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C. Thatcher (Bedford)

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Hutzler Banana Slicer Cutter Great for Cereal/Sandwitches/Splits/Hot Dogs NEW
Hutzler Banana Slicer Cutter Great for Cereal/Sandwitches/Splits/Hot Dogs NEW
Offered by cheap4uk
Price: £0.93

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One small step for mankind..., 9 Dec. 2014
I bought this as a stocking filler for my son and apart from the fact that it didn't even remotely fill his stocking, he only likes his bananas sliced length ways (from end to end) which, as has become disappointingly apparent since we first tried to use it, is not possible with this device. Apart from that it's perfect... unless you try to use it as a bookmark. At 2.5cm (approx.) in thickness it tends to break the spines of paperbacks and hardcovers, as I found out to my cost when holidaying last summer. Apart from that it's perfect.

Heads On Fire
Heads On Fire
Price: £11.64

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fire up the Engines, 9 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Heads On Fire (Audio CD)
If you're the kind of person who thinks that the last half hour of the film '2001: A Space Odyssey' isn't trippy enough, then White Hills are probably the band for you.

This 2007 release starts in the Garage with 'Radiate' and 'Oceans of Sound', both of which deal in 'Spine of God/Superjudge' era Monster Magnet fuzz, wah solos and murky vocal incantations. It's impressive stuff and distinctive enough to whet the appetite but in the grand scheme of things, it's just the calm before the storm... oh, and it turns out the garage was actually a rocket shed.

'Return of the Speed Toilet' (great track name, utterly misleading) is where the album really takes off as said rocket engines are fired up for 'Visions of the Past, Present and Future', which explodes out of the speakers and, over the course of 10 glorious minutes, never once looses momentum as you're subjected to a masterclass in dynamism and ebb and flow. It's music that most bands would kill for to use as their 'epic album closer'. For White Hills the journey has only just begun.

What follows is 'Don't Be Afraid' (again, a misleading title... it's terrifyingly good), which frankly dwarfs everything before it. We're now floating in space with the most locked in rhythm section imaginable and alternately buffeted by FX, beautifully measured keys, synthesizers and huge clouds of guitar noise. It's propulsive, like 'Doremi...' era Hawkwind but impossible to digest in one sitting, similar in scale to Echoes by Pink Floyd but more mantra like, breathtaking stuff... although breathing in space was never meant to be easy.

Strangely addictive and highly recommended.

Pilgrim Fathers - Short Circular Walks in the Hope Valley
Pilgrim Fathers - Short Circular Walks in the Hope Valley
Price: £14.35

5.0 out of 5 stars ...In search of new lands, 1 April 2010
The good thing about a short circular walk is that it can be as long as you want it to be, the only thing that will change is the time of day; a panoramic view across a valley becomes an unfathomable void, and the cool shade of a forest closes in around you and claws at the senses, awakening primal fears as darkness descends. The familiar twists in on itself and re-emerges as nightmarish shapes and sounds and it's in the very familiarity of it all that the true horror lies.

Such is the way of the Pilgrim Fathers, there's a lot here that IS familiar (A lick of Sabbath via Early Monster Magnet here, a splash of Krautrock a la Amon Duul II there)... it's just the context that is totally displaced, haunted vocal lines, awash with almost ambient keyboard passages, give way to some of the most elaphantine guitar sounds I've heard in a long time, before being swept away on a bed (of nails) of arpeggiated guitar, and that's just the first song.

Almost without exception normal song structures are eschewed and the restlessness is, at first, hard to take in, but after repeated listens certain motifs appear to repeat themselves over the course of the album, albeit mutated, familiar and yet unsettling. The more 'normal' songs, Fistful Of Bags (Full Of Riffs), Dog Yoghurt, serve to reinforce the feeling that you've heard this stuff somewhere before (Deep Purple swim out of the fog briefly), like fractals, the same pattern repeating on different scales.

At times early Hawkwind spring to mind, but this is a voyage into space that goes far deeper into the more terrifying realms of the void... in a steam powered spaceship... with the windows down and the captain screaming obscenities at the gas clouds.

There are no singles here, there's no point putting this on at a party, people will leave and those that don't will probably have nightmares... It feels like a concept album but if there is a concept it has an entirely internal logic that I can barely begin to fathom, only stand back gawping at, uncomprehendingly... as with a fractal.

I can however, go on as long a short circular walk around it as I like... and I will.

Ugly Side Of Love
Ugly Side Of Love
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: £6.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pandora's Box, 24 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Ugly Side Of Love (Audio CD)
....or perhaps just an absolute treasure trove. Rhythms that evoke Big Beat punctuate T Rex-esque lyrical soundbites, wafts of Donovan's Joss stick smoke roll up against Black Keys style fuzzed out riffs, the playfulness of the Kinks tussle with latin percussion and wonky boogaloo and occasional forays into trip hoppish cinemascapes give way to twists and turns reminiscent of the Coral.

