dimanche 23 septembre 2007

George Benson
White Rabbit (1971)

George Benson himself recently said in an interview just how he hated the cover. Being a devoutly religious man himself he didn't like the inference made of a black man (who many wrongfully mistook for George himself) with his face covered in heroin.("White Rabbit" being another slang for the substance). Being a fairly innocent chap he just liked the tune and decided to cover it completely ignorant of the deeper significances . I can fully sympathise with his view because the pic gives me the creeps!!
However.. the music, thankfully , is gorgeous.The overall theme on this album is strongly Latin. Everywhere from the opening flamenco tinged intro to the title tune, wonderfully added by the phenomenal Earl Klugh, right to "Little Train of Capira" the laid back,Spanish tones can be heard.
It reminds me of a guitar version of one of Miles Davis's more commercial Spanish influenced albums ("Siesta" for example).
George's version of Michel Legrands "Summer of '42" was the main reason i bought this album in 1985. Benson puts so much feeling & empathy into the romantic phrases that once again the listener is bathed in a warm glow. George's guitar literally speaks to you. Very few guitarists have this talent. Wes Montgomery had it.
Hats off to Earl Klugh on this whole project. His acoustic guitar sets the scene even further. The album would never have had the same effect without his presence.

1. White Rabbit
2. Theme From 'Summer Of 42'
3. Little Train
4. Califonia Dreamin'
5. El Mar

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lundi 17 septembre 2007


Tribe After Tribe
Pearls Before Swine (1997)

For those five or ten of you on the planet who know about Robbie Robb, you can skip this and just buy the CD. Its his best yet under the Tribe moniker. For the rest of you, this album stands as an excellent introduction to the African-influenced tribal rhythms and powerful lyrical themes of Tribe After Tribe - its also unfortunately the only one of his albums still in print other than Three Fish. While choosing to express a folkier side of himself on the Three Fish albums, this one comes out like a pulsing cannon blast on "Boy", with powerful guitars and effective electronic touches soaring over the pounding tribal base. "Senor", as Robb affirms in the liner notes, is a bit too close to some moments on Pink Floyd's _Animals_ for comfort, but it has some surprisingly elegant acoustic guitar work from Robb that is ultimately winning. "Fire Dancers" and "Hopeless The Clown" also rock hard, while "Murder on the Lee Shore" is a rich, eerie textural exploration. Helping the cause is the fact that Robb has surrounded himself here with a dream-list of bass rhythm machines, including Doug Pinnick (King's X), Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam) and Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint). They surf the astounding percussion gracefully. The only dubious choices made here are 1) Robb's insistence on providing explanations for the songs, instead of lyrics - I guess i'd rather have the lyric; 2) my copy's production notes page uses nearly unreadable fonts on the interior, which makes it frustrating to try and track down who's playing what.

1. Boy
2. Lazarus
3. Senor
4. Fire Dancers
5. Murder On The Lee Shore
6. Ballad Of Winnie
7. Bury Me
8. Pat On The Back
9. Hopeless The Clown
10. I Am Your Heart
11. Uh-Oh

Three Fish

Jeff Ament's fretless bass work is overlooked in Pearl Jam's smooth sound. Here he gets to show off some more with some beautiful songs, complemented well by Stuverud's drumming and over which Robb's scratchy, nasal voice works better than i'd've expected. "Laced" is probably my favorite track. "Build" is a departure from the other tracks, with a stomping racket setting the stage for electronically modified guitar sounds.

1. Solitude
2. Song For A Dead Girl
3. Silence At The Bottom
4. The Intelligent Fish
5. Zagreb
6. All Messed Up
7. Here In The Darkness
8. The Half Intelligent Fish
9. Strangers In My Head
10. A Lovely Meander
11. Build
12. Stupid Fish
13. Secret Place
14. Elusive Ones
15. Laced

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vendredi 14 septembre 2007

Celtas Cortos is a Spanish music group of celtic rock.
It was formed in Valladolid (Castilla y León) in 1986. Eight friends, four of which played in the group Almenara decided to participate in a music contest under the name "Colectivo Eurofolk". They won the first prize and continued to play together changing their name to Celtas Cortos.
They won another contest in April 1987, the prize was the production of an album. They shared the prize with two other winners, so they contributed three songs to the album Así es como suena: Folk joven.
Executive producer Paco Martín helped them get out their first album, Salida de emergencia, with only instrumental songs. The next album, Gente Impresentable added the voice and the lyrics of Jesús H. Cifuentes (Cifu) to the powerful instruments. Their celtic rock style was combined with protest and other more melancholic lyrics. Through the years their music mixed with different styles such as Caribbean music, flamenco, electronic music or reggae. Their list of hits include 20 de Abril, La senda del tiempo or Tranquilo Majete.
¡Vamos! is a best of album of their first 5 albums, En estos días Inciertos is the following album.

