January 29, 2023

Something For Kate - Beautiful Sharks (1999) ☠

Country: Australia
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label Number: MATTCD085
 ☠: Selected by Lass
 © 1999 Murmur
*No professional reviews are available for this release.
 
 tags: something for kate, beautiful sharks, 1999, flac,

Something For Kate - The Official Fiction (2003)

Country: Australia
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label Number: MATTCD130

© 2003 Murmur
*No professional reviews are available for this release. 

 tags: something for kate, the official fiction, 2003, flac,

Dooley-O - I Gotcha (2005)

Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hip-Hop 
Label Number: LEWIS011CD

© 2005 Lewis Recordings
*No professional reviews are available for this release. 

 * Due to past abuse, comments for the Hip-Hop section have been disabled. 


 tags: dooley o, i gotcha, 2005, flac,

Big Shug - Otherside of The Game (2008)

Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hip-Hop 
Label Number: TEG 2453

© 2008 Traffic Entertainment/Team Shug
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

 * Due to past abuse, comments for the Hip-Hop section have been disabled. 


 tags: big shug, otherside of the game, 2008, flac,

January 27, 2023

Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth (1980) ☠

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 21 tracks total.
A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Post Punk, New Wave
Label Number: ROUGH US 89
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1980-1990 Rough Trade
As punk rock was quickly morphing into post-punk at the end of the '70s, Welsh trio Young Marble Giants went against the amplified aggression and stylistic chaos of many of their peers, instead creating new worlds of expression through subtraction. The band's vacuous sound was almost jarringly minimal, with incredibly catchy songs consisting of Alison Statton's stoic vocals, fluid electric bass, unwavering skeletal drum machine rhythms, and the occasional stab of guitar or haunted organ sounds. The group were short-lived, leaving behind only a few EPs, demos, and Colossal Youth, their sole full-length album from 1980, but their influence would ripple out to inform the sounds of future independent music creators from Nirvana to Belle and Sebastian. Colossal Youth perfectly captures the band's unique approach, with 15 short songs of their stark but rough-edged pop. Before forming Young Marble Giants, Statton and brothers Philip and Stuart Moxham had all played together in a band called True Wheel, who took their name from the title of a song on Brian Eno's 1974 outing Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). While Eno's flirtations with funk and Kraftwerk's bare-bones electronic rhythms were reference points for Young Marble Giants' sound, it's hard to locate many other implicit influences on Colossal Youth. The sinister crawl of "N.I.T.A." and lonely riffing of "Music for Evenings" could serve as foundations for the songs of other post-punk bands, but few dared to present something so intentionally empty. The album's most conventionally structured songs -- tunes like atmospheric opener "Searching for Mr. Right" or the would-be rock & roll of "Credit in the Straight World" -- are defined by the sharp tension created by their unfinished-feeling arrangements. That moody tension co-exists with relatively cheery songwriting throughout Colossal Youth, maintaining a strange balance between the two contrasting energies for the entire album. Young Marble Giants weren't the only band to explore pop minimalism, but no one else during their time or afterwards quite captured the eerie beauty that floats through every moment of Colossal Youth. Its songs sound like a private party in an empty house, with every facet of the sound aiming to take up as little space as possible. Listening to Colossal Youth, it's easy to see how this introverted album full of tiny sounds made such an enormous impact.

 tags: young marble giants, colossal youth, 1980, flac,

Society - Yes 'N' Deed (The E.P.) (1994)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hip-Hop 
Label Number: XR-777-2

© 1994 Luke Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release. 

