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Marley's Ghost (Stafford, UK)

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The Courage Of Others
The Courage Of Others
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £7.15

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly fine, 3 Feb. 2010
This review is from: The Courage Of Others (Audio CD)
Van Occupanther may well not be the greatest album of the last decade but it's one that I love very dearly. Its just a joy to listen to. A "stayer" on the ipod.

I was looking forward to the new one and have to admit to being disappointed on first listen. I do understand the "samey" criticisms but on perseverence (and lets face it all the best albums need a little effort) that isn't a problem in the long term. Neither do I agree with the Uncut reviewer who found it cold. Yes it is cold but not in the sense that he inferred. It's an album about loss and the end of things. At times very beautiful but melancholic. It lacks the strong melodys of the last album but there is more subtlety so requires more from the listener.

Downsides:

1) English Folk has, at heart, the concept of death and renewal as encapsulated in the face of the Green Man. I'm not sure if Midlake have yet grasped this idea. Musically its fine but it has only half the story.

2) Many of the tracks are crying out for a counterpoint to Smith's voice. They should recruit a female singer.

PS. Amazing how many "promo" copies are knocking about. I hope that those who reviewed this before 1st Feb put their hands in their pockets eventually. It's bands like this we should cherish and support or all we'll be left with is the massed ranks of turgid homogenous Simoncowlerry.


Marquee Moon
Marquee Moon
Price: £6.38

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No 1, 13 May 2009
This review is from: Marquee Moon (Audio CD)
The rating system on Amazon gives an option for a 5 stars review. ie 100%. But in reality only two albums warrant a 100% rating. This one and "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel. Very different albums but for each one you wouldn't change a note.

People bang on about the twin guitars on this album and the guitar "solo's" but really there are 4 members of the band playing as a unit like no other band in history has managed to put on record. The strength of the album is the way the four components seem to effortlessly dance around each other. Or should I say five components, as they use the spaces inbetween with just as much expertise.

The first true "Indie" record - Little Jimmy Jewel (Parts 1 & 2) - Fact

Therefore the first "Indie" band - Television - Fact

The greatest guitar album in history - Marquee Moon - Fact

I didn't buy the original green vinyl version in 1977 as they'd just run out but a pal of mine did and it came with the bonus single of Little Jimmy Jewel. Since then I've wished I had a copy. So thanks very much to those nice people at Rhino. (Ditto for the track "Adventure" on album 2 which never did get a release.)

Thanks also for the better sound on here (especially See No Evil) and the complete version of the title track that was curtailed on the original for reasons of space.

Adventure is not as bad as some here make out and for me "Ain't that nothing" stands comparison.


Yonder Is The Clock
Yonder Is The Clock
Price: £17.54

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars raw talent, 24 April 2009
This review is from: Yonder Is The Clock (Audio CD)
When I heard "The Ballad Of Lou The Welterweight" on "Tonight at The Arizona" it exposed for me that Paul Simon's "The Boxer" was just pretentious drivel written by someone whose supposed "great" songwriting ability just does not stand up to even a cursory scrutiny.

On this album "The Boy From Lawrence County" on its own confirms Ian Felice as the very finest songwriter of his generation. Here we have a song coming in at just over 5 minutes that could be made into a 90 minute feature film or a 250 page novel.

"The door swings slowly open, the committee room was dark,
The Bailiff marked the charts in red.
They called the boy in orange, as he slowly passed,
Awkward as a calf with its legs a-wobblin'.

Be so kind, Tell me warden,
Whose in line to die this morning?
Could I see the Show?
If he bore his teeth to scare us,
Could we see our likeness Sheriff in the pearly glow?"

A song of betrayal, infidelity, and the very depths to which desparate people will sink, told in a way that says thousands of words in the images that are evoked.

Worth the entrance money on its own.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2013 7:19 AM GMT


No Title Available

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It works, 5 April 2009
Me and my wife have suffered from my snoring for years. Breathing strips have little effect, and I was considering some sort of surgical cure. My wife discovered this and bought it for me. I was very sceptical, and was even more doubtful when I couldn't even feel the charge in test mode. However I gave it a go.

