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Date:2005-02-17 20:18
Subject:.....well that went well


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Date:2004-07-06 20:20
Subject:DJ Shadow - In Tune and On Time

First of all as far as I know this is a live CD from a show in London, and it comes with a DVD but I don't have a DVD player so I'm only gonna talk about the CD. Squarepusher had a CD out like this just a few moments ago. In fact, the length of both nears 80 minutes, stretching the CD containments as far as they both can. But that's about where the similarities between the two stop.

Much of this CD is remixed classic DJ Shadow songs, so there's moments of memories flying in your heart as you listen to this, as long as you've listened to some previous DJ Shadow efforts. There is a lot of stuff I haven't heard but I'm not sure if that's because it's new or I just haven't heard it before. The remakes are all good, but some songs are shorter (and I think this is a pain we have to suffer to fit all of these onto one show).

There's some voice-overs and crowd noises scattered, and referring back to Squarepusher again, both CD's are supposed to emulate the live experience, but this one did more of this emulation for me than the Squarepusher did, but I'm not saying that the Squarepusher wasn't good, I liked it! This felt a lot more 'live' to me though.

A lot of the remixes add charm to the originals, and all the tracks flow into each other really nicely; I sometimes did not notice that a track had switched until after a total shift of direction took place.

The only problem I can think of right now, is that the new stuff is limited. I appreciate it however, it's good, and respect the fact that a compact disc can only hold 81 minutes of audio bliss.

DJ Shadow fans would definitely like this in my opinion. 8.6/10

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Date:2004-05-18 16:25
Subject:Air, Quruli, Fennesz

I wrote the rough drafts of these reviews over a week ago, but due to exams I only got around to editing them today. Enjoy.

Air - "Talkie Walkie" [2004]

As I may have mentioned, I was disappointed by a lot of CDs in 2003. All too often I'd download a couple of tracks from an album, enjoy them, buy the CD, and then discover that the rest of the songs weren't to my tastes. It was true of albums by Fluke, Broken Social Scene and Venetian Snares last year, and unfortunately, it's also true of Talkie Walkie this year.

On the one hand, I shouldn't be too surprised. Until I heard "Alone in Kyoto" on the Lost in Translation soundtrack, I had been completely and utterly indifferent to almost their entire back catalogue. The only exception was their much lauded single "Sexy Boy" which ranks as one of my most hated songs of all time. But the promise of TW containing more interesting material, along with a cool £7 price tag eventually proved too temping an offer to ignore.

Not that I vehemently regret it mind you; when all's said and done it's not a bad album. In terms of the songwriting, it's actually very well put together, featuring laid back tempos, strummed guitars, funky beats, and lush strings. It's nice. It's relaxing. The aforementioned "Alone in Kyoto" is quite gorgeously evocative, and lead single "Surfing on a Rocket" is a curiously infectious little number.

But otherwise there's nothing to talk about. The problem is that it's all a bit too... neutral. It'd be pretty difficult to really actively hate a lot of the tunes on Talkie Walkie, but on the flipside, there isn't anything particularly risky or interesting here either. To fall back on that old reviwing cliché, if you like Air, I don't imagine you'd be at all disappointed by this release, but if you don't, well, you know how it goes.

くるり - 「アンテナ」
Quruli - "Antenna" [2004]

A bit of background: Antenna is the fifth studio album from Japanese soft-rock quartet Quruli (or Kururi if you want to go by the direct transliteration)... To give you an idea, in the past I've heard the band described stylistically as being the Japanese equivalent to Radiohead. Indeed, it works as a vague descriptor of their (early) sound, but their new full-length sees the band confidently moving beyond all that, and propelling themselves in bold new directions.

Where Radiohead comparisons are valid, however, is in terms of Quruli's relation to the mainstream. While they're far from being a pop band, they have enjoyed a not-unsubstantial level of chart success, with the lead single from Antenna, the appropriately titled "Rock N Roll" reaching No.5 in the Japanese charts. Not surprising either. It's a fantastic feel-good song that both Rocks and Rolls (how about that?).

The rest of the album doesn't disappoint. What's great about it is the sheer amount of variety present, not just on the album as a whole, but within the individual tracks themselves. "Morning Paper" is absolutely rammed full of cool ideas, jumping between phrases and going off on tangents all over the place. "Race" is very much a favourite of mine, kicking with an intoxicating folk-style banjo melody and some funky bass, before ultimately exploding into dense walls of sound, featuring dischordant violins, multiple guitars, and awesome vocal harmonies. We also have "Home Town" which dubs female vocals into the mix, and "Hanabi," a lush guitar piece that almost kicks into drum 'n' bass territory towards the end. I could moan about tracks 1 and 7 being rather sedate, but otherwise, there's nary a dull moment on the entire disc.

