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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Gang of Four
Entertainment!
(Rhino re-issue)

Dr Feelgood’s Too Fast for Love, no energy domes or socked cocks but songs like “King of Comedy”. Many Californication owners have never heard of Hillel Slovak. Go4’s drummer was later replaced by a machine, something the Rolling Stones didn’t get into until Bridges to Babylon. The alleged Swiss-cheese dartboard on “Love Rollercoaster” is actually being skinned alive for the cover of Honey. In 1954 a lot of record covers were like that, atolls and tikis. 1979 was the year of the Contortions’ Buy, the Kinks’ Low Budget, and Adam & The Ants’ Dirk Wears White Sox, which included political songs like “Animals and Men” (“Marinetti, Boccioni!”) and “Fire an M-80 at Someone from Haiti.” Go4’s machine wore a hat, and had a job, and brought home the bacon so that no one knew. James Brown’s drummer is referred to as ‘Clyde Shubble’ in his current memoir I Feel Good. The drummers of Motley Crue and Rush wisely wrote their own. Adorno killed himself and Althusser killed somebody else.

The Manic Street Preachers replaced their guitar player with not a machine, but ‘nothing’. (A. Gill: “Suddenly, you're very conscious of the guitar because it's not there.”) They at least adapted the Euro-strategy of using African-American music for worker education to a post-G’n’R world but iftheworldsbiggestMalltoldthetruthforoneday you still couldn’t find an edible cheeseburger in England. Luther Vandross and Stevie Ray Vaughn both started with David Bowie. Go4 appeared on the Karate Kid soundtrack, along with Bananarama (JB: “Internal regimentation was not just a safer way to live, but the only way”) and Shandi.

Dr. Feelgood’s “Roxette” claimed “I’m gonna get some concrete mix and fill her backdoor up with bricks”. You could imagine Lee Brilleaux doing that, whereas Go4 were students, except for the bass player, (later of Shriekback), who ripped the Magnum PI theme for “To Hell With Poverty” (pron. “pov-er-tee”, as in ‘tea’), which also had a voice copying a Linndrum. (JB: “I call my time in prison the poor man’s Medicare.”) The bass should be louder on this record. The Darkness should’ve had less complicated words and more guitar solos. “Anthrax” (“Eruption” for students) ripped the riff from Chicago’s “Free Form Guitar” and the drums from Rush’s “Body Electric”, although Rush were into the Chicago school while Go4 were Frankfurt fratboys.

This music is not as fun to play in rehearsal as blues-rock stoner stuff. Everybody has to know their individual parts and where they are in the song. (JB: “There was a new sound in the air, and it was just about the opposite of everything I had come to stand for in music. It was called disco.”) Go4 ruthlessly suppressed tendencies toward personality cultism, more so than Bradfield, Edwards, Moore & Wire, or for that matter Frey, Henley, Leadon & Meisner. Entertainment! overlapped thematically in places with The Long Run, although the Eagles’ “Disco Strangler” and “King of Hollywood” were musically and lyrically crude and brutal in comparison. The song the guitarist considers the most ‘poppy’ is “Glass”, which has a similar riff to Foreigner’s “Luanne”.

Adam and the Ants went on to dress like Native Americans and do political songs like “Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios”, the Futurist “Sweet Home Guernica”. Go4’s next few albums sounded like screwed-and-chopped versions of “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes” with an English new-wave guy singing. Entertainment’s cover featured pictures of a cowboy meeting an Indian and was captioned “The Indian smiles, he thinks that the cowboy is his friend. The cowboy smiles, he is glad the Indian is fooled. Now he can exploit him.” Which is stupid – why would the Indian be smiling? (The faces are replaced with colored blobs, so we don’t know if the caption is even true.) How would the cowboy know that the Indian is ‘fooled’ (into what?), and how’s he going to exploit an Indian, those people got nothing anyway. Only a Euro could come up with this. Then again G’n’R had a whole ‘big joke’ disclaimer on the cover of Lies, while Entertainment! has a decadent title. The exclamation point is good, like I give a fuck, like I give a shit about motherfucking shit like that fucking shit. The next wave will be American bands who discovered PiL’s Flowers of Romance a few years ago, unless they (very wise) cross over into big business, free enterprise.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

EYEHATEGOD
“Serving Time in the Middle of Nowhere”

Eyehategod are from New Orleans. It sounds to me like it’s a different guy singing on Confederacy of Ruined Lives than on their other records, but whenever I look it up it says it’s the same person. Maybe he has two voices. “Serving Time” is in two movies. One of them is Gummo. The funniest scene in that is when they get “lost” looking for the cat. The other best scene was the guy punching the furniture. I bought the soundtrack before I saw the movie. The CD also has Bathory “Equimanthorn”, Brujeria “Matandos Gueros”, Sleep “Dragonaut”, Burzum “Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule der Singularitat” (an ambient instrumental, probably something he did in prison), and Bethlehem “Schuld Uns'res Knoch'rigen Faltpferd” - actually, everything on it is good. The other movie “Serving Time” is in is Without a Paddle. In that film, it’s playing on a poor-quality stereo in an outdoor marijuana growing operation run by two survivalist/biker ex-cons (whose attack dogs are named ‘Lynyrd’ and ‘Skynyrd’) for a corrupt rural sheriff. The heroes of the film are three young urban professionals who destroy the pot plantation (while getting high off the fumes from the burning plants themselves) and hand over the backwoods trio to the state authorities. Humor is made of the yokel sheriff’s dentures, and the city dude smashing a bottle into a creek where a Native American observes, “My children play there.” The Culture Club song in the “buddies united” scene also plays over the end credits.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

EVANESCENCE
Anywhere But Home

[excerpts from Amazon customer comments]

Every two or three seconds the camera changed angles and it was a little disorientating. Plus, the cheering maxed out the music and Amy's voice causing you to stain to hear it. (****) – Bastet 1023 (1)

There are a lot of close-ups to Amy and she is dressed in her typical Gothic style. Seeing her in this attire when playing the piano acoustically adds to the dramatics of the show…There is not much of a booklet inside and only one band photo. That could have been done a little better. (***) – Ken Pierce (2)

The unreleased track "Missing" is actually a previously released track from their first CD Origin, and will possibly be re-released on their next cd…The cover of "Thoughtless" by KORN from their beloved Untouchables album is to die for. ..If you are a true fan of Evanescence, you'll love this DVD/CD for it's true Amy Lee value. (*****) – Catherine Jean Cook

Those who went directly from "Fallen" to "Anywhere But Home" without seeing Evanescence in concert will be surprised because live the group is a lot more Goth than they sounded on the album…I swear that whoever edited the concert film obviously thinks we have the attention span of fruit flies… (*****) – Lawrance M. Bernabo (3)

Throughout the DVD concert I felt like as if there's a vacuum somewhere in front of me and to the right. Perhaps a frequency range under-represented. In any case, everybody -- Lee, the guitar players, the backbeat -- is low in volume, and get ready to have your ears blasted the minute you hit the menu button to go from the DVD concert to the main menu. The difference in volume must be at least 6dB. (*****) – Derek Mok (4)

Yes, Amy curses slightly in KoRn's "Thoughtless" but to the lawsuit that is going on currently - its a bunch of crap. (*****) – Justin XTAKEmEawAYX “l05tm1ss1ng09”(5)

They should have done a bit more editing of this before putting it out. (**) – A. Miller

She sounds terrible and is off key almost all the time. The instruments sound flat and are frequently inaudible. (**) – James Walsh

The only part of the concert that is live is the voice of Amy Lee. Everything else is pre-recorded. No wonder some of the reviewers here state that the band sounds great. Of course they do. All they had to do was show up and pretend to play. That's why you don't see any clear shots of the musicians in the concert footage. A sour guitar note or a stray drum beat is ever heard. (*) – Zhang

I love Evanescence, I saw that they had a new CD, I was dumb and rushed out to buy it. No new music, just live. Why didn't they put it on the front that it was live music, anything to try to make money off some duped fans! I am dissatisfied that I was not a more informed consumer. I really don't like the whole thing, more because it was not what I expected. (**) – Annette Nealey (6)

