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The Wolf (uk)
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Merzxiu
Merzxiu
Price: £3.29

2.0 out of 5 stars A Noisy Prank, 26 May 2015
This review is from: Merzxiu (MP3 Download)
Japanese producer Masami Akita (Merzbow) and Xiu Xiu (Jamie Stewart et al) got together to
make some noise. 'Merzxiu' is the result. Their two working titles cleverly (ahem) fused as one.

There are two inventions here. 'A' and (erm) 'B'. Each lasts the greater part of twenty minutes.

Question 1 : "Should they have bothered?" Answer 1 : "No".
Question 2 : "...but aren't you being a bit unfair here Wolf?" Answer 2 : "Almost certainly".

If your idea of a good time involves being beaten about the head repeatedly with a shovel then you
may find something to cherish here. I promise you I did listen to the album from top to tail. Twice.
I kept my ears and mind as open as I could. I listened with headphones and I listened without
which resulted in Mrs Wolf shouting "Turn off that bl**dy row!" from the kitchen (I did. Promptly).
This brutally sustained sonic assault lacks any kind of subtlety or evidence of true imagination.
In the last analysis I can't help but wonder if the whole thing is little more than a childish prank.

At Your Own Risk.


Tiny Rewards
Tiny Rewards
Price: £10.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Worth The Risk, 25 May 2015
This review is from: Tiny Rewards (Audio CD)
Reason to celebrate. A new Admiral Fallow album. That's a good thing. A Very good thing.
With two exemplary releases ('Boots Met My Face' - 2010 and 'Tree Bursts In Snow' - 2012)
already in the bag the portents were clear that this was no ordinary band. That they had both
skill and musical imagination was apparent from the outset but they have something even more
valuable in front man Louis Abbott. Mr Abbott is a story teller and I have always loved a good story
but he is something of a poet too and his poignant lyrics have substantial emotional resonance.

With 'Tiny Rewards' the band have forged a stronger, more "electric" sound; guitar and percussion
taking a more prominent role and there is also considerable development and complexity evident
in the vocal harmonies. The canny woodwind/brass flourishes which characterised their earlier work
are all but gone (the odd bit of flute from Sarah Hayes notwithstanding) and electronics have a more
central function in the mix. There's also some very fine piano playing on show throughout.
Ms Hayes' vocals have a more prominent role this time around. I'm pleased about that; she has
a lovely voice which, even though largely relegated to second base, is certainly no second fiddle
and Philip Hague deserves a special mention for his exemplary contribution behind the drum kit.

There are a dozen numbers in the set and I am tempted to try to tell you something about each
and every one but that would risk spoiling the opportunity of discovering them for yourselves.

I'll make do with attempting to describe three!

'Building As Foreign' is a song about coming home; the bitter-sweet nuance of experience and
memory; a song which says "you can go back'; you and it may have changed but it's still home.

'Sunday' is an invention with power in its belly. From the chiming opening motif around which
Mr Abbott and Ms Hayes' voices circle in perfect accord, via the searing heat of its melodic heart,
to an ending so abrupt that we are left with a deep sense of unease for questions unanswered.

The multi-layered 'Some Kind Of Life' is almost bursting at the seams with good ideas and here
more than anywhere we feel the full life-force of this wonderful band's sublimely singular vision.

There will doubtless be naysayers carping that something has been lost here but I believe
that revision and reinvention has resulted in Admiral Fallows' most impressive work so-far.

Development takes courage. The risk has paid off magnificently.

Highly Recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2015 10:14 PM BST


Ratchet
Ratchet
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rising Star (Watch This Space), 24 May 2015
This review is from: Ratchet (Audio CD)
20 year old Las Vegas native Shamir Bailey is going places. 'Ratchet' is one heck of a debut album.
First there's the voice. It flys high on the stave. On some of the songs he could be mistaken for a girl.
Secondly there's the rhythm. This lad knows how to sing but also uses his voice as a percussive
instrument. Listen to the words glisten and bounce on 'On The Regular'. Rap just got an injection of
FRESH! (...and bejaysus the genre could use some freshening up!) Then there's the funk. Stripped-
down and as fiercely-focussed as early Prince. Just see if you can keep still to 'Call It Off' (go on I
dare you!)....and Disco? Yeah why not....witness the delicious mirrorball gyrations of 'Head In The
Clouds'. Is it all uptempo-nu-yoof-stuff? Well, no actually. Young Mr Bailey can sing as sweetly as a
lark when the mood and the moment takes him. 'Darker' has a simply beautiful vocal performance,
a tad redolent of both Maxwell and David McAlmont; a pure, spontaneously soulful outpouring.

