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Adam K. "adam k" (London, London United Kingdom)

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Currents
Currents
Price: £7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is This All There Is?, 25 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Currents (Audio CD)
This is my first Tame Impala album - I decided to give them a try on hearing all about their psychedellic vibe (I thought, "Hey, I like 13th Floor Elevators, what could go wrong?") and the raves around this particular release, which I obviously didn't read closely enough. I thought that this would be a band I could do business with.

Except it turns out not to be a band. It appears, instead, to be one guy with a laptop and a poster of Giorgio Moroder stuck on his bedroom wall. The result is weedy vocals, tinny synthesizers and a drum machine that's been dusted off from 1987 and which is still stuck on the factory settings. The lyrics, with references to changing and moving, are something of a statement of intent, and that statement seems to be, "Hope you like the new direction", as if sounding like someone producing synthetic, self-eulogising pap from their bedroom is pioneering brave new frontiers of art. At times, I'll admit, it manages to achieve a fleeting, hazy beauty, but mostly it reminds me of those irritating greetings cards that come with a sound chip and won't stop chirping out some cheap tune, no matter where you try and hide it. After about a dozen listenings it no longer irritated me quite so much or reminded me of a mild migraine, but I wasn't that crazy about the cheesy, anaemic Eighties synth sound to begin with and this album goes some way in reinforcing my feelings about it.


Live In London
Live In London
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £7.44

5.0 out of 5 stars A Slow, Majestic Dance to the End of Time, 1 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Live In London (Audio CD)
I was never a Leonard Cohen fan - he was someone who was just "there" but who I considered, with his, um, idiosyncratic vocals and his downbeat style, as something of a joke when I was growing up. You know, the whole "Laughing Lenny" bit. My sister had one of his early albums and I'd hear it through my ceiling when she'd play it at night, in her bedroom above mine. I never understood the appeal; even though in later years when I heard (and quite liked) "First We Take Manhattan", I wasn't interested enough - or brave enough - to take the plunge with an entire album.

Then he went away, and then he came back. He'd already done a round of concerts in London, and I'd heard they were great. Another round was announced and I asked my partner,almost jokingly, if she wanted to go. We both laughed at the idea, but we went. And it was....revelatory. It was, without a doubt, one of the best concerts I'd ever seen, and this double live album captures this very special experience beautifully.

Now, bear in mind the context: Cohen returned to touring because his business manager waltzed off with $5 million of his money and he needed to put something back in the bank and fast. He could have easily have knocked together a "Greatest Hits" tour: an hour and a half of the familiar, "Thank you and goodnight" and take the money. But he didn't - these concerts were over two hours long, pushing nearly three hours, and the dapper and urbane Cohen, backed by an eclectic mix of World and Jazz musicians, presented a more-than-generous overview of his career, unfolding with warmth, with love and with intelligence. As this 74 year-old man rushed on and off stage, doffed his hat to the audience, joked drolly in between songs and acknowledged the contribution of each and every one of his band members, I was in awe at his energy and his obvious, radiant enthusiasm for what he was doing and who he was doing it for. It was a thrilling, magical night and the music was rapture-style uplifting. I became a fan that night and treasure this album and the pleasure it gives me and the memories it evokes. And the songs? They remain articulate, intelligent expressions of the passion and pain of being a human being, riveting dissections of the human psyche and the soul performed with melancholic,barbed humour and slow-burning passion. If you care about music and you care about anything, you should have this album. I not only went back and dusted off the CDs in my partner's collection, but went ahead and ordered the box set of everything he'd done up until then and now buy every new release since.

Look, I'm no spring chicken, and have seen many of my idols fade or fall by the wayside. I feel lucky, however, to have lived in a time when Leonard Cohen is making music as good as this. Now, when I hear his songs I laugh - but it's a joyous laughter.


