Friday, April 30, 2010

Free CDs - April Throwouts

Free to a good home this month:
Pink Floyd - Echoes
New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too

Still going begging from previous months:
Gyroscope - Breed Obsession
Audioslave - Audioslave
George Michael - Ladies & Gentlemen The Best Of George Michael
Roots Manuva - Awfully Deep, Run Come Save Me and Slime and Reason
Petula Clark - Greatest Hits
Queen - Greatest Hits II, Greatest Hits III, Made in Heaven (we're keeping the others)
Snow Patrol - Final Straw
Come - Near Life Experience, Eleven : Eleven and Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Ben Harper - The Will To Live and Diamonds On the Inside
Lightning Seeds - Sense
Sugar Ray - Floored

These CD are available free, gratis to anyone who wants them.  Consider them a bit of fun for your collection.

We even pay for postage - so if you'd like to see an Australian stamp just e-mail us at yourzenmine at gmail dot com.

April - Wrapup


This month for me has been the one where I finally realised I can really do this.  I mean, write about music every. Single. Frakkin'. DAY.  And love it.  The shine has not worn off this new toy.  There's still that new-blog smell hanging around - but it's proving to be so comfortable to put on every day.  No blisters.  OK, that's enough of the wide-ranging metaphors.

Sure, there are days when I wince at the thought of what awaits me on the drive to and from work.  But even the worst of the albums this month has given me something to talk about.  In fact, it's some of the not-bad-but-not-so-good albums that leave me searching for words.

It's also the month that I felt a bit more of a connection with our readership.  Hi there!  Welcome to this exclusive club.  As many of our friends tell us (and as we kind of know) there are a bunch of you who read us and don't comment.  And that's truly OK, as I'm oh-so-guilty of that myself on the blogs I follow.  But I'm going to up the ante a bit by asking you (you know who you are) to vote occasionally.  Down at the bottom of each review?  No biggie.  Takes less than a second to point-and-click.  We'd just like to see what you think of our collection.



Well, we're a third of the way through this exercise and already Mine and YourZ (truly) are talking about extending it as we love doing this so much.  We're also looking at our DVD collection and our truly massive book collection and wondering whether we could do the same with these.  Obviously, reviewing a movie or a book a day would be a truly stupendous feat but we are nothing if not stupid...  (Oh, wait a minute, that's not what I meant at all).  But seriously...

In this last month, we've gained the hour we lost in daylight savings, had far too much chocolate (the only concession to Easter we practice), updated various home devices (flat screen tvs are the shit, man), bought a new car (the first brand new car I've ever had) and spent a lot of time laughing at and playing with our two wonderful kittens, Dusty and Joe.  We've also listened to some very fine music, both old and new.

There has been a few favourites for both of us this month, but none more so than Eskimo Joe's Songs Of The City, Songs Of The Sea.  We like it so much we've decided to give it away to another of our semi-regular respondents, Music Obsessive (see his great blog here) who, we hope, will also like it lots and help spread the word about this wonderful Aussie act.  So if you're reading this, MO, please flick us an email with your address and we'll package it up and send it on to you.

Again, I have to mention we've got some great CDs piled up and waiting for anyone to claim them.  Check out the 'Free To A Good Home' list and let us know if you'd like any of these.  I'm also going to mention the point and click boxes at the bottom of our reviews.  It is not a big ask and would make interesting statistics for us to play with later.

Verve Remixed Volumes One and Three


They're just so cool, you know?  The collection that translates into so many settings. Background for getting ready before a big night out.  An effortless listen after you've had a big night.  A party-opener that's not too raucous but still has a bit of pizazz.  And of course, ideal for gettin' busy.  You know what I mean.

Never a stretch for me, as I've grown up with most of these early jazz and blues songs, plus I love hearing them remixed by so many great DJs.  And the albums are full of my favourite singers - Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holliday, Nina Simone - beginning to see a pattern here?  Girl loves her jazz divas, no question.

While I've enjoyed having these in our collection, I'm a bit cheesed we don't have all the albums - so I'm voting we give these away and buy the deluxe set...  AND the Christmas CD which I had no idea existed before doing the back-story research for this review. (YourZ sez: okay, this is probably a Christmas CD I could listen to without wanting to pull my tongue out through my ears)

VERDICT: THROW THEM OUT (after we get the box set, of course)


Now this is jazz I can listen to without any problem.  Remixed by some of the best producers around, the addition, in a lot of cases, of cool, groove-laden beats has only improved the tracks.  I'm sure a lot of jazz purists would probably vomit on their grandmother before listening to any of these songs, but the reality is the Verve collection has updated a lot of standards and exposed them to a whole new audience and, in doing so, has guaranteed these awesome pieces of music will live well beyond the artists who originally performed them.  

Both these collections feature some great versions of songs you might already know but done with such refreshing twists, you may not initially recognise them.  Take Summertime, for instance, performed by Sarah Vaughan on Volume One.  It is remixed by United Future Organisation (UFO), who have taken the original to a new and very different place.  The original song, so often covered, is barely recognisable but for the vocals.  It is a superb update.

Another track by Sarah Vaughan is the classic Peter Gunn.  I always thought the track was an instrumental, so imagine my surprise hearing the vocals to this classic.  The remix, by Mick Sedgley, adds a big beat element to the original that suits it perfectly.  Nina Simone's version of Lilac Wine, another favourite, has been given a simple yet effective ambient retelling.  This is only a taste of the listening treats available on these two collections alone and, as Mine has suggested, the box set won't be too far away.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Black Keys - Attack & Release


Produced by the 'he's everywhere, he's everywhere' producer (and a personal favourite of mine), Danger Mouse, Attack & Release is The Black Keys' fifth full length album.  It's also the first album of theirs I bought. 

Like a lot of the new millenium bands, this duo slipped by me while I was squirrelling away in my home studio, writing beats and rehearsing the little hip hop band I was producer for at the time.  Another part of my avoidance issues (and this was true with my problem with The White Stripes as well) was I wasn't convinced a two piece band could sound 'proper'.  I'm such a fan of fat bass and drums, the idea of reducing the formula to vocals, guitars and drums didn't really sound like it would work, at least not in a way that would interest me.  But I am nothing if not willing to be proven wrong.

Attack & Release is a damned fine record of what could be called modern blues rock.  I should have trusted my ears instead of ignoring The Black Keys based on what I'd read about them.  I've listened to both this and their first album, The Big Come Up, many times over now and haven't gotten sick of either. 

Oh, and the whole debate Mine mentions below kind of negates itself when you read The Beatles admitted to openly pilfering riffs and licks from their favourite artists of the time.  The development of most modern musical genres has often involved magpie-ing bits from other artists and adapting them for new use, with the blues being the most prolific in this habit.  I'm eagerly looking forward to their new album, Brothers, to see what they've stolen this time.



