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Is (Tokyo)

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Between the 1 & the 9
Between the 1 & the 9
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £12.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NY Blue, 27 April 2004
This review is from: Between the 1 & the 9 (Audio CD)
Patti Rothberg is a cool East-Coast chick with a guitar and an album fullof the sort of songs that should be performed on a grungy little stage ina downtown music club. The melodies are always immediate, the lyrics soundlike they are scribbled by a Ghostworld schoolgirl in a kinky skirt.
Tracks like 'Butterflies' or 'This One's Mine' give you ants in your pants(and you need to DANCE!), 'Looking for a girl' hits the right sarky toneand 'Perfect Stranger' is a spikily defiant little number about fallingfor the wrong people. All in all, Patti sounds like the kind of girl itwould be a lot of fun hanging out with. You could do worse than meetingher between the 1 and 9.


The Very Best of Latin Jazz
The Very Best of Latin Jazz
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.45

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars classic grooves, 21 April 2004
Another reviewer pointed out that this doesn't sound like Buena VistaSocial Club - that's true, but to dismiss as not being latin on thosegrounds seems a bit unfair. After all, Latin America is a huge continentthat is home to lots of different musical styles... That said, the bulk ofthe material here seems to stem from Brazil. Several of the tracks go in alaid-back bossanova vein - you get music by Jobim, Stan Getz, AstrudGilberto... It's got less of the exuberance of Caribean music and moreurban jazziness with a nice 60's feel to it. Then there are a string ofmore upbeat, dancey tracks as well: salsa, samba, merengue... and a sultryappearance from guitar guru Santana. It's a real dolly-mixture of musicand only skims the surface of Latin American music, but if you can'tinvest in a lot of different CDs, I'd say this album is a good way tosample some classic grooves.


Angels & Electricity
Angels & Electricity
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £26.23

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An understated masterpiece, 8 April 2004
This review is from: Angels & Electricity (Audio CD)
Without any grand gestures, Eddi Reader has created an album of understated beauty – it’s anything from loud, and still it just can’t be ignored. Once you’ve pressed play, you’ll stick with Reader till the last song.
‘Please don’t ask me to dance’ contains years of aching lovesickness in just a few verses, while ‘Follow My Tears’ sums up a whole life of longing in its chorus. Other tracks are more upbeat, like the rollicking ‘Spin A Prayer Wheel’ or the dreamy ‘California’.
Reader doesn’t need a bell, book and candle to cast her own spell: all it takes is her voice flickering over low-key folk arrangements, warm, wise and heart-felt without being earnest. In a way, this CD works like a really good book – it creates a world of its own, and makes sure you stay for the duration. It is one of my all-time favourites, and chances are it will be yours too.


Final Straw
Final Straw
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £3.20

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 2 April 2004
This review is from: Final Straw (Audio CD)
Before the brief media exposure of their single “Run”, I had never heard about this Scottish-based Northern Irish band. The understated emotion of the song caught my attention, so I picked up their album “Final Straw” when I spotted it in a shop. The rest of the album turned out to be a more shadowy affair than I had expected, doused with drugged-out but still straight-forward guitar riffs and bursts of energy that soon enough peter out into resignation again. The cool intimacy of lead singer Gary Lightbody’s voice lends poignancy to otherwise rather simple lyrics about girls (of course) and E’s and time slipping away. The first half of the album promises more than the second delivers, but Snow Patrol still stands out in this second wave of singer/songwriter guitar bands. The CD sleeve is cool in a box, as well.


Time of Trial
Time of Trial
by Hester Burton
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 30 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Time of Trial (Hardcover)
I first read "A Time of Trial" by Hester Burnton when I was thirteen, and I loved it. Hester Burnton is very adept at recreating times that have passed: here she takes us to London in the late 18th century. It's a city of grime and poverty, full of dickensian street urchins and unscrupulous landlords - but also of new, enlightened ideas.
Meg lives with her adored and idealistic father in their bookshop in a less fashionable part of London, selling both poetry by Shelley and tracts by Thomas Paine. Her older brother, who longs to be rich, their stern housekeeper and flashy medical student Robert are also part of the household. It's seemingly a quiet life - but trouble is brewing, as Meg's father takes a stance against the exploitation of the poor and is accused to treason.
The writing is warm and compassionate, the characters believable and the story never less than captivating. This is definitely a recommended read for all bookish girls between twelve and... well, any age really!


