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Mr. E. Cowie "the_great_gatsby" (Stirling)
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A History of Sport Fishing
A History of Sport Fishing
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fans of Low and Grandaddy....own this album!, 7 May 2008
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Sublime lo-fi sounds that are both sweeping and majestic. Recorded on a small budget, the record is both contemplative and tense, but there are lots of surprising twists and turns that rewards repeat listens, much like say Low 'Things We Lost In The Fire' or Grandaddy 'The Sophtware Slump'. Anyone who has even a passing interest in quality, 'true indie' music should own this album.


Progress Reform
Progress Reform
Price: £8.60

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sonic tapestry from Tinsley Viaduct, 2 July 2006
This review is from: Progress Reform (Audio CD)
Having bought the previous 3 super-limited sevens from the band, I was already familiar with the band and their inventive approach to sounds, song structure and lyrics. For those who are not though, this 7 track mini-album is a must and is the best release on Fierce Panda since last years Art Brut album.

Although the band are no doubt subject of a major label bidding war at the moment, the control that the band exercise over their music, art direction and thematic content is likely to make them a difficult proposition to 'market' (and something that perfect pop supremos The Long Blondes have long complained about). However, their creative control is entirely justified on this record and it has been a long time since i have listened to a record that feels so measured and complete with, dare i say it, a relatively small budget. DJ Shadow's 'Entroducing' comes to mind for some reason.

The sound is probably not to everyones taste. Those familar with labels such as Constellation and Monotreme will find much to love here. The sonic tapestry is often a spartan one with menacing guitars and dark, gothic drums that can be genuinely terrifying at points. Comparisons to the glacial Sigur Ros have been plentiful, but iLiKETRAiNS are a more compelling proposition due to the the lyrical content. Biographical accounts of Captain Scott and Bobby Fischer are intruiging while the murderous Stainless Steel is something that Nick Cave would be proud of. The engaging political musings on No Military Parade and The Beeching Report suggest an intellectual depth that someone seems unfamiliar and rewarding without the usual pretentious baggage often associated. I could go on and on about the underlying 'intellectual' feel to the record...but i'm far to laissez faire to care about all that gubbins.

As i listen to it now, the apocalyptic climax to Stainless Steel is simultaneously droning and punching through my speakers. It sounds like it has been recorded in a gigantic B&Q Superstore without anything in it. This is in no wayintended as a criticism though. The effect is mesmeric. The sound bounces and reverbarates around as if the band are running about in a huge aluminium container with the feedback turned right up. Absolutely stunning it is...

In closing then, here is a band with a very bright future ahead. They should remain the creators of their own destiny though as the work will remain the better for it. Someone donate them a large record company advance so that they can produce even more stunning music though...

This dark masterpiece is going to be the sound of my summer. Perfect for a barbecue!!


Field Music
Field Music
Price: £6.57

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accomplised, ambitious and inventive - a bright future ahead, 21 Aug 2005
This review is from: Field Music (Audio CD)
Really don't know what the previous reviewer of this album is on about. Going by the fact he likes Kubb though, it's not surprising...
Field Music wear their influences on the sleeve and the songs are varied and pretty timeless. However, they show enough invention within their make-up that they don't come across as MOR in any way.
Much of the album would appeal to fans of Elbow, Super Furry Animals, The Magic Numbers and Badly Drawn Boy amongst others. Some songs (like the debut single 'Shorter Shorter') are even reminiscent of ELO.
Plenty of the album is radio friendly enough to give them mainstream appeal and clearly from the production values they understand how to build an attractive sound. Sometimes the melodies are warm and gentle whilst at other times it has that oh so fashionable angular thing going on.
All in all a good debut effort and definitely worth keeping an eye on them in the future.


The Heartlight Set
The Heartlight Set
Offered by OnlineMusicFilmsGames
Price: £3.63