¡Vamos! (1995)

1. El alquimista loco.
2. 20 de Abril.
3. Haz turismo.
4. Madera de colleja.
5. El pelotazo.
6. ¿Que voy a hcer yo?
7. ¡Ya esta bien!
8. Hacha de guerra.
9. La senda del tiempo.
10. Cuentame un cuento.
11. La mujer barbuda.
12. El ritmo del mar.
13. Aguantando el tirón.
14. Lluvia en soledad

En estos días Inciertos (1996)

1. No nos podrán parar
2. Malos y cobardes
3. El ladrón de melodías
4. En estos días inciertos
5. Siempre tarde
6. Cucharas
7. El emigrante
8. Cálida trinchera
9. Horror vacui
10. Skaparate nacional
11. Irlandalusi
12. Legión de mudos
13. ¿Pesadilla o realidad?
14. Ilusiones

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samedi 8 septembre 2007

On (1995)

British bands come in all types of sound, style and personalities. Toss the Smiths, the Cranberries and James into a blender and you'll get something that resembles Echobelly. The band's second CD, On, is a fine collection of well-written and meaningful songs. Echobelly's charm is provided by vocalist Sonya Aurora Madan, who sounds very much like Ivy's Dominque Durand. The songs, written by both Madan and band co-founder Glenn Johansson, flow smoothly throughout. Madan's lyrics are striking. Echobelly's sound is inventive if for no other reason than the departure from the trademark thin sound perpetuated by British groups like Blur and Elastica. Johansson's tremolo-filled guitar work is rumored to have been the inspiration for the fuzzed guitars played by Peter Buck in R.E.M.'s Monster-era incarnation. Thankfully absent from On are the annoying, overused affectations sometimes impossible to avoid in British music. The songs are irresistible and fresh. Check it out.

1. Car Fiction
2. King Of The Kerb
3. Great Things
4. Natural Animal
5. Go Away
6. Pantyhose and Roses
7. Something Hot In A Cold Country
8. Four Letter Word
9. Nobody Like You
10. In The Year
11. Dark Therapy
12. Worms And Angels
13. On Turn On (acoustic)*
14. Natural Animal (acoustic)*
* bonus tracks

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mardi 4 septembre 2007


Veiled (1996)

Leah Andreone's debut, Veiled, can be compared to Alanis Morissette at times — overtly sexual lyrics mixed with slinky, melodic alterna-pop. But her songs stand on their own with sincere and confessional content, often seeming like the tunes are a form of therapy for Leah. "It's Alright, It's OK" opens the album on an upbeat note, with an instantly memorable chorus kicking the song into high gear. "Happy Birthday" is the most Alanis-like track on the album, while other tracks such as the acoustic "You Make Me Remember," the rocking "Who Are They to Say," and the funky "Hell to Pay" all hit the mark. Although not as successfully experimental as her next album, 1998's Alchemy, Veiled does a more than adequate job of capturing Leah Andreone at her most basic and straightforward.

1. It's Alright, It's Ok
2. Happy Birthday
3. Mother Tongue
4. You Make Me Remember
5. Who Are They To Say
6. Problem Child
7. Come Sunday Morning
8. Kiss Me Goodbye
9. Hell To Pay
10. Will You Still Love Me
11. Imagining You

Alchemy (1998)

On her second album, Leah branched out in more experimental directions. this album is edgier and less glossy than her first album, Veiled, but that is not a bad thing. While Veiled was about healing, Alchemy (as the name implies) is about experimentation. And her phenominal understanding of the art of songwriting and musical composition are displayed well here. It stands as a testament to the quality of this album that eight years after it was released it is experiencing a resurgence thanks to being featured prominently on So You Think You Can Dance. This album wasn't really advertised at all, and never got radio exposure. Through the power of cult followings, it is finally getting some of the exposure it is due. This album is a gem waiting to be uncovered, and you will not regret purchasing it. I bought it when it came out originally, and I still listen to it regularly, as I do with Veiled too. You will love this album!

