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Reviews Written by
Stevie Dal "Cool Album Of The Day.com" (Denny, Scotland)

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Price: £13.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous discovery , pristine pop perfection !, 26 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Ocean (Audio CD)
A perfect pop album. I discovered this by pure chance , i was looking for something else on YouTube , but i'm so glad i did. What we have here is a superb and beautiful little album of poptastic joy , with wistful melodies and heartfelt lovelorn lyrics . it's a bit like some of the mid-80's classic indie stuff but better produced and .....oh , i dunno , i'm struggling to describe it. I love it though , a wonderful album which has sounded just right today , a lovely sunny day , carefree and timeless. Beautiful , if you love pop and heartbreak and love and passion............. take a chance. One complaint , FAR too short !

Signals: New and Selected Stories
Signals: New and Selected Stories
by Tim Gautreaux
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £21.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this man is simply one of the best short story writers on the planet right now, 3 Mar. 2017
Superb as usual.

What we have here is another masterful collection , this man is simply one of the best short story writers on the planet right now. Poignant and heartfelt tales , with a healthy dash of (black) humour thrown in for good measure. For some reason there are nine stories here which have previously appeared in Tim's first two collections , i assume these are his favourites , but the new stuff here is easily up to his usual high standards , well worth the money .
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2017 7:21 PM BST

Price: £7.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection here of classic era Country Rock and Singer ..., 1 Jan. 2017
This review is from: COSMIC COUNTRY (Audio CD)
Wonderful collection here of classic era Country Rock and Singer Songwriter stuff , nothing new but well chosen and flows together really well. I already had about 80% of the tracks but it was still value for money , double CD at a reasonable price. Favourites include Gene Clark "From A Silver Phail" , The Band " Whispering Pines" and , maybe best of all Emmylou Harris " Boulder to Birmingham" , her beautiful song about Gram Parsons ( yes , he's also on here a couple of times , naturally).
Overall , a very good compilation , especially if this kinda stuff is new to you. I'd buy a Volume 2.........

(The Microcosm): Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986
(The Microcosm): Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986
Price: £15.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting , evocative and wonderful !, 7 Nov. 2016
Amazing stuff this. I'm totally loving this double CD collection of experimental music , firmly in the ambient/electronica style. I'm no expert on the genre but i think it's fair to say that if you enjoy the work of Brian Eno , Harold Budd or maybe Tangerine Dream ( Phaedra album) then you will find lots to get on board with here. Many of the artists are completely unknown to me , there's lots of tracks taken from obscure albums , cassette only releases and the like which have been lost in the mists of time. The compilers here have searched long and hard and unearthed some real gems. I'm particularly fond of the final track ( Ship Beetel by Gigi Masin) at the moment , a haunting drone at first which eventually blossoms into a lovely piano piece , very evocative. It reminds me a bit of certain moments on the Max Richter album From Sleep . My favourite changes on a daily basis though , there's not really a bad track on the album.
Very glad that i took a chance on this , makes a real change from my normal listening habits. Lovely stuff.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2017 5:11 PM GMT

Walking Wounded
Walking Wounded
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute masterpiece., 9 Oct. 2016
This review is from: Walking Wounded (Audio CD)
In 1996, Everything But The Girl released their 8th studio album and it boasted a completely different sound and feel to any of their earlier efforts. Casual observers may have been slightly surprised but for long – term admirers it was simply the next logical step.

A Brief Historical Detour:

Ben Watts and Tracey Thorn met each other in 1981 when both attended Hull University and, by strange coincidence, both had just signed as solo artists to Cherry Red Records. They teamed up, professionally and personally, and formed EBTG which was really a band in name only, it consisted primarily of those two plus various session musicians.

Their first recordings (in a slightly jazzy pop style) were relatively successful and they soon became darlings of the indie scene, sharing a fan base demographic with the likes of The Smiths, Billy Bragg and The Style Council. Over the following few years they made some fine albums with Love Not Money and Idlewild being particular stand-outs.

By 1994 however things seemed to have hit a bit of a brick wall, artistically speaking. Their albums had become victims of the law of diminishing returns and that year’s Amplified Heart whilst still a decent album, just seemed to be lacking something, that little crucial spark of imagination.

A form of salvation emerged from a seemingly unlikely source. Ben Watt had become very interested in Dance music and when he got top producer/DJ Todd Terry to remix the album track “Missing” the result was extraordinary, a thumping track which, although seemingly upbeat, somehow captured a sound of isolation and loneliness, the feeling of being cut adrift as life passes you by.

It stormed the charts, becoming easily the band’s bestselling release to date and also the catalyst for a critical and commercial rebirth.

It was also a sound that EBTG were to embrace on their next album Walking Wounded.

Ben Watt had been playing, producing and programming on EBTG records for years of course but this was where he really came into his own. Using a laid-back Drum’n’Bass/Hip-Hop template he crafted a perfect soundscape for modern living. Cool, urban, detached.

Taken in isolation, as purely instrumental tracks, this would surely have been one of the top Electronica releases of the year, the music really is that good. If it wasn’t exactly ground-breaking pioneering stuff, well, that’s OK, not everything has to be.

The key to the whole album though, the magic ingredient which makes it so special, is the dichotomy between that music and the wonderful voice of Tracey Thorn.

It’s a voice which has a unique, haunting quality to it, she can sound lost and alone, fragile, yet warm and embracing at the same time.You’ll look (or listen) long and hard to find another voice with similar feeling, stranded and lovelorn, but in a good way!

