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Stephen Lloyd (Bradford, West Yorkshire)

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Sci-Fi Lullabies
Sci-Fi Lullabies

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kitchen sink glamour!, 7 April 2007
This review is from: Sci-Fi Lullabies (Audio CD)
Suede's first two albums were classics. This double collection of early b-sides undoubtedly deserves the same status.

Suede were pretty unique in the early 90's at a time when music was swamped with indie guitar bands in the mould of Oasis and Blur. Suede had spades of glam savvy, reminiscent of Bowie in the early 70's, but they also had a specialness about them, a type of 'gang mentality' inspiring loyalty in their listeners which had only really been seen previously with The Smiths and their hoards of devoted followers (I was one of them!).

It is fair to say that the essence of classic and vital Suede rested on the talents of singer/lyricist Brett Anderson and guitarist/composer Bernard Butler. Together Anderson and Butler crafted songs which were often epic and grandiose in stature.Andersons lyrics of low life glamour on the streets and in the tower blocks combined with Butler's creative, often breathtaking, guitar pyrotechnics were spellbinding.

When Butler left the partnership Suede's music unfortunately became very formulaic without his creative edge. Sadly after 'Coming up', the bands third album, Anderson's songwriting went the same way.

In retrospect I can see that Suede's creative genius was fully spent on their first three albums and the singles and b-sides which accompanied them. Anderson and Butler never came close to achieving these heights again either solo or when they reunited for the disappointingly bland Tears project.

In my opinion sc-fi lullabies contains Suede's greatest work. It is a seamless chronological compilation of their early b sides with and without Butler. Whilst it is possible to note the quality control beginning to slip on those songs without Butler they are still fantastic tunes in their own right. Songs boosted to brilliance by Anderson`s tales of the gutter/glamour life. The earlier songs, on which Butler co-composed and played, are all magnificent multi layered compositions patiently constructed to perfection.

I have yet to meet anyone who has heard this album and not fallen head over heels in love with it. They really don't come much better than this!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2013 5:56 PM BST

Moonage Daydream: The Life and Times of Ziggy Stardust
Moonage Daydream: The Life and Times of Ziggy Stardust
by Mick Rock
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh you pretty thing!, 1 April 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is basically a picture book. Pictures of Bowie at his peacock, androgynous, photogenic best, and very beautiful it is too! Ziggy and Alladin are the references here with Mick Rock photographing the dame on world tours, staged model shots and candid backstage takes in the early 70's. A lot of these photographs are rare or previously unpublished. Almost all of them are stunning in their evocation of the long gone glam era when David and Marc were kings.

Bowie is stick thin in these pictures. He has cheekbones so shockingly prominent you could, without doubt, cut your hands on them and, in most of the photographs, he is sporting his famous Ziggy carrot mullet. A cut that no doubt troubled many a 70's barber!

There is no doubt that Bowie has aged extremely well. Now 60 years old he still has the appearance of a man in his 40's. Viewing this book however i was still shocked to see how young Bowie actualy looks in some of these photographs. There are a collection of shots taken outside the Beverely Hills Hotel where Bowie could easily pass as a 15 year old schoolboy let loose in his mother's wardrobe!

The book stands alone on the strength and importance of these photographs. However, if that were not enough, there are also threads of narattive from Rock and Bowie himself throughout the book with both men recalling memories of the era or the origins of the photographs.

I strongly advise you to buy this volume of photographs whilst it is still in print and available.At this laughbly cheap price it is criminal not to!

Born to Boogie: The Songwriting of Marc Bolan
Born to Boogie: The Songwriting of Marc Bolan
by Carl Ewens
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.00

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is really very good indeed!, 29 Mar 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is a very difficult task indeed to analyze Bolan's songwriting. To be honest his music was so unique and magical that (prior to reading this book) i wouldn't have thought analysis could enhance the listening experience at all.

Bolan's lyrics were quite abstract, generally surreal/bizzare and more than a little fantastical.When coupled with the beautiful melodies or chugging power chords he crafted the end results were often sublime and always interesting. So do we really need a 'nuts and bolts' interpretation of his songbook to help us appreciate his work?

I believe that this book, hopefuly the first of many, can only enhance Bolan's critical reputation. It has certainly made me revisit the T.Rex back catalogue with fresh and astute ears. Whilst i do not always agree with Ewans views (in my opinion 'Zinc Alloy' was way over produced, too many layered cod-Hendrix guitar solos and, most unforgivably, suffered very badly from the wailing backing singers who were too high in the mix) he does raise a lot of highly interesting ideas and more than plausible interpretations of the songs.