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joy Zipper have a stab at commercial, grown up stuff, 6 Jun 2005
This review is from: The Heartlight Set (Audio CD)
First off, I'm a big fan of Joy Zipper. I used to think that I could survive alone on their music without any other form of nourishment...seriously though, I still listen to their previous releases 'American Whip', 'Joy Zipper' and 'The Stereo and God' an awful, awful lot!
The title of this review may put off some, but anyone who has listened to any of the Vinny and Tabitha's music before will realise that this is no statement of intent, but more an attempt to get what they deserve.
Indeed, it may seem baffling as to why the band (who have suffered terrible luck with releases in the past through record company collapses, poor distribution and much-delayed releases) have not reached a greater level of 'sales' success.
Previous releases have been lauded with plaudits from critics and music lovers for both their brave and beautiful songwriting that touches upon any number of genres.
'The Heartlight Set' kicks off with the brisk opener 'Go Tell The World', seemingly marking out their stall for a stab at a more commercial sound. Big drums, crisp production, clap-claps and Tabitha simply oozing sex appeal in the vocal brings about something not unlike The Velvet Underground or young British pretenders to the throne, The Duke Spirit. However, '1' finds Joy Zipper in more familiar territory. A lazy groove and the trademark harmonious vocals carry a tune that wouldn't be out of place on a Sheryl Crow album (seriously, it's quite radio-friendly).'Thought's A Waste Of Time' is a nice little ballad that could have been on the 'American Whip' album and 'You're So Good' is a mid-paced rocker that comes out sounding a bit like Weezer, was probably a poor choice of single and my least favourite on the album. A bit uninventive for an act known on taking chances but this will do their commercial appeal no harm at all. Next tune up 'Anything You Sent' is good, but only marginally better than the previous tune and follows a similar style.
Where the first five songs sound like a band a lot happier than they previously have done on record, the remainder soon becomes much more interesting due to this.
'For Lenny's Own Pleasure' is absolutely beautiful - possibly my favourite track on the album. For those who know Joy Zipper, this reminds me of 'Check Out My New Jesus' and the lyrics have more depth than previous tracks on the album. Blissed out psychedelic balladry that just epitomises the 'beautiful music for beautiful people' imagery. The quality continues through with 'You Run The Game', a classic Vinny written/sung tune (countrified and acoustic) and 'Window' is equally good, a classic Tabitha written tune (more stomping and rockin').
'2 Dreams I Had' and 'World Doesn't Care' are both touching tunes full of want, lost love and sorrow that remind me of 'Dosed and Became Invisible' and 'Ron'. Very good moments on the album indeed.
Album closers 'Rockdove' and Holy Diver' are where Joy Zipper flex their muscles previously developed and show the talent they possess to write timeless classics though. 'Rockdove' is simplicity in itself. Think 'Baby You Should Know' from 'American Whip' and the loved-up feeling should come rushing back. This is the sort of tune that Belle and Sebastian would write if they came from LA..
'Holy Diver' is a genuinely moving tune. Sublime melodies, clever structure, aching vocals, perfect pace...this has it all and could be a benchmark Joy Zipper song. Sounds a lot like 'Christmas Song' from 'American Whip' but much more melancholy (however, equally touching).
All in all, a mixed bag, but the good still easily outweighs the 2 poorer efforts. Vinny and Tabitha are still making tremendous music but it might be advisable for themm to look at who they want to make music for. I really hope it is still for people like me, and on the basis of this album, they have contemplated ditching my good money in favour of the Mondeo Man. Further through the album though, they must have changed their minds though...thanks you two!!


The Invisible Invasion [Limited Edition with Bonus Live CD]
The Invisible Invasion [Limited Edition with Bonus Live CD]
Offered by Amazin Deals *****
Price: £1.50

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another dose of Wirral magic (and medicine)...., 23 May 2005
I don't know why this album has been getting some poor reviews from the press (including the Amazon review above).
Most of this is what can already be called 'classic' The Coral (as they simply retain an identity all of their own within the British music scene). Breezy guitars, jaunty hooks aplenty and a healthy dose of the experimentation in the songwriting makes this an essential purchase for fans of The Coral and newcomers alike.
The album doesn't stay static for long with the tracklisitng carefully constructed to give the listener a challenging and fulfilling album (rewarded more by repeat listens).
Adrian Utley's production duties have paid dividends for me personally. The tunes feel crisper and atmospheric, bringing the gerat instrumentation of the band to the foreground (as perhaps has been missing a little on previous albums).
Take the example of 'A Warning To The Curious' for this; a mixture of Echo & The Bunnymen and The Specials, with the guitars and the drums timed to perfection in the mix.
Classic Coral moments come in the shape of 'In The Morning', 'So Long Ago' and 'Come Home'. All great, simplistic guitar pop moments that they do better than anyone in the country just now (or in the last 4 years for that matter).
The most challenging and original of the tunes on the album would have to be 'Arabian Sands'. A genuinely beautiful blissed-out psychadelic masterpiece. Reminds me of 'Confessions of A.D.D.D' from 'Magic and Medicine'. Totally boss!
Anyways, this is a good album and confirms their reputation as both prolific, innovative and a quality band.


Do Everything I Taught You
Do Everything I Taught You
Price: £12.03

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doing everything they've been taught....well!, 23 Mar 2005
This single is really great. It has tinges of bands that you know would make it big (a la Coldplay, Radiohead, The Coral). These Liverdudlians have obviously listened to Love 'Forever Changes' before, especially prominent on the second tune (the lyrics to which tell a really good little tale). As ever, Fierce Panda have snapped up a debut release by another classic band in the making. The last two release by this label have been excellent. Buy this now (ltd to 1000 copies) and also get the Apartment single 'Everyone Says I'm Paranoid' (the release before this one on Fierce Panda, also ltd to 1000 copies) and become the coolest indie kid on your bloc (party..ahem).