Amy Lee sings live, so her voice sings some of the songs differently, while the clarity and right-on-pitchness of her singing is haunting. Can really tell she's moulding each song and making them special, different inflections than the Fallen CD, definitely no boring lip-syncing. The guitars and drums and additional instruments really make the songs come alive. Also, there's the live crowd aspect of it which makes the songs even more electrifying…if you love the songs, and would like to hear Amy Lee sing them with a different energy, and beautiful renditions, with a crowd roaring their love of the songs, PLUS the entire live DVD recording of the Paris concert PLUS all their music videos, PLUS some goofy videos of the band, then this price is super-cheap. (*****) – WYM19 (7)

first 5 or so songs in the beginning of the concert all sounded the same. That ruined it for me. Where is the variety?
camera work on this dvd is crap. I hope no one gets a seizure from the constant switching and lame special effects.
amy lee needs to lose about 50 lbs. she's too fat. But on the other hand, she has a very attractive face and personality.
i know a lot of evanescence fans are white teenager girls popping bubble gums and relay don't know much about artists like joe satriani, steve vai, yngwie malmsteen (guitar gods).
what i wish for: more variety in songs from them. get a new dvd editor next time. write music that fits your personality! (***) – A Singhararath “stratocaster4Life” (8)

For the person who said Amy needs to lose about 50 lbs... you are crazy. Amy is beautiful, she is healthy, and she doesn't need to be stick thin to be that way. (*****) – Kathy Pendergaft “Sophina” (9)

The only thing that anoys me about this DVD/CD is the excess of pre-recorded parts. All backing vocals, choir, string and electronic keyboard parts are on playback. It just does not fit with a live stage performance. At some points, it looks like a big karaoke session, where nobody but machines are playing and Amy Lee is singing over it. With all the success the band has been enjoying, they could have afforded real backing vocals, real choir and a real keyboardist, leaving only the drum machine and sound effects for machines to do. It would have looked and sounded so much better! Well, maybe in the next time! For the rest, the band plays well and no major mistakes were made. (****) – Rogerio Mazali (10)

You people are something else, if a band plays live and is perfect, you say "it was too close to the album version, I would have liked to see them do something different live" then if they don't play the album perfect you say "god I wish they would have played it like the album" I should smack you people, are you on crack?!…Most of the members of this band like death metal. Amy has also mentioned the possibility of doing a heavier album, If their next album is heavy, then I'm going to laugh in the face of all you mainstream listeners. (****) – SinisterFiend (11)

Many people claim Amy doesn't sing as well in concert as she does on her studio recordings and though they may be right, take into consideration the fact that she obviously gets really into the songs and because she jumps around so much, which equals exhaustion and breathlessness, I felt she did a pretty damn good job at controlling the words and pacing. You'll notice during the songs she sings while sitting at the piano, like on the wonderful Korn cover of "Thoughtless", the stunningly emotional "Breathe No More", and of course the infamous "My Immortal" she sounds quite better. Also, during a live event if you mess up there's no turning back so be grateful she doesn't lip synch like countless other acts around. (*****) – Mistress of Shadows (12)

This self obsessed voclaist, Amy Lee ranks amongst my least favourite artists. I saw an interview with her on MTV and she irritated me immensely with her laid back arrogance, strive to look like 'she doesn't give a damn' when in fact she really does. Her attempt to look hippie, scrappy, poor, when in fact she's rolling in money, has a rather posh English accent, comes accross as arrogantly educated, and is obviously no hippie is horrid. She claims 'music is easy, it's just something I do' - f**k right off. Arrogance doesn't bring you fans, you may well be a talented composer, but we don't want to hear outrageous comments about how good you are. Please be quiet…If the previous release wasn't enough to destroy your wellbeing, and fill you to the brim with sincire hatred. Well, here you go. Enjoy. (*) Tom Clatworthy “die Eier von Satan” (13)

1st the cd , A great rockin set from Evanescence , Personally i think The band could improve in getting the riffs Tighter & the Drummer sounds bored to me , when out next to drummers & guitarists from bands like Children of Bodom , Arch enemy , King diamond etc. that's the way a band should lock in , hopefully in time these guy's will gel as a unit...... But the Songs of this band are so strong it really doesn't matter , Amy is just great up there & overall it's a really good sounding performance... who the heck edited this?? & person that drank too much caffeine i'm guessing??.....it's alsmot like looking at a strobe light!! (****) – DavidM “Shagrath” (14)

If you haven't seen them live, I can see where you'd get kind of annoyed by all the cheering, but if you have, it just makes the CD that much better…The live shot of the concert is sweet; I like all the special effects and zoom-ins and outs. (*****) – utevfan23 “Rob” (15)

The picture inside the liner notes was great...Amy looked so gothic and REAL! However, the concert is just lacking something. Amy just doesn't seem to be into it…I think Evanescence had better take a hard look at themselves, for their time may be fleeting. (*****) – irnmtn25 (16)

…has to be the worse live mainstream release I have ever heard. (**) – 66

Amy Lee's voice- Eeeek! What happened to it?! It's so squeeky and king-kongish. (****) – Tyler Quagmire (17)

I don't even know where to start. I was not a big fan of Evanescence or even Amy Lee until about 6 months ago. I use to turn my radio off everytime I had to here "Bring me to life" on the radio. It drove me nuts because they played it so much. Then one day I bought a used copy of "Fallen" because I loved the song "Going Under" and I actually sat down and listened to the lyrics. I was hooked. Now I love EVERY single song on "Fallen" including "Bring me to life" and I regret that I never took the time to listen to Evanescence and Amy Lee properly before until 6 months ago. The lyrics to this band are amazing. I don't understand why people compare Evanescence to Lacuna Coil. Both Band's are so different and personally I think Amy Lyrics are more beautiful and mature then Lacuna Coils anyway. I bought "Anywhere But Home" the very day it was released. I went home, sat down and saw the DVD first. I LOVED it. I wasn't very fond of the camera angles for the live concert. I think the moving angles back and forth are a bit annoying. I perfer the camera being on Amy Lee and The Band then so much to the audience and to let it be in one place and angle then going back and forth and ect, but other then that the live concert is amazing. Amy Lee is amazing and so is the band. The music videos are great to have too. My favorite part of the DVD has to be the extras. I love the way Amy's personality shines threw when you see her backstage. You see her roller skating, doing back flips, dancing around like a chicken, getting dressed, putting on her makeup and just clowning around like any other 22 year old girl. It was refreshing to see that because seeing how dark and personal her lyrics are, anyone would think Amy was some kind of dark moody person. But seeing her in action and laughing and clowning around like that was cool. There is a scary part in the DVD where some crazy guy jumped on stage and tried to get Amy and security had to get him down. Anyway, the behind the scenes part in the DVD is awesome. The Live CD is incredible. I have been listening to it since I bought it tuesday. I love the song "Thoughtless" and had no idea who wrote the song. I looked it up on the internet and found out it was Korn who wrote that song. I have to say it's a beautiful song and I will have to hear Korn's version someday. (*****) – E. Asmar “glittergothgirl” (18)




(1) Bastet 1023 also reviewed Richard Baker’s Condemnation (Forgotten Realms: R.A. Salvatore’s War of the Spider Queen, Book 3) (“I thought that this novel was a great continueation of the series. I enjoyed how Baker discribed the drow's reation to the worlds of light, but it confused me a bit when the drow ventured to Lolth's sacred temple in the demonwebs. Neverless, I really enjoyed reading this book.” ****) and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ Snakecharm: The Kiesha’ra: Volume II (“I expected Zane's point of view to be a little more different, but that could be comtributed to his time with Danica.” ****)

(2) Ken Pierce also reviewed Vixen’s Rev It Up (“I am thinking some bands from the 80's are better left to the fond memories.” **), Six Feet Under’s Graveyard Classics 2 (“I really did not know what to make of this piece when I first listened to it. I mean it is a track by track re-recording of the AC/DC Classic "Back In Black", and then when the vocals come in it goes downhill. Knowing this happens a short minute after the original begins you know there is a lot of hill to roll down…It might have been a smart idea for the vocalist Chris Barnes to also try to use a different voice…It is difficult to determine who will enjoy this CD.” *), Feinstein’s Third Wish (“Joining "Rock" Feinstein and John West are Jeff Howell on Bass Guitar, Nate Horton on Drums and Bob Twining on Keyboards….The production of the CD is excellent also, as this is another of the Magic Circle Music bands which many people will recognize as Joey DeMaio of Manowars label. MCM is Joey seems to be taking a focused interest on the bands he is putting out there. His intervention almost guarantees that the record will not lose any of its heaviness in the production stages.” *****), Epica’s Phantom Agony (“As I listened to the CD, I was reminded of the singer named Annie Haslam who performed for the art/progressive band Renaissance back in the mid 70's.” *****), Evanescence’s Fallen (“I immediately think of Pat Benetar and Lita Ford.” *****), Van Helsing’s Curse’s Oculus Infernum: Halloween Tale (“Dee Snider has achieved his desire.” ****), Ian Christe’s Sound of the Beast (“The part that was most alarming was the section of Scandinavian Death Metal. Whoa was that harsh stuff.” *****), Kiss’ 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection (“ I dont own this item, and will not own this item. There are far better Greatest Hits packages to purchase for the KISS Fan. I recommend "Double Platinum", "Smashes Thrashes & Hits" or even the very latest "Very Best Of KISS". There are more songs and from a wider scope of their career.” **), C.K. Lendt’s Kiss and Sell (“Hindsight can be your 20/20 from this volume.” *****), Bob Rosner’s Working Wounded: Advice That Adds Insight to Injury (“entertaining as well as enlightening” ****), and David Lee Roth’s Crazy from the Heat (“Given the developments we all witnessed on that MTV appearance (travesty) years ago and the subsequent lack of an original VH reunion tour and the eventual dropping of VH from the record label - one can only determine that Dave speaks the truth.” *****)

