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James Mcwilliam Woods "Wimsť Jaboe" (Hampshire, England)

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Helplessness Blues
Helplessness Blues
Price: £6.57

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 14 May 2012
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This review is from: Helplessness Blues (Audio CD)
Fleet Foxes are consummate professionals - an acoustic folk band with harmonies that could make grown men weep. Their first album is a short and delicate affair, packed to the brim with some of the best songs of the 21st century: 'Your Protector' or 'Blue Ridge Mountains' would give you an idea of what they're about.
But this, their second album, has seen the band develop. And it's a direction that suits them perfectly. The albums is darker, more obtuse and complex, but ultimately richer musically and downright better. A song like The Shrine / An Argument sees singer Robin Pecknold building a simple folk song which explodes into a powerful and propulsive rhythm before splitting apart and reforming into a baritone sax solo. Upon first listen, it's mad. Upon sixth listen, it was my favourite song.

But Fleet Foxes' ambition doesn't stand in their way; the plaintive ballads of the first record and the fantastic Sun Giant EP are here in the shape of Someone You'd Admire and Blue Spotted Tail, but the group feels more like a group on this record; songs like Grown Ocean and Bedouin Dress are gloriously formed and recorded. This album may be difficult to get in to, but it's a marvellous piece of work once you're in. BUY IT!

The Harrow & the Harvest
The Harrow & the Harvest
Price: £14.17

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 14 May 2012
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Whilst I'd heard Gillian Welch's name, I'd never heard her music until I purchased this album for my mum. Upon first listen, I was shocked and surprised. This is a sparse and, forgive me, harrowing album. All the songs are led by Gillian's raw and emotive voice, and backed by two acoustic guitars (the only percussion is some handclaps on Six White Horses), and whilst Welch's rhythm playing is reasonably fundamental, Dave Rawlings' lead work is outstandingly innovative. He finds notes that take his guitar solos in all sorts of crazy directions, but it never sounds downright weird. Rawlings is a master of his instrument, and Welch of hers.

In terms of the musical content, I suppose it can be loosely categorized as a kind of blues / country fusion, but there is darkness running throughout the whole record: Taylor Swift this is not. Songs often ramble for six minutes in Verse / Chorus / repeat form, but there is enough intrigue and storytelling in the lyrics for the album never to be boring for one second. Tennesse and The Way The Whole Thing Ends are perfect examples of this, whilst Scarlet Town and Six White Horses are a little more to the point. But every song here is worth its place on what amounts to a fantastic album.

As a final note, I would recommend checking out some of these songs on Youtube before you buy if you've never heard these guys before, the darkness isn't for everyone...

iGadgitz Black Silicone Skin Case Cover with Tyre Tread Design for HTC Wildfire S Android Smartphone Mobile Phone + Screen Protector
iGadgitz Black Silicone Skin Case Cover with Tyre Tread Design for HTC Wildfire S Android Smartphone Mobile Phone + Screen Protector
Offered by iGadgitz
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't ask for more., 14 May 2012
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The case arrived exactly as it appeared - it has a very tactile tyre effect and this frictional surface means it doesn't slide around on car dashboards or tables. I've repeatedly taken it off and put it back on and it has suffered no obvious signs of wear and tear as I've done so. There are no problems accessing the volume or on/off buttons or plugging in the charger whilst the case is on. And for £4, who can complain? I'm happy to give another 5* review to this product.

1Q84: Books 1, 2 and 3
1Q84: Books 1, 2 and 3
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Murakami for sure..., 14 May 2012
This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1, 2 and 3 (Paperback)
The title of this review sums up the book, really: 1Q84 is a characteristically Murakami book. The two central characters, Aomame and Tengo, are just normal people, the former a fitness instructor (with a dark secret); the latter a maths teacher. They find themselves embroiled in a series of obscure events that gradually bring them closer together and closer to an ending (which is satisfactory, thankfully). The prose is meticulously detailed and often overwhelmingly beautiful: this is the only reason Murakami gets away with writing a 925 page novel where next-to-nothing happens.