To his credit the author has attempted to cover all of Marc's official releases. Unsuprisingly, some tracks are covered in more depth and detail than others, but most are descriptive gems and many contain clever analysis. Unlike the recent Tony Stringfellow book 'From beneath the wizzard's gown', which tackled Bolan's unpublished poetry, 'Born to Boogie' is not an academic read requiring taxed concentration. This is not to imply that Ewans book is badly written, it is not, it's just more accessible and 'difficult to put down'in the grand tradition of a 'good read'.

'Born to Boogie' is not for the casual reader and you do need a good working knowledge of the Bolan back catalogue if it is going to mean anything at all to you. For those that have the knowledge however this is a rich and rewarding read. I highly recommend it!

Fur And Gold
Fur And Gold
Offered by Dirty Deals UK
Price: 4.55

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe the reviews. This is refreshingly good!, 14 Mar 2007
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
When i first bought and played this album i knew it was good. I was just unsure whether i actualy liked it or not. Days after first listening however i was haunted by vocals, melodies and tunes that I had no recollection of hearing when i first played 'fur and gold'. On the second play i knew that i liked it. On the third i fell completeley in love with it.

Bats for lashes is essentialy the talent of Natasha Khan abely assisted by an eclectic array of musicians and, significantly, by uber talented producer, keybordist and programmer David Kosten (check out faultline 'Your love means everthing' and the Ben Christophers albums he produced to see the influence he has had on 'fur')

It is indeed very true that this album has shades of Kate Bush, Bjork and Portishead in it's mix ( i also think we should throw in Nico period velvets on 'I saw a light'-it's that John Cale viola!) but it is essentialy entirely Natasha's baby and it is inexplicably unique to her.

I have not heard an album for many a year where each track is so significantly different from it's predecessor but yet seamlesslesy works as a whole when heard in one sitting. All the tracks on this album are beautiful and all are haunting and memorable without being repetitive or simple constructions. You can revisit these tracks many times, as i have done, and their impact is always different. The impact of these songs does appear to be influnced by the listners own mood at the time.

Natasha Khan has real talent. I know 'Fur and Gold' has garnered critical praise since it's release. I just hope that it sells sufficent amounts to encourage it's creator to provide us with more of the gorgeous same.

Hatful Of Hollow
Hatful Of Hollow
Price: 5.89

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most precious of all shiny discs!, 9 Mar 2007
This review is from: Hatful Of Hollow (Audio CD)
Quite honestly this is the greatest collection of recordings ever .

The Smiths, during their brief but glorious career, never released a poor track (other than the mistake that was the B side twinkle cover) but this is really the collection everyone with ears should own.

I recall buying this album on vinyl on it's initial release for two shillings and sixpence. I was already the proud owner of their debut album so i had an inkling of what to expect when i walked out of the shop with this under my arm.

I played this album none stop for three weeks untill i had memorised every detail. I would, without fear, stop people in the street and quote lyrics at them at any given opportunity such was my love for these songs. I became, in 1984, a fully fledged Smiths apostle sporting an enormous quiff that required scaffolding to maintain it's gravity defying height. I hung on every syllabale uttered by Morrissey for the next five years or so.

The songs on this album are sublime but I simply do not have the creative ability to describe their awesome beauty and power here.

If you are new to the Smiths buy this album first and then rush to their other 5 star works (everything they ever released!)How i envy you this experience you lucky lucky people!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 18, 2010 11:19 PM BST

The Collection
The Collection
Price: 5.33

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best value purchase you will make this year!, 5 Mar 2007
This review is from: The Collection (Audio CD)
Four quid for this lot! Unbelievably cheap for the quality content on this disc.

Gene were largely dismissed as Smiths copyists throughout their brief career and, to a large extent, this was true. It was certainly the reason i took initial interest in the band. If we couldn't have the real Morrissey and Marr anymore then we could at least make do with Rossiter and Mason (i think these two even had a quiff and a Brian Jones cut- a la Marr- when they first started such was their passion for the mancunian two)

The songs on this collection are largely great ones. 'Speak to me someone' is one of my all time favourite songs ever from any artist and Rossiter's impassioned vocals on this track never fail to give me goose bumps.

A lot of Mason's guitar work on these songs, whilst never reaching the skill or intricacy of Johnny's, are at least drenched in Smiths like gorgeousness. Similarly, Rossiter's vocals more than often mimic Morrissey's in inflection and tone. The lyrics on more than one or two of the tracks (such as 'long sleeves for the summer') could have easily made it onto the Smiths debut album without too many questioning eyebrows being raised.

Ultimately, Gene were far more than Smiths pretenders. I do know this, but for me it realy was their similarities to the greatest band ever which made me love them so much.

Buy this album, it's cheaper than a loaf of bread, and sleep well tonight!

Altered [DVD]
Altered [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Gammon
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: 2.69

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the 1 and 2 star reviews, this is a little gem!, 4 Mar 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Altered [DVD] (DVD)
The only reason i am posting these comments is because of the recent unfairly negative reviews of this movie on amazon.

