28 June 2009
From allmusic (4.5/5):
"Bookended by two tracks that essentially are the same piece -- "Everywhere," a quicker, almost dancy number that still sounds uniquely Cranes, and the slower, stripped-down "Rainbows" -- Forever finds Cranes moving from strength to strength. Having reached a new level of variety and elegant restraint combined with brusque power on Wings of Joy, the foursome continued exploring such combinations on Forever without simply rehashing the previous album. If anything, the album went to extremes in both directions -- the quieter moments were even more hushed and shadowed, the louder points all that much more whip-snap cruel. "Cloudless" remains the album's most sweetly beautiful, truly haunting moment. Over what sounds like a synthesized combination of plucked violin and keyboards, doubtless played by Jim Shaw, sister Alison delivers a softly husky vocal that slowly grows in strength. More synth strings swell up in the background, just enough, followed later by gentle electric guitar and at the end distant drums. On a completely different tip, there's "Clear," its searing, blunt lead guitar line matched by a massive rhythm slam, only occasionally interrupted by a quieter moment or two before launching back into the full band attack. "Jewel" ended up being a surprise U.K. and U.S. hit, though thanks to a somewhat transformed remix courtesy of longtime fan Robert Smith (in fact, Forever takes its name from a Cure rarity of the same title). On the album, Jim Shaw's original rougher drums stand out, but the attractive poppy groove of the song remains the same, Alison Shaw's singing at her clearest yet over the simple but effective acoustic guitar rhythms and abrasive electric solo. Other highlights include the minimal piano-led "Far Away," with some of Alison's best vocals; the narcotic guitar chime of "Golden"; and the dramatic, blasting surge of "Adrift.""
Get it here.
Cranes - Wings of Joy (1991)
16 June 2009
Yet another group that hasn't exactly materilized an album yet, but they are on the rise. Reason why they have gained populatity are from their youtube videos. I have a couple of songs I bought from them. They were that good that I had to spend money to obtain the mp3s. Hope that tells you something.
(Lawl this man has a heart shaped vinyl, very orginial)
From Stone Throw's bio on Mayer Hawthorne (really the only information you really need to know what kind of music he makes):
Hawthorne has produced and played instruments for much of his life, but never intended to become a singer. He isn’t formally trained, and never sang in the church choir or in any of the bands he was in before founding the County (formerly the County Commissioners). But here he is, new school soul sensation, who has taken the Motown assembly-line production model and eliminated nearly every element but himself and a few hired hands. “I think Mayer is the only artist in the history of the label that I’ve signed after hearing only two songs,” says Peanut Butter Wolf. “Sometimes, you just know it’s the right thing to do.”
I am posting what is 4 songs, which are the only songs he has out as of now, but I have played out these songs so many times because they are very good. Soulful shit you won't find anywhere else unless you fire up a John Bulton record, something of the like. Mayer Hawthorne will be going places and once you hear these songs you'll know why. He will soon have an LP released 9/9/09. I am the first one in line to get it.
15 June 2009
I'm sure you're familiar with Selda; you've probably heard Oh No sampling "Ince Ince" on those Skate 2 commercials, or, more recently, Mos Def rapping over this same beat on his latest album The Ecstatic (first track). I may get around to posting Selda later, but for now Türkülerimiz 1 will do.
"What a voice this girl has! Very well played fusion/mix of turk-arabic roots and folk-european pop...
I have no idea if this is mainstream or not, but it sure is news and fresh to me, and with lovely strange words like; Bülbül :)" - Lilleboll (4/5)
"I usually compare Selda Bağcan to Violeta Parra and sometimes Mercedes Sosa because they arranged folk songs with modern style.This is the characteristics of the genre of their music. Nuevo Cansion and Anadolu Pop (or Rock) did the same thing (I guess Anadolu Pop were a bit late as 5-10 years late This is maybe they (Turkish counterparts) followed this kinda intenational cultural movements or just it was re-produced in the conditions of that era .I don't have the album right beside me so i can't write which songs belongs originally to whom, but Bağcan mostly covered folk artist Neşet Ertaş and Mahsuni Şerif.Some songs are anonymous such as "Kalenin Dibinde Taş Ben Olaydım" and "Gesi Bağları".There are some that written and/or composed by Selda Bağcan such as "Çemberimde gül oya".But i should note that the songs which covered are played with the guitar(and/or other pop/rock instruments) which is not local musical instruments and therefore hadn't been used in the original versions.Thus one can never ignore The Selda factor which made the songs into a brand new form and made the songs known by broader audience particullarly the youth which is familiar with the westerner popular pop/rock music." - Moremun (4/5)
Get it here.
