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Helpful Votes: 350

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Reviews Written by
Koos "Koos Reitsma" (Groningen, Netherlands)

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The Story of Sonny Boy Slim
The Story of Sonny Boy Slim
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £5.74

4.0 out of 5 stars A soulful guide through modern blues: better then expected, 28 Mar. 2016
hm, how to decribe and review this one. Well, in advance I didn't feel to excited to listen to the record. It felt like this could be the difficult follow up of a succesful debut. I had heard one or two songs on YouTube and they were o.k. Later I started to read some reviews.Somehow some people and reviewers have written that Gary Clark jr. is the new thing in the bluesrock scene. Somehow they wrote he's going to save the blues. That's a hard legacy to cary.

"The story of Sonny Boy Slim" isn't a old traditional blues record. "The story..." isn't the hard bluesrock some were waiting for. "The story.." is probably the blues record that takes the blues one step further. "The story..." is a modern record with a great mix of blues style, rock style, soul style and some hints of modern drum-bass. The record doesn't explode or doesn't have the tough blues rockin' and rolling songs as his "Black and Blu" record, but that's no shortcoming. Because to my opinion "The story..." has more balance. And still there's a catchy, fun, up-speed song present: 'Can't Sleep'.

I would say that the touch of soulful music is more present, for example the relaxing, slow grooving 'Star'. It's followed by a gentle, slow soullovesong 'our love'. Then it gets to the heart(beat) of the record: the accoustic "Church". Don't expect a gospel song, but a strong modern bluessong firmly rooted in old style blues: a man, an accoustic guitar, an harmonica, basic percussion and a voice that asks for the lords help. It has become my favourite song of the record.

For me, "The story of Sonny Boy Slim" isn't the record as I expected it would be. It's even better.

Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever psychedelic indie rock and Indian spirituality, 20 Mar. 2016
This review is from: K2.0 (Audio CD)
So K2.O has suddenly arrived, just like out of nowhere. Just like their impressive debut "K" in 1996. Then, the tittle made me a little bit curious. Because plenty of people and organisations talk about some 2.0 version without knowing what they are talking about. Some people take a 2.0 version too serious, as if that's the should-be-thing. Also, some K2.0 reviews made comments about this reference to K.

I found it rather strange and somehow awkward. Because knowing Kula Shaker their music, I didn't connect the band with such references. Then I read the booklet with the album lyrics and information. There is written:" "2.0 used to denote a superior or more advanced version of an original concept, product, service, etc." Oxford Dictionary" . Ah, I see. People, don't take the 2.0 reference too serious.

Enough of the tittle, let's write about the music. I have to admit: Kula Shaker has surprised me, because I didn't expect the record to be that good. The band still creates mix of psychedelic indie rock and Indian spirituality. Personally, I like the band's rocking songs. This "K2.0" doesn't contain that much rocking songs: actually I consider the last two songs as 'rocking' songs, and to me they are the less attractive ones on the record!

When I listened to the record for the first time, my first thought was "oh, a little bit boring". But something triggered me and I gave the record a few turn after turn. Then I realised how wel crafted this record is. It's a real pleasure to listen to "K2.0". I think it's fair to write the Kula Shaker have created their own style and are probably the band to mix Indian spirituality with indierock without being pretentious.

'Infinite sun' opens like an Indian mantra, 'Death of Democracy' (very clever written lyrics about how new society has dealt with the old greec democratic values" fits 100% with the excellent, positive 'Love B (with you)'. It's only after a few turns I understood those are two different songs instead of being one song. "K2.0" contains well crafted songs and has a great balance.

"K2.0" isn't the record I expected it turned out to be. One of the very nice things when I listen to new music!

Head Down
Head Down
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh!, 3 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Head Down (Audio CD)
"Head down" is a very refreshing and modern rock record with it's fundaments in the blues. It's like the band have created an hommage to the great bluesrockband from the sixties and seventies, but without copying them. Yes, the listener can hear hints of Led Zeppelin, The Free, Ten Years After, but the band does not copy them.

With "Head Down" the Rival Sons have added a strong rock(blues) record to the catalog of great rock(blues)records. Great guitarrifs, strong vocals, heavy songs, slow songs, intimate songs.It's all collected on this one. For example: the record opens with a rocking swinging 'Keep on swinging", to be followed by the rocking 'Wild Animal' to be continued with a fuzzy-heavy "you want to", followed by a swinging, faster "Until the sun comes down". "Jordan" is the gentle, subtle, sweet song, "true" the very naked, pure and intimate one. I think those are the tunes were singer Buchanan show his quality of singing by keeping his voice total in control within the contaxt of the songs.

