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Reviews Written by
K. Bentley "amateur critic" (Stratford, CT United States)
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Sonic Nurse (W/Web Link)
Sonic Nurse (W/Web Link)
Price: CDN$ 13.35
18 used & new from CDN$ 4.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, excellent, excellent, July 16 2004
Sonic Nurse picks up where 2002's Murray Street left off, and it's just as good, if not better, than its predecessor. It's definitely their most accessible album since Dirty (1992), yet it doesn't compromise and still keeps their music interesting enough NOT to be tied in with MTV's definition of music. They hardly burst out into free-jam mode like they did on Murray Street or Daydream Nation, and their songs are very much structured on this album, and some of the songs on this album are gorgeously arranged, particularly Thurston Moore's "Unmade Bed," and Kim Gordon's "Dude Ranch Nurse" and "I Love You Golden Blue." Moore tends to be more mellow nowadays, but Gordon and Lee Ranaldo provide the edgier songs on Sonic Nurse, including Gordon's rant supposedly against Mariah Carey, "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream," and the album opener "Pattern Recognition" starts off the album with a 6-minute rocker thatechoes her songs of the past, such as "Kool Thing" and "Across the Breeze." Ranaldo provides some great songs here too like "New Hampshire" and "Paper Cup Exit." In addition to "Unmade Bed," Thurston Moore provides policis on "Peace Attack" (against President Bush's quagmire in Iraq"), and the beautifully structured free-jam (SY were always good at such oxymorons) "Dripping Dream." Steve Shelley provides consistent drumming as always, and their collaboraton with Jim O'Rourke serves the group very well. This is definitely one of the best records I've heard this year, and even if it doesn't hold a candle to past SY albums like some think, it's still better than 99.9% of whatever is out today.

Murray Street
Murray Street
Price: CDN$ 9.89
37 used & new from CDN$ 2.98

5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of Sonic Youth's renaissance, July 16 2004
This review is from: Murray Street (Audio CD)
After meandering with avant-classical music for a while, Sonic Youth returned to making the type of music they have done extraordinarily since the late 1980s. 2002's Murray Street is 7 songs of inspiration that rank among the group's most melodic and amazing works. The first 3 songs alone resonate heavily, and they're downright beautiful, along with the closer "Sympathy for the Strawberry." Those songs might be softer than what made them famous, but SY has not mellowed out in the slightest. The feedback in the middle of "Karen Revisited" and Kim Gordon's 2-minute noisily bizarre "Plastic Sun" prove that SY still know how to crank their amps and rock out, despite them being in their 40s. This is one of the best SY albums in years, and their next album, the recently released Sonic Nurse, is just as better. Recommended.

Buffalo '66 (Widescreen) [Import]
Buffalo '66 (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Vincent Gallo
Price: CDN$ 16.36
22 used & new from CDN$ 4.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buffalo '66, July 15 2004
Buffalo '66, directed and written by Vincent Gallo, is an incredible film about this guy named Billy Brown, played by Gallo himself. Billy was a man who was severely down in his luck, from having neglegent parents, terrible luck, and dysfunctional relationships. The root of his anger and bitterness definitely comes from his parents. His mother (played brilliantly yet uncharacteristically by Angelica Huston) was so obsessed with the Buffalo Bills that she disowns Billy since he was born on the same day the Bills won the Super Bowl in 1966 and she couldn't go to the game (and they haven't won since).The story starts off with Billy being released from a 5 year jail sentence ("I was innocent") wandering the streets of Buffalo looking for a bathroom. He finds one at a dance studio, in which he runs into Layla (played by my favorite actress, Christina Ricci). He kidnaps her and somehow persuades her into pretending that she's this girl named Wnedy and that they are married, along with a whole barrage of lies, to impress his parents, not that they really care anyway.After that, Billy and Layla still go places together, but yet Billy is still very bitter and won't easily open up to Layla. He had many emotional scars and trauma (all shown in the movie) and contemplated doing a terrible act of revenge. Then he experienced an epiphany in terms of what would happen if he did it, with Yes' classic epic "Heart of the Sunrise" used effectively, and from there he finds himself in a way, and the film has a surprising ending. This film dealt with human emotion in a non-cliched way, and contained great music and even better acting. Definitely a new favorite film for me.

