All 3 entries tagged Music Review

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June 12, 2006


3 out of 5 stars

The wonders of iTunes are slowly conquering my music buying behaviour. I noticed this band in the top downloads and following results in the past, I know that I usually appreciate music by bands called The .... The sound snippets predicted a nice album for the summer and with MTV showing Naive every second I zapped by there was no way I could resist.

The three stars say it all. It's definitely not a waste of money, and the album is very coherent – not a selection of singles like the Kaiserchiefs' work nor fluctuating quality in the tracks that Snow Patrol have. As a result there's nothing exceptional about this album. Summer evening music. That's all I can think of.

January 29, 2006

Newly found glory

3 out of 5 stars

Had a great day today, but don't really feel like blogging about it. Well, ok then, first the day, then the CD.

Had a wee bit too long a sleep in, but was on time to have a shower and buy some milk before getting in the car to get to Ramphal for our Rev concert/busking session. We were singing for a NAGTY conference - imagine 30 people with keyboard and guitars standing on the upstairs hallway [or imagine that on any upstairs hallway - yes, it was one of the more special concert locations in the choir's history!] - i.e. lots of bright young kids tired of mingling and networking all day. Not sure if they really enjoyed listening to us instead, but we had a good time singing and later enjoying the snacks! Ended up 'singing' the solo bits for Trouble Don't Last myself, which is quite hard on an empty stomach and when trying to reach the people the floor below with your voice.

After some more snacks [the best donut since I came to England!] I went to Foleshill with Ali and Rich to get some fabric and shiny sparkly things for decorations for our Rev concert [4th March]. Whilst there, we got so excited by fruit being stalled outside that we entered a shop and cancelled our trip to TESCO Extra. Eventually, we left the shop only 7 quid poorer, but with a life supply of turmeric and other bulk stuff that would cost a fortune at a better known place. On we went to Central Six where I finally found the generic black stretch [small...] long sleeve T that will increase my clothing options by 50%. Also had to wait for Ali for 30 mins – but I'll let her explain on her blog why it took her so long to pay for a cute grey coat.

Sorry – the CD only comes up at midnight, and I still have to mention the 3 [?] episodes of 24 series 4 we watched. Now, series 2 and 3 seemed more of a necessity to watch - Kiefer Sutherland was always good as Jack Bauer, and it was just about interesting enough to see which episode Sherry Palmer or Nina Meyers would pop up - but this series is amazing so far! It's gotten a bit more cheesy [especially funny with lots of irony and sarcasm] without actually losing much credibility or pace. Go watch it when [if?] you get the chance!

And now I'm listening to the Ataris. A quick shallow glance with blog search gives me only one earlier mention – a warning that listening to them before going to bed will cause you to wake up in a melodramatic mood. Great. Though I think I'm already there. The title, So long, Astoria actually already sounds melodramatic. It's not a bad thing though - it's a good CD to have on whilst writing a blog entry or something else relaxing. It makes me smile. It's never annoying, or childish [never got round to getting a Sum41 album for that reason], or cheap. Maybe just a bit simple. It all sounds a bit the same, though it doesn't get boring. I won't say it's nice though – it's not that bad!

Not ground-breaking. Not mood-lifting. It's a I'm happy with how I feel right now kind of CD. Also, it feels like the generic teenage slapstick [American Pie, Road Trip] or prom flick [Never Been Kissed] or The OC kind of album. Which I don't think is a bad thing! For me, it reminds me of the friends I go to gigs or festivals with, which is enough to make the CD worthwhile. For you, I can't find a reason why you would mind this CD, or it would be that – like Ali – you can't hear the melody through the guitar sound.

December 27, 2005

He wakes up in the morning

5 out of 5 stars

How about those urges? I'm a very inactive person. Not passive, just not active. I think quite a lot, don't worry, there is a reason I'm at this university, but I tend to forget to write thoughts down and do something with them. Sitting around all day thinking wears me out, but I need actual exercise if I want to sleep at night. Similarly, I need not forget to do some proper thinking on a hard day's work [to me, singing in Revelation or doing a day's Christmas shopping in London or Amsterdam counts as exercise]. Thinking time can be replaced by chilling to the best CD I bought in ages - Carole King's Tapestry [thanks for the suggestion Vix!].

