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Stephen E. Andrews "Writer" (United Kingdom)
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Germfree Adolescents
Germfree Adolescents
3 used & new from CDN$ 11.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Uk Punk Rock Masterwork: originality over formula, July 17 2004
This review is from: Germfree Adolescents (Audio CD)
So much bull**it has been written and said about Punk Rock since it was propagandised into a formula by journos obsessed with politics and listeners who wanted nothing but the same old cliches again and again. This process started as early as 1977 when The Clash annoyingly brought the kind of sixties 'social realism' protest ideal into Punk Rock, transforming it into mere Punk (note the distinction).
X Ray Spex were (along with The Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, The Damned, The Adverts and Alternative TV) one of the true early UK Punk Rock bands and like their peers, their watchword was originality. Fronted by half Somali-half White vocalist Poly Styrene and female saxophonist Laura Logic, Spex were signed within three gigs, Logic departing after the initial 'Oh Bondage! Up Yours!' single included as one of the bonus tracks on this disc.
How did this originality manifest itself ? Well, I'm sorry to disappoint today's riot grrls by saying that feminism was not overtly on the agenda, making Poly's fronting of the band a more successfully feminist triumph by default -in 1977 Punk Rock UK, women did not have to compete with the boys, they were treated as equals and knew it, so they never had to bleat too much about oppression -Punk Rock transcended such boundaries. What counted in Punk Rock was that one was an individual.
Styrene instead employed a conceptual approach to her lyrics that resulted in a remarkably consistent worldview that anticipated postmodernism -possibly influenced by Andy Warhol's obsession with repetitious consumer images and his statments like 'I Want To Be A Machine'. In the world of the X Ray Spex, the consumer is King and Clown and this includes Punk Rockers themselves. The ersatz nature of a mass production world infects all of Poly's songs, updating the pop art detachment of early Roxy Music for the Punk Rock age. The Spex take on the consumers' need to possess goods for their own sake and their obsession with self-image make for far more interesting and artistically rewarding listening than the agit prop of The Clash et al. In this sense, The Spex have more in common with Devoto's orginal Buzzcocks and the album tracks by The Sex Pistols, where the personal is the political.
The saxophone sets the album apart from the other bands of the era (with the exception of The Stranglers, who used it on their debut single) while reminding us of The Spex' musical influences -the aforementioned Roxy and side two of The Stooges 'Fun House'. Poly's unique keening screech and the amphetamine blast of the guitar/bass/drums backline ensure that the album is pure UK Punk Rock authenticitiy from start to finish.
Not satisfied with the infectious, ecstatic gleefully violent riffing and primeval free-jazz overblowings of tracks like 'Obsessed With You', the Spex also used synthesizers on the title track and 'Warrior In Woolworths', displaying interests in a wider range of tone colours than all of their contemporaries except the magnificent Stranglers. But the best track of all is the breathtsking 'Let's Submerge', the greatest subway train song ever recorded, whose imagery and melody give the listener a real taste of the excitement and fear of Punk Rock London in 1977:
the vinyl vultures dressed to kill/the dagger glares from Richard Hell
is just one stunning snippet from Styrene.
Perhaps it was for the best that there was only ever one Spex album - few of the authentic Punk Rock groups managed more and it was better than they flicked the amp switches off than faded away.
This CD contains all the Spex original recordings, including B sides. It is also a far better bet than the new DVD Audio version, which has fewer tracks and is mixed incorrectly, tnere being an absurd excess of bass in the balance that was never there in the original recordings.

NEW Alien Quadrilogy (DVD)
NEW Alien Quadrilogy (DVD)
Offered by newtownvideo_ca
Price: CDN$ 37.03
25 used & new from CDN$ 22.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Please get the nomenclature right, Hollywood, April 9 2004
This review is from: NEW Alien Quadrilogy (DVD) (DVD)
This is all good stuff of course, but what the hellis a quadrilogy- there's no such term. The correct term for a four-part work of art is a TETRALOGY. If people can cope with trilogy, Hollywood, they can cope with Tetralogy. Now let's hope Ridely Scott gets to make another Alien film...

Sound Of The Beast: The Complete Headbanging History Of Heavy Meta
Sound Of The Beast: The Complete Headbanging History Of Heavy Meta
by Ian Christe
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from CDN$ 5.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Metal from the perspective of a US-centric Mettalica fan, April 9 2004
While this book is well written and relatively intelligent it has several major flaws:
1) The seventies are 'covered' within the first forty pages, which means that the precursors of heavy metal from the sixties, the classic bands who inspired the HM formula and many of the definitive 70s HM bands are hardly covered at all. This is due to the fact that HM didn't really take off in a major way until the 80s in America, despite the success of Zeppelin, Sabbath etc. For readers who know their rock history and those from the UK, the defining era of the genre is therefore largely ignored and the many interesting theories abounding regarding the origins and defintions of HM are missing. However, the author does correctly identify Judas priest as the definitie original HM band (good man !)
2) Once Metallica appear on the scene, virtually every event in the history of metal onwards is examined from within the context that metallica are the definitive and greatest metal band. As good and as important as they are, this is meant to be a history of HEAVY METAL, not Metallica.
3) Some poor research and overly US oriented misunderstanding of genres like Punk Rock and New Wave perpetuate myths about these other areas of rock that do not stand up to close scrutiny - no musical genre is as simple as these alternatives to metal are represented here. There are also factual gaffes, for example the notion that Budgie were English, when they are of course Welsh. Such a subtle cultural point might seem insignificant, but I'm sure if the author had labelled a Swedish band Norwegian, there'd be hell to pay....
Despite these points, the book is a good fun read, but what is really needed is a work of similar scope that spends more time on the seventies in metal, otherwsie younger listeners might go away with preconceptions about old school stuff.
Ultimately, the fact remains that in a form of music as intrinsically modern as rock, the pioneers remain the most important artists and they are simply not represented enough here. I'll stick with Deena Weinsteen's 'Heavy metal: A Cultural Sociology' until a more balanced history of the most resilient of rock forms comes along.
See you all on the Priest tour later this year !!!