1. Sunny Day
2. Swallow Me
3. Bow Down
4. Starstruck Bastard
5. Porn
6. Tighten It Up
7. You Don't Exist
8. Dive In
9. Inconceivable
10. Try to Take Your Time
11. Pretty Freak
12. Fake
13. Private Affair
14. Lamentation

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Mark Everett from Eels

A Man Called E (1992)

Prior to fronting the '90s experimental indie rock band the Eels, a man called E (born Mark Everett) was making heavenly pop music on his own. This debut solo release contains typical quirky melodies and mind-boggling lyrics, but E hits upon lush harmonies similar to the likes of Elton John, the Beach Boys, and Paul McCartney. He is a perfectionist, playing every instrument and orchestrating all the material found on A Man Called E.
He's a love-sick puppy, a hopeless romantic, and a daydreamer. Such drama is captured in album highlights "Hello Cruel World," "Are You and Me Gonna Happen?," and "E's Tune." His lyrical poetry is his therapy, a common talent found in later Eels material. But you have to appreciate E's effort. He's thoughtful and almost touching. He's real. Now that's pretty refreshing.
1. Hello Cruel World
2. Fitting In With The Misfits
3. Are You And Me Gonna Happen
4. Looking Out The Window With A Blue Hat On
5. Nowheresville
6. Symphony For Toy Piano In G Minor
7. Mockingbird Franklin
8. I've Been Kicked Around
9. Pray
10. E's Tune
11. You'll Be The Sacrecrow

Broken Toy Shop (1993)

Mystery artist E's second full-length CD slipped out without much fanfare. His later releases with the Eels attracted some Modern Rock radio attention, but this one just fell through the cracks. Which is a shame, because it picks up nicely where his debut ("A Man Called (E)") left off. Very smooth pop music with a great producer's touch. Production is co-handled by E and Michael Koppleman this time. Last LP's producer, Parthenon Huxley, can still be found on most of the tracks. E himself is about 2/3 of a one-man band, filling out each track with a bass player or drummer. The nice thing, though, is that it doesn't sound like a one-man band, it sounds like a band. I tend to think of Todd Rundgren when I listen to E's discs. Not so much because I think they sound like Rundgren's, but because there is a similar sense of sophistication to the arrangements and playing. E manages to infuse a lot of his songs with a sense of meloncholy that is rare in pop music. Another solid outing.
1. Shine It All On
2. Standing At The Gate
3. The Only Thing I Care About
4. Manchester Girl
5. L.A. River
6. A Most Unpleasant Man
7. Mass Listen Listen
8. Tomorrow I'll Be Nine
9. The Day I Wrote You Off
10. Someone To Break The Spell
11. She Loves A Puppet
12. My Old Raincoat
13. Permanent Broken Heart
14. Eight Lives Left

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lundi 3 septembre 2007

Primal Scream
Screamadelica (1991)

A modern psych classic, capturing the vibrant, mind-blowing experience of Ecstacy in a joyful hybrid. Successfully balancing the jangly "Beggar's Banquet"-era Stones rock with the thick, trippy soundscapes of rave culture, this was the soundtrack of countless raves in the British colony circa the early 90's. If course it's easy to see why it is so acclaimed: switching between uplifting gospel-techno anthems like "Movin' On Up" and "Come Together" to sinister, dark beats like "Slip Inside This House", there's never a dull moment in the Primals' euphoric vision for a united world order. Although it is sometimes hard to see why an album made such a big impact during a particular time, it's easy to see this album's universal appeal: we just wanna get loaded.

1. Movin' On Up
2. Slip Inside This House
3. Don't Fight It, Feel It
4. Higher Than The Sun
5. Inner Flight
6. Come Together
7. Loaded
8. Damaged
9. I'm Comin' Down
10. Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony In Two Parts)
11. Shine Like Stars

Black Grape
It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah (1995)

'Its great...' is a stupendously good album that swaggers jauntily out of your stereo and infests your house with a sleazy, addled vibe. Like all things nasty, you know its not really good for you but you just can't help reaching for the volume control. Number eleven is the setting of choice. Its as if the Happy Mondays had never split up only the music is slicker and more precise and provides a marvellous backdrop for the wailing, pestering rhyming of Shaun Ryder's nonsense lyrics, undercut with a velvety delivery provided by Kermit. The album fuses heavy beats with a large dollop of funk, wailing guitars and throbbing baselines and, there is no other way of putting this, positively oozes out of your speakers. The closest reference point is Pills, Thrills & Bellyaches by the Happy Mondays but 'Its great...' takes the next step with a crafted and polished version of the Mondays mayhem that is all the more amazing for Ryder's long absence from any recording studio.

