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OMG! It's got a plug! "OMG! It's got a plug!" (UK)

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Collected Recordings 1983-1989
Collected Recordings 1983-1989
Price: £40.30

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Causing a commotion, 1 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having had my interest in Lloyd Cole & The Commotions reawakened by the recent 'Don't Look Back' budget compilation, I decided that this box set seemed like a worthwhile investment and it most definitely is. Featuring their three studio albums and two discs comprising of B-sides, remixes, outtakes, demo recordings and rarities, the combined playing time is 4 hours & 10 minutes. There's also a DVD (NTSC; Region 0; 66 minutes) featuring 10 promotional videos and eight BBC performances.

The remastering was overseen by Cole and it's been done very tastefully with no (dreaded) brick-walling. You notice the space and clarity between the instruments that you get when remastering is done properly, although Mainstream sounds more or less the same - Cole has stated that it just didn't need remastering - with only the volumes being slightly adjusted.

Housed in a very sturdy cardboard box with a lift off top there's a cut out hollow for the discs to sit in with a book sitting on top. The CDs and DVD are presented in (near) vinyl replica cardboard sleeves with another cardboard sleeve inside holding the CD (I don't know why they just didn't use gatefold sleeves).

The accompanying 48 page hard back book (the shape and size of it reminds me of those old Ladybird books!) features a lengthy and superbly written essay of the band's history including quotes from band members and associates who were interviewed by the writer, Pete Paphides. I was surprised to learn that when the band first got together they intended to be a soul/funk outfit but changed direction when Cole wrote some of the initial songs for 'Rattlesnakes'. The book also includes archive photographs and recording details. There are also three B&W postcards and a poster. Not sure they're entirely necessary - will anyone buying this really blu-tack the poster to their bedroom wall?!

The two extra discs contain 36 songs and here's a breakdown:

B-Sides, Remixes & Outtakes

1. The Sea and The Sand (B-side to Perfect Skin)
2. You Will Never Be No Good (B-side to Perfect Skin)
3. Andy's Babies (B-side to Forest Fire)
4. Glory (B-side to Forest Fire)
5. Sweetness (B-side to Rattlesnakes)
6. Perfect Blue (Hardiman Mix) (B-side to Jennifer She Said)
7. Jesus Said (B-side to My Bag)
8. Brand New Friend (1985 Wessex Studio recording. Previously unreleased)
9. From Grace (Unfinished 1985 Wessex Studio recording. Previously unreleased)
10. Her Last Fling (B-side to Brand New Friend)
11. Big World (B-side to Lost Weekend)
12. Nevers End (B-side to Lost Weekend)
13. Mystery Train (Live at The World, New York, 1986) (B-side to Jennifer She Said)
14. I Don't Believe You (Live at The World, New York, 1986) (B-side to Jennifer She Said)
15. Love Your Wife (B-side to From The Hip)
16. Lonely Mile (B-side to From The Hip)
17. Please (B-side to From The Hip)
18. My Bag (Dancing Mix) 12" single

Demo Recordings & Rarities (All previously unreleased except Tracks 2 & 6)

1. Down At The Mission
2. Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? (Demo recording) (Previously on 'Rattlesnakes' Deluxe Edition)
3. Patience (Demo recording)
4. Eat My Words (Demo recording)
5. Forest Fire (Demo recording)
6. Perfect Skin (Demo recording) (Previously on 'Rattlesnakes' Deluxe Edition)
7. Poons (Demo recording)
8. Old Hats (Demo recording)
9. You Win (Demo recording)
10. Old Wants Never Gets (Demo recording)
11. Another Dry Day (Demo recording)
12. 29 (Demo recording)
13. Jennifer She Said (Demo recording)
14. Hey Rusty (Demo recording)
15. Everyone's Complaining
16. Mr Malcontent
17. Jennifer She Said (Polished Rough Mix)
18. Hey Rusty

There are some really interesting demos and alternate version that are significantly different (i.e. they're not just strum-along acoustic demos), both lyrically and in their arrangements, from what appeared on the albums (I've been caught out a couple of times when trying to sing along!). Their first (unreleased) A-Side 'Down at the Mission' is very soulful and funky with female soul singers on backing vocals and is an indication of the direction the band originally intended to take. They also recorded some quality B-sides. It's by no means an exhaustive collection with only one extended mix - My Bag (Dancing Mix) - included. I have read that Cole didn't want any other mixes included because they were only produced for the purpose of the 12" single format and are not representative of the band's overall sound.

