March 31, 2022

Jackson Browne - Lawyers In Love (1983)

*First pressing. 
Contains 8 tracks total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: 9 60268-2

© 1983 Asylum Records
Jackson Browne's messages had always seemed so important that one tended to overlook the sheer songwriting craft that went into his work, craft that was apparent, for example, on his 1982 single "Somebody's Baby," which became his biggest hit ever (and which appears on none of his albums, only being available on the soundtrack to Fast Times at Ridgemont High), and on songs like "Downtown," a street-life portrait on his seventh album, Lawyers in Love. The craft seemed all the more important because Browne was so intent on turning his back on the conundrums that had obsessed him in the past. On "Cut It Away," he sang of his desire to remove his "desperate heart" (a phrase he had used before), to rid himself of "this crazy longing for something more/This question that I don't have the answer for." In place of such ambitions, Browne substituted the beginnings of social concern ("Say It Isn't True") and, most imaginatively, a humorous look at contemporary trash culture in the title track, one of the more exhilaratingly silly moments in Browne's generally dour catalog. But the craft, and the familiar tightness of Browne's veteran studio/live band, couldn't hide the essentially retread nature of much of this material.

tags: jackson brown, lawyers in love, 1983, flac,

Rick Springfield - Living In Oz (1983)

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 10 tracks total. 
Country: Australia
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: PCD1-4660

© 1983-1990 RCA Records
Though this was Rick Springfield's ninth album, it seemed like the third to most pop music fans, as it came on the heels of his breakthrough, Working Class Dog, and its successful follow-up, Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet. And though this contained as many hits as the aforementioned collections, it isn't remembered as quite the same in terms of accomplishment; this may be because it is so personal that it's just not as accessible. Living in Oz is Springfield's response to the dance-pop wave that was just starting to build and would be prominent until grunge announced its presence, as well as his response to the naysayers who wouldn't accept him as a serious musician. Where earlier hits, like "Jessie's Girl" and "Don't Talk to Strangers," were well-crafted pop tunes, on this release he shows an edge and a maturity he hadn't before. By embracing the synthesizers he also shows contempt for, he is able to illustrate how they're changing music and the way fans mindlessly embrace them. This sets up a dichotomy between the coldness of synths and about the need for the human touch -- whether it's with a mistress, a friend, or a father -- as each cut is about the need for that touch or about the consequences of it. Be it of adultery (a sexually charged "Alyson"), youthful dreams of fame (a spare, unsentimental "Me & Johnny"), or his upbringing (the restrained indictment "Like Father, Like Son"), the entire CD is like a confessional, and that type of honesty suits Springfield well as he matures as an artist and not just as a pop idol. Living in Oz ranks among his best.

tags: rick springfield, living in oz, 1983, flac,

Rick Springfield - Rock of Life (1988)

Country: Australia
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: PD86620

© 1988 RCA Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: rick springfield, rock of life, 1988, flac,

BZN - Desire (1983)

*First pressing. 
Contains 11 tracks total.
Country: Netherlands
Language: English
Genre: Pop Rock, Chanson
Label Number: 814 442-2

© 1983 Mercury Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: bzn, desire, 1983, flac,

Fibulator - Unhammerlike (1994)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Experimental Rock
Label Number: None

© 1994 Jim Wilbur Records & Productions
Fibulator sounds far more like a band from New York than a band from California. Their appealingly campy indie rock begs references to Free Kitten or Cake Like, with impressively strong (and purposefully over the top) bass and vocal work taking precedence over guitars. Unhammerlike's campy quality could well seem slightly overblown, if not for the fact that there's a good deal of musical substance to back it up; more than most similar acts, the band has found an appealing form in which to present this sort of work, making Unhammerlike a surprisingly lovable release in a subgenre filled with irritating missteps.

tags: fibulator, unhammerlike, 1994, flac,

Nik Kershaw - You've Got To Laugh (2006) ☠

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: SHORTCD001
☠: Selected by Lass
© 2006 Shorthouse Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: nik kershaw, you've got to laugh, 2006, flac,

Tim Booth - Love Life (2011)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label Number: CDMGR01V