What's most impressive, though, is how, despite all the variety, it still manages to work incredibly well as an album. From the way they delicately layer guitars on top of one another, to the lead singer's very distinct, but not at all gimmicky voice, Quruli's music is imbued with a real sense of personality. Their sound remains rich and unique, even when they're tackling different genres. On top of that, the record just sounds great; it's been engineered and mixed to utter perfection.

Great packaging too. 24-page booklet printed on high-quality glossy paper, small foldout poster featuring translated lyrics, obligatory spinecard, second insert behind the cd tray, and another tiny paper booklet thing with lots of text and a silly picture on it. It's really rather splendid.

Fennesz - "Venice" [2004]

How can noise sound so pretty?.. Three years on from his last nostalgia-drenched full-length "Endless Summer," Austrian electronica auteur Christian Fennesz once again graces us with another twelve tracks of delicate, soul-stirring ambience, and once again proves he's the master of his particular field. Put simply, despite it being slightly more accessible than it's glitch-ridden predecessor, Venice surpasses Endless Summer in pretty much every way imaginable.

The opener "Rivers of Sand" is just beautiful. Chords and melodies fade in and out of the mix, over a backdrop of deep bass tones and glitchy electro. It's subtle and sombre, and it establishes the mood of the album perfectly. The fifth track, "Circassian" is equally excellent, with each note echoing and reverberating almost to the point of distortion, yet still retaining some sense of serenity.

One of Venice's more interesting moments comes in the form of "Transit" which you might think of as being the album's centrepiece. It's a rather subdued little track featuring some very up-front vocals by long-time crooner David Sylvian. The pair have actually worked together before, on Sylvian's 2003 album "Blemish," and in both cases their styles mesh extremely well... With Transit being the album's sole vocal track, there was always the potential for it to sound gimmicky, but fortunately enough, Fennesz pulls it off with a touch of class, and it just sounds perfect.

What's also perfect is the way the album is laid out. The overall progression of moods just sounds completely right, with each track picking up precisely where the last left off (well, the tracks aren't mixed directly, but there are no discontinuities in mood and momentum the likes of which plagued BoC's last two albums).

Otherwise, there's not actually much to be said about Venice. Not because it's uninteresting, but because there are no key moments where you'll suddenly bolt up and think to yourself "yeah this is awesome!" The album is more subtle than that. It seaps its way into your system and quietly works its magic. Which makes it all the more important to stress that this is most definately not an album for everyone. If you want phat beats and catchy vocals and heavy guitars (and so on), look elsewhere. If you want 50 awesome minutes of rich, emotional, percussionless ambience, you're well and truly sorted.


I've been listening to a lot of varied stuff recently. Here are a few tracks that I've been particularly enjoying this week, just in case you feel like randomly downloading something:

Chick Corea and Return to Forever - Space Circus [1973]
Awesome track from the legendary Jazz Fusion outfit, headed by electric piano virtuoso Chick Corea (one of my favourite jazz musicians). Starts off with a slick little piano intro before proceeding to, as absorb once put it, kick out the fucking jams. I like it a lot.

Tweaker - Linoleum (Feat. David Sylvian) [2001]
Cool little IDM tune I discovered while I was exploring more of Sylvian's back catalogue. His powerful voice works well here, and the song's awesome crescendos just hit you like a ton of bricks. Check it out.

Claro Intelecto - Section [2004]
Minimal techno. Has a very moody, bola-esque vibe. Like most of his material it's incredibly repetetive, but good for a few listens at least.


Thx 4 reading.

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Date:2004-04-14 23:18
Subject:fennesz - venice
Mood: sleepy

latest release from laptop nerd, christian fennesz. venice is primarly a "noise" album, a lot of people will probably be turned off by that fact alone. but to be perfectly honest, the melodies and structure ARE there, just not apparent at first. but once it clicks, it really fucking clicks.
the opening tune, "rivers of sand", reminds me of the vangelis "blade runner" effort.(IE synthy symphnic stuff or something) major highlights include the epic "circassian"(kevin shields inspired SERIOUSLY), "the other face" and "the point of it all".
venice is filled with pretty ambient noise, and layered guitar drones(think my bloody valentine stuff). theres also a vocal track by david sylvian, "transit", sounds a lot like david bowie. also a nice clean guitar tune, "laguna".
i really like this effort because it flows very good. one of those albums where you dont have to bother switching the tracks. also its super relaxing.. some very lush pretty noise here. perfect for rainy days.

tunes to download: the other face, the point of it all, laguna

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Date:2004-04-13 11:58
Subject:Wolfman (Feat. Peter Doherty) - For Lovers

Wolfman (Feat. Peter Doherty) - For Lovers

I never usually buy singles as a rule (because they're ridiculous), but I had to get my hands on this. Pete Doherty from the Libertines and some geezer called Wolfman have collaborated and released this lovely track.