Of the three studio albums, 'Rattlesnakes' is a classic debut and needs no introduction. I'm in agreement with Cole that 'Easy Pieces' is their weakest. It's by no means a bad album but in the eighties production was everything and the band had producers foisted on them by their record company. Because of this, I really do believe that if the band had started out 10 years later their career would have taken a completely different path. My favourite is Mainstream (I have so many memories tied up in it!) and as Cole admits, they needed to sell a million copies of it just to break even but, unfortunately, it sold nowhere near that many.

Watching the DVD is like being transported back to the eighties, particularly the three Top of the Pops performances. In all honesty, some of the videos are quite bad but it was the eighties and I suppose they didn't have Michael Jackson budgets.

Promotional Videos:

1. Perfect Skin
2. Forest Fire
3. Rattlesnakes
4. Brand New Friend
5. Lost Weekend
6. Cut Me Down
7. My Bag
8. Jennifer She Said
9. From The Hip
10. Mainstream

BBC Performances:

11. Perfect Skin (Top of the Pops, June 1984)
12. Rattlesnakes (The Old Grey Whistle Test, November 1984)
13. Speedboat (The Old Grey Whistle Test, November 1984)
14. Brand New Friend (Wogan, September 1985)
15. Brand New Friend (Top of the Pops, September 1985)
16. Lost Weekend (Top of the Pops, November 1985)
17. Mister Malcontent (The Old Grey Whistle Test) (Live at Ibrox Park, Glasgow, June 1986)
18. My Bag (Wogan, September 1987)

Watch out for the performance of 'My Bag' on Wogan. Cole starts the song wearing his glasses but after about 10 seconds takes them off and eventually puts them in his jacket pocket. I'm convinced that he meant to start the song without them on and intended to put them on when he sings the line "as my eyesight gets worse"!

In summary, I think Lloyd Cole & The Commotions are one of the most enduring bands of the eighties and this box set more than does justice to their legacy. If you're a fan, get it - you won't be disappointed.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2015 4:40 PM BST

The Grandmaster Flash Collection
The Grandmaster Flash Collection
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everybody, 27 Jun. 2015
Consisting of 55 chronologically ordered tracks across three CDs and a fourth disc featuring a 60 minute mix by Grandmaster Flash, this collection represents excellent value for money and it's more or less a definitive history of hip-hop. Given that it's aimed at the mass market there are loads of mainstream crowd pleasers but there are also a lot of lesser known gems. The first disc is full of old school classics (A Tribe Called Quest, Eric B & Rakim, N.W.A. etc.) and it's the best here - the beats and the clever use of samples are at times jaw-dropping. Grandmaster's mix is nothing particularly special but for the money, you can't complain too much. Clocking in at a few minutes short of a mammoth 5 hours, it’s housed in a neat triple gatefold digipak. Existing hip-hop fans and newcomers alike will find much to enjoy here.

Philips GC4521/87 Azur Performer Plus Steam Iron, 2600 W
Philips GC4521/87 Azur Performer Plus Steam Iron, 2600 W
Offered by ASOGADGET4U
Price: £79.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The next best thing to a steam generator iron, 22 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The is a big but by no means cumbersome iron that is probably the next best thing to a steam generator iron. It has a really big tank and even with the continious steam option on, it lasts a long time. You get a real blast of steam when you use the steam boost option that literally moves the iron independently across garments! The plate is big with a nice pointed tip for getting into those hard to reach areas. The calc function really does work and you can see the limescale it clears from the iron. Stand it upright and and the auto-steam stops and it automatically switches off when it's motionless for too long. All in all, this is a first class iron and a cheaper alternative to a steam generator iron. One final thing worth bearing in mind - it has a relatively short lead so be prepared to stand your ironing board as close as possible to a power socket or, alternatively, use an extension lead. Overall, 4½ stars (half lost for the short lead!).

Vision Media X 25 Single Clear CD Jewel Case
Vision Media X 25 Single Clear CD Jewel Case
Offered by Vision Media Store
Price: £9.97

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very high quality cases, 19 Jun. 2015
These are very high quality CD cases that are exactly the same quality you get when you buy a new CD. I buy a lot of used CDs rated VG or VG+ from Amazon, Discogs and eBay. Most of the time the cases are either scuffed, cracked, have broken spindles or have old and grubby stickers that cannot be removed. Replace the case with one of these and it's as if I've bought a brand new CD. Sold by Vision Media and despatched by Amazon, the cases were very well packaged and arrived with no breakages. Recommended.

