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R. Fox (Bristol, UK)
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IOWA
IOWA
Price: £5.97

21 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Clever markieting. They've got you fooled, kids!, 28 Feb. 2002
This review is from: IOWA (Audio CD)
You have to hand it to the record company, they're sure getting their money out of Slipknot. Reaching directly into the overly-spoilt, overly-angst ridden hormonal typhoon of the modern teenager, this album grabs them and makes them feel big and clever. I like the way that bands like this and Marylin Manson and Coal Chamber and the like all pretty much sound exactly the same, sing about the same anti-parent, anti-education, anti-whatever subject matter and bascially prove to the world outside of their insecure, teenage, middle-class followers that it's really easy to tell a kid what to do and how to do it. Go wear that over-sized bootleg hooded top, go wear that belt-chain, and go smoke and pretend you enjoy it.
Generalisation? Maybe. But then again, bands like this have been generalising the psychy of the average spoilt teenager for years now. Korn started out doing it with their truly unique style of 'Nu' metal, but too many have followed suit and produced dirge after dirge. True, it's heavier, but it's not the monster of an album you're kids would have you believe, oh no sir. It's tame, it's generic, and it's so contrived that if it was the musical equivolent of a movie, it would probably be James' Cameron's Titanic; the origins are memorable and startling, but by now it's been done so many times you just can't wait for it to sink.
Please, for the love of God, do not buy this album if you think it's going to be heavy and cool. Do not buy this album for the subject matter. Do not buy this album because you think it is a good reflection of the highly respectable underground, because it's not. It's a markenting ploy, and the sooner we all come to see this, the sooner the respectable bands will come to light.
This isn't metal. This is mediocracty.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 14, 2012 4:02 PM GMT


Jupiter
Jupiter
Price: £11.82

14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding transformation, 28 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Jupiter (Audio CD)
It has to be said that hardcore is a very strange beast. I really cannot think of another form of music that is so prone to not only churning-out band after band that can sound nothing like each other, but the bands themselves churn out album after album that sound nothing like the others. Cave In have completely re-invented themselves with this one.
Until Your Heart Stops and Beyond Hypothermia, the two main releases before this, are metal-core classics. Critically acclaimed and musicallty brilliant pieces of extreme underground that have set standards for many new-comers for many years. But now Cave In have done it again, but from a totally differenct angle. The heaviness has been dropped for a sort of sonic, almost space-age rock sound, which harks back closer to Pink Floyd and the like sooner than in does, say, Slayer or any other thrash act you could have likened them to. The swinging guitar melodies, Simon Brody's terrific vocals and the overall echoing production seems to take you off into the stars in a highly imaginative manner, and yet the lyrics and the messages are still as vital and intelligent as anything before it.
A drastic, but completely worthwhile change of style from a band that never cease to amaze as truly brilliant musicians.


Furniture
Furniture
Offered by marvelio-uk
Price: £14.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fugazi 'punk' songs? Yeah, right..., 27 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Furniture (Audio CD)
Yes, yes, yes. This is cool. This is way cool. Probably the best single to be released this year. Three proper punk-sounding bursts of energy from the kings of all things experimental, off-beat and baffling, that shows that they can still pull the rug from under the feet of today's ... pop / punk nonsense.
Blink 182? Who are they? Sum-41? Oh, pleeease. Less Than Jake? Don't make me laugh. This is punk.
The first song, 'Furniture', is cool with Ian Mackaye's typically angsty singing, and a nice catchy chorus motif. The second song, 'Number 5', is a cool instrumental that sounds like The Shadows and Dead Kennedys meeting, getting along swell... and writing a punk song together. Third song, 'Hello Morning', is your token Guy Piccioto whining but cool stormer, and leaves you gasping for more.
This release is very different to 'The Argument'. There are no songs off that album on this single, so don't think you're being cheated. Fugazi don't cheat you. They just offer you proper music, unlike most 'alternative' bands these days.