In fact, this is a very interesting and pretty original sci-fi/horror movie. yes it's low budget and yes a few of the actors deliver occasional wooden lines (nowhere near as bad however as the actors in the first 'saw' movie) but overall it's a gripping ride and, despite what other reviewers have said, it is scary in parts. Considering the budget the crew probably had at their disposal the special effects were also quite good.

I actualy thought the alien itself was visualy impressive. It is only in a couple of the later scenes when 'man in suit' thoughts surface but even then this doesn't spoil the viewers enjoyment too much.

I always rate movies on whether or not i bother to view them again. I've seen 'Altered' three times now and i know i will watch it again in a few months time. File 'Altered' alongside 'Cabin fever', 'Wilderness' and 'Open water'.Low budget movies with obvious flaws but also well entertaining and, in my opinion, worth [...] of anyone's money.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2010 10:51 PM GMT

Tony Visconti: The Autobiography: Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy
Tony Visconti: The Autobiography: Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy
by Richard Havers
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only a writer should pen an autobiography!., 19 Feb 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am never keen to read autobiographies unless, as statemented above, they are written by writers. Those that i have read have invariably been disappointingly poor. This book is no exception i'm afraid.

First off, Visconti is a genius of a record producer and his productions of the Bolan and Bowie masterworks have soundtracked my life. His latest work with Morrissey (another favourite of mine) highlights his continuing production abilities into the 21st century.

I had high hopes of this book, not so much in the quality of the writing which ultimately is predictably basic, staid and monotonous, but in the information i thought Visconti might reveal about the three artists noted above.

In reality i have actualy learned very little from reading this book. Most of the Bolan and Bowie memories have been shared elsewhere with other biographers or noted in Visconti's sleevenotes to remixed reissues.
I think the moz detail is limited to about 3 pages and tells us nothing at all about this private and enigmatic artist or his working methods.

It is also worth noting that Bolan comes over, intentional or not, as quite an egotistical and unlikable man whereas Bowie's warmth and generousness is highlighted throughout the narrative.
Having read many books and articles on both artists over the years i suspect that Visconti's views are very narrow ones. I do accept however that this is Visconti's book, they are his memories and that ultimately they are subjective ones.

If you are intereseted in the artists then my advice would be to buy a biography. Mark Paytress and David Buckley are Bolan and Bowie experts respectively. If your interested in the music however then buy 'electric warrior' and 'Diamond dogs'. This is where Visconti truly shines!

Marc Bolan And T.Rex: Born To Boogie [DVD]
Marc Bolan And T.Rex: Born To Boogie [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ringo Starr
Offered by dutchtoni
Price: 29.74

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so worth the long wait!, 11 Feb 2007
Words cannot really do this DVD justice. It must be seen to be believed!

As a longstanding Bolan fan with an old worn copy of the vhs movie i was excitedly awaiting this release. I was particularly interested in the reported reels of unseen footage promised when the project first took off. What you actualy get is 5 plus hours of T.Rex at their majestic peak. The movie 'Born to Boogie' itself is ok, though i was never a fan of the 'surealist' sketches which interupted the flow of the live experience. Instead Go straight to the matinee and evening concerts, here in their glorious entirety, and be prepared to be blown away by the T.rex live experience. The picture quality is breathtakingly gorgeous. Every bead of sweat on Bolan's brow and every crease in his satin loons are crystal clear in widescreen. He looks fantastic (and he clearly knows it!)

The band sound raw and powerful and it's all mixed to complete audio perfection by Tony Visconti. It really is stunning both visualy and in the quality of the sound.

If that wern't enough there's plenty previously unseen footage of the Bolan fans both inside and outside of the arena. Feather cuts, Bolan ringlets, satins and flares aplenty and more than the odd girl (and boy)with a touch of glitter to their cheeks. Superb.

I cannot rate this movie highly enough. It easily outranks the Pennbaker ziggy stardust movie in terms of sound and picture quality (and as a screamage document of the glitter era). Buy it now and dust off that satin jacket for the full on glam experience!!

Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 3.84

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff!, 24 Aug 2006
This review is from: Miniature (Audio CD)
OK, it's not often that i'm bowled over by a support band but i sure enough was when i saw rubicks supporting Gary Numan in Newcastle earlier this year.

I've waited for this debut since that time and i've not been dissapointed on initial hearings. It's an absoloute treasure trove. There are (to my ears) loads of influences to be heard here: early 70's roxy music, Altered images, PJ Harvey, elastica, kraftwerk etc, etc but there is an overiding uniqueness to their music, almost a pastoral/punk overlay (if that's possible) which is deliciously uncategorisable. It's marvelous and i want more.

Buy this album and I promise that your life will be a little more enriched because of it. Good on ya! Vanessa and Marc.

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