Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

Label - Alternative Tentacles

Producer - East Bay Ray - Norm

Country - USA

Genre - Hardcore Punk

The Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980)

Meh, another punk album, another painful hour. Political name (surprise), satirical lyrics (surprise, yawn), lots of outrageous song titles (yawn). Occasionally it was funny, but when it comes to punk like this, you either have to be there, or have wanted to be there. It just doesn't stand the test of time, or good hearing.

Score - 1/10
Recommended - No

MJ Cole - Sincere

MJ Cole - Sincere (2000)

Label - Talkin' Loud

Producer - MJ Cole

Country - UK

Genre - UK Garage

I wish I had more to say about this one but I was just plain bored. Admittedly I know nothing about the genre but this just sounded like some boring piano, bass and a generic female elevator music voice. Overproduced, no soul.

Score - 2/10
Recommended - No

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Battle of the Decades #12

A better bunch this time, if nothing really great (and no keepers). No luck with the 50s or 60s.

2000's - Bebel Gilberto - Tanto Tempo - (6.8/10)

1990's - The La's - The La's - (5/10)

1980's - Cramps - Songs the Lord Taught Us (6/10)

1970's - Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (7/10)

1960's - N/A

1950's - N/A


Coming up:

o Domino, Fats – This is Fats
o Smith, Jimmy – Back at the Chicken Shack
o Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1st Album)
o Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
o Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker
o Cole, MJ – Sincere

Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

Label - Epic
Producer - David Briggs

Country - US

Genre - psychadelic rock

Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1970)

A1Prelude - Nothin' to Hide3:41
A2Nature's Way2:30
A3Animal Zoo3:20
A4Love Has Found a Way2:42
A5Why Can't I Be Free1:03
A6Mr. Skin3:50
B1Space Child3:26
B2When I Touch You5:35
B3Street Worm3:40
B4Life Has Just Begun3:22
B5Morning Will Come2:58

The problem with this album is that many have gone on to do what it does (and better) and so even though I'd never heard it before, it ends up sounding a bit tired and familiar in a very non-exciting way. It was actually quite ahead of i's time really, a 1970 album that kind of paves the way for the mid 70's albums that most people know.

It's likeable on a first listen and there are some good songs (Solider especially is great), but I don't think it has really stood the test of time.

While I sit there listening to it "Hmm not bad" at the same time I'm just left a bit "meh" about it all. Maybe too classic rock? Who knows.

If you like standard 70s psychedelic rock, you might like this. For me it's just a bit "been there, done that", no matter how new it may have been at the time.

Score - 7/10
Recommended - Yep.

The Cramps - Songs The Lord Taught Us

Decade - 1980s

Label - IRS

Producer - Alex Chilton

Nationality - US

Genre - Punk/Rock

A1TV Set3:12
A2Rock on the Moon1:53
A4I Was a Teenage Werewolf3:03
A5Sunglasses After Dark3:47
A6The Mad Daddy3:48
B1Mystery Plane2:43
B2Zombie Dance1:55
B3What's Behind the Mask2:05
B5I'm Cramped2:37
B6Tear It Up2:32

The Cramps - Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)

Ah, the sweet irony of the title. This sounds more like Dracula taught them their songs in some dark cave somewhere.

This is a bunch of re-done rock tunes with a hefty amount of trashy punk and attitude and some onminous drumming. They come off as a bit crazy really but in a fun kind of way, if not a bit novelty act. So fun that their guitarist drove off with the van that was filled with their gear, sold it to fund his drug habit and was never seen by the band again!

They are pretty much a B grade horror movie - if you're into that, you'll probably enjoy them quite a bit. I can't say it's my thing.

Score - 6/10
Recommended - Why not?

The La's - The La's

Decade - 1990s

Label - Go! Discs

Producer - Steve Lillywhite

Country - UK

Genre - Pop

1Son of a Gun1:56
2I Can't Sleep2:37
3Timeless Melody3:01
4Liberty Ship2:30
5There She Goes2:42
8Way Out2:32
10Freedom Song2:23
12Looking Glass7:51

The La's - The La's (1990)

This is one of those inclusions that makes me want to write to the collaborators of this book and ask them WHY WHY WHY? Why were perfectly wonderful albums left out (particularly in the 2000s) and this forgettable one-hit wonder slotted in?

