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M. G. Wilson (Eastbourne)
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Do You Like Rock Music?
Do You Like Rock Music?
Price: £9.08

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life enhancing indeed, 4 April 2008
This review is from: Do You Like Rock Music? (Audio CD)
British Sea Power have created a sprawling, anthemic masterpiece that welds together rock influences from every era and yet is distinctively their own. You can't help but play 'spot the likeness' through hints of The Jam, Morrissey, early Floyd, and ooh who does this remind me of... It's accessible enough on first hearing to draw in fans of Coldplay or Snow Patrol, but with enough depth, enough grit to grow in stature over repeated listens and crucially the band's indie credentials appeal to hipsters who wouldn't be seen dead with 'X&Y'. Their lyrical concerns - celebration of Eastern European immigrants; environmental apocalypse; light pollution - are hardly mainstream, pretentious even, but they are allied with big soaring choruses and epic driving riffs, resulting in crowd swaying, epic, festival headed populism.

In the gospel according to BSP, 'Rock' is "anything that's good, life enhancing. It's stuff that makes you forget about the little things in life". "It started off as a drunken game...""It seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm not so sure if it is now." Maybe, but you passed the test lads.


Firefly - The Complete Series [DVD] [2003]
Firefly - The Complete Series [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Nathan Fillion
Price: £11.39

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More please..., 3 April 2008
I watched this with my son aged 12 and we both loved it. The writing is sharp and funny, and by the end of the series, the characters and story lines are really at the point where things are starting to fly. And then it all ends so abruptly. Mad. Plenty of other reviewers to pick up on the story line, but I'll just note that you don't need to be a Joss Whedon fan to enjoy this.

Parental guidance note: it's pretty raunchy for a 12 certificate.


Ollabelle
Ollabelle
Price: £10.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `O brother, where art thou?' fans - try this., 3 April 2008
This review is from: Ollabelle (Audio CD)
Ollabelle present an album of largely traditional material, with the net thrown wide enough to include covers of Andrae Crouch, The Carter Family and The Stones, and spiced with three self-penned songs that stand up just fine in such elevated company. Rootsy performances drawing on gospel, soul, blues, bluegrass and country traditions, largely acoustic, sometimes a little polite - this is a group of white neo-traditionalists - with three accomplished lead vocalists, and never less than tasteful. There are many highlights, starting with the joyous, percussive call and response of opening track 'Before This Time', 'Elijah Rock' underpinned by Jimi Zhivago's slowburning guitar, Glenn Patscha's swinging, soulful 'Get Back Temptation' which comes on like a long lost Staples Singers number, the bluesy 'No More My Lawd' and the gospel soul of 'Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus'. Best of all are Glenn Patscha's bluesy heartfelt vocals and the acoustic slide and national guitar of penultimate song 'I Don't Want To Be That Man'.The album closes with the beautiful gentle harmonies of 'All Is Well' sung as a lullaby with a simple pump organ backing.

Fans might like to look out for the difficult to find Shack Of Peasants who covered similar territory in slightly less polished style.


Alligator
Alligator
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for the click, 2 April 2008
This review is from: Alligator (Audio CD)
The National operate at the americana end of indie, and they do what they do very well: the sound of chiming guitars, low key rock riffing, very restrained, very considered, and for sure these songs will grow on you if you'll let them. It's good nutritious, wholegrain stuff. But I'm not going to find myself singing along any time soon.

Lyrically enigmatic and resisting straightforward interpretation, these songs allow listeners to project their own meanings onto them, and I suspect that for many, that's part of the appeal. The invincibility of youth, madness and intoxication are never far away, but neither is the sense of dislocation or the potential for total breakdown.

Best songs for me were 'Secret Meeting' 'Daughters of the SoHo Riots' and 'The Geese of Beverly Road', but really this is an album which is cut from a single piece of cloth.


Washington Square Serenade
Washington Square Serenade
Price: £11.70

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wide eyed country boy in the big city?, 1 April 2008
'washington square serenade' represents change on all fronts for Earle. There's a change in mood from the last few intensely political releases. This is a more personal album, reflecting his own life, a move to the big city, married life, more settled, more satisfied. Yet Earle has always been a liberal artist favoured by urban americana fans, rather than heartlands country. Musically there are changes too: electronic beats, world music. From Steve Earle, Mister Organic, Mister American Roots. Who'd have thought? Yet this too reflects Earle's move to New York, as kick off song 'Tennessee Blues' waves "Goodbye Guitar Town", in 'Down Here Below' a NY celebrity hawk whose position at the top of the food chain serves as a metaphor for the city's lords of the universe, contrasts with the lot of ordinary folk. But in part he also speaks for Earle: "He looks up and down on Fifth Avenue and says "God I love this town". The programmed beats and urban ambience is most fully integrated on 'Satellite Radio' and perhaps surprisingly sounds completely natural for Earle. Which cannot be said for the world music tourism of 'City of Immigrants', perhaps the album's weakest track. 'Sparkle and Shine' celebrates the new love of Earle's life, as, less successfully, does the gloopy duet 'Days Aren't Long Enough'. The middle section of the album, tracks six to ten, stands out prinicipally because these songs are just what we expect from Earle, and could find a home on any of his other albums. The album closes with a strong cover of Tom Waits' 'Way Down In The Hole'that pulls things back on track at the last. Recorded as the theme music for acclaimed US tv series 'The Wire', yet to screen on a mainstream UK channel, now the fifth version of the song so recorded, they can all be previewed at Wikipedia.

A refreshing return from the polemics of the past few years, and an enjoyable listen.


