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Jmrichardson "Jaz" (MCR)

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Price: 7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging? Yes? Rewarding? Defintely., 2 April 2014
This review is from: Master (MP3 Download)
To me ears Teeth Of The Sea sound Post Rock gone sci-fi.
If you like music with a soundtrack ear for scope and vistas with depth and ideas then Teeth Of The Sea are worth exploring.
MASTER is a truly original, visceral, fascinating album. An ever shifting, fully realised world of sound and ideas.

There are two truly standout songs on the album:
"Reaper" is where the album really starts. Building up piece by piece, starting with a cheesy 90s drum machine beat are added synth washes, treated mutant vocals, rattles of percussion, stabs and throbs of more electronics. Like the idling machines of some gargantuan machine. Past 3 minutes and the bass enters the equation like the blood like flow of subway trains. Past the 5 minute mark and squalls of metal-ish guitar finally land. A stunning, powerful, epic song.
"Responder" starts off pulsing like an 80s thriller (or a retro 80s thriller like Drive) before a plaintif spaghetti western trumpet enters the fray. Heavily distorted words filter through the ether. Then the machinery breaks down. Then the gears start to work again and the songs transforms into a powerful dance beat rave up and the trumpet riffs while guitar screams noise. You never thought a trumpet could be used to such startling, euphoric effect?

MASTER is best viewd as a whole though, "The Servant" sees the combination of feedback with looped trumptet blasts. This is one example of how Teeth Of The Sea mixes noises and sounds no one dared, nor dreamed possible. "Pleides Underground" smacks of the Radiophonip Workshop. "Siren Spectre" is haunting and ethereal with snatches of Morse Code. "Put Me On Your Shoulders So I Can See The Rats " is plain creepy.

MASTER evokes sprawling city scapes of the future and explores this city from the freeways populated with flying cars to the subways to the back alleys. Lost voices of lost souls can be heard, lost humans in the digital age. There is such a wide array of emotions and moods and ideas here you could listen to it a hundred times without fully understanding the scope and depth of this work.
Perfect for soundtracking novels by Philip K Dick and Iain M Banks. Personally I would love to hear these guys take on Blade Runner.
Challenging? Yes? Rewarding? Defintely.

Puppet Loosely Strung
Puppet Loosely Strung
Price: 6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I always choose a dungeon over the sea view", 26 Mar 2014
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Electro-swing, dub, techno... how on Earth do you classify The Correspondents?
Here is the their long awaited debut album from DJ Chuckles and frontman Mr Bruce, who resembles a 1920s version of The Joker and can spit out lyrics like machine gun fire. The album is a strong, but flawed debut.
The highlights are:
"Fear And Delight" the album kicks into life. Stunning song, ever shifting and ultra dynamic, very exciting stuff. "Give You Better" suffers from an uninspiring start but when the chorus comes around it kicks into gear with giddy childlike fervour. "Devil's Lighthouse", like "Give You Better", it has a slow start but lighting the fuse with great synth blasts with the occasional burst of Mr Bruce's splenetic delivery. A shifting song with plenty to enjoy. "The Last Time" is REALLY good! A very interesting piece of music with a sample that I love but can't place what it is. This has a joyous euphoria and puts a smile on my face. A highlight of the album. Title track "Puppet Loosely Strung" exudes class, authority and style, using it's slower tempo to great effect.
The middling tracks are:
"Well Measured Vice" and "Back Again" are both solid. "Alarm Call" is interesting but the lyrics are a bit uninspiring. "Some Nights" is a stylish but low key end to the album.
The weaker elements are:
The opener "What Did I Do?" is an annoyingly slow opener. "Kind Of Love" is kind of bland. "In The Meantime" is a throwaway that could have been left off the album.

I must say that the long wait for this album has meant that it struggles to cope with the expectation from the bands phenomenal earlier work such as "Washington Square" and "What's Happened To Soho?"
I dont think as much of the duo's personality comes across as their earlier stuff, the "personality" of Mr Bruce isn't quite as full on as it used to be.
I'm inclined to say the album would be better shorter with a few of the songs trimmed, thus making the album a hell of a record to spin to get everyone dancing! A few songs could be a bit faster, parts of the album feel a little laid back, not enough of the album is as exhilerating as you think it might ought to be.
There is some great stuff however and if you like The Correspondents then it is worth hearing their debut, it just does not feel as exciting and vital as you might have been expecting.

