November 30, 2018

Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (1988) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Noise Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1988 Enigma Records
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
Sonic Youth made a major step forward with 1987's Sister, their first album where the songs were as strong as the group's visionary approach and they rocked with the force and authority they'd clearly sought since the beginning. If 1988's Daydream Nation didn't make as decisive a leap in terms of theory or style, as far as execution was concerned, it was Sonic Youth's first unqualified masterpiece, a triumph that made them one of the most respected bands in indie rock. Initially released as a two-LP set, the sheer scope of Daydream Nation was ambitious, but the longer tracks worked to Sonic Youth's advantage, allowing them the space to lay down solid melodic structures and then use them as a framework for extended jams (thankfully, the band made splendid use of their wanderlust without wearing out their welcome). Sonic Youth were playing at the top of their game on the Daydream Nation sessions; the guitar interplay between Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo was stronger and more intuitive than before, and bassist Kim Gordon and drummer Steve Shelley had grown into a powerful rhythm section that cut an impressive groove, giving the band a greater freedom to explore the space around them without getting lost. Sonic Youth were not simply tighter on Daydream Nation, they were making better and more satisfying use of their arsenal of alternate tunings and bent but elemental song structures, and the final product fused their love of creatively applied noise and the sound of the electric guitar with song structures that merged elements of punk, prog, boogie, and psychedelia. The journey from the trippy joy of "Teenage Riot" to the hot-rodded choogle of "Eliminator Jr." was a bracing, glorious experience, and Daydream Nation confirmed their status as one of America's best and most original alternative rock bands, and one that had a shot at a future outside the underground -- a pleasant surprise given the alienating air of their earliest work.

tags: sonic youth, daydream nation, day dream, 1988, flac,

Atrophy - Violent By Nature (1990) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Thrash Metal
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1990 R/C Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Its wacky-silly cover artwork (featuring some kind in a skull-mask) doesn't help matters, but Arizona thrashers Atrophy actually took a tentative step forward with their second album, 1990s Violent by Nature, which showed greater diversity and a more refined sense of musicianship, while sacrificing just a tad of their debut's raucous aggression. Unfortunately, these improvements were not nearly enough to help the quintet distinguish themselves from the hundreds of thrash metal outfits bubbling just under the surface of what had become a fatally crowded pond. Especially given Atrophy's demanding brand of technical thrash, which tended to suffocate listeners with its airtight arrangements and tuneless walls of riffs (think Bay Area bruisers like Vio-Lence and Forbidden, or even Anthrax's incomparably overwrought Persistence of Time album) -- not to mention often humorless, socio-political diatribes which ensured that even amusingly named opener "Puppies and Friends" would discuss the horrors of lab-animal testing. Also, like many other failed thrash bands of the late '80s, Atrophy rarely met a catchy chorus they could relate to (the title track being one moderate exception), and seemed to harbor an almost pathological aversion to melodies. Not surprisingly, though, it was usually when they took the plunge with the melodic intros and solos in "Too Late to Change," "Process of Elimination" and "Things Change," that their songs made the most lasting impression. Hardly enough of an impression to salvage their non-career, however, and this proceeded to fizzle for good immediately following this album's release.

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Ciccone Youth - The Whitey Album (1988)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Noise Rock
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© 1988 Enigma/Blast First
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano
On its initial release, The Whitey Album was treated like a collaboration between Minutemen bass virtuoso Mike Watt and punk rock revolutionaries Sonic Youth. This would have been a perfect match, with two enormous talents coming together for an entire album. But in reality it is far stranger than that: a highly experimental tribute to Madonna performed by Sonic Youth with the exception of one song that is entirely played by Mike Watt without any other musicians accompanying him. The DGC re-release features a cleaner sound and the original packaging from the 1988 SST version, along with liner notes written by Watt explaining his small role in the project. His song, a cover of Madonna's "Burnin' Up," is a smooth, groovy home recording that showcases his rich voice. Sonic Youth takes a shot at "Into the Groove" (renamed "Into the Groovey") and manages to mold a fantastic dirge out of the original. Thurston Moore's lazy vocals pair up with Madonna's sampled voice seamlessly, and the low-quality production only adds to the homegrown feel. Besides Kim Gordon's karaoke remake of "Addicted to Love," little else on this album resembles a normal song. Edgy noise experiments and heavy sound manipulation make these songs more than interesting, and the emphasis on dance rhythms keeps things from getting too unlistenable. Although the song order is questionable (after the first song there is a minute of silence), this album is incredibly fun and experimental. Although it was only a side project, the intense creativity of this time in Sonic Youth's career spills out all over this album, making it a rare treat for fans.

