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Old 09-05-2017, 02:48 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
If you want any Marillion or Fish recs, let me know. I'll point you in the right direction.
A top 3 of the best album from either would be useful.
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Old 09-05-2017, 06:22 AM   #22 (permalink)
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A top 3 of the best album from either would be useful.
Fish era: Script For a Jester's Tear, Fugazi, Misplaced Childhood (not hard to do a top three, as he was only there for four albums! Clutching at Straws is well worth listening to also)

Hogarth era: Brave, Afraid of Sunlight, This Strange Engine
Honourable mentions: Happiness Is The Road, Radiation, Marbles, Marillion.com

Fish solo: Raingods With Zippos, Internal Exile, Field of Crows
Honourable mentions: Suits, Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors, Sunsets on Empire.
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:06 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I wrote down the six albums I listened to in a row yesterday so that I could write some notes about them later. Here they are:

Shannon Wright - Dyed in the Wool



I've heard two other albums of her's and they were both great, but this one quite possibly takes the cake. Just an amazing dark, gritty, melancholy vibe going on here. I will compare Wright to PJ Harvey, but I'm starting to think I like Wright better! The melodies, the textures, the song structures, the variety, the instrumentation, the vocals... It's just all so artfully handled and so interesting to listen to. Top drawer material, easily.




Judie Tzuke - Turning Stones



I seem to remember Trollheart saying this was one of his favorite Tzuke albums, and I see why! In some ways it is clearly stylistically different from the three other albums I have before this one (Sportscar, I Am the Phoenix and Shoot the Moon), yet much more in the vein of those than the last album I have (Left Hand Talking).

That latter album is pretty much an adult contemporary styled singer songwriter record, while all the rest are this very melodic style of 80's pop, complete with kinetic drum beats and lots of synths, guitars and bass lines.

Turning Stones feels set apart from the other albums in this style with its much cleaner, smoother production and in simply using different sounds. It somehow feels very much like the sort of thing Judie has done many times before, but at the same time completely fresh and rejuvenated.

Some of these tracks perhaps feel like they're made for a dance floor than anything she's done before.
Check out the first track of the album for an example.

"We'll Go Dreaming":


I'm actually not really into 80's pop, but Judie Tzuke kicks so much ass at this that I love it anyway.

The songs are generally very memorable, loaded with atmosphere and the album is pretty varied too. I had a very enjoyable ride my first time through this one.

I'm still not sure which Judie Tzuke album I like the most, but this one is certainly a candidate.


Helion Prime - [self titled]



I've been itching to hear all of this album for a while since I've been re-playing the single Life Finds a Way a million times over the last couple months. The album didn't disappoint!
It's a load of power metal of the less fruity variety, with more of a heavy metal feel. The singer is a woman with a fairly rich and strong voice and I'm actually a bit bummed that they already replaced her after this debut album came out just last year.
There's a vague sort of theme to the album, about exploring new worlds and such, but it doesn't feel like a concept album as such. There's 10 tracks on this and pretty much no duds. Lot's of catchy hooks, creative guitar solos and wild keyboard solos.
I feel like the album has really nice sound, but I still hope they find a guitar sound with a bit more character for the next album - which they're already working on by the way.
I don't buy many metal albums anymore, but this one convinved me. Can't beat a good song, and this album has plenty.




Bryan Ferry - Frantic



This is what I've usually considered the last Ferry album worth listening to. After this, he contracted a terminal case of boring and I didn't even consider the album all that strong. An album of a handful good songs and a handful or two of blandness.

This isn't exactly a new album in my collection. I've owned it for years. It had been a while since I last listened to it, so I thought that maybe a re-appraisal was in order, especially considering how I'm listening to a lot more low key music now than I used to (metal 24/7) and... lo and behold, now I found it to be pretty damn good all the way through! Even the Bob Dylan cover Goodnight Irene seemed appealing to me this time round, and I used to skip that one without any hesitation.

This just goes to show that our tastes in music aren't etched in stone. So, now I guess I'm actually going to recommend one of Bryan Ferry's "weakest albums"? I find it to be a very tasteful, nuanced piece of work with a lot of subtle character and flavor. There's even a good amount of variety on this.

Probably my current favorite off the album:

Nobody Loves Me:



Melody Gardot - Worrisome Heart



I'm going to shorten things from here on so I can get through this today.
Basically, I dismissed as boring when I heard her music some time last year. Then I saw Ted Gioia recommend one of her albums on his personal blog, which I found early this year. I have found dozens of amazing music on his blog and respect his tastes quite a bit, so I thought that maybe I was just plain wrong and should try again. I did and... To my surprise, after a bit of time went by, I saw what's supposed to be so great about her.
Man, does this lady have character! She's so much fun to listen to once you get past the fairly been-there-done-that vocal jazz facade of it all. I especially love when she's scatting or otherwise livening things up vocally. Sultry is another adjective you can throw at her and not miss.
That she apparently walks with a cane in real life due to some bicycle accident just adds to her character.
Good album!