Nerve Up
Nerve Up
Price: 9.12

4.0 out of 5 stars The Inheritor of Post-Punk, 26 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Nerve Up (Audio CD)
Like your guitar work sharp and angular? Like your pop melodic and intelligent? Then Nerve Up is the album for you!
Julie Campbell has crafted a superb album that takes it's cues from post punk icons such as Joy Division, (early) New Order, Gang Of Four, Wire, Public Image. But this is no mere rehash, it also serves as an updating of those ideals as she melds with a pure pop aesthetic to make something really rather wonderful. She has a red hot set of riffs, gets beautiful sounds from her guitar and uses them to write lovely bedroom-y DIY songs.
The songs are stark yet textured, glacial yet spiky, intimate yet detached. The standout is arguably "Marble", all shimmering textures and pulsing electronics forming a deliriously exciting song.
An excellent, fascinating album that deserves to be better known.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Manos Hand of Fate [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Manos Hand of Fate [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Michael J. Nelson
Price: 10.76

5.0 out of 5 stars The haunting Torgo theme..., 24 Mar 2014
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Mystery Science Theatre: Joel Robinson and his robot pals watch the worse movies ever made.
Manos: The Hands of Fate: cited to be THE worst movie ever made.
Joel, Tom and Crow have their work cut out...
Generally I don't subscribe to the view that the worse a movie is the better the episode of MST.
However... Manos may be the worse film ever made... and makes for a very funny show.
The first time I saw the opening sequence of Manos it literally had me howling with laughter. I say opening sequence, because there are no credits. Hal Warren, perpertrator / director of Manos could not afford them apparently. So what remains is 10 mins of bleak American wasteland seen from a car window. This becomes hilarious as Joel and the Bots offer riffs such as "visit beautiful ground zero" and "every shot in this movie looks like someone's last known photo" and then push decency with "this is going to turn into a snuff movie isnt it?"
This episode is worth watching for Torgo, a truly unforgettable character that would become an occasional regular in the host segments thanks to Mike Nelson's spot on impression (the ending skit with Torgo's Pizza is brilliant.
Qoutes out of context will simply not work - you have to see Torgo!
If you are truly psychotic, the bonus disk includes the un-MSTIED version (aaarrrggghhh!!!!), plus a funny and clever documentary about Jam Handy, creator of many of the shorts the gang watched, in the style of a 50s short. very funny.
Plus there is a 20 minute Group Therapy session with Joel, Mary Jo Pehl, Trace and Frank talking about Manos.

If like me you are a UK MSTIE, treat yourself and import one of the most have episodes of the show.

