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The Wolf (uk)
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The Sunshine Underground
The Sunshine Underground
Price: 9.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive (With Sparkles), 25 May 2014
Sunshine indeed! Sunshine and sparkles and rainbows and a whole lot more!
The Sunshine Underground's synth-pop reinvention suits them very well indeed.
These ten tunes, whilst clearly bursting with the band's deep love of the
music of the eighties, have a freshness and directness which leaps out of the
speakers and drags you along on a wave of almost unhealthily addictive energy.

The beats are well-nigh irresistible. From the first four-square driving bars of the
splendid opening number 'Start' (just loving those deadpan vocals!); though the
deliciously dark-hued nocturnal clicketty-clack of 'Nightlife' and wonderfully tender
naive melodic and lyrical sentiments of 'Turn It On' to the luminous and hauntingly
subdued beauty of concluding track 'Here Comes The Storm', this hugely talented
ensemble seem perfectly at home in the new sound world they have created together.

I was more than happy to take the journey with them. Great work gentlemen!

Highly Recommended.


Cassy O' (EP)
Cassy O' (EP)
Price: 1.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Want More ...., 25 May 2014
This review is from: Cassy O' (EP) (MP3 Download)
A few words in support of the work of George Ezra, a hugely talented
singer/songwriter; a man with a free-spirited troubadour in his heart.

His 2013 4 track EP ' Did You Hear The Rain' was a strong introduction,
especially the irresistibly catchy opening number 'Budapest'. It's a joy,
therefore, to have him back with this small but perfectly formed offering.

Four songs once again (an album would be splendid too if he can manage
it anytime soon but for now the drip-feed is keeping my appetite alive!)
and they're all top-notch inventions. I am drawn in particular to the very
beautiful 'Over The Creek' which, together with Mr Ezra's exquisite dark
brown voice, puts me in mind of the best efforts of the great Mark Cohn.
For sheer, singalong, foot-stomping good times, however, the titular track
'Cassy O'' with its enthusiastic hootenanny chorus takes a lot of beating.!

A Class Act. I Want More Please.

Highly Recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2014 11:15 AM BST


Friendly Bacteria
Friendly Bacteria
Price: 7.98

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Thing, 24 May 2014
This review is from: Friendly Bacteria (Audio CD)
One of the best among many best things about Mr Scruff is that you
never quite know where he might be going next and Andy Carthy
(as he is more commonly known to his family and friends) doesn't
disappoint with his thoroughly splendid new album 'Friendly Bacteria'.

Can you dance to it though?

Well....yes you can but you might just want to blob out in an armchair
with a mug of strong tea and a box of Malteesers and twitch and tap
away to your heart's content far away from mirrorball's distractions.
This is interesting music and it stands up to close scrutiny very well.

There are twelve numbers in the set. Funky, soulful (in a very English way)
and with the kind of tunes which stick in your head and won't go away.

Best among them would have to include two of the collaborations with
singer Denis Jones; the dangerously infectious 'Render Me' and the
simply lovely 'Thought To The Meaning', which throws a nod and a
wink backwards in time to the best work of John Martyn (I can imagine
him smiling in the wings) but a big bruiser of a composition like title track
'Friendly Bacteria' spins off into entirely different territory with its grinding
bass line and stuttering synth decorations (think The Clangers!) and
messes marvelously with our expectations. Top of the pile, however, is
the delightfully fluid 'Come Find Me' with its deliciously jazzy vocal
performance from Vanessa Freeman skipping in and out of the beats.

Intriguing, entertaining and curiously mind-expanding. A total treat in fact...

Highly Recommended.


Asiatisch
Asiatisch
Price: 9.50

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Strangely Wonderful Journey, 21 May 2014
This review is from: Asiatisch (Audio CD)
This extraordinary musical engagement with the idea of China by Fatima
Al Qadiri, part imagined travelogue/part high tech fantasy, is teeming with
ideas. There is a fierce intelligence driving this work and I would fall at the
first fence in attempting to elucidate her concept and vision, so I won't even
begin to try. What I have heard here, however, is both intriguing and thrilling
in equal measure. 'Asiatisch' is, quite simply, a five star sonic masterpiece.

