April 30, 2020

Heather Nova - Siren (1998) ☠

Country: Bermuda
Language: English
Genre: Alternative Rock, Pop Rock
Label Number: OK 67953
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1998 Work
Review by Allmusic.com
Boasting big, bold pop production that suggests the anthemic-but-personable sound of Natalie Imbruglia, Siren bursts out of the speakers with a giddy rush of emotion. But Heather Nova's not one to wail stridently like some Alanis-come-lately; instead she favors a breathy, delicate style that's nevertheless strong enough to ride comfortably atop the layers of acoustic and electric guitars. (In fact, it's Nova's own guitar that's at the heart of most of the arrangements here.) Throughout Siren, Nova utilizing an intriguing catch in her voice, and ultimately, it's Nova's unique vocal style and winning pop sensibilities that make Siren work as well as it does, doing double duty as substantive singer/songwriter statement and perfect pop-radio product.

tags: heather nova, siren, 1998, flac,

Goodness - Goodness (1995) ☠

*Alternate pressing released by Y Records
This pressing contains 11 tracks total.

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Grunge
Label Number: Y8: Y Records
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1995 Y Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: goodness, goodness album, 1995, flac,

Goodness - Anthem (1998) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Grunge
Label Number: EK 69002
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1998 Immortal/Epic Records
AllMusic Review by Theresa E. LaVeck
It's easy to see the intent of the album title "Anthem" from Seattle quintet Goodness. Filled with classic declarations of independence, small-town escapes, and challenges to complacency, the record is definitely earnest. The melodies are tuneful, anchored by a bit of grunge and lead vocalist Carrie Akre's sweetly strong voice. But the slacker grooves leave many dramatic lyrics without the fire that carries most rock anthems. But as in other releases, Goodness rises above average hard rock bands with flashes of insight and punk passion. The surprisingly catchy ballad "I'd Rather" takes a too-tired-to-be-pissed look at L.A. "I keep an open mind/I try to get along/but the women are all too pretty/and I just can't put that on/so I keep to myself/'cause it's the one thing that I know...and I'd like to join the party/but there's some things I won't do/I would rather be alone than here with you." Revved up rockers like "Bitter Man" show the band's less polished side and let Akre's voice loose.

tags: goodness, anthem, 1998, flac,

April 29, 2020

Anouk - Together Alone (1998) ☠

*U.S. pressing featuring an alternate cover. 
Released in 1998, this pressing contains 11 tracks total.

Country: Netherlands
Language: English
Genre: Pop Rock, Alternative Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1997-1998 Columbia Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: anouk, together alone, 1998, flac,

Real Life - Flame (1985)

Country: Australia
Genre: Pop, Pop Rock
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© 1985 Curb Records
AllMusic Review by Tomas Mureika
Real Life had the daunting task of following up Heartland on two fronts -- not only was Heartland a great new wave record, but they ran the added risk of "Send Me an Angel" turning them, unfairly, into one-hit wonders. And, to their credit, Flame virtually pulls off the near-impossible act of replicating Heartland's credibility as a solid new wave classic. David Sterry and Richard Zatorski again have assembled a collection of solid synth pop singles-that-could-have-been. "No Shame" kicks off with a dynamite descending synth hook that immediately pulls the listener into the record. It is a single as worthy as if not better than, "Send Me an Angel," but, alas, commercial success again eluded the band. The hooky verses and singalong chorus were designed for radio play, but it was not meant to be. The rest of the collection continues on the same territory as Heartland -- "One Blind Love," "Flame," and "The Legend" are all great songs -- but the piece de resistance on this album is the closer, "Cathedral." All mood and dark lyrics, the album ends with Sterry's haunting refrain of "Light a candle for me, light a candle for me...I'm a cathedral." It's everything the Cure has hoped to achieve in a single and set the tone for Real Life's more gothic incarnation come the turn of the century. And, as another "shoulda been a classic single," it's unstoppable. The commercial failure of this record is another crying shame.

tags: real life, flame, 1985, flac,

Real Life - Lifetime (1990)

