Saturday, 13 September 2014

Short Attention Span Record Reviews – Back To School Version

ACCEPT – Blind Rage
Basically sounds like an above average Accept tribute band. (6)

BRAD PAISLEY – Moonshine In The Trunk
He’s a fantastic guitarist and a talented songwriter but this album, containing every country music cliché imaginable, ends up sounding like a 52-minute long Bud Light commercial. (5)

CORY BRANAN – The No-Hit Wonder
Where Brad Paisley tries too hard and fails, Cory Branan succeeds and makes it look easy: Top-notch country songwriting with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude, an original approach and a sense of humor. (8)

EARTH – Primitive And Deadly
Psychedelic desert blues no more, it’s back to doom and gloom for Carlson & Co. Crushing. (8)

ENUFF Z’NUFF – Covered In Gold
Fun collection of cover versions chosen with impeccable taste (Queen, The Cult, Nirvana, Bowie, assorted Beatles, Smokey Robinson, Prince, Billy Squier!) and played with power pop gusto by a band that was always more Cheap Trick than Kiss. (7)

Sort of like a newwavevoodoobilly Amy Winehouse backed by pre-sellout The Black Keys. Cool and catchy! (8)

JOHN ZORN - Myth And Mythopoeia
After listening to opening track “Pandora’s Box” I’ll never ever again look at a soprano the same way, and after listening to “Babel” I’ll avoid all further interaction with viola players. (7)

LISA GERRARD – Twilight Kingdom
Is it just me or is this too new age-y? Listening to it feels like I’m in a candlelit spa lying on my stomach with a towel covering my ass and someone’s about to give me a massage. (6)

MARK LANEGAN BAND – No Bells On Sunday
A brief set of Odes To Sad Hipsters. (6)

MIREL WAGNER – When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day
People call it things like “hauntingly bleak” and “darkly beautiful”, I just call it “fucking miserable”. (6)

PALLBEARER – Foundations Of Burden
Doom metal purists might dismiss this for reaching beyond the genre. Their loss if they can’t enjoy this great, thick slab of quicksand-like riffage and mindfuckery. (8)

PHIL RUDD – Head Job
Uh-oh, I think he just pulled a Peter Criss. (6)

QUEEN – Live At The Rainbow ‘74
Two full Queen concerts circa “Queen II”/”Sheer Heart Attack”, so it’s got none of the hits and all of the awesome awesomeness. (11)

RIOT V – Unleash The Fire
Am I the only metal fan who has a problem with this? It’s an OK album but a) it’s not nearly as good as anything else by Riot, and b) who cares if it’s good or not anyhow, Mark Reale’s dead. Pretty awful “metal” lyrics too. (–)

ROBERT PLANT – Lullaby And… The Ceaseless Roar
Plant put together an amazing band, the songs are wow and the production is perfect. Call it electrofolkrock or a tranceltic Zeppelin if you wish, by any name it’s simply stunning. (9)

ROY ORBISON – Mystery Girl [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
I could listen to Orbison’s Voice for hours even if he was just reading out the Yellow Pages, but this album also features some fantastic pop/rock songs. A classic. (9)

RYAN ADAMS – Ryan Adams
Finally, Ryan Adams makes a Ryan Adams-ish record and gets back to sounding like Tom Petty’s talented nephew. (7)

Seriously disturbed sounds for seriously disturbed listeners. For maximum results use headphones and play back to back with the John Zorn album. (7)

SLASH – World On Fire
Another solid, soulful hard rock record with well-placed subtle GnR sonic references from the top-hatted one. But at 76 minutes long, filler is inevitable. (7)

SLOAN – Commonwealth
Canadian power pop veterans release double album with each band member getting one album side to write and play his songs, so it’s basically a collection of 4 solo EPs. The drummer goes prog with an 18-minute track, the other three just act out their Beatles obsession (again). (7)

THE ANGELS – 40 Years of Rock Vol. 2 40 Greatest Live Hits
Triple-album companion to the excellent recent triple-album studio greatest hits compilation, this is all live recordings. Meet Australia’s other best band, the one you don’t already know. (9)

THE HAUNTED – Exit Wounds
The Haunted bring the aggression back with some straightforward Swedish thrash, getting rid of all the (presumably) Dolving-led weird shit. Not as good as the first two albums, better than the last three. (7)