Revival
Revival
Price: £9.22

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Starts slow, 28 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
The trademark guitar and voice are in place, one of the most distinctive sounds in late 20th century music, yet it's 40 years since Creedence's heyday. So inevitably you're wondering, can the old man crank it up again? The album starts unpromisingly with 'Don't You Wish It Was True' a sedate rumination on wishful thinking. In fact side 1 (as we used to say) is workmanlike, enjoyable enough, but nothing to justify the hullabaloo. But side 2 kicks off with 'Summer of Love' and suddenly things look up, it's Fogerty, but the guitar echoes Hendrix and Clapton as much as his own playing, 'Natural Thing' follows with a straightforward celebration of love and lust, then it's back to that old time rock'n'roll for 'It Ain't Right's swipe at the pampered and privileged and 'I Can't Take It No More' which boils over with righteous anger at the lies and spin of the Bush regime, like Jerry Lee running for President. 'Longshot' closes out the album on a classic Creedence groove, just like he never went away.

His best since Centerfield.


Pretty World
Pretty World
Offered by Assai-uk
Price: £9.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just pretty, 28 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Pretty World (Audio CD)
With his gruff, half-spoken, half-sung delivery Sam Baker can't escape comparison with forerunners like Kristofferson, but it's a comparison he can stand. Baker's story songs are simple and direct lyrically but not simplistic or banal, with uncluttered and sympathetic support from his band and guests. Baker weaves in quotes from older musical sources to good effect, 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' on 'Orphan' and Stephen Foster's 'Hard Times Come Again No More' sung acapella by the excellent Chris Baker-Davies at the beginning of 'Odessa' a dark morality tale of the corrupting effects of easy money. 'Psychic' tells the song's protagonist "...it's time to choose, choose between lies, or you can choose truth, but you've got to decide..." as the hard edged guitars build a sense of foreboding and the knowledge that this choice will carry a cost. 'Days' is an impressionistic half-Spanish hymn celebrating good food and drink with friends and family, intoxicated with the moment, finding transcendence in the midst of the ordinary.

'pretty world' is an album worth spending some time with.


Ollabelle [Us Import]
Ollabelle [Us Import]
Offered by CAC Media UK
Price: £29.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' fans - try this, 28 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Ollabelle [Us Import] (Audio CD)
Ollabelle present an album of largely traditional material, with the net thrown wide enough to include covers of Andrae Crouch, The Carter Family and The Stones, and spiced with three self-penned songs that stand up just fine in such elevated company. Rootsy performances drawing on gospel, soul, blues, bluegrass and country traditions, largely acoustic, sometimes a little polite - this is a group of white neo-traditionalists - with three accomplished lead vocalists, and never less than tasteful. There are many highlights, starting with the joyous, percussive call and response of opening track 'Before This Time', 'Elijah Rock' underpinned by Jimi Zhivago's slowburning guitar, Glenn Patscha's swinging, soulful 'Get Back Temptation' which comes on like a long lost Staples Singers number, the bluesy 'No More My Lawd' and the gospel soul of 'Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus'. Best of all are Glenn Patscha's bluesy heartfelt vocals and the acoustic slide and national guitar of penultimate song 'I Don't Want To Be That Man'.The album closes with the beautiful gentle harmonies of 'All Is Well' sung as a lullaby with a simple pump organ backing.

Fans might like to look out for the difficult to find Shack Of Peasants who covered similar territory in slightly less polished style.


Vita Audio R1-GLOSS-RED Dab / Fm Radio In High Gloss Red Lacquer
Vita Audio R1-GLOSS-RED Dab / Fm Radio In High Gloss Red Lacquer

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best table radio in the UK 2008? Great with the iPod too., 26 Mar. 2008
I listened to pretty much every table radio before I bought the R1, and there's nothing better out there (IMHO). I also listened to pretty much every iPod speaker system, and while there may be better (the Fatman for instance) there's nothing to beat the R1 at this price or close to this size.

The control system is simple, smooth and intuitive. Styling is discrete, and with the unit's diminutive size, blends effortlessly into any environment. Tuning to every DAB station is accomplished with one touch of a single button. The sound is refined and full, though with perhaps a touch of hardness in the upper vocal range when listened to directly on axis. Despite the small box size, bass control is good and extension reasonable. Volume is sufficient to fill a decent sized room, but look elsewhere if you need something suitable for a dance party. Unlike some other radios, the unit is solidly built, and will not rattle or buzz even with rock music at full volume.

Connecting the iPod via the auxiliary socket on the front panel likewise gives excellent results.

Highly recommended.


Ruark Audio R 1 Portable Stereo
Ruark Audio R 1 Portable Stereo

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best table radio in the UK 2008? Great with the iPod too., 26 Mar. 2008
I listened to pretty much every table radio before I bought the R1, and there's nothing better out there (IMHO). I also listened to pretty much every iPod speaker system, and while there may be better (the Fatman for instance) there's nothing to beat the R1 at this price or close to this size.

The control system is simple, smooth and intuitive. Styling is discrete, and with the unit's diminutive size, blends effortlessly into any environment. Tuning to every DAB station is accomplished with one touch of a single button. The sound is refined and full, though with perhaps a touch of hardness in the upper vocal range when listened to directly on axis. Despite the small box size, bass control is good and extension reasonable. Volume is sufficient to fill a decent sized room, but look elsewhere if you need something suitable for a dance party. Unlike some other radios, the unit is solidly built, and will not rattle or buzz even with rock music at full volume.

Connecting the iPod via the auxiliary socket on the front panel likewise gives excellent results.

Highly recommended.


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