April 30, 2020

Karyn White - Ritual of Love (1991) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Pop, R&B
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1991 Warner Bros. Records
AllMusic Review by Michael Gallucci
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' production is the real star of White's sophomore album. And while the results aren't nearly as stunning as similar work they did with Janet Jackson around the same time (many of these songs sound like Rhythm Nation leftovers), there is a uniformity to the tracks that makes Ritual a more consistent and enjoyable listen than it should be. Highlights are "Romantic," "The Way I Feel About You," "Walkin' the Dog," and "Do Unto Me."

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Karyn White - Make Him Do Right (1994) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1994 Flyte Time/Warner Bros. Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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Heather Nova - Siren (1998) ☠

Country: Bermuda
Language: English
Genre: Alternative Rock, Pop Rock
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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
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1995 Y Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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Goodness - Anthem (1998) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Grunge
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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.

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Deep Puddle Dynamics - The Taste of Rain... Why Kneel (1999)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 1999 Anticon
AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart
A ragtag collective of bugged-out, "savant-garde" rappers and trash-can producers known as Anticon -- short for anticonformist -- was born with the recording of The Taste of Rain...Why Kneel, and with it arose a clandestine revolution of anarchic, D.I.Y. hip-hop. Descending "from the outskirts of obscurity" (as the opening moments of "Deep Puddle Theme Song" explain) and converging -- by way of Cincinnati, the suburbs of Chicago, and Portland, ME -- in the Minneapolis living room of Atmosphere's Slug on June 26, 1998 (and in Chicago a year later to the day), the nine-member-strong Deep Puddle Dynamics helped to spark one of the most interesting millennial movements in rap music with this debut album. Compared to some of the efforts that were soon to come from the Anticon stable (as well as from fellow nonconformists at Rhymesayers and Definitive Jux), The Taste of Rain doesn't flaunt rap conventions too dramatically. But then, "conventional" is always a relative term when applied to such an iconoclastic amalgam of artists. In Anticon's case, it means KRS-One, hip-hop's moral and ethical exemplar, is quoted alongside former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, for instance, so normal does not apply by any traditional connotation. Nevertheless, the album -- its sound, if not the complexly schizophrenic, multi-MC viewpoint, like voices debating inside a single mind -- usually maintains at least a foot in the traditional hip-hop underground, with its gritty, structured musical underpinning halfway between Wu-Tang creep show and macabre postapocalypse. It all culminates with the dazzling, multipart suite "June 26th, 1999," which pointed the Anticon juggernaut in the thrilling direction it would continue to probe in subsequent years

tags: deep puddle dynamics, the taste of rain, why kneel, 1999, 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.

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

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

Country: Norway
Language: English
Genre: Black Metal
Style: Symphonic Black Metal
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© 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."

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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
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© 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.

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

*European first pressing. 
Contains 11 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom/U.S.A.
Genre: Post Grunge, Alternative Rock
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☠: 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."

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Pond - Pond (1993) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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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.

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Pond - Rock Collection (1997)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Grunge, Alternative Rock
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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.

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Amanda Marshall - Tuesday's Child (1999) ☠

Country: Canada
Language: English
Genre: Pop Rock
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☠: 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.

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Big Chief - Face (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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© 1991-1992 Sub Pop
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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

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

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Sweet Water - Sweet Water (1993)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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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.

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