Blues-rock.  Meh.  I can see why this album's jumped into our collection as YourZ is both fond of  the genre and has a tendency to follow producers he likes, being a producer himself.  And this was put together by Danger Mouse, who we both think is shit-hot.  But that doesn't change the fact that the songs are generally what you'd expect from any old blues-rock band playing in Generic Pub, Anywhere.

That's apart from the closing number, which absolutely staggered me.  Not because it's better than the rest of the album, which it is, but because it so blatantly rips off the Beatles' Don't Let Me Down.  Which has been pointed out on numerous Black Keys forums in the past so I won't belabour the point.  (YourZ sez: yeah, but, no, but, oh, see above...)


For more information:

In our collection we also have The Big Come Up

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Athlete - Vehicles & Animals


Oooh, ooh Athlete!  Such a good album and we don't play it enough (YourZ sez: although we played it lots and lots when we first got it).  The rollicking opener, El Salvador, is such a sing-a-long number it's now surfacing on my lips at odd moments - in the lift, making a cuppa...

In that way they're pretty typical of a good British pop band, because they tend to demand a bit of sing-a-long-ness in the UK.  Something to do with pubs and jukeboxes, I gather.  And just to share with you my recipe for a sure-fire pop hit - make sure you include some la-la-las and at least one Baby.  You're welcome.

Vehicles & Animals earned the band a Mercury prize nomination (they lost to Dizzee Rascal) and their next album, Tourist, was the one that shot them to fame. But not in THIS house, because it was this CD that got some serious heavy play when it first came home, and continues to jump out of the set of drawers we use as storage on a regular basis.  Although not so much recently.  Let's change that. 



Oh, what a wonderful album this is, full of smart, well-humoured songs, great musicianship and bright production.  This is British pop elevated to another level, beyond those of the usual suspects (Coldplay, for instance).  I still don't understand that phenomenon when bands such as this are streets ahead, as far as I'm concerned.

Admittedly, we haven't heard anything beyond Vehicles & Animals, their debut.  But as Mine points out, their follow up Tourist won them high critical praise and commercial success, so it must be at least as good as this.  As she also points out, these songs have a way of staying with you well after listening to them, which is only a good thing.

These tracks aren't just put together.  There has been a lot of thought gone into the arrangements, which included bits of electronica, scratches, blips and other noises, all adding to the overall listening pleasure.  At the same time, they know when to strict back instrumentation and let the vocals carry the song.  It really is a well-rounded listeners delight and does make me wonder why it's languished in our collection for so long without a listen.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP oh, this is beautiful - I've got to soak it up, got to soak it up

For more information:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The White Stripes - Elephant


I have a confession to make - The White Stripes are my least favourite Jack White band.  Yeah, I know it's the band that brought him to prominence and it's not that there's anything wrong with this duo (in fact, watching their recent DVD Under Great White Northern Lights did nothing but increase my respect for them).  I just much prefer his work with both The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.

Apart from the accompanying live album to the aforementioned DVD, Elephant is the only White Stripes CD in our collection.  And what a kick-arse album it is too.  While the singles did very well for them, it's album tracks like Ball And Biscuit, Hypnotize, Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine and Black Math that really rock my socks.

Then there is the beautiful Meg-sung In The Cold, Cold Night, with the simplest of instrumentation, that delights me every time I hear it.  I had the pleasure of meeting Meg backstage at a Beck concert a number of years ago.  Not only is she more gorgeous in real life than any photo can do justice but she is so cute I wanted to take her home.  In fact, Meg, if you're reading this, Mine and YourZ truly have a bed made up and waiting for you.

The reality of listening to this is it has me wanting to hear more of their albums.  Any recommendations?



It's quite good.  I know, I'm damning with faint praise here but Jack and I just don't really get along. I've spoken before about his propensity for mixing the cymbal sounds right up, and his - um - interesting choices for the levels of some instumentation here had me wincing at times.  Not that he doesn't have the right to do that.  He's an artist, he's allowed to do what he wants.  And I'm sure Meg put her 2 cents' worth in as well.

Of course I really love Seven Nation Army despite that annoying cymbal sound, and this album's chock full of good songs.  Although I'm a bit pissed off about Jack getting the words wrong on I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself.  As you'd expect.

So generally, this isn't bad, but it's just not my sort of music.  Maybe Jack White is my new Dylan - I'll really enjoy the music when someone else does it?


For more information:

In our collection we also have Under Great White Northern Lights

Monday, April 26, 2010

Swervedriver - Mezcal Head


There's something about these - fortunately rare - early morning shifts I'm doing at the morning that absolutely requires a bit of heart-starting, hard-driving music to get me to work.  So I was happy to launch Swervedriver despite having never really sampled their music before, and even happier to discover that they actually sing, not shout, their tunes.  As regular readers will know, I hate shouty music, be it from the metal, rock or rap genres.  I can make some exceptions for punk but only in short bursts.

I liked this, and I'll play it again.  What's more, I'll listen to more albums, if they're all this good.  While it's not what I'd pick for a lazy day at home, I'm sure it'd motivate me to perform my housework chores with more vim and vigour.  Plus the lyrics are good, even poetic, and  I found myself singing along. 



Part of the 'shoe-gazer' genre, Swervedriver were also-rans to bigger names such as My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Lush and Ride.  Like most categorisations, the label only fit when viewed a particular way.  The reality is this band were only labelled as such due to the fact they came from the same district and played in the same clubs (often on the same bill as a few of them - it was Ride who gave a Swervedriver demo to Creation and led to them being signed).

More influenced by The Stooges and Husker Du, Swervedriver's sound would probably better be described as an amalgam of past and present trends in rock music, a melding of punk, psychedelia and grunge.  (I've ranted before about why I hate labelling music and this is a perfect example of why).  The reality is this is fuckin' kick-arse music, despite whatever label you wanna apply. 

Mezcal Head is their follow up to their great debut, Raise, and sees them defining their sound and dramatic lyrics.  From the opener For Seeking Heat to the closing suite Never Lost That Feeling/Never Learn, it is a winner.  It is also the most accomplished and confident example of their work, although their third release, Ejector Seat Reservation, also has some very fine moments.  My copy of Raise walked out of a share house years ago and I never replaced it.  I'm going to have to add yet another name to that ever growing list.

The most unfortunate part of the Swervedriver story is the lack of faith the recording industry exhibited in this band, despite critical praise and a dedicated following.  This led to the band going on hiatus in 1998 and not returning for a decade, when they completed a  very successful world tour.  Without naming names, I'm sure there are some record companies who are still kicking themselves for their appalling lack of faith.  But then, this is nothing new.

This is Forgotten Gem number two for April.


For further information:

In our collection we also have Ejector Seat Reservation and 99th Dream

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Specials - Singles


The Specials are another of those bands who not just provided me with great listening and great memories but informed me as well.  Musically, they were seriously talented, masters of their particular instruments and lords of their sound (even if they did burn out rather quickly).  Lyrically, their reflections of life in Thatcherism-dominated London allowed me to understand, partially, what it was like to live in that environment, at least enough to know I was glad to be living on the other side of the world.

