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Sal "Music You Can't Dance To" (Britain)

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The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics)
The Monk: A Romance (Penguin Classics)
by Howard Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Gothic Genius, 26 Jan. 2016
Look, this book is still in print after a few hundred years, that should be sufficient recommendation. Written by a young gent who puts a number of modern authors to shame because of his effortless command of the language, this tale is remarkably easy to read despite its vintage. Alarmingly visceral, claustrophobic and cinematic, it culminates in a climax so incredibly apocalyptic that it leaves the reader thoroughly drained. Downside, it's a little saggy in the middle but that's entirely to be expected because of its age. It is a dark, compelling tale of human frailty.

Easy Action
Easy Action
Price: £3.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inventive Early Days, 7 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Easy Action (Audio CD)
Everything I said about Pretties for you, more or less, is relevant here. Difficult, inventive, messy, shambles, cool, and a host of other words. Though this has slightly more traditional approach to songwriting, and is the, slightly, inferior of the two.

The Cooper band always struggled to reach the forty minute mark for their albums, and here its, Lay Down and Die, Goodbye that outstays its welcome, but with a great finish! (Well Ive written home to mama!).

Below Your Means has a similar structure to Halo of Flies, passing through various rock themes on its extended journey, but maybe is more 'West Coast'. Beautiful Flyaway sung by an uncredited Michael Bruce, two garage tracks, (Still No Air and Return Of The Spiders), and a number of off-kilter pop songs.

Again, not a gem, but a solid four stars, if you like Zappa or The Doors, Killer or Love it to Death, and all that late sixties underground, theres no reason not to have this. Pretties For You is better, though.

Pretties For You
Pretties For You
Price: £3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Changing, Arranging, 7 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Pretties For You (Audio CD)
Zappa's Straight label was good for the Alice Cooper band, giving them the freedom to interpret the theatricality of The Doors (Jim being Vince's hero), through the pot smoking eyes of suburban, middle class, middle America. The picture of them at the time is priceless, skinny guys squeezed into girls clothes, the singer calling himself Alice, after a ouija board encounter with a 16th C witch.

This and Easy Action, (the second album), are hugely inventive, the band referencing parts of them during their later success, fleshed out by Bob Ezrin, a guy who likes to s p r e a d i d e a s t h i n, whereas on these first albums, the ideas come thick and fast, often more than one at the same time. Why have a hook, when you can have ten? Earwigs To Eternity is the ultra condensed history of the band in 1.18! The bands hit 'Elected' is here in embryonic form, under the title, 'Reflected', though here, it is garage psychedelia. Later songs such as Halo of Flies, My Stars, Killer, Blue Turk, Black Juju, all have a lot more similarity to tracks on the two early ablums, than first realised. The latter stuff sounding like sparser, polished versions of ideas from Pretties For You and Easy Action.

Levity Ball is 'live' from the Cheetah Club, though the place seems to be rather empty, pity, as the band perform a highlight, a jazzy, psychedelic journey. Changing, Arranging is a great song, Fields Of Regret another. The bulk of the album is less traditional, however. Theres very little 4/4 time here, when there is, it doesnt last long. Its fairly surprising that the band seem competent enough to tackle this kind of avant garde stuff. Michael Bruce and the sadly departed Glen Buxton worth particular mention. Its definitely a 'band' effort, too, Vince seeming a distant contributor.

Hardly a lost jewel, but I would place it artistically higher than solo Alices MOR rock albums, because of its originality and inventiveness. The first two albums are the prototypes for everything that was good about The Alice Cooper Band.

Not easy listening, not always enjoyable, but it very often IS a joy. Of the two, I would place Pretties For You above Easy Action, but both are solid four star albums. Both recently reissued.

Price: £5.54

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Highest Human Achievement, 19 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Essential. Peerless. This is the end product of millions of years of evolution. A terrible, cold beauty that stands as testament to the meaninglessness of existence. Play it at your sister.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2009 3:22 AM GMT

Author! Author!
Author! Author!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lost Classic, 4 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Author! Author! (Audio CD)
Ive had the vinyl version in a box for years, but nothing to play it on. I have gradually bought all of my vinyl collection on CD and this was almost the last piece of the puzzle, (Pretties for You by Alice Cooper being the other). I looked online for a CD version of this before I knew it was going to be rereleased and found pictures of a bootleg, but didnt take the plunge on that one. A lost classic, indeed. I typed the title into Amazon one day and couldnt believe my eyes! It must be something like 20 years since Ive heard and I remembered every bit. (I played it to death in the eighties). I even remembered 'Dislikes: Status Quo evenings'! Fantastic! You like Joy Division, The Cure, Magazine, and all those other art bands? Get it before it disappears for good. Every song a gem. 'Your Attention Please', 'Lady In The Car...', 'All About You', I could go on...I heard that one of the guys fell under the evil spell of the beautiful Nico...


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hawkwind all over again!, 4 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Otherworld (Audio CD)
I got this the other day not thinking it was going to be a classic but wanting it all the same for the sake of completeness. It reminds me of a direction the band could have took after Choose Your Masques, in their RCA period. Its actually a lot better than most of the recent output of the 'real' Hawkwind. I thought 'Electric Tepee' or 'It Is The Business of the Future...' to be the best of the recent Hawkwind CDs, but this stands well above either of those in terms of 'Hawkwindness'. It has soundscapes, sure, and monotone delivery of lyrics, but no one complains about 'Master of the Universe', in fact, the delivery seems, quintessentially Hawkwind. It has that same 'spacey' feel of most spacey bands, if you know what I mean, bands like Porcupine Tree et al. But it has something more, also. It has humour, that ironic touch that characterised the early stuff. You know, that knowingness that means you wouldn't feel embarassed to play it in front of your mates. It has beautiful nods to the past, stuff from Moorcock, redone with a different soundtrack. Parts of the vocal are reminiscient of Calvert at his most lucid. Theres the Black Corridor, Arival In Utopia and a nod to 'Utopia' for the oldies and a host of other inventive greats, Walking Backwards being an early favourite of mine.
To be honest, Ive bought recent Hawkwind CDs in the spirit of loyalty to a once-great band, and although I hesitate to rank this alongside 'Doremi...' or 'In Search of Space', it, believe me, sounds like a modern version of the same band. Great, Nik and the guys, just great.

Rolled Gold
Rolled Gold

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Suggestion, 10 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Rolled Gold (Audio CD)
This is great, yeah! Five Stars for the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world, ever. The repackaging is great, an improvement on that awful vinyl cover, the extra tracks, CD notes in gold, sound quality, fantastic. All we need now is a compilation CD of all those early Jagger/Richard numbers from the early albums, up to Aftermath, so we don't have to wade through all of those RnB covers. Sacrilege, I know, but what a great CD that would be, eh?

Price: £7.99

2 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not A Classic..., 3 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Victorialand (Audio CD)
Hmm...A number of reviews seem to rate this as one of the Cocteau's best. I can't really agree. If Im not mistaken, Liz Frazer said that, by this point in the Cocteau's history, they had begun to parody themselves, and it sounds like it to me, their weakest set. Built on a preponderance of Maj7 chords, it feels like they are treading old ground. Added to that, the brevity of the album is not a plus. It still retails at a normal price point, (and did at the time of release, I can personally vouch). Where are the startling cresendos, the light and shade, the sounds of angels giving it hell? The Cocteaus are better than aimless ambience. Rather listen to Blue Bell Knoll, Treasure, et al. Even Four-Calendar Cafe is better than this one.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 30, 2014 7:18 PM GMT

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