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Old 03-12-2010, 07:54 PM   #31 (permalink)
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And a big reduction in the price of beer would be rather nice.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:54 PM   #32 (permalink)
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No I'm not. Dear God is a bitter, if naive, rant as I understand it, although I can see how it can be anthemic. I love the song anyway, I just don't think it's very happy. I'd go so far as to call it one of XTC's darker songs.
O I'm sorry to call you that, then - not sure why I thought it.

I think the song is a happy, dark-poppy, bitter (if naive) rant.
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:17 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I had already written out the reviews for my next few albums, however they were on my Mac which was previously stolen so I'll have to rewrite them, should be up tomorrow. I really wish I could have said more for Skylarking but honestly, the lyrical content just goes so far over my head and I get lost in the melodies, it makes it incredibly hard to do a concise review.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:38 PM   #34 (permalink)
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98. Failure - Magnified (1994)

Genre: Alternative Rock/ Space Rock



1. Let It Drip
2. Moth
3. Frogs
4. Bernie
5. Magnified
6. Wonderful Life
7. Undone
8. Wet Gravity
9. Empty Friend
10. Small Crimes


Failure... seems like a pretty ****ty name for a band doesn’t it? Especially when it’s a band that I’m sure only a handful of you have ever heard of. If you haven’t heard of them, it’s not your fault; they really came into full at an interesting time in the music industry. Cobain had just given himself an extreme makeover and nobody else was trying particularly hard to sound different. Failure had that rare ability to take elements from various popular artists and infuse it into their music without sounding like they’re ripping them off, but in a way that’s totally noticeable. Sometimes Magnified sounds a little bit like Alice in Chains, sometimes like My Bloody Valentine or hell even Weezer on one of their tracks (“Bernie”).

Failure consisted of two steady members, Ken Andrews and Greg Edwards (whom you’ve already met in my Autolux review) with drummers coming and going, and studio musicians every once in a while. Their first drummer, Robert Gauss, left leaving Edwards to take on both the drums and bass/vocals for much of the recording. Finally a replacement drummer was found (they really are a dime a dozen) and the band was whole again.

Magnified is, in my opinion, their best album out of their three album discography. It blends together so many styles in such a manner that grabs your attention and does not let go. Well crafted with some catchy hooks, good use of soft/hard dynamics, and some quality production that gives it a glossy finish. Lyrics are engaging, not that cryptic but do require more than just 50% of your attention to truly understand what Ken Andrews is attempting to get across.

With all the ‘90’s nostalgia on this forum right now, I figured this was a good time to point out that there were some bands that never got the same limelight as the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Soundgarden, but goddammit they should have! The closest to success Failure had was touring with Tool, which is no small feat, this was at the time when Aniema came out and Tool were hotter than a sinners ass in hell. This is turning more into a rant than a review, so I’m going to end it with this: If you like any of the popular ‘90’s alternative rock/grunge/indie bands then you’ll most likely enjoy Failure. They strike a fine balance between playing off the popularity of others, yet creating a sound unique to them.


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Old 03-14-2010, 03:25 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I'm glad someone else like's failure besides me. Nice choice dude, they have a real unique style that is difficult to put into a genre, probably alternative since everything gets lumped into there. But it is a pretty good ride to sit and listen to this album.
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:02 PM   #36 (permalink)
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97. Slint Spiderland (1991)



Track List
01. Breadcrumb Trail
02. Nosferatu Man
03. Don, Amen
04. Washer
05. For Dinner...
06. Good Morning Captain



If you want to blame Nirvana for all the hack alternative rock bands of today, that’s fine, then you can thank Slint for all the good post-rock bands. Spiderland is one of the most acclaimed underground albums, like so many other albums, it failed to find its audience upon initial release, yet later when people went back and found it, they found the diamond in the rough.

One of the very first noticeable things about Spiderland is the changes between how the songs are presented vocally. What could start off as dialogue can quickly turn a melodic style that suits the music perfectly. Often times the narrative parts are delivered in a very melon collie manner, or curious (as present on ”Breadcrumb Trail”). This really helps set the entire tone of the album, a tone of alienation and desperation.