The musical joie de vivre is contrasted at times by apparently world weary and angry lyrics that never overwhelm the warm but dirty bounce and groove. The effect is a bit like going to a house party hosted by the owner of possibly the best record collection EVER, who happens to have left the TV on in the background and is randomly flicking through the news channels.

It's not what passes for pop or indie music these days and as a result is everything that great popular music should be... Impossibly catchy but not repetitive, clever but not smart arse, fun but not dumb and familiar but somehow otherwordly.

Price: £5.99

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Flower Power to People Power, 24 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Volunteers (Audio CD)
Surrealistic Pillow is probably the album for which Jefferson Airplane will be best remembered, it's also probably one of the most perfect encapsulations of the West Coast sound/Summer of Love experience. Taken on its own it's a great album, of its time and ageing slightly disgracefully undoubtedly, but a perfect period piece nonetheless. However in conjunction with Volunteers, released just two years and three albums later, you can chart the descent from flower power, peace, love and the hope of the long hot summer of 67 to violence, Vietnam protests and the death knell of the 60s dream that was Altamont (just a month after Volunteers' release); The inner eye that gave us 'White Rabbit' and 'Somebody To Love' had turned outwards and was demanding we get 'Up against the wall M*@+$f*@#~r'.

The Airplane of 'Volunteers' were fired up, offering political commentary (the title track), voicing ecological concerns (Eskimo Blue Day) and demanding revolution (We Can Be Together). This hardening is reflected in the music, 'We Can Be Together' and 'Volunteers' are based on the same taut muscular riff with the whole band firing off hard and fast lyrics, leads and fills at various points. Jorma Kaukonen's guitar is positively acidic throughout, the lead licks on the relatively understated 'Good Shepherd' are the aural equivalent of a man struggling to reign in a hound who's just caught sight of a (White) rabbit and decided it's reeeally hungry.

Elsewhere, the whole band let fly in the instrumental coda to 'Hey Frederick' highlighting an ability to jam equal to any of their contemporaries. It's also on this latter song that Grace Slick gives a frankly spine tingling vocal performance that beautifully demonstrates her range and power to devastating effect as the song reaches its climax. 'Wooden Ships' (a cover of the Crosby, Stills & Nash song) is a haunting psychedelic epic that rises and falls like a... well... wooden ship... on stormy waters.

It's not all Sturm, Drang and sloganeering though, 'The Farm' & 'A Song For All Seasons' deliver swinging Country Blues to lighten the mood and 'Turn My Life Down' is punctuated by some funky organ stabs.

Volunteers won't be remembered as widely as Surrealistic Pillow but in many ways it's the Yang to its predecessor's Yin, as effective a summation of its time and certainly one that has aged better. The 'classic' line up fragmented after Volunteers having arguably released their masterpiece.

Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Superstateyfrajallisticexpeealleydocious, 5 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Superstate
Skyscraper were one of the first bands I ever saw and they left a big impression on me at the time... loud and heavy and stupidly energetic. The album, when I finally laid my greasy little fifteen year old hands on it, didn't disappoint.
Considering that it's a debut album "Superstate" has a very individual sound, modern heavy rock, with a big, fast moving low end and spikey guitars, would be the best description. However there is a dirtiness to the sound, not quite grunge (still fairly all pervading at the time of release) yet rough round the edges unlike the protoolsfixitinthemixnumetal nastiness which would come to prominence a couple of years hence and which was probably the reason why Skyscraper failed to make an impact.... You see they were a British Rock/metal band; which was not the done thing for englishmen in the nineties if they wanted any kind of recognition. But anyway....
The songs themselves were immaculately concieved, melodic, heavy, mostly quite fast paced, and soooooo catchy, "Lovesick" is a forgotten classic, as are probably most of these tunes. Given the chance Wembley would have had trouble containing a chorus the size of "Never Again" or "I Belong To Me". Ahh well.... all I can do is heartily recommend this to any fans of heavy rock before it went "nu" or "garage" or whatever it is.