(3) Lawrance M. Bernabo also reviewed Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow (“Long time fans would wish her to go back before "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy." But that is the first album where she really felt her lyrics made any sense and I think that is why she tends not to go back to the first two.” *****), Anacondas – The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (“These characters journey up the river (a metaphor for life) on a boat (symbolizing the planet Earth) searching for the blood orchid (literally the "flower of youth"), only to find that their neglect for the environment, not to mention their disregard for the concerns of the people of the Third World, has created some large obstacles. However, the association of the snake with evil, going back to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, serves to negate in part the idea that nature is value neutral, which calls into question the ultimate ideological position taken by this film with regards to the most pressing contemporary concerns of modern society. Oh, who am I kidding. This is a movie where giant snakes keep attacking people.” ***), The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas (“Sinatra is clearly showing off his children…” ****), Euripides’ Andromache (“The interest in "Andromache" is clearly for the anti-Spartan propaganda. As a tragedy there is little her beyond a progression of characters who all talk about doing something they end up not doing. If there is supposed to be a series of object lessons offered by each of these characters, then that idea is pretty much lost on contemporary audiences. Jean Racine wrote his own version of the myth of Andromache, as did William Congreve, Gilbert Murray, and Gabriele D'Annunzio. Racine's play "Andromache" is certainly superior to that of Euripides, which is probably the only time you can say that about the French neo-classical playwright. "Andromache" is clearly the least of the extant plays of Euripides.” ****), Christmas With the Chipmunks (“I had "The Chipmunks Sing the Beatles" before I ever had a Beatles album.” *****), Pepsi Soda Cans 24 Cans 12 Oz (“The history of soft drinks goes all the way back to the mineral water found in natural springs. The first marketed (non-carbonated) soft drinks, made from water and lemon juice sweetened with honey, appeared in the 17th century. The first drinkable manmade glass of carbonated water was created by an Englishmen, Dr. Joseph Priestley, nine years before the Declaration of Independence. In 1832, John Mathews invented an apparatus for making carbonated water. The drinking of natural (or even artificial) mineral water was considered a healthy practice so American pharmacists were adding medicinal and other flavorful herbs (birch bark, sarsaparilla, fruit extracts) to unflavored beverage from their soda fountains. Then their customers wanted to start taking the drinks home with them and thus the soft drink bottling industry was born, leading eventually to "Rock and Roller Cola Wars." In 1893 in New Bern, North Carolina, a young pharmacist named Caleb Bradham began experimenting with a wide variety of different soft drink concoctions that friends and patrons could try out at his drugstore soda fountain. Five year's later the most popular formulation, known as "Brad's Drink," a combination of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, rare oils and cola nuts, is named Pepsi-Cola and in 1902 the company was incorporated. The product was sold with the slogan: "Exhilarating, Invigorating, Aids Digestion." By 1995 the company's slogan was "Nothing else is a Pepsi." PepsiCo.'s restaurant division, Tircon Global Restaurants, Inc., which includes Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, & KFC, is the largest restaurant company in the world in terms of units and second-largest in sales (go ahead and guess who is bigger and what cola they happen to sell). Here we have two-dozen 12 ounce cans of Pepsi Cola, which should last you at least a week (unless you have company). Today, Pepsi is a concoction of carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar, caramel color, phosphoric acid, caffeine, citric acid and natural flavors. The high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar part has me puzzled, simply because I would think that once a corporation has a major formula they do not mess with it in any way shape or form. So now I am wondering if the taste difference between high fructose corn syrup based Pepsi Cola and sugar based Pepsi Cola is as significant as the difference between soda fountain Pepsi Cola and Pepsi Cola in a can (the latter is better). In addition to the 150 calories per 12 fluid ounce serving you get the following percentage daily values (based on a 2,000 calorie diet): Total Fat (0g) 0%’, Sodium (35 mg) 1% , Potassium (10 mg), Total Carbohydrates (41 g of Sugars) 14% , Protein (0 g) 0%.There is also 25 mg of caffeine, a fact that is not included in the Nutrition Facts on the side of the can, which I find interesting because I know I am not alone in drinking Pepsi for the caffeine instead of the sodium or sugars. But I also know that I like the sweeter more refreshing taste of Pepsi as compared to the competition (Bill Cosby once dismissed the idea that we wanted cola with a "sweeter" taste, but he was wrong). When I was in England several years ago I saw a whole bunch of ad posters in which things that were traditionally red over there, such as mailboxes and phone booths, were suddenly blue. Of course I now know this was in anticipation of Pepsi going from white cans to blue cans. You might wonder how much money was spent to determine that blue versus red was a better marketing position than white versus red, but when you are going up against a product whose brand name has become the generic name for cola, you need to look for every marketing opportunity. For most of us the history of Pepsi is found not in the can (or the bottle), but the advertising slogans. See how far back in history you can go down this trip along memory lane: "Be Young. Have Fun. Drink Pepsi" (1993), "Choice of a New Generation" (1992), "You Got The Right One Baby" (1990), "The choice of a New Generation" (1984), "Have a Pepsi Day!" (1976), "Pepsi Generation" (1962), "Now it's Pepsi, for those who think young" (1960), "The Light Refreshment" (1953), "Bigger Drink, Better Taste" (1943), "Drink Pepsi-Cola, it will satisfy you" (1920), and "The Original Food Drink" (1906).” *****), and Campbell’s Soup I (Tomato), 1968, Fine-Art Print by Andy Warhol, 11x 14 (“At the start of the 19th century painters were striving to be as realistic as possible in their work. In 1822 the wife of the artist Raphaelle Peale saw one of her good napkins draped over a painting of a nude done by her husband. She tried to snatch away the napkin--but it was part of the painting: "Venus Rising from the Sea--A Deception [After the Bath]." This painting was not only an example of "realism" in art, but also a great practical joke. However, the joke ended up being on the art world because while painting was moving relentlessly towards the ideal of realism photography was invented.” ****)

(4) Derek Mok also reviewed Lisa Marie Presley’s To Whom It May Concern (“"So Lovely" commits an unforgivable sin -- you cannot rip off John Barry's immortal "Midnight Cowboy" theme and call it a new song!” ***), Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway (“This sounds like a record of an artist who isn't content to stay the same, and that may well mean the difference between a one-hit "American Idol" and an enduring, progressive artist.” ****), Tru Calling – The Complete First Season (“There are some flaws that prevented me from giving a full five-star rating. While the location of the show is unspecified, it is definitely a big American city, and the cast of the show, both supporting and lead, is a mite WASP-y for such a location. The only Latino character in the recurring cast, morgue attendant Gardez, disappears midway through, and most of the single-episode characters are also lily-white.” ****), the Cure’s Disintegration (“It was once said that The Velvet Underground was the greatest singles band without actual hits, but I think The Cure ranks up there as well.” *****), Sarah Slean’s Day One (“How to describe this album? A little rock, a little punk, some splatterings of funk...and even sprinklings of industrial. Slean seems determined to defy any kind of pattern in her music.” *****), the Donna’s Gold Medal (“Allison Robertson…may not be as inventive as Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney) or Shannon Wright, but in the bluesy, raunchy rock guitar world, she's probably the alpha female right now.” *****), Kaki King’s Legs to Make Us Longer (“Several of the tracks here remind me of Joe Satriani in a good way.” *****), Blonde Redhead’s Misery is a Butterfly (“Again, I highly dislike the vocals on this record, but the glorious soundscapes behind the vocals are too good to ignore. Misery Is a Butterfly is like a This Mortal Coil record without the enchanting female vocals but with the eccentricity turned up several notches. If the band manages to draft a good singer (eg. Caroline Crawley of Shelleyan Orphan/Babacar) into its lineup, it would be unstoppable.” ****), Medal of Honor Infiltrator (“Also, your shots don't go straight -- they spray sideways, maybe in an emulation of gun recoil, but that's like saying to the player: "You can aim, but not really."” *), Souad Massi’s Deb (“Massi's songwriting is also great, with agile melodies, satisfying builds, and evocative soundscapes.” *****), and Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory (“if Oasis hadn't been hyped to the sky, and if it hadn't featured a lead singer with no singing talent but a big offensive mouth, its music wouldn't be judged quite as harshly as it has been. Because the fact is, when guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher hits the mark, he really nails it.” ***)

