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Blackberries (PA)

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Hawaii
Hawaii
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 32.95
10 used & new from CDN$ 13.05

4.0 out of 5 stars Long, Slow, Dreamy, Gorgeous Pop, June 16 2004
This review is from: Hawaii (Audio CD)
Length of Play - 77:34
I'm going to mention The Beach Boys once right now, but I'm only mentioning them to say that I won't draw any comparisons between them and The High Llamas at all in this review. There is honestly very little to compare, and that dash of similarity has already been scrutinized to the utmost by other reviewers, so I'll leave The Beach Boys out of this. Now that I got that out of the way... Hawaii is, along with all other Llama recordings, an exceptional record. The only reason I give this four stars and not five is because I have a very hard time listening to this entire album. I know that that is a stupid and inexplicable reason for my rating, but forty-five minute cds are just easier for me to handle. The music on Hawaii though, is, without a doubt, five star quality. There is a smattering of brief songs under a minute that should have been left off of the recording altogether, but such opuses as "Nomads", "Dressing Up the Old Dakota", "Pilgrims" and the brilliant cover of Nick Drake's "Chime of a City Clock" on the bonus disc are all absolutely stellar and more than make up for the few sleeper moments scattered throughout the record. For fans of long, slow, dreamy, gorgeous pop, don't pass this up.

Vehicles & Animals
Vehicles & Animals
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 22.95
8 used & new from CDN$ 4.76

5.0 out of 5 stars "Just Let Yourself Go", June 14 2004
This review is from: Vehicles & Animals (Audio CD)
"Vehicles and Animals" is worth buying for the marvelous "El Salvador" alone, but there is PLENTY of great stuff here. From the swinging "Westside" to the wistful, "Le Casio", there is no filler at all and always a stunning hook waiting just around the corner to knock you off your feet. Tracks like "One Million", "New Project" and "You Know" are just overflowing with pensive, melodic, enrapturing music, and the anthemic numbers "Vehicles & Animals", "You Got The Style" and "Dungeness" are absolutely blissful as well. A sticker on the cover of this album with a quote from Q Magazine calls "Vehicles and Animals", and I quote, "life-affirming...pick any of the songs and there is something to love." That's about as good and succint a description I can come up with. Definitely check this one out, I highly recommend it to all.

Vehicles & Animals
Vehicles & Animals
Price: CDN$ 22.30
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars "i've seen the picture for myself", June 14 2004
This review is from: Vehicles & Animals (Audio CD)
Length of Play - 45:38
"Vehicles and Animals" is worth buying for the marvelous "El Salvador" alone, but there is PLENTY of great stuff here. From the swinging "Westside" to the wistful closer, "Le Casio", there is no filler at all and always a stunning hook waiting just around the corner to knock you off your feet. Tracks like "One Million", "New Project" and "You Know" are just overflowing with pensive, melodic, enrapturing music, and the anthemic numbers "Vehicles & Animals", "You Got The Style" and "Dungeness" are absolutely blissful as well. A sticker on the cover of this album with a quote from Q Magazine calls "Vehicles and Animals", and I quote, "life-affirming...pick any of the 12 songs and there is something to love." That's about as good and succint a description I can come up with. Definitely check this one out, I highly recommend it to all.

13 : Blur
13 : Blur
Price: CDN$ 18.89
54 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Long and Winding Road, June 14 2004
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
Length of Play - 67:07
After being coddled and caressed by the equisite opener, Tender (has a beat similar to John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance"), one would think that "13" would be chock-full of relaxing, mellow, joyous music. That description; however, couldn't be more inaccurate. The bulk of this album is comprised of long, dreary, abrasive, dirge-like numbers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but at times the downtrodden dissonance is just too much. "Battle" and "Caramel", for instance, are two seemingly endless tracks that carry off into oblivion. On the other hand, downers like "1992", a thrashing ballad that breaks into a Radioheadlike electronic explosion, "Trailerpark", a spooky, noir-sounding tune (think "I'm Just a Killer for your Love"), and "Bugman", a vicious, rocking stomp of a song, are beautifully bleak and stand out as excellent tracks. The highest points of the album though, in my opinion, are found outside of the aforementioned tracks of madness. "Coffee and TV", with its cool, swaggering pace, the morosely delightful "Mellow Song", and the helpless, breathtaking "No Distance Left to Run" are absolutely indispensable tracks. Also, for anyone who enjoys the strange-sounding coda, Optigan 1, check out the album "Spotlight on..." by Optiginally Yours. At times listening to this record can be quite harrowing, but all in all, it is definitely worthwhile music and a must have for Blur fans.