It is boo-ti-ful, and it is odd to hear Pete singing a slow(ish) song.

The B-Side is also great. Download For Lovers, though - you'll like it.


I do, anyway - don't burst my bubble, yo.

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Date:2004-04-08 12:22
Subject:Kings Of Leon - Youth & Young Manhood
Mood: energetic

Kings Of Leon - Youth & Young Manhood

I'm surprised someone hasn't already reviewed this. The best way to describe the Kings for people who've yet to hear them would be a sort of Southern Strokes.

It verges on yee-haw redneck material, but still retains a super-cool garage-rock feel. Some of the riffs and beats are totally Strokesy, but lead singer Caleb Followill's lazy Southern wailing makes them stand out.

The songs are fast, punchy and full of hummable choonage. I really can't fault this album, even if some of the slower tracks are mildly depressing.

Listen to Joe's Head, Red Morning Light and California Waiting and you'll be hooked.

Look out for the hidden track about 8 minutes after the last song - it's one of the best on the album, oddly enough. I've also seen these guys live and they're friggin' awesome - like most Strokes-type bands, they sound better on stage in the summer sun.

Can't fault 'em. Get it.

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Date:2004-04-08 11:25
Mood: refreshed

The Libertines - Up The Bracket

The Libertines are the best garage-rock band to come out of the UK. Simple as that.

This is the filthiest, loudest, most ramshackle modern rock album you'll ever hear - and it's brilliant. Lead howlers Pete Doherty and Carl Barat's cockney drawl set off the feedback-laden guitars and pin-sharp drumming perfectly.

But at the same time, their technical prowess never becomes rigid and sterile - there's a thick layer of dirty blues, rock and dub coating the perfect playing and at times the clashing symbols, tearing riffs and pumping basslines make your ears cry like little, ugly babies.

Credit is due to ex-Clash founder Mick Jones for his production of the album, but John, Pete, Carl and Gary are the real talent.

Standout tracks include Boys In The Band, Up The Bracket, I Get Along and Tell The King.

The weakest track is slow number Radio America, so don't download that if you want a taste of the Libs. ;)

Fetch this album now - if you like British garage rock, you're obliged to own it.

And see them live if the opportunity ever arises - they're the best band I've ever seen. The atmosphere is unbeatable.

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Date:2004-03-23 17:47
Mood:i have lots of homework to do!

bought some awesome albums lately.
2004 is great so far.

broken social scene - bee hives[2004]

yeah this is pretty much proof that some of the staff at pitchfork don't know what they're talkin about!(DISSED) nah just kidding, i understand people have different opinions. :) anyway, bee hives is a 'bee' sides collection LOL. its kind of like a mix between you forgot it in people and feel good lost(ie: a mix of ambient tunes and pop tunes.. more on the ambient side tho), and honestly i think the tunes are good enough for this to be considered a proper album. 'market fresh' sounds a lot like 'stars and sons', the alternate version of 'lovers spit' featuring a girl singer now is cooler than the original imo and the buildup tension in 'da da da da' is awesome... but by far the best tune on this is 'backyards'. 'backyards' in my opinion is the best bss song of all time.. fucking hypnotic. i'd buy this just for that tune! solid release IN MY HUMBLE OPINION.
tracks to check out: market fresh, BACKYARDS, da da da da, lover's spit(2.0!)