Can't Stop, Shan't Stop
Can't Stop, Shan't Stop
Price: 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning return to form for Mr B, 30 Jan 2014
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Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, Chap Hop superstar has returned for his 4th album and I am glad to say this is the a glorious return to form.
His debut, Flattery Not Included is a masterpiece. A hilarious, riotously funny collection of utterly brilliant songs. It contains his best, rudest and funniest songs. However I feel he struggled after that.
I Say! has it moments but struggles from not being as funny as his debut. "All Hail The Chap" is simply better live, "You Just Can't" nearly reaches the greatness of Flattery... but not quite. "Songs For Acid Edward" remains a Mr B staple though.
And then The Tweed Album. For me, a disappointment. Lacking in witty rhymes and musically rather tame. "Curtsey For Me" is brilliantly catchy but the whole album seemed... watered down. Almost as if Mr B was cleaning up his act and aiming for Radio 2. Brrr... So I was wondering if he was proving to be a one album wonder.
Luckily Can't Stop Shan't Stop is his Paul's Boutique. He seems to have matured but with it has delivered the Chap Hop album the world has been waiting for. Mr B is on amazing form throughout. The music is first rate too, from his trusty banjolele, to tombones, double basses, drum machines, beatboxing, plenty of piano, even a rock guitar solo.
"Shelltoes Or Brogues" gets the album off to a flying start and it's clear that Mr B has written and performed top drawer lyrics. Style and wit, everything you want from Mr B. You even get a brass solo for your money!
"Ladies have Friends Who They Hate" may have a controversial title but the word play is excellent, the satire is sharp and he even covers the Beastie Boys!
"(I've No Wish To) Keep It Real" sees Mr B returning to his favourite topic of bad habits in rap music. He doesnt insult Tim Westwood this time around but is classic stuff with plenty of banjolele.
"Hip Hop Was To Blame After All" is another hip hop history lesson that sees him taking on gangster rap and the commercialisation of rap.
"Pop Song" may have a bland name but in it he details the different sizes of champagne and you will never have heard word play like it. Another song that shows the new cabaret leanings of Mr B.
"Grammar Song" is another ditty in the tradition of "A Piece Of My Mind".
"In A Club" is an excellent 50 Cent parody that features a cameo from Carshalton for your money.
"Brit School" is a riposte against The X Factor. Mr B is in an angry mood this time round but comes up with such winners as "a game of one downmanship".
"Toast" is a slightly weaker number, sounding a bit like a pop hangover from The Tweed Album.
"Rude Britannia" returns to the saucy hi jinks of Flattery that pastiches the amorous inention of many rap songs.
"It Doesn't Pay To Turn Up Late To An Orgy" is as funny as the title suggest and we also finally get to hear from Lady Fanshawe. This song is great live too.
"Reasons To Be Unsuccesful (Part One)" is a solid number that suffers slightly from strong competition from the other tracks here.
"The Corinthians" is simply a list of all round good chaps. It's rather delightful.
"The Neglect Of My Duties" suffers from being a bit too similar in theme to the track before last and seems like a hangover from The Tweed Album.
"Brushed Tweed In The Hour Of Chaos". What a title! Mr B recounts his invitation to the Palace. And then Mr B has been takign lessons from "Straight Up And Down" by The Brian Jonestown Massacre with a long fade out employing / borrowing / nicking the Beatles' refrain from "Hey Jude". An epic finish to an epic album.
Maybe the best compliment is that this is a brilliant rap album, the fact that chap hop now seems supplemental to the sheer quality of the music as opposed to being a gimmick.
The man is simply brilliant and his new album is simply brilliant.

Random Noises and Organised Sounds
Random Noises and Organised Sounds
Price: 5.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Random Noises and Organised Sounds... and Waves Of Drones, 30 Jan 2014
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Let's face facts, there are tons of Psych bands nowadays mining shoeagze, the Velvets, Spacemen 3, The Jesus And Mary Chain. Drones and feedback, druggy vibes and stoned vocals.
From the US you have The Black Angels, A Place To Bury Stangers and The Warlocks. From Europe you have The Janitors and Dead Horse One. From Iceland there is Dead Skeletons and Singapore Sling. From Britain hails The Lucid Dream, The Underground Youth, The Cult of Dom Keller, The KVB... the list goes on...
This album by The Koolaid Electric Company was released in 2011 so they were a nose in front of the current boom in the psych revival. Does the album measure up to the flood of competition?
Yes, in droves. The level of song writing is clear right from the off as "Alright" kicks the album off in top gear, hot and gloopy, like lava and this bleeds into "Going Blind" all aching melody and languid guitars. "Home" has a cascading, rippling quality. "Dreams" is a skyscraper of noise. "Invasion On The Skies" is a high power run out. "Over The Mountain" ends the album as strongly as it began. The quality remains high throughout.
Ride were clearly a massive influence. Guitars shimmer like heat haze. Some of the guitar effects are wonderful, they clearly had an impressive set of pedals! The songs are well structured and the band clearly has a flair for timing the ebb and flow of the music.
This is an excellent album of modern psych. Due to the crop of bands all playing in this style, the album can hardly said to be original but The Koolaid Electric Company have delivered a top drawer song of quality songs.

Psycho Tropical Berlin
Psycho Tropical Berlin
Price: 4.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling look into the kaleidoscope., 30 Jan 2014
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La Femme are a French electro-pop band who have delivered a thrilling debut album, full of life and passion.
I initially tried to list the musical styles and influnces to be found here. I failed utterly. All I will say is I am very much reminded of the sort of energy that The B-52s put into tracks like "Rock Lobster".
The songs whilst being catchy are also very dense and well made. Some of it drones and some of the electronica verges on the avant garde, but always underneath the tune. This is a superbly produced album.
Psycho Tropical Berlin is an intoxicating album that is more than anything... FUN! Take "Antitaxi" a relentless bounce of a song that was made for dancing to and gets the album off to a flying start.
A wonderful, smart, melodic, incredibly cool album. Highly recommended.

