Tom Waits - The Heart of Saturday Night

If Closing Time, Tom Waits' debut album, consisted of love songs set in a late-night world of bars and neon signs, its follow-up, The Heart of Saturday Night, largely dispenses with the romance in favor of poetic depictions of the same setting. On "Diamonds on My Windshield" and "The Ghosts of Saturday Night," Waits doesn't even sing, instead reciting his verse rhythmically against bass and drums like a Beat hipster. Musically, the album contains the same mixture of folk, blues, and jazz as its predecessor, with producer Bones Howe occasionally bringing in an orchestra to underscore the loping melodies. Waits' songs are sometimes sketchier in addition to being more impersonal, but "(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night" and "Semi Suite" are the equal of anything on Closing Time. Still, with lines such as "...the clouds are like headlines/Upon a new front page sky" and references to "a 24-hour moon" and "champagne stars," Waits' imagery is beginning to get florid, and in material this stylized, the danger of self-parody is always present.

The Dresden Dolls - A IS FOR ACCIDENT

A is for Accident, a collection of live recordings from 2001-2003, is the first album by The Dresden Dolls, which was released on May 27, 2003 by Important Records. Future pressings were handled by 8 Ft. Records and didn't include the bootleg recording of the band covering "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette. All other songs were written by Amanda Palmer.
  • Amanda Palmer - piano, vocals
  • Brian Viglione - drums, guitar

Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome

We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions is the fourteenth studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released in 2006 (see 2006 in music).

This is Springsteen's first and only album of cover versions and contains his interpretation of thirteen folk music songs written or made popular by Pete Seeger and recorded in an informal, large band setting. On it he hired a group of lesser-known musicians from New Jersey and New York, augmented by Patti Scialfa, Soozie Tyrell, and The Miami Horns, who had all contributed to previous albums.

To the dismay of some Springsteen fans, it was his second consecutive non-E Street Band, non-rock music project. Nevertheless, the critical reception to the album was very positive, with E! Online calling it his "best album since Nebraska [1] and All Music Guide labeling it "rambunctious, freewheeling, [and] positively joyous" [2]. PopMatters called it a "a sonic transfusion on the order of the Mermaid Avenue records" [3], which were Woody Guthrie songs recorded by Billy Bragg and Wilco.

Like that previous studio album, Devils & Dust, The Seeger Sessions was released exclusively on the DualDisc format, with the exception of a limited Vinyl release. The full album is on the CD side, while the DVD side features a PCM Stereo version of the album and a short film about the making and recording of the album. Two bonus songs also appear on the DVD side.

The subsequent Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band Tour took this musical approach even further.

As of June 28, 2006, it has sold 467,000 copies in the United States.

Metal Music Chart

In Flames - Clayman
In Flames - Reroute To Remain
In Flames - Soundtrack to Your Escape
Papa Roach - Getting Away With Murder
Papa Roach - lovehatetragedy
Papa Roach - Infest
System of a Down - Hypnotize
System of a Down - Mezmerise
System Of A Down - Steal This Album
System Of A Down - Toxicity
Incubus - S.C.I.E.N.C.E
Rage Against The Machine - RATM

Beastie Boys - Check Your Head

Check Your Head brought the Beastie Boys crashing back into the charts and into public consciousness, but that was only partially due to the album itself -- much of its initial success was due to the cult audience that Paul's Boutique cultivated in the years since its initial flop release, a group of fans whose minds were so thoroughly blown by that record, they couldn't wait to see what came next, and this helped the record debut in the Top Ten upon its April 1992 release. This audience, perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, was a collegiate Gen-X audience raised on Licensed to Ill and ready for the Beastie Boys to guide them through college. As it happened, the Beasties had repositioned themselves as a lo-fi, alt-rock groove band. They had not abandoned rap, but it was no longer the foundation of their music, it was simply the most prominent in a thick pop-culture gumbo where old school rap sat comfortably with soul-jazz, hardcore punk, white-trash metal, arena rock, Bob Dylan, bossa nova, spacy pop, and hard, dirty funk. What they did abandon was the psychedelic samples of Paul's Boutique, turning toward primitive grooves they played themselves, augmented by keyboardist Money Mark and co-producer Mario Caldato, Jr.. This all means that music was the message and the rhymes, which had been pushed toward the forefront on both Licensed to Ill and Paul's Boutique, have been considerably de-emphasized (only four songs -- "Jimmy James," "Pass the Mic," "Finger Lickin' Good," and "So What'cha Want" -- could hold their own lyrically among their previous work). This is not a detriment, because the focus is not on the words, it's on the music, mood, and even the newfound neo-hippie political consciousness. And Check Your Head is certainly a record that's greater than the sum of its parts -- individually, nearly all the tracks are good (the instrumentals sound good on their subsequent soul-jazz collection, The in Sound From Way Out), but it's the context and variety of styles that give Check Your Head its identity. It's how the old school raps give way to fuzz-toned rockers, furious punk, and cheerfully gritty, jazzy jams. As much as Paul's Boutique, this is a whirlwind tour through the Beasties' pop-culture obsessions, but instead of spinning into Technicolor fantasies, it's earth-bound D.I.Y. that makes it all seem equally accessible -- which is a big reason why it turned out to be an alt-rock touchstone of the '90s, something that both set trends and predicted them.

Ben Harper&Innocent Criminals - Burn To Shine

Burn to Shine presents proof positive that you can always distill the essence of rock & roll down to a solitary man alone with his guitar and conscience. It sounds inventive yet firmly rooted in the blues-rock singer/songwriter/guitarist tradition of Taj Mahal and of Neil Young and Cat Stevens at their most confessional. Harper's guitar with falsetto vocal in "The Woman in You" even suggests a Curtis Mayfield tune in the hands of Prince. "Steal My Kisses" is one of those uncluttered, radio-friendly rock shuffles that simply makes you bob your head and feel better. Even Harper's detours -- like the wobbling New Orleans shuffle with the Real Time Jazz Band, "Suzie Blue," and charred Black Sabbath metal in "Less" -- prove worth exploring. Other cameos include guitarists David Lindley and former Bob Marley sideman Tyrone Downey. Burn to Shine is a minor masterpiece that may prove to be not so minor.