(5) Justin XTAKEmEawAYX also reviewed Fefe Dobson’s Fefe Dobson (“After hearing the $7 CD (which is actually worth like $.05... well, that might be too generous) I have come to the conclusion that the music reps. are trying to make everyone kill themselves. “ *), Evanescence’s Fallen (“GOING UNDER - 5/5...kickaxx BRING ME TO LIFE - 5/5...self-explanitory. EVERYBODYS FOOL - 4/5...have NO idea why this is the new single but whatever. MY IMMORTAL - 4/5...doesnt evoke as much emotion as the Band Version does but its still good. HAUNTED - 5/5...best song on the record HANDS DOWN TOURNIQUET - 5/5...beautiful. i wish they got darker and more goth than this but its still great. nice lyrics, guitars, emotion. Wonderful IMAGINARY - 5/5...amy what were you smokin when you wrote this? TAKING OVER ME - 3/5...too pop and too much of a filler for me. HELLO - 5/5...TOTALLY redeems the "fallen" effort of Taking Over Me with a deep, moving piano ballad. Amazing. MY LAST BREATH - 4/5...ehh.. yeah whatever so so song. WHISPER - 5/5...kickaxx way to end the record. great great great! except the tribal guys at the end...what the fxxx is up with that??” *****), and Avril Lavigne’s Under My Skin (“kickaxx rock record from Avril that is much different from Let Go.” *****)

(6) Annette Nealey also reviewed D. Caroline Coile’s American Eskimo Dogs: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Breeding, Behavior, and Training (A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual) (“…a great introduction to the breed. I read it cover to cover several times.” *****)

(7) WYM19 also reviewed Justine Davis’ Proof (“For a Harlequin, this was okay. Yes, the heroine is a strong, martial-arts trained forensic scientist. Yes, the Athena Academy is intriguing, a school for women who will someday dominate the military, police, news, politics, etc. However, the first half of the novel is very boring. “ ***), Penny Jordan’s The Sheikh’s Virgin Bride (“There were some stereotypes, like Petra feels a longing for home and roots because she's part British, but also feels a longing for a nomadic lifestyle because she's part Arabic. (Could one also say that a character has a taste for conquest because they're British and a taste for being colonized because they're part Egyptian? It sounds pretty absurd to me.” **), and David Edding’s The Seeress of Kell (The Malloreon, Book 5) (“It's such a relief after reading the Wheel of Time series by Jordan, which just goes on and on and wastes time. Eddings rocks.” *****)

(8) A. Singharath also reviewed Red Hot Chili Peppers – Live at Slane Castle (“i feel that john's guitar playing should not be talked about. cuz it's not even worth it. go buy joe satriani's dvd or steve vai's dvd. those are the real hardcore pros. any guitar beginners can play what john does.” **), Dream Theater’s Live at Budokan (“I've just bought a half stack marshall amp and about to get a new stratocaster with a floyd rose in a couple of days, and I will be playing along with these guys until my finger bleeds…you know how in the mtv hip hop world (bling bling, hoes, etc) they seem to all have alpachino's picture up on their wall or always praising him? well in the rock n roll world, dream theater is it!” *****), The Strokes’ Is This It (“people that would love this cd: A lil white girl who has no knowledge of what rock n' roll or musicianships are. people that hate this cd: guitarists, drummers, and bass players. the stroke is not rock music!!!!! so dont' put them under rock category. The tone of the rythm guitar is enough to make you wanna shoot somebody. the solos are made by an 8 year old playing guitar for the first week. the songs all have the same beat. it's ironic how these guys are rich, but the sound of the drums/guitars/keyboards are out of a midi player. the drums sounded like it came out of a circuit city casio keyboard. good lord!!! everything is just bad! to all the teenie popper who know nothing about music, this is heaven for you! :) to all those that appreciate talented musicians, skills, creativity, and SOUL, dont' buy this crap. i borrowed this cd from a friend due to the hype! like i said, this is not rock. listen to JIMI HENDRIX, steve vai, joe satrianni, yngwie malmsteen, tony mcalpine, led zepplin, etc.” *), Dream Theater’s Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York (“every dvd concert out there has their flaws! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM! "cunning stunt" is prob. the best! too bad it's metallica and not steve vai or satriani.” ***), Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble’s Live in Texas (“why are you praising this guy so much? he was just playing the blues! anyone can do that now-a-days! i thought the dvd was boring and was another blues artist. big freakin' deal! you want some real guitar master, search for steve vai, joe satriani, yngwie malmsteen, john petrucci, tony mcalpine, etc... these are the true guitar gods!” *), the Rolling Stones’ Four Flicks (“if you want to see real guitar players go listen to tony macalpine, steve vai, yngwie malmsteen, joe stump, and joe satriani. I figured, eventhough i'm not a fan of the rolling stones, i'll hopefully enjoy the concert because they're the king of "rock n roll." but man was that full of bull crap! all smoked and media hype.” *), and Steve Vai’s Live at the Astoria (“one thing i notice, it's hard to listen to steve's song if you're not really listening to it with a critical ear. It's not the type of music where you pop it into the cd player and just bug out, you have to really sit and listen to the difficulty and style to really enjoy it.” *).

(9) Kathy Pendergraftalso reviewed Evanescence’s Fallen (“First of all this is by FAR the BEST band out there. I am proud to live in Arkansas where this great band started out. Amy Lee provides a beautiful voice with the awesome background music, which shows that this band is the best. Amy is not only the most talented singer out but she is the most beautiful too. Evanescence is the best!” *****)

(10) Rogerio Mazali also reviewed Os Mutantes’ A Divina Comedia Ou Ando Meio Desligado (“"Ando meio Desligado" means "I've been a little disconected", but the band's English version for the title song, present in the album Technicolor, is "I've been a little spaced out", showing what the original title really meant.” ****) and Marcus Viana’s Sagrado Coracao Da Terra (“This is a classic of latin progressive rock.” *****)