O Lucky Man!
O Lucky Man!
VHS
5 used & new from CDN$ 27.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Happy to greet you, Jan. 8 2004
This review is from: O Lucky Man! (VHS Tape)
All film fans who were young in the 70s will remember this classic: but what is really needed is a DVD of the full version. As another reviewer has said, is anyone listening ?

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (Widescreen)
Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Tom Atkins
Price: CDN$ 7.93
24 used & new from CDN$ 5.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Scarier Than The Shape, Nov. 17 2003
Yeah, yeah...we know, we know...this film does not feature Michael Myers so therefore it's nothing to do with the others in the sequence...
But wait: there was a time when horror, SF and fantasy were about imagination, not spoon feeding people the same old stuff again and again. In this sense 'Season of the Witch' wins out over all its critics. Written by Nigel 'Quatermass' Kneale, it is naturally the usual intelligent mix of supernatural terror and eldritch science only Kneale's pen can deliver. If you enjoyed Carpenter's later 'Prince of Darkness' (which he scripted under the pseudonym Martin Quatermass as a homage to Kneale) then THIS is for you. If you just want more stalk and slash then stick with Jason Voorhees...
It's quite simple: if you are sharp, the sheer meanness of the trick (in the form of a treat) the pagan Irish villain of this movie plays on kids using remnants of an ancient artefact will chill you. If you want the old knife ritual, forget it.
Recommended for anyone who likes intelligent original horror/SF.

Atomhenge '76
Atomhenge '76
Offered by Rarewaves-CA
Price: CDN$ 16.26
13 used & new from CDN$ 16.26

1.0 out of 5 stars Unastounding Sounds Unamazing Music, Sept. 8 2003
This review is from: Atomhenge '76 (Audio CD)
As a huge fan of the Hawkwind of the mid 70s, I awaited this release eagerly: the idea of hearing tracks from 'Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music'(one of Hawkwind's most underrated records) in a live context was more than a little exciting.
Boy was I disappointed. The sound quality of this recording is of the standard of a poor bootleg - if you're expecting something like the quality of the live cuts on 'PXR5' for example, you'll be pretty upset.
There is still room for a definitive live release from this period featuring such masters of the universe as Turner, Calvert, Brock and House together, but I'm afraid this is not it. Avoid.

2001 Live
2001 Live
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 44.83
10 used & new from CDN$ 11.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a patch on Viva!, June 12 2003
This review is from: 2001 Live (Audio CD)
When the Roxy Music reunion tour was announced I should have been very excited, but as only Ferry,MacKay and Manzanera did the prepublicity and no mention was made of other original members returning, I thought it would be worth missing: on their last tour even Paul Thompson was absent.
Of course I was infuriated when it became clear that Paul was appearing but by then tickets had sold out.
Now that I've heard the live album though, I'm not so disappointed: it is quite simply not a patch on Viva!, the first Roxy Live album from 1976. Why ?
There were 13 musicians in the 2001 reunion lineup and only 6 in the classic Roxy lineup(s) of the early-mid 70s. On Viva!, you could say there are 8 musicians if you include The Sirens who provide backing vocals on 'Both Ends Burning'. They might have been out of tune but god could they screech and a bit of dirt is what this new album really lacks.
The effect of this layering of session types on top of more authentic rockers results in a crowded mix that diminishes rather than increases impact. For example, the excellent Chris Spedding is brought in on second guitar behind Manzanera and we hear very little of either throughout this album, which is very bass and top heavy but lacks serious middle register. The tone colours are just to thin on much of this album. Maybe the sound was much better live, in which case whomever mixed this album should go back to recording school...
The arrangements are also weak and limp in many cases (having heard Viva versions of Both Ends Burning, If There Is Something, Out of the Blue, Do The Strand and In Every Dream Home the versions on this album are non-events in comparison- Editions of You is also very poor, especially the awfully mannered vocals at the coda).
Manzanera is particularly absent throughout much of the record and why chose the talented but generic Lucy Wilkins on keyboards and violin over Eddie Jobson (who was probably available) or even Hawkwind's Simon House (whose 70s style would have been more in keeping with the Roxy aesthetic). And where was the great unsung Roxy bassist John Wetton ? Less members but more personality would have made for better performances and more authenticity. It must be said though that Colin Good (pianist) does a lovely intro to 'A Song For Europe'.
The album is not all bad (nice versions of 'Tara', 'For Your Pleasure' and 'A Song For Europe' are the highlights) but the post-Jobson stuff sounds as bland and inoffensive as ever: Over 8 minutes of the big nothing that is 'My Only Love' shows how Ferry's own judgement of his songwriting ability had faded by 1981. Be honest Bryan, the later stuff makes for nice pop songs but its not the groundbreaking stuff we loved from the first 5 albums.
To sum up: most true Roxy fans would prefer CD issues of the live version of 'For Your Pleasure' (b side of Both Ends Burning) and ferry's best solo song 'As The World Turns' (b side of this Is Tomorrow') than this average live album. No wonder Eno didn't even guest at the London gigs...