The White Stripes - Elephant

White Blood Cells may have been a reaction to the amount of fame the White Stripes had received up to the point of its release, but, paradoxically, it made full-fledged rock stars out of Jack and Meg White and sold over half a million copies in the process. Despite the White Stripes' ambivalence, fame nevertheless seems to suit them: They just become more accomplished as the attention paid to them increases. Elephant captures this contradiction within the Stripes and their music; it's the first album they've recorded for a major label, and it sounds even more pissed-off, paranoid, and stunning than its predecessor. Darker and more difficult than White Blood Cells, the album offers nothing as immediately crowd-pleasing or sweet as "Fell in Love With a Girl" or "We're Going to Be Friends," but it's more consistent, exploring disillusionment and rejection with razor-sharp focus. Chip-on-the-shoulder anthems like the breathtaking opener, "Seven Nation Army," which is driven by Meg White's explosively minimal drumming, and "The Hardest Button to Button," in which Jack White snarls "Now we're a family!" -- one of the best oblique threats since Black Francis sneered "It's educational!" all those years ago -- deliver some of the fiercest blues-punk of the White Stripes' career. "There's No Home for You Here" sets a girl's walking papers to a melody reminiscent of "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" (though the result is more sequel than rehash), driving the point home with a wall of layered, Queen-ly harmonies and piercing guitars, while the inspired version of "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" goes from plaintive to angry in just over a minute, though the charging guitars at the end sound perversely triumphant. At its bruised heart, Elephant portrays love as a power struggle, with chivalry and innocence usually losing out to the power of seduction. "I Want to Be the Boy" tries, unsuccessfully, to charm a girl's mother; "You've Got Her in Your Pocket," a deceptively gentle ballad, reveals the darker side of the Stripes' vulnerability, blurring the line between caring for someone and owning them with some fittingly fluid songwriting.

Joy Division - Still

Curtis' death prompted a flood of bootlegs and similar "tributes" likely motivated more by profit than anything else. Seeking to trump this problem -- though arguably coming from much the same standpoint -- Factory issued Still in 1981, a haphazard if still useful collection of odds, ends, and more. Considering that the band's many singles weren't properly compiled until much later on Substance, Still makes only partial sense -- the studio cuts were mostly outtakes, while the live songs had their own problems. Of the studio takes, only two tracks had seen formal release beforehand -- the mesmerizing post-punk meets R&B groove of "Glass" and the searing "Dead Souls," certainly both worthy of even more listens. Beyond that, things were more hit and miss, with strong instrumental performances given to slightly indifferent songs and vice versa. The anthemic "Something Must Break" is one of the best, while the nervous "Ice Age" is an agreeable enough thrash and "The Only Mistake" a melodramatic but still effective effort. Other numbers like "The Sound of Music" and the heavily compressed pound of "Walked in Line" sound more like sketches on the way to becoming truly great songs. A live ringer concludes the studio half, a fair enough take on the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" (at under half the length) which concludes with Curtis' wry joke, "You should hear our version of 'Louie, Louie!'" The remainder of Still is a rather morbid gift for fans -- a middling recording of the final Joy Division show, mere days before Curtis' death. A fierce, invigorating rip through "Ceremony," formally recorded later as New Order's first single, suffers from Curtis' vocal going missing at the start, while the remainder of the show finds the singer either too detached or too harsh, the other musicians doing an ok but not great job themselves. The takes on "New Dawn Fades" and "Decades" in particular tarnish rather than enhance Joy Division's memory.

The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics

Since 1999's The Soft Bulletin, the Flaming Lips have issued an album once every three or four years -- roughly once per presidential term, making At War with the Mystics the second album they've made during George W. Bush's presidency. While Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots' themes of seizing the moment and accepting mortality could easily be read as a reaction to 9/11, At War with the Mystics is a more overtly timely album for the mid-to-late 2000s, dealing with the motivation behind the war in Iraq and Bush's presidency. By grappling with heavy subjects like these, it could seem like the Flaming Lips are taking their role as one of America's most prominent and beloved alternative rock bands too seriously, but Mystics' light touch shows that they can still be important without being self-important. In fact, the album's most pointed tracks are the most playful. As they did on Yoshimi's "Fight Test," the Lips couch their aggression in bouncy melodies and playful production tricks. With its robotic doo wop vocals and strummy acoustic guitars, "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" -- which asks its listeners if they could do any better if they were handed all the power in the world -- sounds oddly like a Paul Simon song updated for the 21st (or maybe even 22nd) century. "Free Radicals," which sounds like Prince via Beck with a dash of Daft Punk, and "Haven't Got a Clue," which boasts the refrain "Every time you state your case, the more I want to punch your face," get their points across emphatically -- almost too emphatically, actually, for as catchy as these songs are, they don't really expand on their thoughts or sounds much. However, the middle section of At War with the Mystics is expansive and intimate at the same time, like many of the Flaming Lips' best moments have been. "My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion" and "Vein of Stars" play like updates of The Soft Bulletin's effortless, weightless beauty, and "The Sound of Failure" is a reminder that it's OK to be sad sometimes (while getting in digs at the teen pop platitudes of Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani) set to a gorgeous backdrop of soft rock flutes and guitars and twittering electronics. This stretch of songs plays almost like a suite, which ties right in with At War with the Mystics' prog rock leanings. Pink Floyd is a major influence on the entire album: "The Wizard Turns On..." is a spacey, late-night instrumental that could easily be synched to The Wizard of Oz, while "Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung" also taps into Floyd's elaborate, epic power. These trippy moments make At War with the Mystics the most psychedelic and least immediate album the Flaming Lips have done in a long, long time, and the way that Mystics bounces back and forth between its ethereal and zany moments gives it a disjointed, uneven feel that makes the album a shade less satisfying than either Yoshimi or Soft Bulletin. Still, as standout tracks like "Mr. Ambulance Driver" and "Goin' On" show, the band is still fighting the good fight and confronting the bad things in life with hope, optimism, and just the right amount of (magical) realism.

The Cure - Disintegration

Expanding the latent arena rock sensibilities that peppered Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me by slowing them down and stretching them to the breaking point, the Cure reached the peak of their popularity with the crawling, darkly seductive Disintegration. It's a hypnotic, mesmerizing record, comprised almost entirely of epics like the soaring, icy "Pictures of You." The handful of pop songs, like the concise and utterly charming "Love Song," don't alleviate the doom-laden atmosphere. The Cure's gloomy soundscapes have rarely sounded so alluring, however, and the songs -- from the pulsating, ominous "Fascination Street" to the eerie, string-laced "Lullaby" -- have rarely been so well-constructed and memorable. It's fitting that Disintegration was their commercial breakthrough, since, in many ways, the album is the culmination of all the musical directions the Cure were pursuing over the course of the '80s.

Embrace - Out Of Nothing

1. Ashes
2. Gravity
3. Someday
4. Looking As You Are
5. Wish 'Em All Away
6. Keeping
7. Spell It Out
8. A Glorious Day
9. Near Life
10. Out Of Nothing

Depeche Mode - A Broken Frame

Martin Gore has famously noted that Depeche Mode stopped worrying about its future when the first post-Vince Clarke-departure single, "See You," placed even higher on the English charts than anything else Clarke had done with them. Such confidence carries through all of A Broken Frame, a notably more ambitious effort than the pure pop/disco of the band's debut. With arranging genius Alan Wilder still one album away from fully joining the band, Frame became very much Gore's record, writing all the songs and exploring various styles never again touched upon in later years. "Satellite" and "Monument" take distinct dub/reggae turns, while "Shouldn't Have Done That" delivers its slightly precious message about the dangers of adulthood with a spare arrangement and hollow, weirdly sweet vocals. Much of the album follows in a dark vein, forsaking earlier sprightliness, aside from tracks like "A Photograph of You" and "The Meaning of Love," for more melancholy reflections about love gone wrong as "Leave in Silence" and "My Secret Garden." More complex arrangements and juxtaposed sounds, such as the sparkle of breaking glass in "Leave in Silence," help give this underrated album even more of an intriguing, unexpected edge. Gore's lyrics sometimes veer on the facile, but David Gahan's singing comes more clearly to the fore throughout -- things aren't all there yet, but they were definitely starting to get close.