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

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dimanche 2 septembre 2007


Black Box Recorder are an enigma. A three piece comprised of the haunting and fragile-voiced Sarah Nixey, Auteurs henchman Luke Haines and absinthe importer (& former Jesus & Mary Chain) John Moore. Stylistally, the band have catapulted themselves into some netherworld halfway between Air and Velvet Underground. Instruments include, Guitar arpeggios, synthesizers, glockenspiels, chiming xylophones, strings and drum machines.

England Made Me (1998)

Black Box Recorder is a hidden treasure and their first album, "England Made Me", is their best work. A hauntingly shy voice, behind the low tones of a variety of instruments, make up the collection, harvesting and provoking the silly thoughts of morbid children: Life is Unfair, Kill Yourself or Get Over it ("Child Psychology").
Each song on the album, possesses its own charisma, sometimes playing on the ideas of death and decay and other times relishing is mischevious childhood fantasies. "Girl Singing In the Wreckage" is a ballad of a young woman examining her very state of being, acknowledging the sad normality of her existance and at the same time, inventing a sense of mystery about herself. The track "England Made Me", weaves a tale of a disturbing characters who admits to 'sleeping with the enemy before betraying both sides'.
For the poet in all of us, the lyrics are infactuating. For the musician in all of us, the tunes are somber and delightful. One can expect Black Box Recorder to take you from your bedroom in the attic to an enchanted pixie-garden, where the faeries read H.P. Lovecraft, steal cars and smoke cigarettes until dawn.

1. Girl Singing In The Wreckage
2. England Made Me
3. New Baby Boom
4. It's Only The End Of The World
5. Ideal Home
6. Child Psychology
7. I.C. One Female
8. Up Town Top Ranking
9. Swinging
10. Kidnapping An Heiress
11. Hated Sunday

The Facts Of Life (2000)

"The Facts of Life", Black Box Recorder's second album, follows suite in their amazing debut of twisted nursery rhymns, "England Made Me". This is certainly an album to be cherished in one's cd collection - the lyrics are clever and provocative, the music is soothing and intelligent and the mixture can leave the listener awe struck.
In this album, the band has matured a bit. Their storytelling can deliver a much appreciated sense of nostalgia for one's own teenage years - after all, who doesn't remember their boyfriend/girlfriend pushing the relationship one step further than you were ready to go, that almost too-cozy encounter with your highschool best friend or the introspective of a child trying to live as an adult.
Lead singer, Nixey's voice sounds almost like a submissive siren, as she faintly sings anthemns about teenage sexuality and desire. Haines and Moore push their music writing even further, keeping the low tones of instruments and mixing in small beats and rythmns that add a certain liveliness to their melodies. Some of the radio-worthy songs, "Art of Driving" and "Facts of Life", have a good combonation of indie rock/folk with a touch of pop, at the same time expelling the requirements of any particular genre. For those who appreciate rock/pop and alternative music, this will fit in easy to your music collection, though there is enough to interest electronica and folk fans alike.

1. The Art Of Driving
2. Weekend
3. The English Motorway System
4. May Queen
5. Sex Life
6. French Rock 'N' Roll
7. The Facts Of Life
8. Straight Life
9. Gift Horse
10. The Deverell Twins
11. Goodnight Kiss

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samedi 1 septembre 2007

The Cardigans
The Other Side of the Moon (1998)

Asian only rarities compilation featuring 16 tracks, including the B-sides to many of their hard-to-find singles. Contains their campy lounge covers of Thin Lizzy's 'The Boys Are Back In Town', Black Sabbath's 'Iron Man' (First Try) & 'Cocktail Party Bloody Cocktail Party' (aka 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath'), Ozzy Osbourne's 'Mr. Crowley', alternate versions of 'War', 'Carnival' & 'Losers' and more! The best b-sides compilation EVER!

1. War (First Try)
2. I Figured It Out
3. Plain Parade
4. Laika
5. Pooh Song
6. Mr. Crowley
7. Emmerdale
8. The Boys Are Back In Town
9. Carnival (Puck Version)
10. Nasty Sunny Beam
11. Iron Man (First Try)
12. Blah Blah Blah
13. Losers (First Try)
14. Country Hell
15. After All
16. Cocktail Party Bloody Cocktail Party

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