Price: £13.77

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monumental, 19 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Monument (Audio CD)
I could describe this album in one word.... epic, but that wouldn't be very helpful to be honest so I shall elaborate.
If you are a fan of Doom metal or mid paced heavy, heavy rock then I find it hard to believe that you could be dissappointed by this release. In some strange parallel universe Monument is probably the core teaching aid at the "School of how to play huge sounding music" along with "Bullet Belts for Beginners" and "Ten steps to fearsome facial hair"... or something... That's not to say that this album is simply a rehash of the admittedly well trodden Black Sabbath-esque rock path. Monument is ridiculously fresh sounding and it's almost impossible to pinpoint why; there are no gimmicks here just awesome perfomances and songwriting.
The riffs are huge and slow and the songs intricate but not overwrought. They build and build like, well some huge stoney monument actually. There are also some interesting effects and instrumentation to be heard, flourishes that complement the overall feel rather than fill gaps.. for instance the introduction is a great mood setter, akin to Bathory's Hammerheart.
I have to say that for such a slow and heavy album this is incredibly listenable, there is a kind of unswerving confidence to the musicianship and songwriting that means each piece never out stays its welcome and leaves you desperate for more. Special mention must also go to singer JB's voice; surely one of the most incredible modern rock singers, seriously, just buy this album to hear the man roar in a manner which would probably loosen a lions bowels.
Comparisons are annoying, but useful, so if you like Doom, or own the first Grand Magus album, or anything by Spiritual Beggars, Black Sabbath... you know the kind of territory... you will be blown away, i truly believe that this album ups the ante for heavy music by a long shot.
Enough of me, I'm off now to plan an evening of dancing round my three foot mock up of stonehenge dressed in a bearskin, whilst listening to this album.

Flower of Disease
Flower of Disease
Offered by InfinityBuys
Price: £19.39

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rise Above is a wonderful place, 29 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Flower of Disease (Audio CD)
Some people seem to think that sounding like Black Sabbath is a bad thing but I guess if you've got this far you're probably not one of those people, and in that case this album is definietly for you.
"Flower of Disease" is no slavish imitation however and, considering their unrelenting heaviness, the songs are really rather catchy; they also use some quite unexpected instrumentation for a stoner band (eg. that boinging thing at the start of "Easy Greasy").
Falling somewhere in between Orange Goblin and Electric Wizard (I should imagine that is quite a sweaty, smoky, hairy place), this album has spent a lot of time in my stereo of late because it satiates my thirst for riffs and singalongability... and there's a lot of harmonica on the album which is a nice touch as it kind of emphasises the groove and bluesiness of the music, which is never a bad thing.

Pure Rock Fury
Pure Rock Fury
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £19.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars meaty, beaty, big and bouncy, 12 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Pure Rock Fury (Audio CD)
This is not an album you can hope to digest in one, two or even six listens. There is simply to much energy, too many ideas and lyrical gems contained within in these tracks for your brain to take it all on board.... it might even put you off at first.... and yeah it's stoner/heavy/hard rock.... and for that I'm truly grateful because this really is one of those albums that stomps all over the idea that the genre is a tired lumbering dinosaur. Music this vital makes supposedly more progressive bands sound as if they should be playing on a bandstand on some little country village green on Sunday afternoons to old people who
can't become too excited for fear of inducing a heart attack.
I suppose if you want comparisons (i always do) think Black Sabbath/Deep Purple with the latter's virtuoso talent poured into a musical blender (instead of spent on drum solos and concertos) and Tom Waits' mushroom addled younger brother on vocals (possibly). In fact if there was one album I could compare this too it would be Deep Purple's "in rock" as it has a similarly huge groove and sense of unrestrained fury...
All in all a top album that I'd recommend to anyone who likes hard rock playing hard to get.

Title of Record
Title of Record
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.67

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best things in life aren't for free......, 7 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Title of Record (Audio CD)
I guess your opinion on this album depends on when you discovered Filter; fans of "Short Bus" seem generally disappointed and if you were expecting "Short Bus pt.ii" then that's understandable as this album has much of it's industrial edge angle-grinded off. If like me however you discovered Filter via this release you'll probably love it.
The songwriting for one is excellent, there are hooks and choruses aplenty, even during the albums heavier moments (and there are a fair few). A myriad of styles are covered within including industrialish metal, gothicky rock, acoustic poppishness and stadium riffery (a la "Pop" era U2). Despite such variety "Title..." flows beautifully from one song/style to another thanks to a fantastic production job which ties together what would otherwise be quite a disparate album (listen to the bridge between "The Best Things and "Take a Picture" for evidence).
I keep coming back to this album because of the above and because the songs have a good blend of heaviness and hummability.... it's not as riff heavy as you might expect from a supposedly industrial rock band but it is very sonically dense and heavy in atmosphere, which can be just as satisfying.
So, to anyone curious about what Filter get up to... basically on this album and it's follow up "The Amalgamut" they do industrial rock/metal with a few pop tendencies very well and it's highly recommended. If however you want something more industrial strength then buy "Shortbus" because it's good but the songs aren't so catchy or memorable..... which is what for me makes this album so good.

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