Country: Australia
Genre: Pop, Pop Rock
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© 1990 Curb/Long Run Records
AllMusic Review by Tomas Mureika
In the wake of "Send Me an Angel '89"'s success, David Sterry decided to continue Real Life without co-founder Richard Zatorski -- and it took him a while to get his footing. While the late-'90s incarnation of Real Life added some goth to its mettle and made for some frightening new wave hybrid music, Lifetime seems too willing to coast on the formula Sterry had perfected. "God Tonight" is the requisite single with the requisite Real Life synth hook anchoring a perfect piece of dance-pop. But it feels less like Sterry's heart is in it and more the result of Real Life suddenly becoming a phenomenon again on the basis of the "Angel" re-release. "Kiss the Ground," "Push of Love," and "Let's Start a Fire" are all perfectly solid synth pop songs -- but, alas, the era of synth pop was over by 1990 and Sterry had yet to discover the type of music that would ultimately make Real Life great again. While it was great to have a new Real Life album (and it was still better than much of the pop music out at the time), it feels too much like a commercial product rather than a labor of passion like Heartland or Flame. "Send Me an Angel" ended up being David Sterry's albatross -- his best-known work, but one from which he could never escape. It would be nearly a decade before Sterry recovered his footing and made Real Life truly relevant -- and truly scary -- again.

tags: real life, lifetime, life time, 1990, flac,

Faucet - Bleeding Head (You Can't Laugh All The Time) (1993)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Noise Rock
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© 1993 Southern Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release

tags: faucet, bleeding head, you can laugh all the time, 1993, flac,

Old Man's Child - Revelation 666: The Curse of Damnation (2000)

Country: Norway
Language: English
Genre: Black Metal
Style: Symphonic Black Metal
Label Number: 7983-2

© 2000 Century Media
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: old mans child, revelation 666, the curse of damnation, 2000, flac,

Old Man's Child - In Defiance of Existence (2003)

Country: Norway
Language: English
Genre: Black Metal
Style: Symphonic Black Metal
Label Number: 8148-2

© 2003 Century Media
Review by Jack for Metal Reviews.com
2003 is going to be a hell of a great year. The year starts off with Old Man’s Child new release In Defiance Of Existence. Then we will have Cradle Of Filth's new album Damnation And A Day, The Kovenant with S.E.T.I. (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence), and finally later in the year the new Dimmu Borgir which they have not started recording yet. Since Emperor has laid down their weapons (I would not be surprised if they reunite someday), might we call the remaining aforementioned bands the big four of black metal ?
Old Man’s Child mainman Galder is one strange guy. On Old Man’s Child earlier recordings, he used to call himself Grusom (his real name is Thomas Rune Andersen). I just want to point out that he never recorded twice at the same location. This new album has been recorded at Studio Fredman with producer Fredrik Nordström while Revelations 666 – The Curse Of Damnation was recorded at Abyss Studio with superstar producer Peter Tägtgren. Legendary Tomas Skogsberg at famous Sunlight studios recorded and produced Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion. Galder helped producing The Pagan Prosperity at Studiomega with J. Lohngrin Cremonese and Christian Silver. Finally, their first album Born Of The Flickering was recorded at Studio 3 in Norway with producer Tom Sennerud.
On his side are the long time follower and founding member Jardar (not JarJar) on lead guitar (his real name is Jon Øyvind Andersen). The guys teamed up on all Old Man’s Child recordings except for Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion. Galder probably noticed that working with his longtime friends had always created the best and darkest unholy visions so Jardar returned for Revelations 666 – The Curse Of Damnation which I consider their best output so far. For the first time ever comes drummer Nicholas Barker who is also Galder's bandmate in Dimmu Borgir. Making a guest appearance on several tracks is Gus G. from Dream Evil who contributed some guitar leads.
Despite what many people say and I know some of you are going to kill me on that one, I find a lot of similarities between Old Man’s Child and Dimmu Borgir musically speaking. Now that Galder has teamed up with his bandmate Nicholas Barker the differences are even less. I found Old Man’s Child a bit more chaotic than Dimmu Borgir, although their finest symphonic black metal is as good as their fellow compatriots. Even if it seemed nearly impossible, Galder and Jardar have improved the band’s unique style of sharp thrash metal riffs and majestic black metal melodies, although I find their previous album Revelations 666 – The Curse Of Damnation thicker probably because I have been listening to it for the last three years. Differences between the two bands are that Old Man's Child do not use any clean vocals, nor do they use a real philarmonic orchestra for the Ochestral parts.

tags: old mans child, in defiance of existence, 2003, flac,

April 28, 2020

Laid Back - …Keep Smiling (1983)

*First pressing. Contains 8 tracks total.
Country: Denmark
Language: English
Genre: Synth Pop
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© 1983 Metronome
AllMusic Review by Steven McDonald
Mainly generic Danish synth-pop, but distinguished by the spooky, dirgelike, anti-drug riff of "White Horse."

tags: laid back, keep smiling, 1983, flac,

Voice of The Beehive - Sex & Misery (1995)

*European pressing with an alternate cover. 
Contains 11 tracks total.