Onoffon
Onoffon
Price: CDN$ 18.94
33 used & new from CDN$ 1.02

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent comeback album, July 2 2004
This review is from: Onoffon (Audio CD)
Due to the ear problems of Roger Miller (tinnitus), Mission of Burma called it quits in 1983 after releasing only one EP and one album (the brilliant Signals Calls and Marches and Vs, respectively). Despite their short existence and quick demise, MoB became one of the most legendary and beloved bands of the alternative movement in the 1980s. They unexpectedly reunited in 2002, and after a few shows, they decided to make a new record. Nostalgia trip? Newfound inspiration? Who knows? Many eagerly awaited what the new MoB material would sound like.
I picked it up and listened to it. MoB hadn't lost their edge after over 20 years, and their music sounds as fresh as ever. It's like they never went away. It sounds like the MoB of 1982, but it sounds just as fresh today. Thier music was seriously ahead of its time, since new wave was popular in the early 80s. All of the songs on Onoffon are incredible, energetic and somewhat complex in melodies and noise. This will definitely be one of the best albums to be released this year, and hopefully it'll mark a new, inspired beginning by this seminal Boston trio (sometimes quartet, if you include tapehead Martin Swope).

Vapor Trails
Vapor Trails
Price: CDN$ 9.65
43 used & new from CDN$ 3.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yeah, the production is kinda weak but this CD is still good, May 27 2004
This review is from: Vapor Trails (Audio CD)
Rush's long-awaited 2002 release Vapor Trails is definitely the most inspired Rush album in about 20 years. After the tragedy Neil Peart experienced, which forced the band to take an indefinite hiatus, many were anticipating what the band would do after they emerged from their slumber. Instead of a rock opera about tragedy along the lines of past efforts like 2112 and Hemispheres, the band stripped their sound down to their Zeppelin-influenced core (guitar, bass, drums, vocals, NO KEYBOARDS), and just rocked out. The composition of many of the songs are still complex and tightly arranged, but Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Peart play these songs with such an intensity that most newer bands would give anything for. Lyrically, Peart avoided the classic leftist philosophical verses that made him one of rock's greatest lyricists ever, and reflects on his personal struggle through loss and sadness. "Ghost Rider" is about his documented motorcycle journey all over North and Central America to help him through the terrible circumstances in his life, and the opner "One Little Victory" is obviously about perserverence. Other excellent songs on this album are "earthshine," "Nocturne," "Peaceable Kingdom" and "Freeze." Of course, the album was mastered way too loud, which did turn some fans off, but if you can get past the occasional crackle in sound or production glitch, you'll find Vapor Trails to be very rewarding and inspiring, both musically and lyrically.

Nebraska
Nebraska
Price: CDN$ 9.49
33 used & new from CDN$ 4.41

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruce's Finest, April 5 2004
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
I always preferred when artists go acoustic, and record a low-quality album. Albums like Nebraska capture an artist at their most intimate. This was Bruce Springsteen's stark, low-key acoustic record. It was very dreary, as it was beautiful. His tales of suffering and being on the wrong side of the law was profound and you can feel it in his howl and his singing. He already had the reputation of being a high-energy, bombastic satdium act but Nebraska captured him in a whole new light. It was more reserved than Born to Run, and it had more personality than many of his albums. Songs like "Atlantic City," "State Trooper," and "Highway Patrolman" send chills down my spine, whereas other songs like "Nebraska," "My Father's House" and "Used Cars" express Springsteen in a more vulnerable, yet very striking voice, particularly Nebraska's tale of a serial killer. Even non-fans of The Boss can appreciate this album for its sense of intimacy and depth. Springsteen would never be this bare after this album, although certain subsequent works do show his profound side (particularly Tunnel of Love and the Rising).

High Fidelity
High Fidelity
DVD ~ John Cusack
Price: CDN$ 6.25
56 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The story of my life at the moment, April 3 2004
This review is from: High Fidelity (DVD)
Right now this movie is defining my life. I'm only 18, yet I'm a music snob who is getting over a breakup with a girl (we dated for over a year), and this film is giving me solace.
Despite its lack of special effects or cinematic extravagence, this movie is very profound and very high on discovering yourself. John Cusack played the role of Rob Gordon perfectly, using music to cope with his pain, while discovering what he did wrong in his past relationships, a very courageous thing. The music fit the movie very well (everything from Springsteen to Stereolab is included here), and Jack Black and Todd Louiso's role as Rob's co-workers were acted and written in perfectly. The plot itself is defining my life since my girlfriend recently left me and is interested in some other guy who has the same complex that Ian Raymond (played hilariously by Tim Robbins) does in the movie. This is the perfect romantic breakup movie, especially if you love music. Even if you don't know a thing about Captain beefheart's "Safe as Milk" or obscure punk bands like the Stiff Little Fingers, this movie is definitely enjoyable.