And that is essentially the problem with 1Q84. His meandering non-stories can survive in shorter novels and short stories (Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, a collection thereof, is a fantastic entry point if you've never read Murakami before) but they are stretched too thin here. If you are a die hard Murakami fan then you probably own 1Q84 already but if you're not, I'd suggest Kafka On The Shore, After Dark or Norwegian Wood as better places to start with this supremely talented author.

Hawks & Doves
Hawks & Doves
Price: £4.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, not his worst., 8 May 2012
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This review is from: Hawks & Doves (Audio CD)
You're either a Neil Young Fan or you're not. If you're not, start somewhere else - this was the beginning of Neil's creative lull; you should begin with any one of Harvest, Tonight's The Night, On The Beach, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Rust Never Sleeps, Comes A Time, After The Goldrush or Zuma. Don't Read Any Further!

But if you're a Neil fan already, then you're gonna have to buy this at some point. The layout of the album is thusly: the first side is acoustic stuff amd pretty typical Neil. Little Wing, Captain Kennedy and The Old Homestead are worth your time though, but Lost In Space is one of the worst things anyone has ever recorded ever. The second side is taken from the sessions for the album and is straight up Country Rock - in this respect, the album is similarly structured to American Stars N' Bars, and whilst the second half doesn't contain an epic like Hurricane, the final two tracks here, Comin' Apart At Every Nail and Hawks And Doves are top quality.

In summation, worth a pop if you've got the albums I mentioned above, but hardly essential Neil.

Price: £14.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Yes!, 8 May 2012
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This review is from: Circuital (Audio CD)
I was new to My Morning Jacket when I saw their Jools Holland performance of 'Holdin' On To Black Metal' and was instantly intrigued. Their big sounds, Jim James' big hair...

I duly bought Cicuital and it does not disappoint. It's a strange and brave album, oft crossing into genres I can't quite describe but MMJ (for those of you who don't know) are a stright up rock band with electric guitars, their sound augmented by the smoothness of Jim James' voice and some intriguing keyboard sounds. The Jacket aren't afraid of a melody and that's what makes songs like Holdin' On To Black Metal, You Wanna Freak Out and the achingly beautiful Wonderful quite so perfect. And whilst those three are (for me) the undoubted prime cuts, the title track, Outta My System and First Light are also worthy tunes.

If you're looking for a reference point, MMJ are like a more cultured man's Foo Fighters (with a considerably less disgusting guitar tone) or a less growly Biffy Clyro. Buy this album!

Central Park Concert,The
Central Park Concert,The
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £15.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 8 May 2012
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This was the first DMB album I bought - and it is truly worth the £20 price tag. I wouldn't say that about many albums!

The band is on form from start to finish: Don't Drink The Water is impassioned and raw, So Much To Say into Too Much is a perfect follow up. On Disc 2, the first four tracks all hail from their debut album, Under The Table and Dreaming, and this material really shines. Then, disc 3 has a cover of Neil Young's Cortez The Killer, the best 3-chord trip ever written, an oustanding Jimi Thing jam (both of this with slide man Warren Haynes as guiest) and a brilliant Stay (Wasting Time) to close. The song selection does waver in places: What You Are and Help Myself could have been culled in favour of Crash Into Me, The Stone or #41, but other than that there cannot be a single complaint. The musicianship is unfalteringly brilliant, the songs outstanding and the crowd obviously loved the show. This record is a great place to get into DMB world and once you're there, you'll never leave!

Lucca, Italy
Lucca, Italy
Price: £7.45

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DMB On Form, But..., 8 May 2012
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This review is from: Lucca, Italy (Audio CD)
If you don't know Dave Matthews Band, they hail from America and are unquestionably one of the most consistently outstanding live acts on the planet (even if their studio albums occasionally leave a little to be desired). In the live setting, they like to jam and solo all night long and are all outstanding musicians - but their music doesn't feel quite as self-indulgent as the song lengths (ten songs here stretch over 8 minutes) might suggest.