Dexter - The Final Season [DVD]
Dexter - The Final Season [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael C. Hall
Price: £9.95

2.0 out of 5 stars An Ignominious End, and a Warning to Everyone, 18 Jan. 2016
Spoilers ahead, but really: if you haven't seen this series yet, that's the least of your problems

Sad to say, this season managed to exceed my worst expectations. Okay, it started out decently by introducing Charlotte Rampling as Dr Vogl, Harry's counsel and originator of the code, but even then you have to ask: Why has she never, ever been mentioned before? Aside from that, there was also - for me - the memory of S7's rather bungled ending, with LaGuerta getting killed off by Debs in an offhand, anticlimactic way, and this program's now-customary inter-seasonal memory dump. A quick funeral and then on with the show is all it takes here, and apart from Debbie going all melodramatic and doing the customary "drowning my sorrows and hating everyone" bit, LaGuerta doesn't seem to have left much of a mark.

The Vogl storyline, meanwhile, unravels in a welter of red herrings that, inexplicably, bring the Morgans closer together ("The family that kills together..." jokes Debbie, which goes against pretty much every character trait on display so far). At what looked suspiciously like a mid-season break cliffhanger, Hanna McKay reappears to drug Dexter and....um, leave him somewhere. Just because she can. There follows a bizarre alliance of "good" serial killers, the promising idea of a protogee (don't get too attached to him) before the season stumbles towards its uncertain conclusion. In previous seasons, despite all the plot holes and implausibilities, there's been a forward momentum, a tension, that's kept me watching. This season lacks anything like that, as if everyone had just given up on it and were randomly throwing out half-baked ideas and making it up as they go along. I've just read somebody here put it much better, but the only thing I could think of as I watched was that the writers had put all their disparate ideas up on post-it notes on a wall and left it to an office junior to type up. Nothing makes sense, nothing has any pace. A minor character steps forward in the last few episodes as the season's killer, is a stereotyped Oedipal loon lacking any of the charm or guile of Dexter's best adversaries. Vogl, a renowned and respected psychiatrist, reads everything wrongly, acts like an idiot and pays the price. A policeman/ranger/whatever apparently hasn't seen any of the constant news bulletins that have identified the killer...and pays the price. Debbie is careless and pays the price. Basically, everyone starts acting like an idiot only to advance the creaking, leaking plot. It starts to build up to a promising show-down at the hospital where Debbie is being treated during an oncoming hurricane, which has potential for a great set-piece. But no, there isn't, and I let out an involuntary "Oh, come ON!" at this egregious fumble. By the way, do they really have silverware in Florida hospitals rather than plastic sporks? I guess that wouldn't have looked too impressive. And..why is the place conveniently deserted one minute and then bustling with people the next? It all gets horribly ghastly from there on in, as it has promised to do. Dexter abandons his son, his one remaining legacy from his one healthy relationship and whom he's constantly declaring his love for, to the care of Hanna McKay: a serial killer whose main excuse is her terrible choices in men. Nice one, Dexter. Good thing your son's conveniently too stupid to even miss you. And finally Dexter, believed dead, appears in a one-minute prologue as a lumberjack. The end.

Jesus wept.

This season, this final misfire, will stand as a shining example of how NOT to wrap up a series. It was always going to be difficult to build convincingly on the initial premise, but I really do believe the writers managed this for the first two or three seasons, tottered a bit in 4, stumbled in 5 but managed to keep the plates spinning uncertainly through seasons 6 and 7, and then nose-dived into the sawdust in 8. It's a sad ending to a once great and utterly unique show.


Gusti Leder studio "Allan" Genuine Leather Vintage Messenger Shoulder Bag Handbag Casual 15.4" Laptop Office Waterproof Lining Unisex Dark Brown 2H4-20-4wp
Gusti Leder studio "Allan" Genuine Leather Vintage Messenger Shoulder Bag Handbag Casual 15.4" Laptop Office Waterproof Lining Unisex Dark Brown 2H4-20-4wp
Offered by Gusti Leather
Price: £115.95

5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Piece of Kit, 12 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Absolute quality - a great build, lots of space and useful compartments and very comfortable to wear. I love the adjustable pad on the strap and the waterproofi flap, while it could be perhaps a little bit more aesthetically pleasing, is a nice touch. I had originally bought another model from Gusti Leder and found it far too small, but was impressed by the craftsmanship enough to try the brand again, and I'm glad I did. The excellent craftsmanship is all still here in this larger model, and it feels comfortable and absolutely just about right, almost like a part of me. Of the three bags I've had so far, this is by far the best one yet.


