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AGC2070 (Ashford, Kent, UK)

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I Care Because You Do
I Care Because You Do
Offered by Side Two
Price: £14.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Selective brilliance!, 15 July 2014
This review is from: I Care Because You Do (Audio CD)
With the exception of SAW and SAW2, I find many Aphex Twin albums like those John Lennon CDs where you need to program the player to skip the Yoko Ono tracks. In my case, I want the chilled out ambient tracks but not the more dance orientated stuff. This album is a perfect example.

The opening track has a hypnotic drumbeat and you instantly feel you're on course for a SAW style experience. Track 3 let's the side down a bit but then Icct Hedral takes you to another dimension with it's superb multi-layering of string sounds to give a sinister classical feel and extra punch when the chord change in the middle kicks in.

After this I skip to Mookid, for the final four tracks are sublime, Alberto Balsalm in particular. This has an addictive baseline and seems to relax the mind, as the 'balsam/balm' in the title might imply. The final track returns to layered string style of Icct Hedral.

The tracks I always skip include Ventolin which simulates the tinnitus-like side effect that some people get from this asthma reliever. This is a real 'Marmite' track that you will either love or hate.

Personally, I would love to see the excellent Pancake Lizard (B side) included on this album to tip the balance further in the direction of the lounge as opposed to the dance floor. So it's 3 out of 5 for me, but with the wonders of CD programming I can easily make it a 5. It's worth the admission fee for Icct Hedral and Alberto Balsalm alone.

Supertramp - The Very Best Of
Supertramp - The Very Best Of
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £8.34

5.0 out of 5 stars It's logical to buy it!, 9 Mar. 2014
You'll buy it for the hits and keep coming back for the tracks you didn't know. You're Bloody Well Right and Ain't Nobody But Me have riffs worthy of any of your 70s rock groups, and if you feel nothing when hearing the tale of Rudy's train to nowhere then there is clearly something wrong. I particularly enjoy the inclusion of the train announcement from Paddington to the West but that's probably just me! School has great lyrics too. And you've still got all the hits to go. Listen; ingest; enjoy.

by Simon Crow
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gruesome yet compelling debut, 22 Jan. 2014
This review is from: B.O.D.I.E.S (Paperback)
Dreamed up in the rural fenlands of Eastern England, this book is a million miles from the author's pastoral home. The opening catapults the reader into a dark world of extreme violence where anything can happen.

What follows has the feel of a USA prison drama with a surreal and mysterious twist. The shocks keep coming, but the plot is nearer to Stephen King than the 'slasher' style of the Saw films.

My favourite section is when Morgan meets the mastermind behind it all and discovers the true scale of things and that the horrors he has witnessed are really just an exaggerated version of our everyday world (creating a need or dependency in order to guarantee profit for example).

The final chapters reminded me of John Carpenter's 'The Thing'. This is an easy-going read for anybody who isn't too squeamish and I await the author's second book to see what emerges from the dark mind of Simon Crow next.

Stewart Lee - Carpet Remnant World [DVD]
Stewart Lee - Carpet Remnant World [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stewart Lee
Price: £17.46

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars City meat - meat from the city!, 10 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
On my initial viewing I was disappointed, but as with 'Milder Comedian,' bits of this epic routine tend to stick in your head and eventually one comes to embrace it.

For me it was the timely 'Scooby Doo / Thatcher' section that stood out. Following the rose-tinted media-obituary of MHT and the insidious acceptance of the current 'cut and privatise' ethos, this is satire done in a subtle and clever way. Sometimes I am longing for Stew to get political and tear the Government a new mouthpiece 'Ben Elton style' but his cleverness is in always doing things his own way. The 'Magners / give it to me straight' section of 'Milder comedian' was similar in its take on 'nothing is sacred' commercialism.

Be warned: this is Stewart's first 18 certificate, and I guess that it is the repeated use of C word in the 'Twitter' section that has added 3 years onto Stew's usual suitability rating, but you can't blame him - you lot wrote it!

The fake nervous breakdown is perhaps not as dramatic as in 'Milder comedian' but the sight of Mr Lee doing 'sad comedy' whilst swigging from a bottle of wine is very memorable. The audience analysis does get somewhat repetitive, but he is perhaps pushing this aspect to the limit before moving on into new territory (see the accompanying interview).