From allmusic (4.5/5):
"Time may not exactly heal all wounds, but it can lend the perspective and strength to channel pain into something positive. Such is the case with Spoon; their perennial indie rock underdog status and disastrous stint on Elektra have focused and tempered the trio's brash energy instead of crushing it. Their third full-length, Girls Can Tell, reflects the group's lean, hungry stance in its spare, spiky, immaculately crafted songs. "Take the Fifth" and "Take a Walk" take Spoon's smart, bouncy, slightly tough signature sound to another level; while the ghosts of the Pixies, Nirvana, and Elvis Costello still haunt songs like "Lines in the Suit," Girls Can Tell's sharp wordplay, barbed guitars, and appealingly raw vocals prove that the group embraces their influences without becoming slaves to them. Britt Daniel's increasingly eclectic and expansive songwriting comes to the forefront on "Everything Hits at Once," a taut, brooding pop song driven by vibes, keyboards, yearning, and pride; "Me and the Bean" suggests the direction alternative/indie rock should have taken after Nirvana's implosion. This album is also Spoon's most emotionally eclectic collection of songs, ranging from "Anything You Want," a sunny pop song drawn with just a few artfully placed strokes to "1020 AM," a brooding, slightly psychedelic piece of folk-rock that recalls Daniel's Drake Tungsten side project. "This Book Is a Movie," an appropriately tense, filmic instrumental, and "Chicago at Night," a slightly spooky pop song with winding guitars and an off-kilter melody, complete Girls Can Tell, making it Spoon's most mature, accomplished work to date and a fine balance of fire and polish."
Get it here.
14 June 2009
From allmusic (4.5/5):
"Throughout her career, most of Françoise Hardy's arrangements have tended toward the lush, though in a good way. La Question is lush too, but it's one of her most sparsely produced efforts, usually finding her voice accompanied by little more than an acoustic guitar, touches of bass, and very subtle orchestration. Much of the record's lights-low ambience could be attributed to Tuca (no last name given), who played guitar, co-arranged, and co-wrote most of the tunes (though Hardy did contribute to the composition of a few tracks). It may be her best post-'60s effort, songs like "Chanson d'O" and "Le Martien" featuring some of her most whispery, seductive vocals. As fireside romantic music goes, it beats the hell out of José Feliciano."
sizeprize's review on RYM (5/5):
"Francoise Hardy could have been slotted into the typical French chanteuse category, surviving on her looks and singing easy standards. But while sex appeal and songs written by others are her fare, she delivers on that more than others, and adds to it a sincere artists' sensibility that makes her the opposite of an ingenue, but rather a smart, sexy, arty, womanly force.
The first word of this album is a come-on: "Viens..." delivered with smoldering boudoir sexuality that sets the mood for the whole album. The songs are of longing, doomed romance, loving like it's the only thing on earth. Hardy's voice and personality carry these smartly written songs, but the mood is built by the wonderful orchestration that surrounds them, not layering over the directness of the voice but enhancing it.
This is an amazing record."
Get it here.
Since I posted Tokyo Jihen's Adult earlier, it only made sense to upload one of Ringo's solo albums. Once again allmusic fails me, so here are some reviews from Rate Your Music:
"A great pop/rock album, that's exciting, exuberant and very, very catchy. The powerful, emotionally-charged vocals are a treat, and the little experimental tweaks in the instrumentation keep things vibrant and interesting. The chorus of "ギブス" (aka "Gips") is so uplifting it should lift the roof off your house. Highly recommended." - tommo (4.5/5)
"First of all in order to describe this to you, I must digress that on my initial experience with Ringo I couldn't put my finger on which side of the pretentious, over produced pop, mish mash/genius obscure rock album line this thing fell on. So of course I listened to it non-stop for days, researched everything I could find out about her and this album and now I can safely say that this falls on the latter side of that line.