"Head down" is the rock(blues) record that is going to keep your head up. A good one!

Don't Forget Who You Are
Don't Forget Who You Are
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars It's fun!, 2 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Somehow I had missed this record. I totally hadn't realised Miles Kane also is/was a member of 'The last shadow puppets'. But at one point Dutch national FM radio was playing this damn catchy, faster britrocker tune "Better than that". It is just one of those britrock tunes that won't leave you head for a while after hearing it.

So I decided to check out this "Don't forget who you are ...". No regrets, this is a strong britrock record. Catchy, fast, rock, fun, gentle tunes all blended together into one fine meltpot. To me, it sounds very enthusiastic, making the record a 'good vibrations album'. If I am in a good mood or I need to be cheered up again, then this is one of those record to play.

Mirage Rock
Mirage Rock
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Mainstream with some distinctiveness, 7 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: Mirage Rock (Audio CD)
"Mirage Rock" is the fourth album by the Band of Horses. To my humble opinion, it's the lesser one of those four. It's because the album feels like the band is drifting toward 'middle of the road' rootsrockmusic. The style is not distinctive compared to the previous albums. But luckilly the band still have their distinctive sound and their voices. And there are some nice songs on the album. Hence three stars.

It starts enthusiastic: a faster rocking 'Knock knock' followed by the more gentle "How to live", singing about losing a job. Then 'Slow hands of time' have hints of a lost Smokie-songs. It feels like the songs are presenting by a kind of wave-line: some ups and downs. Everyone will have their personal interpretation of those ups and down in the quality of the songs.

Mirage Rock is a lot of mainstraim and too less distinctive. For those who already appreciate the previous records a lot will also enjoy this album. But for those who already liked their third album (much) lesser than "Everything All the Time" and "Cease to Begin" could skip this album.

Cold Fact
Cold Fact
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars well deserved revival, 4 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cold Fact (Audio CD)
There is a reason why this album has some many reviews. There is a very good reason why this album has such high rates.

Before spring 2014 I hadn't heard about this special folk-singersongwriter. It was my youngest brother who let my listen to two songs of Rodriguez. He also told me about a certain wonderful excellent documentary.

I don't know why, but it took me a few months to actually see the documentary. As a lover of singer songwriter music I was hooked. Very quickly I bought the two Rodriguez records. And the only thing I have regret is that I didn't bought them earlier. "Cold Fact" is a clear, good folk-singersongwriter album. Fine guitarplaying, good voice, good lyrics, well produced music: the bass loop in "I wonder", the rather intence "crucify your mind" and the other subtle songs, It just makes me wonder why this record wasn't a succes at the time.

Infinite Arms
Infinite Arms
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction into this band, 3 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: Infinite Arms (Audio CD)
"Infinite Arms" has been my introduction into this rootsrock band. And I like it very much.

The record has a fresh approach of poprockmusic mixed with the rootsrock sound. Or: indierock with a more folk approach. Later I've listened to their two previous records and could hear the slightly change of direction. You could say "Infinite Arms" has a more 'popular rock' style of approach, but without sounding too popular. Therefor, to me this record has been a rightfull introduction into this band.

The album: it rocks, but it doesn' rock too much. It has harmony singing, but it's not a close-harmony-singing album. It just contains different elements of alt.coyuntry/folk music but slowly drifting towards rock. Some heavier songs are present, some slower songs, some rockier songs are inlcuded.

Personal favorites are the impressive opener 'Factory', with it's strings and hornsection giving the song a classical and dramatic element. The songs is followed by the uptempo rockers 'Compliment' and melodic 'Laredo'. After this song the album gets a little bit more easier and lighter, but still fresh and diverse enough.

Still Life With Eggplant
Still Life With Eggplant
Price: £13.27

4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome rocking surprise, 27 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This album has been my record-introduction into this Norwegian kinda-heavy rockband. In advance I already understood this band is capable of making different styles of albums. Motorpsycho plays rock: sometimes heavy, sometimes kinda FM-rock.

"Still Life With Eggplant" is a more heavier rock album. It only contains 5 songs, but the record is more then 45 minutes. The shortest song is almost five minutes, the longest is 17 minutes. And the style? I see it as a mix of the jazzbluesrock of Ten Years Afters blended with the melodic, hypnotizing style of Pink Floyd, with a hint of modrockers Small Faces. Put that in a blender and make it a little bit heavier, then you have this album. Some reviewers have described it as a spacerockmachine. Before I tried to imagine how that should sound, after listening I understand why it has been described a spacerockmachine. Because that description fits.