© 2011 Monkey God Records Limited
Following a rather fallow seven-year period which produced just one solitary record (his 2004 solo debut Bone), James' frontman Tim Booth now appears to be making up for lost time with his sophomore effort, Love Life, the fourth album he's put his name to in three years. Produced by Lee "Muddy" Baker, who was also at the helm for the recently reunited James' double whammy of The Night Before and The Morning After, its 11 buoyant tracks reflect this sudden sense of urgency both in its contrasting lyrical themes of love and war, and in Booth's vocals, which sound perhaps even more impassioned now than they did in his early-'90s heyday. Indeed, much of the album has a mass sermon feel to it, whether it's the slightly evangelical cries of "love is the cure" on "Bless Em' All," an Elbow-esque slice of slow-burning grandiose pop which deals with the plethora of "end of the world" theories, the gospel-tinged singalong which closes the steel guitar-laden Americana of "The Point of Darkness," or the preaching against the pursuit of self-interest which accompanies the early Strokes-ish garage rock of "All About Time." But Booth isn't averse to discussing more personal matters, either, whether it's the ode to a new love on the Wall of Sound drums and Hammond organs of "Do Yourself a Favor," the gorgeous acoustic closer "Gloria Descends," which deals with Booth's near-death experience while surfing in Hawaii, or opener "As Far as I Can Be," an unashamedly romantic folk-pop number recorded on a children's toy instrument, the omnichord. Elsewhere, the rousing post-apocalyptic "Shutters" throws a few bones to his James fans, but with convincing attempts at chilled R&B ("Consequences"), stoner alt-pop ("Harbour"), and Arcade Fire-style roots rock ("Monsters"), you don't have to be a fan of their trademark, anthemic indie to enjoy the record. Indeed, while many of his Mancunian counterparts are happy to trade on their former glories with their solo efforts, Love Life proves that Booth is an entirely separate and much more adventurous entity when going it alone.

tags: tim booth, love life, 2011, flac,

Little River Band - The Net (1983)

*Reissued by Capitol Records on an unknown date. 
This is a repress of the original 1983 LP release. 
Contains 10 tracks total.

Country: Australia
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: CDP 538-7918792

© 1983 Capitol/EMI Records
1983's The Net saw fellow Australian John Farnham replacing Glenn Shorrock on vocals on the first of three albums before Shorrock's return. The Net marked the group's last two Top 40 singles, the first with "We Two" hitting number 22 and the second with "You're Driving Me out of My Mind," that peaked at number 35 three months later. The latter was heightened by some exuberant horn induction that led to it's dashing, jazzy feel, while the former was more akin to the Little River Band's late-'70s/early-'80s sound. But even with these singles, The Net failed to capture the same success they experienced with Shorrock at the helm. The same type of soft rock fluidity and laid-back charm has been replaced with a sound that seems forced and somewhat strained on this album. The blame can't be put completely on Farnham, though, as the market seemed to be changing in the early part of the decade, slowly shying away from the lucid, relaxed feel of LRB's style of music ever so slightly. Actually, Farnham puts some inspired effort into his singing, witnessed on tracks like "Mr. Socialite" and "Down on the Border." Suffering from a pop formula that seems a little too contrived for LRB, this album, along with 1985's Playing to Win and '86's No Reins, are the band's weakest efforts.

tags: little river band, the net, 1983, flac,

Martha Wash - Martha Wash (1992)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B, Pop
Label Number: 07863 66052-2

© 1992 RCA Records
Martha Wash's work with the Weather Girls and Black Box was so strong that one couldn't help but greet this debut solo album with high expectations -- perhaps so high that a generally enjoyable album came as a slight disappointment. Anyone familiar with the big-voiced diva's history couldn't help but hope for a soul/disco/house extravaganza, and this CD, for all its strong points, doesn't fit that description. There are a few dance-floor gems on the album (including "Things We Do for Love," "Leave a Light On" and the soaring "Carry On"), but most of the tracks fall under the heading of decent but not outstanding. And after hearing Wash belt it out on the Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men" and Black Box's "Everybody Everybody," it's impossible to expect less than consistent excellence from her. This album has more going for it than most of the faceless, soundalike releases flooding the urban contemporary market in 1992, but Wash is capable of so much more.