Lost In Transmission
Lost In Transmission

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unlocking the vaults, 31 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lost In Transmission (Audio CD)
This is the second Library compilation by Chichester Hospital Radio. Compiled by Steven Wills who produced a number of similar themed CDs for Winchester Hospital Radio, this release features a selection of familiar and not so familiar Library sounds that would, as explained in the sleeve notes, otherwise have remained "locked in the vaults".

Sourced from, amongst others, the archives of De Wolfe, JW Media, Studio G, Southern Music and Boosey & Hawkes, the music was used for UK radio and TV programmes, test card transmissions and radio intervals. The majority of the music is upbeat easy listening with plenty of jazzy and funky numbers, lush big band orchestrations, 80's synth music and the occasional trippy vibe. As with most Library music, the musicianship and arrangements are never less than exceptional, as is the sound quality. Where known, Wills has included details of where the tracks were used.

Housed in a jewel case, the combined playing time of both CDs is a very generous 2½ hours and this is another essential purchase for anyone with an interest in Library music. I don't know how many copies of this CD have been printed but if the CDs Wills produced for WHR are anything to go by, it's probably a limited run (it's worth noting that some of the WHR CDs have been known to fetch three figure sums!). All proceeds received from the sale of this CD will be used to fund the daily radio service provided for patients by Chichester Hospital Radio.

Price: £0.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% accurate everytime and works offline, 20 May 2015
This review is from: HERE WeGo (App)
This is a superb free app. Having seen it mentioned a few times, I installed the app and the UK map on my Android phone and it's been faultless. The best thing is that it works without an Internet connection; it uses your phone's GPS. It's exceptionally accurate and never misses a turn.

It works just like a satnav should and because of the voice guided navigation I never need to look at the live display on my phone screen. When I need to use it I just connect my smartphone to my car stereo via its 3.5" jack lead input, enter the location I'm headed for in the app, select a playlist from my phones's mp3 library and hit the road. When the voice guidance kicks in, my music is momentarily paused and I hear the voice guidance loud and clear over my car speakers.

When running it offline you don't receive traffic updates but you do get alerts for the majority of (but not all) speed cameras. It's intuitive to use and you can save routes, change the voice delivering the commands, etc. If you're planning on travelling further afield, it has maps for Europe, Africa, Asia, North & South America and Oceania. It also has specific city maps for most major cities.

All in all, it's a faultless app and it's FREE!

Seagate Personal Cloud 4 TB 2-bay (2 x 2 TB) Home Media Storage, NAS - Black
Seagate Personal Cloud 4 TB 2-bay (2 x 2 TB) Home Media Storage, NAS - Black
Offered by Scan Computers Intl Ltd
Price: £217.02

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down by poor app and mobile device access, 16 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Setting up this Up using my PC running Windows 7 was straightforward. Plug it in to your router, wait about 5-10 minutes and it will show up in Windows file explorer:


Click on the 'Personal Cloud' Internet shortcut in the 'Public' folder and this will open up the control panel in your browser.

Any files stored in the 'Public folder' can be accessed remotely by any account holders you setup and it also creates a Personal folder for each account holder to store their private data that only they can access. Accessing the Public folder and Private folders on a PC is flawless and straightforward and you can play your music files and videos in your media player of choice (I use MediaMonkey and VLC respectively). To access your files on a mobile device you need to install the SeagateMedia app or a third party app. It's a flawed using a mobile device because account holders can only access the public folder, not their personal folder.

When using the Seagate app, it does not playback tracks from ripped CDs in the correct order! You can sort tracks alphabetically, by date and size or type but even if you have the track number in file name and ID3 tag it does not have the option to play album tracks numerically (i.e. In the correct order). I'm using the free version of the FileExplorer app on my iPad which plays back albums with the songs in their correct order

The Seagate app interface looks and feels clumsy and when using an iPad the app defaults to a landscape screen even if you have your screen locked to portrait mode. Very annoying. Using the app with Google Chromecast is a breeze. Click on the Chromecast icon in the app and it casts to your TV.

Overall this is an OK home server but there are a number of flaws, primarily with the SeagateMedia app. The inability to play album tracks in the correct sequence in a media player app is the main offender. Until that issue is sorted along with inability to access to your Personal folder in the app, I rate this 3 stars.