TODD SNIDER – Cheatham Street Warehouse
Back in 1994 when he released his rock ‘n’ roll debut, I saw him play live and was convinced he was going to be the next big thing. He never made it and switched to country, but he remains a great storyteller. (7)

YOB – Clearing The Path To Ascend
Alongside the Pallbearer and Earth albums, Yob’s “Clearing The Path To Ascent” completes this month’s unholy trinity of excellent doom metal releases. (8)

Monday, 11 August 2014

Short Attention Span Record Reviews - August 2014

BON JOVI – New Jersey 25th Anniversary Edition
Right! Now I’ve got me enough “Oh-oh-oh”’s and “Na-na-na-na”’s to last me for another 25 years. (7)

DR. JOHN - Ske-Dat-De-Dat...The Spirit Of Satch
Look Doc, you know I love you and everything, but a funk version of “Mac The Knife” with a guest rapper? Bad, bad idea. Horrible idea. Louis Armstrong would’ve hated that. But at least the Bonnie Raitt and Blind Boys of Alabama collaborations are pretty cool. (6)

DUB COLOSSUS – Addis To Omega
Fourth release by the Anglo-Ethiopian dub reggae project. OK as a soundtrack to drinking Pina Coladas on the beach, if you’re the kind of person that drinks Pina Coladas on the beach. (6)

FKA Twigs – LP1
As an eclectic music critic I’m supposed to like this Bjork-y, triphoppy, overproduced R'n'B poptronica, but as a matter of fact I find it fucking annoying. Where are the damn tunes? (4)

GOAT – Commune
Pseudo-world music, faux-psychedelic charlatans, probably just a bunch of stoner rockers under those masks but still lots of fun. (8)

GRUMBLING FUR – Preternaturals
Almost, but not quite, as annoying as FKA Twigs. (5)

JANDEK – Ghost Passing
An autistic six-hour drone-athon that consists entirely of seemingly random piano doodling and guitar effects until the first (and last) words are mumbled around the 4-hour, 35-minute mark, this makes the full SunnO))) discography roll by like a Ramones outtake. And yes I did listen to the whole thing from start to finish, twice. (?)

JOHN GARCIA – John Garcia
Nothing really exciting happens during the 46 minutes of this album, but then again this is stoner rock so perhaps that’s the whole point. (6)

What a great album! Original folk/blues with an attitude, I love it. But how old is this kid anyway, he sounds ancient and he’s probably 20 or something. (8)

LAZER/WOLF – The Beast Of Left And Right
Interesting debut by this almost instrumental, sort of prog, post-metal band, but if you have to spell out to people just how smart your album is then it’s probably not as smart as you think. (7)

Wonderful old-school, stripped-down church soul/blues music from a genre veteran and her band. The best thing about it? You don’t have to be a believer to enjoy it. (7)

PAUL GILBERT – Stone Pushing Uphill Man
Better than 99% of the guitar heroes out there but just as boring when he gives the muso instrumental treatment to a bunch of classic tunes that were meant to be sung. This is nothing more than muzak for the elevators at Berklee. (5)

SOMI – The Lagos Music Salon
A fascinating mix of afro-jazz and western pop, “The Lagos Music Salon” could’ve been a true masterpiece if it was more laconic – at 18 tracks and 71 minutes it’s a bit too much. Still, expected to get plenty of airplay on this writer’s stereo. (8)

THE DWARVES – The Dwarves Invented Rock And Roll
Y’ know, for a while there while listening to stupid/genius tracks like “Trailer Trash”, “Sluts Of The USA” and “Get Up & Get High”, I almost believed the album title? (8)

It’s so disappointing when a band you really liked and invested your hopes in replaces the Springsteen/Clash hybrid sound which was what attracted you to it in the first place with this sub-par, sub-Nickelback shit. (5)

Still in pretty good shape at 63, Petty delivers his hardest rockin’ album in decades. Well written, superbly played. (7)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Country Funk II 1967-1974
Second fantastic compilation of songs from a totally non-existent genre. Apparently Vol. I sold well because this second time around they got rights to some bigger names: At your next party play this and let Dolly and Willie and Kenny and JJ and Townes and the rest get down and funky! (8)

ZZ TOP – The Very Baddest
Double CD, 40 songs, it’s got all the hits from all eras. Great, comprehensive compilation for whoever wants to (re)discover one of the great southern blues rock bands of the last 45 years. (9)