They were part of a number of bands who turned me from a late-70s rock fan into something more.  They sounded brilliant and looked seriously cool.  I still love (and wear) pork pie hats, although the winkle pickers are languishing in the back of the shoe cupboard now.  As regular readers know, I still like my rock, but thanks to bands such as The Specials, The Clash, The Blockheads and others, my tastes broadened and my listening palette expanded, something I still consider valuable. 

The Specials are still part of my regular listening roster.  In fact, I've covered Message To Rudi in more bands than any other song (yes, I know ...Rudi isn't their song but it's probably the most popular version of it).  This is also a genre Mine and Yourz (truly) share a common passion for, a line where we both stand and skank our hearts out together.  It's a beautiful thing, let me tell you.

The only thing I have to add is I'm still eating humble pie over the 'should we be reviewing greatest hits albums' debate we had at the start of the year.  I'm so glad I lost that one. (Mine says: me too, honey...)
VERDICT: TURN IT UP and get your skankin' shoes on


I spent a large part of 1980 and 81 as a Two Tone girl.  Stovepipe black pants, white shirt, skinny black tie, V-neck jumper, sports jacket and winkle picker shoes.  This was because my favourite Canberra band was Naughty Rhythms - a ska outfit who played a mix of originals and covers including, of course, a few Specials numbers.  I skanked along to Ghost Town and  Too Much Too Young many times.  I especially loved the movement because it melded black and white musicians and wasn't afraid of including political material in its lyrics.

The Specials were -heh- especially good at this, and this collection includes some numbers from their incarnation as the Special AKA which still resonate with me, inculding Racist Friend and  Free Nelson Mandela.  It brings tears to my eyes when I realise that since I first heard that song, Mr Mandela has indeed been freed, led his country and has now retired.

So this CD's a welcome addition to our collection, and is guaranteed to have me acting like a teenager all over again.  Ah, that was a great time.  The Allniters, the Porkers, The 88s - time for me to break out my Ska Skank Down Under CD and boogie.  "Naughty rhythms in in your feet/ Naughty rhythms in your head/ You've done it on the floor/ Now go do it in your bed!"


For more information:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sebadoh - Harmacy


OK, not what I expected.  For some reason I'd equated Sebadoh in my head with another shouty-boy-band.  But lo, as I listened, I was occasionally delighted by what I heard.  OK, it does on occasion move across to the harder-edged sound.  But generally it's perfectly (to me) acceptable, and beautifully mixed music.  Which wasn't what I was expecting when I'd read these guys were proponents of the "lo-fi" sound I have previously dissed.  At length.  (YourZ sez: I'm not surprised you like this - you gave Pavement a 'Turn It Up' too.)

So maybe I'll gingerly dip into some of their earlier albums.  And hopefully I won't be disappointed.



There was a time when I thought Sebadoh were the best band in the world.  I have a copy of their previous album, the classic Bakesale, that's been played so much, the cover is worn and falling apart.  They toured Australia and played a blistering set at an inner city venue that has since been closed and torn down (no reflection on them, of course).

Even after getting Harmacy, I continued to play the forerunner more than I ever did this.  But this isn't to say this isn't an awesome album, 'cause it is.  The leap from Barlow-voiced numbers to the Loewenstein blasts of punk is fabulous, along with the instrumentals (particularly Sforzando! - written by drummer Bob Fay).

It is the strength of both Loewenstein and Barlow's song writing that is really highlighted here, along with the former's trust of the latter to take the lead on his songs.  It really shows a band working to its fullest capacity. But it's really the Barlow penned numbers that shine through.  His heart-on-his-sleeve lyrics along with the sad-sack delivery is what spoke to the younger man back then, still trying to find his feet through his heart and failing miserably.  Thankfully, I've never suffered depression but I've felt it vicariously through people such as Lou Barlow.  Just listen to Too Pure (played here at the show I attended all those years ago) and I think you'll understand what I'm on about.


For more information:

In our collection we also have Bakesale and Bubble & Scrape

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Reindeer Section - Son of Evil Reindeer


Music is such a wonderful synchronistic art-form.  At the same time as this album was being made, The Polyphonic Spree were putting the final touches on their debut album (reviewed here)  There are a lot of similarities between the two; massive membership, uplifting music and hooks aplenty.

I actually prefer this over The 'Spree for a number of reasons - I believe the song writing is better and the personnel making up this band are, for the most part, stars in their own right.  Featuring members of bands such as Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, Idlewild and Snow Patrol, this is a Scottish indie supergroup par excellence. The well-read members of our readership would remember my scathing review of Snow Patrol (see it here) but would also remember I said this is a very different listening experience.

Son Of Evil Reindeer is the second album by The Reindeer Section and is another particularly good very late night/early morning record.  If the first is anything like this, it could well find a home in our collection too. While Garry Lightbody of Snow Patrol is all over this (both as principal writer and vocalist) it's a pity his day band doesn't sound like this.  If they did, I'd be very happy.



I want to thank The Reindeer Section - for making an extra-long drive home in crawl-and-stop traffic bearable.  And I'd forgotten just how relaxing and uplifting these songs are.  I'd defy anybody wearing their cranky pants to keep them on (oo-er!) while listening to Son Of Evil Reindeer.

Which, by the way, leads me into a rant about names.  Don't people think before naming their albums and bands?  And how about album artwork?  I would never have bought an album called Son Of Evil Reindeer without knowing something about it first, but I would have bought an album by the Reindeer Section, no problem.  There was a compilation album on the World Music label some several years ago that I picked up and put down about a dozen times before buying it - because it had a weird-looking skull on the cover.  Yet it contained some of the most beautiful music by artists I'd never heard of.

OK, it'd be kind of silly for people to get together and form a band called A Nice Guitar Based Pop Band and then put out an album called Some Uptempo Numbers and A Couple Of Ballads.  But really.  Sometimes people annoy me by being misleading with this stuff.  It's called marketing, guys, do a bit of research.

Anyway, I'm obviously not listening to this CD now, because the cranky pants are well and truly in place.  The only other thing I can say about it is - it's lovely hearing that Scottish accent come through (when it does).  All-around gorgeous and I have to label this a Forgotten Gem for me.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Portishead - Portishead


Oooh ... Portishead ... long afternoons with nothing to do but read.  Early mornings after loud nights out with intense chat and soul-searching the order of the day. Dummy was the soundtrack to some seriously good nights in and Portishead only more so.  That sound, that deep, trippy, grungy sound with Beth Gibbons' vocals trailing above like an angel with a serious migraine (YourZ sez: couldn't have said it better myself).  You know what I mean, she's sounding beautiful but only a short way away from turning on you and ripping your eyes out.