It's a crazy, shape shifting experience, full of great, sly, mysterious guitar lines very reminiscent of Jonny Greenwood [partially due to the fact that I believe the guitar player (her boyfriend at the time) uses a Roland Space Echo or a similiar effect]. One other impressive thing about Shoso Strip is that although it's a solo album, the focus is on the music and atmosphere as a whole and not solely on Ringo.My theory about the album is that she had gone to the U.K. during the release of O.K. Computer, which had to have an influence on her music, she returned to Japan, and came out with this gem. While a slight few of the pop laden tracks get a bit average the rest of the album makes up for them. And although Ringo's voice can be a little annoying when she does her Alanis Morisette impression, she can really emote, create some memorable melodies, and shift along to the intricate changes with ease. Sometimes she does sing in a style similiar to Fiona Apple as well. On top of all that, this album is so skillfully produced that it just flows so effortlessly through all the chaotic and beautiful changes, it almost requires multiple listens.I do have a gripe with some of the guitars on here which can be really genius, but on a few tracks they seem overly simple, with your basic four chord, perfect fifth rifffage...but I'm being a bit hypercritical. Ultimately this is pretty amazing and seriously near perfect, which means a lot coming from me because I really had little affinity for female vocalists until I heard this." - TheWestWind (4.5/5)
Get it here.
13 June 2009
I really don't think a review is necessary for this album. I mean, look at the title: Pet Sounds vs. J Dilla. How can that be bad at all? Mad props to Bullion on this one. One of the best things about this album (and really, any great album) is that you can easily listen to it all in one sitting.
"I am in love with this. I'm an idiot, so I don't get how exactly this was made, but this sounds like Jay Dee personally remixing the Pet Sounds sessions, and that makes it absolutely incredible. It's fucking beautifully done, and I can listen to the whole thing. In one sitting. I praise Bullion. "God Only Knows" and "You Still Believe in Dee" are the best. I have eargasms just thinking about how well this was done. So much better than West Sounds1." - jjjonatron (4/5)
Get it here.
1: Yeah, West Sounds (which is just the College Dropout mixed with Pet Sounds) doesn't compare to this.
The reviewers over at RYM are a lot more helpful than the people over on allmusic/pitchfork, etc. From now on, RYM reviews take preference over professional reviews.
Anyway, let's get on with it:
"A Japanese masterpiece. The album opens with "The World's Spinning at 45 R.P.M", which is one of my favourite pop song titles ever. The song begins as a pseudo-psychedelic and Beatlesque pop track, before becoming a typically irresistible P5 number. The vibe has been set. "The Earth Goes Around" is nearly as nice, while "Trailer Music" and "Love's Prelude" are nothing but interludes – however, quite interesting ones. "My Baby Portable Player Sound" is the first smash on the album, followed by "Mon Amour Tokyo" which sounds very international in its adult-contemporary pop-schlager tripping. "Collision and Improvisation" is one of those numbers which simply sound wonderful, however inappropriate they may seem. "Arigato We Love You", finally, breaks P5 into a classic quality level; while most of this album's content reminds me of Saint Etienne, I wonder if Saint Etienne has ever made anything this catchy. "Happy Ending" leaves me quite happy, perhaps except for the ending of the song which typically consists of a long pause and a few tens of seconds of something quite non-musical. Beside that, "Porno 3003" (the title possibly inspired by the Sushi 3003 compilation?) is the only filler on the disc. All the other stuff is more or less fascinating: soundtrack to a reality film I would feel superb acting in." - fairyeee (4.5/5)
"When I was in school and the cool kids were all about Nirvana and RATM and The Manics and... well, I don't really remember, I was scrabbling around record shops looking for Pizzicato Five and Melt-Banana albums. Why this happened to me I've never been entirely clear, and it never won me any friends, but for better or for worse, Happy End Of The World ended up being one of the defining albums of my youth, and pretty much everything about it has influenced pretty much everything I'm done, musically or otherwise, for the past 12 years.
Maybe having hunted around for it so long, it could never be anything other than gold, but years later, the sweet demented vocals and the slick élan and the cut-up drums like bloody cannons are just about all I want from music. Without P5, I'd probably think the Blood Brothers were a sack of crap, and where would we be then?" - Fotzepolitic (5/5)
Get it here.
