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Royal Blood
Royal Blood
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just great rock music, 25 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Royal Blood (Audio CD)
My mate recommended this album to me, and I admit that up until then I hadn't even heard of Royal Blood, but I am glad that he introduced me to them. I used to be an avid fan of rock music, and although I still enjoy it, it's no longer my favourite style of music, but this excellent self-titled album brought those days back for me.

It was refreshing to hear something different, and this is excellent modern bluesy rock music from a band with only a drummer (Ben Thatcher) and a bassist/vocalist (Mike Ferr) and very talented these guys are too. Although Royal Blood remind me a lot of the White Stripes, (Mike Ferr's vocals are uncannily like that of Jack White), they certainly have their own style, nothing new, but If you like simple, good old rock music with no fillers - I can highly recommend this album.

Chaos And The Calm
Chaos And The Calm
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!, 25 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Chaos And The Calm (Audio CD)
James Bay's debut is honestly one of the best albums I've heard in a long time, and I've had it on repeat since Monday. I do buy a lot of new releases, but 'Chaos and the Calm' is the first in recent memory where there isn't one song on the album that I dislike, in fact, I love them. This has sometimes happened with compilations, but not studio albums.

The entire record is nothing short of beautiful, the 24 year old sure knows his way around a guitar, how to write a good song, and he can really sing. The album has plenty of heart, and although most of the tracks are slow and soulful, it isn't at all samey. 'Best Fake Smile' and 'If You Ever Want To Be In Love' are at least two exceptions (although there are more) to the 'slow' songs, these are more upbeat but nevertheless standouts, in fact, I hope that the latter becomes the third single. The uplifting 'Hold Back The River' has already become a big hit, and 'Let It Go' was a minor success, and although these are great singles ('Hold Back...' was the song that first introduced me to James), you must listen to the other ten tracks here because, in most cases. they really are just as good.

I am so glad that I purchased 'Chaos and the Calm' and look forward to hearing more from this exceptional talent, this is just the beginning. If you enjoy artists such as George Ezra, Ben Howard, Tom Odell, Ed Sheeran and Vance Joy, you must hear James Bay. This is one of the those albums that will draw you in instantly and you can easily play to death anytime. Nice one James! 10/10.

Dr Dee
Dr Dee
Price: £7.63

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful album!, 25 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Dr Dee (Audio CD)
Technically, I guess you could say that 'Dr Dee' is Damon Albarn's first studio album, but it's also a soundtrack. It was released in 2012, and all the tracks were written and composed by Damon, of whom I regard as something of a musical genius. The music here is very different to that of his work with Blur and Gorillaz, as well as his solo album Everyday Robots. This is classical folk and very operatic.

Based on the life and of work of John Dee, Elizabeth I.'s medical and scientific advisor, 'Dr Dee' the album of the musical is just another showcase of the extremely talented Mr. Albarn, a man who can really sing and has the ability to pen such awesome and catchy melodies.

I don't like opera music, and there are bits on this album that aren't my thing, especially the male and female opera vocals on here, which just don't appeal to me at all. I am giving this one a four star rating for Damon's bits, which I find most appealing as I just love this man's voice. I also don't mind something 'different', and when it's good, it's very good, experimental, melodic and really quite beautiful. Have a listen first, because if you are planning on buying this album after enjoying Damon's excellent 'Everyday Robots', you might be disappointed. Personally, I think most of 'Dr Dee' is very good indeed.

Blazing Away
Blazing Away
Price: £5.64

5.0 out of 5 stars What a voice!, 25 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Blazing Away (Audio CD)
Live albums can often be hit-and-miss things, sometimes the music is spoiled by poor mixing and lost under excessive crowd noise, and sometimes, the artist just isn't at their best on the night of the recording. Down worry about any of this on Ms. Faithfull's outstanding 'Blazing Away', which is one of the best live albums I own in a very extensive CD collection.