Why has it been so long since this got a spin on the CD player?  Because if pushed I'd probably automatically put on Dummy when reaching for one of their albums.  And I'd seriously forgotten how good, and how James Bond-y, All Mine is.  The creators of the new Bond franchise would do well to look at it for a future soundtrack.  Preferably one involving closeups of Daniel Craig's near-nude body.  Actually I've made a little collection of cool Bond-y type tunes.  The Propellerheads' On Her Majesty's Secret Service and OST's The Spy Who Dubbed Me also inclusion.  You listening, Sam Mendes?  Oh sorry, you don't even know if you're going to get to do this movie.  Here's hoping MGM gets its act together somehow.

But I digress.  Daniel Craig will do that to a girl.  Um, so this album is truly gorgeous, worthy of being in anyone's collection, and why don't we have Third?  Hmmmmm????



Portishead evoke such a mood with their music, it often reminds me of movies not yet made; sad, slow and beautiful stories of lost lovers, ghosts of better days and loss of innocence.  Their spare arrangements and use of repetitious rhythms and scratches literally defined trip hop.

After the release of Dummy and the attention it brought them, they retreated, regrouped and came back three years later with this genre-breaking self-titled second album.  It's a darkly-dressed production, rife with eerie theramins and spooky sounds that could very well have made listeners uncomfortable if it wasn't for the inherent beauty of Beth Gibbons' vocals.

It's been quite some time since I listened to Portishead and, like Mine, I found myself wondering why I hadn't heard this for so long.  It is the sort of 'coming-down' music I enjoy so much.  For that reason alone, I'm going to call it my first Forgotten Gem for April.


For more information go to

In our collection we also have Dummy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too


Talk about being late to the party.  This American band (well, one main guy and a swag of studio musicians) come across like a British soul act from ten years earlier.  The only reason I know the single, You Get What You Give, is because is was used in a Mitsubishi car ad run here in Australia.  But even then, this song doesn't save the album from being a bit too bleached for my liking.

Apparently this same song was everywhere at one point in the late 90s but I don't remember hearing it back then.  Truth be known, I probably heard it and ignored it.  Like I'm pretty much doing now.



OK, I have to admit to buying this album, simply because I liked You Get What You Give which was huge all over the place.  And I absolutely adored the not-so-well-known second single, Someday We'll Know.  Best. Break-up Song. Ever. "I'm speeding by the place that I met you/ For the 97th time ... tonight"

In fact I have to apologise to my neighbours in - 2000 was it?  When this song was on repeat, on my stereo, for hours on end.  Sorry about that.  Despite the fact the guy behind the band, Gregg Alexander, went on to write hit after hit for various other artists, this album has a very definite use-by date.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Magic Dirt - Young & Full Of The Devil


We love Adalita.  Seriously cool rock chick par excellence.  Loved catching her cameo in Rockwiz earlier this year.  The woman who can reduce my husband to a drooling heap on the floor. (YourZ sez: any red-blooded rock-loving man would be similarly reduced)

But I don't love this album.  It's just a little - young for me.  It's all a bit angsty-youth with long distorted-guitar intros and outros and while her voice is great, there's not a lot on this to appeal to me.  The band moved to a more radio-friendly sound after this, and I'm afraid that's the sound that appeals to me.



Mine mentions the love we have of Adalita.  It truly exists.  But she doesn't mention the heady dose of unadulterated lust I feel for her as well.  This girl defines the meaning of rock babe.

I think I've probably seen Magic Dirt perform more than any other single Australian band.  And every show has been a winner, from their early, ear-bleedingly loud pub shows, their fesitval performances (they've been a consistent Big Day Out favourite) and  their more recent headline shows at large venues.

Over the years, Magic Dirt have changed their sound becoming more accessible as their career's progressed.  It is sad that the recent death of founding member and bass player, Dean Turner, after a long struggle with a rare form of cancer, has left the future of this very fine act up in the air.

As an album, Young & Full Of The Devil defined their early sound, the heavy, abrasively distorted guitars and heart-shaking rhythm section, their incredible loud/soft dynamic (used by lots but mastered by few) and Adalita's wild-eyed, sneering vocal delivery.  It also show the direction they were heading as well.

Mine says it is young but I see it more as an album full of maturing.  They highlight a greater range of song writing, moving from their distortion-riddled noise-rock numbers to more layered, accessible tracks.  It still isn't the sound they have now but it is definitely becoming.  .

If you've not heard this band before, then you definitely need to get some Dirt under your fingernails.


For more information:

In our collection we also have Life Was Better, Friends In Danger, What Rock Stars Are Doing Today and Tough Love

Monday, April 19, 2010

K. D. Lang - Ingenue


I've never owned this album.  But I've heard it lots.  Just about every woman I've ever spent any time with since its release owns it and, therefore, just about every song on Ingenue holds a spark of recognition.

There is no denying the beauty of Lang's voice nor the power of her song writing.  It is truly incredible.  And the production on this album is both lush and sparse, understated and brilliant.  And then there is that song.  Constant Craving is one of those songs that sounds like a classic from the moment you first hear it.  Personally, I prefer quietude of Save Me or the slow groove of The Mind Of Love but then I've always been a fussy bugger.

Its not the sort of music I naturally choose to listen to but have no objection to hearing it.  Yes, Mine, none at all.



There was a time when Ingenue first came out that it was rarely off my CD player.  I've spoken before about my love for girl singers, and this is one of the very best, performing at her very best.  Coming hot on the heels of the Come In Spinner soundtrack, I kind of feel like I've been transported so some sort of 1930s tea dance.

It's the perfect backdrop for a Sunday afternoon drive in the country, or a rainy day with a book, or anytime you're feeling a bit frazzled and want to calm down and soothe your soul.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP not too loud, though...

For more information:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vince Jones & Grace Knight - Come In Spinner


"Someday he'll come along/ The man I love..." eh, I'm a sucker for the jazz standards.  In my youth, I wanted to be Ginger Rogers.  Seriously  (YourZ sez: Ginger was my first crush).  I couldn't imagine any life better than one where Fred Astaire whirled me around a ballroom floor, dressed in feathers and sequins.  Um, that's me in the feathers and sequins, not Fred.  Not that he wouldn't have looked good in them, I just figure he's better off in the traditional tuxedo.

This is the music from an Aussie TV show from the early 90's (ooh, now available on DVD!) that I watched religiously, as much for the music and the costumes as the story (which wasn't bad either).  It also features crooning from jazz fixture Vince Jones who I've seen a number of times, and Grace Knight, who I keep bumping into.  You see, she was originally in a Perth band called the Eurogliders, and when I first moved to Sydney I shared a house with the original bass player from the band and his wife, who were then doing sound and light for them.  Then some years later I moved to another house in Sydney to discover she was living next door to me.  But whatever, she's a great jazz singer and there are some truly great jazz songs on this album.

One for the kitchen-cooking scenario, because again - I know all the words.



