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Burjiz (Schaffhausen, Switzerland)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cafe Lounge With an International Flavor, 16 Aug 2004
Rob Garza and Eric Hilton dig into their music collection (a rather eclectic one, apparently), and throw together 20 tracks for "The Outernational Sound," a gumbo pot of mellowed out grooves that will satisfy any set of tastebuds. The range of textures and moods runs all over the globe, from Indian influences ("Mathar" by Indian Vibes), old-school American funk (Major Force's "Re-return of the Original Artform"), Latin grooves ("Simbarere" by Antonio Carlos Jocafi), as well as chilled cafe lounge, African rhythms, and a dash of Asian influences. There's also an interesting cover of the Beatles' "Within You Without You" by the Alan Lorber Orchestra, the jazzy "Play it Cool," and Block 16's "Slow Hot Wind." TC wouldn't do a compilation of this nature without promoting their own material, so we have a reggae remix of "The Richest Man in Babylon," the title track of their must-have 2002 album. At times, however, the collection gets a bit too eclectic and some of the songs don't mesh well together on the same album, but this is overall a satisfying collection expertly compiled by the undisputed masters of cafe cool.

Live At Om [Mixed By Derrick Carter And Mark Farina]
Live At Om [Mixed By Derrick Carter And Mark Farina]
Price: 23.33

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark and Derrick Show How It's Done, 16 Aug 2004
A friend of mine once asked me why I prefer house music over hip hop, and my response was easy: house is more free flowing, more sensual, and, quite frankly, a lot more fun to dance to. A case in point is the excellent "Live at OM" set by two of house music's most respected DJs: Derrick Carter and Mark Farina. These are two CDs of hypnotic grooves that are mixed seamlessly, as we've come to expect from DJs of this caliber. The first disc comes from Mark Farina, who gives us some twisted and nasty grooves in the form of "Revolution" by To-Ka Project, "F--- Hodges" by Jason Hodges and Jacob London's "No Farting in the Ice Fort." Derrick Carter gets his moment to shine on the second disc, and it's the slightly better of the two. We get some really pounding beats on killer tracks like "Simon Says Bounce" by Kings of Tomorrow, "Classic Vibe" by Backroom Production and "Telefunky" by Freaks. While both DJs are clearly different in style, the compliment each other nicely on "Live at OM." It's also fitting that this recording took place on Valentine's Day, because the project sounds like it was done with lots of love and affection. One of the best house compilations I've heard this year so far.

Stone Love
Stone Love
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.97

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Stone Unturned, 16 Aug 2004
This review is from: Stone Love (Audio CD)
Nobody would disagree that Angie Stone would make a great soul singer of the 1970s. Her musical style pays so much homage to that decade, that many of her songs, save the modern production, sound as if they could have been released in 1974 and not 2004. But while her music may be old school, it's definitely not old fashioned. Her third and most consistent album, "Stone Love," is overall more favorable than 2001's solid (if long-winded) "Mahogany Soul." There's nothing here that tops "Brother" or the knockout "Bottles and Cans," but at 55 minutes, it's lean and to the point with no throwaway songs. She ropes in Floetry for "My Man," teams up with fellow nu soul-er Anthony Hamilton on the standout "Stay For a While," emotes with conviction on "You Don't Love Me," and delivers a killer breakup jam "U-Haul," which, as the title implies, finds our heroine moving out of her man's crib and life. While Stone often wears her soul influences on her sleeve, there's enough good stuff on "Stone Love" to make it worth checking out.

Stage 2
Stage 2
Offered by hifi-media-store
Price: 26.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unsweetened, 16 Aug 2004
This review is from: Stage 2 (Audio CD)
The members of Sade's band return for a second go round on "Stage 2," which takes too many dubious turns for it to warrant an enthusiastic recommendation. Much of the vibrancy and quiet elegance of its 1996 debut is missing, and while it does have some notable appearances by Chocolate Genius and Aya, they don't measure up to Maxwell and Amel Larrieux who were on the last album. Sweetback's greatest asset is Stuart Matthewman's sax, but only on the closing track, "Shining Hour," does it make any worthwhile impression. Elsewhere, Stuart is buried in the mix. And what does it say about the band's creativity when it starts lifting material from other songs? "Love Is the Word" is a lazy track that sadly steals the hook from the classic "What You Won't Do for Love." A few tracks save "Stage 2" from being a total misfire, including the chilled groove "Mountain," as well as the percussion-heavy "Round and Round." But compared to its debut, "Stage 2" is a disappointing step down. Hmmm, how's that new Sade album coming along?

