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Inside the Tortilla: A Journey in Search of Authenticity
Inside the Tortilla: A Journey in Search of Authenticity
by Paul Read
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To live in Spain, 29 May 2014
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How does one attempt to live in modern Spain? How does one attempt to negotiate one’s way through the maze of politics, local customs and the intricacies of a language not one’s own, and, more importantly, how does one make the authentic Spanish tortilla? These are some of the questions Paul Read attempts to answer in this hugely engaging and funny book. Unlike many ‘travel writers’ he writes from the inside looking in rather than from the outside looking in which makes his observations fresh and uncynical. Adopting “passive activity” as a way of becoming more involved as a citizen of this Spanish town brings rewards and a refreshing objectivity. This doesn’t mean there aren’t bad times and the kind of fond thoughts of home that every immigrant has. However, accompanied by his faithful hound, recipe tips, and the kind of humility Brits abroad normally forget at the airport, Paul Read seems to have found a new home in a Spain you may think you know. The great thing about Inside the Tortilla is that maybe you don’t know Spain as well as you thought. A great book.

The Classic
The Classic
Price: 9.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic..., 31 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Classic (Audio CD)
The rumour (the lie?) I heard was that this was supposed to be Joan Wasser’s take on the classic soul album. Hence, The Classic. One, of course, should know by now that Joan’s take on anything is not quite going to sound as obvious as it appears. This seems to have caught some critics off the disco ball. Not quite sure what they’re hearing their reactions, generally, have been mixed. What a shame. This is by far and away one of this year’s great albums. Far stranger and artier than St. Vincent’s recent offering and yet who’d know. Get Direct, What Would You Do and New Year’s Day are long and winding songs which bring both the tunes and skewed magic that The Classic has in great big strangely soulful spoonfuls. Simply, The Classic is, cough, a classic. Well played Joan.

Stranger Than Kindness
Stranger Than Kindness
by Mark A. Radcliffe
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not so strange..., 1 Dec 2013
This review is from: Stranger Than Kindness (Paperback)
One of the many things I like about this book is that it's written about the kind of people that don't get written about much in modern novels. Its protagonists are the kind of people I know so well, and, yet, outside genre fiction, are pretty much invisible. They appear occasionally in the work of writers like Martin Millar, Anthony Cartwright and Jonathan Coe, but they're an endangered species. What happens to these characters when first relationships break down, life hits like a hammer, and first jobs are given up in poverty and frustration? How does life turn out for these people? Just a few of the questions posed by Stranger Than Kindness as work in an asylum in the eighties moves to working against the menace of big drug companies in 2013. A bulwark against Daily Mail readers hoping to keep reality out by burying their heads in their herbaceous borders, Mark A Radcliffe's characters (surely a sizable minority of people in this country) try to change things for the better as they take on their own vulnerabilities and the challenges posed by outside agencies in a thoroughly engaging, robust, and sparky manner. Ultimately, Stranger Than Kindess proves that surviving Thatcher doesn't have to be stranger than fiction.

Trouble Will Find Me
Trouble Will Find Me
Price: 8.52

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're looking for trouble..., 20 May 2013
This review is from: Trouble Will Find Me (Audio CD)
I came to the Cherry Tree EP and followed: Alligator, Boxer and ground to a halt at High Violet. To me, and admittedly I was in a minority, it seemed over-thought and grounded in a suffocating fug with little of the light and shade of Boxer. I'm relieved to say that Trouble Will Find Me seems more appealing both musically and lyrically. The chops and rhythms are back, The National are swinging again, and one wonders whether the song writing credit to the band as a whole rather than individuals as on High Violet is a sign of a more harmonious gestation and production. I may be accused of over examination. Guilty as charged. But, whatever your view of High Violet, this beautiful album is either going to drag you back into The National fold or prove once again that this is a band that can do no wrong.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 27, 2013 9:20 AM BST

Silence Yourself
Silence Yourself
Price: 9.61

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silence please..., 8 May 2013
This review is from: Silence Yourself (Audio CD)
Take the required measurement of Scream era Siouxsie, add a bit of Au Pair, Xmal, Slit, Lydia then add a slight smidgeon of male (Wire, Joy Division, PIL) and then, hey presto, you have Savages' Silence Yourself. But, careful, this is no tame act of nostalgia as Savages have the kind chops and understanding of light and shade that surely makes them one of the best all female bands for a long long time. Hell, if Silence Yourself was written by an all male band I'd be scratching my head wondering what planet it had come from so utterley different does much of it sound and confrontational does it feel. Cassevetes is referenced. The last band to reference him was Fugazi. That's about right. Attitude. Passion. Confrontation. Silence Yourself is really great.