I don't own clothes good enough to listen to this album.  No, seriously.  This evokes the sort of smokey, tuxedo-tie-undone mood I've never known.  The closest I've ever come to a monkey suit is standing outside the gorilla cage at the zoo.  To be honest, the music doesn't do much for me.  If anything, it's the kind of music my parents played when they were feeling amorous (not a picture I really want in my head).

Mind you, I've only heard great things about the TV show, so, Mine, if you want to get it, I'd be happy to watch it with you.

VERDICT: TURN IT DOWN before my folks hear it.  Please!

For more information: and

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Grinspoon - Guide To Better Living


Hard to believe this album is over a decade old now.  It has been a constant player since I got it, most recently regularly as incentive music while I try to push my fitness levels up a notch.  I've seen the mighty Grinners heaps of times too, both at festivals and headline shows (it helps that an old mate is their manager). 

Grinspoon came to prominence after winning the JJJ Unearthed competition (the same competition that gave the world Silverchair).  Unlike the 'Chair, Grinspoon weren't underaged lads impressing all the record company big wigs; they were boozed up, stoned young men whose appeal related directly to their peers.  They knew how to rock hard, play hard and get themselves noticed.  They've done very little to tame that image, although the music itself has mellowed somewhat over the intervening years.

Right from the get-go, Grinspoon delivered both heavier, groove-rock and tight-as punk-pop gems.  Guide To Better Living, in balance, is weighted more to the harder songs, but after all, this is their debut and they weren't trying to impress anyone with sales figures or entries into charts, they just wanted to keep the fans happy, rock out and hopefully build a career for themselves.  Thirteen years later, and still going strong, I'd say this is one objective achieved.



I like Grinspoon.  I do.  I have to keep reminding myself of this as I plough through this album, which I don't like.  Apart from the radio-friendly single, it's a lot of almost-metal (YourZ sez: but then it could be almost-pop, if it weren't for the distorted guitars and shouty vocals hahahahaha...).  And despite enjoying the documentary Global Metal (YourZ sez: great doco!) when I caught it by accident on pay-TV, I'm not a metal-head.  It's also a bit same-y in terms of riffs and tempo, and didn't hold my attention as much as I wanted it to.

This is the Grinners' first full-length album and includes some live versions of their earlier songs, that had been released on EPs.  And I prefer the earlier songs.  This album's not as fabulous as the one they did next - New Detention - which won them a whole bunch of awards (and rightly so).  So check out Grinspoon - I recommend them.  But not this album.


For more information go to

In our collection we also have Licker Bottle Cozy, Pushing Buttons and New Detention

Friday, April 16, 2010

G. Love & The Special Sauce - Lemonade


Patchy.  Some of it had me swinging my hips and nodding my head, other tracks had me reaching for the skip button.  It's certainly varied, and travels from straight out hip hop through soul(ish) numbers, there's a bit of almost-rock in there... see what I mean?

There are numbers I'd choose to listen to again.  But as a CD as a whole, to be listened to from go to whoa - no.



I've always liked G. Love, particularly the G Love & The Special Sauce self-titled album featuring songs such as Blues Music, Cold Beverage and Baby's Got Sauce.  But like a lot of my favourites, this was taken from my collection at one time (probably by a desperate housemate).  It kinda pisses me off I still don't have it but at the same time, I've got so much music, I've hardly missed it.

I think I bought Lemonade because I went looking at my favourite record store (remember those) for the the aforementioned album but couldn't find it so settled on this instead.  Mind you, I didn't look very hard as I'm sure I can find it online somewhere (c'mon Amazon, give us some creds).  This album isn't much of a stretch from previous releases and considering this is released through Jack Johnson's personal label (who turns up as a guest on this, along with Blackalicious and Marc Broussard), you know its going to be a positive, easy listen. 

Lemonade is weak in spots and some of the lyrics just plain suck.  But really, its not about the lyrics, its about the groove or da flava (as Mr Dutton is want to say).  I imagine a live show would be filled with sweet, long haired, cute surfer girls and the boys that follow them.  And that ain't a bad thing, now, is it?
VERDICT: TURN IT DOWN 'cause you don't wanna scare away the cuties, do ya?

For more information go to

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Florence & The Machine - Lungs


As music fans, Mine and YourZ (truly) read a lot of music magazines.  Our favourite is Q Magazine, although it does have a habit of putting the bloody Gallaghers on the front cover.  Still, it's the content we love, not the covers.  And it has quite probably the largest review section of any music magazine out there.

Like a lot of British press, it spends a lot of time hyping up local acts, often to the extreme and often undeservedly.  In Florence & The Machine's case, though, they actually got it right.  This is a stunning debut of a real, honest to goodness talent and one that's likely to be around for a long time (fuck, I hope I haven't cursed her in saying this).

Oh, sure, there are endless comparisons you could adopt if you wanted to be a wanker about it.  It would actually be a task because this young lady is a bit of a musical chameleon, switching and adapting her sound to suit her moods and songs.  So to start drawing the comparisons is a bit of a pointless exercise.  Don't look for them, just sit back and enjoy it.  Just take our word for it; this is every bit as good as the hype will have you believe. 



Why did it take me so long to buy this album?  I think I'm losing my music magazine mojo (MMM) - the ability to read a review and instantly know when an artist will appeal to me.  I think I've read about five reviews for Lungs and all of them made me want to buy it.  But I resisted the temptation because I hadn't actually heard any songs.  That's not surprising this year, because it actually takes quite some time to listen to all the CDs we're reviewing.  Plus I have a life, you know.  Work.  Housework.  Couches to potato on.  Cats to play with.  A husband to annoy. Stuff.

In fact, my time in the car, where I used occasionally to get exposed to new music, is now spent actively listening to old music.  But the other day, when we were wandering through a record shop, I bravely stretched my hand out and purchased this CD, gaining some of my MMM back and an appreciative remark from the pierced and tattooed goth girl behind the counter.

It's good.  Very good.  But it's taken me until today to realise whose voice it is Florence reminds me of.  It's Michelle Shocked.  Obviously that's where the comparison stops, because the wall-of-sound orchestration that F & the M use is nothing like the chirpy guitar-based folky stuff Ms Shocked was wont to push out.  It's an album I'm sorry I resisted buying for so long, and one I know I'll be playing for many years to come.


For more information:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eskimo Joe - A Song Is A City


OK, here's my theory about Perth.  The Westralian capital was accidentally built on a convergence of musical ley lines, so that anyone who starts a band here is instantly three steps in front of anyone else in the country.  How else can you explain the proliferation of artists from a city that has a quarter the population of Sydney and yet seems to spew forward the most amazing talents?