Little Earthquakes
Little Earthquakes
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her Best Album, 30 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Little Earthquakes (Audio CD)
Why is it that some artists get followers who are devoted on the verge of being obsessed? Two examples are Morrissey and David Bowie, another Tori Amos. There seems to be something hypnotic about the redheaded & red-blooded Amos. Though she's outwardly a traditionally bohemian singer-songwriter, she somehow comes across as more edgy than Joni Mitchell, more passionate than Suzanne Vega.
All the songs on this CD are piano-driven, with strong melodies and some startling but still accessible lyrics. On later albums, her songs have become increasingly dense - here, she indulges the listener with great one-lines like "got enough guilt to start my own religion" and asking God if he "needs a woman to look after you".
This is the first of her albums I bought, and it's still my favourite one - and, a bit sadly, miles better than her latest material on "Scarlets Walk". Strongly recommended if you like Rickie Lee Jones, Suzanne Vega, Nike Drake or Rufus Wainwright.


My Year of Meat
My Year of Meat
by Ruth L. Ozeki
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars assured and pacey, 11 Mar. 2004
This review is from: My Year of Meat (Paperback)
A book with a message? That could have had me - and probably many others - legging it in the opposite direction. I'm glad that I didn't, for this is no earnest veganism manifesto screaming of wellington boots, piercings and birdseed musli. Ruth L Ozeki tackles her meaty (haha!) topic heads-on, in a pacey, agreeable style. Her language is simple but assured, and the characters never fail to engage. Especially the no-nonsense voice of Jane, the Japanese-American film-maker at the heart of the story, comes across as compelling and believable. Jane is supposed to be an aspiring documentary-maker - and that's just what Ruth L. Ozeki seems to be herself. This is fiction that seems to be fact, not necessarily because of Ozeki's investigation of the meat industry (hey, I don't know what's true or not) but because of her investigation of the minds of people. Is this really a debut novel? It's really impressive that Ozeki has found such a confident voice already.


Special
Special
by Bella Bathurst
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it sucks being a teenager, 1 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Special (Paperback)
I disagree with Keelis' (review below) closing line, which by the way is absolutely superb: "Overall, this book may appeal to you if you like books which are very slow and boring." A killer put-down, but I think it's a little bit unfair on poor Bella Bathurst. OK, the book is definitely jam-packed with clichés about the horridness of being a teenager - but that's the whole point, teenagers ARE clichéd, and that doesn't make their suffering any less real... I definitely remember the years Bathurst describes as being pretty d-n awful, and I think she does a good job of keeping your attention throughout all this dreariness. Maybe it's a little bit voyeuristic, but it's still effective.
One quibble, though: girls like Cat always pop up in these sort of books: perfect Lolita-like little creatures, old beyond their years in their exquisite cruelty. I agree that girls (just like boys) can be real bullies, but I wonder if this not an idea we carry with us from adolescence... at that point, these sort of girls seemed to be the devil incarnate, when they were probably just as freaked out as we were. Or is that just me becoming old and well-meaning and totally out of touch??


Firewall
Firewall
by Henning Mankell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars strange, is it not?, 1 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Firewall (Mass Market Paperback)
One mystery not even Kurt Wallander could solve: why are all crime fighters male, divorced, disillusioned opera/rock fiends?
That said, Kurt is my favourite male, divorced, disillusioned detective.


Payment in Blood
Payment in Blood
by Elizabeth George
Edition: Paperback

11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned but still damn nice, 1 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Payment in Blood (Paperback)
In an interview I read, Elizabeth George confesses that the first crime novel she wrote was a real Agatha Christie-style mystery, where the detective gathers his suspects in the library for the denouement. Her publisher kindly told her to introduce sex, violence and darkness - which she did and went on to become the new queen of crime. She really does produce a page turning plot, as well as complex, likeable characters.

And yet, and yet... I still wonder if the woman is not born in the wrong decade. No matter how much she tries to be modern, she still comes off as your old-fashioned auntie. No young people in Scotland speak like the ones in this book, for example - actually, I don't think they EVER did. It's like Monarch of the Glen, only worse.

And why on Earth is Helen Clyde supposed to be uncultured because she likes lightweight music like Strauss and Thai food instead of haute cuisine? I mean, the girl is in her early thirties, apparently. In the modern world, liking Strauss IS cultured, though a bit unprobable for a supposed It Girl. Shouldn't that be liking Dido?

OK, glad to have that off my chest. I feel a bit ashamed of being so grumpy, since the book really is a great read. What's wrong with being old-fashioned, after all? You go, auntie Elizabeth.


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