Country: United Kingdom/U.S.A.
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: 0630 11004 2

© 1995 East West Records
AllMusic Review by Dean Carlson
Voice of the Beehive's personal and professional lives reached critical mass in the period between Honey Lingers and Sex & Misery, their third and final album, and the result was a nice, occasionally inspired little collection of songs that never really came into focus. Bitterness and creative frustration materialized in even the best tracks, and when they let it take center-stage, as in the chuggy mid-section of "Love Locked Inside," it was still weirdly dishonest and unconvincing. In a number of ways, Voice of the Beehive were trapped and it showed. While more mature than Let It Bee and less dogged by the label interference of Honey Lingers, Sex & Misery sounded badly prepared and overwhelmed by insecurity, and ultimately like a dim finale to a clearly underappreciated musical career.

tags: voice of the beehive, sex and misery, 1995, flac,

Voice of The Beehive - Let It Bee (1988) ☠

*European first pressing. 
Contains 11 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom/U.S.A.
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: 828100.2
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1988 London Records
AllMusic Review by Dean Carlson
Let It Bee is a simple album about moons, barbarians, love, and babies, performed with the high-spirited glow that one's little sister would enjoy. Think the art school camp of Tom Tom Club or the gooey dignity of ABBA and the Primitives in a sparser context. But if sisters Tracey Byrn and Melissa Brooke Belland could make one feel like they're in desperate need of swinging upside down from a tree with their summery and preternaturally linked harmonies in the sportive "Don't Call Me Baby" or the imaginative "I Say Nothing" single, there's a scarcity of humor or imagination to every last "na na."

tags: voice of the beehive, let it bee, 1988, flac,

Pond - Pond (1993) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
Label Number: SP186b
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1993 Sub Pop
AllMusic Review by Dean Carlson
Pond's self-titled debut failed to capitalize on either the early-'90s Sub Pop-sponsored grunge explosion or college rock credibility. "Young Spender" kicks off like the School of Fish cribbing notes from Soundgarden before awkwardly segueing into an aluminum wash of Pacific Northwestern cool, but the band sounded unconvinced they knew where to take it. Stock grunge riffs, mild funk metal, post-punk middle-eights, and Doors psychedelia were all tried on for size. As Pond was subtly and stylistically curious, the album didn't hold together as well as its ideas demanded. Tracks blurred into each other, and it became obvious that the band's uniqueness in the grunge genre was, at this stage, their weakness.

tags: pond, pond album, 1993, flac,

Pond - Rock Collection (1997)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Grunge, Alternative Rock
Label Number: OK 67630
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© 1997 Work
AllMusic Review by Tom Demalon
Rock Collection, the third offering from Portland three-piece Pond, was released In 1997. It followed two releases on Sub Pop, but their debut major-label album doesn't find lead singer Charlie Campbell and his mates toning down their aggressive, riff-heavy brand of rock. Comparable to fellow Pacific Northwestern acts like Screaming Trees, Pond shows both diversity and a fine sense of dynamics as on "You're Not an Astronaut," which starts softly before kicking in with a full-scale wave of sonic ballistics. The lyrics are often tinged with regret, but the sheer force of tracks like "Spokes," "Twins," and the gorgeous harmonies on "One Day in the Future" keep Rock Collection from descending into a depressing morass. Instead, Pond has delivered an album of great power and gloriously loud beauty.

tags: pond, rock collection, 1997, flac,

Amanda Marshall - Tuesday's Child (1999) ☠

Country: Canada
Language: English
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: EK 69755
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1999 Epic
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
Amanda Marshall's second album Tuesday's Child brings the singer/songwriter together with collaborators like Carole King, Eric Bazilian, and producer Don Was. This meeting of musical minds gives the album a warm, timeless feel that hearkens back to the classic singer/songwriters of the '70s, particularly on tracks like "Love Lift Me" and "Believe in You," which is also on the Touched By an Angel soundtrack.