Vashti Bunyan - Just Another Diamond Day



I got my hands on this one a couple years ago or less and have loved it ever since. The story goes that Vashti released this way back in 1970. Her debut album barely sold any copies and she gave up on having a professional music career. Then, over the decades, her album became a sort of cult favorite. An album folk music fans would share with each other as being a true hidden gem. Now it's pretty much considered a must-listen. Vashti even came back with a couple new albums in 2005 and 2014 respectively and I must admit I haven't checked the out yet. But I will, because Just Another Diamond Day really is all it's made out to be.

Here's my favorite track.
Rose Hip November:

Last edited by MicShazam; 09-06-2017 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:50 AM   #24 (permalink)
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That Judie album is certainly close to a favourite of mine, though I think it's hard to choose one. Sadly, some of her best albums, ie the first three, all have weak songs on them that make it hard to say they're perfect. This does come close. There's a kind of fragility to songs like "Sound of my sister's tears", "Let me be the pearl" and the title track that is balanced by powerful numbers like "Modern killers". But even this album suffers from the one-terrible-track-syndrome. I mean, "Run to win"? **** that ****. Luckily it's followed by the superb ballad "Don't go", and things just keep high quality from there on.

Glad you're getting into her music; nice to have someone who won't say "Judie who?"
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Old 09-06-2017, 12:32 PM   #25 (permalink)
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But even this album suffers from the one-terrible-track-syndrome. I mean, "Run to win"? **** that ****. Luckily it's followed by the superb ballad "Don't go", and things just keep high quality from there on.
On my first, and so far only, listen through the whole album, no song struck me as bad, but I know from experience how my perception of albums tend to change with each listen.

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Glad you're getting into her music; nice to have someone who won't say "Judie who?"
Last Friday some friends came by for a night of board games and Judie Tzuke was one of the many artists that made it through my stereo. Some asked who she was when the Sportscar album and the Portfolio compilation album played and seemed to quite like her music. I think her music could appeal to many if only they got exposed to it somehow. I found her myself by nothing by dumb luck, and I was sold immediately.

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Old 09-06-2017, 12:48 PM   #26 (permalink)
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On my first, and so far only, listen through the whole album, no song struck me as bad, but I know from experience how my perception of albums tend to change with each listen.
It happens. "New Friends Again" on Welcome To the Cruise (terrible sub-disco song that prefaces the wonderful "Stay With Me Till Dawn"), most of Ritmo, "God Only Knows" on Left Hand Talking (sure it's a cover but why does it need to even be there?), "I Can Read Books" off Wonderland, "Racing Against Time " from The Cat is Out....
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Last Friday some friends came by for a night of board games and Judie Tzuke was one of the many artists that made it through my stereo. Some asked who she was when the Sportscar album and the Portfolio compilation album played and seemed to quite like her music. I think her music could appeal to many if only they got exposed to it somehow. I found her myself by nothing by dumb luck, and I was sold immediately.
This has always been my belief too. It's not that her music doesn't or wouldn't appeal to a wider audience, just that most people seem never to have heard of her, or if they had, it's that one song.
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Old 09-06-2017, 01:09 PM   #27 (permalink)
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It happens. "New Friends Again" on Welcome To the Cruise (terrible sub-disco song that prefaces the wonderful "Stay With Me Till Dawn"), most of Ritmo, "God Only Knows" on Left Hand Talking (sure it's a cover but why does it need to even be there?), "I Can Read Books" off Wonderland, "Racing Against Time " from The Cat is Out....
I still need to familiarize myself with all of her albums. I don't know even the ones I have in and out yet, so giving my full opinion about them will have to wait until somewhere in the future. I never feel comfortable judging an album that I like until I've lived with it for a while. Until then, any opinion I hold might change next week.

Ritmo being bad? Oh dear... I've put it on my wishlist for my birthday in October, so maybe I'll hear for myself soon enough. The only album that let me down so far is Left Hand Talking, but I only heard the whole thing once so I don't know for sure yet... (for the record, I only own Sportscar, I am the Phoenix, Turning Stones, Left Hand Talking and the Portfolio collection, so I haven't quite got by bearing yet. I'm especially interested in hearing all of her debut album, but it will take a while before I find a good copy of it.)
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:06 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I still need to familiarize myself with all of her albums. I don't know even the ones I have in and out yet, so giving my full opinion about them will have to wait until somewhere in the future. I never feel comfortable judging an album that I like until I've lived with it for a while. Until then, any opinion I hold might change next week.

Ritmo being bad? Oh dear... I've put it on my wishlist for my birthday in October, so maybe I'll hear for myself soon enough. The only album that let me down so far is Left Hand Talking, but I only heard the whole thing once so I don't know for sure yet... (for the record, I only own Sportscar, I am the Phoenix, Turning Stones, Left Hand Talking and the Portfolio collection, so I haven't quite got by bearing yet. I'm especially interested in hearing all of her debut album, but it will take a while before I find a good copy of it.)
It might just be me. I found Ritmo a massive let down, almost her attempt at a full-blown disco/vacuous pop album. Actually, now I look at the tracklisting again it's not so bad. Certainly until halfway into the second side. And it ends well. Maybe I should give it another chance.