12 June 2009
東京事変 (Tokyo Jihen), which translates to Tokyo Incidents, is Shiina Ringo's current main project. I don't feel like writing my own review (which I'll get around to someday), so here are some words from some fellow RYM-ers:
"I dunno, there's this certain charm about Shiina Ringo that's lacking in some J-pop singers. It's either that or she's backed by really good musicians on this album. Now I'm not that familiar with her other releases, but I got hooked on this one when I first took it for a spin. The pop and rock elements work well together, and hints of jazz and bossa just make it more worthwhile. Some of my favorites include "Himitsu", "Tasogare Naki", "Blackout" and "Tegami" (because I'm a sucker for ballads). " - Happymeal (4/5)
"Tokyo Jihen's previous album had flirted with a certain smoky jazz bar atmosphere but it is in this album that they truly embrace it. Adult finds the incidents [sic] a lot more polished and a lot more comfortable with their own sound. They tackle standard pop/rock tunes from a new jazzier angle as well as doing straightforward piano ballads, flirting with lounge and bossa nova. They can do it all. Anyway, Shiina Ringo's vocals are fantastic as always and while this record lacks the eccentricities of her solo work, it is nonetheless essential for any Shiina fan. Hell, any pop fan in general. There is a lot to love here." - ninjavsself (4.5)
Me? I gave it a 4.5/5. It's a whole lot of fun, and pretty chill. If I had more than three hours of sleep in the past two days, then I'd be a lot more articulate. Meh. Take our collective recommendation.
Get it here.
From allmusic (3.5/5; don't let the rating dissuade you from this one):
" Nowadays Chris Harwood is being touted as Britain's great lost female folksinger. That's understandable -- her sole record, Nice to Meet Miss Christine, launched the tiny indie Birth label in 1970. The album disappeared soon after, probably because most listeners were unable to get beyond the first track, the exceedingly self-righteous, anti-racist "Mama," whose justified anger doesn't exonerate the song's lack of melody. Or maybe it was due to the fact that Nice wasn't really a folk album at all, as the guest musician roster makes clear. Guitarist Peter Banks was a founding member of Yes, pianist/organist Tommy Eyre would soon be joining Rainbow, brass and woodwind player Ian McDonald hailed from King Crimson, drummer Pete York came from the Spencer Davis Group, and guitarist Mike Maran would eventually become Britain's top musical arranger. Not a folkie in sight, but one hell of a lineup, expanding the sound of what one assumes was Harwood's own group -- guitarist Dave Lambert, bassist Roger Sutton, and drummer J. Kay Boots. Thus the songs sound phenomenal (even if the transfer to CD creates a hollowness at the center), the musicianship is flawless, and the set is as eclectic as one would imagine with these players on board. Jazzy fusion, jammy prog rock, pomp rock, revved-up R&B, and combinations of all of the above swirl across the set. The musicians are so busy showboating that melodies are mostly ignored, most spectacularly on the covers of Dave Mason's "Crying to Be Heard" and Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Wooden Ships," a situation Harwood does little to resolve. She's best showcased on the sultry blues of "Flies Like a Bird," but elsewhere too often slides into waspishness or worse -- harangues. A musical Margaret Thatcher is no good thing, but that's how Harwood comes across, all hectoring tones and wagging finger, even on the love songs. It's no surprise, then, that the iron chanteuse never made another record, but if you can ignore her, the backing is sensational."
Get it here.
11 June 2009
From allmusic (4.5/5):
"The aptly named Do You Like My Tight Sweater? slinks and bounces on a funky backbone of fat basslines and innovative beats that support singer Roisin Murphy's sly, theatrical vocals and lyrics. Part catwoman, part droid, her singing ranges from a knowing purr to an androgynous growl and creates characters like party weirdos, dominatrixes, killer bunnies, and ghosts. As dramatic as her vocals are, however, Murphy is an antidiva; her musical surroundings equal her singing in importance. The other half of Do You Like My Tight Sweater?'s individuality comes from Mark Brydon's arrangements, which combine fluid tempos, sudden breakbeats, witty sound effects, and unearthly keyboards in sci-fi grooves that appeal to the brain and body. Standout tracks like "Fun for Me," "I Can't Help Myself," "Lotus Eaters," and "Party Weirdo" mix sensuality, technology, funk, and electronica in a unique and stylish blend. While some of the sillier songs like "On My Horsey" and "Dirty Monkey" disrupt the flow of Do You Like My Tight Sweater?, the danceable creativity of Moloko's debut overrides its quirks."