 * Due to past abuse, comments for the Hip-Hop section have been disabled. 


 tags: society, yes n deed the ep, 1994, flac,

Iron Man - The Passage (1994) ⚓

Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Doom Metal
Style: Traditional Doom 
Label Number: H 0034-2

© 1994 Hellhound Records
Much had changed in the Iron Man camp during the short year separating their sophomore album, 1994's The Passage, from its rightfully acclaimed predecessor, Black Knight. On the personnel front, drummer Ron Kalimon had been replaced by Gary Isom (later of UnorthodoxSpirit Caravan, and Pentagram) and first album vocalist Rob Levey deposed (on the Hellhound label's insistence!) for the technically more accomplished Dan Michalak, but the latter's histrionic vibrato (think a junior Messiah Marcolin) could come off a little comically forced at times, ironically making him an acquired taste, just like his precursor. At least on the musical front, however, the band's guitarist and creative mastermind Alfred Morris III could still be counted upon to guide Iron Man (rounded out by returning bass player Larry Brown) down the (mostly) straight and narrow doom path without commercial dilution or unnecessary distractions. Resulting highlights included the LP's emphatic opener "The Fury" (an homage to Black Sabbath's "Neon Knights" in more ways than one), the short, sweet, and savage "Iron Warrior," and the memorable instrumental "Tony Stark" (which of course borrows the alias for that iron-plated Marvel Comics superhero; get it?). Meanwhile, the discreet synthesizers fleshing out "Waiting for Tomorrow"'s intro showed that Iron Man weren't entirely averse to modernization, either, but they sure as hell weren't leaping to embrace it. Also, The Passage put a little more emphasis on slower doom numbers -- see "Unjust Reform," "Harvest of Earth," and the rather toothless "Time of Indecision" -- which, while more authentically traditional in nature, didn't pack nearly as much of a punch as the band's speedier efforts. Nevertheless, The Passage helped establish Iron Man's mighty reputation far and wide to doom-loving hordes across the globe, and it was indeed a shame that the group would wait half-a-decade before capitalizing on this with a third album, 1999's Generation Void.

 tags: iron man, the passage, 1994, flac,

January 26, 2023

Dokken - Under Lock & Key (1985) ☠

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 10 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Glam Metal
Label Number: 960458-2
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1985-1986 Elektra
After getting off to a patchy start with their thrown-together 1982 debut, Breaking the Chains (recorded mere weeks after they'd become a band), Dokken replaced departed bassist Juan Croucier (bound for Ratt) with Jeff Pilson, and really seemed to gel as a proper musical unit on their impressive sophomore album, Tooth and Nail. But notwithstanding a minor European hit achieved with that record's single, "Into the Fire," the quartet had yet to experience a commercial breakthrough back home in America, a breakthrough that would finally arrive after the release of Under Lock and Key in November 1985. However, Dokken's third album was hardly a monster hit, peaking at number 32 and only gradually marching toward gold, then platinum certifications, thanks to a string of successful but hardly explosive singles, the band's grueling touring schedule (supporting AC/DCJudas PriestDio, etc.), and, let's be frank, some crucial "tarting up" of the musicians for the extremely image-conscious MTV generation. Take Under Lock and Key away from these temporal sales drivers, though, and one still has quite possibly Dokken's most "complete" album, with a little something for every type of fan -- including memorable singles like "In My Dreams" and "It's Not Love" (which rode effectively cornball videos into the Top 40 chart), fist-pumping headbangers like "Lightnin' Strikes Again" and "Til the Livin' End," and saccharine ballads like "Slippin' Away" and "Jaded Heart" (never the band's strongest suit, it should be noted). Most importantly, Under Lock and Key also boasts two almost peerless examples of Dokken's best songwriting template -- bittersweet mid-paced rockers -- in the opening tandem of "Unchain the Night" and "The Hunter," both of which also pack fantastic solos from guitar wizard George Lynch. Along with the aforementioned diversity of styles, it's ultimately these two defining tracks that still make Under Lock and Key the best introduction to Dokken's sound -- even though heavy metal purists tend to prefer Tooth and Nail for its combined aggression and consistency.

 tags: dokken, under the lock and key, 1985, flac,

Dokken - Dysfunctional (1995)

Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hard Rock
Label Number: CK 67075