tags: martha wash, martha wash, 1992, flac,

Zaque - El Día Y La Noche En El Infierno (2006)

*Esta es una descarga digital comprada en Bandcamp.
Los archivos han sido etiquetados y organizados para su conveniencia.
Contiene 18 pistas en total.
(This is a digital download purchased from Bandcamp
The files have been tagged and organized for convenience.
Contains 18 tracks total.)
Country: Mexico
Language: Spanish (Español)
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: None

© 2006 Sonido Liquido
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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

tags: zaque, zake, el di y la noche en el infierno, 2006, flac,

Various Artists - Set It Off (Music From The New Line Cinema Motion Picture) (Promo CD) (1996)

*This is a promotional copy not intended for consumer sale. 
A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B
Label Number: 61951-2

© 1996 EastWest
The soundtrack to the black female gangsta movie Set It Off is surprisingly short on high-quality hardcore rap. Apart from a couple excellent tracks from the likes of Busta RhymesGoodie Mob and Queen Latifah (who also stars in the film), the majority of the album consists of urban R&B and swingbeat balladry, often in degrees of varying quality. En Vogue's reunion's track "(Don't Let Go) Love" is a stellar contribution, proving that they haven't lost any power, while the Chaka Kahn/Brandy/Tamia cut "Missing You" is surprisingly not disappointing. What is disappointing is the preponderance of cut-rate tracks from the likes of SealBone Thugs-N-Harmony and Simply Red, whose inclusion is simply baffling. In short, it's an average soundtrack, with enough good tracks to make it worth acquiring, and enough mediocre material to make it frustrating.

tags: various artists, set it off, music from the new line cinema motion picture, ost, soundtrack, flac,

YG'z - Street Nigga: E.P. (1993) ☠

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Hardcore Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap
Label Number: 9 45480-2
☠: Selected by Sentinel
© 1993 Reprise Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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

tags: ygz, street nigga, ep, 1993, flac,

Various Artists - Love Jones (The Music) (1997)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B, Contemporary Jazz
Label Number: CK 67917

© 1997 Columbia/New Line Cinema
The soundtrack to the film Love Jones is arguably one of the best soundtracks of the 1990s. This neo-soul gem features a myriad of the decade's most prolific R&B acts, including Lauryn Hill, Dionne Farris, Groove Theory, Maxwell, Xscape, Brand New Heavies, Kenny Lattimore, and Me'Shell NdegéOcello, as well as tracks from jazz maestros Cassandra Wilson, Duke Ellington, and John Coltrane. The whole album flows like a classy, smooth set of perfect soul songs before shifting gears into jazz for the last several tracks. Lauryn Hill's "The Sweetest Thing" is just what its title implies, and stands as one of the hip-hop chanteuse's most lovely recordings, with her warm, melancholy vocals set against an acoustic backdrop courtesy of the Refugee Camp All-Stars. Dionne Farris' "Hopeless" is an intelligent, timeless gem of a ballad, and Xscape's version of "In the Rain" is just dripping with pure, unadulterated soul. Maxwell's hit "Sumthin' Sumthin'" is turned into an oozing, ultra-smooth ballad, highlighted by his signature falsetto, and long-absent neo-soul favorites Groove Theory provide a sexy and understated hip-hop cut with "Never Enough," which features Amel Larrieux's always welcome vocals. Trina Broussard's "Inside My Love" makes one feel as though they were watching her sing in an intimate club, and Cassandra Wilson's sublime "You Move Me" is the album's five-star track, with endless emotion packed into her brilliant, low-key performance. Finally, Brand New Heavies lend a welcome dose of up-tempo funk with "I Like It." At the time of this album's release, most soundtracks included one or two new songs sandwiched between a bunch of filler and recycled tracks. Love Jones is a rare example of a flawless soundtrack album, and, dare we say, ranks as one of the best R&B albums of the 1990s, period.

