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OMG! It's got a plug! (Winchester)

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Rockey's Style Movie Album
Rockey's Style Movie Album
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £9.22

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rockey's world, 28 Nov. 2013
The story of Palmer Rockey is a curious one. With a PhD in Philosophy, Rockey decided that he wanted to be a movie star and in the early seventies he self-financed, produced, directed, wrote, edited and starred (as twins!) in 'It Happened One Weekend' and premiered it at a drive-in cinema in 1974. Over the years the film was re-cut and re-titled a few times and was again briefly played at a few drive-in cinemas. By all accounts the film was both a creative and financial disaster and Rockey passed away in 1996 with little to show apart from a lot of debt, a failed film and this album, the soundtrack to the film.

Privately pressed and released in very limited quantities by Rockey in 1980, original copies of this album are scarce and command three figure sums amongst vinyl collectors. Whilst I'm unable to vouch for Rockey's film making and acting skills, I can confidently state that this soundtrack isn't half bad at all. Alongside re-workings of 'Blue Christmas' and 'Are You Lonesome Tonight', Rockey produced, composed and wrote the lyrics for almost everything here and although the cover portrays him as some sort of rockabilly singer, he very confidently covers a range of styles (including a couple of rockabilly style numbers). Obviously a wannabe jack of all trades, he did stop short of playing the instruments but the session players he used provide some superb accompanying music - their musicianship is extraordinarily good. Whilst Rockey's voice is not particularly strong, he could certainly hold a tune and on mid-tempo album opener 'Longing For You' he highlights how emotive his vocals were.

Gloomy in places and sleazy elswhere, the music is, in the main, a mix of ballads and up-beat rock 'n' roll piano led numbers where Rockey sings about his rocky love life. 'Smile Pretty Baby' is a soulful funky number and the tense instrumental 'Scarlet Moves' sounds like it could have been lifted from an early 70s crime film. His cover of 'Lonesome Tonight' is full on Peter Skellern that takes in a spoken monologue as does 'Sunday Love'. Although a soundtrack, the overall impression is that Rockey's off screen love life, much like his film career, was prone to failure. On the acappella 'Sunday Love' he mournfully sings "Having dinner at one at a table for two; just won't be the same babe if you're not here with me" and you just can't help thinking that it's more autobiographical than fiction. Either that or he was a convincing actor.

Clocking in at 31:14 and accompanied by Jonny Trunk penned liner notes, this is another weird and wonderful release by Trunk Records. If you're a collector of Trunk records, file it next to Bob Chance. 3½ stars.

HMDX Jam Party Portable Bluetooth Speaker
HMDX Jam Party Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Offered by Superfi
Price: £34.96

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good sounding speaker let down by appalling Bluetooth, 27 Nov. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Weighing 700g and made from hard plastic, this speaker has some cool design features. It has a handy retractable carrying handle and on the underside there is a flap that folds out and raises the front of the speaker. On the top are two buttons that allow the listener to skip back and forth between tracks and Volume Up and Volume Down buttons. It has a line in for a 3.5mm jack lead (not included) and is charged using a 3-point plug cable. A couple of rubber pads on the base and the flaps keep it stable. Overall, it's a compact and smart looking speaker.

A full charge takes approximately 2 hours and I'm getting on average 7 hours of playback.

Whilst this paired seamlessly with both my iPad and Android device and connects seamlessly every time, the Bluetooth is its biggest failing. It's appalling. Even when the device is within 2 metres of it, the sound is forever dropping out and when sitting even closer, if you tilt your iPad slightly in the 'wrong' direction the connection starts cutting in and out. If you move 5m away the interruption starts to sound like you're trying to tune in an AM radio and move any further away (but within the 10m advertised distance) and the connection drops out totally. Judging by a couple of other reviews here, it's either an inherent design fault or cheap Bluetooth technology is to blame. Either way, it's a disaster.

The sound from this speaker goes extremely LOUD, way in excess of any other Bluetooth speaker I've used and, on the whole, the quality is good. The bass is more than adequate but overall playback does suffer (but not too much) from a lack of depth and finesse. Beware though, it plays a brief jingle when its switched On or Off and for some reason, it plays it at the loudest volume!

