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Reviews Written by
B. Poelman (Salt Lake City, Utah United States)
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Chutes Too Narrow
Chutes Too Narrow
Price: CDN$ 17.13
39 used & new from CDN$ 5.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Songwriting stands out, May 24 2004
This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
I suppose if you are looking for groundbreaking sound and loud, heavy energy you're going to have to keep looking. But that fact this album is none of those things is one of the reasons I really like it. That is to say that so much of what is out there among the new millenium bands is a never-ending line of Linkin Park/Blink 182/Limp Bizkit wannabes. Wow is that BORING! With this album one actually gets to experience the long lost art of SONGWRITING (a novel concept, I know). Sure, you can still find songwriters in the country and mainstream rock genres, but too find it a central element in the alt rock/garage band world is a rarity nowdays. This album is full of great hooks, great lyrics, varied styles, and very low levels of pretense. How refreshing!
I can't compare this to there first album since this is the first time I've heard The Shins, but this album has really grown on me and I'm sure I'll pick up the other album soon. Also really looking forward to seeing them live this Thursday here in Salt Lake City!

The Tortilla Curtain
The Tortilla Curtain
by T.C. Boyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
121 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Excess Melodrama, May 21 2004
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
I'm a T.C. Boyle fan, in that I've read several of his books and tend to enjoy them enough to read another. Tortilla Curtain is the latest I've read, and I unfortunately enjoyed it the least. Boyle is a fun and interesting storyteller, and I enjoyed the first 100 pages or so, feeling it was fairly typical T.C. Boyle. After another 50 pages or so I came to realize that the theme (White, prosperous Americans "bad," innocent, poor, Mexican illegals "good") was not going to develop further. The rest of the book began to feel like trudging through a muddy swamp. The insights the book offered early on eventually turned into a large piece of rhetorical lumber with which the reader is incessantly beat over the head. The fun, quirky, insightful potential that initially draws the reader in evaporates quickly and turns into an amazingly overblown, melodramatic lecture. I can't say I've ever noticed Boyle flirting with this in his other works, and for that I'm glad. Otherwise I would never have continued reading his books. My personal favorite being "East is East."

October
October
Price: CDN$ 10.57
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Long lost love, May 18 2004
This review is from: October (Audio CD)
Like many others of my age, this was the album that made me a U2 fan. I was a highschool student when this album first came out and I remember thinking that this was some of the most emotionally charged, meaningful, and beautiful music I had heard in years. The album is unpretentious yet adacious, beautiful yet blaring, spiritual yet grounded. At this point in their careers the boys of U2 seemingly were unaware of their genius, and this is an element that helps this work to be so appealing. While I'm a huge fan of Brian Eno, and feel he was a perfect producer to help U2 soar to their highest heights, the production here helps to make the album feel "human," with the soaring, shining elements coming directly from the instruments and vocals themselves, as apposed to knob-tweeking at the control panel.
I've unfortunately lost interest in this once great band. The last album I bought was Achtung Baby (a nice album), but nothing since then has felt like the band I fell in love with in 1981.

Best Of
Best Of
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 24.95
6 used & new from CDN$ 19.12

3.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant 5 songs, should be more., May 12 2004
This review is from: Best Of (Audio CD)
Alpha Blondy is a unique artist. Hailing from Africa's Ivory Coast, this talented and inspiring musician is capable of some of the most infectious and moving songs in the reggae genre. This compilation contains several of those songs. Unfortunately it also contains some very weak material as well. The first 5 songs on this c.d. are brilliant, and are almost worth the price of the c.d. alone. The problem is that one would be much better off purchasing one of his early works. My suggestion would be "Jerusalem." That being said, if you've never heard Alpha Blondy even this less than perfect compilation is a worthwhile investment.

Internationalist
Internationalist
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 25.69
20 used & new from CDN$ 8.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Another solid effort, May 12 2004
This review is from: Internationalist (Audio CD)
While the "indie-rock" part of me doesn't want to admit it, this album isn't quite as good as Odessey No. 5. It's only a half-step behind however. I couldn't resist exposer to this album when I was living in Australia. When it was first released it shot right to the top of the Australian charts, with at least three singles being played constantly by MMM and JJJ. The album well deserved this kind of attention, and I only wish it could have been exposed to the American market in the same way.
I'd say about 3/4 of the album is 4 to 5 stars, while two or three cuts would only get a 2 or 3 from me. The songwriting and vocals are solid, but the production is lacking; especially when compared to Odessey No. 5.
It's also unfortunate that Powderfinger's newest c.d. "Vulture Street" is again only available as an import despite getting domestic distribution for Odessey No. 5.

