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Old 04-03-2012, 09:04 AM   #1101 (permalink)
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Not a huge fan of Paul Simon, to be honest, however the worm does rather like a few of his songs. Like this one...
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:27 AM   #1102 (permalink)
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At first these two artistes would seem to have very little in common, but when you look closer there are similarities. Matt Johnson has always raged at the machine, so to speak, warning us of the influence everything from religion to the USA exert over our lives, and constantly angry and in despair that things are not as they should be. Sinead O'Connor, of course, has a real problem with the Catholic Church, many forms of authority and warmongerers. She sees many things happening in the world today as almost a personal affront, perhaps not to her but to God, or whatever supreme intelligence she believes in. Can't fault that, to be fair.

Both have written of and sung of the bleakness that can exist in love, the often desperate way we cling to one another, trying to shut out the darkness we know will eventually claim us, trying to stave off the inevitable. So they're actually a perfect match, really, for this ode to loveless love, despair and desperation that appeared on The The's third album, “Mind bomb”.

Matt Johnson and Sinead O'Connor --- Kingdom of rain


Not really billed as a collaboration, or indeed a duet, and to my knowledge, not even released as a single, it's nevertheless a coming together of minds and philosophies and ideas, where the emotion (or lack of) expressed throughout the song and characterised in the lyric is perfect fodder for each of the protagonists. Matt sings of how he thought he'd be with Sinead forever (”You were the girl I wanted to cry with/ You were the girl I wanted to die with”) but then saw that relationship sour and turn ugly as Sinead sings ”You were the boy who turned into a man/ Broke my heart and let go of my hand.” It's a dour, bitter song as both ask the question ”I would lie awake and wonder/ Is it just me?/ Or is this the way love is supposed to be?”

It's no love song, and yet in some ways it's more sincere and honest than many a ballad written to glorify love and romance. Chances are that most of us, though we may start off thinking in terms of “I only wanna be with you” or thereabouts, end up singing this song, or a variant of it, unless we're very lucky. It's a reminder that in the end the flowers start to die, the chocolates taste of dust as the relationship sours and falls apart, and everything turns to ashes.

Now! Aren't you glad to took the time to read this article? Feeling better? No? Well, take it as a cautionary tale if you will: this could happen to you, if you don't treat him or her better, or try to work out the problems in your own relationships.

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Old 04-03-2012, 02:30 PM   #1103 (permalink)
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Page 11 to 18

On these pages are a lot of stuff that I've not heard in donkey's years, stuff like the Bangles, Molly Hatchet and Icehouse, I've probably not heard these albums since the early 1990s and Stevie Nicks we've already discussed. I'm actually revisiting Malmsteen soon, I'm not much of a fan of the virtuoso guitarists doing solo albums, but after finally being impressed with the Michael Schenker debut, I'm gradually revisiting all these types of albums. Also listening to a lot of Kamelot at the moment along with Virgin Steele, these are my two current power metal kicks.

Guess what, I'm finally finding some pages where I don't really like the artist or have never heard of them..........this means I can really speed up.

Ozzy Osbourne- When it comes to Ozzy, I fall into the category that none of his solo stuff falls into the same class as those first 6 Black Sabbath albums. I find his first two solo albums with Randy Rhoads (they seem to be the reason that they are held in such high esteem) to be just good albums, but I never find them worthy of repeated listens.

NWBHM 2- As said part 2 of the NWOBHM, don't you think its amazing of the amount of bands that formed this movement, that a huge amount either came from the West Midlands or the North East!!!

Raven- When I started my NWOBHM thread this was another very popular band, they had bags of raw energy and their debut album cover demonstrated their excessive love of noise,in the song writing dept they weren't the best but that energy!!!

Cloven Hoof- Probably one of the weaker bands of the movement, I've listened to several of their albums over the years and usually foget them, the best thing about this band are their album covers, the band later shifted in a more power metal direction.