Recorded in 1989, I'd even go as far to say that her live vocals actually top the studio versions of some of these amazing songs, particularly on the dramatic, explicit 'Why'd You Do It?', which she absolutely rips apart, whilst managing to still deliver a more tongue-in-cheek version. As Marianne has said many times, most of her songs are at least loosely based about her, and as a result we feel like the great lady is delivering an autobiography in musical form here. The gorgeous and haunting 'The Ballad of Lucy Jordon' (yes, I know it was a cover, but it works far better with a woman singing, especially this one), about a bored housewife's breakdown is one of her cleverest songs, 'As Tears Go By', her debut hit, is given the slower and superior treatment, her cover of Lennon's 'Working Class Hero' still gives me goosebumps, 'Sister Morphine', which she co-wrote has never sounded so good, and I have to highlight a wonderful version of 'She Moves The Fair', which serves as a nod to her days as a folky-pop singer.

Marianne's voice is truly incredible here, dark., moody, mournful and as powerful as it could be, the expression and feeling she puts into these songs of her life is amazing. Her band is red hot, and to be honest, they deserve a paragraph devoted to them exclusively praising them. Like I said, unlike a lot of live albums, the overall mixing here is top notch, and has be done very well, empathising on the audience's applause, but only when needed.

'Blazing Again' is a gem in Marianne Faithful's discography, and deserves it's place in any self-respecting fan's collection. She's something else, and deserved to become a huge chart artist. Despite only having a handful of hits in the UK (mostly in the 1960s), we thankfully still have a stackful of great albums from every decade for those of us 'in the know' to enjoy, and this is certainly one of them.

The 10 Year Limited Edition Anniversary Box Set
The 10 Year Limited Edition Anniversary Box Set

5.0 out of 5 stars Blur Heaven, 21 Mar. 2015
This excellent anniversary box set was released in limited quantities in 1999. It contains the band's first 22 singles, counting a whopping 126 tracks. That's the 1990 debut single 'She's So High', to 'No Distance Left to Run', and everything in between. In my opinion, Blur are responsible for some of the best indie pop songs of all time, some are catchy and fun, others are quite meaningful, whereas more than a couple are just pure works of art. However, there is so much more to Blur's music than just the hits, and that's the B sides, some of which, including 'Young and Lovely', ''Maggie May' (yes, the Rod Stewart song), 'Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Made For Two' (an old song that has never sounded so good) and 'Let's All Go Down The Strand', were worthy of being included on the albums. As well as all these rare tracks, there are also awesome live performances of the hits, remixes and extended versions to check out.

Such a massive box was never going to appeal to the causal Blur fan, but for people like me who listen to these guys everyday, 'The 10 Year Limited Edition Anniversary Box' is a must.

The singles are
1. She's So High
2. There's No Other Way
3. Bang
4. Popscene
5. For Tomorrow
6. Chemical World
7. Sunday Sunday
8. Girls & Boys
9. To the End
10. Parklife
11. End of the Century
12. Country House
13. The Universal
14. Stereotypes
15. Charmless Man
16. Beetlebum
17. Song 2
18. On Your Own
19. M.O.R.
20. Tender
21. Coffee & TV
22. No Distance Left to Run

Go Out
Go Out
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A real grower!, 21 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Go Out (MP3 Download)
Like every avid Blur fan, I am looking forward to their upcoming album 'The Magic Whip', their first in 12 years, and have it on pre-order. 'Go Out' is the first single, and although it took a few plays for me to really get into it, I can now safely say that it has grown on me. It's a catchy track, a little downbeat perhaps, but definitely the same old Blur with excellent guitar work by Graham and vocals by Damon. This one is probably unlikely to convert someone who isn't a Blur fan, but it will certainly appeal to those who are. Not their best song granted, but a promising nod to the upcoming album.

Welcome back guys!

Russell Howard - Live 2 - Dingledodies [DVD]
Russell Howard - Live 2 - Dingledodies [DVD]
Dvd ~ Russell Howard
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.13

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best young stand-ups around, 20 Mar. 2015
Recorded live at Brighton Dome in 2008, this excellent DVD is an essential purchase for fans of Russell Howard, one of the funniest and most likeable young stand-ups on the scene today. Russell has the common touch with people, making his comedy popular with both young and older audiences.

On stage, he has all of the confidence and sharp wit that would envy your more experienced and older comic. Russell has a way with words and is a great storyteller, and his quirky, upbeat and often down-right bizarre brand of comedy hits the right notes with me every time. In the show he talks about the big issues surrounding the world today, wolf masks, and time travel. This is one comedy show that never fails to make me laugh.