This could have been a really good speaker but it's let down badly by its Bluetooth deficiencies. The design, features and battery life are very good and the sound is good. If you're prepared to sacrifice the Bluetooth technology and use it more as a dock by connecting a device directly to it using a 3.5mm jack lead then it might be a worthwhile purchase. However if you want a Bluetooth speaker that functions properly as a Bluetooth speaker, do NOT buy it.

Philips SHL5605FB/10 CitiScape Downtown Headphones with Music Seal/Memory Foam Cushions - Black Denim
Philips SHL5605FB/10 CitiScape Downtown Headphones with Music Seal/Memory Foam Cushions - Black Denim
Price: £35.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very comfotable mid-range headphones, 21 Nov. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Build wise, these on the ear headphones look the part and they're very comfortable to wear. The pads swivel slightly and are filled with plenty of memory foam and, with the adjustable head band, they're definitely NOT skull crushers - I can wear them for a couple of hours without irritation. They have a single anti-tangle lead and an incall / mute switch on the lead. The only downside is the denim sleeve that covers the head band. It looks a bit naff and if you wear hair gel, forget about these headphones - it's stitched in and will get manky pretty quickly.

Sound wise, they're no great shakes but given the price, I wouldn't expect any different. The bass is not especially deep (but it's acceptable) and they just don't seem to go as loud as other headphones I've owned. Overall though, you get what you pay for and these are a decent set of mid-range headphones.

EC Technology 13000mAh External Charger for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets - Black
EC Technology 13000mAh External Charger for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets - Black
Offered by EC Technology UK Store

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent bit of kit, 17 Nov. 2013
Note: EC Technology provided me with this item free of charge. In exchange I agreed to give an honest review of it.

Weighing about 300g, with a hybrid plastic / rubber finish, this power bank has a massive 13000mAh capacity. There are four small LEDs on the front that indicate its charge status and a on/off button. It has two USB ports for connecting devices:

- USB Output 1 - 5V / 1A for phones
- USB Output 2 - 5V / 2A tablets

It also had a small LED torch light.

To charge it you'll need a USB wall plug (not included) and from empty it takes approximately 7 hours to fully charge. With a full charge it delivers a 150% charge to my iPad 2 and over 400% to my Samsung Galaxy S 8GB Wi-Fi MP3 Player. Charging my iPad from empty took about 3 hours as opposed to 2 hours when plugged into the mains and my Samsung Galaxy S charged at more or less the same rate. It's also able to charge my Samsung ST66 camera. You can charge two devices simultaneously and I also managed to charge two iPad 2 at the same time, albeit slowly.

It comes with a cable with interchangeable heads - Micro-USB, Mini-USB, replica Apple 30 pin and PSP. Personally, I have no use for them - it's easier to use the cables supplied with my devices.

This is an impessive power bank and an essential bit of kit if you go camping (when I'll be using it) or during the summer festival season. Alternatively, it's quite useful at home - there's no power socket near enough to where I sit, so if my charge is running low and I need to continue using my iPad, I just plug it into this.

Rowenta DW6010 Eco Focus Steam Iron
Rowenta DW6010 Eco Focus Steam Iron
Price: £54.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High-end iron with continuous steam but very short lead, 15 Nov. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a quality iron from Rowenta that has some decent features. The best feature is the continuous steam - activate the steam trigger and as long as the iron keeps moving, it keeps on delivering steam without any interruptions whatsoever. When the iron is motionless or stood upright, the steam stops. It automatically regulates the amount of steam delivered depending on the setting on the adjustable heat dial, but it has a steam boost button that really does give out a huge blast of steam if you need one.

Ergonomically, it's sound. It is on the heavier side but this is no bad thing for an iron. The soleplate is a decent size and the tip is pointed making it easier to get into the corners of garments. The anti-drip soleplate is not wholly successful - you do get occasional drips - and the lead is surprisingly short and could do with being at least 18-24" longer. The tank is relatively small, but it does not need topping-up as regularly as other irons I've used due to the auto-steam technology.