Remember "There She Goes"? Cute, catchy jangly guitar pop tune? This is them. If you've never heard of The La's it's because other than that song, they never had another hit or released another album.

There's nothing horrible about this album, it's just completely forgettable. Most of the songs are 2-3 minute guitar ditties with very average melodies that just don't make any impact. The songwriter, Lee Mavers later described this album to NME as "a pile of shit. There is not one good thing I can find to say about it". I don't always trust a songwriter's response to their own album and he's probably being overly harsh in this case, but he's not TOO far off the mark because it is really quite hard to even find one point to justify it being in a book called "1001 albums you must hear before you die".

There She Goes is a good, solid pop song. It's the best on this album, and that's the sad part.

Score - 5/10
Recommended - No

Bebel Gilberto - Tanto Tempo

Decade - 2000s

Label: Ziriguiboom

Producer -Suba

Country - Brazil

Genre - Bossa Nova

1Samba da Benção4:47
2August Day Song4:37
3Tanto Tempo3:01
4Sem Contenção3:10
5Mais Feliz4:17
7So Nice (Summer Samba)3:32
10Samba e Amor3:28
11Close Your Eyes4:16

Bebel Gilberto - Tanto Tempo (2000)

Well, one of the few albums on the list not from the UK/US/AU.

Bebel obviously comes from a music loving family - her father is Joao Gilberto, a Bossa Nova legend (and these are his songs). Her mother is also a singer, Muicha, and her uncle (Chico Buarque) is a singer/songwriter. Bebel has recorded with all of them!

This album is actually the biggest selling Brazillian album outside of Brazil... a fact the poor producer never got to see because he died straight after it was completed.

Anyway to the album itself - it is basically background music. Pleasant and fairly relaxing background music for sure with an old time and Latino vibe - but that is still all it is.

There is just nothing really compelling here. She has a nice (and again, pleasant) voice but there is little passion or rawness to make you sit up and listen. While the electronic vibe towards the end of the album is good, it still doesn't add enough personality to this to make it interesting. I have a feeling it probably doesn't even improve on the originals.

It's certainly not a hard listen. The production is lush and a bit dreamy, so for those who like background music or very relaxing, passive music then it's a good choice.

Score - 6.8/10
Recommended - Sure

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Battle of the Decades #11

Only a short bunch this time, I couldn't find the 50s, 60s or 90s albums!

2000's - Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker - 8/10

1990's - N/A

1980's - AC/DC - Back in Black - 3/10

1970's - Miles Davis - Bitches Brew - 5/10

1960's - N/A

1950's - N/A


Coming up:

o Prima, Louis – Wildest
o Everly Brothers – A Date with the…
o Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus
o Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us
o La’s – La’s
o Gilberto, Bebel – Tanto Tempo

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

Decade - 1970s

Label - Columbia
Producer - Teo Macero

Country - US

Genre - Jazz

APharoah's Dance20:06
BBitches Brew27:00
C1Spanish Key17:34
C2John McLaughlin4:26
D1Miles Runs the Voodoo Down14:04

Miles Davis -
Bitches Brew (1970)

My last review of poor ol' Miles wasn't very nice. I didn't like Kind of Blue much at all. I was hoping to like this more, and I suppose I did.

I do like the first track - Pharaoh's Dance. It was ominous and scary and I could totally see where Thom Yorke got The National Anthem from.

But it went downhill from there, I was just bored with the other tracks. It's also very difficult to listen to 20 minute long tracks of noise when you aren't even a "background music" person.

Someday over the rainbow perhaps I'll find a Jazz album I like.

Score - 5/10 (bonus point for the great cover art)
Recommended - I have no idea...headache.

AC/DC - Back in Black

Decade - 1980s

Label - ATCO

Producer - Robert John Lange

Country - Australia (I'm SORRY)

Genre - Cra....I mean Rock.

