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Fifty Big Ones: Greatest Hits
Fifty Big Ones: Greatest Hits
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £30.90

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic compilation, 28 Oct. 2013
Following an unexpected and surprisingly stellar reunion album, That's Why God Made The Radio, and a tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys, America's premier band released the 2-CD career-spanning hits compilation Fifty Big Ones: Greatest Hits (a pun on their 1975 album, 15 Big Ones). And yes, you guessed it, Fifty Big Ones collects fifty of The Beach Boys' biggest hit singles to commemorate said 50th anniversary.

While it would've been nice, if they'd included `Til I Die, a non-charting song that was one of their "greatest hits" in terms of pure quality/genius songwriting (and perhaps their greatest song post-Pet Sounds), Fifty Big Ones nonetheless largely delivers on its promise: The Beach Boys' fifty greatest Pop singles on the charts (with the sole omission of Come Go With Me), as well as several of their greatest non-hit songs/singles (All Summer Long, All This Is That, Cotton Fields (The cotton Song), Surf's Up, and Forever).

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Hummingbird
Hummingbird
Price: £11.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Even more satisfying than their debut album, 28 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
Local Natives are very much a "product" of their time - a distinctly modern Indie/Rock band. Singer/guitarist Taylor Rice has cited Canadian group Broken Social Scene as an influence and listening to Local Natives' busy rhythm section on many of the songs on their second album, Hummingbird, that doesn't come as much of a surprise. The sonic palette of Los Angeles-based Local Natives also contains elements of talented contemporaries such as Grizzly Bear, Beach House, and fleet foxes.

The lyrics on Hummingbird explore loss, sadness, guilt and post-crisis perseverance, inspired by the death of Kelcey Ayer's mother and the departure of bassist Andy Hamm. Produced by The National's Aaron Dessner (who co-wrote three of the tracks), Hummingbird showcases Local Natives' special chemistry through great songwriting, celestial harmonies and tight instrumental interplay.

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Pale Green Ghosts
Pale Green Ghosts
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £14.05

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very worthy successor to "Queen Of Denmark", 20 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Pale Green Ghosts (Audio CD)
As on his 2010 debut solo album "Queen Of Denmark", American singer/songwriter John Grant takes the term "confessional singer/songwriter" to a whole new level on his second album "Pale Green Ghosts". Compared to the 1970s' introspective, confessional singer/songwriters such as Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell, John Grant's stark, brutally honest and transparent lyrics are in a whole other category.
On "Queen Of Denmark", the courageous John Grant dealt with subject matters like homosexuality, homophobic abuse, parental rejection, depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, and the end of a long relationship with a guy who broke his heart ("Baby, you're where dreams go to die / I regret the day your lovely carcass caught my eye"), and on "Pale Green Ghosts" he's every bit as brave, if not more so.

In an interview, referring to his previous alcohol and drug addiction, John Grant said "This addictive personality permeates my entire being", and judging by several songs on "Pale Green Ghosts", Grant's ex-boyfriend is one addiction he is yet to shake off. It does make for some fascinating songs, that's for sure. A very worthy successor to "Queen Of Denmark","Pale Green Ghosts" is as addictive as Grant's own personality.

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Same Trailer Different Park
Same Trailer Different Park
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The most satisfying Country album since Lee Ann Womack's "There's More Where That Came From", 20 Aug. 2013
"Same Trailer Different Park" is contemporary Country Music at its best - an album with slick and modern yet rich and warm production, as well as skillful, balanced engineering highlighting each and every instrument, from drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars to steel guitars, banjo, accordion, harmonica and ukulele. A sharp, detailed and intelligent songwriter, slightly reminiscent of a young Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves co-wrote all twelve songs and recorded the most satisfying Country album since Lee Ann Womack's 2005 album "There's More Where That Came From".

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Ghostory
Ghostory
Price: £12.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The American Electro/Dream Pop group's first album as a duo is every bit as captivating as its two predecessors, 20 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Ghostory (Audio CD)
When singer Claudia Deheza left American Dream Pop/Shoegaze trio School Of Seven Bells, reducing the group to the duo of twin sister Alejandra Deheza (vocals, guitar) and Ben Curtis (guitars, synthesizers, vocals), fans were concerned that the absence of the twin sisters' harmonies would leave a void in the lushly layered sound they'd come to love and expect. But we needn't have worried. Alejandra Deheza's vocals are multi-tracked so effectively that it's difficult to detect any marked differences in the ethereal vocal arrangements, and the overall soundscape of their third album, Ghostory, stays true to the group's first two releases. Standout tracks: "Low Times", "The Night" and "Scavenger".