(11) SinisterFiend also reviewed Halo 2 (“One other point, I am tired of hearing people refer to other games as "this is a halo rip off.... this is a halo rip off...." Guess what? Halo is an "UNREAL rip off" it stole every concept it has from unreal tournament. SO put that in you pipes and smoke it.” **), Mayhem’s European Legions Live at Marseille (“This band is not fun to watch, and not fun to listen to. “ **), Six Feet Under’s Graveyard Classics 2 (“(1) SFU's Worst album to date (2) Might even be the worst cover album from any band to date” *), Danzig’s Circle of Snakes (“My beef with it though is they have an element to them that ticks me off about modern bands (ex: the white stripes) where they milk one riff for a 4-5 minute song. To me that gets very annoying very fast. You will start a song and say "wow, what a cool riff!" then by the end of the song (when you've heard no change in the song, and the same riff over and over again) you will say "is my cd skipping?" **), The Passion of the Christ (“Had lots of gore, for that I gave it an extra star. For the repetitive scenes over and over again, I subtracted several stars. You know what kills me. Conservatives and religious people bash violence in movies and video games, but it seems as if it is ok to put this stuff in as long as your talking about Christ. Hypocrisy = religion do as I say not as I do, right? and stay away from those alter boys!” ***), Insane Clown Posse’s Hell’s Pit Version 1(“To the other guy who was worried about giving this a low rating: your not alone! Everything that ever made any ICP album what it was is missing from this album.” *), Dogville (“It's a pillow movie. Its better to read the synopsis and skip ahead. I was going to give it one star, but Im a sucker for revenge movies, so I gave it an extra star.” **), Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP (“rap usually sucks, but this is funny as hell!” *****), Sammy Hagar’s Essential Red Collection (“about as fun as getting your eyes pulled out” *), Journey’s Greatest Hits (“warning, warning! you are treading on glam Territory !” *), Bad Luck 13’s We Kill Children (“its nothing spectacular, and the recording is kind of muffled. If it doesnt start growing on me soon, its hitting the dumpster. I think the guy sounds drunk on this” ***), the Genitorturers’ Sin City (“Its a shame this band isnt more well known. Maybe some of its there own fault by being so underground and controversial.” *****), the Genitorturers’ 120 Days of Genitorture (“I watched them hand a guy to a cross and stich his lips up, it was real, and blood was everywhere. Plus their music is heave as H E L L and This girl kicks more but than 70% of the guy bands out there” *****), Venomous Concept’s Retroactive Abortion (“Its noise, and this is coming from someone who likes death metal. I challenge any of you to cd roulette: basically we spin the cd and select a song at random, and you guess the song title. You would never do it!” *), White Chicks (“The movie was also stupid because the guys are taking the place of 2 girls and every one believes they look just like those girls and are fooled by their disguises when in fact they look nothing like the girls and you can tell they are men in drag, and black” ***), Fahrenheit 9/11 (“My dad was in nam, and I went to the veterans hospital one day with him and the government wrote in black over his military records just to get out of paying him disability. They also told him that his injury was from highschool basketball, wich he never played.” *****), Mutilated’s Devirginated Genital Pulp (“When will these bands learn, if you want to be controversial and known for it, then you make you work coherent enough for others to understand it!” *), Metallica’s St. Anger (“I like this album a lot!!!!!!! So don't get me wrong here, you definitely need this album.” *****), the White Stripes’ Elephant (“You can say anything you want about this band: you can say you like them, they are cool, what have you, but you cannot say they are musically strong, count the riffs, do you hear any guitar leads? do any of you play guitar, you could learn this in only a week if you have never played a guitar, and if you have, you could learn it in 2 seconds. Simplistic, annoying music, sounds like a broken record!” *), Slipknot’s Iowa (“I love Gwar too!” *****), Insane Clown Posse’s Great Milenko (“they hold the flag for originallity in this shallow genre of music” *****),Nelly’s Nellyville (“Long live ICP!” *), Evanesence’s Fallen (“I liked this band alot when I first heard them, but after hearing the whole album, I think they are a little to light, and even though she has a good voice it start grating on your nerves after about the 6th song. final thought: not heavy enough, not dark enough (even though some claim this band sounds dark and haunting, I would disagree) good song writing though” ***), Snoop Dogg’s Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Boss (“I give him credit, he does alot of charity work, and volunteers to do things most people wouldnt, that is why i give him 2 stars instead of one, otherwise he cannot sing. I think his live performance on Metallica ICON on MTV proved this. Just listen to his voice try and sing a song that actually requires singing!! says alot about this genre of music.” **), Tupac’s Better Dayz (“Same as "50 cents", same as "God's Son" all the same music same lyrics, same everything, only difference is your 13 dollars shorter than you were before from buying it. Hail the Repetitive king! Gangsta's!” *), 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin (“put your hand in da air, put your hand in da air, say yea, say yea, say we'z in the house, say we'z in the house...and you wonder why i gave it a bad rating? its amazing this Repetitive stuff sells!” *), the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over (“thought this was WAY SLOW! And way boring. ZZZZZzzzzzzz Not only were the songs soppy slow, but the band was too: they sat on chairs! This reminded me of one of the bad bands you see playing in a casino bar lounge at 2:30 am in the morning in Vegas…I think fleet wood mack is way better at this genre.” **), and Napalm Death’s Enemy of the Music Business (“My wife calls this band "Dog Bowl" in reference to the singers vocie *L She says it sounds like a dog growling with its face in a food bowl. I never liked this band till this album. I acctually started listening to them because I thought the singer was funny, and had an unearthly voice. It was hard to beleive a human could make this noise. Since then, I like alot of their stuff, although this still remains one of their best. I did not give it 5 stars though, because even I, a person who now likes death metal / grindcore, will tell you he cannot sing! it is hard to understand him sometimes, but I still like him :)” ****).

(12) Mistress of Shadows also reviewed Aaliyah’s Aaliyah (“Even though she probably could have excelled and improved as a determined singer/performer/actor (and who knows what else) beyond the material she was able to accomplish in her short yet hearty life, it's obvious she had an amazing gift. We are, however, fortunate enough to cherish the songs she did bestow us with.” ****), Tristania’s Beyond the Veil (“If this is any indication as to what Tristania is capable of doing than sign me on as a fan for life because this is simply out of this world…I can't recommend this enough so stop thinking about it and buy it already!” *****), John Walker’s The Fairy Faith (“For anyone enchanted by the ancient myths of fairy lore, your collection is not complete without this wonderful documentary by John Walker, which is 77 minutes in length. He takes the viewer on a magical journey through England, Scotland and Cape Breton, interviewing locals and listening to their stories about the "little people". Many of these people's beliefs are downright questionable, and I often found myself laughing and raising an eyebrow at what some of them had to say, but I did sometimes catch myself wondering if these mysterious creatures really are just legend or if they truly do exist? I for one find it hard to believe the latter as I am more of a logistic thinker but as I look back at my childhood, I wonder if some of the things I saw and experienced as a small girl were simply a figment of my overactive imagination or if I was seeing it all, with more clarity than I ever will again, because I was not yet corrupted by life as an adult - living, in the rational world, to believe that there's reasoning behind every unexplainable, supernatural occurrence. Perhaps as we grow older we build a shield around ourselves, refusing to accept things we can no longer see with our own two eyes? I'm certainly not convinced that there are fairies dwelling among us but this documentary at least makes you ponder these things...” *****), Prelude: The Best of Charlotte Church (“I think Twitney Spears gets less slack than Charlotte does and that's just sad. I admit, I am no big fan of Church's music (I prefer Sarah Brightman or Emma Shapplin when a classical crossover fix comes about) but the girl does have talent.” ***), Unquiet Grave 4 (“CD1 ("Bitter Side") is the perfect example of what a Goth/Industrial compilation SHOULD sound like! The songs flow together wonderfully and, for the most part, are very upbeat. Also the range of style is very eclectic. You have your obvious groups, like Lacuna Coil playing a hypnotic rock ballad on "Ghost Woman and the Hunter" and The Gathering on "Debris", but there's also some lesser known groups featured here too that have just as much talent to offer to the darker subgenre of music.” ****), Love Spirals Downward’s Temporal (“In the early years Suzanne Perry was the main vocalist for LSD but later on her sister Kristen Perry took over and so I'm assuming that both voices can be heard throughout this record. However, I'm not 100% clear on that fact for nowhere inside the booklet does it specify who sings what.” *****), Liz Phair’s Liz Phair (“in regards to the lyrics some tracks are cheesy, yes, but the melodies are at times catchy and very radio friendly. “ **), Wolfsheim’s Spectators (“Albeit I usually detest the language, lately I've been succumbing to the undeniable talents coming from Germany.” *****), Sarah Brightman’s Harem Desert Fantasy (“In "Beautiful" Sarah is scantly clad as she lay upon a bed of roses as the vibrant petals descend like softly falling rain. I also love the part where she's surrounded by a wall of licking flames... "Un Bel Di" is probably my favorite. It was exquisitely shot with exotic landscapes and Sarah looks absolutely stunning as her hair and silky trellis blow behind her as the sun sets beyond the hilltops, and on "The Journey Home" she looks like a mystical being twirling in slow circles, often seen riding over the sandy dunes on a gorgeous black mare.” *****), The Passion of the Christ (“Since I'm not at all religious I bare very little knowledge of the greatest book ever said to be written, THE BIBLE, so I therefore needed the occasional assistance from my beloved who sat beside me in the movie theater but this film affected me more deeply than I ever could have imagined. I was stunned by the display of human cruelty and it was extremely difficult to sit through certain parts for director Mel Gibson (who did a fabulous job) refused to hold back and sugarcoat the truth. However, beyond all the blood and violence lay the heart of the story which was Jesus of Nazareth (played by James Caviezel) not giving in to fear and remaining strong for his many disciples and for the Lord, His heavenly father. He couldn't even bring himself to hate the ones punishing him for his teachings were to love not only those who love you back but everyone - even your enemy - for hate only begets to more hate. I was moved to tears at the excruciating torture He suffered as He died on the cross just so us imperfect mortals could be forgiven for the sins we commit so if you haven't seen this yet than I implore that you do. The dialect is spoken in the native tongue originally used during that time but the English subtitles are easy to follow so you don't have to be a speed reader as the sentences are fairly short. The Passion of the Christ is a movie worth seeing!” *****), and Sarah Brightman’s Harem (“The bonus track "It's A Beautiful Day" is an uninspired remix by the Groove Brothers and it's a poor representation of the stunning original. The operatic part of Puccini's classic is softened for some reason and the singing parts are so rushed that she vaguely sounds like a chipmunk at times.” ****)