tags: ciccone youth, the whitey album, 1988, flac,

Sonic Youth - Bad Moon Rising (1985)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Noise Rock
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© 1985-1986 Blast First
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
An album quite unlike any other in the colorful Sonic Youth canon, Bad Moon Rising captures the New York band in 1985 during its most morose phase, one that is quite forbidding yet fascinating all the same. The proper album is an eight-song tapestry of droning guitar feedback, distant clattering percussion, and dreamy vocal mumblings, all of it woven together by sullen interludes of ambient noise. With the exception of the closing "Death Valley '69," nothing really stands out per se. Each song shares the same late-night shadowy feel as the others, with no outright singalong hooks to be found anywhere; it's just one ambling slab of dark noise rock. "Death Valley '69" then brings it all to a feverish close, driven by runaway guitar riffs and a frantic vocal duet by Thurston Moore and Lydia Lunch. It's a piercing capstone to an otherwise hazy album and is no doubt one of the highlights of Sonic Youth's overall output. Most editions of Bad Moon Rising don't end there, however. DGC's CD-era re-release appends the Flower EP, which fits in rather well. Similarly morose, these few songs are perhaps even more out-there than the Bad Moon Rising ones, especially "Halloween," which is a subtle five minutes of creeping guitar tingles accented beautifully by Kim Gordon's whispery hallucinations. Overall, this music is a definite leap forward from what Sonic Youth had been doing previously on Confusion Is Sex (1983) and Kill Yr. Idols (1983); it plays as one long piece, a work that perhaps reflects the spirit of the time, American gothic through the glassy eyes of willful moonlit paranoia. And as such, it's certainly a step toward EVOL (1986), the band's successive release, which is likewise obsessed with the dark side of America and likewise informed by sweeping waves of ambient guitar noise, but much more song-based and focused than Bad Moon Rising's dreamscape feel.

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Sonic Youth - Evol (1986) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Noise Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1986 SST Records
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas
By 1986, a still relatively recently formed Sonic Youth was in a time of transition. Born out of the noise of New York's thriving-in-ugliness no wave scene and ensconced in the influence of Glenn Branca's avant-garde guitar experimentalism, the band's early albums slowly morphed from the snotty abrasive clatter of its self-titled EP and spotty first proper LP Confusion Is Sex into a far darker but still somewhat inconsistent merging of haunted song sketches and foreboding noisy atmospheres on second album Bad Moon Rising. EVOL found the band in a similarly eerie mindset, but this time the dark dreaminess of songs like "Tom Violence," the tense instrumental "Death to Our Friends," and the gorgeously restrained "Shadow of a Doubt" are snapped into lockstep clarity by Steve Shelley's precise, tom-heavy drumming. Shelley, still a fresh-faced Michigan transplant to N.Y.C., joined the band on EVOL, replacing ex-Pussy Galore drummer Bob Bert, whose trash can percussion added some of the roughness to earlier Sonic Youth albums. While EVOL is still an album steeped in the noise and collage aesthetic the band grew from (most notable in the tape experiments, unexpected screams, and mesh of feedback and car-race sound effects of Lee Ranaldo's spoken word contribution "In the Kingdom #19" and the ghostly music-box loop and Kim Gordon's slithering vocals on "Secret Girls"), the songs here also represent the band's first flirtations with pop. Though gift-wrapped in jagged guitar tones and airy alternate tunings, songs like "Green Light," "Star Power," and the hypnotic bliss-out of album closer "Expressway to Yr. Skull" are built on cores of reaching melodicism and a tunefulness that borders at times on sounding playful. The addition of Shelley's propulsive drumming gave much-needed punctuation to the band's previously murky approach and connected some of the amorphous Halloween-themed textures the band was immersed in at the time to more deliberate, even traditional song structures. This affection for big, dumb, simplistic pop is driven home by their cover of Kim Fowley's unabashedly sleazy rocker "Bubblegum," included as a bonus track on early non-LP versions of the album. A product of a band finding its way between worlds, EVOL is a remarkably strong effort, and sets the stage for crystallizing ideas that would soon result in what many considered the band's finest work.