The special features on the DVD are also excellent, including a question and answers interview with the funny man, and two televised performances at the Apollo, one in 2007 and one in 2008. If you're a Russell fan - buy it!

Hemlock Grove: The Complete Second Season [DVD]
Hemlock Grove: The Complete Second Season [DVD]
Dvd ~ Famke Janssen
Price: £21.50

4.0 out of 5 stars It just keeps getting better, 19 Mar. 2015
I very much enjoyed the first season of 'Hemlock Grove', Netflix's attempt at a horror drama, and arguably the most bizarre show they have come up with. I thought the first season was very intriguing, with a good mystery, likeable characters, and a wonderful bromance between characters Peter (Landon Liboiron) and Roman (Bill Skarsgård). Sure, it was a little confusing in parts and sometimes slow-running, but an enjoyable series in many ways. Season two has been even better, and if you got through the first, I hope you consider the next set of episodes.

Rosemary And Thyme: Series 1 [DVD] [2003]
Rosemary And Thyme: Series 1 [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Felicity Kendal
Offered by alentertainment
Price: £24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A very cosy, likeable 'Who Dunnit' series, 19 Mar. 2015
I have fond memories of watching 'Rosemary and Thyme' the first time around on a Sunday, and it clearly must have been popular because it is still repeated quite a lot on ITV3 today.

The show begins with the meeting of Rosemary Boxer (Felicity Kendal) and Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris), two recently singled gardeners who find themselves staying in the same hotel together. The two skilled ladies soon find that they share a lot of common ground, and become the best of friends. However, no matter where their gardening takes them, you can guarantee that they'll soon discover a dead body, or suspect foul play amongst the beautiful countryside.

Despite the unusual combination of gardening and murder, this really is cosy television, like reading a good book. It's a charming series, sometimes cheesy, but never ridiculous. From the very first episode I found it to be very likeable, with humorous dialogue throughout the good old simple mysteries. It is obvious that both Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris are friends in real life, because they have such excellent chemistry together and form a formidable team on screen. This pair of inquiring ladies use their skills of keen logic and observations to help solve the crimes, and each have their own distinctive characteristics.

Sit back and enjoy the first series of 'Rosemary and Thyme'. This DVD contains the complete six episodes, plus a wealth of bonus features, of which probably most worthwhile are the interviews with the great leading actresses.

Criminal Justice [DVD]
Criminal Justice [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Whishaw
Price: £7.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb mini-series from the BBC, 19 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Criminal Justice [DVD] (DVD)
A good television drama can often leave you on your seat, and the BBC's 2008 five part mini-series 'Criminal Justice' certainly had me doing just that. Perhaps it's the fact that the story is so believable and the characters are so realistic, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was based on a real life story.

Ben Whishaw is a very talented young actor, and in this he stars as Ben Coulter, a good-looking boy who is arrested for murdering a girl he virtually just met on a fateful night after driving his father's cab without permission. Ben and the girl went round to her house, slept together, and the next morning he finds her dead, with a stab wound to her chest. In shock, Ben drives away and crashes, but is stopped by the police who find a knife in it's pocket, and a neighbour claims to have seen him wiping his DNA away in the lasses' house. Arrested on suspicion of murder, he is charged and refused bail, but can't remember a thing about what happened. Did he end the girl's life then? I wouldn't dream of spoiling it.

'Criminal Justice' is almost a masterpiece (which isn't a word that use lightly about a television series) and is an excellent portrait of what the criminal justice system can do to someone who simply found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, and exposing what may or may not be wrong with the system. I really empathised with Ben's character, and that was largely due to his first-rate acting, portraying a real sense of venerability and his facial expressions revealed exactly what was going through his mind.

Other impressive performances come from Lindsay Duncan as Ben's no-nonsense senior defence barrister, Pete Postlethwaite as his cell mate Hooch, and Bill Paterson as the worldly-wise Police Detective Superintendent, although all of the main performers turn out excellent work.

The DVD of this multi-award winning series is something that should be in everyone's collection who appreciates a good courtroom drama that us Brits do so well.

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