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Silence Is Golden
Silence Is Golden
Price: £4.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Three CDs of pure Gold!, 27 May 2015
This review is from: Silence Is Golden (Audio CD)
This triple CD collection, featuring some of the very best folk, psychedelic rock, and light pop music from the 'original chilled generation' of the 'flower power' era of the '60s/early '70s, is an absolute dream to listen too.

I don't doubt that, like all compilations, a lot of these tracks were already available to purchase together on similar CDs, but as I don't have an extensive collection of such music in my collection, this was not a problem for me. This was the first time I was able to own many of these songs, so as an introduction to this period of music, 'Silence is Golden' is an excellent choice.

Of course, as a fan of artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, and The Byrds, it was nice to have some tracks that I was very familiar with, and already owned several times over. But the stuff that was new to me is mostly very good as well, and I fully intend now to look further into some of these artistes. It was also a joy to hear songs that I'd always been fond of such as Scott McKenzie's 'San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)', and 'Everybody's Talkin' by Harry Nilsson, just two of many famous songs here that I've long since admired. As well as this, a few came as a surprise to me, particularly hearing Johnny Cash doing 'It Ain't Be Babe', a song I always associate straight away with just Dylan (which remains my favourite version), and The Rolling Stones' 'Ruby Tuesday' sang by Melanie, which is just lovely.

All of 60 songs spread across these three CDs are, to my knowledge, all of the original recordings, which makes for a even greater value for money. I adore 'Silence is Golden', which I have found it quite easy to play over and over since I purchased it. What I like about this compilation particularly, is that it mixes in some incredibly famous names, alongside lesser-knowns, meaning that there was much, for me at least, to discover. Buy this set today, and you'll hear some of the best retro music at it's finest.

30 Stars: Acoustic
30 Stars: Acoustic
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great compilation of beautiful acoustic music, 26 May 2015
This review is from: 30 Stars: Acoustic (Audio CD)
Like it says as the title, this double CD (part of a series which also includes sets focusing on genres such as 'country' and 'classic rock') collection contains acoustic recordings from '30 stars', 15 on a disc, and an electric mix of old and new. I've always felt slightly duped whenever I've bought a compilation of 'acoustic' music, too much filler, but that isn't the case with this one. The song choices have been well selected, from very talent artists, my favourites include Tom Odell, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel (I wished they'd patch up their feud before it's too late, these men made some beautiful, timeless music together), and Jeff Buckley, although I already owned all their songs on the original studio albums. I was particularly happy to see the band Walk Off the End represented here with their cover of Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used To Know', and John Legend more soulful rendition of U2's 'Pride (In the Name of Love)' amongst the song choices.

What the track listing on Amazon at the moment doesn't reveal, is that many of these songs are different cuts to the versions we are more familiar with.

Here is an incomplete list of such cases:

'Underneath Your Clothes' (Acoustic Live Vox) - Shakira
'How to Say A Life' (Live) - The Fray
'Fallin' (Unplugged) - Alicia Keys
'You're the Voice' (The Acoustic Chapel Sessions) - John Farnham

Personally, I welcome this, and it came as a nice surprise to hear a different 'spin' on these well-known tracks. I think that it provides better value.

'30 Stars: Acoustic' really is a fine acoustic album, showcasing some amazing material with some great artists. It's one of the best that I've come across, and makes for a very pleasant listen.

Modern Classics: The Greatest Hits
Modern Classics: The Greatest Hits
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.47

5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Paul's early solo work, 26 May 2015
This wonderful greatest hits package from 1998, collects together most of the legendary Paul Weller's solo singles from 1991's 'Into Tomorrow' to his then current hit 'Brand New Start', and everything in between, several of which never made it onto his studio albums. Four tracks from Paul's excellent 1995 release 'Stanley Road' appear, 'Out of the Sinking', 'The Changingman', 'You Do Something to Me' and 'Broken Stones', all of them major hit singles. This is a very comprehensive overview of good old rock-and-roll music, mixed in with stylish R + B and soul. Whilst I can't say that every track here is standout, but when it's good, believe me, it's excellent.

This album is beautifully packaged with a booklet that contains some great pictures, memorabilia, information about where and when each of the tracks were recorded, as well as a message at the end from the big man himself.

Here with have distinctively British music that is perfect music for the Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall too, it's timeless. If you are looking for a good overview of Paul's work as a master singer/songwriter without his bands The Jam and The Style Council, 'Modern Classics: The Greatest Hits' is the album to buy. From here, you should progress onto last year's More Modern Classics release, which features highlights over the following 15 years. Cheers Mr. Weller - please keep the music coming Sir!