A1Hells Bells5:11
A2Shoot to Thrill5:17
A3What Do You Do for Money Honey3:34
A4Given the Dog a Bone3:31
A5Let Me Put My Love Into You4:14
B1Back in Black4:14
B2You Shook Me All Night Long3:29
B3Have a Drink on Me3:58
B4Shake a Leg4:05
B5Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution4:12

AC/DC - Back in Black (1980)

WTF? Seriously, I've never understood AC/DC. Australia has a habit of liking anyone who is Australian and happens to make it overseas...even a little bit. Savage Garden anyone?

I listened to this twice and I still could barely tell you one song off it, except the ones I already knew. Boring riffs....blurgh.

If you want some hard rock with no personality, try this. Try not to choke.

Score - 4/10
Recommended - No. Unless you're very drunk at a pub.

Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker

Decade - 2000s

Label - Bloodshot

Producer - Ethan Jones

Country - US

Genre - Alt Country

1(Argument With David Rawlings Concerning Morrissey)0:37
2To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)3:04
3My Winding Wheel3:13
5Oh My Sweet Carolina4:57
6Bartering Lines3:59
7Call Me on Your Way Back Home3:09
8Damn, Sam (I Love a Woman That Rains)
9Come Pick Me Up5:18
10To Be the One3:01
11Why Do They Leave?3:38
12Shakedown on 9th Street2:53
13Don't Ask for the Water2:56
14In My Time of Need5:39
15Sweet Lil Gal (23rd/1st)3:39

Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker (2000)

I'm quite open to alt country. I'm a huge Wilco fan and also love Tweedy's stuff in Golden Smog so I was quite expecting to like Ryan Adams, or at least think it is a pretty good album.

And yep, it ended up just "pretty good".

As the title suggests, Heartbreaker is an album about....heartbreak. Not quite as emotionally intimate (or one noted) as Beck's Seachange, but it is still an album essentially about the ups and numerous downs of love.

Two problems for me with this album - one is that it's very front loaded and so drags about 3/4 of the way through. The second is that it's about 5% too country rather than alt-country for my tastes. That of course, is not the album's fault.

Generally though, I like it and I'm keeping it. The duet with Emmylou Harris is sweet and I really like Adams' voice. The first track (one of only two up tempo rock tracks) "To Be Young" is just very very fun.

Unfortunately I read this is his most under-produced album so I don't think I'll be checking out his later stuff that eagerly. Maybe one day.

Score - 8/10
Recommended - Yep.

Battle of the Decades #10

What a boring bunch again. Also could not find the second Elvis album (sadness eh?) or the 90s albums. Oh well.

2000's - Air - The Virgin Suicides (score) - 5/10

1990's - N/A

1980's - Dexy's Midnight Runners - Search for the Young... - 6/10

1970's - Derek & The Dominoes - Layla... - 6/10

1960's - N/A

1950's - Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley - 3/10


Yep that's right, no winner. All round a bad bunch. If I HAD to I'd
probably go for the Clapton one.

Coming up:

o Louvin Brothers – Tragic Songs of Life
o Makeba, Miriam – Miriam Makeba (1960)
o Davis, Miles – Bitches Brew
o AC/DC – Back in Black
o Deee Lite – World Clique
o Adams, Ryan – Heartbreaker

Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley

Decade - 1950s

Label - RCA

Producer - Uncredited
Country - US

Genre - Rock n Rol

A1Blue Suede Shoes2:01
A2I'm Counting On You2:24
A3I Got A Woman2:25
A4One-Sided Love Affair2:11
A5I Love You Because2:43
A6Just Because2:33
B1Tutti Frutti1:58
B2Tryin' To Get To You2:33
B3I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)2:01
B4I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')2:24
B5Blue Moon2:40
B6Money Honey2:33

Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley (1956)

Elvis Elvis Elvis....boy oh boy. Proof that important and influential doesn't always = good.

Elvis is certainly considered one of, if not THE most important figures in American music and he's so famous that you'd have to be literally kept in a small room for your whole life to not have heard of him.

But all that doesn't really matter when it come to the music....right? And most of this is just throw away rubbish now. Appropriated rubbish that stole music that was already being made by others who were more talented but weren't quite as white as Elvis, as well.

It's not all bad, but it's clear that Elvis is a performer, and not some great talent. Blue Moon is the best song, but it's at the end and you have to listen to some very very dull and insipid ballads before you even get there.