Eskimo Joe is a case in point.  Quite simply, neither YourZ or Mine(self) can understand why they're not headlining stadiums across the world. Kayven Temperley's voice is outstanding, thier compositions and arrangements are truly world-class, and while I can't really remember their live performance - I haven't seen them since 2005 Big Day Out - YourZ assures me they deliver as well in the flesh as they do on CD.  Although I was momentarily stumped when track 3 - Life is Better With You - sounded just like 72 by Turin Brakes.

But all I can say is world, get amongst this band.  They're well worth it.



My theory about Perth is slightly different to Mine.  Primarily, I think it is the isolation factor, with Perth being particularly remote.  Bands there don't know much else except each other.  Apart from the huge acts who can afford to get tour there, they only really have each other.  This makes for a particularly supportive music community and inspires all to greater heights.  Either this or they want so badly to get over to the other side of Australia to play, they work doubly hard to 'make' it.

Whatever it is, I'm glad of it.  Some of my most favourite Australian bands found their feet in Perth, including INXS (as the Farriss Brothers), Karnivool, Jebediah, The Sleepy Jackson and this band, Eskimo Joe.  While I was writing the recent Grant Lee Buffalo review (see it here), I commented to Mine that they reminded me of someone else and lo, here it is.  The comparisons are the wide sounding, epic quality both bands have, along with detailed arrangements and awesome production.  But it is there the comparisons end.

Eskimo Joe are a natural successor to bands like the aforementioned INXS, sounding quintessentially Australian yet more so at the same time.  A Song Is A City is a pearl of an album - every track on this album is a fucking winner with superior musicianship, killer vocals and arrangements as well as lush production.  As Mine says, why Eskimo Joe aren't fucking enormous around the world is a big question and the answer is beyond me.  

VERDICT: TURN IT UP, tell your friends, buy their back catalogue and make them HUGE!

For more information go to

In our collection we also have Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Cruel Sea - Where There's Smoke


I've mentioned on earlier posts here how I was in an indie band in the 90s who did really well in the city where we all lived at the time.  Most of us have since left this city, escaping, as it were, to bright lights and bigger cities both in Australia and overseas.

Back in the day, we played a lot of support shows for major acts at the local university and supported some great acts, like Pavement (see our review here).  The Cruel Sea were another of the bands we supported back then.

On the day, we arrived at the uni, set up and did our sound check.  All went well and we got to hang out and watch The Cruel Sea do the same.  Later, when we got up to start our set, the worst thing that can happen to a musician happened to me - my amp refused to work.  After a few minutes of madly scrambling around trying to sort out the problem, one of the guitarists from The Cruel Sea (I think it was Dan Rumour) plugged me into his amp and gave me strict instructions not to touch his settings.  Thanks to him, we were able to continue our set without any further problems.  Of course, when I got the amp home and plugged it in, the fucking thing worked fine.  But to share the stage with this band would have to be, despite my amp problems, one of the highlights of my musical career.

Where There's Smoke is their swan song, recorded not long before the band decided to call it quits, although they have done the odd show or two here and there since and occasionally threaten to reform and record (I wish they would).  Recorded with one of Australia's best producers, Magoo, this album isn't far removed from their previous efforts, is a shining example of their hybrid blues/reggae/rock and a perfect bookend to their first album, Down Below, recorded over a decade earlier.

Now, what happened to my copy of This Is Not The Way Home and The Honeymoon Is Over - purloined by thieving house-mates years ago, no doubt.  Guess we've gotta add these to our must haves as well, Mine. Oh boy, that list is getting long.



It's not the most fabulous Cruel Sea album, but it has their trademark sound - bold and bluesy.  I guess my biggest objection is that the tunes don't showcase the sound of Tex Perkins' vocals as well as The Honeymoon Is Over did.

I remember when that album swept the ARIAs (The Aussie equivalent of the Grammys) in 1993, and one of the guys I worked with asked me who the hell they were.  It was kind of difficult to explain that they'd been an instrumental band who'd picked up a vocalist with a personality bigger than most who'd previously fronted a legendary pub-rock band called the Beasts of Bourbon.  I remember snickering to myself in a record shop in country Victoria one time when I came across one of the Beasts albums - called The Axeman's Jazz - filed in the Jazz section.  They'd obviously never listened to it.

Tex is a true performer and the tight, driving tunes the rest of the Cruel Sea provide form a perfect backdrop to his gravelly, wild vocals.  He's also one of those guys who looks like he's not only undressing you with his eyes, he's also doing unspeakable things to you before borrowing $50 for cab fare and never showing up again.  A barbarian.


For more information go to

In our collection we also have The Most

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Cars - Complete Greatest Hits


When YourZ informed with excitement some time ago that he'd bought this CD, my response was lukewarm.  And I guess it's kind of remained that way - not because the tunes aren't good, because they are; and not because I don't like the band, because I do; but because working in commercial radio has ruined The Cars for me.

They are such a staple of classic hits radio, it's quite impossible for me to get overly enthused about Let's Go or  Shake It Up.  It's a bit like Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street - once a firm favourite and now it makes me cringe.

Which is sad, because listening to the songs in a bunch like that instantly transports me to my last year of high school, where Candy-O was a staple record in many people's collections.  Not to mention the visceral response I have to My Best Friend's Girl due to an unfortunate incident where I was "the girl" referred to.  In fact, listening to the song the other day made me remark out loud to myself "What were you thinking?"  All I can say is - sorry, Richard.



Ah, yes, The Cars. They hold a special significance for me. Let's Go was the first single I ever bought with my own money (and I still have it too). I'm amazed it hasn't been worn flat with the amount of play it's received over the years. I coveted the album it came from, Candy-O, like you wouldn't believe but wasn't able to afford to buy it. Thankfully, friends who had it taped it so I didn't miss out. A few years later, when I had the funds, I was able to buy my very own copy.

Unlike Mine, I have absolutely no problem with listening to any of the songs on Complete Greatest Hits (well, maybe with the exception of the later ballady songs, which never really appealed to me anyway). Listening to the collection for this review reminded me of being in a covers band in the early 80s and playing a number of their song (the band, in very 80s fashion, was called U4RIA - geddit? The irony, oh the irony, was we were a 5 piece and thought we were so clever) My Best Friend's Girl and You Might Think were staples of our set and very popular with both the band and audience.

I also remember being blown away by their use of technology. They managed to rock and sound new wave at the same time - how cool! And the overdubbed vocals (reputed to be 72 tracks in You're All I've Got Tonight, for instance) was only rivalled, at the time, by Queen. All this served to make a very big impression on me, both as a fan and as a wannbe rock star. I still love simple-sounding rock tunes the most.

But mostly doing this served to remind me I need to add Candy-O and Shake It Up to our ever-growing list of CDs to own.

For more information go to: (I know, it's Wikipedia but it's all there is)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Boss Hogg - Boss Hog


Led by the husband/wife team of Jon Spencer (yes, the Jon Spencer of Blues Explosion fame - see our review of Orange here) and Cristina Martinez, Boss Hog initially shot to fame because of Ms Martinez's habit of performing nude with boots (a habit she had unfortunately abandoned by the time I saw them in '95). 