Closer
Closer
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 21.98
7 used & new from CDN$ 6.55

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suicide's Rock Opera, March 17 2004
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Joy Division's second and final album, Closer, is one of the most harrowing albums ever written, and easily very depressing and funereal. I can't listen to it now and enjoy it, as much as it is inspiring to express your inner pain so beautifully and artistically. I listen to it as more of an ambient piece or an observational work of a life on the verge of complete collapse.
It has been said that Ian Curtis' girlfriend (or wife) said that Closer sounded a lot like a Genesis record. As much as their initial love for high energy punk as well as David Bowie's "Berlin Trilogy," Joy Division inadvertantly did create a Genesis-style concept album about the events and emotions leading to Ian Curtis' suicide in May 1980, months before this album hit shelves. However, Joy Division manages to avoid the cliches of a rock opera (particularly those like Genesis' Lamb Lies Down on Broadway or even The Who's rock operas), particularly with no surreal or austere plot, off-rhythms, theatrics and 10 minute dramatic extravaganzas. Instead, the sound of Closer is cold, clinical, dreary and at times, disturbingly beautiful, so thus, no concept story or theatrics are necessary. Instead, a conceptual tension reveals itself through each of the 9 songs.
ATROCITY EXHIBITION:
This could be a reference to Ian Curtis' epilepsy and how it affected his performances (" For entertainment they watch his body twist/Behind his eyes he says: I still exist"), or his distaste for what people consider entertainment. Events such as bullfighting and pro wrestling are in question in terms of "Killing for a prize" but it could also be a suicidal reference or a decay in Curtis' mental health, since his seizures onstage took a toll on him physically and mentally. As for the "mass murder on a scale you have never seen" could also reveal his private anguish.
ISOLATION:
It seems like a reflection of Curtis' epilepsy, the effect it had on his other people and his pain as a result on it. There are also references to an affair he had with someone else and his failing marriage.
PASSOVER:
More pain, and self-deprecation. It also seems like it reveals his thoughts of suicide, and/or the consequences of his affair ("This is a crisis I knew had to come.")
COLONY:
Severe marital problems are plaguing Ian's life at this point, and he feels that he is alone in a colony of failure, illness and lack of security.
A MEANS TO AN END:
"I put my trust in you" epitomizes this song. Probably more relationship problems with his wife or friends.
HEART AND SOUL:
This is where the album and the story gets overwhelmingly somber and dark. It contains more references to his affair and marriage("Instincts that can still betray us /A journey that leads to the sun /Soulless and bent on destruction /A struggle between right and wrong") and his lack of forgiveness, presumably from both parties, him and his wife ("I'd humbly ask for forgiveness/A request well beyond you and I"). He also seems to acknolwedge the fact that the marriage may be irreperable ("Foundations that lasted the ages/Then ripped apart at their roots"). It also shows his destructiveness, his mortality and his thoughts of suicide ("Existence-well what does it matter?"). In my opinion, he was torn between living, having his marriage crumble, and face a life of bitterness and illness or killing himself and damning his soul for his sin (suicide). One of them had to be sacrificed ("Heart and soul/One will burn"). His birthday was on July 17th, so he was a Cancer. Cancers naturally are sensitive people, resistent to change and chaos, so since Curtis probably had that personality, he ultimately chose to "burn" his soul since living would questionably destroy his sweetness or whatnot.
24 HOURS:
This was probably crucial to Ian's suicide, since he was looking for an easy way out of his pain and suffering, since this "treatment takes too long," probably referring to the barbituates he took for his epilepsy or marriage counseling. He saw no other way out probably. Musically, this song is also critical to the plot, since the 6/8 frenzy of the verse could reflect Ian's thoughts, which probably were of panic, hopelessness and anxiety, and the ending section could represent the actual suicide.
THE ETERNAL:
"Procession moves on, the shouting is over
Praise to the glory of loved ones now gone
Talking aloud as they sit round their tables
Scattering flowers washed down by the rain."
Musically, it sounds like a funeral procession, and probably represents the memorial service for the fallen. This song is overwhelmingly dismal, and could bring up the unanswered questions on why one would kill himself ("No words could explain, no actions determine").
DECADES:
It closes off the album beautifully, yet just as hopeless and bleak as it started. It could represent an outsider's view of his personality, and how his illness affected his personality, epitomized during the first two verses, especially "Knocking the doors of Hell's chambers."
That's my analysis of the underlying concept of Joy Division's "Closer." Real pain, hopelessness, self-pity, mental and physical illness, and crumbling relationships, leading to one final act of self destruction and supposed closure within the tortured soul, yet opening wounds for everyone around him, including those who listen to this. There has never been a more depressing record than "Closer" and it is post-punk's magnum opus.