Juanita Ave
Juanita Ave
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 18.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 13.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Cool, June 13 2004
This review is from: Juanita Ave (Audio CD)
Length of Play - 49:41
The Bingo Trappers, Waldemar Noe and Wim Elzinga, are a stellar rock duo from Amsterdam that create variegated numbers reminscient of The Velvet Underground & Nico, older Beck and a hint of The Rolling Stones. These influeces; however, do not manifest themselves clearly and are only apparent after close scrutiny. Some songs like the dreamy "The Last Resort" and the surreal coda "Sneakers" seem entirely foreign, while other tracks like the ebullient "God's Biographer" and the jaunty "The Real Mr. Tamborine" sound as pleasantly familiar as old-time standards. A few middling numbers like "Popcorn Queen" and "Is That a Fact" come off as a bit cliched and distasteful, but my two favorite songs of Juanita Ave., the wandering "Surfin' in the Void" and the aforementioned "God's Biographer", more than make up for the few brief low points. When all is said and done, I think this is a fine little record that would be a nice pickup for any music afficionado willing to go out on a limb and buy a relatively obscure cd. I'm not at all disappointed with Juanita Ave., so if you're looking for something new, I recommend this to you.

Dead Ringer
Dead Ringer
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 23.95
8 used & new from CDN$ 6.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Rewarding, June 8 2004
This review is from: Dead Ringer (Audio CD)
I first heard RjD2, alongside with Mr. Lif and The Gift of Gab, in Philadelphia opening up for DJ Shadow. Shadow put on a marvelous show, but the highlight of my evening was hearing The Horror live. The crowd was basically nonplussed after being smacked in the face by such a freakily galvanizing song. It was quite intense. Some other notable numbers he played live that made it onto Dead ringer inlude the haunting "Ghostwriter", the Mobyesque "Good Times Roll Pt. 2" and the super-sweet "2 More Dead". Thankfully, Rj is an artist who is capable of translating his thrilling, live sound to record, and Dead ringer is a fine example of a recording that possesses the vim and vigor of a live show and also the finesse and tempering of a good studio album. Running well over an hour, Dead ringer also manages to capture my interest for the entire duration of play. My least favorite tracks are those that showcase Rj's rapping label mates, but those numbers are kept to a minimum, so they don't detract too much from the overall quality of the recording. Other worthwhile songs include the peculiar, Orbital-like "The Proxy", the Shadowesque "Chicken-Bone Circuit", and the soulful closer, "Work". Real hip-hop is hard to come by nowadays, but Dead ringer is as firmly rooted in hip-hop mores as any good rap album of the last five years. If you're looking for a DJ who spins from the heart, RjD2 is you're man.

Room On Fire
Room On Fire
Price: CDN$ 9.10
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars It's a Good Record, June 5 2004
This review is from: Room On Fire (Audio CD)
Length of Play - 33:40
I don't know where the ultra negative reviews are coming from, because "Room on Fire" certainly isn't anything to scoff at. Sure, it's nothing really new from The Strokes and sounds more or less the same as "Is This It?", but honestly, is that a bad thing? I don't think so. The driving basslines, highly danceable hooks and fuzzy vocals are all still went intact. It's understandable that a follow up album riding on the vaunted novelty of it's preceding sound will garner far less encomium, but as far as I'm concerned, the wonderful, neoretro rock from "Is This It?" is far from played out, and I wouldn't mind hearing five more albums from The Strokes with a similar groove. The bottom line is that these guys have a sensational sound, and although the newness of their appeal has withered slightly, they still sound great. My favorite tracks are Reptilia, Automatic Stop and Between love and Hate. If you liked "Is This It?", you definitely should check out "Room On Fire".