After a day of hard work – the kind of day I have when I have walked the Maths Department – Student's Union path in 5 different ways, only to find out I spend the same amount of time no matter which path I take – it's an urge to listen to something smooth, or to watch something mindnumbing such as Neighbours. I haven't had the pleasure to get into the storylines of the main Australian export product, mainly because fortunately those days don't happen too often.

No, then the opposite: days I just get to sit in the maths common room, trying to find where I forgot the semicolon in my m-file this time, only interrupted by the occasional visit from my supervisor giving another direction to the research. I'm safe on Tuesdays, when the silence is broken by Rev and 2 hours of recharging of the brain by releasing all energy by singing and jumping around pure chaos. But that's just one in seven days. The best way I can recreate the Rev atmosphere at home is – you guessed it – to turn on the taps and put on some Bon Jovi and run through the house singing and dancing along while cleaning dishes. The foam acts as the chaos part here.

Bon Jovi is just an example – anything loud with as much diversity and as much sound as possible will do. On a more contemplative day, Israel will do, and The Killers did a great job last year. While looking for my family's Christmas presents [at Fame in Amsterdam, if for some reason you need to buy something CD/DVD/Game related and you're in Holland, it's a good place to start] I came across the best that would encompass my 1 CD + 1 DVD limit for this year's holidays. It's actually 2 CDs and a DVD, but since they come in one box I thought it'd be ok. And it's more than ok!

Guitar, Bass, Drums, Violins, Brass, South-African voice that can linger – yup, the noise criterium is met. It all comes together in a great sound full of funk and rhythm that would endanger the melody requirement [melody - can't sing along if there isn't a recognizable tune!] if it weren't for the amazing song structures the musicians [or maybe just Dave Matthews] come up with. This particular collection has 27 tracks, 2 of which are part of a documentary [mainly pretty pictures with pretty Dave Matthews Band(DMB) background music, talking about how the concert came together], and 3 contain two songs – I don't know how many songs are on their name now, but DMB have a big enough selection to have some songs beautifully complementing one another.

Where many bands tend to create a great studio sound, but fail to convince us in live sets, DMB's live sets are mostly beyond amazing, where their studio albums usually sound downright dull. Their Central Park Concert suffered from a poor song selection, resulting in me only taking 1 of 3 CDs to England. Using the mirror, it's my loss I haven't given the new songs from those studio albums [Everyday and Busted Stuff] a fair chance. On the other hand, it's the great instrumental intermezzos or elaborations on songs that make the live sessions so great, and apparently they only worked in the older, better known songs. On The Gorge, the band seem to have had enough time to elaborate on those newer songs, and create new 'classic' overlaps with for instance Everyday and Where are you going.

Any DMB - even a studio album – would deserve 3 stars under my regime. A live album with a proper song selection would get to 4 stars, but in this case it's the DVD that earns this collection the ultimate star. I didn't really understand the appeal of music DVDs, and it's mainly the CDs that made me pick this set. But then us poor Europeans will need to pay for a ticket to America to see this band live, and even if only in your living room, with a DVD you get to see the band live. This concert's director has done an amazing job in capturing the essence of the band, where everyone has a vital part and encourages one another. So much fun on stage is mirrored by the crowd, who are ecstatic seeing the best band in the most beautiful surroundings [indeed, the 'gorge', in Washington State along the Columbia river looking over the river's canyons]. Seeing the band is called Dave Matthews Band, it wouldn't be unthinkable to see him 90% on your screen, but instead, the dirctor focuses on the key band member of each phrase, cunningly using the gigantic screen behind the band to capture the crowd or another band member. The Oscar in this case goes to the violinist, who becomes one with his instrument and puts so much drama and energy in his play that he gets the band to center around him on his solos, without ever forgetting to support the rest when his part is absent, even if only plucking the occasional string of his violin. And he never stops smiling.

Get this set if you've ever thought DMB are good. If you're interested in this band, this might be a bit too much to start with, but it's probably their best collection to date. If you'd like to hear a few songs first, I'm not sure if they're on iTunes, but try and find Ants Marching, The Space Between [was a minor hit record a few years ago, I think as part of a Nokia ad], #41, or Lie In Our Graves.

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