iron & wine - our endless numbered days[2004]

i am seriously amazed. everything sam beam(iron and wine)released has been great, but this effort really is something else. like his last album(creek drank the cradle), our endless numbered days is lo-fi folk music, but this time around the production is a bit sharper(HE BOUGHT A COMPUTER :) ), and there are drums(gasp!) present. i was a little dissapointed at first to hear that drums were gonna be on his new album, but the drums really add something cool to beams music. on your wings, the opening track, starts like any of his previous tunes.. but when the drums kick in about 2 and a half minutes into it, it really starts to actually groove. but dont worry 'I HATE CHANGE' nerds, there are still plenty of lo-fi guitar only tunes on this. this album also seems a bit more 'lighter' than the last one.. less haunting and all that. his sister also sings in parts of it too! i think i like this album more than his last... GREAT stuff! i dunno, ... at this point this album is pretty much contending for my fave of the year so far(AGAINST SP).. its really really good.
tracks to check out: on your wings, naked as we came, cinder and smoke, fever dream

king geedorah - take me to your leader[2003]

quality underground hiphop by mf doom. the production is fantastic.. it's like cheesy 70s cartoon music, music from druginduced 60s films, and 50s b grade monster flicks all mixed with phat beats. this could have been an instrumental only album and it'd still rule..but thankfully the mcs are cool and they do the music justice. especially biolante, and hassan chop(awesome name), oh and doom! even though i've only had this album for like a day, i reckon its the best hiphop cd of last year. doom has skills. sometimes i wish those nerds that only listen to CHINGY and LUDACRIS would give stuff like geedorah a chance! i seriously recommend this to anyone gettin into hiphop, or any current hiphop fans.
tunes to check out: fazers, fastlane, antimatter, i wonder

madvillain - madvillainy[2004]

been looking forward to this one for a while...its a joint effort by madlib(beats), and mf doom(mc). i really dug madlibs take on jazz on his 'shades of blue' remix album, so i was pretty much expecting this album to be a bit on the jazzy side. and it is! if i was to compare this to the king geedorah album, i think i kinda like that one a little bit more. both are fucking quality hiphop(people who diss hiphop should really listen to these two efforts, as it will most likely change their oppinions!), but the king geedorah effort is a bit more focused abd cos it has less tracks, the tracks have time to develope. madvillany has a bunch of great,albiet short, tunes. recommended tho! propz for the street fighter 2 samples in 'do not fire'!
tunes to check out: curls, figaro, all caps,

primal scream - evil heat[2002]

to be perfectly honest what interested me first about primal scream, was my bloody valentine's kevin shields involvement with the band. so i really had no clue what they sounded like before i picked this album up.. i've heard a tune they did off the trainspotting soundtrack before but thats about it. well i'm happy to report that i dig 'em! will this cd anyway. very electronicy(some inspired instrumental efforts on this!), infact it kinda reminds me of nine inch nails a little bit, or that genre of music rich is into.. EMB or something. vocals are britpop/blur-ish, which is a cool contrast to the music. kevin shields plays guitar on one tune, 'city', and its pretty obviously him cos of his trademark distortion, he rules!
tunes to check out: autobahn 66, city, some velvet morning

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Date:2004-03-16 23:03
Subject:Archive - You All Look the Same to Me

Not sure if this was done on Soundtest but here it is anyway.

If I had one word to describe this album, it would be: hypnotic.

I agree with what most reviewers say, in that Archive are a lot like the love child Pink Floyd and Radiohead never had. The opening track alone, Again, is like The Wall meets Street Spirit. It's also the most breathtaking 16 minutes of continuous music you may ever hear. The band's ability to manipulate a single beat, guitar riff, or even simple melody such that it may go on for a full quarter of an hour and yet never sound quite the same is what really impresses me about this track, and some of the others on this album. Meanwhile, those that are more along what's generally considered "normal" length for a song, like to blend into each other...so either way you're not getting a break for a while (grab a Kit-Kat).

It's not like the whole album is just one continuous depressing beat though; suddenly you're hit with the lullaby-esque Goodbye which seriously just makes you want to cry (as if the title didn't imply a sad song). Ok so maybe that is a little depressing :/

The album picks up a little with Finding it So Hard, but midway through this 15 minute track, things start looking down again...and then back up again! The whole album's like a rollercoaster really, this track being no exception. Ironically, Hate comes in with a little sunlight (and beautiful piano/violin combination), followed by the relatively upbeat Need, which ends the disc off on a lovely note.

The lead singer sounds like he's stoned throughout the entire album (when he's not sounding like a lost little boy), and the overall tone is kind of a downer, but sometimes it's worth getting a little depressed when you can experience such incredible music. This is definitely the type of album you turn up full blast and smoke up to with your parents.

Suggested tracks: Again (comes in a radio edit too if you're lazy), Meon, and Goodbye

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Date:2004-03-16 19:05
Subject:Mogwai - Young Team; Squarepusher - Ultravisitor

can't touch dis


Mogwai - Young Team [1997]

When you think of the term "musical innovation", Scotland probably isn't the first place that springs to mind, but recently I've discovered quite a range of interesting bands originating from up north, such as long-time rockers Primal Scream, orchestral pop maestros The Delgados, and perhaps above all, these guys.