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Sonic Youth - Sister (1987) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Noise Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1987-1994 DGC Records
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
The blunt, chaotic sound of Sonic Youth's visionary but difficult early work had begun to give way to a more coherent and song-oriented attack on 1986's EVOL, and with 1987's Sister, Sonic Youth revealed that they were a great rock band as well as a great art band. From the shifting dynamics and disquieting mood of the opening track "Schizophrenia" to the ferocious coda of "White Cross," Sister was the work of a band that had grown impressively stronger and more unified in the 12 months since their previous long-player. The sheets of sound that issued from Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo's re-tuned and modified guitars were still the core of their sound, but Sonic Youth's songcraft was steadily improving as they made better and more effective use of their aural palette and created a melodic context that helped their noisy report make greater dramatic sense. After going through a handful of drummers, Steve Shelley finally gave Sonic Youth the combination of chops, imagination, and force that they needed behind the kit, and while he certainly improved EVOL (his debut with the group), it was Sister where he truly make his mark: the steady pulse and rhythmic shadings of "Catholic Block," "Stereo Sanctity," and "Tuff Gnarl" helped firm up the tunes and added some discipline to Moore and Renaldo's exploratory guitar work that, remarkably, made their twisted instrumental figures more impressive and no less distinctive. And the warmth and clarity of Bill Titus' all-analog engineering made the guitars (and Kim Gordon's bass) sound as glorious as they always deserved; while Sonic Youth had been a band with great ideas from the start, Sister was where the execution finally caught up with the concept, and it was their first truly great album.

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SuprĂȘme NTM - Authentik (1991)

Country: France
Language: French (Le Français)
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Hardcore Hip-Hop, Conscious Rap
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© 1991 Epic Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

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Killing Joke - Killing Joke (1980)

*U.K. first pressing. Contains 8 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: New Wave
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© 1980-1986 EG Records Ltd.
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano
Since 1980, there have been a hundred bands who sound like this; but before Steve Albini and Al Jourgensen made it hip, the cold metallic throb of Killing Joke was exciting and fresh. The harshly sung vocals riding over the pulsating synth lines of the opener "Requiem" have a vigor and passion that few imitators have managed to match. The precise riffs and tight rhythms found in songs like "Wardance" would influence a generation of hardcore musicians; yet "The Wait," with its thrashing guitars and angry vocals, would find itself covered on a Metallica album only six years later. That such a bleak and furious album could have such a widespread influence is a testament to its importance. Certain parts of the album have not dated well; the vocals and drums are mixed in such a way that they lose some of their effectiveness, and the fact that so many other bands have used this same formula does take some of the visceral feeling away. But this is an underground classic and deserves better than its relative unknown status. Fans of most kinds of heavy music will probably find something they like about this band, and this is a good a place as any to start the collection.

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Killing Joke - Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (1986) ☠

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: New Wave
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1980-1986 EG Records Ltd.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
The end of the '80s wreaked havoc on all too many bands that started off strongly and, while Killing Joke hadn't quite reached its nadir (that would happen with the appalling Outside the Gate), Brighter Than a Thousand Suns was a definite transformation from the days of "The Wait" and "Complications." The unexpected success of Night Time and new commercial pressures clearly came to bear -- Chris Kimsey's production, effective on that earlier album, here combined with Julian Mendelsohn's mixing to result in too often blanded-out album rock throwaways, perfect for blasting on highways and little else. Still, the band hadn't changed any from Night Time, and even that lineup was three-quarters of the original incarnation of the group. The emphasis still focused clearly on volume and strong, full-bodied playing -- Geordie Walker, Paul Ferguson, and Paul Raven don't sound like they're holding back at all even if their individual performances are less on the edge. Jaz Coleman's newfound way around inspiring singing, meanwhile, pays off in dividends; though it's impossible to square the results here with his earlier hectoring and cutting rage, the warm, sweet passion that he brings to bear often transforms an OK track into a great one. "Adorations," the killer opening track and easily the album standout, is a perfect example of how this era of the group could make it all connect, Coleman's beautiful performance on the chorus and the overall ensemble effort making it the best anthem neither U2 nor Simple Minds ever wrote. But the stiff, mechanical beats on the immediately following "Sanity" -- a ridiculous substitution of Ferguson's undisputed abilities -- sets the tone for the remainder of Brighter Than a Thousand Suns, an effort ultimately dialed in rather than performed. The sound-alike quality of nearly all the songs -- especially ironic considering the accomplished genre-hopping on the earliest records -- renders Killing Joke its own unfortunate parody in the end.