tags: amanda marshall, tuesdays child, 1999, flac,

Sweet Water - Sweet Water (1993)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
Label Number: 7 82490-2
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© 1993 Atlantic
AllMusic Review by John Franck
Emerging as one of the 62 bands signed out of the Northwest during the post-Nirvana explosion, Seattle's own Sweet Water signed to Atlantic Records in 1992. Fronted by charismatic front man Adam Czeisler and the songwriting team of guitarists Dudley Taft and Rich Credo, the band created a little buzz for itself in the Seattle region prior to releasing its self-titled debut in 1993. Produced by Don Gilmore (the man responsible for engineering a host of classic alternative records, including Pearl Jam's Ten), the album was mixed down by Tim Palmer (too many accomplishments to list here), Sweet Water was the classic case of band trying to find its sound. Part neo-Guns n' Roses, part straight up rock & roll with a psychedelic twist, the album is held back by it's polite production and sometime sophomoric songwriting. Notwithstanding, there are a few highlights here and there, including the album's single, "Everything Will Be Alright." However, if one listens to the album from start to finish, it's clear that the band is at its strongest when given the room to stretch its arrangements. A good example of this is on the seven minute "Where Has the Day Gone." Entrenched in '70s British guitar rock, the track is a melancholic ode to wasted time, wasted opportunities, and is an obvious metaphor for drug addiction. The song comes into focus with its chorus: "When your day's gone, and your faith's gone/there's no more where that came from/when your day's gone, and your money's gone/and there's no more from where your stole that from...." Other tracks like "Crush," "King of '79," and "Sleep" are all okay, but nothing extraordinary. The album signs off with the interesting Mother Love Bone-ish "Like a Child" (which inexplicably nicks its guitar solo straight off "Sweet Child of Mine.") Even though the album met with little commercial acceptance, the band always did a good job on the live front, eventually snagging a handful of dates with then rock giants Alice In Chains. For a better understanding, check out the band's sophomore effort, Superfriends.

tags: sweet water, sweet water album, 1993, flac,

Sun - Jam House Wah (1993)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Grunge
Label Number: GUN 022; 74321 13346 2
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© 1993 GUN
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: sun, sun band, jam house wah, 1993, flac,

Big Chief - Face (1992)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
Label Number: SP 147b
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© 1992 Sub Pop
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: big chief, face, face album, 1991, flac,

Big Chief - Mack Avenue Skullgame (Original Soundtrack) (1993)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge, Jazz-Funk
Label Number: SP218b
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© 1993 Sub Pop
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: big chief, mack avenue skullgame, original soundtrack, skull game, 1993, flac,

April 27, 2020

Coney Hatch - Coney Hatch (1982)

*Released on CD in 1996 by Anthem Records
This pressing contains 1 previously unreleased recordings as a bonus track. 
11 tracks total.
Country: Canada
Language: English
Genre: Hard Rock
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© 1982-1996 Anthem Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Having quickly made a name for themselves on the Canadian club circuit, Coney Hatch signed with fledgling Anthem Records in early 1981 and proceeded to record their freshman effort with no other than legendary singer/songwriter (and label boss) Kim Mitchell acting as producer. Not too shabby. In an era when rock radio thrived on a steady diet of Boston, Journey, and Foreigner (vocalist Carl Dixon drew comparisons to a less strident Lou Gramm, fused with a certain Joe Lynn Turner vibe), the foursome's commercial brand of hard rock seemed like perfect fodder for the airwaves. But forceful rockers like "Devil's Deck," "You Ain't Got Me," and "Victim of Rock" never connected with programmers outside their homeland, perhaps because they fit in so well with the current musical climate that it was impossible to distinguish them from the pack. To wit, "Where I Draw the Line" was an effective but rather formulaic power ballad, and their highest-charting domestic single, "Hey Operator," didn't even dent the charts south of the border. Still, nothing here really stinks except for bassist Andy Curran's turns at the mic, when he leads the group through plodding throwaways like "Stand Up" and "Monkey Bars." Ultimately their most successful album, Coney Hatch would eventually earn a gold sales award in Canada.

tags: coney hatch, coney hatch, 1982, flac,

Lene Marlin - Playing My Game (1999)

Country: Norway
Language: English
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: 7243 8 47633 2 9