On "Still Life With Eggplant" Motorpsycho has invited guest gitarist. And although he's a guest, in the jams within the songs it sounds like this has been the band for years. The album rocks, floats, jams, improvises, is structured, hypnotises, catches and surprises. And everything is unther rocking control.

Trail of Hope: The Anders Army, An Odyssey Across Three Continents
Trail of Hope: The Anders Army, An Odyssey Across Three Continents
by Norman Davies
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trail of Hope: a book about how a real odysssey has kept its mythical proportion, 26 Dec. 2015
Once upon a time there was this myth: During WO II a Polish army marshed all the way from Siberia through the Middle East to enter Italy. In many people minds this myth was filled in with information and selfcreated images based on no information whatsoever. But in many people minds that particular myth was present. In many people minds there was a personal created imaginary version about that myth: everybody created his own 'picture version' about Siberia, about harsh conditions, about a Sovjet Gulag, about a long journey, about a marshing army, about the Middle East.

A person has the tendency to stuck to his personal created imaginary version. Then one of the most dangerous things to do is to read a book about that particular myth. By reading a book about this particular myth the personal created version of that myth could be shattered into small pieces. Because the myth wasn't a myth, but something that actually happened.

Luckily, the writer of the book is Norman Davies, our most excellent historian. He has been able to keep the myth alive, while writing about true historical events. A big, big praise.

"Trail of Hope" is a highly interesting, well documented, well researched, highly rich pictured book about an almost unbelievable Odyssey during WO II. It's a book about and dedicated to those 120.000 Polish people, who were spread out in the Sovjet Union and who were able to reform into a big group of Anders Army to escape Stalin's Sovjet Union. Norman Davies has done a tremendous lot of research to write this book; he has read many documents, he has read personal letters from the archives from survivors, he has read diaries, he has talked with survivors or their descents. He has been to many of the places where Anders Army have been or where the soldiers of Anders Army have gone to after the end of WO II.

All of this have lead to this wonderful book 'Trail of Hope'. In Chronological time of order Norman Davies tells and explains about how this Odysey came to be and how it happened. But he doesn't do it alone. Many times he's able to quote from old letters from the Poles who were there: quotes about life in Siberia, quotes about the journey through the Sovjet Union, quotes about the epic journey, quotes about different countries, quotes about warm welcome by natives in the Middle East, quotes about fighting, quotes about hope and frustation, and so on. The story is presented with many, many pictures: part of historical files, part of historical family archives, part of the journey Norman Davies took to follow the steps of Anders Army.

It's a book about how a real odysssey has kept its mythical proportions.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2015 4:32 PM GMT

It's Great To Be Alive!
It's Great To Be Alive!
Price: £11.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A faithfull rocking live-representation of their catalogue, 1 Nov. 2015
This review is from: It's Great To Be Alive! (Audio CD)
Isn’t it great to be alive? Especially when you are a southern rock lover? Especially when the Drive-By Truckers have come with this three CD record called “It’s great to be alive”.

At first, you would say “ah, just another live record. Just a collection of song the band has played live.” At first sight, that could be true. A quick look on the track list and the DbT-fan will have a favourite CD in advance. For me, in advance the second CD was going to be the lesser one.
Then I started to listen. “It’s great to be alive” opens firm with ‘Lookout Mountain’, continues with ‘Where the Devil don’t stay’. The smoothness from the studio-version is not present, the rockiness the more.

At first, I said “ah, a live rock record. Yes, the second CD is indeed the lesser one.” But then I started to listen better to the live recordings. I started to notice the quality of the recording. I started to notice the form. I heard the rock, the enthusiasm, the spirit, the balance within the band. I started to notice the high quality of ‘southern rock like southern rock should sound’. I started to notice that some songs had a slightly different approach then the studio-version. I discovered the balance between the ‘rocking ones’ and the ‘subtle ones’. Before I knew or realized I had heard this three hours setlist again.

I discovered that the collection of songs is a good presentation of a balanced DbT catalogue, spread out over three CD’s, covering the whole existence of DbT. Yes, maybe some records are hardly present. But that doesn’t have effect on the quality of the 3cd-record. Also, I want to give a big compliment for the production and the sound engineer. Although it rocks, all instruments are to be heard, in balance and no overproduction!

DbT has had different line-ups. One would expect that all those changes would have effect the quality. With DbT: on the contrary. The record presents a tight, rocking band with lots of interaction, guitar duels and even stretched out songs. “It’s great to be alive” faithfully replicate what it feels like to attend a Drive-By Truckers concert. Some reviews started to claim to put this album on the list of ‘memorable live registrations’. My first thought was “yeah, whatever”. But slowly I come to understand why some reviewers have claimed that.

Because it’s definitely a live record I’m going to play more than a lot of other live records!

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