This self-titled major label debut is a sneer-laden rifftastic shot in the nads, where most songs clock in under the 3 minute mark.  Not straying far from his day job, Spencer's typical insane blues guitar is teamed with crackin' rhythm section.  He shares the occasional vocal duty with his beloved (particularly on the splendid duo I Dig You) but for the most part plays the part of dutiful guitarist. 

Boss Hog is a natural evolution of the same swamp blues and psychobilly/punk attitude exemplified by The Cramps.  There is even some of Lux in Spencer's falsetto delivery of I Idolize You.  Mostly, this is not doing anything new but even though I haven't listened to it for some time now, it still has an undeniable energy and excitement and, most importantly, a wicked sense of fun.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP and get nuuuuude!


OK, this is too creepy... I was listening to Boss Hog for the first time while on a long car trip recently, and I thought to myself "This is what Juliette Lewis' band should sound like."  A short trip to YouTube today has confirmed it for me... Juliette & the Licks sound remarkably similar to Boss Hog.  (YourZ sez: well, if this is the case, then I think we should do ourselves a favour and add some to our collection - it's about as close to Juliette as I'm ever gonna get, dammit all!)

Juliette's been in my mind recently because we saw the Drew Barrymore flick Whip It (which I can highly recommend, full of roller derby gals and starring Juno's Ellen Page).  It's been a while since I saw her in a movie and I know she's been concentrating on her musical career, which made me wonder what her band sounds like, and then something shiny crossed my line of sight and I forgot about it until I was listening to Boss Hog and I thought to myself... oh wait, I already said that.

Aaaanyway, YourZ has filled you in all about the band and stuff, so all I can say is, they didn't suck.  Damn fun in spots.  Had me nodding my head.



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Black Box Recorder - England Made Me


I happened on BBR by way of a sample disc of new music loaned to me by a firend, and I will say I have absolutely no recollection about any of the other artists featured on the disc.  In fact, when I got to Child Psychology and its ravishing chorus (Life is unfair/ Kill yourself or get over it) I laughed out loud, then played the song over and over again, before buying the album.  Which I had to order from the UK because it wasn't released here at the time, of course.

Sarah Nixey's quiet cut-glass tones and dead-pan delivery make the songs even more powerful.  And of course lyrics girl here loves the band that can deliver lines like that, and on England Made Me (I caught a spider/ and trapped it in a glass/ I kept it for a week/ To see if he would last)  I don't think the cover of Up Town Top Ranking really works, but check out their version of Seasons in the Sun on The Worst Of...

Anyway, after this album I bought everything they ever put out. Love 'em.  Especially for their Britishness, which maybe not everybody will get.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP Dear old dismal England on a Sunday


When I first met Mine and we started talking about music we loved, I remember her talking a lot about Black Box Recorder.  But unfortunately, my music, as she will readily admit, seemed to swallow hers, almost to the point where it might have been contentious had I not had such eclectic and, at instances, brilliant taste.  (Mine says: always modest, my husband) Also, I was a hard working indie musician and she had a great appreciation for this so she let me be enthusiastic about all the music I loved.

As a result of my blinkered-ness, I missed out on hearing some seriously good tunes.  That is until we started this project.  While we have crossed some perilous waters and seen some rotted hulks sink to the obscure depths where they belong (do I dare mention fucking Sugar Ray again?  Yes, I do) we have also dug up some great buried treasure or Forgotten Gems along the way.  If I'd been fucking paying attention all those years ago, then listening to England Made Me for this review would have reminded me of how great this album is and led to me declaring it yet another amazing record.

Instead, I have to eat a big, rich piece of humble pie and apologise profusely to Mine for not fucking listening in the first place and say, most sincerely, you were right.  England Made Me is indeed a treasure.

Next time, honey, just tell me to shut the fuck up.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP (Mine says: oh I love saying this - I TOLD YOU SO!!!)

In our collection, we also have: The Facts of Life, Passionoia and The Worst of Black Box Recorder

Friday, April 9, 2010

ABBA - The Singles The First Ten Years


Mine has been snickering about the chance I might have to review Abba ever since we started this project.  And lo, the bloody pointy stick, damn its pointy stickedness, finally decided to help increase her snicker to a full belly laugh.

Abba were everywhere when I was a teenager.  They were on the front cover of magazines and newspapers, on the television and all over the radio.  They were so popular that as a young high school student, it was a prerequisite to name which Abba chick you'd 'do' (not that any of us really understood what 'do'-ing was all about). 

More importantly, Abba lived in my house.  My sister professed to be their biggest fan and would play them over and over. And over.  And over!  Given their popularity in Australia, it also meant they were never too far from my cultural consciousness, no matter how hard I tried to ignore them.  It seemed cruel that fate (if you believe in it) dictated my sister like this band and not Kiss or Cheap Trick.  And now fate, it seems, is probably laughing its arse off because Mine shares this love.  See, fate, this is why I have a hard time believing in you! 

Oh, and for the record, I was in the Agnetha camp.

VERDICT: THROW IT OUT, preferably into a bottomless abyss where it will never be seen again


It's a bit hard for me to admit this, but I'm getting a bit sick of Abba.  (YourZ sez: oh happy happy, joy joy!  Can we throw it out then?)  Not that I'll ever get rid of this album, but the cream of it has been sitting on my gymPod ever since I got it, more than a year ago.  Plus I've also got Erasure's version of some songs - from ABBAesque - on the Shuffle so the Swedish group's work tends to run by my ears more frequently than just about anybody else.

Then there's the ridiculous success of Mamma Mia! which I have to admit I saw in the theatre.  I enjoyed the songs, but found the whole storyline (if you can call it that) vapid.  I've avoided seeing the movie.  I actually like Meryl Streep and don't want my regard to be crushed.

As it happens, I wasn't an Abba fan when the band was at its peak, although several of my then-friends were.  Of course the songs entered my consciousness due to the sheer weight of repetition, and as a piano player I recall trying to make the sheet music to Ring Ring sound like it did on the radio.  I failed.

But about 10 years later, I decided I quite liked Abba.  Because nothing fills a dance floor faster than Dancing Queen, and I discovered about then that the dance floor was my favourite place in the world to be.  So I bought this CD - yes, I've had it that long!  It's really great for doing housework to, and is one of the CDs that helps me cook (YourZ sez: so you say but I've never seen a single strudel!).  A classic.

VERDICT:TURN IT UP (YourZ sez: aaaahhhh COME ON, you tease!)

For more information:

(Mine says: and for those of you who are counting, this is our 100th review!  Yay us!)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Weezer - Deluxe Edition


When the pointy stick landed on this CD, my dear husband did a happy dance around the room.  Seriously.  Because he doesn't just love Weezer, I think he'd have their babies if he could.