After the first night I was astonished to be told that I hadn't snored once. It works. I don't really understand why but I'm getting a good night's sleep, and so is my wife.

The downsides:

It's a little bulky but having said that you really don't notice it when you're asleep.

You have to make sure the battery is changed regularly.

The contact gel is a little messy but is essential and I haven't found any on the high street, so will have to order on the net.

I seriously recommend this product.

There's another make on Amazon that has had some poor reviews. I can't comment on that but the principle and this model in particular does the job for me.

Sorted.


Proxima Estacion Esperanza
Proxima Estacion Esperanza
Offered by STEEL WHEELS ONLINE
Price: £9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music to rod drains to, 5 Mar. 2009
This is the honest truth. I was rodding my drains last night. A grim task at the best of times, but seven houses' effluent pass the back of mine and I'm the one on the end who gets to clear the blockage. However I put on the ipod, picked out this album and the grisly proceedings began.

Not so grisly! The most horrendous task became an absolute joy. If you've never danced you're backside off whilst manipulating draining rods, you should give it a try. The drain cleared by the time Mr Bobby came on, but as the song goes, I could have danced all night.

A fabulously warm, happy, childish, fun, and infectious album. I've been exploring this chap's work for only a year now and happily there's a big back catalogue to have a go at.

Buy it.

Sod the credit crunch and buy it now. It comes with a guarantee to cheer you up. I should know.


Merriweather Post Pavilion
Merriweather Post Pavilion
Price: £2.99

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My twopenneth, 28 Jan. 2009
Animal Collective are a band who can go into your kitchen and, armed with a collection of glass bowls, saucepans and the contents of your cutlery draw, could produce a masterpiece... or conversely sound like a bunch of kids mucking about in the kitchen. This is because they completely understand the basic beauty and evocative nature of sound, but sometimes get lost between the original idea and the final product.

I can put up with the near misses if they continue to come up with those astonishing moments when, out of a seemingly chaotic mess, everything resolves with a single note or chord change.

This obviously puts a lot of people off, and tries their patience. 12 minutes of "Visiting friends" is not for everyone, but I completely understand and love that track. All 12 minutes of it.

However with the first few tracks of Strawberry Jam I thought they were getting stale and were repeating themselves. I thought Panda Bear had outgrown them with Person Pitch and the end was nigh. But then with "For Reverand Green" and "Fireworks" all was right with the world.

MPP picks up from those tracks, weaves in the splendid ideas from Person Pitch and on we go. MPP isn't a perfect album. "Also Frightened" is dreary and is best skipped and "Lion in a coma" (a play on words) doesn't quite work for me. But the majority of it is so sumptuous, warm, and life affirming that it would be bonkers to give it less than 5 stars.

If you're new to Animal Collective then this is the album to start with. "Daily Routine" gives you an idea of their earlier work. The way the extended voice is harmonised with those shining bell sounds towards the end of the track is classic AC and may invite you to buy "Feels" and "Sung Tongs".

If you're already a fan you've already got this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2009 9:44 PM BST


Dear Science
Dear Science
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: £5.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year, 23 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Dear Science (Audio CD)
Every so often a band comes up with an album that, when you here it, you think "Well everyone else can just give up now". Of course these albums hopefully spur others on to improve their game, and lets hope this brilliant album does the same, because the music industry certainly needs someone to point the way at the moment.

The list of influences is as long as your arm but the album first put me in mind of Talking Head's "Remain In Light". It's broader, more colourful and much better than that however (Yes this is indeed the standard we're at). Sly and The Family Stone funk influences are everywhere, which gives some of the album a "Let's Dance" feel, and there's more than a nod to Michael Jackson on the first single "Golden Age".