(13) Tom Clatworthy “Die Eier Von Satan” (Dissociative Anesthesia Pathway) also reviewed Apple 20 GB iPod U2 Special Edition (“will go down a treat with the poseurs among us. The engrained autographs are a clever idea but not really worth extra money, the only thing worth the extra bucks is the U2 package…I am a huge U2 fan but would still rather get the normal 20GB to save some money, I've already got all the albums, I'm not going to fret over the 25 unreleased songs.” ****), Staind’s Dysfunction (“Unfortunetely these turds, Shte Stain shamefully reek the rewards for millions of youngsters cry for help. Scantily moaning about self-odium such as divorces and broken down love affairs.” *), Staind’s Break the Cycle (“Quite frankly I'm bored of these clichéd drug addicted self pitying carcasses filling up my TV and radio.” ), Staind’s 14 Shades of Grey (“How many more bands feel the need to moan and wain about self pity and hate, well one more it seems…” *), Puddle of Mudd’s Come Clean (“How many more bands feel the need to moan and wain about self pity and hate, well one more it seems…I'm bored of these clichéd drug addicted self pitying carcasses filling up my TV and radio. ..Unfortunetely these turds, Puddle Of Muddddddd shamefully reek the rewards for millions of youngsters cry for help. Scantily moaning about self-odium such as divorces and broken down love affairs. I DONT WANT TO KNOW, and neither should these silly little kids.” *), Busted’s Busted (“This bunch of disposable teenagers aptly named 'Busted' have become vastly overrated punk-pop jerk-offs in England. Put simply, only 8-12 year old girls like Busted, any older and you have no touch of reality…worst of all the slugbrow lead singer occasionally wears a TOOL T-Shirt when performing. TOOL stand for the complete opposite of Busted, and it's a disgrace and insult to one of the most original bands around… Don't bullsh** me that they've got talent, so they play power chords for 556 bars on end and all sing with the same relentless juvinile tone. That's not talent. What it is is marketing, don't fall into the trap.” *), Tool’s Aenima (“The Holy Grail is considered occult, occult simply means hidden. Many have a addiction to learning new, unheard of things. Many have morbid fascinations, many just like knowing things others don't.” *****), Cradle of Filth’s Live Bait for the Dead (“Satanism is traced back to a group of mathematicians and physicians who disproved religious fundamentalist theory's, they were called the Shaitans. The church cunningly branded them as 'evil', over hundreds of years the word has been adapted to the current day Satan, the devil. NOT a bunch of useless fools burning religious icons, actually a generally harmless group of intellectuals.” *), Cradle of Filth’s Cruelty and the Beast (“The obviously misguided youths that follow this band have no excuse, everyone can see the false pretences on which COF boost their career. Satanism.” *), Cradle of Filth’s Lovecraft & Witch Hearts (“Yes, satanism. Satanism COUF are not, if you want to see the contrived idiotic view on satanism, look no further. Satanism IS NOT dressing up in leather bondage clothes, wearing drastic makeup and burning churches. Satanism is traced back to a group of mathematicians and physicians who disproved religious fundamentalist theory's, they were called the Shaitans.” *), Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish & The Hot Dog Flavored Water (“The wonderful concoction of hip-hop and nu metal is quite original. But, when you consider both of these genres are truly awful you begin to realise Limp Biscuit are indeed one sh*tty band. Mind you, they are intelligent.” *), Nirvana’s Nevermind (“Like Warren Zevon, he killed himself…Ok, it stood for anti-mainstream, but so did lots of other bands at the time, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, I bet my house that if the lead singer from one of those bands died it would be `oh, what an amazing band' and they would become `the people that changed music' or `the people that generated an era' WHAT ERA EXACTLY? By Nevermind's release Seattle grunge was already in huge flight, while a vast overkill of useless pop, hard rock was defiantly in, BEFORE Nevermind, BEFORE Nirvana became big. Besides, the genre they SUPPOSEDLY CREATED never took off to this day, 90's rock is dead, name me one band that still makes music in the same style of the Ten days, or the Core days. No, you cant. That's because NO genre is still like the 90's rock, to say they changed the face of music is absurd, they done just as much damage as any other 90's rock band. Oh no, but of course...the singer killed himself. “ ***), Evanesence’s Fallen (“This self obsessed voclaist, Amy Lee ranks amongst my least favourite artists. I saw an interview with her on MTV and she irritated me immensely with her laid back arrogance, strive to look like 'she doesn't give a damn' when in fact she really does. Her attempt to look hippie, scrappy, poor, when in fact she's rolling in money, has a rather posh English accent, comes accross as arrogantly educated, and is obviously no hippie is horrid. She claims 'music is easy, it's just something I do' - f**k right off. Arrogance doesn't bring you fans, you may well be a talented composer, but we don't want to hear outrageous comments about how good you are. Please be quiet.” *), Linkin Park’s Meteora (“the other chinese guy, what exactly does he do?” *), Reservoir Dogs (“The colourful characters (bad pun intended) frame this film.” *****), Apocalypse Now (“Intriguing to say the least” *****), Platoon (“I don't care for the people who say Stone made lots of it up, of course he did. But your telling me everything was sweet and sound during the war?” *****), Tool’s Lateralus (“Don’t expect any overt swearing” *****), Tool’s Opiate (“What a joker you are, extremely funny, and you've obviously spent a lot of time processing your thoughts and opinions. IT IS absolutely true that all Tool fans are 'fat' and 'ugly' people who feel left out, and your once again SPOT ON when you say that Tool fans feel less superior than good looking people. Wow, I'll tell you what, I've read thousands of reviews, but I don't think any mount to your extensive logic and brilliant thinking. Great job. Just incase - 'Torny' - you are actually a complete f*ck, that was sarcasm, intelligence of the highest form. Stuck up c*nt. Sorry about the language, but I've never been as stupified. *****), Led Zeppelin IV (aka ZOSO) (“Led Zep created rock. The nearest anyone had come to rock before them was T-Rex, aka Mark Bolan, albeit relatively mainstream.” *****), Avril Lavigne’s Let Go (“I swear I met her once in a moshpit at a Tool concert, oh no, maybe in a barn somewhere” *), Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (“The book explores the spiritual side of the more or less 'rejected' beings, which is an instant put off for many. But what world do we live in? Not a perfect one.” ****), Jane’s Addiction’s Strays (“If they made an album in the same light as Nothing's Shocking and it was too contraversial it would be an instant flop, so what they've produced seems to make sense” ****), and In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 (“R.E.M are probably the only relatively mainstream band that I like, I normally listen to more aggressive stuff, but I'm not always in a bad mood. The majority of R.E.M songs are feel-good songs, such as The great Beyond and Whats The Frequency Kenneth, which are both quite 'pop-ish' songs and occasionally weak, but sometimes they show their other side, their musicianship, something most pop bands have forgotten about today, and the results are astonishing. Possibly my favourite ballad of all time, Everybody Hurts is a timeless classic, great vocals and clever use of the occasional guitar riff, and my favourite song to listen to after a bad day at work, Losing My Religion, ah! what brilliance, no 'pop' song can be compared to it, and is yet another classic R.E.M song.” ****)

(14) Davidm “shagrath” also reviewed Scott Tarulli’s Transitions (“those into classic albums like pat metheny's american garage & watercolors will love this !! also fans of everyone from eric johnson to mike stern to even joe satriani will probably be pleased with this…” *****), Michael Schenker Group’s Reactivate: Live (“funny how we as human's have different opinions....and saying disc 3 is dissapointing from the "built to destroy tour" .........did you read the liner notes?? it's not from the tour at all , it's a rehearsal tape , theres no crowd , it's them getting ready for the tour , which is really cool (it's also not even close to that tour , these recordings are from 1980 before there 1st headlining tour” *****), and Joe Satriani’s Live in San Francisco (“as the 4 othere rater saying it has “cheap packaging”??? what else did you want??” *****)

(15) Utevfan23 “Rob” also reviewed Evanesence’s Fallen (“There is absolutely no comparison to the unique sound of Evanescence. The combination of Amy Lee's beautiful voice mixed with the alternative sound of guitar riffs and drums makes for a perfect album. Goth or not, this is flat out the best music I've ever heard. The band never tried to label themselves as anything. Every song on the CD is sensational, and in my opinion the best ones aren't even the ones played all the time on the radio! "My Last Breath" and "Going Under" have to be the top two, but all the rest are right up there. Their music is similar to Linkin Park, and if you're into them like I am you'll probably like Ev too. Amy's voice is quite a bit better than LP's lead singer, though. That's what sets them apart from all other alternative bands. So if you like alternative music and you want something fresh-sounding and different than all the other bands, you won't be disappointed with this CD!” *****)