Mogwai's debut album, Young Team, comprises ten tracks of emotional, instrumental rock, spliced with fragmented telephone conversations that give it a kind of urban feel. For the most part it's very quiet and contemplative, but several tracks make a habit of suddenly exploding into furious crescendos that will continually catch you completely off guard, even after repeated listens ("Like Herod"). What really makes Young Team a success though, are the intense feelings of loneliness and isolation that run throughout the record, most notably on the beautiful, chiming "Tracy" and the (unfortunately titled) piano-driven piece "R U Still In 2 It." These two tracks in particular are just totally absorbing and quite literally make you feel a world apart from your surroundings.

Despite the relatively simple instrumentation, this is far from being easy-listening, and it's certainly not an album for all seasons, but there's a quite understated beauty to Young Team; and it's something that, when listening to the entire album in one sitting, I find myself becoming quite affected by. Check it out.

Top tracks: Like Herod, Tracy, Mogwai Fear Satan


Squarepusher - Ultravisitor [2004]

Given the mountains of acclaim heaped upon Ultravisitor from the electronic music community over the past month ("IT'S THE SECOND COMING!!!!!"), it was hard not to feel a slight twinge of disappointment on first listen. But alas, I wasn't paying close enough attention; once I gave the album a proper listen from start to finish, things started clicking into place. As others have mentioned, Ultravisitor is the culmination of pretty much everything Mr.Jenkinson has written up until now - all of his styles are well represented, from Drill 'n' Bass to Jazz and everything in between, and once again the quality of production is second to none.

What perhaps impressed me the most (aside from Tom's phenomenal bass and drum skillz) is how well Ultravisitor works as an album. All the tracks flow nicely into each other, and there's a great progression of moods across the 15 tracks. Indeed, while some tracks stand out just as well on their own ("Tetra-Sync"), others sound vastly better in the context of the songs before and after ("Menelec"). It's just a shame then that the album is too long, and makes listening to the whole thing slightly more effort than it should be. It also dilutes some of the impact; tracks 9-11 in particular represent a real lull in the pace of the album, and could've been cut wholesale without any ill effects.

But make no mistake, this is good stuff. Really good. Tom has really matured as a musician with this release. Standout tracks include the scatterbrained title track; the quite lovely, if overlong "Iambic 9 Poetry" (still prefer Iambic 5!); and Tetra-Sync, which I'm sure you've all heard by now... Definately reccommended.


thanks for reading.

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Date:2004-03-15 16:20
Subject:Beta Band - 3 EPs

The Beta Band - The Three E.P.s
Hi. This album came out in 1997 (same year as OK Computer), so it's not exactly new or anything, but not many people seem to listen to the Beta Band and I think they should. So here is me spreading the word

This album is a 12 track collection of 3 EPs, but it fits together really well as a full length. Some tracks are completely different to others, but rather than making the record feel thrown together, it actually adds to the Beta Band's style of doing random interesting things at unexpected moments. Seriously, there's so much originality and innovation going on here it's hard to believe. Not all of it is mind blowing, but it's enough to make you think "yeah, these guys are on to something".

It's hard to describe what genre the Beta Band are in simply because they don't write songs similar to any other bands that I can think of. It's mostly acoustic guitars, bass and vocals with a few effects thrown here and there, but make no mistake this is not some kind of acoustic album. Some songs go on for up to 12 minutes with crazy sounds of birds tweeting, insects hissing and drums bashing.

Yes, I can't describe it so I'll stop trying, but you'd do well to download these songs: Dry The Rain, Dogs Got A Bone, Needles In My Eyes, Dr Baker

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Date:2004-03-11 19:40
Subject:My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything; Primal Scream - XTRMNTR

What is up party people, I recieved five CDs in the post on Monday, all of which are excellent, and all of which I shall write about here on soundtest!


My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything [1988]

Pitchfork put it best when they said Isn't Anything is Loveless in chrysalis. Most of the ingredients that made MBV's 1991 masterpiece so spectacular are all present and accounted for (most notably the layers of guitar noise that permeate the mix), but the recipe just hadn't quite been perfected yet... Of course, I never expected Isn't Anything to reach the lofty heights of Loveless, but it actually comes surprisingly close, and has cemented MBV's position as one of my favourite bands. There's a slightly stronger emphasis on vocals here, which is evident right from the strangely intoxicating opening track "Soft as Snow" but it's certainly of no detriment to the music itself. Favourite tracks include the incredibly wistful "Lose My Breath" which contains some absolutely beautiful vocal harmonies, and the rather depressing "No More Sorry."

