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Rooksby (United KIngdom)

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Punk 45. Kill The Hippies! Kill Yourself! The American Nation Destroys Its Young. Underground Punk in the United States of America, Vol. 1. 1973-1980
Punk 45. Kill The Hippies! Kill Yourself! The American Nation Destroys Its Young. Underground Punk in the United States of America, Vol. 1. 1973-1980
Price: 13.60

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not now no way, 25 Jan 2014
Punk 45 provides a decent enough (if biased) overview of the American proto-punk scene (& beyond) for the ingénue, but I can't help wondering for how much longer Jon Savage & his retro-glancing ilk can continue clinging onto this particular bandwagon - reissuing the same old tracks & regurgitating the same old anecdotes - especially with as wide-ranging & scattershot a resource as Youtube at one's fingertips?

Retreat from Memphis (1994)
Retreat from Memphis (1994)
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: 18.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Spirals of Paranoia, 24 Jan 2014
A rather uneven, sometimes meandering album but, for all that, a really, really good one.

Though it's lacking any "key" songs - no "Hello Cruel World", "Empire of the Senseless", "Last Dance". or "Ghosts of American Astronauts" this time - the pervading mood of downhearted ennui & simmering anger (still) makes for a very powerful listen, & it's a surprisingly noisy record too, with howling guitars in abundance & the band's (spurious) "cowpunk" elements nudged out of the limelight for it's duration.

17 songs, no filler, more than an hour's playing time, AND it's almost on par with earlier pivotal LPs like Fear & Whiskey or Rock 'N' Roll. A minor Mekons masterpiece basically (but aren't they all?).

A Bestiary Of
A Bestiary Of
Price: 5.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Festival of Colours, 19 Jan 2014
This review is from: A Bestiary Of (Audio CD)
I remember The Creatures' records very well - they were a bigger proposition than a lot of latter-day listeners might realise, regularly featuring on Top of the Pops, etc - but I hadn't heard any of them for a VERY long time until I picked this exhaustive (& excellent) collection up for a couple of quid when my local Fopp was closing down a few years ago.

I wasn't sure how well their music would stand up 3 decades on, but this compilation of debut album Feast & their earliest singles is stunning from beginning to end, & I'm tempted to profer that it's dated far better than The Banshees' own albums, particularly the contemporaneous Juju & Hyaena which, though imbued with a striking period charm, sound surprisingly time-warped now.

I don't know whether these initial Creatures experiments have been remastered or not, but their percussion-led minimalism sounds monstrous on CD, & Siouxsie's voice has never sounded better.

White Music
White Music
Offered by musikdrehscheibe
Price: 10.58

4.0 out of 5 stars Instant Tunes, 14 Jan 2014
This review is from: White Music (Audio CD)
I played White Music this morning, for the first time in A. VERY. LONG. TIME.

Conclusion: a very pleasant surprise. At least half of it could've been recorded last weekend rather than (pull up a chair granddad, this may come as a bit of a shock) 35 years ago. Perhaps that's as much an indication of the circuitous nature of contemporary culture (particularly popular music) as the duration of XTC's records though? That said, I'd be very pleased to hear something as great as "This is Pop", "Set Myself on Fire", "New Town Animal", "I'm Bugged", or "Statue of Liberty" introduced as a new release by a new band on Radio 6 next time I tune in.

Though the try-hard reinterpretation of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" sounds a little dated (it was essentially only ever a tongue-in-cheek encore anyway), the rest of White Music still sounds remarkably (& surprisingly) fresh. In fact, the only slight disappointment is the clumsy manner in which Virgin have unnecessarily tampered with the sleeve art, but the plethora of extra tracks (singles & b-sides) makes up for that.

The Rapture
The Rapture
Price: 7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Double Life., 13 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Rapture (Audio CD)
I suspect I did a bona fide double-take the first time I played The Rapture - the opening track is so uncharacteristically b.l.a.n.d. that I'd assumed my disc was a mis-press but, as Siouxsie's unmistakable vocals entered the fray, the ghastly truth dawned: The Banshees had lost their bollocks.

Though it DOES improve a few songs later, The Rapture still sounds like an album of 2 distinct halves to me: 5 of the songs were produced by John Cale & they, on the whole, are rather disappointing - tepid attempts to nudge The Banshees onto the radio (& into the charts) by highlighting Siouxsie's remarkable voice (i.e. a good idea) while stripping the accompaniment of any tangible edge (a very bad one). If Polydor are considering reissuing it I honestly hope they let the band remix it first.