The faster songs can be fun but overall it's just an album filled with mediocrity that has dated very badly but is buoyed up by the fact that it's Elvis.

Score -3/10
Recommended - No.

Derek & The Dominoes - Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs

Decade - 1970s

Label: Polydor

Producer - Tom Dowd, The Dominoes

Country - UK & USA

Genre - Rock

A1I Looked Away3:04
A2Bell Bottom Blues5:06
A3Keep on Growing6:22
A4Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out4:57
B1I Am Yours3:32
B3Key to the Highway9:47
C1Tell the Truth6:45
C2Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad4:50
C3Have You Ever Loved a Woman6:51
D1Little Wing5:23
D2It's Too Late3:45
D4Thorn Tree in the Garden2:51

Derek & The Dominoes - Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

I'd never heard of Derek and The Dominoes but quickly figured out it was just Eric Clapton!

This is a double album that bombed at the time of its release. Now sometimes amazing, great, wonderful albums have no commercial success and it's only after the artist is dead or years later that people realise how awesome it was. Not in this case. This is just an average album with forgettable songs apart from Layla.

This is the long version of Layla and it's pretty good. But that's all I really found on the album and the rest of the time I was just plain bored.

If you're into some classic dad rock stuff you might like it - otherwise, I don't think you're missing much.

Score - 6/10
Recommended? To dads.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dexys Midnight Runners - Searching for the Young Soul Rebels

Decade - 1980s

Label - Parlophone
Producer - Pete Wingfield
Country - UK
Genre - Rock

1Burn It Down
2Tell Me When My Light Turns Green
3The Teams That Meet in Caffs
4I'm Just Looking
6Seven Days Too Long
7I Couldn't Help If I Tried
8Thankfully Not Living in Yorkshire it Doesn't Apply
9Keep It
10Love Part One
11There, There, My Dear

Dexys Midnight Runners - Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980)

Who the heck are Dexys Midnight Runners? The band who sang "C'mon Eilleen". Ohhhhhhhh.

That's how it goes really. They appear on one hit wonder countdowns!

DMR's was formed by the two Kevins from punk act, The Killjoys. Formed in 1978, they performed quite a few gigs with The Specials, who we've already established earlier, I can't stand. That didn't bode well.

Surprise though, it's really not THAT bad. Fairly middle of the road in quality, it's still quite pleasant and the lead singer's voice at least has some personality to it. It's just "good" though, which again really means they should not be on this list. Even worse, so is their second album.

Surely there were better 80s albums than this that could have been included?

Score - 6/10

Recommended - No.

Air - The Virgin Suicides

Decade - 2000s

Label - Astralwerks

Producer - Air
Country - France
Genre - Electronic/Ambient pop

1Playground Love3:32
2Clouds Up1:30
3Bathroom Girl2:25
4Cemetary Party2:36
5Dark Messages2:28
6The Word 'Hurricane'2:33
7Dirty Trip6:12
8Highschool Lover2:42
9Afternoon Sister2:24
10Ghost Song2:16
11Empty House2:58
12Dead Bodies2:59
13Suicide Underground5:56

Air - The Virgin Suicides (Soundtrack)

Why oh why is this on the list? It's a nice soundtrack for a great movie that doesn't work at all as an album unless you want to go for a nap. Nice, moody electronica with pop influences for 40 minutes is basically what you get. This is a score that works great in the movie, but without the visual images, it simply goes nowhere.

Quite a few amazing albums are not in this book so it always bugs me when undeserving albums make it on (See Britney Spears!). A french duo, Air's previous album "Moon Safari" was well received in a critical sense so I imagine this is why this particular album made it through.

Some scores work well outside the movie, but I don't think this does. It's like getting half a story and spending the rest of the time squinting, trying to figure out what the rest of the pieces of the puzzle are trying to say.

Bad choice and it is certainly not an album anyone needs to hear before they die!

Score - 5/10 as an album (8/10 as the actual movie score)

Recommended? No

Battle of the Decades #9

Wht a lacklustre bunch of albums. Nothing amazing here. Unfortunately Joan Baez did a runner and I couldn't find her album anywhere.