Aha Shake Heartbreak
Aha Shake Heartbreak
Offered by b68solutions
Price: £3.39

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Southern Dandy!, 2 Nov 2004
This review is from: Aha Shake Heartbreak (Audio CD)
I've been reading some strange stuff about Kings Of Leon recently. After all the hype, rave reviews and plaudits heaped upon them since the summer of 2003, it seems that certain publications are calling them bland, 'samey' and other such tags. Considering most of the media hailed them as "one of the most exciting rock and roll bands in a generation" and the debut album 'Youth and Young Manhood' as "perhaps one of the greatest debut albums from an American band", these seems like quite a paradox.
Well, they can stop doing reviews for crap mags and gutter press now, as this follow-up album not only doesn't disappoint but is simply stunning.
I had reserved judgement after the slow burning single 'The Bucket' falied to truly ignite my hopes, but some of tracks on this are devastatingly rocking. Hooks a plenty in much of it (as is a trademark of the Kings sound) but mixed-up with some ricocheting tempos in tunes and subtle build-up in some tunes make this a far more diverse affair.
Get one of 2004's most accomplished and surprising albums from a band that need prove very little to anyone now. Yee-haw!


Riot on an Empty Street
Riot on an Empty Street
Price: £7.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If it ain't broke, don't fix it..., 24 Jun 2004
This review is from: Riot on an Empty Street (Audio CD)
A triumphant return from the Kings here on this their follow up to the outstanding album from the 'new-acoustic movement' in 2001 entitled 'Quiet Is The New Loud'. If you've already got that (and you should have), then this is a treat.
Simply, this is more of the same. Great melodies and some instantly catchy material that is so carefree and floaty that it is now a unique attribute of their music.
The one difference is a more Americana sound emerging on some songs. This is best highlighted by the superb 'Love Is No Big Truth' that has shades of Blur's 'Think Tank', Lambchop's 'Up With People' and a bit of Flaming Lips/Mercury Rev thrown in too. However, it still sounds distinctivly like a Kings tune. In addition, the pace of some tracks are more urgent than on QITNL. 'I'd Rather Dance With You' has hints of Moloko's 'Familiar Feeling' without sounding over-produced. This is probably Erland's influence from his dance excursions in the last couple of years. Personal favourites would have to be 'Homesick', 'Misread', 'Cayman Islands' (truly beautiful) and 'Gold In The Air Of Summer'. All are more traditional Kings tunes really.
So, a welcome return and you don't really realise how good they are until you don't hear from them in a while. Still an under-rated and under-exposed treasure for fans of quality songwriting. Forget Franz Ferdinand, this pair the real girls favs. This is the audio equivalent of getting in touch with your feminine side!


Want One
Want One
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.65

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lush, beautiful music. A precocious and prolific talent., 10 Jun 2004
This review is from: Want One (Audio CD)
I bought this on the basis of having heard his name in comparison to the much-missed Elliott Smith and although the quality of songwriting is excellent (as was Smith's), the style and scope of the album's songs are poles apart.
Wainwright's songs are ready built soundtracks - lush orchestral string arrangements, structured songwriting that builds throughout much of the tracks on the album. The opener 'Oh What A World' is a perfect example of this with it's almost bizarre soundscape.
The production of the album is also phenomenal. Many tracks feature rousing arrangements that are joyous and uplifting and life-affirming whilst others feature more traditional songwriting values that many 'critics-fave' bands (Keane being the perfect example) would die to write. In fact, much of the music sounds like said band. However, Wainwright maintains a certain other-worldliness that beautifies his music beyond the slightly MOR Keane.
This does not make it any less accessible to the layman though. 'I Don't Know What It Is', 'Movies Of Myself', 'Go Or Go Ahead' and 'Beautiful Child' could all slip in easily into any daytime radio schedule. Some might think that it's a new Radiohead single such is the similarity of Wainwright's voice to Thom Yorke.
In closing, this is an outstanding 'album'. It seems a rarity to me nowadays that i stumble across anything (particularly from the often poor US singer-songwriter scene) that doesn't have me skipping through the tracks in an impatient fashion. This however feels satisfying, complete and is up there with the best stuff to come out of America in the last 10 years...think along the lines of Lambchop, Elliott Smith, the newer Grandaddy stuff and of course, our very own Shack (the Head Brothers. If any of those pop up in your collection, then this really ought to before long too.
PS His old man's not bad either...


Square
Square
Price: £15.52

4 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Living in the 'shadows', 9 Jun 2003
This review is from: Square (Audio CD)
Unfortunately, this album does not meet the standard that the music press have suggested. Therefore DJ Shadow fans should not be worried that anyone is going to be stealing his limelight in the immediate future (apart from maybe Prefuse 73 who has ideas that translate well onto recordings.)
It is not a lack of ideas that is amiss here, it is simply that they come across as being private jokes and even pretentious in their application. I know hip-hop should always be evolving and getting more clever, but this can't be done in ways that detach the listener from the material they are listening to.
This rather bland tapestry that Buck 65 weaves is not unlistenable, it's that you simply can't feel yourself being drawn in or getting emotive about it. Compared to some better hip-hop (Blackalicious, Latyrx, Kool Keith etc), this simply seems like an elevator-music equivalent.
In all, high hopes have been grossly let down, Good technical ability and studio production, but generally cluttered through the bizarre 4 track structure. Roll on the follow up to 'The Private Press'.


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