Get it here.
Didn't feel like finding a review of this either, but trust me, it's great. Unnamed reviewer at Dusty Groove America had this to say about Erkin Koray:
"The first full album of work by Erkin Koray -- a Turkish rocker from the late 60s and early 70s, and one who did a lot to fuse American rock styles with "arabesk", a Turkish version of Arab popular music! Erkin started out in the beat group years, and some of the earlier tracks here show that influence -- but as time goes on, the guitars get heavier and mix more with traditional instrumentation to create a sound that's really unique -- almost an eastern take on progressive modes of the west, played to best effect by Koray on the electric baglama -- a weirdly tuned stringed instrument that's a bit like a trippy version of the lute!"
Uh, okay. Get it here.
I didn't feel like looking for a review, so here is yerdenyere's review over on Rate Your Music (5/5):
"Without a doubt, the manifesto of and template for Anadolu Pop as a whole. Erkin's chops were never in doubt, but the arrangements here, particularly on Yalnızlar Rıhtımı and Türkü, leave one capable of believing that psychedelia would have sprung spontaneously from the soil of Asia Minor even if American blues had never crashed into British Invasion beat. This is a masterpiece, crucial to anyone interested in the history of rock n roll, much less Turkish music or 'world' psychedelia. As we say in Istanbul, "Erkin Baba yaşasın...." Many thanks to the World Psychedelia label for its reissue, which has finally made this unparalleled recording available on cd."
Word. Get it here.
06 June 2009
From allmusic (4/5):
"A pairing of Ride's first two EPs, Smile is a batch of eight muddy, shambling wrecks that run dangerously close to obscuring great pop songs. In fact, much of Smile makes My Bloody Valentine's blurry Isn't Anything sound as polished as a Steely Dan record. What makes the tunes remarkable is the spirit of the band, along with a complementary mix. The band probably knew exactly what they were doing, but wanted to sound clueless. It's the sound of four art students losing themselves in their record collections, wanting to sound naïve and fresh but well-studied. Mark Gardener sounds like he couldn't sing to save his life on "Chelsea Girl," but it's no matter. The relentless rush of Loz Colbert's drums and distorted guitars of Gardener and Andy Bell carry the song, topped off by a nifty wah-wah climax. Though the mid-tempo, chugging "Drive Blind" could be taken literally, it could double as a metaphor for throwing oneself headlong into a relationship -- closing your eyes and not caring if a brick wall or cliff is up a mile ahead. The remainder is filled out with sticky riffs and melodies which avoid sounding like the standard pop fair. It sounds a bit amateurish, and Gardener and Bell hadn't quite found their footing vocally. Nonetheless, Smile brought something new to the table, and the U.K. audience and more adventurous U.S. fans clutched onto the sound for dear life. Rightfully so."
Get it here.
Ride - Nowhere (1990)
The XX's first video for their upcoming single Crystalised:
This young band of 19 years olds from London has already made a name for itself
through the internet. They are something to watch out for as they are coming out
with an LP this summer. They have a minimalist simple sound that is hard not to
fall in love with. The only thing The XX has come out with right now at the
moment are a bunch of demos and their single for their new record. Download it
and enjoy this band before all the pitchfork hipsters get a hold of The XX.
02 June 2009
From allmusic (4/5):
"Informed by the breakup -- both professional and personal -- of Bob Wratten and Annemari Davies, the gossamer Her Handwriting is heartbreakingly delicate and forlorn; few artists bare their souls quite so beautifully as Wratten, and the 14 tracks which make up Trembling Blue Stars' debut rank among his most sublime to date, shards of melancholia made smooth with dreamy guitars and a hint of ambient atmosphere. Crafted in collaboration with ex-St. Etienne arranger Ian Catt, the album possesses a stately elegance which allows Wratten to dangle on the brink of romantic despair but never allows him or his songs to lose their dignity -- "Abba on the Jukebox" easily captures the evocative grandeur of its title, while other highlights like "For This One" shimmer with breathtaking loveliness."