© 1995 Columbia
Dokken's 1995 album was more of a marketing move than an inspired musical collaboration. All of the members from the group's highwater mark in the '80s returned for Dysfunctional, but they sound as if they haven't resolved their differences yet. None of the songs are fully-formed or feature memorable hooks. Don Dokken's voice has worn away over the years, and he can no longer sell mediocre material on the basis of his charisma. George Lynch plays fine, but his solos sound as if they were pasted on after the original track was recorded. While it's good to have the guitarist back in action, he deserved a better platform than the songs on Dysfunctional.

 tags: dokken, dysfunctional, 1995, flac,

Non Phixion - 5 Boros (Remix) (12" Single) (1998)

*Photos of the record are included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hip-Hop 
Style: Hardcore Hip-Hop
Label Number: SCH-1772

© 1998 Serchlite Music
*No professional reviews are available for this release. 

 tags: non phixion, 5 boros remix, 12 inch single, 1998, flac,

January 25, 2023

McQueen Street - McQueen Street (1991)

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 10 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hard Rock
Label Number: CDP-96428

© 1991 SBK Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

 tags: mcqueen street, mcqueen street album, 1991, flac,

Shanghai - Take Another Bite (1991)

*First pressing. 
Contains 9 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hard Rock
Label Number: TECP-28816

© 1991 Metal Mania
*No professional reviews are available for this release.  

 tags: shanghai, take another bite, 1991, flac,

Dokken - Tooth & Nail (1984) ☠

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 10 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Heavy Metal, Glam Metal
Label Number: 9 60376-2
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1984-1985 Elektra Records
On Tooth and Nail, Don Dokken and George Lynch began to develop an impressive interplay, as the vocalist worked off the guitarist's powerful riffs. Dokken doesn't possess a great voice, but he has enough skills to make the clich├ęd material sound convincing. But what really makes Tooth and Nail a worthwhile listen is Lynch. The guitarist is a wildly inventive, lightning-fast instrumentalist, and there isn't a single solo on the album that isn't worth hearing. 

 tags: dokken, tooth and nail, 1984, flac,

Kix - Midnite Dynamite (1985) ☠

*This is a repress of the original 1984 LP release on CD. 
Contains 10 tracks total and non remastered audio
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Glam Metal, Hard Rock
Label Number: 7 81267-2
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1985 Atlantic Records
By 1985, pop-metal had become one of the dominate genres in pop music thanks to the success of groups like Quiet Riot and Ratt. Although Kix's material remained more ambitious than the pop-metal groups they were lumped in with, the group went for a more pop-metal sound on Midnight Dynamite by using Beau Hill (best known for his work with Ratt and Warrant) as their producer. As a result, songs like the title track and "Layin' Rubber" have the slick, conventional sound expected of pop-metal recordings but manage to rise above the genre's trend with surprising hooks like the unexpectedly lovely harmonies that build up to the chorus in "Midnight Dynamite" and the bubblegum chants that are woven in "Layin' Rubber." The hooks in the songs don't leap out of the speakers this time out the way they did on Kix or Cool Kids, but the group makes up for this by testing out all sorts of new sounds and genres: "Walkin' Away" is a plaintive ballad that is built on synthesizers instead of guitars, and the surprisingly funky "Cold Shower" flirts with rap in its vocal melody. Meanwhile, songs like "Red Hot (Black and Blue)" and "Lie Like a Rug" keep up the album's hard rock quotient and balance their solid guitar riffs with enough pop harmonies and hooks to keep things interesting. Ultimately, Midnight Dynamite lacks the coherence and sonic ambition that marked their first two albums but still remains a strong, likeable collection of pop/rock tunes.

 tags: kix, midnite dynamite, 1985, flac,

Tyrese - 2000 Watts (2000)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: R&B
Label Number: 07863 67984-2