Incidentally, if you want digital copies of any of her albums, ie mp3s, let me know and I can post them for you.
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Old 09-06-2017, 04:53 PM   #29 (permalink)
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It might just be me. I found Ritmo a massive let down, almost her attempt at a full-blown disco/vacuous pop album. Actually, now I look at the tracklisting again it's not so bad. Certainly until halfway into the second side. And it ends well. Maybe I should give it another chance.

Incidentally, if you want digital copies of any of her albums, ie mp3s, let me know and I can post them for you.
The only one it seems like might be really hard to get a CD copy of so far is The Cat is Out. It easily goes for 4x as much on CD as it does on vinyl on amazon.uk, and I don't own a turntable.

In think I can manage Wonderland and Welcome to the Cruise. I did after all get Turning Stones. It was expensive for a while, but I managed to grab a copy when it dropped to something reasonable one day.

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Old 09-10-2017, 04:08 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I'm going to try a new thing here and do some sort of short form, commented overview of a whole artist discography. I'm going to refrain from posting song links and instead just give my heavily compressed thoughts on each album and a rating of each. If I do this again later, I may well change the approach. It's an experiment and I'm not sure how helpful it actually is. Anyway, here goes:

Guide to my Favorite artists: Dir En Grey
Country: Japan
Formed: 1997
Status: Still active and fairly productive. A new album is probably not that far away.
Genres: An eclectic mix of J-rock, nu-metal, death metal, alternative rock, , pop hooks, progressive metal and other musical elements.
Members: Same lineup since the beginning.
Kyo lead vocals
Kaoru guitar, backing vocals
Die guitar, backing vocals
Toshiya bass, backing vocals
Shinya drums, percussion

Discography overview:

Gauze (1999)

Their first album is a pretty raw and frantic sounding mix of J-rock and nu-metal elements. Pretty interesting and it's grown on me over the years. Kyo's vocals on this album sound a bit like he's caught a cold. It will be a few albums before his talents are truly unleashed. The best song on the album is the menacingly unhinged and frankly rather oddly named Mazohyst of Decadence .
8/10 - A solid starting point. Pretty rough around the edges, but brimming with energy an personality.

Macabre (2000)

A bit of a sophomore slump. It's not bad, but the songs aren't as memorable as on the first album and it doesn't sound as good. The best thing about it is probably that the band seems intent on being a bit weirder here than they were on the first album.
7/10 - A good album, but not where anyone should start with this band. This one is for the already converted.

Kisou (2002)

Very, very good! It's a more melodic, more refined evolution of what the band was doing on Gauze. Feels more matured, less histrionic. The song Embryo might just be the first true classic this band has produced. Kyo's vocals are still somewhat nasal and off-sounding. I think it works, but the next album is where he starts getting a lot better.
8/10 - I like this album a lot, but it is undeniably a bit uneven. Good place to starts, but not their peak.

Six Ugly (2002)

This 6 track EP displays a clear change in style. All of a sudden these very modern sounding Deftones and American contemporary metal inspirations heavily modify the band's sound. Not an entirely successful experiment and the songs aren't really all that good. It is however very interesting in how it foreshadowed the change of direction that would happen on the next full length album.
6/10 - It's allright for what it is, but pretty much the nadir of the whole discography.

Vulgar (2003)

This is where the band starts transitioning into the band I truly love. The front cover, back cover and all the pages of the booklet are mostly black, which is how the band would present their albums from this point on. Fittingly, the music is more abrasive, considerably darker and more metal influenced than the previous more rock-leaning outings. Kyo's vocals expand into growls, shrieks and more refined sounding melodic singing. His octave range also seems to have suddenly expanded. Instrumentally and structurally, the songs start getting a bit more complex, but there's still a lot of their old style left in the mix here. It's a transitional album. The sound of a band forging a new identity.
8/10 - Very good, but not their ultimate expression of this style. There are several classic tracks on the album, so it isn't skippable by any means.

Withering to Death (2005)

This is the first truly classic Dir En Grey album. I pretty much just love it front to back. One of my top 10 favorite songs of all time is on this album. Big words, I know! It's called Itoshusa Ha Fuhai Nitsuki . This song is the culmination of the softer side of the band in their new style. There are more amazing songs on the album in various styles, but if you only hear one, make it this one! Like most of their albums, this one is pretty over compressed in the sound, but it still has an amazing vibe to it. Easily one of my all time favorite albums and a pretty eclectic mix of styles. Not by any means the band at their most abrasive, even though some songs are rather frantic and heavy.
10/10 - I love it to death!

The Marrow of a Bone (2007)

This album is radically more harsh and wild than the previous album. There are moments of quiet, but this album is overall much like being beated to death with a set of heavy static spitting speakers. I don't think it's the strongest effort of the band and it's pretty hard to get through in one sitting, but I really do love the atmosphere of this album, plus there's some really solid tracks here. It doesn't quite measure up to the previous album, but some rate it way higher in the band's discography than I do.
8/10 - Good, but quite a mouthful. A pretty offensively overcompressed production job that's peaking and crackling all over the place. Death Magnetic go home, this album is a wall of migraine inducing noise. I like it, but damn does it test my ears.
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