For those unaccustomed to comparatively "rough around the edges" sound of 80's rock music (such as myself), it's not the most accessible album ever, but suffice to say if you have Loveless, buying this is a real no-brainer. And if you don't, well, there's obviously something wrong with you! :)!

Top Tracks: Lose My Breath, No More Sorry, Nothing Much to Lose


Primal Scream - XTRMNTR [2000]

After being impressed (if not particularly stunned) by Primal Scream's genrebending 1992 classic Screamadelica I decided to delve into the other end of the spectrum and try out what most consider the group's loudest and most aggressive album, XTRMNTR... The hype is quite justified; this is 60 minutes of politically charged rawness, brimming with wailing sirens, buzzing synths, thumping beats, and ripping basslines. Get into the mood and you'll find some quite fantastic stuff on here. Even My Bloody Valentine frontman Kevin Shields gets in on the act, adding his midas touch to the absolutely primal "Accelerator," and the quite mesmerising instrumental "MBV Arkestra," both of which come within a few decibels of being completely overrun by noise (but not quite!). Certainly worth checking out, but if you're going to download some tracks, steer clear of "Pills" which is one of the most laughably poor tunes I've heard in a while.

Top Tracks: Swastika Eyes (if only for the utterly breathtaking climax about 3minutes in), Exterminator, Keep Your Dreams


Coming Soon: part two of my 135% ultimate review extravaganza!! maybe

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Date:2004-03-06 14:09
Subject:Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Mood: contemplative

yea outkast is one of my favorite groups and i reviewed two of their albums when the soundtest website was up and i couldn't pass up their latest. (thanks to mike for uploading an album for a broke nigga like me)
Speakerboxxx-this is big boi's effort on the duo's latest release and i must say i was quite pleased with it. right from the start you can get a good idea of what his side going to be like. the intro track starts off a bit slow and, with the help of a snare, picks up into some strong bass and strangely comfortable vocals. the track itself fades out but the trend continues into "Ghettomusick" which makes little time out of sending off a strong set of kicks into your ears, with the occasional dip into the oldschool end of the pool.
while speakerboxxx certainly starts off strong, no sooner than you get used to that does big boi hand you a slower paced track like "Unhappy" or an interlude with his little boy Bamboo to bring you back down. to send you off again though, he's employed a smooth voice (Sleepy Brown) and a sharp tongue (Ludacris) as well as a few other talented rappers, and of course his accomplice Andre 3000 to keep a fair mix of styles present and making Speakerboxxx a bit more well-rounded.
Some high points were "Bowtie" which features Sleepy Brown, Jazze Pha, some nice trumpets and a catchy hook thatll stick to you. "Tomb Of The Boom" features the team of Big Boi, Konkrete, Big Gipp, and Ludacris and while I enjoy it, I personally dont really think Konkrete or Big Gipp are too strong lyrically on the track. I'm partial to Ludacris and Big Boi at the end of this one. "Flip Flop Rock" is another good loud tune and Big Boi backs it up with some strong lyrics. You'll find Killer Mike on this one and if you've ever listened to Outkast before this you'll know he's come to have a (well-deserved) spot as a regular on Outkast's albums. He comes down kind of weak at the end of his spot on the track but he follows up Big Boi quite nicely, as does HOV (Jay-Z) who you would most likely find in a chair on this track, kickin back, sippin a drink.
i think anyone who likes the harder side of Outkast would enjoy Big Boi's piece and be very satisfied with everything it has to offer.