The Argument
The Argument

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DC post-hardcore kings return to form, 27 Feb. 2002
This review is from: The Argument (Audio CD)
Fugazi are something of an enigma in HC circles. The members of the band are famous from their past DC/HC projects, such as Guy Piccioto's Rites Of Spring, and of course Ian Mackaye's HC legends, Minor Threat. Ian Mackaye's done the whole renaissance bit when it comes to shaping the world of HC. He "invented" (but fiercely divorced himself from) the straight edge lifestyle, produced albums for bands such as Rollins Band, established Dischord Records, but the jewel in his crown must be Fugazi.
From day one, Fugazi set out to be the very meaning of independence. A fierce change from the bands' previous groups, they intended to be unique from the word go. And they are that. Fugazi are a band that you either like or dislike - in-betweeners are hard to find. But that's the point with a band like this; you like them for what they are, nothing more. They're not really a group you can be into just to look cool, like so many two-dimensional 'alternative' acts these days. Fugazi are the real deal. It's like comparing as fine wine with a cheap alternaitve, and like a fine wine they grown on you after time, and you appreciate them more and more as time goes by.
This album, like every other Fugazi album , does not dissappoint because you can't really have much expectation about what it's going to be like. You'll never read 'A much more commerical and singy-a-longy release that previous efforts' or 'Be prepared to be shocked this time!'in the press like you do with many other artists, because you know it won't happen. A Fugazi album is exactly what it sets out to be, and it will be different to the others (as this one certainly is), but you can guarantee that they will not have sacrificed anything for the sake of making a few more bucks off of this one.
'The Argument' features some interesting turns within it's diverse offerings. Some female backing vocals in 'Full disclosure' and 'Life and Limb', a nice double-drum motif on 'Epic Problem' & 'Oh', and some really nice cello parts on some songs too. Each song has the familiar Fugazi 'sound', but each song still feels fresh and vibrant because you know you will never hear anything like it from anyone else. Of course, there are plenty of imitators out there, but they pale in comparison.
The lyrics on Fugazi releases can often be cryptic and strange, but I found many of the songs on this album have an immediately reckognisable message, and it feels almost as if the songs are easier to reach than on previous releases. For example, I loved the 'End Hits' album, but I found much of the stuff on there darker and even slightly sinsiter compared to this album. The first song, 'Full Disclosure', is an abrupt tale about capitalism and progressive money-making. 'Epic Problem' (one of the best on the album), is about how bands such as this can be misunderstood because of how they work against the grain of the music industry, and how the life of this band could be seen as a struggle to many, but is seen as no problem to the band itself.
Easily the best of all the DC/HC bands, this release proves that after 15 years of being together, Fugazi are still the band that sets the standards for alternative music, and even survival against the music industry.
Check out the 'Furniture + 3' single release when you buy this too.


Three Colours: Red [DVD] [1994]
Three Colours: Red [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ Irène Jacob
Price: £4.73

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure beauty, 23 Feb. 2002
I like French cinema. I like all things French, but I especially like French cinema. I won't admit to being an expert on it, however. But I will say that I do enjoy it, and I have seen a lot. And this is one of the best French films I have ever seen.
It's not because it's meant to be clever, it's not becaue it's got Irene Jacob in it. It's just because it's nice. That's all. You can tell that Kievslowsky really put his heart into it, and it works. There is a really strong if not really silly dynamic to the main characters' relationship. It's also very innocent as well. I love the judge's little home, and the way you can tell it's been his only refuge for a long time. When you see him in court to face up to his responibility for his... sinsitser actions, you can really get to grips with the changes that the two characters are causing in each others' lives.
The ending is also great, and especially great if you've seen the other two films. You will probably laugh out loud at the obsurdity of it. This is not a boring film if you prepare yourself for it, because a lot of French films rely on characters and plot rather than special effects - unlike Hollywood which relies on special effects rather than plot. I don't know whio it was, but someone once said of French cinema "We make little-budget films with huge stories, and Hollywood makes huge-budget films with little stories."
Oh, just watch it. It's great. I think you'd have to be thinking too hard to not like this film...


Tom Mcrae
Tom Mcrae
Price: £7.10

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This guy is going to be big..., 20 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Tom Mcrae (Audio CD)
Now, this is really something special. It has to be said that there are just too many cheap, pop-orientatied solo artists around these days. But one good thing about this is that it makes decent artists like Tom McRae shine like gold. I've had the album for about six months, but even up until today (when I decided to offer a review of the album to Amazon), I still find myself sitting down with my guitar and attempting to play along with the wonderful songs. There is something in the music here that is at the same time touching as it is harrowning. Some of the lyrics and the singing is so sad, that it can actully feel colder in the room you're sitting in. I've yet to hear Tom McRae live, but at the nearest opportunity, I will.
The spooky and simple first track, 'You Cut Her Hair', is a good indication of the mood for the rest of the album, even though no two songs are alike. If the album had started with the more up-beat second track (and single) 'End Of The World News', then the album may have had a deceptive beginning, and the other songs could even be less approachable than they are. 'End Of The World News' is a good song for a hit single, but it's the only one of it's kind on here. Songs like 'One More Mile' are emotional songs of epic proportions, harking back to stuff like Jeff Buckley (remember him?). Other songs such as 'Bloodless' and 'The Boy With The Bubblegum' are strong, hard songs held together by nothing more than McRae's piercing voice. Beautiful and fearful. My personal favourite on the labum is 'Untitled', which just fills me with imagery of loss and passion, even if the meaning may be lost on me. I don't know.
I must say that between me and friends who have heard the album, there have been mixed responses. Many folks I know didn't like the album because they thought it was not especially colourful, or not catchy enough. I can agree with them there - none of the songs are especially catchy and sing-alongy, especially on the first listening. But the depth and beauty behind the songs appears over time, as it does with all good music, in my eyes anyway. The songs do end up in your head as easily as some tune you may have heard on the radio. But the songs stick in your head and could stand next to whatever memories you have to match them. If you have a sad memory, you may find a song here that will sit with it perfectly for a long time. If you have a good memory, you may find a song here that will be the perfect mini-soundtrack for it. I think that it's plainly obvious that McRae wrote each of these songs around a memory, or an emotion, or an event, and even if that particular situation is not aparent to the listener, the listener's own is, and becomes exhumed by the songs themselves.
Buy this album if you want to find some music that will grab you and really make you feel like there are still brilliant musicians out there. Musicians writing from the heart. Musicians writing for the sake of music, not money.


