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Reviews Written by
J. Willis (London, England.)
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Can't Get Enough
Can't Get Enough
Price: £14.23

4.0 out of 5 stars A Change Of Partners...., 3 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Can't Get Enough (Audio CD)
What is immediately apparent listening to The Rides, is that by choosing to stick to one genre, in this case blues-rock, Stephen Stills is as focused as he has been in quite some time, and 'Can't Get Enough' is his most cohesive project in many years. It's also quite clearly a team effort, thankfully, as Stills' biggest problem of late has been quality control. I mean, as good as some moments were on 'Man Alive!', 'Feed The People' must rank as one of his lowest, and yet they included it on his box-set! I'd never heard of Kenny Wayne Shepherd, but credit where it's due, as between himself and Stills there is some serious guitar playing going on here, and he proves himself worthy of the company he keeps. As for the songs, well it's a decent mix of originals and covers, and it's all of a decent standard. I only hope that whatever Stephen Stills decides to do next, he uses the momentum of this project to once again deliver the kind of music/magic he has only shown glimpses of in the past thirty years.


Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £10.81

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let The Record Play...., 1 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Lightning Bolt (Audio CD)
At one time it would have been almost unimaginable to say, but with 'Lightning Bolt', Pearl Jam have gone and made a mainstream/commercial rock album, and it all sounds very intentional too. It's got an epic Springsteen-esque title track 'Lightning Bolt', a couple of ballads in 'Sirens' and 'Yellow Moon', and any number of potential singles, take your pick from 'Swallowed Whole', 'Infallible'.... All round it's a very strong Pearl Jam album, and certainly an improvement on 'Backspacer', which I wasn't overly keen on. If anything, it's almost too well rounded and content, something I'd never have believed i would say about a Pearl Jam album!


Fanfare
Fanfare
Price: £5.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...., 29 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Fanfare (Audio CD)
I loved Jonathan Wilson's 'Gentle Spirit', but if I had any criticisms, it was that it sometimes lost focus. The same applies with 'Fanfare', but even more so. There is no doubting its ambition, and the intention to make an epic album, but I personally feel that it lacks the songs to do so. The line between drawing on his influences and pastiche is very fine, and too often you can hear Jonathan Wilson crossing over into outright plagiarism! For me, a few songs stand out. 'Love To Love' being one, more so because it's a rare occasion where he keeps it straightforward. So while 'Fanfare' is very much an L.A album, it probably represents the self-important/indulgent era of the late 70's rather than the spirit of Laurel Canyon's heyday that 'Gentle Spirit' tapped into.


Sliver: The Best Of The Box
Sliver: The Best Of The Box
Price: £5.15

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One For The Completist..., 3 Dec. 2013
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I'm still not quite sure what to make of this album. Yes, there are a couple of gems, but by and large you would have to say that when Nirvana selected what tracks made it on to their studio albums, they got it pretty much spot on. A song like 'Nevermind' outtake 'Old Age' would have added nothing to that album. Whilst there is a certain charm hearing Kurt's home demo's, you know they were never meant for public consumption, and probably rightly so, as the quality of some of the recordings are sketchy to say the least. Aside from the curiosity factor, I don't know what i have gained from 'Sliver:The Best Of The Box', so it really is one for the completist.


Everybody Loves Our Town: A History of Grunge
Everybody Loves Our Town: A History of Grunge
by Mark Yarm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey Through My Past...., 3 Dec. 2013
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I wouldn't call 'Everybody Loves Our Town' a well written book, rather a superbly edited one, as Mark Yarm tells the story of Grunge through the voices of those who were there. Being a teenager at the time of Nirvana's 'Nevermind', I will always have a soft spot for grunge as it was the first genre that I could call my own. Very quickly I realized that I wasn't going to be able to put this book down, and so I finished it off in a couple of days. I also found myself riding the waves of emotions that I felt many moons ago. Firstly the exhilaration of seeing this gang of outsiders and misfits not only breaking into the mainstream, but actually coming to define a generation. Then the sadness and anger, as just as soon as it exploded, it started to fade, amid the usual cliches of rock and roll. Excess and greed, oh so predictable really! Hindsight, as it is, will tell us that as soon as the major labels got their claws into Seattle they were always going to bleed it dry, and they did. Though the lack of decent Seattle bands to follow in the wake of Nirvana, Pearl Jam etc. meant it was never going to last. All in all, it's a great book, though sadly one without a happy ending.