What Time Is It?
What Time Is It?
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 8.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, 16 Aug 2004
This review is from: What Time Is It? (Audio CD)
The Time's 1982 followup to its debut proved that they weren't a faceless protege band of puppets with Prince pulling the strings. Each of the members is individually talented, including guitarist Jesse Johnson, future hitmakers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and the flamboyant lead singer Morris Day. "What Time Is It?" is Minneapolis funk at its best, and it holds up amazingly well after more than two decades. At the heart of this six-track LP are two note-perfect jams: the infectious groove of "777-9311" and "Gigolos Get Lonely Too." The former song is straight-up flawless thanks to its tight instrumentation featuring precise drumming and a bassline to die for, and the latter is a silky-smooth ballad about a playa who wants to leave behind his wild ways and settle down. That's not to say the rest of "What Time Is It" isn't worth checking out. The opening track "Wild and Loose" and the funny "The Walk" are other notable highlights. While they don't make fine records like this anymore, "What Time Is It"'s influence can't be denied. A record you shouldn't miss.

The Smiths
The Smiths
Price: 7.99

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's Time the Tale Were Told.", 16 Aug 2004
This review is from: The Smiths (Audio CD)
Back in 1984, when Culture Club, Wham!, and Duran Duran dominated the charts and airwaves, a group of four young Englishmen called the Smiths released their debut on the indie label Rough Trade. Although they recorded only four non-compilation studio albums, this Manchester-based quartet would be remembered as one of the most influential pop bands of all time. "The Smiths" is a smashing debut of a classic that was so unique in its flavor and form, that it really couldn't be compared to anything else. The recipe for the group's success was--in addition to John Porter's raw production--its clever and original songwriting. Singer Morrissey's sensitive and thoughtful lyrics and guitarist Johnny Marr's intricate melodies highlighted key tracks such as the opener "Reel Around the Fountain," the catchy "This Charming Man," and the ever-haunting "Hand in Glove." What's more, Morrissey's lyrics tackled some unconventional topics few pop stars in 1984 would bother to broach, from child abuse to homosexuality. "The Smiths" debuted at Number Two on the UK charts upon release, and while it never duplicated the same success stateside, it has quickly gained popularity as an underground classic. Two years later, the band would outdo themselves on their 1986 masterpiece "The Queen Is Dead" before disbanding the following year. Both that album, as well as this stunner of a debut, come highly recommended.

Offered by Leisurezone
Price: 7.50

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loaded Revolver, 16 Aug 2004
This review is from: Contraband (Audio CD)
It could have been a disaster, but thank goodness it isn't. Scott Weiland, the charismatic lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, teams up with exiled members of Guns N' Roses to form a supergroup whose debut album surpasses all reasonable expectations. "Contraband" is a stick of rock and roll dynamite that explodes with untamed aggression. From the moment you hear the opening groove "Sucker Train Blues," you know you're in for a joyride like no other. The music seesaws from the best of G N' R and STP, and you can feel the presence of both groups on each and every track. "Big Machine," "Illegal i Song," "Spectacle," and "You Got No Right" are all standouts. Slash's guitar is still a commanding force, and Weiland's voice, which ranges from a shrill whine to a baritone growl, is still in great form. The power ballad is a dreaded rock and roll cliche, but even the slow jam "Fall to Pieces" ain't half bad. While the latest incarnation of Guns N' Roses has spent Lord-knows-how-long recording their may-or-may-not-be-released "Chinese Democracy" LP, Velvet Revolver has put out one of this year's most pleasant surprises.