The Love Below- this is Andre 3000's effort and a fucking fantastic effort at that. he starts you right off with an extravagant intro track which he laces with a finely sung verse and immediately you get a taste for the singer in Andre 3000. after that you get a bittersweet taste of his piece with "Love Hater" which combines smooth jazzy sounds with a harsh distorted guitar and some powerful lyrics. this sort of sets the mood for the entire rest of the album which seems to tiptoe down the fine line of the good and the bad that can come with something like love. that in itself is quite impressive seeing as most people either talk about how great their love is or moan about how depressed they are and it seems hard to strike a balance but 3000 did a phenomenal job of disproving that.
3000 seemed to have done a bit of recruiting himself and you can find Kelis, Rosario Dawson, and the silky vocals of Norah Jones on The Love Below, all fitting in very nicely in their respective tunes.
Highlights on The Love Below were "Happy Valentine's Day", "Spread" and "A Life In The Day Of Benjamin Andre". In "Happy Valentine's Day", 3000 takes on the role of Cupid Valentino and begins a good-natured rant on the depreciation of Valentines day. with a solid hook and a jagged (yet amazingly fluid) beat, Cupid keeps his cool, and lashes out at the same time. "Spread" is a lyrically honest, and audibly pleasing track which sets one of the more positive tones on the album. i was pretty impressed with the honesty in its hooks and how much somebody could relate. that alone creates a connection that makes the tune that much more engaging to the listener as they go on through the album. "A Life In The Day Of Benjamin Andre" is pretty much a storyteller track in which 3000 comes at you on a more personal level, letting you in on some things that the average listener might not know about him. a bit of a bold move but it was executed well through his words and by the end of the track you really just want to sit down with the guy and hear what else he has to say.
i think anyone that appreciates the more lyrical aspects of music and wouldnt mind some fucking lush sound to go with it, will love Andre 3000's piece.
Overall this was a remarkable release by Outkast. I think the fact that they made it a double album and took separate paths for this release gave off the wrong impression to a lot of people. It was pretty great how they managed to basically stick to their own on their respective albums and still churn out some amazing tunes.
I always sort of associated them with that thing from Shakespeare I think it was, "the sound and the fury". Its usually been Andre 3000 that was with the sound with funky, yet eloquent beats and Big Boi on the fury with strong lyrics about real things that were going on. On Speakerboxxx/The Love Below I think they themselves played both parts on their respective albums and that alone impressed me greatly as a fan. Maybe I just read too much into things like that. And not that I liked Speakerboxxx any less after listening to The Love Below, but i think Andre 3000 will have made the top of a lot of people's lists with his album.
I just wanted to give an idea of how the albums start off and hopefully draw enough interest up so you actually listen to the rest of their stuff. Sorry I wrote a novel! np!

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Date:2004-03-02 11:48

Hi guys, this isn't a review. Lately I only seem to listen to the same cycle of bands (mostly blur/coral/weezer) and I wanted to order something that is a bit different than what I usually buy. I have this massive list of CDs that I could buy that I know I will get some enjoyment out of, but they are all safe bets I want to buy something really different that I wouldn't usually buy or that I don't really know anything about.

So most of you are aware of the music I listen to I think. Could everyone please post albums that they think (or once thought) are really really great, that I myself don't really listen to?! Bjork and Mogwai would be examples of this that I've already taken down and I want more!

Thx this better get shitloads of comments or I'm going to be pissed off.

6 comments | post a comment

Date:2004-02-29 15:09
Subject:Tori Amos - Scarlet's Walk

i really did not like this album at all. i thought it was boring, dull and lacked the creative energy of Tori Amos' past efforts. but that was after the first listen only. lent it to a friend,

and when i got it back recently, i decided to give it another chance. good thing i did, because i realized that Scarlet's Walk is supposed to be boring, but likesay in a good way. infact, i'd say that it's primarily relaxing, and way more mature and constant than her experimental albums. not to say that its better overall, just refreshing.
highlights include:
wednesday - pretty much a sequel to the 'happy phantom' tune off little earthquakes album. uplifting bouncy piano, with a catchy guitar riff.
your cloud - like a lot of the songs on the album, this track has great lyrics, which pretty much deal with insecurity. the music is amazingly chilled with a hint of depresion. cool combo.
pancake - i really dig tori's voice on this one.
yeah picking out favourites on this album is kinda hard, because there really arent any 'standout' tracks. the album just works really great together as a whole. no, scarlet's walk isn't my favourite tori album, but its certainly in the top 3. and really, if you want to get into her and stuff, this is not the album i recommend starting off with(little earthquakes for dat). but seriously, if you have patience and like piano music, i think you'll dig this effort. i just can't believe how daft i was to ignore this gem.
personally, sometimes i just can't be fucked with electronics and experimentations, no matter how good. sometimes simply a voice and some piano playin will do just fine.

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2004-02-28 19:29

Alright folks, I will be reviewing Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News.

This is going to be released April 6th, and I didn't manage to find a picture of the jacket for it, so just imagine something cool and Modest Mouse-ish.

Anyway, for all the fans that have been waiting for that follow up masterpiece to The Moon and Antarctica - this is it. All of Modest Mouse's albums are very, very good, but I predict this is going to be one of the two albums ranked as near damn perfect.

For those that haven't heard any of their stuff, they're an indie rock trio known best for their cynical ramblings and warped, edgy sound.