Listening back to The Rapture again now, almost 20 years later, it feels as if there's a decent LP struggling to wrestle free & fight it's way to the surface, buried beneath layers of extraneous ornamentation & decoration. However, while a couple of songs are undeniably sublime, it remains (for me) a failure on virtually all fronts, & as the band's final statement it still seems like a massive disappointment.

by Keith Waterhouse
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Columbus of Sex., 29 Dec 2013
This review is from: Jubb (Hardcover)
An often brilliant & surprisingly near-the-knuckle comedic novel about an unrepentant pervert's slow descent into complete social ostracisation.

The follow-up, chronologically at least, to Billy Liar, Jubb must've been a big shock for many who encountered it at the time - though perhaps that was Mr. Waterhouse's intention. The cosy provincial angst of it's renown predecessor has been rudely overpainted with a thick, sticky veneer of sexually repressed kreosote, but Jubb is no less an amusing read for that. It's denouement, in fact, made me laugh out loud, though the underlying aphorism - that "all anomalies are doomed" - still rings as true as ever, of course.

Sadly, like much of Mr. Waterhouse's finest work, Jubb has been out of print since the 1980s.

Here Come The Warm Jets
Here Come The Warm Jets
Price: 6.71

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Driving me backwards., 24 Dec 2013
This review is from: Here Come The Warm Jets (Audio CD)
I've been listening to this album since the late '80s, when reasonably priced used vinyl copies were still relatively easy to come by (nobody was interested in Eno's "silly pop songs" back then, I seem to recall), & I'm still not bored with it.

Camp & sardonic, combining audacious bubblegum melodies with massed processing gadgetry, tape-loop trickery, snarling lyrical abstraction, & various nods to the then-contemporary avant garde (plus a little psychedelic doo-wop), ...Warm Jets is Eno's first masterpiece. A stunned Byron Ferrari must've tumbled out of his vintage Habitat Egg Chair when he first heard it... & so might you.

The wonderful "Cindy Tells Me" alone is worth a fiver, & it's not even the best track.

Price: 9.31

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Running on empty., 12 Dec 2013
This review is from: Cocoon (Audio CD)
A serious contender for Worst Sleeve Of The Year. And the music's not much better either - witless fashionista "techno" for tubby cokeheads in 50 flip-flops. Yecch.

Price: 16.76

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hate or Glory., 11 Dec 2013
This review is from: Aleph (Audio CD)
Aleph features less of the "bangin'" Front 242-indebted E.B.M. that was showcased on Gesaffelstein's sequence of excellent pre-L.P. singles, but that's to be expected... an album constructed entirely of austere Blitzkrieg synths, disembodied dominitrix vocals, & pounding anodic rhythms would be very one dimensional, I think?

Instead, it's a very dark, VERY French collection of eerie crepuscular electronica that bears comparison with the lurid 4am drift studies of Bo'Tox & Discodeine - but don't panic, there several ferociously hammering techno cuts too.

Crooked Rain Crooked Rain [Special Edition]
Crooked Rain Crooked Rain [Special Edition]
Price: 12.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This ammunition never rests..., 26 Nov 2013
I bought Crooked Rain in 1994, played it to death, & worshipped at the altar of Pavement for several years thereafter... so much so that I have difficulty sitting down & listening to the album "proper" these days: I've already played it WAY too much, it's every nuance is imprinted on my long-term memory it seems, rather like The V.U.'s "banana" album or Bowie's Ziggy.

However, this reissue is worth picking up for the extra disc alone - a brilliantly tatty, scattershot mélange of b-sides, Peel sessions, & demos that contains enough unused raw material for (at least) another entire Pavement album. Malkmus, Spiral & co. were stupendously prolific at this point - in fact, there were so many discarded songs left over at the end of the Crooked Rain sessions that I'm surprised Wowee Zowee wasn't a quadruple LP!

Ultimately, I'll always prefer Slanted & Enchanted, as that's when I intersected with (& immersed myself in) Pavement's surreal muse but, if I'm honest, Crooked Rain is a more impressive achievement by far, & inarguably their finest "band" album.

A masterpiece? Why, yes.
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