All in all, it's good to see that a comedian can be edgy and even shocking without resorting to the rising tide of prejudice and misdirected anger shown by many 'comedians' as well as the 'would be comedians' we meet every day! CRW is also an 'I hate the Travelodge' style tirade against banality on a national scale.

Masters of the Universe
Masters of the Universe
Offered by westworld-
Price: £4.88

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hotch-potch of Hawkwind, 28 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Masters of the Universe (Audio CD)
At first I wasn't so keen on this budget compilation of live tracks and early recordings but having purchased and enjoyed the 30 year box set, I can appreciate this more now. The live performance of the title track is blistering. Hash Cake '77 sounds a little like the early Pink Floyd and Dealing with the Devil gives insight into the early years, sounding pre-psychedelia.

Some of the ethereal tracks are just plain bonkers, like Douglas in the Jungle and Ghost Dance, whilst the cleverness of the lyrics in High Rise and Spirit of the Age still shines through.

The sound quality is fairly mediocre but the intro to the live version of Silver Machine is worth the price alone - surely one of the best openings of all time. It's a shame the track is only 4 minutes long, and perhaps more of a shame that it was the Scourge of the Earth version that finished the 30 year box set instead of this one.

The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour [1967] [DVD] [2004] [NTSC]
The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour [1967] [DVD] [2004] [NTSC]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Magical film - Tragical quality, 14 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The film itself needs little introduction to most Beatles fans. Many of the scenes seem like a precursor to Monty Python, such as the rambling army sergeant baiting a stuffed animal while his colleague relaxes at a desk in a field. The 'I am the walrus' video is my favourite segment, and John Lennon as a waiter shovelling spaghetti onto the table is another Pythonesque moment. The race is also fun where participants begin on foot, eventually progressing to all manner of vehicles.
The music is of course superlative.

However, this version is not recommended. A 60s film of this kind relies on vivid colours, but this pressing is so washed out that there is often no definition at all. If you imagine watching an entire movie with the brightness on the TV set to maximum you have the general idea.

Unfortunately Beatles DVDs are notoriously expensive so I was lured by the budget price. I am now saving up for the remastered version and this one will be on its way to a charity bin.

Oh, and one final thing, are we ever going to get an official release of Let it Be in the UK? Come on Sir Paul, we are big enough to handle the fifth and final Beatle film and maybe you could satiate our curiosity with a release of Carnival of Light on CD while you're at it!

Wonderwall Music By George Harrison
Wonderwall Music By George Harrison

4.0 out of 5 stars What's a Wonderwall anyway?, 23 Jun. 2012
File alongside Roger Waters' Music from The Body and Stevie Wonder's Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants - it's kind of new agey and nothing like my expectations at all. Have no qualms, this album is very 'musical' and a much more sonorous affair than Lennon's first three solo offerings.

Don't be put off by the notion that it is all Indian music either. It is amazing how well the Indian pieces blend with the quirky western styles of tracks such as Drilling a Home and Cowboy Music. 'Crying' sounds remarkably like its subject matter and shows some good humour too. We were denied the chance to hear McCartney's 'Carnival of Light' on the Beatles' Anthology because Harrison wasn't so keen on sound collages, but listening to the Dream Scene, he clearly wasn't far off here. Above all this music is very relaxing.

If you have All Things Must Pass and couldn't really get into Harrison's later material, this might just be the perfect companion to it. The only trouble is you could probably buy your own sitar for the average price of this CD. Oh, our materialistic western ways!

Born to Die
Born to Die
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £4.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Her voice belies her youthfulness!, 1 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Born to Die (Audio CD)
When I first heard Video Games on Radio 2, I assumed the singer was at least 40 years old from the depth and range of her voice. The dark feel of the song and unexpected chord pattern convinced me that this was something different from the usual shallow pop filling the charts.

Next I heard Born to Die. Rather than repeat the sparse arrangement of the first song, it is a production piece of a more dramatic nature. Again I was impressed. I thought the video was a little bit hackneyed (complete with the obligatory shirtless tattooed love interest) and prepared myself for the album.

At first I didn't like the more hip-hoppy feel and vocal gymnastics of Off To The Races, but it grew on me when contrasted with the two singles and the chiming guitar of Blue Jeans.