In Good News they seem to be more instrumentally together than ever before. They've done their experimenting, and now have a compactness that is characteristic of bands that have been together for decades. The lyrics and vocals are still as honest and emotional as before, but Isaac seems to have lost that "Life sucks but I don't care" feeling that characterized previous efforts and replaced it with more of a "Life still kind of sucks, but now I'll admit it has bugged me a bit" outlook. Not that this comes across as whiny at all. They're a lot like the Pixies in that they express themselves intelligently and that instead of retaining the same point of view throughout their entire musical career their thoughts develop more and more profoundly.

It doesn't hurt that they're older than your average famous indie band (The Shins, The Strokes, etc who all seem to be in their twenties) and it's refreshing hearing a more mature sound than what others have to offer.

So yeah, great album, great band. Definite recommendation. Specific songs to look into are: Bukowski, Satin in a Coffin, and One Chance

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2004-02-28 03:56
Subject:Squarepusher - Ultravisitor

Hello. Let me say a little about the new Squarepusher LP in case you haven't listened to it yet.

The album is a brilliant fusion of everything that has come before. It's engineered to sound like a live show (although elements of many of the tunes actually do sound like live recordings to me). The wide variety of styles he manages to blend into this one disc is astounding; there are the acid jungle melodies of Feed Me Weird Things, the live jazz improv of Music Is Rotted One Note, the hip-hop experimentalism of Do You Know Squarepusher and the mutating drillnoise of Go Plastic. But it's not just a re-hashing of previous work... he even manages to throw a Venetian Snares-style chaos breakbeat number in there that upstages anything Mr. Funk has come up with so far.

Tom has been quoted as saying this is his best material and, although my personal favourite effort is probably still Big Loada, this is certainly up there at the pinnacle of his output, and is definitely the album that represents best his work as Squarepusher to date.

Tracks to check out:

Ultravisitor - combines fragmented breaks with a trademark acid melody reminiscent of his earlier albums.
Iambic 9 Poetry - in my opinion, a better piece of work than Iambic 5. Beautiful rolling percussion overlaying a pretty melody.
Tetra-Sync - probably the best tune I've ever heard by Mr. Jenkinson. The way the track constantly builds and builds over its course before exploding into mad bass is breathtaking.

If you have even a passing interest in electronic music you owe it to yourself to check out this album. It's the one that really does cement Squarepusher's status as more than just an IDM artist - first essential album of 2004. Release date: March 8th.

3 comments | post a comment

Date:2004-02-27 11:00

The Kills - Keep On Your Mean Side

When you hear that the The Kills are a girl/guy double act, you'd be forgiven for thinking that they are just a crap White Stripes rip-off - well, they aren't! (Well, maybe a bit...)

If you like dirty blues rock that sounds like it was recorded in a toilet then this is the album for you! There is a lot of sexual tension between the singers and their riffs and drum solos are rougher than a badger's elbow, but in a good way!

Some of the writing is quite impressive and the male singer sounds a bit like Velvet Underground-era Iggy Pop - which is great!

Standout tracks are Gypsy Death & You, Cat Claw and Kissy Kissy.

There aren't that many catchy hooks or guitar solos, but it is a good album to just relax and listen to. It is sad that the first track, the opener, is probably the weakest, but don't let that put you off!

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2004-02-27 22:07
Subject:Franz Ferdinand

Hi guys, on the strength of the single "Take Me Out", I decided to purchase the album of new British indie band Franz Ferdinand.

It's great, I wasn't very impressed at first, besides obvious standouts Take Me Out and Darts Of Pleasure the rest of it seemed kind of a let down, but about 4 listens later it's opened up to be an album full of fantastic tracks! They sound kind of like The Strokes except with a bit more variety to them and also a certain Britishness.. so basically, it's guitar pop, and not the kind of thing that delves into 12 minute solos. Some of the lyrics are fantastic, for those of you that actually pay attention to that.

Anyway if you want to check them out the tracks I would recommend are: Come On Home, Jacqueline and Take Me Out. Thx.

5 comments | post a comment

Date:2004-02-27 01:37

Ok so this should be fun. Basically all of us music geeks get to post about albums or whatever that we've been listening to lately with opinions. Please keep it brief, don't want to bore people reading OR make people feel like they aren't putting enough effort into posts cuz they only wrote one paragraph or whatever.

It's up to you whether you include the album cover or tracklist or whatever, but it'd be cool if you could mention a few tracks you like for people to download :)!!

Then other people can comment on that entry with their own opinions on that album or whatever. YEA

4 comments | post a comment

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