Get There
Get There
Price: £11.62

4.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Fit...., 23 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Get There (Audio CD)
Minor Alps are Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws(Nada Surf). 'Get There' is the rather charming album they have made together. What is immediately apparent is that neither artist has had to give too much ground to make the collaboration work. From the power pop of 'I Don't Know What To Do With My Hands' to the indie-rocking 'Far From The Roses', and with some nice acoustic tracks like 'Buried Plans' it's never one dimensional, though I could have done with a few more trashy punk songs like 'Mixed Feelings'. Altogether it's an effortlessly classy album from these two, which is the least I would expect, knowing what both are capable of.


Alice In Chains
Alice In Chains
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not AIC's Finest...., 27 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Alice In Chains (Audio CD)
I really wanted to love this album, but aside from a few obvious highlights such as 'Grind', 'Brush Away' and 'Heaven Beside You', i'd say that it's nowhere near as good as 'Facelift', 'Dirt' or 'Jar Of Flies/Sap'. The problem for me is not the material, more that as a whole 'Alice In Chains' is a tough listen. It's a very dark and murky sounding album but my biggest regret is that Layne Staley's once mighty voice is already clearly shot. The fact that his vocals are layered with different effects, and that Jerry Cantrell had to take the lead on a few songs is the biggest giveaway. It's a shame that Alice In Chains final studio album with Layne was easily their weakest, yet it's still better than what most of the bands who followed in their wake were capable of.


Stone Temple Pilots - Purple
Stone Temple Pilots - Purple
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £5.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic...., 27 Oct. 2013
Around the time of their debut 'Core', i had written Stone Temple Pilots off as mere copyists who jumped upon the grunge bandwagon. It took about a minute of hearing the first single 'Vaseline', from this, their second album, to realise that i had got it all wrong. Forget the difficult second album syndrome that affects other bands, as 'Purple' is STP's classic. The grunge scene was pretty dark, to say the least, so to their credit STP found their niche by adding a fair dose of glam, sex & sleaze to the hard rock riffs, with a bit of psychedelia thrown in. I still listen to this album, almost twenty years after its release, and i'm still taken aback by just how good it is.


Down On The Upside
Down On The Upside
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Better Late Than Never...., 17 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Down On The Upside (Audio CD)
It has taken me seventeen years to realise just how great 'Down On The Upside' is, and i only gave it another chance because the reunion was on the cards. Soundgarden's previous album 'Superunknown' was such an important record in my life, that i think whatever they released after was never going to live up to my expectations. Also, i think that my musical tastes were changing at the time. However, better late than never, i say. Carrying on pretty much where 'Superunknown' left off, 'Down On The Upside' is quite a diverse album. As you'd expect, it rocks, but there is also a mellower edge too. The first half of the album is amazing, 'Pretty Noose', 'Dusty', 'Blow Up The Upside World' and 'Burden In My Hand' are massive tunes. Soundgarden know how to write a song that can rock hard yet be very melodic, which proves them to be far more than just a metal band. If i have any complaints, it's that i think that the album is maybe a couple of songs too long, but i wouldn't let that put you off.


Pick Me Up (Dig)
Pick Me Up (Dig)
Price: £16.56

3.0 out of 5 stars More Of The Same, Which Ain't A Bad Thing...., 29 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Pick Me Up (Dig) (Audio CD)
'Pick Me Up' by Truth & Salvage Co, excuse the pun, picks up from where their 2010 debut left off. So once again they adeptly channel the spirit of The Band, Allman Brothers and their mentors The Black Crowes. There are a couple of differences this time around though. Firstly the album has a polished sound, which, and maybe it's intentional, gives it a more commercial feel. Whether having Chris Robinson produce again would have made much of a difference, i'm not sure, as maybe it's the actual songs that have more commercial appeal? Also, there's a fair dose of country this time around, which on songs like 'Appalachian Hilltop' works great. The harmonies throughout are stunning, and at times you almost believe that you're listening a lost Band album! Whilst i think that 'Pick Me Up' isn't quite as strong an album as their debut, the uplifting and positive vibes more than make up for it.


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