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

Isn't Anything was good enough to inspire an entire scene of My Bloody Valentine soundalikes, but Loveless' greatness proved that the band was inimitable. After two painstaking years in the studio and nearly bankrupting their label Creation in the process, the group emerged with their masterpiece, which fulfilled all of the promise of their previous albums. If Isn't Anything was the Valentines' sonic blueprint, then Loveless saw those plans fleshed out, in the most literal sense: "Loomer," "What You Want," and "To Here Knows When"'s arrangements are so lush, they're practically tangible. With its voluptuous yet ethereal melodies and arrangements, Loveless intimates sensuality and sexuality instead of stating them explicitly; Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher's vocals meld perfectly with the trippy sonics around them, suggesting druggy sex or sexy drugs. From the commanding "Only Shallow" and "Come in Alone" to breathy reflections like "Sometimes" and "Blown a Wish," the album balances complexity and immediately memorable pop melodies with remarkable self-assurance, given its difficult creation. But Loveless doesn't just perfect the group's approach, it also hints at their continuing growth: "Soon" fuses the Valentines' roaring guitars with a dance-inspired beat, while the symphonic interlude "Touched" suggests an updated take on Fripp and Eno's pioneering guitar/electronics experiments. These glimpses into the band's evolution make Shields' difficulty in delivering a follow-up to Loveless even more frustrating, but completely understandable -- the album's perfection sounded shoegazing's death-knell and raised expectations for the next My Bloody Valentine album to unreasonably high levels. Though Shields' collaborations with Yo La Tengo, Primal Scream, J Mascis, and others were often rewarding, they were no match for Loveless. However, as My Bloody Valentine fans -- and, apparently, Shields himself -- will attest, nothing is.

The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon collie

Mellon collie and the Infinite Sadness
The Smashing Pumpkins didn't shy away from making the follow-up to the grand, intricate Siamese Dream. With Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the band turns in one of the most ambitious and indulgent albums in rock history. Lasting over two hours and featuring 28 songs, the album is certainly a challenging listen. To Billy Corgan's credit, it's a rewarding and compelling one as well. Although the artistic scope of the album is immense, the Smashing Pumpkins flourish in such an overblown setting. Corgan's songwriting has never been limited by conventional notions of what a rock band can do, even if it is clear that he draws inspiration from scores of '70s heavy metal and art rock bands. Instead of copying the sounds of his favorite records, he expands on their ideas, making the gentle piano of the title track and the sighing "1979" sit comfortably against the volcanic rush of "Jellybelly" and "Zero." In between those two extremes lies an array of musical styles, drawing from rock, pop, folk, and classical. Some of the songs don't work as well as others, but Mellon Collie never seems to drag. Occasionally they fall flat on their face, but over the entire album, the Smashing Pumpkins prove that they are one of the more creative and consistent bands of the '90s.

Johnny Cash - Murder

Of the three thematic Cash CDs simultaneously released in the spring of 2000 (the others are God and Love), Murder is the most sensible. For one thing, there are actually far fewer Cash songs about murder than there are Cash songs about love or God, so this compilation is a more thorough retrospective of a niche in his repertoire. In addition, one has to admit that Cash's somber vocals and flair for storytelling are well-suited for tales of assassination. Also, this is a well-selected set of 16 tunes, spanning the mid-'50s to the mid-'90s. With the exception of the classics "Folsom Prison Blues" (the original Sun version), "The Long Black Veil," and "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," most of these will be unfamiliar to many Cash fans, taken as they are from LPs, B-sides, and live recordings. Most of them are moving, sometimes chilling performances, whether Cash takes on the role of the killer or an observer. Cool overlooked cuts include 1965's spare and spooky "Hardin Wouldn't Run," and "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)," recorded with wife June Carter. Some of these are pretty oddball tunes, too, in the best sense of that adjective. "Mister Garfield" is a gung-ho tribute to the most obscure assassinated American president, and "Joe Bean" actually manages some wicked gallows (literally) humor, its concluding punch line the message from the governor from whom Bean is hoping to obtain pardon: a gaily sung "Happy birthday, Joe Bean." One track, a 1966 cover of Harlan Howard's "The Sound of Laughter," was previously unreleased in the U.S., although it doesn't rate as one of the more notable entries on the anthology. Murder is also available as part of the three-CD box set Love God Murder, comprised of thematic discs that are available together or separately.

Sonic Youth - Made in USA

A soundtrack to an obscure 1986 movie, Made in USA captures Sonic Youth trying to fit their expansive ideas into the brief space allotted to incidental film music. Keeping the atmospherics but scaling back the noise, the band manages to evoke textures different from its albums, textures that are drier and less overtly avant-garde. Nevertheless, Made in USA doesn't rank among their finest work, not because it's on a smaller scale, but because it all sounds tossed-off; there isn't much thought to any of this music. Even so, the disc is still quite listenable, which shows how good the band was in 1985 and 1986.

Kings of Convenience - Quiet Is The New Loud

Under an album title that practically became a mantra for the European music press, Kings of Convenience display everything that is right and everything that is wrong with the new acoustic movement. The duo employs their guitars to create touching ballads at will, but they forget to vary their pace at times. Quiet Is the New Loud is immeasurably gentle. Comparing the band to Belle and Sebastian and Nick Drake, as so many music critics are prone to do, isn't quite right. It's nearly impossible to find a hint of irony in the music of Kings of Convenience, whereas Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch seems to have his tongue firmly planted in cheek. Drake sought the mystical and natural elements of his short life to create his art. Kings of Convenience seem to merely seek calm moods and discuss relationships. Acoustic guitars are constantly rolling and a minimal piano plucks out delicate notes. The most interesting songs tend to be those where the band picks up their pace. "I Don't Know What I Can Save You From" is quite beautiful, as Erik Glambek Boe's vocals take on a charged immediacy. The song is reminiscent of the more pop-oriented sound Ben and Jason achieved on their excellent Emoticons album. "Parallel Lines" sounds more than a little like a slowed-down, sadder take on Morrissey's "Seasick, Yet Still Docked." If Quiet Is the New Loud had a quicker pulse, at least on a few more tracks, it would have been more successful. Instead, the album makes for an enticing, somewhat over-dour rainy day mood-piece.