While I'm not as committed to the band, I do like the tunes - mostly - with the exception of a few less-than-girl-friendly lyrics and a couple of shouty numbers.  I don't have any great Weezer moments to share with you, so all I can say is it's good music well done, and I'm happy to have it playing around me any time.  In fact...



I love Weezer.  No, seriously, I love Weezer.  But not in the fanboy, collecting-every-last-bit-of-merchandise way.  And certainly not in the way Mine would have you believe either.  I love them for the same reason I've mentioned numerous times on these pages - they're lots of fun and they don't take themselves seriously.  They also inspired a whole generation of geeks who previously thought they couldn't be in a cool band. And they also sound fucking huge live too (I also love their Van Halen logo ripoff).  All right, I think I've said love sufficiently enough times for you to get the idea I like them a lot.

The original copy of this album (known as the Blue Album) has been in my collection since it was released.  I was initially attracted to it because the cover looked similar to another favoured album by great Aussie band The Sunnyboys (although I only have this on vinyl... hmm, about time I got in on CD, I think).  While the Sunnyboys name proved to be ironic, Weezer, on the other hand, are a full-winded, clear-throated rock fest of massive proportions.

It seems as though this record was destined to have an impact on me.  First of all, its produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars, a band who I have loved since my teen days.  But more of them later (we'll be reviewing this great band soon).  Secondly, both Undone The Sweater Song and Buddy Holly videos were produced by Spike Jonze, another favourite.  Add to this similar cultural references (Kiss, Ace Frehely, X-men etc) and its as though Weezer and I shared the same childhood.  I wonder if they got beat up as much as I did? 

This copy, the Deluxe Edition, comes with a second CD and a booklet and was released 10 years after the original, which sold ridiculous amounts around the world.  Considering lead Weezer Rivers Cuomo thought the album wouldn't sell more than 100, its done pretty well for itself.


For more information:

In our collection we also have Weezer (The Green Album), Weezer (The Red Album), Maladroit and Raditude

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

True Live - Found Lost


True Live are one of those bands who come along every now and then who have impeccable, pedigree'd musicians, great songwriting skills and clever lyrics.  They're also reputedly a kick-arse live act, although I haven't seen them.  Found Lost is their second album after 2006's The Shape Of It.  This album sees them continue with their unique style, a combination of jazz-flavoured beats, live strings and a MC who can actually sing too.

Combining jazz and hip hop isn't new.  In fact, Mine has collected a lot of the Rebirth Of Cool series (we will get to these in our compilation reviews, I imagine) which heavily relies on this form for its content.  But in True Live's case, as their name suggests, there is no DJ backing the sound with samples.  Everything you hear is recorded by the band.  And in the hip hop genre, this is a rarity.

The best thing about this album is its complete lack of the typical 'skip-hop' MCing so prevalent in much of Australia's hip hop.  Not only is it a nice change but it actually sounds more real, for real.



OK, here's where the differences between us rear up again.  I listened to True Live without knowing anything about them - and what follows is the review I wrote in my head while driving home:

I suppose this is a hip-hop album, but the music shifts styles so often it's kind of hard to put it in any genre - unless there's a genre called Bad.  Uninteresting lyrics sung and/or rapped unintelligibly over overblown and/or unnecessary orchestration, mixed poorly.  And somebody gave these people a record deal?
So now I know more about the band, I guess I can be a bit more relaxed about the orchestration - as it's intentional.  But I don't see that it works.  Long piano or violin intros and outros I find frankly boring, plus they jar with the mood of the songs, which are generally more frenetic.  It's like flute solos at the end of punk songs - confusing at best and irritating at worst.

Plus YourZ and Mine(self) had an argument about the mix. (YourZ sez: argument shmargument - it was a discussion of the gentlest kind; Mine voiced her opinion and I said she was wrong.  At least, this is how I remember it hehehehe...)  I've gone back and listened to some album tracks several times, in the car, back-to-back with other bass-heavy songs from other artists, and I can only say - there is distortion in the bass.  Maybe it's intentional.  If it is, in my opinion it doesn't work and only serves to make me not want to listen to the songs.

The only thing I can find to be positive about is - at least the guy can sing.


For more information:

In our collection, we also have The Shape Of It

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Smashing Pumpkins - Adore


Yes, it's not their biggest seller or anything but I like Adore.  I was thinking that  I have to say that, because I bought it, but actually I don't, because I've freely admitted to buying dross before.  I guess I like it because I really wasn't exposed to a whole lot of Pumpkins before this.  I mean, I'd heard a fair bit of Siamese Dream but never owned it, and every single one of my radio-school mates owned Melon Collie so I never bothered buying it, and then when I heard the band had a new album out, I thought, well, it's bound to be good.  And I really think it is.

It's a quiet, reflective album and I particularly like Ava Adore and Once Upon A Time.  I think it's one of those albums that's nice to put on when it's rainy outside and I'm inside reading a book and occasionally something will make me look up and listen to the music.

But maybe that's because I'm focusing on what Adore has, rather than what it's missing. I will say that Billy Corgan's voice can give me the shits after a while.  He's almost as whiny as Thom, but at least the tunes are better.



Ah, the finicky, fickle fall of the pointy stick. If only for a few centimetres, it might have hit on a few better albums from The Smashing Pumpkins. But it didn't, it touched down on Adore instead. At least I get to tell you how fucking awesome it was to stand between the crowd and the stage at the Big Day Out in '94 while the Pumpkins ripped the fuckin' place apart. (Yes, for those more observant readers, yes, it was the same occasion I saw Soundgarden - truly memorable).

What followed this tour was recording and releasing Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and the touring accompanying it. This in turn led to drummer Jimmy Chamberlin being sacked from the band due to his implicition in the OD death of keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin. Chamberlin's massive drumming was replaced by machines and session musos for the Adore sessions. It might have, as one reviewer said, sorted the 'true' fans out from those who liked them for their big sellers but the reality is The Smashing Pumpkins without Jimmy just weren't the same band.

This was the beginning of the end, as far as I'm concerned.  Eschewing the huge stadium rock they were well known for and presenting a set of more subtle electronic-laden material frankly made them sound like Garbage wannabes (no offence to Garbage, of course.  Ironically is was Butch Vig of Garbage who produced the first two Smashing Pumpkins albums).  To top it off, Billy's petulant and increasingly meglomaniacal behaviour only drove a wedge between him and the rest of the band, eventually leading to departure of D'Arcy and the inevitable breakup.

There are a few nice moments on Adore, but these are more associated with the its lavish production and soundscapes, almost sounding like a soundtrack for a movie at points, something furthered by Corgan's admission that this is a "concept album without a concept."  Yeah, thanks for trying to be clever, Billy, but its simply not enough to hold my interest.

VERDICT: TURN IT DOWN before I bitch slap the whine outta ya, Billy-boy!

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In our collection, we also have Gish, Siamese Dreams, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Pisces Iscariot and Machina