All things considered, this iron is a worthwhile investment. It's worth the extra lay-out compared to less expensive irons and it is, in my opinion, the next best thing to an altogether more expensive and bulky steam generator iron. Finally, make sure you have an extension lead close to hand - you might need it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 23, 2014 7:38 AM GMT

I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America - 1950-1990
I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America - 1950-1990
Price: £13.52

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambient Excellence, 15 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is beautifully conceived compilation of American New Age music by Light in the Attic Records. It's a world away from the mass produced and marketed New Age music of the eighties and nineties. This is pure and authentic ambient music made by artists who lived and breathed the New Age lifestyle long before most people even knew such a lifestyle existed.

Although there are a few better known artists from the genre represented here, much of the music is taken from privately recorded and pressed vinyl and cassettes and, taken as a whole, it just washes over the listener and has a genuine calming and relaxing effect. There's an array of instruments used, with many of the earliest tracks featuring harp, piano and woodwind, progressing to electronic instrumentation with extended synth and bass notes that have a drone like quality to them. There are occasional sound effects (birds singing, waterfalls, etc) but they're authentic and not just used as a gimmick.

The CDs are housed in a gatefold cardboard sleeve with a superb booklet featuring notes on all of the artists and archive photos. The combined playing time of both discs is 132 minutes. Given the quality of some of the sources of many of the tracks, the sound is excellent and has been digitally re-mastered at 24 bit / 96 kHz. Recommended to anyone with an interest in ambient sounds.

A Voyage Through French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde (1970-1980)
A Voyage Through French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde (1970-1980)
Price: £7.37

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Supersonic Cosmic Voyage, 14 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is superb compilation and the beautiful cover art alone sells it. Featuring pulsating synth grooves, robotic beats and far-out cosmic sound effects from the French avant-electronic scene of the seventies, it's a very enjoyable and rewarding 78 minute intergalactic voyage. Even now, almost everything here still sounds like music from the future and although it's regarded as experimental music, the lasting impression is that these French electro pioneers knew exactly what they were doing.

Highlights include Space's world-wide smash 'Magic Fly' - it's a space disco classic and, like a few of these songs, a not too distant relative of Daft Punk's 21st Century sound. The extraordinary 'Caramel' by Rene Rousell is proto-Chicago House & Italo-Disco and Jean-Jacques Perrey's heavily sampled 'E.V.A.' is all playful loops and sound effects that takes in some mind-blowing phased lead guitar as it progresses. Jean Michel Jarre's mid-tempo 'Blackbird' features beautiful organ progressions underpinned by some exemplary and imaginative percussion and even Serge Gainsbourg makes an appearance with the frantic 'Le Physique Et Le Figure' from the film of the same name.

The CD is housed in a gatefold cardboard sleeve and it has some well written liner notes featuring information on all the tracks and artists and also a couple of brief interview extracts including one with Jean Michel Jarre. In short, this is one of the best compilations of 2013 and connoisseurs of electronic music will find much to enjoy here. Bon voyage!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2014 11:42 PM GMT

Creative HITZ MA2300 on-ear Headphones with 30 mm Drivers, Flat Folding Ear Cups, in-line Remote and Mic - Black
Creative HITZ MA2300 on-ear Headphones with 30 mm Drivers, Flat Folding Ear Cups, in-line Remote and Mic - Black
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent but unexceptional headphones, 13 Nov. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Taking the price into consideration, these are decent but unexceptional headphones. Sitting on the ear, there's not a whole lot of padding but they're comfortable against the ear and, although not quite skull-crushers, the head band feels tight and after about 45-60 minutes I have to give my head a five minute break. They're lightweight but the finish feels too cheap and plastic for a pair of 'phones in this price range but, nonetheless, they do feel sturdy enough for day-to-day use. I do like the flat, tangle proof, single wire and the in-line pause / phone that works as advertised.

Sound wise, again, they're OK but nothing to write home about. The bass is acceptable but tends to get lost in the mix and it's just not deep enough. The highs, particularly on more upbeat music, can dominate the sound to the extent that it begins to jar. Ultimately, you get what you pay for with these headphones. If you're in the market for on ear headphones then I suggest spending a few quid more and getting the VIBE BlackDeath On Ear Headphones.