Anita Lane - Sex O’Clock

Ironically packaged in a cover featuring the sort of spangly blonde glamour-girl shots one would expect from an entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest, Anita Lane's Sex O'Clock mixes sleek, creamy, and often danceable R&B-tinged pop tunes with the sort of lyrical plain-spokenness implied by the title. A collaboration between Lane (lyrics and music) and her fellow former Bad Seed Mick Harvey (music and instruments), Sex O'Clock is so deadpan that it's hard to tell if the sexually-obsessed (and to be honest, rather trite) lyrics of songs like "The Next Man That I See," "Do That Thing," and "Do the Kamasutra" are meant as parodies of Tori Amos and/or Alanis Morissette, or if Lane takes lines like "I want to dive for pearls in my underwear in the underworld" seriously. To be charitable, Harvey's slow, graceful melodies have hints of early Tom Waits, and the sweet-and-sour strings and horns that decorate the languid songs recall Serge Gainsbourg's early-'70s work. It's rather telling that the best tracks are an ominous cover of Gil Scott-Heron's "Home Is Where the Hatred Is" and another song, "I Hate Myself," with no credited writer, but aside from the occasional lyrical gaffe, Sex O'Clock is a mostly enticing affair.

Greatest Hits Section

Red Hot Chili Pepers - Greatest Hits
Journey - Greatest Hits
Scorpions - Platinium Collection (2006)
Best Of The Hollies - The Air That I Breathe
Cat Stevens - Greatest Hits
Alan Jackson - Greatest Hits Collection
Herman's Hermits - Greatest Hits-Live

Rolling Stones - Live on Argentina 2006

By the time the Rolling Stones began calling themselves the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the late '60s, they had already staked out an impressive claim on the title. As the self-consciously dangerous alternative to the bouncy Merseybeat of the Beatles in the British Invasion, the Stones had pioneered the gritty, hard-driving blues-based rock & roll that came to define hard rock...READ MORE...

Elvis Presley - Discography

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll" was an American singer, music producer and actor. He is a giant in the modern entertainment industry. Elvis remains a popular and enigmatic star and his legend has only grown stronger since his premature death at age 42. During an active recording career that spanned more than two decades, Presley broke and set many records for both concert attendance and sales. Some of those records have since been tied or broken by other artists, but others will probably remain unmatched for many years, if not indefinitely. He has had more than 120 singles in the US top 40, across various musical genres, with over 20 reaching number one. Elvis' ongoing worldwide popularity has culminated in his global sales reaching an estimated one billion records to date.
Albums in this post

Led Zeppelin Cabala

Led Zeppelin was a British rock band that became one of the most popular and influential musical ensembles of all time.

The four-member group debuted in 1968 with a raucous and revolutionary take on British blues-rock, and later developed their music in other ways that would contribute to the birth of hard rock and eventually to the rise of heavy metal.

They proved to be consistent innovators while remaining popular and accessible, fusing disparate elements from an eclectic spectrum of popular music, including rockabilly, soul, funk, Celtic, Indian, Arabic, and even Latin. More than two-and-a-half decades after the band retired in 1980, their music continues to sell well, garner widespread radio play, and prove a seminal influence on modern rock. Their epic "Stairway to Heaven" is rated as one of the greatest songs of the 20th century.To date, the group is reported to have sold more than 300 million albums worldwide, including 109 million sales in the United States according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

Besides "Stairway To Heaven", some of their most famous songs are: "Rock and Roll", "Black Dog", "Heartbreaker", "Immigrant Song", "Kashmir", "Dazed and Confused", "Whole Lotta Love", "Communication Breakdown", "Achilles Last Stand", "When the Levee Breaks", "No Quarter", and "The Song Remains The Same".

Duran Duran - rio

From its Nagel cover to the haircuts and overall design - and first and foremost the music -Rio is as representative of the eighties as it gets, at its best. The original Duran Duran's high point, and just as likely the band's as a whole, its fusion of style and substance ensures that even two decades after its release it remains as listenable and danceable as ever. The quintet integrates its sound near-perfectly throughout, the John and Roger Taylor rhythm section providing both driving propulsion and subtle pacing. For the latter, consider the lush semi-tropical sway of "Save a Prayer" or the closing paranoid creep of "The Chauffeur," a descendant of Roxy Music's equally affecting dark groover "The Bogus Man." Andy Taylor's muscular riffs provide fine rock crunch throughout, Rhodes' synth wash adds perfect sheen, and Le Bon tops it off with sometimes overly cryptic lyrics that still always sound just fine in context courtesy of his strong delivery. Rio's two biggest smashes burst open the door in America for the New Romantic/synth rock crossover. "Hungry Like the Wolf" blended a tight, guitar-heavy groove with electronic production and a series of instant hooks, while the title track was even more anthemic, with a great sax break from guest Andy Hamilton adding to the soaring atmosphere. Lesser known cuts like "Lonely In Your Nightmare" and "Last Chance on the Stairway" still have pop thrills a-plenty, while "Hold Back the Rain" is the sleeper hit on Rio, an invigorating blast of feedback, keyboards and beat that doesn't let up. From start to finish, a great album that has outlasted its era.

The Clash - London Calling (1979)

Give 'Em Enough Rope, for all of its many attributes, was essentially a holding pattern for the Clash, but the double-album London Calling is a remarkable leap forward, incorporating the punk aesthetic into rock & roll mythology and roots music. Before, the Clash had experimented with reggae, but that was no preparation for the dizzying array of styles on London Calling. There's punk and reggae, but there's also rockabilly, ska, New Orleans R&B, pop, lounge jazz, and hard rock; and while the record isn't tied together by a specific theme, its eclecticism and anthemic punk function as a rallying call. While many of the songs -- particularly "London Calling," "Spanish Bombs," and "The Guns of Brixton" -- are explicitly political, by acknowledging no boundaries the music itself is political and revolutionary. But it is also invigorating, rocking harder and with more purpose than most albums, let alone double albums. Over the course of the record, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones (and Paul Simonon, who wrote "The Guns of Brixton") explore their familiar themes of working-class rebellion and antiestablishment rants, but they also tie them in to old rock & roll traditions and myths, whether it's rockabilly greasers or "Stagger Lee," as well as mavericks like doomed actor Montgomery Clift. The result is a stunning statement of purpose and one of the greatest rock & roll albums ever recorded. [In 2000 Columbia/Legacy reissued and remastered London Calling.]
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T. Rex - T. Rex (1970)

The fifth Tyrannosaurus Rex album was also the first T. Rex set, as Marc Bolan abbreviated the band name at the same time as enlarging everything else -- most notably the group's sound. Transitional through and through, T. Rex is the obvious successor to Beard of Stars, but it's clearly looking toward Electric Warrior, a point proven when the band hit the tour and TV circuits early in 1971. But "Jewel," "Sun Eye," "Beltane Walk," and "One Inch Rock" are all bona fide Bolan classics and, if T. Rex itself was to be overshadowed by the simultaneous success of the "Ride a White Swan" single (pointedly not included on the album), then that only allowed Bolan more time in which to plan his next move. In many ways, this is the quintessential Bolan album, the last to be made before his entire life was swallowed up by superstardom, but the first to begin imagining what that could be like. Certainly he has an awful lot of fun revisiting one of his earliest ever compositions, "The Wizard," while his ambition is writ large throughout the opening and closing snippets of "The Children of Rarn," excerpts from a full-fledged concept album that he was then contemplating. You also get "Is It Love?," one of his most contagiously underrated compositions ever, but really, there's not a sour moment to be found all album long. And it might just be the last Bolan album that you could say that about.

Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights

One might go into a review like this one wondering how many words will pass before Joy Division is brought up. In this case, the answer is 16. Many are too quick to classify Interpol as mimics and lose out on discovering that little more than an allusion is being made. The music made by both bands explores the vast space between black and white and produces something pained, deftly penetrating, and beautiful. Save for a couple vocal tics, that's where the obvious parallels end. The other fleeting comparisons one can one whip up when talking about Interpol are several -- roughly the same amount that can be conjured when talking about any other guitar/drums/vocals band formed since the '90s. So, sure enough, one could play the similarity game with this record all day and bring up a pile of bands. It could be a detrimental thing to do, especially when this record is so spellbinding and doesn't deserve to be mottled with such bilge. However, this record is a special case; slaying the albatross this band has been unfairly strangled by is urgent and key. Let's: there's another Manchester band at the heart of "Say Hello to the Angels," but that heart is bookended by a beginning and end that approaches the agitated squall of Fugazi; the torchy, elegiac "Leif Erikson" plays out like a missing scene from the Afghan Whigs' Gentlemen; the upper-register refrain near the close of "Obstacle 1" channels Shudder to Think. This record is no fun at all, the tension is rarely resolved, and -- oh no! -- it isn't exactly revolutionary, though some new shades of gray have been discovered. But you shouldn't allow your perception to be fogged by such considerations when someone has just done it for you and, most importantly, when all this brilliance is waiting to overwhelm you.

Blondie - Parallel Lines

Blondie turned to British pop producer Mike Chapman for their third album, on which they abandoned any pretensions to new wave legitimacy (just in time, given the decline of the new wave) and emerged as a pure pop band. But it wasn't just Chapman that made Parallel Lines Blondie's best album; it was the band's own songwriting, including Deborah Harry, Chris Stein, and James Destri's "Picture This," and Harry and Stein's "Heart of Glass," and Harry and new bass player Nigel Harrison's "One Way or Another," plus two contributions from nonbandmember Jack Lee, "Will Anything Happen?" and "Hanging on the Telephone." That was enough to give Blondie a number one on both sides of the Atlantic with "Heart of Glass" and three more U.K. hits, but what impresses is the album's depth and consistency -- album tracks like "Fade Away and Radiate" and "Just Go Away" are as impressive as the songs pulled for singles. The result is state-of-the-art pop/rock circa 1978, with Harry's tough-girl glamour setting the pattern that would be exploited over the next decade by a host of successors led by Madonna.


Inspired by psychedelia, sure. Bit of Jim Morrison in the vocals? Okay, it's there. But for all the references and connections that can be drawn (and they can), one listen to Echo's brilliant, often harrowing debut album and it's clear when a unique, special band presents itself. Beginning with the dramatic, building climb of "Going Up," Crocodiles at once showcases four individual players sure of their own gifts and their ability to bring it all together to make things more than the sum of their parts. Will Sergeant in particular is a revelation -- arguably only Johnny Marr and Vini Reilly were better English guitarists from the '80s, eschewing typical guitar-wank overload showboating in favor of delicacy, shades, and inventive, unexpected melodies. More than many before or since, he plays the electric guitar as just that, electric not acoustic, dedicated to finding out what can be done with it while never using it as an excuse to bend frets. His highlights are legion, whether it's the hooky opening chime of "Rescue" or the exchanges of sound and silence in "Happy Death Men." Meanwhile, the Pattinson/De Freitas rhythm section stakes its own claim for greatness, the former's bass driving yet almost seductive, the latter's percussion constantly shifting rhythms and styles while never leaving the central beat the song to die. "Pride" is one standout moment of many, Pattinson's high notes and De Freitas' interjections on what sound like chimes or blocks inspired touches. Then there's McCulloch himself, and while the imagery can be cryptic, the delivery soars, even while his semi-wail conjures up, as on the nervy, edgy picture of addiction "Villiers Terrace," "People rolling round on the carpet/Mixing up the medicine." Brisk, wasting not a note and burning with barely controlled energy, Crocodiles remains a deserved classic.

The Durutti Column - Keep Breathing (2006)

Written and played almost entirely by Vini Rielly, the album is built out of ideas generated over the last year and was inspired by African hip hop, traditional Jewish music (Kletzer) and 1930's piano music by Art Tatum. The 12 tracks were created over 3 months in a room 'not much bigger than a broom cupboard' using only one microphone and whatever time and equipment Reilly and the album's programmer Ben Roberts had spare. This inventiveness adds to the richness of Reilly's amazing 'honey wrapped in sandpaper' guitar playing. The gorgeous song 'Maggie' samples a school choir he heard on the BBC 14 years ago, while other tracks such as the defiant 7 minute long love song, 'Let Me Tell You Something' are just as powerful and reflective, showing the positive frame of mind Vini was in when making the record. The new album is more polished and less haphazard than his previous efforts and Durutti Column have also committed to touring it extensively in 2006, with a live band consisting of Kier Stewart who has produced The Fall, Badly Drawn Boy and Elbow, the now legendary Bruce Mitchell on drums and John Metcalf on viola.

Presidents Of The USA - Pure Frosting

At the back of their minds, the Presidents of the United States of America -- or at least their leader, Chris Ballew -- always knew that they were essentially a one-hit wonder, even if that one hit was an album instead of a single. Being the jesters of grunge meant that their career had a limited shelf life, and once grunge had run its course, so had the Presidents. So, Ballew wisely pulled the plug after a commercially disappointing but musically solid second album, knowing that it would ultimately serve the band's memory better to put an end to the group instead of toiling on for years. As a consolation to fans and the record company, the band released Pure Frosting, a collection of B-sides, live cuts, outtakes and soundtrack contributions. It's just as goofy and sporadically entertaining as their two studio albums, with as many great moments -- including their inspired cover of Ian Hunter's "Cleveland Rocks," which was used as the theme song for The Drew Carey Show -- as there are downers. And even if these are rarities, there are enough catchy, humorous throwaways here to make it entertaining even for fans that aren't collectors. Of course, casual fans will have to wait for the inevitable hits compilation to get the one definitive Presidents album, but this is a nice addition for dedicated fans, and it's much better than some skeptics would expect.

Alice In Chains - Dirt

Dirt is a grunge album by Alice in Chains.

The band's breakthrough album, Dirt is widely regarded as Alice in Chains' best album, and classic from the golden age of grunge. Recorded while lead singer Layne Staley was suffering through a heroin addiction, the album's gloomy, drug-addicted music helped turn it into a hit, reaching #6 on Billboard's 200 albums chart.

The songs "Sickman", "Junkhead", "Dirt," "God Smack," "Hate To Feel" and "Angry Chair" are based on Staley's experiences with heroin. The song "Rooster" is based on the experiences of Jerry Cantrell's father, who fought in the Vietnam war; the name was his nickname as a soldier.