Summer Anthems
Summer Anthems
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of tunes for the Summer, 26 May 2015
This review is from: Summer Anthems (Audio CD)
This excellent compilation compiles 21 well-chosen songs for the Summer, which, when all together, really do manage to capture the feel of rocking out at a music festival. From the Stereophonics' 'Dakota', to 'Chasing Rainbows' by Shed Seven, this collection certainly represents some quality British music.

The tracks are varied in terms of style, but also of when they were recorded, some span as far back as the 1970s (Rod Stewart, Thin Lizzy), whereas others truly define the 1990s Britpop area (Dodgy, Ocean Colour Scene), as well as a few hits included from the present day (Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club), but of all them are big. With a budget price tag, excellent sound quality, and each one the original recording, 'Summer Anthems' offers up great value for money.

The CD's booklet, with it's little facts and titbits about each of these songs and their artists is a nice touch.

Tenure [DVD]
Tenure [DVD]
Dvd ~ Luke Wilson
Offered by FLASH
Price: £4.62

3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant little comedy, 26 May 2015
This review is from: Tenure [DVD] (DVD)
I came across this low-key American comedy at the pound shop. My initial expectations for 2009's 'Tenure' weren't to high, but whilst watching it, I was pleasantly surprised.

Luke Wilson stars as lonely English professor Charlie Thurber, who applies for a senior position at his small college in the United States, with dreams of a bright career awaiting him. When strong competition arrives in the form of the attractive Elaine (Gretchen Mol), Luke's visions of success appear to be ruined. With nothing left to lose, he now sets out to discredit this newcomer with dirty tricks and schoolboy tactics.

A smart, 89 minute little movie that is thoroughly entertaining. The storyline is good, there are more than enough funny lines and comical situations throughout to make you smile, and it's well-acted. Not the greatest straight-to-DVD comedy out there, but a pleasant, easy watch.

The DVD itself contains no extras whatsoever, not even the option of a scene selection menu.

Be Here Now !!
Be Here Now !!
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A lengthy album, but still worth hearing, 25 May 2015
This review is from: Be Here Now !! (Audio CD)
Whilst Oasis' third album certainly isn't on pair with the bona fide classics 'Definitely Maybe' and '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?', or even comes close to 'The Masterplan', which was a solid collection of only B sides, 1997's 'Be Here Now' is still a good album.

A lot of the songs here are overly long, overproduced, and they do start to grate after a while, but I least no listener can complain that they haven't got their moneys worth. Despite this criticism, there is much to enjoy, it's a very loud, very British rock-and-roll album that still has that trademark Oasis energy and attitude all over it, and some amazing lyrics.

My favourite track is the instantly catchy 'I Hope, I Think, I Know', upbeat, positive, energetic, and full of fun. Other standouts here are the epic, chart-topping stadium filler 'D'You Know What I Mean?', which is possibly the coolest opener of any Oasis release then or since, the Beatles-isque hit single 'All Around the World' (check out the music video!), and the rock anthem 'It's Gettin' Better (Man!!)', which closes the album onto a high with it's awesome guitar solo. These songs really are amazing, and I feel justify my opinion that 'Be Here Now' is a minor-classic.

If only some of the other songs had been shortened down a bit, I might have jumped the star rating of 'Be Here Now' up to a five. Like I said, it wasn't and isn't another 'Definitely Maybe' or '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?', but it's a sound record in it's own right, bigger, louder, and longer. Recommended!

The Brit Box
The Brit Box
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: £70.24

5.0 out of 5 stars This is such a cool boxset!, 25 May 2015
This review is from: The Brit Box (Audio CD)
I know that there are countless compilations on the market focusing on the wonderful musical phenomena that was Britpop, but how many do you know come housed in a very familiar (to us Brits) tall red telephone box with an actual on/off switch? The answer to that is only one, Rhino's four CD set 'The Brit Box'.

It's a great set of songs as well, offering up a massive 78 tracks recorded from 1984-1999, by some of the UK's biggest, and much more obscure acts. This gives newbies one hell of an introduction to this varied genre, from The Smiths to Gay Dad, you name it. Each artist is evenly respected with one track each, and the song choices are excellent. Secondary known hits such as Blur's 'Tracy Jacks', Oasis' 'Live Forever', and 'Laid' by James make for a refreshing change, whereas some artists such as Supergrass and Ash see their predictable songs 'Alright' and 'Girl from Mars' issued once again. The CDs offer a chronological journey, beginning with the '80s stars who started it all such as The Smiths, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Stone Roses, and finishing off on disc four with the likes of Mansun and Placebo, and everything in between.

As for the product itself, it really is great, the unique design looks fantastic, with the four discs inside made to look like ash trays, and they have one to four cigarettes on them, depending on the CD numbers. There's also a great book also included in the deal, which details each band's contribution. All big fans of indie rock and Britpop music will lap all of this up. I'll happily confess that I've been in heaven since I purchased 'The Brit Box'. Don't be put off by the price, it's worth it dudes, every penny.