Venom- At times hilariously bad and Lemmy summed them up perfectly by saying that they were faking it on stage as they were such bad musicians, their albums sound like the were produced in a back bedroom BUT when something is that bad it can often be good because the songs were there. Whatever anybody thinks of this band, they where probably wholly responsible for the future extreme metal sub-genre that bands like Slayer and Celtic Frost (ooooooh Celtic Frost) would later go onto perfect.
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:34 AM   #1104 (permalink)
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:55 AM   #1105 (permalink)
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Certainly tying in with the weather prevalent in Dublin today, this is the Scorpions, with a classic power ballad, “Wind of change”.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:56 AM   #1106 (permalink)
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Kingdoms of folly --- Black Bayou Construkt --- 2009 (Golar Wash Labs & Records)


I really hate it when I can't find much information on a band! Wiki has zip, discogs says “Wha?” and the only information I can dig up on this enigmatic band is from their own MySpace page --- which again I don't like; not theirs in particular, just MySpace in general --- so I guess I had better let the band do the introductions. From their MySpace: Born: 2004 in the ashes of Santeria & numerous other Louisiana bands, Black Bayou is a psyouthern Gypsy-Death-Blues Atmospheric sextet that plays original compositions for The People. References nothing in the current over or underground, but is rooted in tradition and prone to experimental excursions of the atmospheric variety, which in some ways could be construed as a nod to the "jam band scene," albeit that would be the darker elements of said scene. Enough said, I believe.

So, this is their debut album, they hail from the Deep Sath, and claim to be unlike anything you've ever heard before. Well, that's a claim that's certainly been made before, sometimes to good effect, sometimes to bad. You have to admit though, the description of BBC (hah!) as a “psyouthern gypsy death blues atmospheric” band has to have piqued your curiosity. It certainly has made me want to hear just exactly what music with a wide-ranging tag like that sounds like.

So let's do that, shall we?

Well, it sounds fairly rock with guitar, drums and harmonica as “Jones for war” opens the album, nice southern boogie type of sound to it, gravelly rough vocals from mainman Dege Legg, kind of a mix of Molly Hatchet and Soul Asylum, with a shot of Squeeze thrown in. Seems Dege is aided on the gee-tar by Chad Viatar (great name for an axeman huh?) and a guy with the unlikely name of Hawley Joe Gary bashes the skins. Wailing violin from Esther Tyree takes us into “In search of...”, a mid-paced rocker with some effective piano courtesy of Sean Keating, Legg and Viatar's guitars howling back in desperation at Tyree's violin. A more restrained song this, with some good backing vocals, then we're into “Way of the lamb”, with a cool guitar intro, almost acoustic or semi-acoustic, kind of campfire-song style, with Legg stretching his vocal prowess and Tyree punching in with some pretty wild violin --- I know that's an adjective seldom used in concert with that instrument, but really, it fits: her violin is more like the cry of a wounded banshee or a howling coyote --- the song getting more intense and powerful as it goes along.

According to their bio on MySpace, Black Bayou Construkt spent much of their time in seedy hotels, trailer parks and old cars, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and you can hear that sense of loss and despair in their music, but transcending it is the determination to survive, to rebuild and not to give in. “Last man out of Babylon” is another of these type of songs, moody acoustic guitar painting the scene with an almost old western sound, the kind of song a cowboy might be found singing. Not in the same vein as Bon Jovi's “Wanted dead or alive”, but with a similar atmosphere. The electric guitar joining the acoustic really amps up the emotion in the song, whereas “Lonely street” is a more stripped-down effort built on electric guitar and bass, and featuring the return of Esther Tyree's mad violin, as well as piano passages from Sean Keating that fill out the melody but don't attempt to take it over.

A sort of amalgam of the styles of the Jam and the Police is what springs to mind as “The greater good” takes over, with hard, firm guitars and a semi-reggae beat sliding just a little into punk and then back again before it loses control. Nice little bass line helps to keep the song together, solid drumming from Gary and expressive and intense vocal from Legg. It's a short song, but “Killing time”, which follows it, is even shorter, just over two minutes. A much rockier song, it's constructed (hah! Again!) on a solid guitar riff, almost a nod to Black Sabbath, while “Movin' on” has to be what they call psychobilly, with a pretty healthy dose of Creedence Clearwater Revival helping it on and an infectious chorus.