2000's - Doves - Lost Souls - 8.5/10

1990's - Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas - 7.5/10

1980's - Adam & The Ants - Kings of the Wild Frontier - 6.5/10

1970's - Creedence Clearwater Revival - 7/10

1960's - N/A

1950's - Frank Sinatra - In the Wee Small Hours - 5/10


o Presley, Elvis – Elvis Presley (1956)
o Presley, Elvis – Elvis is Back!
o Derek & the Dominos – Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs
o Dexys Midnight Runners – Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
o Shamen – En-Tact
o Air – Virgin Suicides: Original Motion Picture Score

Frank Sinatra - In The Wee Small Hours

Decade - 1950's

Label - Capitol
Producer - Voyle Gilmore
Country - US
Genre - Traditional Pop/Big Band/Crooner

A1In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning3:00
A2Mood Indigo3:30
A3Glad to Be Unhappy2:35
A4I Get Along Without You Very Well3:42
A5Deep in a Dream2:49
A6I See Your Face Before Me3:24
A7Can't We Be Friends?2:48
A8When Your Lover Has Gone3:10
B1What Is This Thing Called Love2:35
B2Last Night When We Were Young3:17
B3I'll Be Around2:59
B4Ill Wind3:46
B5It Never Entered My Mind2:42
B6Dancing on the Ceiling2:57
B7I'll Never Be the Same3:05
B8This Love of Mine3:33

Frank Sinatra - In The Wee Small Hours (1955)

Having grown up in the era where the songwriter part of the singer/songwriter is what brings respect, it is difficult for me to really like someone like Sinatra, who is a performer singing other people's songs and compositions.

Then I realised I'd done the same thing with Ray Charles and really enjoyed him, so now I just blame Sinatra. Big reputation, this doesn't show me why.

This is a looooong (ok well, it felt long) collection of melancholy, sad love songs, sung by Sinatra, arranged by Nelson Riddle. The problem is that every single track has the exact same feel and the exact same vocal performance and the exact same...well you get the idea. As everyone probably figured out when I reviewed Time Out, I HATE background music and yet this is all this is.

It's not that it's particularly bad or unpleasant, but it drags and drags relentlessly without offering much of substance. I don't get any genuine feelings of sadness in his voice - I get 'entertainer pretending to be sad'.

I guess some music isn't quite as timeless for

Score - 5/10

Recommended - No

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory

Decade - 1970s

Label - Fantasy
Producer - John Fogerty

Country - US

Genre - Rock n Roll

A1Ramble Tamble7:09
A2Before You Accuse Me3:24
A3Travelin' Band2:07
A4Ooby Dooby2:05
A5Lookin' Out My Back Door2:31
A6Run Through the Jungle3:09
B1Up Around the Bend2:40
B2My Baby Left Me2:17
B3Who'll Stop the Rain2:28
B4I Heard It Through the Grapevine11:05
B5Long as I Can See the Light3:33

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory (1970)

It's hard not to like this album - it's straight up fun, swamp boogie rock n roll and John Fogerty's very cool and growly voice!

There's really not too much for me to say about it - the jams are fun (even for me), but the whole album is very much at the same level and every track at the same energy level, so it can get tiring after 5 songs. Fogerty's voice is also always the same, so this is probably heard better within a mix cd than a full album really.

Still, this version of I heard it Through the Grapevine is excellent and you should buy it just for that.

Score - 7/10

Recommended - Yes

Adam & The Ants - Kings of the Wild Frontier

Decade - 1980s

Producer - Chris Hughes
Label - CBS

Country - UK

Genre - Post Punk/Pop

A1Dog Eat Dog3:05
A3Feed Me to the Lions2:53
A4Los Rancheros3:22
A5Ants Invasion3:13
A6Killer in the Home4:06
B1Kings of the Wild Frontier3:53
B2The Magnificent Five3:00
B3Don't Be Square (Be There)3:28
B4Jolly Roger2:06
B5Making History2:52
B6The Human Beings4:00

Adam & The Ants - Kings of the Wild Frontier (1980)

The original band of "Ants" Adam put together jumped ship to form "Bow Wow Wow" with Malcolm McLaren. Showing that he was determined though, Adam put together a new band, lead by his friend/guitarist Marco Pirroni and came up with this album. Considering "Antmusic" topped the charts and Adam became hugely famous, I guess it all worked out for the best!