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Killing Joke - Pandemonium (1996)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Industrial Music
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© 1996 Zoo Entertainment
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
After the band's lengthiest hiatus since it was founded, Killing Joke returned in 1994 with a new/old lineup and an interesting enough new album. Raven, the group's bassist since the Night Time days, was replaced by original bassist Youth, who produced the album and released it on his label. Compared to the newfound intensity of Extremities, Pandemonium partially steps away from the neo-industrial/thrash of that effort for a more varied, often quite surprising experience. With no one drummer replacing Atkins, the threesome works with a number of performers, Coleman in particular bringing in some of the Egyptian musicians whom he has worked with on a variety of projects, including his collaborative work with Anne Dudley. Noted percussionist Hossam Ramzy takes a key role, replacing the frenetic fire of Ferguson's work with a subtler, more textured approach, while Aboud Abdel's violin further gives Pandemonium a haunting edge, aiming to some extent at recreating the epic, mysterious stomp of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" for a newer day. Elsewhere, the straight-ahead rampage of "Exorcism" and "Whiteout" show that Killing Joke hasn't forgotten the power of sheer intensity, and if Ferguson's sheer power and inventiveness is missed the most here, the results are still a thrilling, fierce listen. The core Coleman/Geordie partnership remains strong, the latter at points holding back on his more scalpel-sharp approach for a thicker, overdubbed flow, sometimes -- as on "Jana" -- finding a friendly, open style that revisits the radio-friendly AOR days of the band without actually sucking. In turn, Coleman slides between his declamatory persona and the closer, more controlled style of later efforts; the combination -- as on the striking, massive wallop of "Communion" -- can be incredible, the contrast between the verses and searing choruses proving captivating.

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Eins Zwo - Sport: E.P. (1998) ☠

Country: Germany
Language: German (Deutsch)
Genre: Hip-Hop
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☠: Selected by Sentinel
© 1998 Yo Mama's Recording
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: eins zwo, sport ep, ep, 1998, flac,

Negakuss - Neuer Kurs (1998)

Country: Germany
Language: German (Deutsch)
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 1998 Marlboro Music
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Afrob - Made In Germany (2001)

Country: Germany
Language: German (Deutsch)
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 2001 Four Music/Columbia Records
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November 29, 2018

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

*Reissued with an unknown date. This is a repress of the original 1980 LP release. This pressing contains non remastered audio and 13 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: New Wave
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© 1980 CBS Records Inc.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Hooking up with Malcolm McLaren was a pivotal moment for Adam Ant, since the manager not only introduced Ant to the thundering, infectious Burundi drum beat that became his signature, he stole his band, too. Adam and the rest of the Ants had just worked up how to exploit the Burundi style when McLaren pirated the boys off to support Annabella Lwin in Bow Wow Wow -- using the very same sound they had developed with Adam Ant. It was now a race to get that sound into the stores first, and Adam lucked out when he joined forces with guitarist Marco Pirroni, who quickly proved to be invaluable. Ant and Pirroni knocked out a bunch of songs that retained some of the dark artiness of Dirk Wears White Sox, largely anchored by those enormous Burundi beats and given great, irresistible pop hooks -- plus a flash sense of style, as the new Ants dressed up in something that looked like American Indians with a velveteen touch of a dandy fop. It was a brilliant, gonzo move -- something that quickly overshadowed Bow Wow Wow -- and the resulting record, Kings of the Wild Frontier, is one of the great defining albums of its time. There's simply nothing else like it, nothing else that has the same bravado, the same swagger, the same gleeful self-aggrandizement and sense of camp. This walked a brilliant line between campiness and art-house chutzpah, and it arrived at precisely the right time -- at the forefront of new wave, so Adam & the Ants exploded into the British popular consciousness. If image was all that they had, they would've remained a fad, but Kings of the Wild Frontier remains a terrific album because it not only has some tremendous songs -- the title track and "Antmusic" are classic hits, while "Killer in the Home" and "Physical (You're So)" are every bit their equal -- but because it fearlessly, imperceptibly switches gears between giddy and ominous, providing nothing short of a thrill ride in its 13 songs. That's why it still sounds like nothing else years after its release.