Some powerful organ adds a punch to “Love song for the hated”, a slower song but not a ballad, quite commercial in its way, the organ reminding me of Nick Cave's “Henry's dream” album in places. Good little guitar solo too, though whether from Legg or Viatar I can't say. “Bombs away” goes back to the main rock style, with some very melodic guitar, the song bopping along at a decent pace, very catchy with a great guitar riff running through it, and Legg sounding quite Springsteenesque, then “Streets of no end” has a strong piano intro, running into what sounds like it may be a ballad, with Legg this time recalling the best of Bono: I could have seen this doing well as a single, though as I say information on BBC is scant to say the least, so I couldn't say if this actually happened.

Esther Tyree's violin makes a welcome return near the end of this song, and while “Streets of no end” is a little fast for a ballad, I'd probably class it as a semi-ballad. It certainly has the elements if not the tempo. Big country/blues number then in “All the king's men”, definite tinges of REM, perhaps a little Coldplay and a look in from the Hooters, really nice bit of slide guitar, and some soulful violin from Tyree as we head towards “Do you want me”, a country-sounding ballad led by Keating's piano lines aided by some more lovely slide guitar. Things stay slow and laidback for “The last laugh”, where again Tyree excels on the violin, with the album's title mentioned in the lyric, and then rather surprisingly, the closer is an absolute epic!

With so far the longest track hitting the five and a half minute mark, “Black is the night” is indeed unexpected, its almost thirteen minute length making it more than twice the length of the next longest, “Way of the lamb”. It opens on humming keys and hillbilly guitar, maybe even banjo but I don't think so. Sounds of thunder rend the air as the guitar picks its way through the opening melody, Esther's violin joining in before Dege Legg's voice comes in strong and clear, the music getting a little more full and intense as the drums kick in and electric guitar powers in. There's a strong sense of Delta blues about this, with some old-style country mixed in, the violin taking the song to other dimensions entirely, and what began simply has now become something of a powerhouse closer, and we're only at the four minute point, almost a third of the way through.

The violin is leading the way now as the song heads towards its sixth minute, almost the midway point, then it begins to slow down and sounds like it would end here, but shimmering keys and light percussion keep it going as some gentle guitar ushers it towards the ninth minute, some major feedback then building up as the drums start to get going properly for a moment, then it all drops away to the sounds of thunder and rain which goes on for some minutes, fading and getting further away, so that it would appear the song proper ends at around the nine and a half minute mark.

Inscrutable? Uncategorisable? I wouldn't go that far. It's rock music, tinged with country and blues and probably some folk, with the odd other influence thrown in for good measure. But if you like good, honest, earnest rock music with a lot to say, then it's unlikely you'll be disappointed with this album. It's certainly going to have a few more spins on my disk before too long. YouTubes for this band were hard to come by, as was information on them, so I'm assuming you may have a little trouble tracking down this, for the moment, their only album. But do make an effort: it'll be worth it, I promise.

TRACKLISTING

1. Jones for war
2. In search of...
3. Way of the lamb
4. Last man out of Babylon
5. Lonely street
6. The greater good
7. Killing time
8. Movin' on
9. Love song for the hated
10. Bombs away
11. Streets of no end
12. All the king's men
13. Do you want me
14. The last laugh
15. Black is the night
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:03 AM   #1107 (permalink)
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:07 AM   #1108 (permalink)
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In honour of the release, and review last week, of his new album, let's take a classic from the Boss, shall we? This is from “Born in the USA”, and it's “Dancing in the dark”. But then, you knew that, didn't you?
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:43 AM   #1109 (permalink)
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Save me, San Francisco --- Train --- 2009 (Columbia)


To pull a phrase from another section of my journal, this was more or less Last Chance Saloon for Train, whose previous album, “For me it's you” had failed to make any sort of impact on the charts at all, and had led to the band originally considering breaking up but deciding instead to take a break, during which they pursued solo projects. With those faring equally badly as their recent band output, Train got back together and approached their next, “comback”, as it were, album with renewed vigour, sense of purpose and the idea of just writing music for music's sake, instead of writing for the charts, desperate for another hit to rival their 2001 Grammy-winning “Drops of Jupiter”.