tags: various artists, love jones the music, soundtrack, ost, 1997, flac,

March 30, 2022

Caron Wheeler - UK Blak (1990)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: R&B
Label Number: 73421 147742

© 1990 BMG Records
Caron Wheeler showed a great deal of promise when she was with Soul II Soul, but the earthy diva made it especially obvious just how much depth she was capable of when she launched her solo career with the individualistic U.K. Blak. Like albums by other British R&B and dance music acts of the late '80s and early '90s -- including Soul II Soulthe Chimes and Lisa Stansfield -- this sleek yet gritty album contains up-to-date (by 1990 standards) hip-hop elements, yet draws heavily on soul music's rich gospel heritage. The fact that U.K. Blak has so much more warmth and substance than most of the formulaic '90s R&B recorded on this side of the Atlantic is evident on riveting neosoul ("neo" for 1990) treasures ranging from "Blue (Is the Colour of Pain)" and the moving "Livin' in the Light" to the haunting and introspective a cappella number "Somewhere." Reggae has been long enjoyed tremendous popularity in the Afro-British community, and Wheeler focuses on reggae's lighter side with the very likeable results on "Jamaica" and "Proud."

tags: caron wheeler, uk blak, 1990, flac,

Bang Tango - Dancin' On Coals (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hard Rock
Label Number: MRSD-10196

© 1991 MCA/Mechanic Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: bang tango, dancin on coals, 1991, flac,

Cracker - Kerosene Hat (1993) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Country
Label Number: 7243 8 39012 2 7
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1993 Virgin Records
With their second album Cracker have lost the smarmy self-righteousness that plagued their otherwise fine debut, replacing it with a surprisingly solid, rocking core. Kerosene Hat is David Lowery's least affected album yet -- its humor is no stranger than "Dead Flowers" by the Stones or "Fat Man in a Bathtub" by Little Feat, two groups that Cracker strongly recall throughout the album. Kerosene Hat is more blues- and country-based than their debut, but it sounds natural, since their songwriting has improved and they've grown tighter as a unit.

tags: cracker, kerosene hat, 1993, flac

Running With Scissors - Running With Scissors (1993) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
Label Number: CD 001
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1993 Procession Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: running with scissors, running with scissors album, 1993, flac,

The Clash - Super Black Market Clash (1999 Reissue)

*Reissued in 1999 by Columbia Records
This pressing contains remastered audio and 21 tracks total. 
A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Punk Rock
Label Number: 495352 2

© 1993-1999 Columbia
An expanded version of the Black Market Clash EP, Super Black Market Clash adds assorted singles and remixes to the original recording but actually omits several that were on the original EP ("Capital Radio One," "Cheat," "Bank Robber," and "Armagideon Time"). A couple of tracks aren't that interesting, but the majority of the disc is splendid, featuring some of the band's best but unfortunately overlooked tracks, including "The Prisoner," "Gates of the West," and "Capital Radio."

tags: the clash, super black market clash, 1993, 1999, reissue, flac,

Various Artists - Charlie's Angels (Music From The Motion Picture)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B, Pop, Pop Rock, Hard Rock, Trip-Hop, Hip-Hop
Label Number: CK 61064

© 2000 Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax
Charlie's Angels ran on television between 1976 and 1981, and several of the 15 songs that make up this "music from the motion picture" soundtrack could have been heard during its tenure, including Leo Sayer's "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing," Heart's "Barracuda," the Vapors' "Turning Japanese," and Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up, Part I." Others, such as Tavares' "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" and Aerosmith's "Angel's Eye," seem to have been included for the use of the word "angel." But there is no rhyme or reason to the choices on this collection, at least on strictly aural grounds. In the film, such oldies as Looking Glass' "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" and Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" are integrated into the action (it helps that the movie was the first feature by a video director), but on disc their inclusion makes no apparent sense. Among the new tracks, there are two typical efforts from Destiny's Child (one of which, "Independent Women, Pt. 1," admittedly became a long-running number one hit); electronic dance assemblages by Fatboy Slim and Apollo Four FortyCaviar's half cha-cha, half hard rock "Tangerine Speedo"; and the Aerosmith song, which is as close to heavy metal as the veteran band has ever come. Movie fans who enjoy the movie and associate the songs with scenes in the film may enjoy this album; to anyone else, it is liable to seem like a pointless hodgepodge of unrelated material.