Basically this is a bunch of quirky, theatrical, catchy post-punk/pop tunes with a kind of tribal drum feel to it. The tracks are fun, but I'm just not into theatrical music, so unfortunately "It's just not my thing".

Score - 6.5/10

Recommended - Sure

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas

Decade - 1990's

Label - 4AD
Producer - Cocteau Twins
Country - UK
Genre - Dream Pop

1Cherry-Coloured Funk3:12
2Pitch the Baby3:16
3Iceblink Luck3:18
4Fifty-Fifty Clown3:15
5Heaven or Las Vegas4:56
6I Wear Your Ring3:40
8Wolf in the Breast3:32
9Road, River and Rail3:21
10Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires5:36

Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas (1990)

I'm a huge fan of the shoegaze genre, the early 90's British indie genre which was basically a merging of noise pop ( The Jesus & Mary Chain) with dream pop (The Cocteau Twins.). Shoegaze took the best aspects of both sounds and made it more whole for me, so while I do like The Cocteau Twins and their ethereal dream pop is pretty, it's just a bit too feather weight for me here.

Formed in Scotland in the late 70's, The Cocteau Twins actually became triplets when the Guitarist's girlfriend (Elizabeth Fraser) joined the mix with her pretty, emotionally textured vocals.

This is a good album, it just doesn't really excite me. I prefer the more urgent feel of shoegaze and so going back to this stripped back feel (which is unfair I know, as it came first) is hard. Lots of good things - lovely vocals, a great and intuitive tension built and released, and some tight songs that know where they are going, and go there well. A nice, cohesive, pretty dream pop album.

Score - 7.5/10

Recommended - Yes

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Doves - Lost Souls

Decade - 2000's

Label - Heavenly
Producer - Doves, Steve Osborne
Country - UK
Genre - Dream Rock

2Here It Comes**4:50
3Break Me Gently4:38
4Sea Song**6:12
6Lost Souls6:09
7Melody Calls3:27
8Catch the Sun4:49
9The Man Who Told Everything5:47
10The Cedar Room7:38
12A House3:40

Doves - Lost Souls (2000)

This is a somewhat difficult review to write, because I liked this more than it really deserves. Is that possible? I figure so - because I can think of a million flaws but I still liked it anyway.

Hailing from Manchester, the Doves have obviously been influenced by shoegaze, noise pop and even perhaps, Radiohead, The Verve and Oasis on their debut.

The Doves are good at atmospheric, moody rock. Mostly every song has a hypnotic riff that burrows into your brain, but it is coherency to a fault as their compositions are dull in this respect and also meander and lack direction. They tend to repeat the same song over with a not-different-enough melody throughout, but they are nice melodies, so a point there. I like albums that feel like an album rather than a mish mash of songs that bear no relation to each other in tone or lyric, and this feels very much like an album. I'm just not sure it really articulates anything other than "this sounds really nice".

Don't bother even reading the lyrics, the Doves follow a shoegaze tradition of the lyrics and vocals taking a backseat to the music. While they aren't horrendously bad or embarrassing, they are fairly uninteresting and pedestrian. Similarly, the vocals just sound like they are there, hidden somewhere behind the music without much personality.

But for all their faults, the Doves really have made a solid album that is good, just not enough to keep you interested if that's all you are doing. Not enough movement in the songs and similar compositions mean that the songs don't stand out as individual tracks. However, they do blend as a nice, spacey soundscape. If that's what they were after, they succeeded.

As is the nature of music, I still like it far more than some of the albums I've listened to that are clearly better!

Score - 8.5/10

Recommended - Yes

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Battle of the Decades #8

Still no 50's luck. Might end up doing them at the end I think.

2000's - The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free - 5/10

1990's - Eminem - Slim Shady LP - 6.7/10

1980's - Pixies - Doolittle - 8.5/10

1970's - Cheap Trick - At Budokan - 8.8/10

1960's - The Kinks - Arthur - Or the Decline... 8.9/10


Next lot I'm going back to the top and going in chronological order!

Coming up next:

o Sinatra, Frank – In the Wee Small Hours
o Baez, Joan – Joan Baez (1960)
o Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory
o Adam & the Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier
o Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
o Doves – Lost Souls

The Kinks - Arthur - Or the Decline and Fall...