One Lost Day
One Lost Day
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Girls Push The Envelope and Make Some Beautiful Music Together, 6 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: One Lost Day (Audio CD)
I've been an Indigo Girls fan for a while and, while I'd have to say that their best days are behind them, I also have to admire their recent - and mostly successful - attempts to keep things fresh and interesting, without going all hip-hop on us. My attention started to fade during what I call their Trilogy of Slough in the early part of the millennium, but they made me sit up and take notice with "Poseidon and the Bitter Bug" and, if "Beauty Queen Sister" was a bit disappointing, there were still some interesting things bubbling away at the fringes indicating that they were still reaching for something else and pushing - ever so gently - at their boundaries.

And now we have "One Lost Day", in which they work with a new producer and a new set of musicians and, on the whole, it works brilliantly. I'd be wary of calling it their best since "Swamp Ophelia", but it does come awfully close to being up their with their best, hampered only by one small factor: for all the fresh sounds, for all the great playing and singing, the songwriting often isn't up to the challenge, and has a tendency to fall back on the customary Indigo Girls tropes. "Elisabeth", while a really nice song in itself (with some beautiful vocal harmonies) seems a rather slight number to kick off with: It's a charming portrait of a friendship from the past, but it's not the statement of intent this album needs to announce itself with. Amy's "Happy in the Sorrow Key" ups the game considerably, with a false start, distorted guitars and some high-octane singing, and while the title pretty much says it all, the lyrics tend towards the obscure. "Southern California is Your Girlfriend" offers up some lovely, sunshine-drenched vocals and harmonies, but it's a familiar tale of lost love and regret from Emily. Beautiful, but familiar. Occasionally they hint at something darker and richer: "Alberta" is, apparently, based on a real-life 1903 landslide, but I had to read that in a review, and "Black Messiah" brings welcome fire and anger and a roaring, fury-filled vocal from Amy that makes me go "Wow" every time I hear it. It's followed by "Findlay, 1968", which encapsulates both the album's strengths and weaknesses: it has an uncharacteristically brave instrumental introduction consisting of the tinkling of a barroom piano, a low cello note and a keening violin, and eventually resolves itself into a slow, stately series of snapshots of the narrator's childhood in...well, Findlay, Ohio in 1968. The music and arrangements are brilliant and atmospheric, but the song itself feels rather banal. It also suffers somewhat by being followed by Amy's "Fishtails" which itself kicks off with another reminiscence ("You know all them sweaty boys hanging out at the copper mines/You watched them growing up the bridge on the river shoals off GA 9") . This song does deepen into something more sinister, but it still calls attention to the fact that the album has a plethora of blue-remembered hills. The album ends, however, with the forward-looking, celebratory "Come A Long Way" which sparkles with energy and, again, some lovely vocal work from the girls. I should also mention Emily's "If I Don't Leave Here Now" which is given some serious heft by a nicely delicate piano backing, and "Learned It On Me" which, on the face of it, is another Emily song of love and regret, but which has real brio and some nice and very interesting keyboard jabbing going on. As I say, this in itself - a repeated note on a synth - is unusual for the Girls, and shows admirable signs of them trying to shake things up a bit.

While it may have its faults and may not quite be up there with "Swamp Ophelia" or "Shaming of the Sun", "One Lost Day" is a thoroughly enjoyable album and, even, often thrilling. Again, if you're one of those fans (like me) whose faith has started to falter, this is definitely worth a try


I Am Mina
I Am Mina
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £10.00

4.0 out of 5 stars She Is Mina and She's Worth It., 5 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: I Am Mina (Audio CD)
Although Amazon lists this as "U An Mina" the album quite clearly shows it as "I Am Mina". She is the Barbra Streisand of Italy, a popular singer whose career spans the 60s to the present day, with a great presence, a sense of mystique and a belter of a voice. This is a collection her English-language material over the years, and is highly entertaining.