Amazon Music
Amazon Music
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile and decent app, 10 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Amazon Music (App)
I really do like this app. Pre-order an AutoRip CD direct from Amazon (it doesn't work for Market Place purchases) and on the day of its release an MP3 copy is there in your Cloud Player ready to play or download. When you buy MP3s from Amazon they also appear almost immediately in the app and all previously purchased AutoRip CDs and MP3s are automtaically added. You can also download the music in your Cloud Player to your device to play offline. I have a Network Attached Server hooked-up to my router but the playback is always better through this app (hardly ever any interruptions) and the sound quality is good enough.

The only downside is uploading your own MP3s - the annual subscription packages are not cheap and for a various artists releases with say 20 songs by 20 different artists you can sometimes end up with a different icon for each song instead of one album icon. Amazon only appears to match your MP3s with MP3s it has in its library and if the album isn't in its library then it will link to same songs but from different albums.

It's worth bearing in mind that Google Play Music allows you to store up to 20,000 MP3s for FREE and it works just like Amazon Cloud Player but with one big difference - Google will scan and match your MP3s with their library but, if your MP3 files on an album do not exactly match, then it uploads them so that you can playback the album as intended. I mostly playback music through my iPad and Google have recently released the Play Music app for iOS devices and it looks and works much the same as the Amazon Cloud Player.

In summary, this is a very good app and when used in tandem with the Google Play Music app you have access to thousands of your songs.

The Complete Album Collection Vol. One
The Complete Album Collection Vol. One
Price: £121.34

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb box set, 4 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Consisting of all 35 studio albums, the six official live albums and two discs of previously released material that doesn't feature on any of the albums here (47 CDs in total), it could be argued that this collection is premature given that Dylan is still very much an active recording artist. Nonetheless, one thing that cannot be doubted is Dylan's back catalogue - it's a colossal collection of music.

All of the CDs are presented in CD sized cardboard replicas of the original vinyl sleeves (with sequential numbers on the spine) and are housed in a very sturdy and surprisingly compact cardboard box alongside a 268 page hardback book that features the original liner notes, a very informative essay on every album, archive photos, images of promotional material, etc. It really is a lesson in how box sets should be done - they've kept it simple and there are no unnecessary posters, badges, stickers or facsimile concert tickets. I don't know how many albums Dylan has got left in him but there is space in the box for at least 2-3 more cardboard sleeve CDs.

The only slight disappointment are the 'Side Tracks' bonus discs that contain no real surprises - all of the tracks have been previously released and over half of them can be found on the 'Biograph' compilation. 13 albums have been newly remastered for this release and 'Self Portrait' is the 2013 remaster. Unlike the Mono box set from a few years ago, there's no download code.

The remastered CDs and the track list for the 'Side Tracks' CDs:

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid
Hard Rain
Bob Dylan At Budokan
Real Live
Empire Burlesque
Knocked Out Loaded
Down In The Groove
Under The Red Sky
Good As I Been To You
World Gone Wrong

Side Tracks CD1 (58:41):

1. Baby, I'm in the Mood for You
2. Mixed-Up Confusion (Single Version)
3. Tomorrow Is a Long Time (Live)
4. Lay Down Your Weary Tune
5. Percy's Song
6. I'll Keep It with Mine
7. Can You Please Crawl out Your Window? (Single Version)
8. Positively 4th Street (Single Version)
9. Jet Pilot
10. I Wanna Be Your Lover
11. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) (Live)
12. Visions of Johanna (Live)
13. Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
14. Watching the River Flow
15. When I Paint My Masterpiece

Side Tracks CD2 (65:42):

1. Down in the Flood
2. I Shall Be Released
3. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
4. George Jackson (Acoustic Version)
5. Forever Young
6. You're a Big Girl Now
7. Up to Me
8. Abandoned Love
9. Isis (Live)
10. Romance in Durango (Live)
11. Caribbean Wind
12. Heart of Mine (Live)
13. Series of Dreams
14. Dignity (Alternate Version)
15. Things Have Changed

Update: If your copy of 'Hard Rain' is faulty, email the following to arrange a replacement:
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2013 4:52 PM GMT

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