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Joseph Henderson

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The Three EPs
The Three EPs

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite perfect, 9 Feb 2006
This review is from: The Three EPs (Audio CD)
The Beta Band were outsiders on the so called indie scene, in the late 90's dominated by the likes of Coldplay, Travis etc. While they were more than willing to the flaws in their music, they were way to harsh on themselves. Rarely laspsing in to indulgence, the three Eps of the title show the variety of the early Beta Band.
Starting with what is probably the most well-rounded of the EPs, the Champion Versions, the loose signatures of the Beta Band are put to good use. Opener Dry the Rain could well be the best track on the album, with the band completely taking off during the second chorus, never to really return again. The seal of quality is maintained over the course of the four songs, a welcome relief from forced anthems of the time.
The Patty Patty Sounds is where the Beta Band really abandon song structures, with all of the songs at over 6 minutes. Monolith is the logical extreme of this, and the reason that the EP could'nt be entered into the EP charts, as it was too long. "She's The One" is often acclaimed as the best song on the whole album, with two equally divided sections; the first a fairly usual Beta Band song, the second a complete revelation.
Los Amigos... is different to anything the band did since, the darker themes of the EP explored on the tail end of their first full-length. It starts with Push It Out, my personal favourite of the set. The song has an incredibly tense opening, no insrtuments apart from percussion, and slowly builds to a strangley uplifting climax. The general feel of the EP is ramshackle, with most of the instruments slightly detuned.
This album is one of the best debuts of the decade, and is how this sadly short-lived band should be remembered.

The Mirror Man Sessions
The Mirror Man Sessions
Price: 5.65

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buy this instead of Strictly Personal, 8 Feb 2006
This review is from: The Mirror Man Sessions (Audio CD)
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band recorded the songs from this album to be released on a double album, to compete with contemporary recordings by his good friend Frank Zappa. Unfortunately what were put out was the later sessions which make up Strictly Personal, for various reasons. I bought SP first, and thought it was in the same league as most of the Captains work, but this album puts it in the shade. With the longest song of the time opening the album (Tarotplane at 25 minutes long), you can see why the record company might have refused release. Lacking the dubious psychedelic effects of SP, the title track is transformed from the tired three minute long version on SP to a rolling 15 minutes long, one of the stand-outs of the album. Kandy Korn is similarly changed with alternating dark and uplifting sections. SP should be sought out for the great version of Safe as Milk, but not really anything else.

Live At The Witch Trials
Live At The Witch Trials
Price: 10.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit dated..., 8 Feb 2006
Despite being practically THE most innovative band on the Manchester and post-punk scene, this debut on reflection still has many adhereants to the punk template. At the time what set them apart was the slower numbers and the inclusion of keyboards in the band. The keyboards may have lost their novelty value, but they still create an effective bleak atmosphere for such post-punk classics as "Two Steps Back" and "Frightened". MES' lyircs may be a touch generic on some numbers, with most of the songs about drugs and little to indicate his great lyrics in the future, but No Xmas for John Quays still throws up some great lines. Much has been made of this debut, and most of it still stands up, but the expanded edition with the contemporary Peel Sessions and singles would be a much wiser purchase.

The Matrix: Music From The Motion Picture
The Matrix: Music From The Motion Picture
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 3.94

1 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing without the film, 8 Feb 2006
As the first album I ever bought, you would think I would have some kind of nostalgic connection to this soundtrack, if only I hadn't listened to it again recently...
Where once "Rock is Dead" was a thrill, and a song that I used to listen to endlessly. It is laughable now, inexplicably at the start of the soundtrack where as it was the second song on the closing credits in the film. If only Rob D's Clubbed to Death had been the template for most of the music on the film, instead of the tedious dance-rock and metal sludge that the film inspired. Also, for pure comedy value, Rammstein make an appearance. I dare you to keep a straight face.

Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984
Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984
by Simon Reynolds
Edition: Paperback

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rip It Up and Start Again, 7 Feb 2006
The book successfully covers an era essential to any music lover, as good as, he contends, the 66-67 period. While he covers a wide variety of the music, there is no way he could cover it all. If you have a general interest in the period, there is no better introduction, but there are a few problems that the more ardent fan of this music might have. For a start, he concentrates on the superficial pop of the mid-eighties far to much, and by the time you've heard "the sugared pill" for the hundreth time, you'll be tempted to skip on to the next section. The coverage that he gives of some bands, the Fall especially, are way too limited. He also clearly shows his bias towards the overrated PiL and Scritti Politti

Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand
Price: 6.66

10 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The most overrated band of the moment, 6 Feb 2006
This review is from: Franz Ferdinand (Audio CD)
On first listen, the album might not seem so bad, and for the hipsters who are more concerned about the "coolness" of Franz Ferdinand will probably continue to drool over the arty poses in the centre of the lyric booklet. One the second listen rolls around, the vocals grate beyond belief and even the slowest among the music buying public show start to realise that all of the songs are exactley the same. The single of the year for most drainpipe-wearing airheads was Take Me Out, because is has a long building intro, that does not necessarily guarantee it is any good. FF continue to reprosses the very same riff and have long since decended into self parody. The sooner they fall from "next big thing" to "so-last year" the better.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2012 8:41 PM BST

Pink Flag
Pink Flag
Offered by themusicmerchant
Price: 19.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 77's true masterpiece, 6 Feb 2006
This review is from: Pink Flag (Audio CD)
Disappointed by the Ramones albums? This album packs more songs in to less time, with genuinely witty and intelligent lyrics and inventive music. Pre-empting the post punk movement, Wire moved on from the tired nihilism and cliches of punk. Pink Flag is filled with plays on the song structure. 106 Beats That was originally intended to be a song of exactly 100 syllables, and the title track was supposed to be "Johnny B. Goode" written with one chord. Whilst the Sex Pistol's debut was carefully crafted in the studio, Pink Flag's clean production ensures that instruments carve out clean shapes through the mix. For Wire, there was to be no cashing in, as they moved on and continued to innovate over their next albums.

The Second Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle
The Second Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly diminished, but still powerful, 6 Feb 2006
Proving that you didn't need to know any chords to play music, TG make their live debut with their 2nd Annual Report. While perhaps not as frightening as it was at the time, the churning distortion, bleak synths and disaffected vocals still lend the album the power disturb. Ideally listened to all the way through, the lasting effect is by turns disturbing (on Slug Bait and Maggot Death), hypnotising (After Cease to Exist, Zyclon B Zombie) and strangely uplifting (United). While you may need to crank up the volume for full effect, Industrial music's first step is still worth investigating.

Strictly Personal
Strictly Personal
Price: 6.71

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strictly Personal, 3 Sep 2005
This review is from: Strictly Personal (Audio CD)
Although a remix with the guitar and drums raised would greatly improve this album, as it stands its still great. In many ways oppostie to next year's Trout Mask Replica, Strictly Personal contains mainly extended songs, which serve as a showcase for some amazing guitar work, and the great drumming of John French. The extent of the now-dated effects may be overplayed, but it dosen't do much good for this set.

Perverted By Language
Perverted By Language
Price: 9.95

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Version, 3 Sep 2005
This review is from: Perverted By Language (Audio CD)
With the original tracklisting finally restored, remixed, with added singles, live versions, and the Fall's longest ever Peel session, this can definitely be called the definitive version.
PBL is well known for having the longest average time for each song. But this set is definitely not self-indulgent or improvisation-led. Songs such as Garden (the Peel session version especially) and Tempo House completely warrant their extensive length, and the band's playing is tight throughout.

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