Very Best Of The
Very Best Of The
Price: CDN$ 9.49
31 used & new from CDN$ 5.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Delectable, June 5 2004
This review is from: Very Best Of The (Audio CD)
Me oh my, what an outrageously good record this is. I had never heard of The Stone Roses until my brother played me "I Wanna Be Adored" a few years ago. I loved the song, but I thought they would be a band very much like The Smiths or The Cure (which isn't a bad thing at all, I just wasn't interested at the time), so I never followed up and bought any of their albums. Thankfully, my father received this cd from my brother for his birthday a few months ago, and I've had the pleasure of listening to it everyday since then. All of these songs exude an indomitable vitality that lends an extra cachet to the already stellar music. There is a distinctive 80s sounds to The Roses, but after listening to all the material present on The Very Best Of, it's apparent that these songs transcend their era and will always remain as timelessly great pop confections. Highlights of this recording include the ebullient "What the World is Waiting For", the dreadfully pleasing "I Wanna Be Adored", and the anthemic numbers "Made of Stone" and "I am the Resurrection". I highly recommend this to all.

Pt2 Love Is Hell  (7 Tracks)
Pt2 Love Is Hell (7 Tracks)
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 22.95
12 used & new from CDN$ 0.74

5.0 out of 5 stars It Moves Me, June 3 2004
Sometimes sad songs feel so right. They bring you down and bring you up. The melancholia probes your emotions like a taser, causing you to wince at the slightest lilt or change in tone. A single note can break your heart and one lonely word can bring you to tears. When you're in this disposition of augmented sensitivity, and your feelings have been broken and battered, I'm sure the thought that Ryan Adams brilliantly exposes often sticks out in your mind like a fluorescent billboard: "Love Is Hell". The songs on this incredible ep all attest to the pain and suffering that are often brought about by the debilitation of heartbreak. The gambit of crestfallen piano tinkles that begin My Blue Manhattan forebode the entrancing despair that later follows on the album. This opening number, to me, is the ideal song for drunkenly sobbing in an empty bar-room at 4 in the morning. It's tired, lonesome, despressed and exactly what you need. Following this inebriated wallowing is my favorite song on Love Is Hell, Please Do Not Let Me Go. I won't write much about it, because too many feelings overwhelm me when listening to it. It's just so sad and so beautiful, a song that makes you wonder how the hell a person can pinpoint seemingly inexplicable emotions in a breathtaking ballad of desolation. The third song, City Rain, City Lights, starts out in a more uplifting manner, but ends in an astounding crescendo of despair, "I am going to push them away, fall into the leaves of the winter trees, drowning slowly, lonely, my city rain." The next number, I See Monsters, calls Elliot Smith (r.i.p.) to mind with its eerie, paranoid folk aura. Conjuring the sheer terror of true love, this song is both startling and strangely enchanting. English Girls Approximately follows in the most positive and cheery manner of any of the previous songs. It's a bit long and rambling, but still a very solid tune. Thank You Louise brings the mood back down again in describing the sorrowful life of Mary Louise and the passing away of one of her children. Concluding the sadness of Love Is Hell is Hotel Chelsea Nights, one of the most brilliant and beautiful album codas I've heard in a long, long time. The anthemic chant "Strung out like some christmas lights, out there in the chelsea nights" will stay with you for months. In a word, this ep is absolutely stunning from start to finish. I especially recommend it for those who are down, but I'm sure that anyone can appreciate the heart and soul that Ryan and Adams put into this fantastic recording.

Greatest Hits--Rock 'n' Soul, Part 1
Greatest Hits--Rock 'n' Soul, Part 1
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 23.95
13 used & new from CDN$ 4.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, May 26 2004
I'm sure everyone from the generation before my own has had wonderful memories of Hall and Oates in highschool and college. For those of you who have grown up with this music, my review will probably be nothing but drivel. But if anyone is reading this that is not too familiar with Hall and Oates and checking them out for the first time, then I implore you, get into them! Sadly, it took me years to actually give this album a listen. I had heard of Hall and Oates before, but they were stereotyped in my mind as cheesy 80s garbage. I couldn't have been more wrong. Every track on Rock 'n' Soul is absolutely breathtaking (with the exception of Adult Education, I can do without that one). The majority of the songs on this album are indeed made up of Rock and Soul, but that brief description hardly does justice to such passionate music. I can honestly say that anybody who enjoys a song that is full of love and life will thoroughly enjoy everything that this album has to offer. Tracks like Rich Girl, You Make My Dreams Come True and Wait For Me give me goosebumps every time I hear them. Other numbers like She's Gone, Kiss On My List, Private Eyes and One on One are stellar too. If you're looking for an ebullient, flavorful and longlasting listen, then you have found yourself the right recording in Rock 'n' Soul Pt. 1.

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