© 1999 Virgin
Review by Pop Rescue.com
Today’s POP RESCUE from a loveless fate, is the 1999 debut album Playing My Game from Norwegian singer and songwriter Lene Marlin. Does this album sound like a lot of fun, or like a boring game of snap? Read on…
I was aware of this album when it was brand new, as many friends harked about it, and were surprised that it wasn’t in my collection. So, stumbling across it, I thought I better find out what’s so great about it… albeit 16 years later.
The album opens with the big hit Sitting Down Here which is a gentle acoustic guitar meandering. Straight away, I’m reminded of how by 1999 we’d found Alanis Morrisette, Natalie Imbruglia and The Corrs, and Lene Marlin fits right in amongst these acts. This song is catchy, it feels summery and light. The guitars are delicate, and the bass line gently prods it along.
The title track is up next – Playing My Game. This is a slow ballad, again with guitar, but this is joined by some soft dreamy synth pad sounds that sound like they’ve been borrowed from William Orbit and his Ray Of Light album with Madonna. This track allows Lene to show off her rich vocals, although they don’t really have much of a chance to show off a range here.
Intricate guitar opens debut single Unforgivable Sinner, which was a moderate #13 hit single in the UK. This one definitely fits in with the likes of Imbruglia’s hit Torn. It has plenty of acoustic strumming, but also plenty of ‘go’ in it too. It’s up-beat, catchy, and deserved to be a bigger hit than it was.
Flown Away is next, and this song whilst inoffensive, just sounds quite dull, probably because it is so slow. It feels like something that even Enya might have passed over, and the lyrics are slightly cringeworthy.
The is followed by The Way We Are, which returns the pace – opening with a nice guitar loop. Lene’s vocals dance gently over this intro as the beats and bass come in. This is a great contrast to the previous track and probably should have been a single.
Growling guitars burst in next track So I See, and this song is much stronger. The guitars stick around, joined by piano, and some synth strings. Musically this is a really good song, but vocally, Lene feels somewhat lost here, and like she’s struggling a little to be heard during the chorus. She’s fine during the verses. This song is where she most sounds like Alanis.
Maybe I’ll Go returns us back to mellow again, pitching her against bass and piano, whilst some gentle synthscapes evolve in the background like a Casio Choir, occasionally joined by someone turning a rain stick. Lene’s vocals are rich and warm here, and simple.
Up next is Where I’m Headed, which picks the pace up again, but this does sound quite a bit like hit Sitting Round Here. It has a nice intro that fades in, leading you into a warm, acoustic guitar-led song. Lene makes easy work of the lyrics here. This was the third and final UK single, which reached #31, and was taken from the soundtrack of Mauvaises Fréquentations (1999).
Penultimate track One Year Ago is a gentle wafting song, again laden with acoustic guitars. By the time of the chorus, some drifting electric guitars join in just to help pull it all together and make it at least somewhat memorable. This is quite a nice song over all.
The album closes with the tinkling piano of A Place Nearby, but whilst it’s a nice little ballad with lots of space for both the bass, piano, and Lene’s vocals to shine, the lyrics do feel a bit like a teenage girl singing.
Over all, this album would have been perfectly fitting for the late 90s chart, amongst the ranks of Alanis, Natalie Imbruglia, and perhaps even Dido.
Aside from two of the singles (Sitting Round Here, Unforgivable Sinner), The Way We Are is the other gem on this album. The rest of the songs, whilst nice enough in a Dido way, aren’t particularly memorable

tags: lene marlin, playing my game, 1999, flac,

Lene Marlin - Another Day (2003)

Country: Norway
Language: English
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: 7243 5 92156 2 4

© 2003 Virgin
Review by Natasha Perry for Contact Music.com
Happier tunes are Faces and Disguise that really don’t fit into any genre (folk-rock being the closest) but they’re still captivating nonetheless. ‘You Weren’t There’ shows Marlin’s storytelling prowess as she tells a father who left his kid how much they miss him making it a really affecting story. There’s something special about this record which turns it from another folk-rock-country album into a one-off. Lene Marlin sounds fragile on this record and on some tracks it actually sends shivers down your spine. Some comparisons could be made to Alanis Morissette and Dido but then again that would be inaccurate in many ways, because she defies definitions bringing together folk, country and rock. Having played guitar and written songs from an early age she’s an accomplished singer-songwriter that does her own thing.
There are some gorgeous tracks on Another Day including the heart rending ‘MyLove’ which is like a musical description of the Norwegian landscape shewas born into. The best feature on the album is Marlin’s voice which isused like an instrument as it soars and swoops against a background of acousticguitars and strings. It brings tears to my eyes. Not all songs are sad, someare more upbeat and faster but, there’s always a feeling of melancholyin the distance.

tags: lene marlin, another day, 2003, flac,