On first listen the stand-out track for me was DLZ. A meeting somewhere between Saul Williams, Run DMC and Primal Scream; "Love Dog" really wouldn't look out of place on "Amnesiac"; "Shout Me Out" breaks down halfway through into a tribute to The Velvet Underground; and the closer "Lover's Day" would have been the best track on Funeral (By an awfully long way).

Having said all that, what underpins the album are the brilliant vocals from Adebimpe and Malone. Adebimpe in particular has an incredible range and loses nothing at what ever level he pitches. He's probably got the best voice around at the moment.

First impressions were that maybe this was a TOO accessible album, but this I think underestimates the depth of the music on offer. "Stork and Owl" in particular keeps growing on me, and it's clear that they haven't left their brains behind in the deep dark wood that was "Return to Cookie Mountain"

This may prove to be a phenomenal commercial success, but there's no sell-out here. Hopefully others will be given the virtual kick-up the jacksy with this and there won't be so many bands ready to short change us.


Sony 20B Portable digital radio
Sony 20B Portable digital radio

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The immovable object, 3 Aug. 2008
The battery life on this behemoth is so short that it becomes uneconomical to use it on anything other than mains. Which is fine because its too bloody big to carry around in any event.

I've also found that if you leave the batteries in with it switched OFF then they will be drained by the morning. Therefore the presetting of stations becomes a wasted exercise unless its permanently plugged in.

So if you want something that remains a fixture at the side of the room then this is fine. Sound quality not bad for mono.

If you want something more flexible look elsewhere.

Dear Sony

If you could just have included a rechargeable pack...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 8, 2013 12:19 PM BST


Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes

4.0 out of 5 stars 7/10, 22 July 2008
This review is from: Fleet Foxes (Audio CD)
Despite all the cross referencing on here to CSN and Brian Wilson, this actually sounds like My Morning Jacket meets Peter, Paul & Mary (esp covering John Denver's "Leaving On A Jet Plane"). There are a few outstanding tracks on here (really outstanding) but tracks 4 to 7 are a little on the weak side and needed some help. I'm not saying they're poor just that the band needed to take some time to get a better running order as there's a bit of a hole in the middle. Perhaps the excellent "Your Protector" should have been moved forward.

However, a very good album and worth shelling out for.

There are some people saying that Fleet Foxes are America's next big thing. I'd just like to point out that at places on this album I'm fleetingly (excuse pun) put in mind of Animal Collective at their most conservative. At that point you have to start putting things in perspective.


Rook
Rook
Offered by ScreamingCd UK
Price: £13.96

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised, 11 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Rook (Audio CD)
I have Okkervil River's "The Stage Names" and apart from "Unless it Kicks" I wasn't overly impressed. I have been meaning to check out this evocatively named offshoot for quite a while and finally got round to it following generally favourable reviews of this new one.

The opener is fairly decent but then I was a little dismayed by the title track. Its an "epic" song that seems very concious of the fact that its trying to be "epic". A bit like an actor thats trying too hard and forgetting that the audience don't want to know that he's acting. A similar track would be John Mile's "Music". Not exactly pretentious but overdone.

Luckily the album improves from thereon and the next six tracks are remarkably solid, varied and entertaining. Leviathan Bound becomes the new opener, Home Life rumbles on like a thunderstorm receding into the distance before the short and almost violent Lost Boys. Then comes the rocking Century Eyes, the gorgeous I Was A Cloud has a great hook in the vocals and then this group of songs finishes up with South Col which conveys a feeling of a high mountain, partly obscured by snow laden clouds, using keening guitar sounds and plenty of space.

I'm not too sure about Snow Leopard. At first listen it seemed like a bit of filler, but that's an early impression.

Meiburg's vocals are surprisingly atonal, and show a remarkable similarity to Scott Walker. However he saves the only genuine melody for the closing track "The Hunter's Star". Which is actually my favourite on the album.

The whole thing is much more of an English Folk album rather than the Americana you would expect. I'm rather taken with it.

Recommended

As a footnote I've gone back to "The Stage Names" and have found it a lot better than I remember.


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