"Iron Gland", the untitled track before "Hate To Feel", features vocals by Tom Araya of Slayer, who the band brought in so he could provide an Angel of Death scream.

Led Zeppelin - The Complete Studio Recordings

Led Zeppelin was the definitive heavy metal band. It wasn't just their crushingly loud interpretation of the blues -- it was how they incorporated mythology, mysticism, and a variety of other genres (most notably world music and British folk) -- into their sound. Led Zeppelin had mystique. They rarely gave interviews, since the music press detested the band. Consequently, the only connection the audience had with the band was through the records and the concerts. More than any other band, Led Zeppelin established the concept of album-oriented ... Read More...

Pearl Jam, Rearviewmirror:1991-2003

Pearl Jam rose from the ashes of Mother Love Bone to become the most popular American rock & roll band of the '90s. After vocalist Andrew Wood overdosed on heroin in 1990, guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament assembled a new band, bringing in Mike McCready on lead guitar and recording a demo with Soundgarden's Matt Cameron on drums. Thanks to future Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons...Read More...

Allman Brothers - Dreams, 4 CD Box Set


The story of the Allman Brothers Band is one of triumph, tragedy, redemption, dissolution, and a new redemption. Over nearly 30 years, they've gone from being America's single most influential band to a has-been group trading on past glories, to reach the 21st century as one of the most respected rock acts of their era.

For the first half of the 1970s, the Allman Brothers Band was the most influential rock group in America, redefining rock music and its boundaries. The band's mix of blues, country, jazz, and even classical influences, and their powerful, extended on-stage jamming altered the standards of concert performance -- other groups were known for their on-stage jamming, but when the Allman Brothers stretched a song out for 30 or 40 minutes, at their best they were exciting, never self-indulgent. They gave it all a distinctly Southern voice and, in the process, opened the way for a wave of '70s rock acts from south of the Mason-Dixon Line, including the Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Blackfoot, whose music, at least initially, celebrated their roots. And for a time, almost single-handedly, they also made Capricorn Records into a major independent label...READ MORE...

Roxy Music & Bryan Ferry More Than This

It may seem that the same Best of Roxy Music & Bryan Ferry keeps being reissued under different names, first Street Life in 1986 and then More Than This in 1999, because in a way it is. More Than This shares no less than 15 tracks with the 20-track Street Life. Instead of giving time to the great, arty side of Roxy Music, it concentrates on Bryan Ferry the crooner, which means "Pyjamarama" and "Do the Strand" are no longer here, but such latter-day solo cuts as "Don't Stop the Dance," "Kiss and Tell," and "I Put a Spell on You" (all not on Street Life) are, along with "I'm in the Mood for Love," a "preview" of his standards album As Time Goes By, which was released just a week after More Than This. All this track shuffling doesn't result in a radically different collection, though it is one that is slightly worse than its predecessor, since it doesn't really do Roxy justice. If it had been assembled as a collection of Ferry's solo material, it might have been a little more useful (then again, the casual fan who would buy a collection of Ferry hits would probably want the latter-day Roxy singles, since Ferry just didn't have that many hits on his own), but as it stands, More Than This is just an acceptable, entertaining sampler.

Roger Joseph Manning Jr.

[Underground Archive]
Powerpop / Psychedelic / Jazz
Respected as one of pop music's most sought-after session keyboard players (including Beck, Air, Green Day and Sheryl Crow), MANNING blends colorful melodies with rich harmonies and creative arrangements to convey themes of innocence, fantasy and the ups and downs of romance. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, MANNING wrote, performed and sang every note on his solo debut, which he produced in his Los Angeles studio, aptly named "Stu-Stu-Studio." The tracks were then mixed and mastered by John Paterno, whose credits include Badly Drawn Boy, The Thrills and Robbie Williams.
[Modern Music Review]
Modern Music is growing with its underground bands and artist.I'm happy while posting this blurb.Because you will meet a good voice and good music.As usual I'll recommend a song of him but really good one.I think his best work is ''Too Late For Us Now''.I chose this because its colorful melodies is really worth to listen.I'm sure and guarantee you'll like this release..Why I'm saying this?because ''Too Late For Us Now'' have a powerfull melody and not ordinary tunes.Roger Joseph's voice is qualified with his music style.But not only this song there is another gem of him named ''The loser''.This song more capable to power pop tunes ,you can listen this one from here.And another song of him ''Sandman''.This song seems to swimming in a jazz pool.
Variety and lots of choice in music can be wanderfull like a butterfly wing.Colourful...
The Land Of Pure Imagination
Too Late For Us Now
More info:

Special EFX - Just Like Magic

The musicianship on Just Like Magic is impeccable, unfortunately the same cannot be said for the music. With the exception of the album opener, "Ballerina," the tunes go nowhere. On this release, Special EFX is far from magic.
Styles:Smooth Jazz/World Fusion.
An interesting album from one of our readers.As you know modern music likes weird,interesting,hidden ones.
PW: Lethal_T

More info

Kings Of Leon - Live 2004

The southern rock outfit Kings of Leon is comprised of the brothers Caleb (guitar), Nathan (drums), and Jared Followill (bass). While traveling across America's heartland during the late '80s and '90s with their evangelist father, the boys listened to the Rolling Stones and Neil Young. By the time Kings of Leon settled in Nashville in 1998, making music a career was already underway. Taking Leon from the names of their father and paternal grandfather, the Followill family formed...Read More...

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash - Duets (2006)
Back in their commercial heyday as a duet team, June Carter Cash always managed to bring out a lighter, more playful side of her often somber and serious husband, the famed "Man in Black." Among these 13 tracks (11 of them originally released on the 1967 album plus 2 bonus tracks) are familiar titles like the naughty, cat-scratch-fever hit "Jackson" and their soulfully twangy version of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe." But Cash and Carter also breathe understated fire and shared sensuality into more unlikely material, like their loping, folky reading of Richard Fariña's "Pack Up Your Sorrows," a pair of Ray Charles R&B standards--"I Got a Woman" and "What'd I Say"--and memorable original compositions like the class-conscious "Shantytown" and a nostalgic love lament called "Oh, What a Good Thing We Had." --Bob Allen

