It, by Sloan when I first got it.
Alors, quatre point cinq sur cinq.

Prog-Appeal:

Actually, I've long felt that more modern electronic musicians are willing to get a lot more out there than their rock contemporaries. This is still a pop album at its heart but, the primarily instrumental tracks like La femme and Penelope kinda get a little freakay. I think someone going into this album and expecting something generic would be totally wrong headed. So yeah, it’s prog-appealing.

Originally posted by Catcher10 Catcher10 wrote:




Now on my to do list.


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Posted By: Icarium
Date Posted: January 02 2011 at 13:14
Toto - Isolation
 
 
 

this is an album I will have difficult to keep myself neutral or objective, Toto have 12 Studio album all are solid piece of melodic rock, jazz rock, funk and everything in between. the genre within popular music Toto haven’t touched does not exist. They have not ventured into extreme metal or avant-garde, other than that they have played anything from new age music to progressive metal.

 

Isolation is one of Toto’s most heavy albums, probably the 2nd heaviest album overall after Kingdom of Desire, while KoD is more in the heavy blues territory, Isolation is heavy symphonic rock in the neo progressive vein. but shorter songs, yet very intricate, they don't hold anything back on this album. I will with hand on my hart and say that Isolation is close to be Toto’s most virtuoso album, the most brutal instrumentation, they don't wait on you before Steve Lukather or Steve Porcaro launches themselves into their solo modes, sometime even unison, most of the time counterparts, like twisting lizards.

 

I will now take track by track review

 

Carmen – Irresistible riff sets of this song, one of their most metallic song in their repertoire, and the prog rock influence is all over this song, only shorter in length, but the solo section will give you a serious whiplash, every instrument give time to shine on this album, brilliant vocals by David Paich and new guy Fergie Fredriksen, they share vocals here, Fergie takes care for the Chorus, Jeff Porcaro is without comparison here.

 

Lion - sets of with a solid low bass bite (BAM BAM ) more artsy song, different short sections, one of their most unique songs, delicious instrumentation, aggressive guitar sound as usual from Steve Lukather, this song is a semi progressive rock affair, in the neo progressive/AOR style, still solid drumming. Few bands have this solid groove in their core, it is so solid and tight, and never does it sound stale.

 

Stranger in Town - David Paich takes over the vocal duties in this cool song, this song have vocal harmonies to die for, the chorus shows Toto’s skill for vocal arrangements, in high register and perfect hitted notes, the song is in the vein of 80s Genesis, some cool sound effects from Steve Porcaros and David’s synths and keyboards, moog’s and other technical equipment. It is incredible the amount of strong vocalists there is in one band.

 

Angel Don't Cry - heavy rock song, shows the vocal range of Fergie to an impressive degree. 80s hard rock style but in Toto vein which induce more groove and control, and more abrupt and neck snapping, they venture into solo guitar and synth parts, this is how Toto in some way prove their instrumental knowledge by how fast verses and choruses flow into each other and how they without any pauses, or need to collect momentum before they goes into instrumental muscle flexing bridge sections

 

How Does It Feel - Symphonic rock ballad sung by Lukather, this song is just beautifully composed; little epic with a sweeping solo by Lukather blistering speed, this song is one of the most stunning orchestral mini suites, like a bright summer breeze

 

Endless - a Funky rock song with Mike Porcaro use some cool slap bass thumps, semi-neo progressive song, with a atmospheric bridge part. Also a nice use of Keyboard sounds.

 

Isolation - the best and most aggressive riff on the album, after staccato piano intro. 80s hard rock song in Saga vein who are instrumentally and stylistically closer to Toto then Foreigner and Journey.

 

Mr. Friendly and Change of Heart - these two songs give Toto a chance to show everyone that technically they are a force to be reckoned with. This needs to be heard to witness, it is impressive to how little time this guys needs to give is sections that would give you a serious whiplash if it was a moveable object.

 

Holyanna - a west coast rock ballad with a perfect instrumental performance every nuance fits like a glow and a nice keyboard solo as well..

 

StarStarStarStarStar easy


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Posted By: overmatik
Date Posted: January 31 2011 at 13:32
Wow, Midnight Oil are nothing short of amazing. I also have all their albums and I put them among the great were they belong. Diesel and Dust is a supernatural masterpiece! They were always flawless live too.

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"Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity. Calculate what we will or will not tolerate. Desperate to control all and everything. Unable to forgive your scarlet letterman."


Posted By: catfood03
Date Posted: January 31 2011 at 22:43
Originally posted by overmatik overmatik wrote:

Wow, Midnight Oil are nothing short of amazing. I also have all their albums and I put them among the great were they belong. Diesel and Dust is a supernatural masterpiece! They were always flawless live too.


I agree. I saw them live too (touring for Earth and Sun and Moon), so much energy and life!


Posted By: overmatik
Date Posted: February 01 2011 at 11:03
Originally posted by catfood03 catfood03 wrote:

Originally posted by overmatik overmatik wrote:

Wow, Midnight Oil are nothing short of amazing. I also have all their albums and I put them among the great were they belong. Diesel and Dust is a supernatural masterpiece! They were always flawless live too.

I agree. I saw them live too (touring for Earth and Sun and Moon), so much energy and life!


They came to Brazil in 96 but only to São Paulo so I couldn't see them.Cry  Another great album they have is Redneck Wonderland, which completely reinvented the band and is very heavy.


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"Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity. Calculate what we will or will not tolerate. Desperate to control all and everything. Unable to forgive your scarlet letterman."



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