(16) Irnmtn25 also reviewed Dior Pure Poison (“It has a very earthy, "woodsy" kind of scent to it, and it doesn't require a lot to be put on at once to get a whiff every now and then.” *****), Fahrenheit 9/11 (“if he presents "facts", and someone disagrees, they should go out and do research to refute the "facts", not just rant and rave about how BAD the movie is!” *****), Star Wars Trilogy – Widescreen Edition ( “These movies are good because they tell a good story, not because they make some kind of monumental political or ethical statement. If you want politics or ethics, I highly suggest reading and watching DUNE.” ****), Van Halen’s Best of Both Worlds (“I was a bit disappointed that HUMANS BEING was left out.” *****), Catwoman (“I absolutely love the scene in the techno club!” ****), Rush’s Feedback (“If Mr. Lee isn't talented, then he and the rest of the band have had 30 years of good luck then. For some reason though, I don't think it's due to luck...but more aptly ability and talent. All three of the guys work great together....and Lee's odd voice just makes RUSH even more unique.” ****), Celine Dion’s A New Day…Live in Las Vegas (“Another good thing for this album: we weren't given the Chrysler emblem treatment!” *****), Hitler’s Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf (“Then why is it that I can go down to my local library and find several editions of this VERY SAME BOOK in print???!?!?! Already, I am seriously questioning the validity of this work. This book was first published in 1961....and I think I will be reading that version...the FIRST EDITION!!! Anyone who tauts that this is some newly discovered work had better do some research. The manuscript was discovered after the war....and if it takes almost 50 years to publish the "unpublished sequel", then something's rotten in Denmark! Get the first edition.” *), The Dukes of Hazzard – The Complete First Season (“The best show in this first season has to be REPO MAN...followed by SWAMP MOLLY.” *****), Avril Lavigne’s Under My Skin (“The absence of the Matrix as her production team really doesn't hurt her material or the overall sound of the record.” *****), Ace of Base’s Cruel Summer (“Ace of Base did a pretty good job with this set of songs. However, what's with the harkening back to '60s harmonized pop?” ***), Janet Jackson’s Janet (“That is why DAMITA JO isn't doing all that well. There is only so much beating a dead horse can take.” *****), Rush’s Roll The Bones (“It was sad to see Peter Collins as the producer for the next album, COUNTERPARTS, when it obviously should have been Rupert Hine.” *****), Rush’s Presto (“Anybody who can make a song centering around the production of sound and tv (AVAILABLE LIGHT) has to be good! The only let down was that RUSH dropped Rupert Hine as a producer after ROLL THE BONES. I wish they would get him back.” *****), The Passion of the Christ (“Last Saturday, I finally got to see this film...and ever since then...I have been thinking about how I was going to write this review. Now, I feel ready to write.... MAJOR PERFORMANCES: I think that Jim Caviezel did a pretty fine job as Jesus. He made the torture and suffering of Christ come to life...conveying the point across as best as he could. Of course, he had the strongest performance in the film. However, Mary's (the mother) performance cannot be overlooked. She did a good job of showing a mother's love for her son....and she brings the "human side" of Jesus to the fore. Others in the film also put in outstanding performances....showing the great political and social upheaval of that period. The Romans were depicted as people occupying a territory that they didn't really care about. Gibson chose to show the old Roman glory through Pilate...and the coming decadence (and eventual downfall of the Empire) through Herod. Whether this is historically accurate could be questioned. The high priests of the Jewish temple were rightly depicted (in how they acted and their fear/power struggle with Jesus and the disciples)....even though I could see some lending to anti-semitic feeling through their dress and how they were shown as power-hungry political types. There is a fine line being drawn...it is easy to cross at times....and Gibson tends to straddle it at times throughout the film where it concerns the Jews. THOUGHTS: Yes, this movie was rather a bloody one. Yes, some of the scenes (such as the cross being dropped so many different times) are a bit overdrawn at times. Yes, the supernatural bits (the wolf-thing visiting Judas) were a bit confusing. However, Gibson has intention in this. If he made a sugar-coated movie, then no one would talk about it. His whole intention with this film was to show how Jesus died for our sins in such a horrific way as to make people stop in their tracks and start questioning their beliefs and faith. To me, if people walked out of the theater and asked at least one question about spirituality, faith, Christianity, Jesus, etc., then Gibson's goal was realized. And, in that, wasn't this movie ultimately successful? I think this movie is the closest thing to the real suffering that Christ endured, and I think it will be a long time for it is matched....if ever. I highly recommend this movie to everyone. However, I would warn people that if they are sensitive to horrific situations, or if they are mulling over questions concerning Jesus in their spiritual life....make sure to bring some tissues and be prepared for a lot of thought and introspection after the lights come back on. If I was a parent, I would not bring my child to this movie unless they were prepared to handle it. Otherwise, for a believer or one questioning their beliefs, it is not just a movie...but an experience. You'll be thinking about it for a long time after....” *****), and Scooter’s Stadium Techno Experience (“One thing you can count on from Scooter, their sound doesn't change that much.” *****)

(17) Tyler Quagmire also reviewed Dashboard Confessional’s A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar (“I know everyone's entitled to their own opinion and all, but jeez. This is getting ridiculous. If you're sick of the depressing lyrics, than there's only one solution: don't listen to it! Quit whining and grow up! Saying that the album sucks and that it has too depressing of lyrics and that Chris needs to get over his crushes from high school... What the frick? That's really annoying, and it's really immature, and yeah. Just felt a need to say that…If you love rock music, get this! Great stuff. Unless, of course, you're one of those "crish carabba get over ur high school crushez" people who need to grow up a little. Or maybe a lot. If you're one of those people, then shoo.” *****), Magnetic Fields’ Get Lost (“The thing is that a nasty rumor shot around the world that this album was their worst one ever. I don't really think that's true. In truth, I think it's their best one.” *****), and Magnetic Fields’ i (“ This is an average CD which you will love if you like indie rock and violin music, except for "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend", which, in my opinion, is the best song on the album because it's the only electrical oriented song.” ***).

(18) E Asmar “glittergothgirl” also reviewed Madonna’s American Life (“ This album has too many acoustics, the lyrics are pretty dumb, and the music is pretty bad.” *), Marilyn Manson’s Holy Wood (In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death) (“coy but tender” *****), Zabriskie Point: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (“ In all honesty, The soundtrack is better then the actual movie.” *****), Zabriskie Point VHS Edition (“ It's not such a bad film. I have seen better, but this film is not THAT bad. You just have to REALLY be into the whole sixties thing to enjoy the film.” ****), No Doubt’s Rock Steady (“God wonders what there next album might sound like! Disco?” *), Linda Ashcroft’s Wild Child: My Life With Jim Morrison (“Linda makes alot of claims. Claims that she can't back up, because everyone in her book is dead, except Dennis Hopper, who in the scene in her book, was supposely and convieniently "drunk". Of course Dennis can't remember. He was drunk!… Jim loved one woman, and her name was Pamela. Jim was with Pamela for almost 6 years. He lived with her, bought a boutique for her, sent her around the world and allowed her to spend thousands of dollars furnishing it, bought her expensive cars, paid for all of her living expenses, wrote some of the most beautiful love songs and poems for her, dedicated his poetry books to her, willed his whole estate to her, and left the country to be with her. Is that love or what?” *), Nico’s Chelsea Girl (“Nico may not have a marvelous voice(but neighter do I!LOL” *****), Lacuna Coil’s Comalies (“This band keeps getting compared to Evanescence and have had fame brought to them because of it. Personally I don't hear how they sound so much like Evanescence. On top of that Lacuna Coil have been around much longer then Evanescence (try since 1996)so people and the press should stop saying they "copied" Evanescence. Same with Nightwish (been around since 1994), but I don't like Nightwish anyway.
Now I happened to be a HUGE Evanescence fan. I like Lacuna Coil but in my personal opinion, Evanescence is much better both lyrically and music wise. I think Christina Scabbia's is gorgeous and she has the most amazing vocal cords in this planet, but the band's lyrics are somewhat cheesy. This is where I perfer Evanescence, in which this band's lyrics are poetic and more mature. A BIG plus would be if Christina Scabbia sang alone. The guy who sings with her kills the songs completely. He interupts the songs and kills the mood. Christina singing alone would do and be enough. But I happen to like Comalies alot better then their older albums for some reason. I still recommend this album.” ****), and Evanescence’s Fallen (“Quite odd that I listen to this album quite religiously everyday and never wrote a review for it (?!) I have to say that this album changed my life. I love it with a passion and Amy and Ben's lyrics and musicianship is astounding! The music, strings, violins, guitar sounds and lyrics are incendiary. I can't say enough good things about this album. It deserves to have sold all 13 million copies that it sold that's for sure. Thank you to both Amy Lee and Ben Moody (although you left the band) for creating this amazing piece of art. This album has helped me get through so many horrible rough times this past year. I can relate to every single lyric in 'Fallen'. 5 stars is just not enough to rate this beauty! Buy this album now if you haven't!” *****)
















































































Thursday, November 11, 2004

KROKUS - Stayed Awake All Night

The Americans have spoken! The world will not be made smaller by computers but by grinding gears and great oil-burning engines. It’s not about security or secularisation, it’s about keeping the motorik running. The reason electronic pop music never became culturally dominant in the demonised heartland is that synth duos didn’t have large trucks loaded with equipment backing up to venues. The future was not designed by Kraftwerk but by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, although this 1983 BTO cover by a Swiss band incorporates “Metal on Metal”, except with volume-swell mirages evolving into a circular guitar pattern like the lights of the city coming into view after driving through the methamphetamine night. The DEA claims that “methamphetamine is attractive to people in rural communities because labs can be set up in abandoned barns”, when the real reason is that you have to drive about three hours to get anywhere! Those eerie green night-vision Iraq broadcasts are a good approximation of how rural people actually see things, especially during the nocturnal segments of their 96-hour days. The album this appears on is called ‘Headhunter’, and was apparently recorded at ‘Bee Jay Studios’!