Japan - Obscure Alternatives

Their second album to hit the shelves in 1978, Japan's sophomore effort, Obscure Alternatives, found the band dropping most of their debut's funk fringe in favor of guitar-oriented fuzz and quirk -- scooping up the glitter left behind by all the scene's other nascent Siouxies and Adam Ants. Although the set isn't quite up to par with its predecessor, Obscure Alternatives is still a challenging listen. David Sylvian is snotty, snotty on "Automatic Gun" -- a spit-shined punk shocker backed by bright pop guitar -- and ironically playing into all the guises they eschewed. Both the wonderfully atmospheric and slightly menacing title track and "Love Is Infectious" put the band completely into discordant post-punk art house-dom, the latter including a twisted piano solo in the middle of the guitar crunch. "....Rhodesia," on the other hand, brought the funk back and infused it with a Caribbean essence. While there is no doubt that Obscure Alternatives paled in the shadow of Adolescent Sex, Japan had obviously, in their eyes, broken through to find their style, their groove. Still eons away musically from their more commercial Tin Drum heyday, the band were nevertheless cultivating a breathtaking crop of kernels.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd was the definitive Southern rock band, fusing the overdriven power of blues-rock with a rebellious, Southern image and a hard rock swagger. Skynyrd never relied on the jazzy improvisations of the Allman Brothers. Instead, they were a hard-living, hard-driving rock & roll band -- they may have jammed endlessly on-stage, but their music remained firmly entrenched in blues, rock, and country. For many, Lynyrd Skynyrd's redneck image tended to obscure the songwriting skills of its leader, Ronnie VanZant. Throughout the band's early records, VanZant demonstrated a knack for lyrical detail and a down-to-earth honesty that had more in common with country than rock & roll. During the height of Skynyrd's popularity in the mid-'70s, however, VanZant's talents were overshadowed by the group's gritty, greasy blues-rock. Sadly, it wasn't until he was killed in a tragic plane crash in 1977 along with two other bandmembers that many listeners began to realize his talents. Skynyrd split up after the plane crash, but they reunited a decade later, becoming a popular concert act during the early '90s...READ MORE...

Nicole Scherzinger - Don't Hold Your Breath "Video"and Lyrics

You can’t touch me now there’s no vision left
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath
What you did to me boy I can’t forget
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath

I was Sunday yes now there’s such a long time come and break the chains
You played with my heart told me [...] all your lies and games
It took all the strength I had but I crawled up on my feet again
Now you’re trying to lure me back but no those days are gone my friend
I loved you so much that I thought that someday you could change
But all you brought me was a heart full of pain

You can’t touch me now there’s no vision left
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath
What you did to me boy I can’t forget
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath

Don’t hold your breath

I was worried about you but you never cared about me none
You took my money and I knew [...]
I gave you everything but nothing was ever enough
You were always jealous over such crazy stuff

You can’t touch me now there’s no vision left
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath
What you did to me boy I can’t forget
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath

Don’t hold your breath

Move on don’t look back
I jumped off a train running off the tracks
Love is gone face the facts
A bod movie ends and the screen fades to black
What you did to me boy I can’t forget
If you think I’m coming back

You can’t touch me now there’s no vision left
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath
What you did to me boy I can’t forget
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath

Don’t hold your breath

You can’t touch me now there’s no vision left
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath
What you did to me boy I can’t forget
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath

Johnny Thunders - In Cold Blood

Following the drug-fueled implosion of the Heartbreakers, Johnny Thunders bounced back with his first solo outing, So Alone. Featuring a veritable who's who of '70s punk and hard rock -- Chrissie Hynde, Phil Lynott, Peter Perrett, Steve Marriott, Paul Cook, and Steve Jones, among others -- the record was a testament to what the former New York Dolls guitarist could accomplish with a little focus. Much like Thunders' best work with the Dolls and Heartbreakers, So Alone is a gloriously sloppy amalgam of R&B, doo-wop, and three-chord rock & roll. Despite the inevitable excesses that plagued every Thunders recording session, Steve Lillywhite's solid engineering job and a superb set of songs hold everything together. A cover of the Chantays' classic instrumental "Pipeline" leads things off, and is a teasing reminder of what a great guitarist Thunders could be when he put his mind to it. The record's indisputable masterpiece is "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory," a wrenching, surprisingly literate ballad in which Thunders seems to acknowledge that his junkie lifestyle has doomed him to the abyss. Songs like "Leave Me Alone," "Hurtin'," and the chilling title track continue the theme of life inside the heroin balloon. Fortunately, all this back-alley gloom is leavened by some memorably animated moments. "London Boys" is a scathing reply to the Sex Pistols' indictment of the New York punk scene, "New York." The funky "Daddy Rolling Stone" features the inimitable Lynott on background vocals, while the raveups "Great Big Kiss" and "(She's So) Untouchable" are terrific examples of Thunders' raunchy take on classic R&B.

Buy In Cold Blood

Johhny Cash - American III: Solitary Man

The Man In Black shows hints of gray on American III: Solitary Man, his first studio album since being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1997. While the inevitability of aging has been the downfall of many of his contemporaries, ending usually in dismissal and often in death, Johnny Cash's dark convictions and powerful presence have gone from rough hardwood to solid stone. The stark beauty of his 1994 release American Recordings and the warm, friendly collaborations on 1996's Unchained combine on this album to create two distinct moods: one of living room jam sessions with invited friends, and another of stark solo (and near-solo) songs highlighting Cash's years and stories.

Like his two previous studio albums, Solitary Man is sparsely produced by Rick Rubin, and continues the themes of love, faith, and loneliness that their previous collaborations have chillingly embraced. Partnering once again with Tom Petty, the two join together on Petty's own "I Won't Back Down" and the Neil Diamond-penned title track. Cash also lays his lonesome hands on U2's "One" and reunites with fellow outlaw Merle Haggard on the stubborn "I'm Leavin' Now," which could serve as the soundtrack for the notorious photo of Cash's sneering middle finger published in Billboard after his Grammy award. These duets and well-known covers show an inviting side of Johnny Cash. But the real highlights of the album are those reminiscent of his American Recordings songs; they feature just the man and his guitar, with nothing else to clutter the story. The creaks and despair of the vaudeville song "Nobody" tell of a man who has become hardened by his solitude, while the Palace hymn "I See a Darkness" soars with the passion of a thousand gospel choirs, even though there are only two men singing...READ MORE...

Buy American III: Solitary Man

Weezer - Make Believe

As a Rolling Stone cover story on newsstands the week before the release of Make Believe made clear, Weezer leader Rivers Cuomo is an odd, ornery sort. He's a genuine rock & roll maverick, at once attracted and repelled by his star status, disappearing for long stretches at a time, often to return to college. He writes and records far more songs than whatever winds up on a final Weezer record, which are often whittled down to just 30 or 40 minutes, leaving untold numbers of songs in the vaults. What makes the situation even stranger is for as obstinate and unpredictable as he is, Cuomo does not make odd music: he's a pop songwriter fronting a hard rock band, equally enamored with big choruses and loud guitars. While each of Weezer's records has a defining characteristic -- whether it's a sound, a lyrical theme, or simply an emotional feel -- that separates it from its predecessor, each album is clearly written from the same perspective: that of a brainy misfit raised on cheap metal and new wave, whose nerdiness always kept him on the outside looking in. This was true even after Cuomo became a star, thanks in large part to how he had a gift for articulating how very awkward he felt within the constructs of a catchy, melodic, concise pop song. But as rock stars since Elvis have learned, fans are a demanding lot, especially when they identify so heavily with a specific work, as Weezer's cult did with Pinkerton, the band's second album. It flopped upon its 1996 release but became a word-of-mouth hit over the next five years, leading up to their eagerly awaited comeback, Weezer, their second eponymous album that is otherwise known as The Green Album. Appropriately for a self-titled affair, Weezer functioned as an introduction to a new incarnation of a band, one that sounded similar but had a different outlook: namely, one that was deliberately notintrospective, a conscious shift away from plaintive introspection of Pinkerton. The Green Album and its quickly released 2002 follow-up, Maladroit, were both sharply written, tightly constructed, quite excellent, and popular rock records, but that didn't stop some fans from grumbling that neither album was as affecting as Pinkerton...READ MORE...