Listening to it I am reminded, in some ways, of the impact which Gazelle Twin's
stunning album 'The Entire City' had on me back in 2011. It absorbed my attention,
almost to the exclusion of everything else, for several weeks and I feel fairly certain
that it's going to happen all over again with this baby. So be it! Bring it on!

From the utterly surreal opening number 'Shanzai (For Shanzai Biennial)' a shape-
shifting reconstruction of The Small Purple One's 'Nothing Compares 2 U', sung with
haunting passion by Helen Feng; through the atmospheric pseudo/quasi-oriental beats
and synth sonorities of inventions such as 'Szechuan'; the angular robotic cut-and-paste
playfulness of 'Wudang'; 'Shanghai Freeway' with its gamelan ensemble-meets-creature
from the back lagoon B-movie landscape; to the final deeply unsettling miniature,
'Jade Stairs' (totally spooky!) our attention is never allowed to waver for a single moment.

Wonderfully strange and strangely wonderful.

Highly Recommended.


Ultrasport Men's Vest wide shoulder straps  - Black, Large
Ultrasport Men's Vest wide shoulder straps - Black, Large
Price: 13.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Not OK, 19 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'll get straight to the point. The product page reads 'Ultrasport Men's
Vest Wide Shoulder Straps'. I ordered one. Black. Size large.

It arrived today. The packaging reads : "Ultrasport W-Beater". It's
there in big black letters printed three times on the box. I think it's
a safe assumption that this term does not translate as "World Beater"!

Mrs Wolf is as appalled as I was. It went straight in the bin.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2014 2:11 PM BST


Oops Upside Your Head: The Best Of
Oops Upside Your Head: The Best Of
Price: 5.57

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wolf Has A Disco Moment, 18 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The 70's and 80's wouldn't have been the same without The Gap Band.
There's still something irresistible about the best of what they did and
although other compilations exist I'm especially happy with this one.

The Wilson Brothers knew how to lay down the funk so it was pretty nigh
impossible not to get caught up in the rhythms and to perform strange
and unthinkably lewd gyrations with one's hips and buttocks (I know
that you'll be finding it hard to picture this but I have had my moments!)

There are fourteen tracks in this collection and it would be easy to put
it on at a party, set the controls to repeat, pump up the volume and let
it run all night. Nobody would notice. They'd all be having a groovy time.

Starting with 'Oops Upside Your Head', 1980, (come on don't tell me
you don't know the moves!) which is as marvelously daft as it ever was;
boogieing on down through 'Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)',
1981 and 'Humpin'', 1980, there is hardly a moment to draw breath and there's
joy in the realisation that this stuff remains intoxicatingly pungent and manages
somehow to be both innocent and very dirty in its own inimitably sweet way.

I have a fondness for some of the slightly earlier stuff and 'Party Lights' (Oh that
brass, that brass!!) and 'Shake' (the Original 12" Disco Version') from 1979 both
hit the spot but if I had to choose one track it would definitely have to be 'Steppin' Out'
(1979 again) - picture me in flares with one more shirt button undone than might be
considered decent or in good taste and the years melt away in a mirror ball frenzy!

Pure Disco Bliss!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2014 8:43 AM BST


Sylvan Esso
Sylvan Esso
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 15.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple Things = Strong Magic, 18 May 2014
This review is from: Sylvan Esso (Audio CD)
This delightful collaboration between American singer/songwriter Amelia Meath
and electronic musician/producer Nick Sanborn is full of a gentle kind of magic.
Ms Meath has a charming, very natural voice; sometimes reflecting her folksy
roots and at other moments revealing a capacity for something a tad more poppy.

The synth/percussion arrangements never get too complex or cluttered which
permits the simple but engaging melodies and Ms Meath's voice to shine through.

There are ten numbers in the set. Opening song 'Hey Mami' evolves from its
rootsy cabin-in-the-woods introduction into a somewhat more somber confection
when Mr Sanborn joins in with his machines but without losing focus or momentum;
'Could I Be' putters along nicely on the back of a strong beat decorated with jittery
harmonies and an impressively slippery, jazzy central vocal performance; 'Wolf'
(I always appreciate it when someone makes the effort!) is a pointedly dark but
humorous ditty about getting mixed up with the wrong kind of man and 'Uncatena',
perhaps the best of the bunch, is a warmly realised piece of minimal pop perfection.