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Various Artists - Music From The Motion Picture: Bulletproof (1996)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B
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© 1996 MCA Soundtracks
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
A truly great movie soundtrack can make the listener want to see the movie itself. That was true of Curtis Mayfield's excellent Superfly soundtrack, and outside the United States, it was true of soundtracks for movies that came from Brazil (Black Orpheus), France (A Man and a Woman), and Greece (Never on Sunday). Unfortunately, there isn't a lot on this soundtrack that would make the listener anxious to see Bulletproof, a 1996 film that starred Adam Sandler as a drug dealer who was turning state's evidence and Damon Wayans as the cop who was assigned to protect him. Most of the tunes on this CD are either urban contemporary or rap, and most of them are average. None of the tracks is terrible, but most of them are pedestrian. Nonetheless, Bulletproof has its moments. The more memorable selections range from Salt-N-Pepa's catchy "Champagne" to Rahsaan Patterson's ballad "Where You Are," which underscores the urban/neo-soul singer's appreciation of Stevie Wonder but also shows that he is his own man. Meanwhile, Chicano rapper DTTX (a member of Lighter Shade of Brown) has a likable solo number in "Tha 2 of Us," which incorporates the chorus of the Bill Withers/Grover Washington, Jr. hit, "Just the Two of Us." The only time this CD detours into rock territory is on a metal mix of Delinquent Habits' Cypress Hill-influenced "Tres Delinquentes"; the tune, which features Cypress' Sen Dog, is an example of West Coast rap with a strong rock influence. And Black Grape's techno-minded "Reverend Black Grape" is the closest that the soundtrack comes to rave music. But urban and rap are the styles that dominate this soundtrack, which isn't a meltdown but definitely isn't as strong as it could have been.

tags: various artists, music from the motion picture bulletproof, bullet proof, ost, soundtrack, 1996, flac,

Various Artists - New York Undercover (1996)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B
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© 1996 MCA Records
AllMusic Review by John Bush
This collection of watered-down '90s R&B, soul, and rap tracks from the FOX-TV drama New York Undercover is saved by songs from Mavis Staples, Gladys Knight, the Lost Boyz and a strong cover of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" by Mary J. Blige.

tags: various artists, new york undercover, 1996, flac,

Various Artists - In Too Deep: Music From The Dimension Motion Picture (1999)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B
Style: Pop Rap, Gangsta Rap
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© 1999 Columbia, Sony Music Soundtrax
AllMusic Review by Keith Farley
The urban thriller In Too Deep starred Omar Epps and LL Cool J, and the soundtrack boasts a similar roster of big names. Leading off, the title track and single feature Nas and Nature in a surprisingly lackluster performance. A much better production, and a better pairing of skilled rappers, comes with second track "Tear It Off" by Method Man and Redman. The pair trade off well and sound genuinely energetic. For better (and often for worse), the rest of the soundtrack has the same hit-and-miss atmosphere evinced by the first two tracks. For every great track and production ("How to Rob" by 50 Cent featuring the Madd Rapper, "Where Ya Heart At" by Mobb Deep), there are a few deadweights that do little to raise the level of quality at all.

tags: various artists, in too deep music from the dimension motion picture, in too deep, soundtrack, ost, 1999, flac,