Most of the songs seem to be about lost loves and broken relationships and it seems at times like the people involved are merely looking on, with a cold emotional detachment. That’s not really the case though, listen closely to the lyrics and it’s a different story. People are having their hearts broken and feeling abandoned. It comes through. Thorn’s lyrics may seem simplistic on first listen but she’s got a lot to say.

All in all, a fantastic effort by all concerned and easily one of the best albums of the 90’s.

And take a look at that cover, it’s a photo which, somehow, captures exactly what the album sounds like……

The Heat (Deluxe)
The Heat (Deluxe)
Price: £14.26

4.0 out of 5 stars a great effort. Lyrical rock n roll and bruised ballads ..., 7 Aug. 2016
This review is from: The Heat (Deluxe) (Audio CD)
This is a review for the 2016 reissue.
First up , the original album , Disc 1 here, is top notch , a great effort. Lyrical rock n roll and bruised ballads with heart , love it. My absolute favourite is Block Island , a real stand out effort and one of the best songs ever written , by anyone. If yu're new to this guy its worth buying this reissue just for the original album.
Disc 2 is a mixed bag but it's grown on me and was , just about , worth me splashing out for this album again. The originals are acoustic , stripped down tunes mostly and the covers , Death or Glory , Questioningly , Everybodys Talkin , well they work because Jesse puts his own stamp on them and makes them different enough from the originals to hold my interest.
Finally though : the booklet is a disgrace. You get pretty much the same as the first issue , lyrics , credits , thats it. No new sleevenotes , no attempt to put the release in context , nothing from Jesse on the songs , why he wrote them , what they mean to him , nothing. People expect more from the reissue of an old favourite and its pretty lazy and shabby. Star deducted for that deffo.

Over all , not bad , the second disc is decent which saves the reissue , otherwise there would be no need. Its a good album but no classic.

Goodfriend [VINYL]
Goodfriend [VINYL]
Price: £29.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb companion piece .............., 8 July 2016
This review is from: Goodfriend [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This superb album is a fine companion piece to Matthews classic album Girlfriend.
Composed of demo's , radio sessions and live tracks from the era , this was originally a promo only CD but has since been released in its own right and it's magnificent. Raw and rugged , songs from Girlfriend played with earthy grit , some of them are better than the studio versions. I never get tired of this album , brilliant.
This double LP version was released for Record Store Day in 2016 and is well worth getting hold of. It was also available on CD as Disc 2 of the Girlfriend Deluxe Edition.

It truly will become a Good Friend.................. (i'll get my coat)

Price: £19.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Sublime Pop Gems !, 16 Jun. 2016
This review is from: C87 (Audio CD)
Following the wonderful "Are You Scared to Get Happy" box straight into my heart , this is another superb release. Lots of well known old favourites are present and correct ( Primitives , Railway Children , Darling Buds) , a good few little gems that i knew but had almost forgotten ( The Chesterfields , Soup Dragons) and tons of pure delights which are new to me but are absolutely wonderful ( The Groove Farm , A House) . I'm really enjoying this and it's obviously been put together with real affection for the music , the booklet is a real treat with great sleeve notes , photos and artwork , top stuff. Should also mention that two of the era's all time classic singles are included , namely My Favourite Dress by The Wedding Present and Pristine Christine by The Sea Urchins. Delightful. Great work by all concerned , loving your efforts.

I'm already anticipating C88 , there was , of course, lots of tremendous stuff in that year also !

The Groomsmen [DVD]
The Groomsmen [DVD]
Dvd ~ Edward Burns
Offered by figswigs
Price: £2.45

4.0 out of 5 stars ... seen them all) and this stands as a firm favourite of mine, 29 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Groomsmen [DVD] (DVD)
I'm a fan of Ed's work as a Director & Writer ( although i haven't seen them all) and this stands as a firm favourite of mine.
The usual concerns are addressed : family , friends, identity , sense of place and relationships , always strong theme's in Ed's work which is why i like him. He does stuff that is pretty universal but you can tell it's really close to his heart , he has strong love for the people and place that he sprung from and that really shines through in his best work and i'd include The Groomsmen in that category.
Strong performances by the main cast here , i laughed a lot and really felt that the personalities shone through , he nails certain characteristics that i totally recognise from people and buddies that I grew up with which helped me enjoy this one more than i probably should have.
A step above the usual generic bromance/comedy stuff you get dealt with , i feel Ed hit the nail on the head with this gem , a film he can feel rightly proud of. I just wish more of his films were available on region 2 DVD. Oh well , back to my well worn copies of Bros McMullan , Shes The one and Sidewalks then...............

Top effort here , 4 and a half stars.

Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories
Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories
by Ron Rash
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb stuff., 15 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ron Rash is my favourite writer of short stories right now , truly a master of his craft.
What we have here is an anthology of his very best efforts , a "greatest hits" if you like , featuring some fine selections from Ron's previous collections The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth , Chemistry , Burning Bright and Nothing Gold Can Stay. There is literally not ONE bad story in any of those books ( incredibly) so you can imagine how high the quality is here.
His stories are set in the hard-bitten country of the Appalachians and Ron knows this landscape and it's people inside out , documenting with penetrating insight all their problems and worries be it alcohol , drugs, poverty , heartache, missed opportunities etc etc , you get the picture i hope. Tales of life's "ordinary" people if you like and what makes them tick and what they think of all this holy mess we're living through. Utterly amazing stuff and one of the planets finest writers , easily on par with the likes of Richard Ford and Cormac McCarthy. There's a story here called "Their Ancient , Glittering Eyes" which is just so rich and involving , it's a masterpiece , one of the very best i've ever read. 10/10 , easily , in terms of both content AND value for money.

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