Bish Bosch
Bish Bosch
Price: 11.82

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bish Bash Bosch, 3 Dec 2012
This review is from: Bish Bosch (Audio CD)
Look, I think it's my fault that I cannot love this record, that I cannot love Scott Walker's strangulated slightly operatic vocals which provide little relief from the challenging sturm und drang of the musical accompaniment that makes up these songs (and I use the word songs in the loosest possible sense). Maybe it's because Bish Bosch isn't of a type that can be readily assimilated by an ear used to Rock n Roll, R n B, Reggae or even Krautrock: maybe I have been spoiled rotten by too many seductive rhythms, tunes and melodies. After listening to the shattering sourness of Bish Bosch I craved the aural digestibility of all kinds of other music, especially Scott Walker's solo albums 1 to 4. Bish Bosch is monstrous and horrible, and yet, as stated, I feel the failure to connect is mine. Well done Scott Walker for producing something as brave and challenging as Bish Bosch. Admirable? Yes. Loveable and listenable? Not in a million years.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 8, 2012 4:55 PM GMT

Price: 10.43

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hotter than the Sun, 14 Sep 2012
This review is from: Sun (Audio CD)
There's been some strange reviews of this album. Let me assure you this is an album (in its own way) as strong musically as The Greatest, and, unlike say, Jukebox, has the tunes and lyrical chops to keep you going back for more. Her voice too is at its smoky best and is magnificent on the album's showstoppers Manhattan and Nothing but Time. It's great to have Chan Marshall back on an album that has the heat and light most singer-songwriter's can only dream about.

Price: 10.31

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emika, 21 Oct 2011
This review is from: Emika (Audio CD)
I didn't want to leave this starless so here's a quickie: dinner party music for a film scripted by George A Romero if George A Romero was from Berlin. Bits of techno, dubstep, Conny Plankery and Portishead 3 weirdness vie for superiority while Emika's icy on-the-edge vocals unsettle and disturb but suitably compliment the music. Great stuff.

Happy Soup
Happy Soup
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 13.29

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Souped up (and down), 15 Aug 2011
This review is from: Happy Soup (Audio CD)
There are echoes of his Dad, but there are also echoes of Damon Albarn and Ray Davies too. Baxter's nicotine stained and gentle mockneyisms sensationally rub up against Madelaine Hart's pure but not so innocent vocals to add up to the strangest vocal pairing since Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell. A catalogue of Claires, posh girls and Isabels are left by the wayside, or do the leaving, as Baxter looks for meaning and maybe love in places as disparate as Chiswick Disco, Trellic Tower or a Hotel in Brixton. This eccentricity made odder still by the sparseness of the instrumentation and the sort of analogue fug not heard in many a year. Happy Soup? Sure, mate, pour me a big bowl and I'll stick my aural spoon in it all night.

The English Riviera
The English Riviera
Price: 7.75

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beach House, 15 April 2011
This review is from: The English Riviera (Audio CD)
This is a superb `English' album of the sort The Streets or Tricky create rather than Blur, The Jam or The Kinks. An English album that looks beyond these musical shores to Detroit and New York, name checking Jill Scott and Tweet along the way just in case anyone doesn't quite get what's going on here. Marrying black pop and white soul to marvellous effect this electro pop masterpiece nevertheless has a strain of awkwardness and eccentricity which means things never get too sweet, even when Joseph Mount passes the vocal duties to Anna Prior and Roxanne Clifford. On a few occasions I wondered whether what I was actually listening to was, say, Denim remixed by Kevin Saunderson. Needles to say lyrically things ain't too sweet between Brixham, Paignton, Torquay and every little beach in between and I was never quite sure whether the difficult relationships that abounded on this album were about people or place. And this is an album. It's not to be chopped into little fillets by an IPOD, this is an album one turns on, and journeys and disappears into. Quite simply Joseph Mount and Metronomy have created an English classic, English rock has never sounded so good.

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