You'll have gotten the message by now that I have been more than a little impressed with 'Ratchet'.

Listen to 'Make A Scene'. Feel the beat. Listen to it again and know that there's a big star rising here.

Terrific! (I mean really, really terrific!)


Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3

5.0 out of 5 stars Terence Judd 1957-1979 - An Appreciation, 24 May 2015
Terence Judd was a prodigious young pianist whose phenomenal technique and passionate spirit burned
across the skies of the musical firmament like a comet in a tragically short career, which, had he lived,
would doubtless have realised even greater glories.

Of the very few remaining testaments to his gift these accounts of Tchaikovsky's Ist Piano Concerto
and Prokofiev's 3rd, recorded live at the Tchaikovsky piano competition in 1978 (he achieved 4th place),
are among the most exciting renditions of these two great works which it is possible to imagine.

I still remember the initial thrill of hearing them on their vinyl release on the Chandos label (vinyl
Chandos ABR 1054 but still available on this fine CD reissue). His performance of the Tchaikovsky
concerto , in particular, demonstrates his ability to breathe new life into an old warhorse which the
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra must have played a hundred times or more before. There is a spontaneity
and vivacity in his interpretation which forces the band to match his own enthusiasm note for note.
It is as though we might be hearing it for the first time!

Whether in his mercurial grasp of the fiendishly difficult arpeggios or the titanic chordal passages
we are never left in any doubt that Mr Judd is determined to make this wonderful music his own.
The final coda blows my socks off every time!

Do make room in your life for this terrific recording. An essential desert island disc if ever there was one.


Philips GC3810/20 Azur Performer Steam Iron with 150 g Steam Boost, 300 ml, 2400 Watt, Blue
Philips GC3810/20 Azur Performer Steam Iron with 150 g Steam Boost, 300 ml, 2400 Watt, Blue
Price: £32.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Full Steam Ahead, 24 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This Philips Azur Steam Iron does pretty much everything you'd want a steam iron to do.
The blue and white plastic outer shell gives it a clean, jaunty, sort-of nautical look. The
controls and instruction book don't require that you should have a Phd in Particle Physics
to operate it (a big plus in our household!) and it has several functions which will more
than likely see us through all the usual jobs which we'd be wanting an iron to do for us:

Steam/temperature control; Spray Function; Steam Boost Function; Vertical Steam Function
(for ironing curtains in-situ I assume!) and an "Eco" Steam Setting which apparently uses
less energy and also allows you to iron without steam if steam isn't what you're wanting.

The manufacturer says that the "SteamGlide Plus" soleplate will "whizz through your ironing"
(Good word "Whizz!") and having used it four times so-far I have no argument against this claim.

You'll doubtless find something cheaper if you shop around but this baby seems worth the investment.

Designed in the Netherlands - Made In Indonesia.

Recommended.


Spülsaum
Spülsaum
Price: £2.97

4.0 out of 5 stars It Feels Good To Me, 24 May 2015
This review is from: Spülsaum (MP3 Download)
German producer turns in a tidy little trio of tracks with his most recent release 'Spulsaum'.
Given the proclivities of some of his Teutonic peers Herr E. has a light touch (some might
say a sense of humour is also in evidence). The beats are fairly frisky and all three of his
inventions have a fair degree of light and shade in their structures. This means that even
though the groove is sometimes broken for a short while what goes on in the intervals is
nevertheless interesting. The melodic content, although economical, is well-conceived.

'Huhnergott' is substantially built around a simple four-chord motif and has a slightly 'churchy'
air about it. 'Meerjungfruenportemonnaie', whilst not exactly rolling of the tongue, sports a
repetitive but nicely bubbling bassline and crisp hi-hat which would certainly lend itself to dancing.
Final track 'Unechete Wendeltreppe' initially wobbles and jitters along in a faintly dirty way but
changes course around mid-journey towards a somewhat more spiritually inclined destination.