November 28, 2018

New Order - Movement (1981) ☠

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: New Wave
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1981-1987 Factory (US)
AllMusic Review by John Bush
Movement is the first hesitant step in the transition from Joy Division to New Order. Despite a relatively assured debut single ("Ceremony," which didn't even appear on the album), the first New Order album revealed a band apparently caught up in mourning for its former lead singer. (But of course, themes of loss and isolation were hardly novel for them.) Movement encompassed songs written just after the suicide of Ian Curtis, and it was recorded with alternating vocal spots to see whose would fit best -- although neither Peter Hook nor Bernard Sumner sounded worthy of the mantle. (At times, their hesitancy makes it sound as if they were recording guide vocals for a Joy Division LP, expecting Ian Curtis to come in later.) Despite the band's opaque lyrics, critics and fans were spotting references to Curtis all over the record, with despair and confusion reigning especially on "Senses" ("No reason ever was given") and "ICB" ("It's so far away, and it's closing in"). More so than on any Joy Division record, it also revealed a group unafraid to experiment relentlessly in the studio until it had emerged with something unique. Spurred on by producer Martin Hannett, despite his antagonistic relationship with the band (and perhaps, because of it), New Order produced a ghostly, brittle record, occasionally uptempo but never upbeat, with drum machines rattling and echoing over dark waves of synthesizers and Hook's basswork. A masterpiece in the career of any other post-punk band, Movement only paled in comparison to the band's later work.

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New Order - Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: New Wave, Synth Pop
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© 1983-1986 Factory
AllMusic Review by John Bush
A great leap forward from their funereal debut album, Power, Corruption & Lies cemented New Order's place as the most exciting dance-rock hybrid in music (and it didn't even include the massive "Blue Monday" single, released earlier that year). Confident and invigorating where Movement had sounded disconsolate and lost, the record simply pops with energy from the beginning "Age of Consent," an alternative pop song with only a smattering of synthesizers overlaying an assured Bernard Sumner, who took his best vocal turn yet. Unlike the hordes of synth pop acts then active, New Order experimented heavily with their synthesizers and sequencers. What's more, while most synth pop acts kept an eye on the charts when writing and recording, if New Order were looking anywhere (aside from within), it was the clubs -- "The Village" and "586" had most of the technological firepower of the mighty "Blue Monday." But whenever the electronics threatened to take over, Peter Hook's grubby basslines, Bernard Sumner's plaintive vocals, and Stephen Morris' point-perfect drum fills reintroduced the human element. Granted, they still had the will for moodiness; the second track was "We All Stand," over five minutes of dubbed-out melancholia. Aside from all the bright dance music and production on display, Power, Corruption & Lies also portrayed New Order's growing penchant for beauty: "Your Silent Face" is a sublime piece of electronic balladry.

tags: new order, power corruption and lies, 1983, flac,

November 27, 2018

Various Artists - Deep Concentration (1997)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop, Experimental
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© 1997 OM Records
AllMusic Review by Craig Robert Smith
Breaking new ground in 1997, the release of Deep Concentration furthered hip-hop's turntablist movement by showcasing its brightest talents. This is primarily an instrumental album, with most of the vocals provided by a deejay's quick scratch on a piece of vinyl. Cutting tracks are abundant, like the lively selections from the X-Men, Prince Paul, and Peanut Butter Wolf with the Beat Junkies. Cut Chemist of rap group Jurassic 5 and the Latin outfit Ozomatli lends "Lesson 6 The Lecture," a bouillabaisse of drum kicks and spoken-word snippets that offer a course in turntable madness. No sample is off limits to these deejays -- everything from Tibetan monks (Radar's "Radar Frees Tibet") to water droplets (Ingrid De Lambre and Eddie Def's "Poeisies, Scene 1 Le Blues") are stunningly pieced together to form new compositions. Also includes a bonus CD-ROM mixing program.