Spiderland was definitely an early example of “math-rock”, with a series of complex time signature shifts, abrupt tempo changes, and just about everything else you could try and turn into an equation. All that said, the album is incredibly strong, with each track telling a story in such a way leaving you wanting to go back and listen to it again with the lyrics in front of you. The way the lyrics mix with the music is truly something quite spectacular, for example in the song “Don, Amen” features no percussion and only the occasional chord strum while the lyrics go off. There is really no structure to it, yet when the chord is strummed it seems to coincide perfect for what the lyrics are saying.

The album ends on a particularly high note with the song “Good Morning, Captain” based on the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” The shifts in dynamics, guitar tones, drum beats, vocals make everything about “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” that much cooler. The buzzing guitar tone in the harder sections gives it a really good sense of depth, and use of harmonics, right at the same time as McMahan screams the last section of the song... then it just fades out like nothing had happened, exactly like the poem.

This was a very recent find for me, but after continued listens I really began to understand and appreciate what it is that they were trying to do, and what genre they inadvertently helped shape. It’s an album that certainly isn’t for everyone and definitely requires headphones to get be able to hear all of what McMahan is saying, but like with Failure, if you’re a fan of ‘90’s alternative music, then this is a must have album.


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Old 03-19-2010, 01:04 PM   #37 (permalink)
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96. Morcheeba - Charango (2002)



Track List

1. "Slow Down" - 4:12
2. "Otherwise" - 3:43
3. "Aqualung" - 3:24
4. "São Paulo" - 4:32
5. "Charango" (featuring Pace Won) - 4:03
6. "What New York Couples Fight About" (featuring Kurt Wagner) - 6:16
7. "Undress Me Now" - 3:25
8. "Way Beyond" - 3:34
9. "Women Lose Weight" (featuring Slick Rick) - 4:18
10. "Get Along" (featuring Pace Won) - 3:48
11. "Public Displays of Affection" - 3:09
12. "The Great London Traffic Warden Massacre" - 3:04


Ah my first review of a non-rock album, this is refreshing. The votes are still out in terms of the general consensus on trip-hop. To some it’s an incredibly relaxing and soothing music, and to others it’s just a bunch of misused hip hop beats and crappy (mostly) female vocals.

Morcheeba were kind of latecomers to the trip-hop party with Massive Attack’s Blue Lines already being hailed as the progenitor of the genre, and Portishead’s Dummy playing in any coffee shop that wasn’t Starbucks. Not only that, but it’s arguable that they only ever released one true trip-hop record before moving away and fusing other styles of music to make it more accessible and thus more likely to get the attention of major labels. To most, Big Calm is their best album, but I have to respectfully disagree and give that title to Charango.

Charango does things quite differently than most of the trip-hop artists of the ‘90’s, and that it they went for a louder sound. They made their music engaging, rather than creating soothing background music to help relax or even jump start the thought process. They struck such a great balance in making this album. The beats were catchy, yet Skye’s voice was not overpowering in anyway, or like with some artists, underwhelming. She has a great voice and she likes to flaunt it, more power to her for that. The inclusion of two guest artists really helped create some memorable songs, with Kurt Wagner’s (Alt. Country band Lambchop) low voice creating a great contrast to Skye’s as they sing about what New York couples fight about (or something along that nature). Slick Rick also made a surprise appearance, climbing out from under the rock he’d been hiding under for so many years and bringing him with him a delightfully dark song about a man who murders his wife because she’s getting too fat.

Lyrically... well it’s not lyrically deep, often times the lyrics are clichéd or pretentious by trying to be deep. Yet I can forgive that because this is by far their poppiest record and I’m not really sure if deep meanings and pop music go together. What I can say is that this is an incredibly relaxing, yet engaging album that I can’t help but pay attention to, tap my feet, and bob my head along to the cooling melodies and soothing vocals.


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Old 03-19-2010, 01:08 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Digging mostly everything you have here.
Well-written.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:09 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Spiderland is one of my favorites. I'm enjoying your tastes man.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:57 PM   #40 (permalink)
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The "I miss you!" 's at the end of Good Morning Captain are probably the best thing ever. And Morcheeba is the shizz.
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