It seemed to work, and this, their fifth album, hits all the right spots. Though it still failed to set the charts alight, it sold well and re-established train as a viable rock band, as they returned to their roots, most especially demonstrated by the title of the album. Having been at one point a quintet, Train were now stripped back down to the original lineup of three: Pat Monahan on vocals, Jimmy Stafford on guitar and Scott Underwood on drums, and it seems to have made all the difference.

The title track starts off upbeat and happy sort of folk-rock, great guitar and some nice honky-tonk piano with Monahan at the top of his game again; he sounds happy and almost as if he's rediscovered his mojo. There's a great feeling of camaraderie about this song, and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. If it sounds like anything, it's like three guys being delighted, after years on the road, to be heading home. Monahan sings ”I've been high/I've been low/ I've been yes/And I've been oh Hell no!/ I've been rock and roll and I've been disco/ Won't you save me, San Francisco?” It's hard not to get caught up in the exuberance of this music, so why try? Just let yourself go, and enjoy it!

Great opener, definitely sets the scene, then what sounds like banjo with a rolling drumbeat takes us into their biggest selling single off the album. “Hey, soul sister” is pure commercialism, but still retaining the basic Train sound. It's another upbeat song, very cheerful with some soft keyboards in the background which work very well, nice jangly guitar and then “I got you” is a little slower, with a James Blunt bent to it, the vocal on the verses more spoken/poetry than singing really, more organ but deeper and a little more to the front this time, while “Parachute” is a harder, punchier rock semi-ballad with passionate vocals and jangly guitar with thumping drums and solid synth lines, possibly even strings, though clear lineup information on this album is proving surprisingly difficult to come by.

Carried mostly on a laidback piano melody, “This ain't goodbye” looks to be the first real ballad, with a hint of Marc Cohn or Bruce Hornsby about it and a yearning desperation in the voice of Monahan. Would have made a good single, but I don't think it was chosen. Come to think of it, “Parachute” would also probably have been a good candidate for release, however although there were five singles in total released from the album (none of which charted that well, bar “Hey, soul sister”) neither of these were included. “If it's love” is a faster, more energetic song driven on Jimmy Stafford's fine guitar work, but it's Jerry Becker's keyboards that usher in “You already know”, with some lovely deep strings carrying the tune also, until it breaks out into a hard rocker with staccato guitar and punchy drums, a great vocal hook and some very powerful and effective percussion in the chorus. Very anthemic, I can see this going down well on stage. Fine breakout guitar solo from Stafford near the end.

A powerful hard ballad, “Words” opens on acoustic guitar but soon breaks out into full electric with backup from strings and keys and a gravelly vocal from Monahan. A sort of soul/gospel feel to this, with powerful backing vocals, and Becker's excellent piano lines again filling in the melody, then we're into “Brick by brick”, and indeed this is a slow track too, balladic certainly with a great keyboard melody running through it, flanked by some very expressive guitar and the sumptuous strings again, crafting this into quite a thing to behold. And then for a few seconds I think I've accidentally put on Phil Collins' “Face value”, as the drum intro to “Breakfast in bed” is taken right out of “In the air tonight”, but the song itself is of course a lot different.

I do find though that Train appear to be grouping the slower songs --- if not actually ballads --- together at the end of the album, which is a trick I don't really favour. I'd rather they were spread out over the expanse of the album, but this is how they've decided to approach the structure of the album, and “Breakfast in bed” is quite Ocasek/Cars in its makeup, kind of nodding in the direction of “Emotion in motion”, then the album closes on “Marry me”, a lovely little acoustic ballad, taking the total count of slow songs on the album --- and grouped at the end --- to four. Good closer though.

You can see on that on “Save me, San Francisco” Train have regained the love of songwriting and making music that was perhaps missing from the previous album, as they searched too hard for another hit single, and in the process lost sight of what was most important. Now that they are back on track (sorry!) I imagine their new album, which I think is already out, should be quite an experience to listen to.

Looks like San Francisco did save them, after all. And us.

TRACKLISTING

1. Save me, San Francisco
2. Hey, soul sister
3. I got you
4. Parachute
5. This ain't goodbye
6. If it's love
7. You already know
8. Words
9. Brick by brick
10. Breakfast in bed
11. Marry me
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:05 PM   #1110 (permalink)
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