Blaxploitation: Six Classic Funk Soundtracks
Blaxploitation: Six Classic Funk Soundtracks
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £19.56

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Six Cool Blaxploitation Soundtracks, 14 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Comprising of six Blaxploitation soundtracks, this box set features 75 tracks with an overall playing time of just over 4 hours. The soundtracks featured are:

Up Tight (1969) - Booker T. & the M.G.'s (36:02)
Shaft (1971) - Isaac Hayes (69:33)
Trouble Man (1972) - Marvin Gaye (38:26)
Black Caesar (1973) - James Brown (36:42)
Coffy (1973) - Roy Ayers (36:49)
Shaft in Africa (1973) - Johnny Pate featuring The Four Tops (26:42)

Whilst some of the films associated with these soundtracks are long forgotten, the music continues to endure. Marvin Gaye's 'Trouble Man' is without doubt one of the best soundtracks of the genre and it features some killer moody jazz cuts and some of the best music Gaye ever recorded. 'Black Caesar' remains one of James Brown's finest studio albums with plenty of funky grooves and he delivers some of his most impassioned vocals on album opener 'Down and Out in New York City' and 'Mama's Dead'.

The Four Tops lend support on Johnny Pate's 'Shaft in Africa' with the twice reprised 'Are You Man Enough?' and Roy Ayers' 'Coffy' soundtrack features a selection of vocal and instrumental cuts. It's all funky and soulful sounding. 'Shaft' is the best known album here and the title track is probably the most famous Blaxploitation song. It's the longest playing album here and it does occasionally meander. Booker T. & The M.G.'s 'Up Tight' is the least Blaxploitation sounding album here but it's a solid collection of slow-tempo burners and up-beat jams.

The CDs are in individual (near) replica gatefold mini LP sleeves and they're housed in a sturdy cardboard box. Spectrum have used the best masters currently available and the sound quality is perfect. Apart from CD track lists, there are no sleeves notes. Overall this is a cool box set and it makes a change from the myriad of cherry picking Blaxploitation compilations out there.

Naked Plus
Naked Plus
Price: £26.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Dutch Maestro: Original Soundtracks 1967-1973, 14 May 2015
This review is from: Naked Plus (Audio CD)
After checking out the samples on the label's website I took a punt on this and I'm so glad I did. Featuring soundtrack music recorded for film, TV and theatre by Dutch jazz musician and composer Ruud Bos between 1967 and 1973, the quality of the music on this two disc set is at times staggering.

According to the sleeve notes the tapes containing much of this music "turned up after a long search in a concrete storage bunker" with most of the outtakes coming from Bos' personal archive. Restored (where necessary) and digitally mastered from the original master or working tapes, the sound quality is excellent. Most of it is previously unreleased except for the 'Naakt Over de Schutting' soundtrack. Originally released on vinyl by Phonogram, this collection features the original mono mix as it sounds in the film, not the stereo mix produced especially for the LP release.

Featuring 81 tracks and outtakes, the music is primarily jazz with plenty of funk. A whole range of styles are covered including up-tempo grooves, tense and trippy vibes, lounge, freakbeat, avant-garde, easy listening and orchestral. Heavy bass (there's some really cool bass breaks for bass heads!), flute loops, alto sax, Fender Rhodes piano, rhythm guitar, brass, chorale vocals... it all sounds amazing with hints of Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones and European library music & Italian soundtracks from the same period.

Housed in a neat double gatefold digipak with comprehensive liner notes, the combined playing times of both discs is 2 hours & 37 minutes. There's 3 minutes of silence on the closing track on Disc 1 before a 10 second brass outro. I don't know if it's intentional because it's credited in the sleeve notes as being 1:06 minutes long but lasts for 4:37 minutes. Produced with the cooperation of Bos, this is, from the music to the packaging and sleeve notes, a first class release from 678 Records. If you have an interest in Sixties and Seventies soundtracks, this is a must buy.

Philips GC1020/70 EasySpeed Steam Iron with 70 g Steam Boost, 0.2 Litre, 1800 W, Green
Philips GC1020/70 EasySpeed Steam Iron with 70 g Steam Boost, 0.2 Litre, 1800 W, Green
Price: £19.51

5.0 out of 5 stars The budget iron to get if you don't that much ironing, 11 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you iron less than a handful or two of clothes each week, this is the iron to get. Non-stick with a pointed tip, the best thing about it is that it delivers constant steam and, should you need it, there's an effective steam boost too. The opening for the water tank is big enough to fill it direct from the tap and with the constant steam on, one tank lasts enough to iron 4-5 shirts. It's got a built in de-calc - great if you live in a hard water area - and it's also got an economy mode (where it delivers less steam) which is OK but a bit of a waste of time unless you intend to do loads of ironing. You can spray water from the tank onto your clothes but with the constant steam and boost I've never had the need to use it. When you have the constant steam activated it stops when the iron is stood upright. It's a decent weight - not too light or heavy - and the soleplate is not massive but more than adequate. Overall this budget iron represents amazing value for money and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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