Buy Weezer Make believe

Tom Waits - Real Gone

On Real Gone, Tom Waits walks a fraying tightrope. By utterly eliminating one of the cornerstone elements of his sound -- keyboards -- he has also removed his safety net. With songwriting and production partner Kathleen Brennan, he strips away almost everything conventional from these songs, taking them down to the essences of skeletal rhythms, blasted and guttural blues, razor-cut rural folk music, and the rusty-edge poetry and craft of songwriting itself. His cast includes guitarists Marc Ribot and Harry Cody, bassist/guitarist Larry Taylor, bassist Les Claypool, and percussionists Brain and Casey Waits (Tom's son), the latter of whom also doubles on turntables. This does present problems, such as on the confrontational opener, "Top of the Hill." Waits uses his growling, grunting vocal atop Ribot's monotonously funky single-line riff and Casey's turntables to become a human beatbox offering ridiculously nonsensical lyrics. It's a throwaway, and the album would have been better had it been left off entirely. But it's also a canard, a sleight-of-hand strategy he's employed before. The jewels shine from the mud immediately after. The mutated swamp tango of "Hoist That Rag" has stuttered clangs and quakes for drums, decorated by distorted Latin power chords and riffs from Ribot, along with thundering deep bass from Claypool. On the ten-plus minute "Sins of My Father," Cody's spooky banjo walks with Taylor's low-strung bass and Waits' shimmering reverbed guitar as he ominously croons, revealing a rigged game of "star-spangled glitter" where "justice wears suspenders and a powdered wig." It's part revelation, part East of Eden, and part backroom political culture framed by the eve of the apocalypse. It's hunted, hypnotic, and spooky.

John Coltrane - Coltrane

This CD reissue, Coltrane, brings back the music originally released as First Trane. The classic of the set is the emotional and eerie "While My Lady Sleeps," but all six selections (including "Violets for Your Furs") are notable for tenor saxophonist John Coltrane's passionate solos. This was his first full session as a leader (as opposed to heading jam-session dates), and it also features either Mal Waldron or Red Garland on piano, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Al "Tootie" Heath, and on some numbers trumpeter Johnny Splawn and baritonist Sahib Shihab. As with 'Trane's other Prestige sessions, this valuable music is also available in his huge box set; recommended in one form or another.

Porcupine Tree - In Absentia

4 Stars
Continuing in the growing commercial vein of their previous releases, Porcupine Tree's In Absentia may be the most accessible release to ever spew forth from the group. Rolling electronic percussion blends with simple and solid live drumming to provide an understated backbeat as perennial Tree leader Steven Wilson pastes his complicated pop over the proceedings. Wilson's ability to bury his layered vocals in mountains of spacy electric guitar without drowning out his fragile lyrics is still a valued feature of the music, and the rare moments of clarity that his vocals display are breathtaking in their power. A reliance on a somewhat gothic heavy metal sound makes for some bizarre moments, especially when held up against his gentler material. The best example of this is the chugging "Wedding Nails," which recalls Dream Theater in its grandiose scope without utilizing the same sort of technical wizardry. But Wilson manages to bridge the gap between the various genres he utilizes, creating an environment where his haunting melodies could take a drastic turn at any minute. Porcupine Tree also continue their Radiohead fascination, although the influence is much less direct than on their last few efforts. Instead, it comes through at odd moments, like the moments of sparse instrumentation on the otherwise lush "Heartattack in a Layby." Sonically gorgeous and deceivingly complex, In Absentia has the most immediate appeal of anything Wilson has released under this moniker up to this point. By keeping the songs at manageable lengths and avoiding the avant-garde electronica flourishes of the band's early days, Porcupine Tree grow into a fully realized pop group without cutting any of the elements that also makes them an important force in the neo-prog movement.Prog-Rock/ Art Rock

Johnny Cash - The Legend of Johnny Cash (2005)

I know You love him..:)
The Legend of Johnny Cash is billed as the "first ever complete career spanning collection," which is true to a certain extent -- other collections cover territory from 1955 to 2003, but this is the first to contain everything from Sun to Cash's Rick Rubin-produced comeback recordings for American in the '90s and 2000s. Since the biggest complaint that could be lodged against the otherwise excellent 2005 box The Legend -- which, despite appearances to the contrary, is an entirely different compilation -- was that it contained none of these Rubin-produced records, it would seem like The Legend Of would be a bit of a godsend, but that's not necessarily true. If The Legend contained too little of Cash's American recordings, The Legend Of contains too many. At 21 tracks it would seem like this would contain most of Cash's signature songs, and while it does contain a great many of them, it's hampered by the whopping six songs devoted to his American recordings -- add to the mix the 1993 Cash-sung U2 cut "The Wanderer" and "Highwayman" by Cash's outlaw supergroup with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson, and that's just a little under half of the disc devoted to music made after his prime. Not just that, but the music he made after he left Columbia partway through the '80s often does not sit well with his classic Sun and Columbia records -- as soon as the synths and big drums of "Highwayman" kick in, the feel of the music changes. While Rubin's work doesn't sound as completely foreign as the icy Euro-rock textures of "The Wanderer" -- as "Rusty Cage" and "I've Been Everywhere," the two selections from 1996's excellent Unchained prove, Rubin knew how to revitalize Cash's signature sound (tellingly, those are the only Rubin-helmed sessions where Cash was supported by a full band) -- there is simply too much of it here, particularly because the stark, monochromatic acoustic readings of "Delia's Gone" and "Give My Love to Rose" sound neutered compared to the versions Cash cut with the Tennessee Two. Also, such a heavy representation of these American recordings makes the collection lopsided, suggesting that these later works were as good, if not better, than the music that made his fame, fortune, and legend (a suggestion strengthened by the fact that Rubin is the only producer who gets a back-cover billing), which is not the case -- Cash's liveliest, deepest, and best music remains what he cut in the '50s and '60s. And while just over half of this compilation is devoted to that music -- all the big hits are hauled out once again -- there still is too much latter-day material for this to be an entirely accurate, satisfying collection (particularly with such big hits as "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," "Five Feet High and Rising," "Daddy Sang Bass," and "The Ballad of Ira Hayes," among other signature tunes, missing). That said, for a brief one-stop overview of Cash's career, this is pretty good -- comps that concentrate solely on the Sun and Columbia eras are more consistent, but this has most of the big singles, which will certainly fill the needs of those who want a compilation that covers a lot of ground.
Buy The Legend of Johnny Cash

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