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Cigarettes After Sex - Cigarettes After Sex (2017)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Dream Pop
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© 2017 Partisan Records
AllMusic Review by Bekki Bemrose
After a slow start, Cigarettes After Sex saw their fortunes swiftly reversed by a whirlwind of YouTube hits. Although they formed in 2008, CAS waited nearly a decade to release their debut record, and rather fittingly it unfolds at a lethargic pace. The music that Greg Gonzales and his fellow bandmates produce is slowcore in the extreme. The shimmering guitars, placid percussion, and wistfully delivered vocals also reveal their debt to dream pop and shoegaze. More than anything, early supporters of the band have praised Gonzales' unashamed sentimentality and dyed-in-the-wool romanticism. You don't have to venture beyond the opening track to experience his hazy passion. "K." recalls the early days of an affair with all the desperate adoration that engenders: "Holding you until you fall asleep/And it's just as good as I knew it would be/Stay with me/I don't want you to leave." The band often captures the nebulous nature of the beginning of a relationship through a dizzying, hypnotic mix of lightly administered instrumentation and Gonzales' deeply intimate vocal. Nevertheless, the record can miss the mark sometimes when the lyrics become dangerously prosaic, as on "Sweet": "It's so sweet knowing that you love me." Overall though, saccharine flashes are swallowed up by a morbid air that pervades the album. "Apocalypse" unfolds against an imagined catastrophic backdrop, while Gonzales sings of the disaster as if he's just awakened: "You leapt from crumbling bridges watching cityscapes turn to dust/Filming helicopters crashing in the ocean from way above." His restless pursuit of a lover in this sleepy gothic tale is claustrophobically intimate; his persistence feels like he's picking at a scab: "Kisses on the foreheads of the lovers wrapped in your arms/You've been hiding them in hollowed-out pianos left in the dark." Any connection to the joys of burgeoning romance is swiftly stripped of its dreamy naïveté by "Each Time You Fall in Love." It quite brutally dispels the myth of true love, describing it as "clearly not enough" and further arguing that "It isn't safe." In some respects, the twist from optimism to cynicism about matters of the heart is honest and bracing, but Gonzales' blame-and-shame tactic also wears thin: "And each time you kiss a girl you never know what it's worth/You say all of the words they wanna hear/It isn't real." Women are often painted as untrustworthy and duplicitous ("She took you for a ride in summer baby/Lost all your money to her"), making the record's loyalty to noir styles and conventions a little tiresome. Equally, the so-called romanticism of CAS' music can seem a little creepy at times. It's hard to know what to make of "Young & Dumb"'s refrain: "Well I know full well that you are the patron saint of sucking cock/Señorita you're a cheater, well so am I/You wanna go where the girls are young and dumb, and hot as fuck." Overall, chronically anti-romantic moments are eclipsed by sweet, somnambulant melodies that may not quicken the pulse but often hypnotize nevertheless.

tags: cigarettes after sex, cigarettes after sex album, 2017, flac,

Timbaland & Magoo - Indecent Proposal (2001)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Pop Rap
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© 2001 Blackground Entertainment
AllMusic Review by John Bush
It's easy to forgive Timbaland for putting his solo career on the back burner during the late '90s; after all, he'd been incredibly busy, lending his track-master skills to some of rap's biggest hitters: Ludacris, Bubba Sparxxx, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, and Snoop Dogg, as well as old friend Missy Elliott. Three years after Tim's Bio, hip-hop's most distinctive producer finally returned with another project, co-billed with right-hand man Magoo. Though it finds him caught between providing an outlet for his more experimental productions and trying to hit on his own, Indecent Proposal still succeeds on most counts. True, it starts off with the uninventive "Drop," but then moves into a set of productions certainly stranger than anything else in the world of commercial rap. Timbaland airs out one of the oddest vocal treatments ever heard on the languorous "Love Me," gets in touch with his P-Funk roots by replaying an early Funkadelic track ("I Got a Thing...") for "Baby Bubba," and pumps up the beats to match Jay-Z and Twista's excellent rhyme-trading on "Party People." "It's Your Night" and "Indian Carpet" both spin the Timbaland blueprint into new dimensions, the former with a quirky love jam and the latter with an infectious, inane chorus. Stuck at the end of the LP is the most eagerly awaited track -- "I Am Music" -- featuring one of the last performances from Timbaland protégé Aaliyah. (Alt-powerhouse Beck was originally slated to duet.) It's not an exciting track and comes as a bit of a letdown (the closest a conscientious producer would ever get to dripping the pop syrup of Puff Daddy), but it doesn't sink the album. Fans of the major-label rap game looking for more than scary strings and tedious rap celebrities will find it an intriguing diversion.

tags: timbaland and magoo, indecent proposal, indecent proposal, 2001, flac,