Her international appeal is such that I first encountered her in a High School French class, where the teacher had a single of "Et puis ca sert à quoi" backed with "Les oiseaux reviennent", which became a class favourite. For years I assumed she was a French singer, and it was only via the power of the internet, some forty years later, did I discover that she was actually Italian. The English version of "Et puis ca sert à quoi" is here, re-titled "Runaway" and it's fascinating to hear its transformation (you can also get a companion piece, "Je Suis Mina" which collects her French-language material, which I recommend).

On the whole, these are torch songs and ballads about love gone sour, women done wrong and men as either fantastic lovers or heartless bastards or both. The lyrics don't do much to advance the cause of feminism, but the tunes are great, her voice is fantastic and she sings with such strength and commitment that she retains a formidable dignity, no matter what. What started out, for me, as an exercise in nostalgia is now a much-enjoyed album.


The Orange Collection
The Orange Collection
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Cheap Collection of the Early Years., 5 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Orange Collection (Audio CD)
All the early, pre-Charisma material is here, all the extras and singles and B-Sides, but this is a pretty shoddily produced piece, with scant liner notes and a case that fell apart the moment I opened it. While the songs themselves are fascinating and often very good, you'd be better off going for the Genesis to Revelation (Deluxe Version) with the original cover illustration on it.


From Genesis To Revelation (Deluxe Edition)
From Genesis To Revelation (Deluxe Edition)

5.0 out of 5 stars The Version to Buy!, 5 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the one to get! Although other reissues of this early material (ie, "The Orange Collection") have the same tracks, this not only reproduces the look of the original album, but also has some decent liner notes, plus a nod to the first version I owned, Decca's "Rock Roots" vinyl reissue from the 1970s.

As an album, while it's not exactly prime Genesis, there's some more-than decent material on here that reveals the nascent character that was to blossom in "Trespass" and "Nursery Cryme". Some are a bit pretentious - okay, the whole concept is a bit pretentious - but the songs themselves can be quite beautiful in a rough, raw kind of way; I'd rate it as essential for any fans of the Gabriel-era Genesis.


Dayclox International Digital Calendar Day Clock
Dayclox International Digital Calendar Day Clock
Offered by DayClox Ltd
Price: £65.37

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a Good Investment, 5 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At first, this is a pretty neat device: the numbers are big and clear, and you can adjust it to a 24 hour clock if you want. In practice, however, it's shoddily made: Two years old and the screen started to flicker, causing distress for the person I bought it for. Really, really not worth the money.


Slade in Flame [CD + DVD]
Slade in Flame [CD + DVD]
Price: £13.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slade at their peak, 30 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At last, together for the first time: The album AND the film.

I was living in the States when Slade made it big. When I left in 1970, they weren't on the radar and when I came back for my first visit to the UK in '74 they were huge, and this film had just come out. I bought the album and the novellisation and took them back to the States with me, loved them both and managed to get my hands on a couple of other albums (Old New Borrowed and Blue and Slayed?) before returning to the UK in '77 to find...they'd completely disappeared. I mean completely. The record shops I went to didn't even have their albums any more.

Anyhow...this is a great album, full of great big, full-throated tunes. The lead track, "How Does It Feel?" benefits from a brass section and a lovely, delicate flute, as well as Noddy Holder showing the more melodic side to his voice. There are hard rockers and upbeat pop songs, and it really shows off the songwriting ability of Lea and Holder. The film is great, too, a really undervalued and underrated gem. Downbeat and blackly funny, it charts the rise of a group from working in pubs and men's clubs to being taken on by a corporation as a branding exercise, processed, marketed and sold to the kids. Success, as you'd guess, comes at a personal price, particularly when their old manager still claims rights and can fight dirtier than any corporate suit. Surprisingly gritty (love the shots of the shuttered terraced houses, and the dialogue between Lea and Holder held over a urinal) and the band acquit themselves admirably, although you might need the subtitles on. This is the wide-screen version, too: the last time it was shown on UK TV, it was shown in a boxy ratio that looked a bit odd. I'd be hard pressed to call myself a Slade fan, but I'd recommend the film to anyone - it's great to see it presented together with the soundtrack.


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