Exorcist II: The Heretic (Widescreen)
Exorcist II: The Heretic (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Richard Burton
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 9.66
23 used & new from CDN$ 2.83

2.0 out of 5 stars If you love this film, avoid this version, April 1 2003
I've taken my opportunity to revise my original review now that I have actually seen this DVD: before I go any further I should say that I love the other versions of this film I've seen.
This DVD is presumably the US theatrical release: if so, no wonder it has such a bad reputation. Compared to the UK cinema release, the original UK video release this DVD is terrible in everything but picture quality.
Although it features scenes not present in any of the other 3 versions I've seen, this is a badly edited interpretation which accounts for the general critical mauling the movie gets. not only that, the divine music is remixed in parts (especially the haunting 'Reagan's Theme', which normally sends me into raptures. 'Pazuzu' is also missing from this version ...what were the editors thinking of ? After all, the music is only amongst the finest Ennio Morricone ever produced...
Finally, I should say that the coda is awful, far worse than the UK ending, where Linda Blair's 'good locust' bullroaring gesture ends the film beautifully.
If you love 'The Heretic', avoid this version and wait for a definitive directors cut: unfortunately the UK DVD release is identical to this one...in vain hope I'll keep my fingers crossed for the 3 disc box set containing all possible versions, which will probably never happen now that this current version will convinve even more people that this film is useless (come on warner brothers, have some guts and do it as a limited edition). Tragically, the UK Crypt Collection VHS has now been updated to contain this version of the film, meaning that it is now impossible to get hold of the superior version. Get me the source elements and the editing equipment and I'll cut a definitive version MYSELF !

Best Of The
Best Of The
Price: CDN$ 9.59
24 used & new from CDN$ 2.17

3.0 out of 5 stars Buy only because 2nd and 3rd albums out of print..., April 1 2003
This review is from: Best Of The (Audio CD)
If ever a group have been badly treated by the current holders of their recordings copyrights, it's The Tubes. Amazingly, their superb first album stays in print while the superb second album 'Young & Rich' is long deleted and (unforgivably) their third album 'Now' remains unreleased on CD, which is astonishing when one thinks how many ... lounge albums from the 60s are back again...
If one has to buy a Tubes compliation, it must be for the tracks from 'Y & R' and 'Now': 'Tubes World Tour' from the former is one of the most exiciting pieces of pure 70s rock music ever, beautifully produced, with stunning sequencer runs that make Moroder and tangerine Dream look like pikers, while Roger Steen's textbook lead guitar solo at he the start is what rock is all about. 'Pound of Flesh' from now features amusing lyrics, fantastic synthesis from Michael Cotten that explodes from your speakers at the coda.
Quite simply, The Tubes were one of the finest bands of the 70s (their 80s stuff is fun, but merely the best stadium AOR of the decade when compared to the avant-classic rock they produced from 75-78). Live they were amazing, on record unstoppable. Buy the compliations just to build your collection, but ensure you berate A & M to get 'Y & R' and 'Now'onto CD....

Kveldssanger
Kveldssanger
Price: CDN$ 23.33
18 used & new from CDN$ 14.12

4.0 out of 5 stars Norwegian Wood: Black Metal for those who hate Black Metal, March 30 2003
This review is from: Kveldssanger (Audio CD)
I can't honestly claim to have heard tons of black metal music, as whenever I take a listen to any of it, I get bored: having read the superb 'Lords of Chaos' book, I was hoping black metal would be atmospheric, Eurocentric, original and awe-inspiring. Apart from Ulver's 'Kveldssanger', most black metal appears to be adolescent, often amateurishly played and tediously 'rebellious'.
'Kveldssanger' however is really rebellious. After all, it's all played on acoustic instruments for a start, something I've been waiting to hear in metal music since the seventies. Consequently, it will shock and appall the more mindless metal fans, but for any fan of rock music with a more open mind the Nordic chants, moody guitar pickings and chilly ambience of this original and refreshing record points the way forward for metal by looking backwards - after all, it was European folk songs that were the basis of rock music as much as african polyrythms (which quite honestly only appear in jazz of all popular musics). I strongly recommend 'Kveldssanger'. If there are any other albums out there that stretch the boundaries of the bm genre this way, I'd love to hear about them...

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