Ten Years of Britpop: Interviews
Ten Years of Britpop: Interviews
Price: £10.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Unauthorised Britpop package, 25 May 2015
This unauthorised package contains 3 CDs, each documents the key players on the Britpop scene, including the Gods of the genre, Blur and Oasis, and many other great bands such as Pulp, Elastica, Ash and Cast. Based on exclusive interview recordings, mixed in with some in-depth research via spoken biographies of the artists, the finished result is an interesting and well put together retrospective of this amazing and highly influential period in British music. Posters and booklets are included. Worth investigating, and good for an unofficial product.

Standing on the Shoulder Of Giants
Standing on the Shoulder Of Giants
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.42

3.0 out of 5 stars A step-change from the usual Oasis sound!, 25 May 2015
I know that so many fans are very quick to dismiss Oasis' fourth studio album, 'Standing On the Shoulder Of Giants', released at the start of the new Millennium. Whilst it is certainly true to say that it marked a big change from the band's past releases, and indeed, anything they did afterwards, I am personally able to appreciate this different sound. Although it still ranks towards the bottom of my favourite Oasis releases, it isn't a terrible record at all.

Noel has penned some of my favourite songs of all time, and although none of them appear on here, there are a handful of very good tracks that earn 'Standing on the Shoulder Of Giants' a definite three star rating. The obvious single choice 'Go Let It Out' gave Oasis their fifth UK chart topper, and is very catchy, the dark and sinister 'Gas Panic!' probably contains the best lyrics from Noel on the album, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I regard the standout ballad 'Where Did It All Go Wrong', to be one of the best displays of Noel as a vocalist, as well as the following track, 'Sunday Morning Call', which is another gem with a nice melody. The much needed 'I Can See A Liar' is up next, and this song, written by Liam, is very upbeat, and a nice way to cool off after the other songs. The beautiful 'Roll It Over' closes things out, and is in the same vein as the legendary 'Champagne Supernova'.

This neo-psychedelia rock album is more experimental than any other Oasis release, and has a much heavier sound than it's outstanding predecessors. Although I much prefer to listen to my prized copies of 'Definitely Maybe' and '(What's The Story) Morning Glory?', this is by no means as bad as some people have stated. Oasis were experimenting with different styles when they recorded 'Standing on the Shoulder Of Giants', and hats of to them for trying out other things. Often considered the black sheep in the back catalogue, if you still share this opinion, dust it off again and listen to the songs I've highlighted, there is still some good material here. Far from great, but not bad.

Price: £8.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Highlights from three studio albums, 25 May 2015
This review is from: 2002-2007 (Audio CD)
Ireland born The Thrills made some excellent soft-rock music during their five years of recording songs together. This compilation is something of an collector's item, being only available to buy on Amazon, and has never received an in-store release. '2002-2007' manages to collect all of the essential tracks from the band's three studio albums. If you don't already own them, this is a great way to have all of the hits in one place. If you do have 'So Much for the City' (2003), 'Let's Bottle Bohemia' (2004), and 'Teenager' (2007), and have turned to this CD to find more songs that didn't appear on them, you won't find any, this one offers up no B sides or previously unreleased material.

The debut album 'So Much For The City' contained the most ideal 1960s/1970s flavoured folk-pop music to chill out to over the summer season. With wonderful soft vocals from lead singer Conor Deasy, and excellent arrangements from his band, the very radio friendly songs 'Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far)', 'One Horse Town', 'Big Sur', 'Don't Steal Our Sun' all made the charts in the UK and Ireland, and are all included here. These hits are very reminiscent to the likes of Coldplay and Travis in their style.

Album number two, 'Let's Bottle Bohemia', marked a slightly different, but nevertheless satisfying sound. Three of this more polished sounding record best tracks, 'Faded Beauty Queens', the big hit single 'Whatever Happened To Corey Haim', and minor UK hit 'The Irish Keep Gate-Crashing', all appear on this CD. I would have liked to have had the addictive album-only song 'Saturday Night' included as well, but with just 14 tracks, this was never going to include everything.

The third and final (to date, although I hope it won't be the last) album, 'Teenager', spawned two singles, 'Nothing Changes Around Here' and 'The Midnight Choir', both neither of them were big hits. The album itself stalled outside the UK top 40, and 'Restaurant' and 'Should've Known Better' from this overlooked release are also given a place here.

What with have here is some excellent, mellow tunes from a band who shone briefly but very brightly. All of the hits are here on '2002-2007', and I find this, along with the other tracks, a very appealing little collection. There is much here to enjoy, but in a way I feel sad whilst listening, sad that we might never hear anything new from these boys again.

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