I have a lot of their albums, so if anyone's interested in hearing more, leave a comment.
Anyway, get it here.
01 June 2009
"Cut City is an indie rock group formed in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2002 around the local Deleted Art label, sort of the Swedish counter-part to U.S. art-punk imprints like Three One G and Tapes Records. In May 2005 they issued a 4-song EP on the California-based Gold Standard Labs label. Drawing comparisons to groups such as Echo & The Bunnnymen and Joy Division as well as newer bands like Interpol and Editors they at the same time echo the past as much as the future."
This 4 song EP was the first one I picked up from Cut City around 2005, before they came out with Exit Decades (2007) and Narcissus Can Wait (2009) . All the songs on here do have a hint of Joy Divison amd Interpol, while being completely orginial at the same time. What really drives these songs foward are the beatutiful bass lines and druming, while the guitar parts and vocals are what give the songs their substance. This EP is the reason I love Cut City, and this EP is their best work.
From allmusic (4/5):
"Even tolerant music fans shudder inwardly at the mention of the concept album, a largely prog rock genre that spawned many of the greatest aesthetic indiscretions of the '70s. L'Homme à Tête de Chou (The Man with the Cabbage Head) is a concept album and shares some of prog's general characteristics, but it's unlike anything emanating from rock's beardy depths. In the spirit of his 1971 masterpiece Histoire de Melody Nelson, Gainsbourg sets this album's brief tale amid a widescreen musical canvas. Whereas Melody Nelson was provocative without being explicit, the gravel-voiced Gallic lecher goes X-rated here -- albeit without sacrificing his poetic élan. In this morbidly comic song cycle the narrator's muse is Marilou, a black shampoo girl: during their ill-fated fling, he descends into unhinged obsession, beats her to death with a fire extinguisher and ends up in a psychiatric hospital (convinced his head has turned into a cabbage). Although the title track retains something of Melody Nelson's cool Baroque pop gravitas, Chou doesn't replicate that earlier record's alternately brooding and soaring melodic grandeur. Instead, it draws on an adventurously varied palette, spanning rock, country, disco, jazz, reggae, and funk. In places, the shifting styles match the different images or situations that Gainsbourg presents, sometimes without concern for subtlety: "Marilou Reggae" finds Marilou grooving to Caribbean sounds, while tribal rhythms on "Transit à Marilou" heavy-handedly signify her exotic sexuality. The songs are most satisfying when the relationship between lyrics and music is less literal, more evocative -- especially "Lunatic Asylum," where tympani, didgeridoo-like drones, dramatic organ, and insistent percussion soundtrack the protagonist's insanity. Elsewhere, subject matter and sound are divorced completely, the cheery funk of "Ma Lou Marilou" contrasting with the narrator's murderous thoughts. L'Homme à Tête de Chou is an underrated Gainsbourg album. Notwithstanding some dubious synth coloring, it's his second-best '70s release, ranking among his finest recordings."
Get it here.
Serge Gainsbourg - No 2 (1959)
From allmusic (4.5/5):
"The third release by Outrageous Cherry, Nothing's Gonna Cheer You Up, shows the band filtering classic sounds of the past -- the jangle-rock of the Byrds, Big Star, and early R.E.M., and the dark minimalism of the Velvet Underground -- through '90s lo-fi technology. The band has a very talented songwriter in guitarist/singer (and producer) Matthew Smith -- if he was writing songs like the ones on N.G.C.Y.U. back in the '60s, he'd have several hits on his hands. The opening track, "I've Never Seen Your World," sets the tone for the rest of the album, and is a perfect example of what to expect from the other cuts (cleanly strummed guitars, echoey and distant vocals, primitive drumming a la V.U.'s Moe Tucker, etc.). Many of the tracks contain strong melodic hooks that create a comforting sense of familiarity, which is the ultimate sign of great songwriting. Other standout tracks include "Panavision 70," "Genevieve," and the title track. This is definitely Outrageous Cherry's best and most accomplished album yet, a guaranteed delight for fans of fuzzed-out, sticky-sweet '60s pop."
Get it here.