Betty
Betty
Price: £9.28

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the decade, 20 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Betty (Audio CD)
Helmet should go down as one of the best and most important alternative bands of the 1990's. In a decade where bands would swing from brilliant to mediocre in the matter of a single, bands like Helmet kept on churning out good stuff with a cynical reliability. This album is the pinnacle of that good stuff.
As an album, it strikes you at first as being very heavy, but in an unfamiliar, welcoming manner. The guitars and riffs are as heavy at times as anything 'Metal' at the time, but Page Hamiltons's almost slurred vocals remind you that this is laid-back 'cool' metal, not hyper-violent thrash. Once the first riff of Wilma's Rainbow kicks in (after the surreal opening), you can feel your speakers vibrate with the bassy goodness. It's like the pleasure of an orgasm, sneezing, eating chocolate and urinating after a long wait, made into a single musical outburst... and it doesn't stop there.
The album doesn't have a bad song on it. True, there are some ambient and even bizarre songs on here, but the general feeling is one of pure rock joy. It will remind you of summer, and it will remind you of Hell at the same time. Sam Hell (final track) is a great and quirky little bluesy number, with presumably just Page Hamilton's vocals along with his guitar and a slide. It ends the album on a humorous and light note, whereas songs like Overrated just make you feel like there are no other rock bands in existence.
Helmet are no more, but it is comforting to know that Page Hamilton is probably soon to return in some musical form or other. I, personally, cannot wait for it.


Mission Control
Mission Control

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's got a tangerine cover. What more can I say?, 16 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Mission Control (Audio CD)
I like this CD loads. Just having it in my collection makes me feel all warm and tingly inside.
This is the first release of J Robbin's second band, after the sad demise of alternative monsters, Jawbox. It's an extention not only of the Jawbox-type sound, but also of Robbin's brilliant song writing capabilities. From the big rumble which is the beginning of Carnival, to the sing-a-long pop joy of Wheaton Calling, this is an album to live for.
Oh yeah, as well as the nice tangerine cover, they've also cut out a little bit which looks a bit like an aeroplane. How cool is that?


Identikit
Identikit
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not pass this up if you know anything about good music!!, 16 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Identikit (Audio CD)
J Robbins is, quite simply, a brilliant song writer. After forming and ending the much-missed and highly influential Jawbox, he came back with this little beauty of a band. This, their second album, stands above the debut in manner of diversity and of basic progression. From the first song, it's obvious that this is going to be good.
There is a very unexpected and colourful flair to Burning Airlines that wasn't there in Jaxbox, and certainly not in most of the Dischord releases, except perhaps late Fugazi and Bluetip. Jawbox were brilliant, but this lot are something else. The actual title track is very strange, with it's hypnotic and almost waltzing dance-hall echo verse, and it's sludgy, almost comical choruses, it stands out like no other track on the CD. Basically all the songs stand out as being totally original, but at the same time confusingly familiar. Maybe it's Robbin's voice, maybe it's the underling alternative-yet-casual style which they're executed under.
Whatever. This is a damn good release. Get this and get Mission Control! too.


Grippe
Grippe

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jaxbox arrive and put a new angle in Dischord Records..., 16 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Grippe (Audio CD)
This CD is very different to Novelty in that you can tell that it's the early stages of a band's record deal-based career, but it doesn't disappoint at all. The songs are more rocking and faster of pace than Novelty, and you can tell that Jawbox seem to have had a more rock approach than alternative emo-type approach than they did later.Tools & Chrome (both versions) is a brilliant and fast moving show song, whilst the cover of Joy Division's Something Must Break is also really good.
Even though the album is less moody perhaps than Novelty, it doesn't make it any less intellectual. It must have been very fresh for Dischord to have a band come along that wrote songs as simple and beefy as Minor Threat used to, or even early Fugazi. A good CD, and a must alongside other Jawbox releases.


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