© 2000 RCA Records
It would be easy to dismiss Tyrese as just another pop pretty boy. Looking at his previous work as a model and VJ, it's hard not to classify him as a musician more concerned with commercial success than any real musical artistry. Listening to 2000 Watts, even the most cynical of R&B fans would have to admit that Tyrese has real talent. Flanked by a series of heavyweight producers such as Rodney Jerkins and Jermaine Dupree, Tyrese delivers a series of ballads and uptempo numbers that are bound to appeal to fans of BET and TRL, respectively. His first single, "I Like Them Girls" is a bouncing homage to women. Equally impressive is "There for Me (Baby)," a melodic ballad produced by Babyface. After a relative successful debut album, 2000 Watts demonstrates that Tyrese is a legitimate R&B talent with a lot more skills than a lot of people expected.

 tags: tyrese, 2000 watts, 2000, flac,

The Odd Couple - Alcohol/ism (2004)

Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hip-Hop 
Label Number: TEG-BRK 049 CD

© 2004 RCA 
On his first project since leaving the Demigodz, New York rapper Louis Logic teams with Jay Love to create an album-length ode to the joys of drinking. But neither P. Diddy teetotaling nor ODB staggering adequately describes this album. In fact, despite song titles like "Double Fisted" and "The Lounge," this is lightweight party-boy fare. Even when acting out smacking a bitch down on "Beat Your Ass" or the lead single, "Wreckyalife" (which borrows from A Tribe Called Quest) with producer J.J. Brown, these boys sound more like smack-talkers who mouth off about a lot more than they live. Brown and Avid Record Collector provide the beats, which rely on plenty of golden samples and boom-bap breaks for the pair to rhyme over. It's all very sophomoric, but not in a rambunctious Licensed to Ill way. Competent, but particularly in the case of Logic, he's capable of much better.

* Due to past abuse, comments for the Hip-Hop section have been disabled. 


 tags: the odd couple, alcohol ism, 2004, flac,

January 24, 2023

Gay Dad - Leisure Noise (1999) ☠

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Alternative Rock
Style: Britpop
Label Number: 31070-2
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1999 London Records
Not since Toad the Wet Sprocket has a band had so much pop potential with such a horrid name. But, if you can get past Gay Dad's ridiculous moniker, an album of intelligent, guilt-free pop pleasure awaits you with Leisure Noise. The hooks of the first single, "To Earth With Love," are just the tip of the iceberg. Taking a familiar formula (the swaggar of 70s glam rock combined with space-age guitars) the group is remiscent of fellow brit rock bands like Ride and Swervedriver, but instead of burying the melodies and lyrics behind a thick wall of sound, Gay Dad's vocal hooks are unabashedly pushed to the fore. With a former Mojo contributer in their ranks, it's obvious the group knows their rock history. The brilliant "Oh Jim" is a textbook power ballad and "Dimstar" and "My Son Mystic, " both songs containing soaring, shimmering guitars, are a lesson for aspiring songwriter's wanting to explore dynamics and tension.

 tags: gay dad, leisure noise, 1999, flac,

Gay Dad - Transmission (2001)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Alternative Rock
Style: Britpop
Label Number: BUN010

© 2001 B-Unique Records
Not the convoy of survivalist glam necessary to lure back the public the band annoyed after the disgruntled and over-hyped Leisure Noise, Gay Dad's sophomore LP goes for a lo-fi yet more sonically complex approach and hits another brick wall of Queen-tailored rhetoric and pyrotechnic rock anthems. During the two-year wait between albums, Gay Dad had pared itself down to a three-piece, and the result is a positive, more direct, and raging jangle of '70s-fixated British pop. It works well in the Axl Rose-fronts-Super Furry Animals "Harder Faster" or in the bare and tender thud of "Breathe." So well in fact that you almost forget Gay Dad's unpersuasive threads of extremist pop-metal ("Dinosaur") that populate the rest of the album. Transmission, while marginally stronger than the band's debut, forgets to bring along the same natural pop drive and offers more of the same well-honed faux iconic babble, and regularly stoops to the equivalent of a Love record with improper squelch control.