Love And Distortion
Love And Distortion
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A little too in thrall to their idols..., 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Love And Distortion (Audio CD)
Enjoyable but flawed album from a seemingly forgotten band.
Stronger tracks include opener "Where The Ocean Meets The Eye" is a definite highlight with swathes of Ride style guitar. "She Married The Birds" is a punchy rock n roll number... however... it reminds me of "On The Beach" by The Chameleons a little too much for comfort. "Story's Over" is a swaggering rock n roller halfway between BRMC and Oasis. "Tiger Girl" is rather Dandy Warhols-ish.
Weaker tracks include "12 Months", a boring ballad. "The Simple Things Are Taking Over" has a wonderful guitar line and bags of style but simply does not deserve it's 6 minutes run time. Similarly, "Telephone" is cute, reciting a conversation between the singer and his mother but does not warrant it's 8 minute wasteland in the centre of the album. Both these songs feel like summer blockbusters that goes on far too long. The same goes for closer "Swim Into It". Given some of the psych influences here it's a shame they were around too early, nowadays with the current revival of shoegaze they would have made a better shot of it.
The album clocks in at 55 minutes, some harsh editing could have brought it down to a more palletable 35-40 minutes.
Unfortunately though, The Stratford 4 wear their influences a little too readily and bring very little of their own personalities to the music. Take The Brian Jonestown Massacre (who The Stratford 4 ape in "Tonight Would Be Alright") , Anton Newcombe may be a music magpie, recycling decades of music, but at least he runs it through his own inflated ego and stamps his bands style over it. The Stratford 4 remind me of another band, The Duke Spirit. Both bands have good, solid songs and both have the style and sing about the right things but neither convince you they are bands, both seem more akin to musicians playing at being a band. It's a bit like seeing someone's kid brother dressed in hand-me-downs.
Those criticisms aside, if you like any of the bands cited above (plus maybe a hint of Suede too), this album is worth checking out for good, enjoyable music.

The Andromeda Strain
The Andromeda Strain
by Michael Crichton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.51

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Science Fiction books ever written., 30 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Andromeda Strain (Paperback)
The Andromeda Strain is simply a masterpeice.
A space probe has returned to Earth, gone astray and landed in the town of Piedmont, unfortunately it bought back a bacteria from space and soon everyone in the small town is dead, having died in a matter of seconds. A small team of scientists are press ganged into Project Wildfire, their job: to investigate the incident and see if all life on Earth is at risk...
It's key strength is the dry, documentary tone that Chrichton employs. While I accept this style will not be to everyone's taste it makes for a highly compelling, addictive read. You truly feel as if you are reading a post event report by an investigator, not a work of fiction. This makes for a heightened sense of drama. When the scientists are exploring Piedmont with bodies littering the streets, it is an eery, intense, even hoarrowing passage. The procedural analysis of the bacteria may be offputting to some but I always find it highly interesting. Crichton is an outstanding writer because he mixes a great prose style with immaculate ressearch. His intelligence shines through and he makes everything clear to understand. The story flows though and he has great flair and economy as a writer.
At heart the book is a mystery as the scientists battle to find out the cause of the disease and the various experiments they undertake in the way that detectives would piece together clues.
I wouldn't say this book has any weaknesses, though again I admit the style is not to everyone's tastes and some may want deeper, more interesting characters. For me though the central character is The Andromeda Strain itself.
Way ahead of it's time this is an exhilerating book you will never forget.

Intergalactic Dada & Space Trombones
Intergalactic Dada & Space Trombones
Price: 2.49

4.0 out of 5 stars "Imagine yourself as one of the crew of this faster than light spaceship of the future", 11 Dec 2013
So speaks the narrator from a sampled 50s B movie that is most like Radar Men From The Moon, from whom this trio of Dutch Space Rockers take their name.
Sharing a genre with the like of Cosmic Dead, Lumerians, White Manna, these Dutchmen are bringing the Hawkwind methodology to the 21st century.
From the kitch Gerry Anderson style opening the music explodes in widescreen. Like a lightning strike from the heavens this is music of heavenly and uncontrollable majesty.
All but 1 of these 5 tracks goes past the 9 minute mark as space is explored with a powerhouse rhythm section and freewheeling riffology. These guys are supremely talented musicians and their interplay is wonderful.
The use of samples is a wonderful, eccentric, humrous touch that builds up the personality of the band and their music is space rock of the highest calibre. Highly recommended for psych fans.

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