Fever To Tell
Fever To Tell
Price: CDN$ 12.43
41 used & new from CDN$ 1.36

3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate but Overhyped, March 17 2004
This review is from: Fever To Tell (Audio CD)
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a NYC art-punk trio, and are probably the most recent band to be hyped by the trend-hungry press in the so-called "garage rock revolution," which also contains familiar bands such as the Strokes and the White Stripes. In terms of raw energy, the YYYs certainy exemplify the garage punk sound on their debut album. It's 37 minutes of pure, unadulterated energy, wild vocals, and abrasive artsiness.Vocalist Karen O, guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase are explosive together; nothing better, nothing worse. Songs like "Rich," "Date w/ the Night," and "Black Tongue" show punk rock's fury in its amalgam of simple yet ear-shattering music and Karen O's frenzied vocals. Those songs are loud enough, but other songs like "Tick" and "Pin" are only more manic. However, the YYY's have not created a soind all of their own, for in some parts they rehash what proto-punk icons the New York Dolls and the Stooges (or some of Iggy Pop's solo work) have already done, as well as the attitude of "riot-grrl"bands like Bikini Kill and Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon. Unfortunately, Karen O also is sometimes labelled as rock's leading woman. True, she is not Avril Lavigne (thankfully), but she also has quite a ways to go before she reaches the level of Patti Smith, or even Mia Zapata. Despite the lack of total originality, the YYY's express their more admirable artistic side on the final 3 songs, starting with the minor hit "Maps." Karen O's vocals are softer and more emotional, expressing a vulnerable side to her fiery presence, and even more introspective lyrics ("Wait, they don't love you like I love you"), and the final song "Modern Romance" is a slow art-punk dirge.
Fever to Tell is an adequate debut for the YYY's, and while it breaks no new ground and suffers from being overhyped, and while it surrounds itself in occasional styles and trademarks of past artists and styles, the YYY's do keep today's rather bland and processed musical landscape energetic.

Sheer Heart Attack
Sheer Heart Attack
Price: CDN$ 15.90
11 used & new from CDN$ 11.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Queen's best album, March 13 2004
This review is from: Sheer Heart Attack (Audio CD)
I've been into Queen for a very long time, and Sheer Heart Attack is definitely their most flawless effort, in ny opinion, with Queen II coming in a very close second. It shows their versatility, sophistication and edge without having a song sound out of place or obstentanious. It starts off with "Brighton Rock," one of their greatest rockers, which has Freddie Mercury portraying a man meeting a woman (in his trademark falsetto and masculine vocals divded between the two characters), and the awe-inspiring guitar skills of Brian May. "Now I'm here" also follows in the same path, with anthemic guitars, awesome voclas and pure energy, and "Stone Cold Crazy" set the groundwork for bands like Metallica, in terms of speed. Many of the songs are more epic and dramatic, such as "In the Lap of Gods," and "Flick of the Wrist," as well as the campy, Broadway-esque "Bring Back that Leroy Brown." Even the quick and upbeat "Misfire" is a highlight on this album. All 4 members of the band contributed very worthy songs and ideas to this album, and their talents at each of their instruments is more than obvious (though frankly, May and Mercury had the lion's share of talent in the band, in terms of performance and composition).Many people thought that their next album, A Night at the Opera, was their finest accomplishment, and Opera was a great album, but in my opinion this one was even better. All of the songs were perfect on Sheer Heart Attack, and contains many of their finest songs.

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