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Allah-Las
Allah-Las
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £11.77

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely talented and exciting young band from L.A., 20 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Allah-Las (Audio CD)
Allah-Las is a very self-assured and accomplished debut album and belongs in the record collection of anyone with a soft spot for the melodic Psych-Pop/West Coast Rock of the 1960s. While there is a lot of emphasis on atmosphere and "period charm", there's so much more to Allah-Las than that. The songs themselves are extremely well-written, arranged and played, instruments ranging from chiming 12-string electric guitars and thumping bass to quietly assertive drums, tambourine, maracas, bongo drums, and the obligatory organ and shakers, all wrapped in the appropriate amount of reverb. Like the dreamy album cover, these evocative songs conjure up images of southern California, the beach, the sea, youthful romanticism, sunsets, and late night bonfires.

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Dino: The Essential Dean Martin (Deluxe Edition)
Dino: The Essential Dean Martin (Deluxe Edition)
Offered by BestSellerRecordshop
Price: £16.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Dean Martin compilation, 27 Jun. 2013
Dean Martin's recording career can be divided into two time periods: his years with Capitol Records (1948-1960) and his years with Reprise Records (1961-1978). The majority of all Dean Martin compilations focus on either one or the other, but the superlative Dino: The Essential Dean Martin makes room for his most beloved recordings from both labels. Containing 36 classic tracks, Dino: The Essential Dean Martin is the absolute best introduction to this iconic crooner. Released in 2004, nine years after his death, it became the best-selling album of Dean Martin's entire career - a testament to his enduring musical legacy.

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Wrote A Song For Everyone
Wrote A Song For Everyone
Price: £7.77

5.0 out of 5 stars A testament to Fogerty's enduring musical legacy, 25 Jun. 2013
How much you'll like, or perhaps even love, "Wrote A Song For Everyone" depends on your willingness/ability to not compare these re-recordings to the originals (they're not meant to replace them) and listen to the album on its own merit. If you can do that, "Wrote A Song For Everyone" is a fine and very enjoyable release in its own right. [Personally, I'd love a second volume featuring like-minded guest artists that would be absolute perfect collaborators for John Fogerty such as The Black Keys and Ray LaMontagne].

Best tracks on "Wrote A Song For Everyone" are the title track, "Fortunate Son" (with Foo Fighters),"Almost Saturday Night" (with Keith Urban), new song "Mystic Highway", "Someday Never Comes" (with Dawes), and my personal favorite "Who'll Stop The Rain"(with Bob Seger) featuring a very Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band-like piano style (think "Against The Wind"). If anything, "Wrote A Song for Everyone" is a testament to Fogerty's enduring musical legacy.

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That's Why God Made The Radio
That's Why God Made The Radio
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: £4.15

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest Beach Boys album since the late '60s/early '70s, 5 Jun. 2013
This was one unlikely reunion if ever there was one, but to The Beach Boys' credit they didn't just embark upon a tour to cash in on the need for nostalgia like so many other old bands. Instead the reunited group justified their further existence by recording an album that's far superior to any other album they'd released since the late '60s/early'70s and hereby made one of the most gratifying comebacks of any band in music history. Not only was "That's Why God Made The Radio" a creative success, the album also did extremely well commercially, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Album Chart and securing The Beach Boys their first Top Ten album since 1965. Not bad for a group of old pros in their 70s.

Even though "That's Why God Made The Radio" isn't without its weaknessess ("Spring Vacation", "Beaches In Mind"), overall The Beach Boys' 29th album is an accomplished achievement containing some truly fine and affecting songs that should bring a tear to the eyes of any longtime fan of the band. These songs are "Think About The Days", "That's Why God Made The Radio", "Strange World", "From There To Back Again", "Pacific Coast Highway", and "Summer's Gone". And these are just the highlights on the album. If they never record another album together, I'm glad that their final album is one of such high quality. For me personally, the final four tracks ("Strange World", "From There To Back Again", "Pacific Coast Highway", "Summer's Gone") are the strongest compositions Brian Wilson has written since 1988's "Love And Mercy".

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Live - The 50th Anniversary Tour
Live - The 50th Anniversary Tour
Price: £7.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Boys" deliver like the old pros that they are, 23 May 2013
As someone who considers myself to be a huge Beach Boys fan, but never got the chance to see them live in concert, I was both excited and sceptical, when I noticed that they were releasing a 2-CD recording of their "50th Anniversary Tour". Excited because the old live albums from the '60s and '70s were fairly "skimpy", missing too many favorites, but sceptical because I was thinking that back then they were young men and at the top of their game, and now they are old and perhaps much less capable of delivering those captivating harmonies. As stunning as their lead vocals and harmonies sound on their latest (and probably last) album "That's Why God Made The Radio", that was after all a studio recording. But I need not have worried. The "boys" sound absolutely wonderful. Pretty damn well done for a bunch of guys in their 70s, I must say.

And then there's the comprehensive setlist, a very satisfying and generous selection of familiar hit singles and fan favorites. I would definitely recommend this live album to any Beach Boys fan. And if you don't own any of the live albums from their classic period ("The Beach Boys In Concert" from 1973, "Live At Knebworth", recorded in 1980), I highly recommend those, too.

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