Decade - 1960's

Label: Pye
Producer - Ray Davies

Country - UK

Genre - Rock

A2Yes Sir, No Sir3:46
A3Some Mother's Son3:25
B2Mr. Churchill Says4:42
B3She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina3:07
B4Young and Innocent Days3:21
B5Nothing to Say3:08

The Kinks - Arthur - Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire

This was a nice surprise. I listened to it for the first time straight after Cheap Trick so I was already a bit buzzy and this sounded awesome!

A concept, rock opera album with no filler (wow), the album is an often funny look at the fall of the British Empire through the eyes of Arthur, a very English English man who longs for the past glories. He ends up taking off to Australia to live out his days.

The Kinks were one of the four major 'British Invasion' groups at the time, the others being The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who of course. Everyone knows their song "You Really Got Me" so I'd heard of them but hadn't really listened before. This album was a follow up to what is generally considered their best album (The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society) and was initially a soundtrack to a planned tv show/play that never took off. Never mind, we still got a great album out of it, full of great lyrics and some unabashed rock fun with no pretensions.

Looking forward to the other Kinks albums on the list.

Score - 8.9

Recommended - Yes

Best Tracks - Victoria, Drivin'

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cheap Trick - Live at Budokan

Decade - 1970's

Label - Epic
Producer - Cheap Trick, Bruce Dickinson, Jack Douglas
Country - US
Genre - Live, Arena Rock, Pop Rock

A1Hello There2:27
A2Come On, Come On3:03
A4Big Eyes3:47
A5Need Your Love9:07
B1Ain't That a Shame5:10
B2I Want You to Want Me3:38
B4Good Night Now2:42
B5Clock Strikes Ten4:11

Cheap Trick - At Budokan (1979)

Well this one shocked me. Previous to putting this on I thought "Dang, Cheap Trick? Cheesey, long haired rocker arena pop rock? Oh no!". Well all of that is still true, except it's um, GOOD.

I normally dislike live albums, I never buy them (except for Radiohead) but this one really knocks your embarrassed socks off. Usually, a live album comes *after* a band is popular, but it was this album recorded in Japan and sold initially as an import in the US, that put them on the map. It sold bucket loads too.

Now why is it good? It's just FULL of energy and fun. The first half is good but not great, but once they get halfway and of course "I want you to want me" (which lets face it, is a crazily fun song) the pace picks up, the Japanese girlies start screaming and it's all on from there until the end.

It's the only live album I've listened to where I've really wish I was there.

One note - I did not listen to this version, I listened to the "full" concert version which was released later with added tracks.

Score - 8.8/10

Best Tracks - I Want You To Want Me

Recommended - Yes

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pixies - Doolittle

Decade - 1980's

Label - 4AD

Producer - Gil Norton

Country - US

Genre - Alt Rock

1. Debaser Listen Listen
2. Tame Listen Listen
3. Wave of Mutilation Listen Listen
4. I Bleed Listen Listen
5. Here Comes Your Man Listen Listen
6. Dead Listen Listen
7. Monkey Gone to Heaven Listen Listen
8. Mr. Grieves Listen Listen
9. Crackity Jones Listen Listen
10. La La Love You Listen Listen
11. No. 13 Baby Listen Listen
12. There Goes My Gun Listen Listen
13. Hey Listen Listen
14. Silver Listen Listen
15. Gouge Away Listen Listen

Pixies - Doolittle (1989)

I have no idea why I like the Pixies so much because they really aren't my style, but I do!

Their previous album Surfer Rosa is a little too full on for me, but Doolittle has always been my favourite Pixies album and while I don't listen to it that often, I'm always happy when I remember to.

Doolittle is sometime very loud (Francis Black screams extremely well!) and sometimes just nicely melodic. Their songwriting is always interesting, if not strange - Debaser was inspired by Bunuel's short movie Un Chien Andalou, and Wave of Mutilation is about driving into the sea!

The Pixies are solid alt rock, probably not as exciting or innovative now as they would have then, but Doolittle is a great album and has stood the test of time (and numerous copy cats) quite well.

Score - 8.5/10

Recommended - Yes