Next comes National Anthem. Lines such as 'money in the reason we exist' could be taken ironically or literally (similar to the sentiment expressed in Lily Allen's The Fear). While Western society is being easten alive by financial systems it can seem a bit brash, but then even the hallowed Beatles were once as blunt as to sing 'money - that's what I want!' In fact Lana's fixation with death at such a young age is almost reminiscent of Bob Dylan's little known first album too.

The use of the F word in the repeated chorus of Radio seems rather out of place next to the songwriting experienced so far. Used sparingly swearing can add impact, but one doesn't get that feeling here. Highlights of the rest of the album include Million Dollar Man and perhaps Summertime Sadness. I was hoping for some different sounds and just a little relief from the dark and decadent feel of the music by this stage; maybe even a track performed to a lone acoustic guitar.

The four stars refer to the 12-track edition. The 15-track version drops another star for me, as by the end the click-track drums and relentless strings have become a little too much. In short, enigmatic. Let's see what Lana does next...

In Utero
In Utero
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.66

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like the curate's egg..., 21 Feb. 2012
This review is from: In Utero (Audio CD)
This is a review for those approaching the Nirvana catalogue from the Beatles/Floyd end of the rock spectrum, rather than those familiar with the heavy idiom, who will no doubt find the five-star reviews to be more accurate. Having checked out Nirvana's greatest hits album, Unplugged and the classic Nevermind, one is faced with a choice of Bleach, Inesticide or In Utero.

This kind of fan, attracted to the lighter and more melodic side of Cobain and chums, will probably like just one track on Bleach, prefer the first half of Incesticide and skip tracks 2, 8 and 11 on In Utero, as these are all very heavy and feature lots of screaming.

So what are the highlights of what we have left?
The opening track is melodic and heralds great things, perhaps showing hints of the kind of vocals that Liam Gallagher would later aspire to.
Heart Shaped Box occasionally even eclipses SLTS as the number one Nirvana song in those myriad surveys and needs no intro.
Rape Me has a harsh uncompromising lyric, which may even hint at how Cobain felt about commercial expectations.
Dumb is a great acoustic sounding song. Perhaps musing on the 'ignorance is bliss' maxim (happy = dumb!)
Pennyroyal Tea is melodic and when I hear this, I can almost imagine Cobain, had he lived, as an old man with pipe and slippers! I prefer the cleaner mix on the greatest hits compilation but again, that's personal taste.
Radio Friendly Unit Shifter is anything but what the title suggests, yet a great angsty song. Cobain's voice and the continuous drum pattern convey a weariness of life ('what is wrong with me?') and this is a genuinely arty offering. I can see this track perhaps influencing later bands like Radiohead.
Then we have All Apologies - one of my all-time favourite Nirvana's songs - great harmonies in the coda, which evokes pathos in it's resigned philosophical mantra.

The bonus track is far better than Endless Nameless on Nevermind (which I think detracts from the power of 'Something in the Way' as a final statement). 'Gallons of Alcohol...' is almost reminiscent of some of the Velvet Underground's lenghty jam tracks and features a rare laugh by Cobain as he seemingly muses about the absurdity of life.
Personally I would have liked to have seen this as a regular track on the album (as opposed to following twenty minutes of silence), with You Know You're Right (the final proposed single which came too late for this album) as a closer. Well, that's my idea of nirvana anyway!

East Coastway & Marshlink - DVD - Video 125
East Coastway & Marshlink - DVD - Video 125
Dvd ~ Jonathan Kydd
Offered by becksdvds-co-uk
Price: £20.66

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty much on track, 23 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An informative commentary and aerial shots augment the basic premise of a 'driver's eye view' cab ride. Occasional side views and shots of the stations punctuate the film. My only criticism is that the tunnels have been edited out so it isn't quite real-time. Much as it sounds ridiculous, I quite like watching a dark screen with a tiny pin-prick of light gradually getting closer.

The London to Brighton 'speed run' includes all the tunnels and has a great feel, with the driver chatting as he pummels the train towards the coast at a speed that is just a wee bit slower than those historic 'London to Brighton in 4 Minutes' shorts (which never get shown these days). Then there is still the Newhaven/Seaford branch to go.

The bonus aerial views are also a pleasure to watch especially with the accompanying soundtrack of Mozart's piano concerto no. 21. Perhaps a view of Winchelsea town, a more comprehensive view of Ham Street and a look across the actual village of Appledore wouldn't go a miss, but these are minor carpings in what is generally a superb DVD that will appeal to 'local interest' as well as 'rail fanatics'.

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