A restrained but curiously uplifting contribution to The Listening World.

Recommended.


Lighght
Lighght
Price: 12.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical Fireworks, 17 May 2014
This review is from: Lighght (Audio CD)
There are so many ideas crammed into Seattle-born Kaoru Ishibashi's new
album 'Lighght' that at times one begins to feel quite dizzy, in a good way!

KB is a clever old stick, no doubt about it. Writer, arranger, producer and
multi-instrumentalist and if that isn't enough he's a damned fine singer too!

This eleven-track collection shows more than a little evidence of our host's
classical musical education both in the complexity of structure and melodic
content of his compositions but especially in his innate facility with the violin.

After a brief mercurial fiddle introduction, 'Debut - Impromptu', it's down to
business-proper with the incandescent 'Philosophize In It! Chemicalize
With It!', a terrific roller-coaster ride; part hoedown, part prog-rock-daydream,
decorated with sparkling strings and cascading vocal harmonies. 'Carry On
Phenomenon' is another cracker, which demonstrates an intelligently asute pop
sensibility in its delightful central tune (and those wonderful harmonies again!)
'Q&A' is a different proposition entirely; a charmingly simple folksy ditty stripped
down to the bare bones and all the more captivating because of it. Final track
'In Fantasia', however, pulls out all the stops and brings the project to an epic
and dramatic wide-screen conclusion. A big, bold vision, beautifully realised.

A rich, exciting and totally successful marriage of technique and imagination.

Highly Recommended.


Hour of the Dawn
Hour of the Dawn
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 12.73

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Times !, 17 May 2014
This review is from: Hour of the Dawn (Audio CD)
If you listen to one song this week make sure it's 'Fall In Place'
from La Sera's new album 'Hour Of The Dawn'. A Vivian Girl no longer,
Katy Goodman has, together with producer and ace guitarist Tom
Wisenbaker, delivered a cracking bunch of tunes which rattle along
raucously, mashing up 70's punk energy and mayhem with affectionately
derivative but ebulliently fresh 50's and 60's infused pop melodies.

It's a winning formula and the Summer will be brighter because of it.

Other than the aforementioned piece of sonic bliss there's a lot else
to get excited about. The blistering opening track 'Losing In The Dark'
has something of the spirit of early Blondie about it and will probably
leave scars on your eardrums; 'Summer Of Love' is as pretty as pretty gets
and sports a deliciously lyrical solo from Mr Wisenbaker and '10 Headed
Goat Wizard' (surely a hot contender for silly song title of 2014) which
rattles along on a wave of jangly guitar and psychedelic vocal harmonies.

Daniel Gomez (rhythm guitar) and Michael Gleeson (drums) complete the
ensemble and it's clearly evident that everyone's having a good time!

I did too!

Highly Recommended.


Whelm
Whelm
Price: 11.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelmed, 17 May 2014
This review is from: Whelm (Audio CD)
Listen up! Major talent alert! Douglas Dare's debut album 'Whelm' has
turned out to be something very special indeed. It's a pretty dark
affair from top to tail but Mr Dare certainly seems to understand how
to manage the melancholy with a light touch and impeccable musicality.

The arrangements, helped along no end by his producer/collaborator Fabian
Prynn, are simple but deeply atmospheric, The ten songs in the set are
framed by out host's considerable skills at the piano fleshed-out with the
addition of minimal percussion and unobtrusive electronics. Mr Dare has a
very affecting voice; a natural tenor with the capacity to nail the complex
emotional melodic and lyrical components of his inventions to the door.

There are many small wonders here but the most memorable amongst them
would have to include the mournfully marvelous opening number 'Clockwork';
'Caroline', a hauntingly beautiful waltz-time confection; 'Unrest', an unsettling
crackling and twitchy little paranoid nightmare; the 'magical 'Whitewash', in
which Mr Dare delivers perhaps his strongest vocal performance and the
sublime but almost suffocatingly intense concluding track 'London's Rose'.

'Whelm' is a stunning first engagement with the Listening World. Bravo Mr Dare!

Highly Recommended.


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