'Spulsaum' passes my "feel-good" test with flying colours.


Glaive
Glaive
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nathan Fake Gets Real, 24 May 2015
This review is from: Glaive (MP3 Download)
Mr Fake is the real deal. You can dance to this. That's a good thing.
The five tracks on this recording are sufficiently different from one that
you will be able to play the lot front-to-back-and-back-again and invent
a wide number of moves with which to impress your nocturnal friends.

I especially liked 'Ffantasi', a catchy little number packed full of quirky
squeaks and bleeps which would undoubtedly appeal to stoats and
weasels and 'Audio Gold' whose beats sound like a little wooden horse
in tap shoes going clip-clippety-clop down a cobbled street in Spitalfields.

Jolly stuff.


Rexel A4 Active Folder (Pack of 25)
Rexel A4 Active Folder (Pack of 25)
Price: £8.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain Folders, 20 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
25 Rexel A4 transparent plastic folders in a mix of colours for £8.46 (at current
Amazon price) instead of £32.00. That's got to be a good deal isn't it? I think so.

They're pretty roomy, designed in an envelope shape and close with a pop stud.

Like the lyric to Malvina Reynolds' 1962 composition 'Little Boxes' says :

"There's a pink(ish) one and a green one and a blue one and a yellow one...."
There's orange, purple and white too but there're not mentioned in the song.
Come to that they're not "...all made out of ticky tacky" either even if they do
"....all look just the same". (If you've lost my drift here it's really not your fault!)

Ideal for keeping your papers tidy.

I like them.

A Bargain.


Conchita
Conchita
Price: £23.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's All About The Voice, 19 May 2015
This review is from: Conchita (Audio CD)
Goodness me this is a very good album indeed! I tried not to be too surprised. I sensed that
Ms Wurst's voice, if given the right platform and support, would shine and shine it truly does.
By any standards known to Planet Pop these are astonishingly good vocal performances.
Twelve songs and not a duff one in the bag. In terms of production quality it is clear that a
whole lot of mullah has been thrown at this project. It's got a big rich sound from top to tail.

The powerful opening anthem 'You Are Unstoppable' sports a top-notch string arrangement
and the kind of uplifting, life-affirming chorus which needs a big, big voice to bring it to life and
Ms Wurst does just that. The fearless top note in the final refrain made my fur stand on end!

'Up For Air', too, generates real emotion; each note and word delivered with perfect musicality.
'Colours Of Your Love' wears its heart on its sleeve; a lovely melody, beautifully performed.
'Pure', too, is the kind of number which in other hands might be considered cheesy but most
definitely not here; it's one of the album's highlights; World class stuff in fact. 'Rise Like A Phoenix'
has more that a whiff of Broadway about it and could have made a great Bond movie theme tune!!)

The easiest route for Ms Wurst's debut would have been to construct a collection of dance floor fillers.

This isn't that. It's very much more than that. This is all about the voice and what a great voice it is!

Brava!!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2015 8:13 AM BST


Sundown Over Ghost Town
Sundown Over Ghost Town
Price: £10.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sparkling Country Jewel, 18 May 2015
This review is from: Sundown Over Ghost Town (Audio CD)
This is lovely. Lovely because simple and utterly unaffected. Eilen Jewell has a gift
for writing truly exquisite country songs and a voice which reaches into our hearts.

The opening track 'Worried Mind' sets the bar high with its touching melody and
beautifully judged steel guitar decorations but the remaining eleven numbers in the
set effortlessly sustain our attention and admiration. Quality music with a capital 'Q'.

The perky Mexican shuffle of 'Rio Grande' is a hoot with its exemplary guitar and trumpet
solos and a vocal performance which is curiously redolent of Doris Day with added grit!
The bitter-sweet bluesy melody of 'My Hometown' and rattle-and-roll of 'Pages; the
plaintive waltz-time Americana of 'Some Things Weren't Meant To Be' and the sublime
final song 'Songbird', a stripped-down arrangement for acoustic guitar, harmonica and
voice (I'm pretty sure we can hear Ms Jewell's baby chirping away in the background too!)
which, for my money, turns out to be the album's most affecting invention. It's a real gem.

Find a small place in your life for 'Sundown Over Ghost Town' and you will grow to love it too.

Highly Recommended.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2015 10:57 AM BST


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