Secretary [Import]
Secretary [Import]
DVD ~ James Spader
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 62.97
14 used & new from CDN$ 10.41

4.0 out of 5 stars Tell your friends, but perhaps not Mom and Dad., May 12 2004
This review is from: Secretary [Import] (DVD)
This is a great little movie. It's precisely the kind of film that should (and did) come out of the Sundance Festival; a small budget, story/character driven film with themes largely unexplored by Hollywood. The characters are more than a little quirky, yet very believable (aren't real people a lot more strange and complex than your average movie character?). The story has some dark themes, but again they are tangable and "real" though stylized. And despite the "dark" themes, the overall feeling of the film is fun and funny. If your favorite movies are Titanic, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman, or other big-budget, Hollywood-type films, you will most certainly dislike this movie. However, if you are interested in seeing what good acting, a good script, and challanging subject matter can do for a film despite low budgets, this is a great example.

Strange Brew
Strange Brew
DVD ~ Doug Campbell
Price: CDN$ 9.28
32 used & new from CDN$ 3.75

3.0 out of 5 stars Funny despite holes., May 12 2004
This review is from: Strange Brew (DVD)
This DVD is a "must have" for those of us who loved SCTV. However, it's definately not for those who aren't. It's not that this isn't a funny and entertaining movie, it is. It's just that it's not a "standout" comedy. The core of the film, ie; characters, production, story are all there, but unfortunately many of the details are done halfa**ed. There are several parts of the story that don't tie together well, and certain scenes that either should have played out more or simply didn't fit.
The DVD production is also a disappointment. I agree with a previous reviewer in that the lack of commentary from Rick and/or Dave is unforgivable. Still, this is certainly a movie worth renting or watching on T.V.

Kids in the Hall - Brain Candy
Kids in the Hall - Brain Candy
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 72.04
5 used & new from CDN$ 40.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better..., May 12 2004
But I say that only because I'm such a big fan of KITH. I first saw this movie when it was out in theaters, and I remeber then thinking "I thought it was funny, but the general public won't like it." In fact, I remember feeling a little embarrassed for the KITH, because they had "blown" this great chance to really step up their production and broaden their appeal. Of course when KITH "fail" they still produce a funny, bizarre, and wonderfully edgy product. I'm glad I own this DVD because it's unique in the world of comedy movies. But, at the same time, it's not a DVD I rush to share with many friends.

Apollo Choco Remixed Ep
Apollo Choco Remixed Ep
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: CDN$ 41.64
6 used & new from CDN$ 21.32

5.0 out of 5 stars If You're Already Reading This..., April 25 2004
This review is from: Apollo Choco Remixed Ep (Audio CD)
you may not need this review to tell you about Audo Active, so I won't bore you with the background details of this amazing band. I came across this EP on a fluke, but it's proved to be a very satisfying purchase. It's not typical AA (as if there were such a thing), but remixed versions of previous output. This EP represents some of the most unique of what AA has to offer. This disc is very aggressive and (surprise surprise) spacey. It's far more aggressive, loud, and hard-hitting than any other AA disc. I love to put this on as I'm surfing the net or doing any type of physical activity. Time flies under it's influence.
I recommend any AA album. I've noticed that my original review of Spaced Dolls is no longer posted because the version I reviewed is no longer available (?). Check it out by clicking my name.
Also, there is a new c.d. titled "Back to the Stoned Age" that is unfortunately not currently availabe through Amazon.

You've Got the Power
You've Got the Power
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 76.95
9 used & new from CDN$ 35.89

4.0 out of 5 stars A watershed moment, Jan. 23 2004
This review is from: You've Got the Power (Audio CD)
This is Third World's most significant transitional album. A wonderful example of how 2nd generation "Soul" music could relate and expand on what was happening in the reggae world mere months after the death of Bob Marley. While not as tight and passionate as Steel Pulse's "Earth Crisis," this is a wonderful album that speaks directly to the state of roots reggae at the time.

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