This particular album is a three disc live set taken from one night in Lucca, Italy. In terms of song choice, the unavoidable DMB tunes are here - that's 'Don't Drink The Water', 'Jimi Thing' and 'Ants Marching'. The selections that led me to buy the record were a splendid, 21 minute long version of '#41', 'Rapunzel' as a closer and 'The Dreaming Tree' - all six of those songs hail from their first three studio albums, Under The Table And Dreaming, Crash and Before These Crowded Streets.

So the setlist is good ('Everyday' is a surprise highlight) but for me, the newer material, especially 'Dive In' and 'Spaceman', falls a little flat. That is one factor for this album losing one star; another is the presence of Tim Reynolds. Tim is an incredible electric guitarist who isn't a full-time member of the band, but joined them onstage for their most recent tours. Whilst his technical chops are incredible, I find that sometimes his licks just add a layer too much, getting in the way of the music. One of the things I love about DMB is that, to add colour to their tunes, they make use of brass or violin instead of guitar solos. Here, Tim's tone is a little crunchy, his parts too busy too often - and he's a little too high in the mix.

Other than that, this album is essentially a lesson in how to be a live band and will be sure to inspire anyone who makes their own music, but if you're not in to DMB yet, I would definitely recommend the Central Park Concert and the aforementioned first three studio albums (although they sound a tad tame compared to the live records) before this - but Lucca deserves a spot in your CD collection.

Riot! (Copy Protected)
Riot! (Copy Protected)
Price: £5.69

3.0 out of 5 stars Start a Riot in Me?, 1 Dec 2010
This review is from: Riot! (Copy Protected) (Audio CD)
Paramore are a tricky band to figure out. They have written some of the most sophisticated and catchy songs in the 'pop-punk' genre: Try 'crushcrushcrush' and 'Emergency' but this album, their second, fails to hit the mark everywhere. Don't get me wrong, it's a good album with some highlights: the opener, 'For A Pessimist...' is playful and energetic, showing off Hayley's great voice. Bu sadly, this album really loses focus on throwaway fillers like 'Born For This' and 'Miracle.' However, the band do make it up for it; the slower tunes are superb, 'When It Rains,' and 'We Are Broken' in particular stand out. This album doesn't develop Paramore's sound enough for it to be great, but thank fully they didn't waste their potential. Their third album, 'brand new eyes,' was one of the best released that year. Riot! isn't a bad abm, it's perfectly good, but not Paramore's best.

The Final Riot!
The Final Riot!
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: £5.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good not great, 26 Nov 2010
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This review is from: The Final Riot! (Audio CD)
This live album was recorded between the recording of the so-so Riot! and the outstanding brand new eyes, and it represents the band at an interesting point in their career. The package comprises of both a cd and a dvd - the etlist for both is the same, which is good. A lot of similar releases (Muse's HAARP or The Killers Live From The Royal Albert Hall) have a long setlist on the DVD but miss some out on the CD. That's not the case here. It's clear just from the audio that Paramore are a great live band; their musicianship is extremely professionaly, energy levels are always high (take Jeremy rolling over Josh's back on stage, BASS IN HAND!) but their material can let them down. There are some killer moments on this DVD, the long, building intro to opener 'Born For This,' The high octane 'For A Pessimist...,' 'When It Rains' and fan favourite non-album track 'Decoy' but in general this captures the group before their songs were consistently great, which if you own the newest record, you'll know they are now. That's why the DVD is good not great. Another plus side is the documentary included, which is thorough, including interviews with all the band members. The DVD presents the concert film and the doc together, chopping between them every four songs or so - personally I would reccomend watching them separately, which you can do in the options section of the DVD. If you're a Paramore fan, he this DVD is for you - obviously. If not particularly then definitely get their studio stuff first! But this is surely worth a purchase, especially for a fiver!

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