Friday, November 05, 2004

VAN HALEN
Best of Both Worlds
(Rhino)
Van Halen are known for their legendary trademark and a long train runnin’ of numbers for titles instead of words, for instance calling their thirteenth release 3. This compilation doesn’t include anything from that 1998 collaboration with Robbie "Jesus is Just Alright" Robertson (from Extreme, whose ode to mute bitches was the "Isn’t it Time" to "Under the Bridge"’s "Roxanne") which consolidated Robertson’s 1987 and 1991 Compact Discs except with a less consistent vocal approach ("The Greatest American Hero theme" even featured Eddie singing) and more instrumental solo expression. In the meantime somebody at Rolling Stone heard a copy of Diver Down, glanced at the cover, and consequently thinking it was the White Stripes placed Jack White at #17 in their Greatest Guitarists Ever poll. After contemplating their futures and considering Don Ho and Magnum McGarret as lead singers, the band reunited with Jason Scheff, who sang such hits as "I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love" and "Look Away" during the band’s 80s resurgence. He wrote some new songs here but unfortunately "VOA ("raise the flag/let it wave/ shoot them down/ to their graves") 2"isn’t one of them. That would’ve been interesting in this exciting times but instead "Up for Breakfast" sounds a little too obviously pre-designed for the forthcoming Crank Waffles halftime-show spot, however resigned yet unnerving coming from the one-time Dean Martin of the guitar. Imagine waking up sober and realizing that’s how good you’re going to sound for the rest of your career. (One day at a time!) And then collaborating with a professional tequila drinker.
This 2-for-1 of Abacab and Happy Mondays’ Raunch’n’Roll Live is misleadingly led off by "Eruption". Now than anyone alive can play the second half, it’s best heard as a field recording and would’ve better a fit a compilation including "Spanish Fly", "Tora Tora", "Cathedral", "Strung Out", "Marin Muezzin" from Sammy Hagar Having Fun on Stage, "Sunday Afternoon in the Park", "Saturday in the Park", "Free Form Guitar", "Watermelon in Easter Hay" and the Deer Hunter theme. However dedicated to the people of the revolution a direct challenge to Derek Bailey might be, it bears remembering that many who prefer the Scheff shift to the Cetera era can at least prove they live their lives like they know there’s a tomorrow and without love where would they be right now.






Thursday, February 26, 2004

Planning to write something in May. Or June, probably.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

BANARAMAMA - True Confessions

Black Sabbath to the Spice Girls’ Nirvana, and TC was their Master of Reality. Even more déclassé than the Sabs, plus they were chicks. Which is why reading their 80s-vintage press is like diving into a misogynistic sewer, the stench of which is enough to gag a Taliban. TC is hiveminded as the big Swain/Joley>SAW switch, which in retrospect was necessary as the Banana Mk1 formula is squeezed to the limit here (“Swain & Jolley were much too meticulous about everything. They used to send us home for giggling. I think they really stifled us. They were such perfectionists and it took all the enjoyment out of recording” – Keren Woodward) – but the milkshake yield made it worth it.

For us, the consumers that is. That’s how chick work is. Keren again (on promotion) – “It’s really hard work, it’s boring and it’s physically tiring and it’s crap and even when you’re not doing anything you’re going through the mental stress of it all. It ruins your life.” Keren has just perfectly encapsulated the experience of attempting to exist in the world of post-industrial capitalism, now that jobs are ‘flexible’ (ie at the whims of capricious despots) and consist almost completely of indentured emotional servitude while being incarcerated. You probably don’t agree, and think I am being ‘negative’. That’s because you are a student. The fact that you read or write for the pop press (or, these days in England, make pop records) proves it. Congratulations, you are in the club. Don’t worry about nothin’, you’ll do fine. Please refrain from complaining about society though. After all, you run it, and the underlings are justifiably not going to trust you enough to tell the truth, so claiming to know ‘anything’ is a bit rich (like yourselves), don’t you think?

The titlular opener’s Sabs-esque doom certainly indicates the oppressive atmosphere noted above. Thudding stoner-disco in the “Children of the Grave”/”I’m So Stupid” mode, slower and denser than Kyuss’ “Thumb”. “Ready or Not” picks up the tempo but lyrically leaves banana skins all over the place for the unwary to slip on and fall into the abyss. Images of separation, incarceration, alienation. “It’s getting harder now/ living my life taking orders”. There was a lot of this kind of thing in MOR/‘adult rock’ in the 80s for some reason, the best of which emanated from the Collins/Genesis garrison – Mike + Mechanics’ Unabomber ode “Silent Running”, Genesis’ “Home by the Sea”, Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home”. Then again the lyrics quoted work equally well as a teeth-clenching preparation for a descent into a lifetime in the service economy. “Let me tell you something/ you’d better start running”… The Genesis comparisons are deep in the texture of the next track and first standout classic on the record, “Trick of the Night”, extended chords and foreboding synth-patch whooshes, autumnal minor-chord verse transition to major-dominant anthem chorus the way Sting tries to do all the time and succeeds at occasionally. Sort of a cross between Steely Dan’s “Any World” and Genesis’ “Turn it On Again”, except slowed WAY down, so the words “anywhere you go/you’ve taken the wrong way” (or is it “YOU’RE taken the wrong way”? [cf. Steely Dan “Barrytown”, except moving opposite classwise] Why is it impossible to find lyrics for any good records on the Interweb, except for the metal ones?) glow with the unique kind of compassion that makes romanticising the declasse female irrestistable. Like, barmaids and that, they’re so down-to-earth and understanding, y’know? “Real” women! They’re not after your wallet and status, they just see the pain in your tortured eyes and want to mother you. Yes, I am a sad git. So was Bill fucking Clinton, what IS your point? Admit it, sometimes we just get tired of ice bitches (as exotic and cool as they admittedly are) and their ambitious ways and just want tea and sympathy… …sorry, forgot you’re students. I’ll try not to offend you anymore.

(Although ice-bitches make an appearance lyrically in “Cut Above the Rest”, which actually goes “She’s NOT a cut above the rest/ she’s NOT a cut above the rest”, telling us what they know. Actually, only some of what they know. They correctly sussed that the Swain/Jolley project had run its course, and as thrilling as the pop/AOR-merger possibilities were, it was a fine line and the dangers of falling over it are all too evident on the lull at the end of Side One, “Dance With a Stranger” and “In a Perfect World”, every bit like the titles discouragingly promise – fretless bass, vibraphones, those Steely Sade chords smothering everything instead of tantalizing those hard-to-reach earogenous zones [BOO! Sorry. Look, I thought Johny Guitar Watson’s Eargasm was the funniest title ever, and still do!] So, onto the SAW stuff already…)

“Venus” you know, right? A cover of a song from Calvinist Holland where the video equates the love goddess with Satan! I’m planning on moving to Amsterdam as soon as possible (for other reasons. I like canals a lot, and museums), are Dutch Venuses (Venii?) as easy as everyone says they are? Then again English girls are supposedly notorious slags too but I don’t have any luck here either. Maybe I should stop trying to impress them with stuff I’ve written, like for example this.

“More Than Physical” is simply the best Prince cop ever and in the complexity and delicacy of its painstaking palimpsestic percussive patterns (plus panned portmanteaus) is probably preferable to proximal>post Purple product. And the singing! Alternating suspended-fourth/second harmony hawtness with their trademark unison bleats is the second-greatest proof of Pete Waterman’s genius. (The first was him on ‘Pop Idol’ demonstrating the difference between ‘singing’ and ‘reciting’ to that st…idiot who kept whining about “I have a music degree! From university! I AM A SINGER!”)

Sorry, I offended you again didn’t I?

(Actually I don’t give a shit, stick that piece of paper up your ass. Then again, what do you care what I think? You’re not exactly going to go from your civil-service job to your country house and sulk about what a bunch of no-hoper proles think, are you? Go on rigging society to your own benefit, don’t mind me. Last word to Keren [what a name!] – “The one we wrote was “Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares”. It was instrumental, and quite political”.)

(originally appeared at www.stylusmagazine.com)

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