tags: various artists, charlies angels, music from the motion picture, ost, soundtrack, 2000, flac,

Various Artists - Bring Da Ruckus: A Loud Story (1997)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: 74321 44216 2

© 1997 Loud/RCA/PMP Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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

tags: various artists, bring da ruckus a loud story, 1997, flac,

Various Artists - Bad Company (Music From The Motion Picture) (2002)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B, Trip-Hop
Label Number: 2061-62338-2

© 2002 Hollywood Records
The producers of the soundtrack to the Joel Schumacher-directed, Anthony Hopkins- and Chris Rock-starring action-thriller Bad Company did something smart. For their collection of music inspired by the movie -- which is heavy on hip-hop, rap, and urban soul -- they in general found songs with a dark, ominous, paranoid feeling appropriate for a film about a rogue nuclear bomb. True, this doesn't apply to every song on the collection, but even when Next serves up the smooth "Tonite," there's a nocturnal vibe that gives the record character that sustains it over some uneven patches. It's not enough to make the record transcend its genre, but it's quite good within its genre, thanks to such standout tracks as Tricky's "Excess," OutKast's "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)," and Gorillaz/D-12's "911," which also features Terry Hall.

tags: various artists, bad company, music from the motion picture soundtrack, ost, soundtrack, 2002, flac,

March 29, 2022

DJ Kay Slay - Streetsweeper Vol 2: The Pain From The Game (2004)

*Clean version with censored lyrics. 
Contains 19 tracks total. 
A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Gangsta Rap, Pop Rap
Label Number: CK 92067

© 2004 Sony Urban Music/Columbia
The Pain from the Game, the second volume of DJ Kayslay's Streetsweeper series, rounds up a lot of big-name rappers and some imposing beats for a grand mixtape of major-label quality. Kayslay's previous Streetsweeper volume followed a similar format, but it wasn't this impressive. The rappers were there and so was the major-label quality, but the beats were relatively ho-hum and so was the overall mix itself. It just didn't gel like it should have. It was scattershot -- most tracks simply freestyles, others fuller-fledged songs -- and it was all the more so because Kayslay's track-to-track mixing was patchy at best. The Drama King has stepped up his game for The Pain from the Game, thankfully, and the result is regal. Among the inclusions are Ghostface KillahScarface50 CentEminemCam'ronFat JoeJoe BuddenLil' FlipE-40LL Cool JNoreagaLil JonDavid BannerBun BThree 6 MafiaProdigyRaekwon, and AZ, most of whom get lively beats to work with, some of the more noteworthy producers including Clark KentKanye West, and Swizz Beatz. This mix isn't all about big names and hot beats, however. It's also quite regionally diverse. Note particularly the Southern inclusions: the one-two punch of "Drama" (Lil JonDavid BannerBun BBaby D) and "Who Gives a... Where You From" (Three 6 MafiaLil WyteFrayser Boy), which is at odds with most everything else here but nonetheless welcome. Other exceptional inclusions are "Hands on the Pump" (a great throwback beat by Clark Kent), "I'm Gone" (an aggressive Eminem/Obie Trice freestyle most noteworthy for its stuttering beat, also by Em), "Harlem" (crazy beat, tight Cam'ron freestyle), "Don't Stop the Music" (a smooth song with a nice Lil' Mo hook), "The Truth" (a tell-all LL Cool J freestyle in the manner of Nas' "Last Real Nigga Alive"), and "Alphabetical Slaughter" (a dexterous freestyle in which Papoose goes from A to Z dizzyingly). On the other hand, there are some dull tracks, among them G-Unit's "Angels Around Me" and some of the many Stay Gettin' productions. But The Pain from the Game overall is rarely dull, and is chock-full of highlights instead. Plus, unlike the first volume, the track-to-track mixing is smooth, which helps a lot. This is how major-label mixtapes should be done.

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

tags: dj kay slay, streetsweeper vol 2, the pain from the game, 2004, flac,