 tags: gay dad, transmission, 2001, flac,

Muggs Presents Soul Assassins II (2000)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: 60002

© 2000 RuffLife Records
Few hip-hop producers can craft such evocative soundscapes as Muggs. He doesn't just drop beats but rather revealing cinematic realms of sound with the uncanny ability to clearly communicate his smoky visions. Little more than halfway through Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins, Chapter II's elegant opening track, "Real Life," the languid tempo that his laconic string of beats bounce at perfectly accentuates the song's drifting synth ambience and the similarly swaying sound of a haunting female voice. Every one of these 13 tracks serve as the sound of a ghostly world filled with somber melancholia, the lifted soul of Muggs conveyed through music. Yet in the hip-hop world, great beats aren't enough; not only is the MC equally important, but he often eclipses great beats, for the better or for the worse. On certain songs, the many guest rappers featured on this album make the beats even better, such as when GZAXzibitGoodie Mob, or Kool G. Rap step up to the mic. A few of the guest rappers do detract from the dark beauty of Muggs' poetry, as by no means is this a consistent album, but with such a broad roster of MCs from all coasts, you really can't expect that. Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins, Chapter II isn't quite as blessed with MC talent as the first Soul Assassins album, yet it's still a noble accomplishment by Muggs, lengths ahead of most hip-hop producers' work.

 * Due to past abuse, comments for the Hip-Hop section have been disabled. 


 tags: soul assassins, muggs presents soul assassins 2, 2000, flac,

Sa Deuce - Sa Deuce (Promo C.D.) (1996) ☠

*Promotional C.D. not intended for consumer sale. 
Contains the album in its entirety.
A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: R&B
Label Number: 61891-2
☠: Selected by Sentinel
© 1996 EastWest/Mecca Don Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

 tags: sa deuce, sa deuce album, promo, 1996, flac,

Cappadonna - The Struggle (2003)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hip-Hop 
Label Number: APRC7150

© 2003 Code:Red Entertainment
Two years after Epic Records hastily booted Cappadonna back into the hip-hop underground despite the promise of his fine debut album, the rapper returned bitterly with The Struggle, his first indie release, which promised to detail his post-Wu-Tang struggle to exist. The hunger is definitely here, as Cappadonna has never sounded this driven (skip to the last track, "Struggle With This"), yet stripped bare of his Wu affiliates and major-label budget, he sounds sadly plain. It's not so much the rapping that comes across as run of the mill -- Cappadonna is a fiery MC with a firm grasp of drama and an emotive delivery -- but it's rather the production and songwriting that underwhelm. Fourth Disciple delivers a dark, moody Wu-esque production ("Blood Brothers") that longtime fans will savor, but it's unfortunately his only contribution. Elsewhere, Calogero helms the majority of the tracks, while Soulfingaz, RemedyQuasi, and Big Mizza each produce a couple. These producers are surely capable talents, who seem to be balancing RZA's trademark Wu sound with their own individual styles; however, despite occasional moments of heat ("Role of a Lifetime," "Get Away from the Door," "Season of da' Vick"), the beats sound a little flat, partly because of the low budget. It doesn't help, though, that the songwriting is lackluster throughout. The tracks have serviceable hooks, but they aren't catchy at all. Moreover, the songs are simply arranged into three-minute verse-hook-verse structures that present no surprises whatsoever. Despite The Struggle's shortcomings, it does have its merits, above all an earnest tone. Cappadonna isn't posturing -- he's genuinely struggling here, as even a quick listen will prove, and he's firmly underground, as the low-budget sound makes all too clear. Despite his efforts here, however, the Wu expatriate can't match the verve of his previous albums for Epic, and relative to those albums, The Struggle sounds plain despite Cappadonna's heartfelt intentions.

 * Due to past abuse, comments for the Hip-Hop section have been disabled. 


 tags: cappadonna, the struggle, 2003, flac,