Louder Than Bombs
Louder Than Bombs
Price: 6.83

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Shoplifters of the World Unite and Take Over.", 22 July 2004
This review is from: Louder Than Bombs (Audio CD)
In the spring of 1987, one year following the group's masterpiece "The Queen Is Dead," the Smiths released two albums. In the UK, they unleashed "The World Won't Listen." But in the United States, they released "Louder Than Bombs," a double album of singles, b-sides, and rare tracks. A compilation of this nature shouldn't work, but, amazingly, it did. "Louder Than Bombs" shows why singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr weren't just simply leaders in mope rock--they were also among the most vital and influential British songwriters of the 1980s. Morrissey exposes his utter contempt for pop music in the semi-controversial "Panic," croons though the brilliant and self-loathing "Unlovable;" shines through the potent "Rubber Ring," and is even funny in the snide "You Just Haven't Earned it Yet, Baby." But the heart of the album, I think, is the still-marvelous "Hand In Glove," the band's debut single replete with Johnny Marr's stellar guitars. But the songs I just mentioned only hint at the many riches this album has to offer. At 24 tracks, "Louder Than Bombs" is a huge platter of material, but the songs here are brisk and range from very good to brilliant. I played this to death when I first bought it, and it still gets the occasional spin in my stereo. A great album that earns its five stars.

Dance Mix NYC 3
Dance Mix NYC 3
Price: 3.92

4.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Collection of Mainstream Dance Hits, 22 July 2004
This review is from: Dance Mix NYC 3 (Audio CD)
If pop radio is your type of groove, then there's fun to be had in "Dance Mix NYC 3," a collection of mainstream dance hits mixed by The Riddler. Unlike most collections of this nature, this compilation keeps the cheese to a bare minimum and serves up a platter of irresistible grooves. As far as I am concerned, the remix of Angie Stone's "Bottles and Cans" is reason enough to get this entire CD. I loved the original ballad version of this neo soul song and was pleasantly shocked to have heard the disco remix, which has tons of energy and sounds incredible. The fun, fortunately, doesn't end there. Amber's "Anyway" gets an uplifting disco twirl and Hex Hector's remix of the dramafest "Mister Lonely" by Deborah Cox surfaces as well. The disc's second half gets a bit darker, with pumpin' cuts like K Klass's "Talk to Me" and Iio's "At the End." After buying a few subpar dance compilations (names will be withheld to protect the guilty), it's refreshing to know that the crew at Tommy Boy still has the juice to make decent dance records. While nothing here is earth-shattering, it's an overall enjoyable ride that should appeal to most dance music lovers.

The Razor's Edge
The Razor's Edge
Price: 6.49

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uh Oh. . .I've Been Thunderstruck!, 22 July 2004
This review is from: The Razor's Edge (Audio CD)
After the straight-shooting classic that was "Back in Black," AC/DC had a bumpy ride for much of the 1980s. They continued to release solid albums, but their sales began to dip after 1981's "For Those About to Rock We Salute You." But 1990 was the year the Australian boys reclaimed the hard rock throne with their tough album "The Razors Edge" (hold the apostrophe). That record blasted to Number Two and went multiplatinum in a year when folks like MC Hammer dominated the charts. Produced by the late Bruce Fairbairn (who also worked with Bon Jovi, Poison, and Aerosmith), "The Razors Edge" may not be a classic, but it roars with energy and spunk. Like any AC/DC record, this CD revolves around three themes: sex, drugs (with booze), and rock and roll. The hits on this CD are the rousing "Thunderstruck" and the top 40 hit "Moneytalks," but other killer cuts are the funny "Got You By the Balls," "Are You Ready," the ever-festive "Mistress for Christmas," and "Fire Your Guns." Like Robert John "Mutt" Lange, Fairbairn's production is a bit on the polished side, but it doesn't compromise AC/DC's sound. Angus Young's guitar still rocks, and Brian Johnson's bark continues to roar in all its shrill glory. I'm not a metalhead by any means, but I know a good album when I hear one. "The Razors Edge" is just that.

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