Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Siberian Xmas with the Echo & the Bunnymen

Review by MacKenzie Wilson
Since their 1997 comeback, Echo & the Bunnymen have made some genuine attempts to keep the momentum going. Evergreen and What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? were eager, bright, and still a little brash. Flowers was nice with its light canvas; however, most fans still preferred their earlier material. That's not to say an older Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant don't make great music together. It's just that the recent material seemed too prosaic. Their sound is so distinctly their own with Sergeant's silvery, tight guitar work and McCulloch's fashionable, sweet-and-sour kind of vocal charm. Siberia, Echo's tenth studio album (including the sans-McCulloch disaster, Reverberation), is the album the two school friends have been trying to make since getting back together to record Evergreen. This 11-song set has every crass beat of Crocodiles and every sparkling thread of Heaven Up Here while the edgy pop moments of the underrated Porcupine are sprinkled throughout. And of course, Ocean Rain will not be forgotten. If anything, Siberia mirrors the passion of that 1984 classic most of all. Sergeant's playing has never sounded better, particularly on the playful self-reflections of "Parthenon Drive" and "Of a Life." McCulloch's lyrics are exactly on par, and vocally, he's sharper than ever. Call it an age thing, but Siberia makes total sense for where Echo & the Bunnymen stands 20 years on as a band. They couldn't have created this album before now. Songs such as the bittersweet musings of "Stormy Weather" and "All Because of You Days" capture Echo & the Bunnymen at their most confident. Album standout "Scissors in the Sand" finds the band's usual cool and cocky demeanor still intact. Really, Siberia is a beautiful album. All those years ago, Echo & the Bunnymen gave the world some "songs to learn and sing." With Siberia, they do it again.

1 Stormy Weather (McCulloch, Sergeant) 4:24
2 All Because of You Days (McCulloch, Sergeant) 5:44
3 Parthenon Drive (McCulloch, Sergeant) 5:11
4 In the Margins (McCulloch, Sergeant) 5:06
5 Of a Life (McCulloch, Sergeant) 3:43
6 Make Us Blind (McCulloch, Sergeant) 4:00
7 Everything Kills You (McCulloch, Sergeant) 4:17
8 Siberia (McCulloch, Sergeant) 4:56
9 Sideways Eight (McCulloch, Sergeant) 3:16
10 Scissors in the Sand (McCulloch, Sergeant) 5:29
11 What If We Are? (McCulloch, Sergeant) 5:09


Twisted Christmas with Twisted Sister

Year: 2006
Genre: Hair Metal
Codec: MP3 320kBpS 44.1kHz

Review by James Christopher Monger
Holiday-themed albums need to either be pretty good, horrifically terrible, or completely original to cause even the jolliest head to turn. Twisted Christmas, a ten-track collection of yuletide classics from the band that once writhed atop a convertible singing the song "Burn in Hell" near the end of Pee Wee's Big Adventure, manages to achieve all three. Twisted Sister was always a group that would occasionally transcend their hair metal image with some truly majestic and powerful rock & roll, so it comes as no surprise that they filter the beloved Christmas carol through the same makeup-smeared sieve that brought the world "I Wanna Rock," "Wake Up the Sleeping Giant," and "The Prize." In fact, "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" sounds so much like a reimagining of "We're Not Gonna Take It," the listener can't help but become outraged at all of the injustice in the world. "Deck the Halls" sounds like a Ramones tune, "I'll Be Home for Christmas," featuring guest vocalist Lita Ford, could have launched a thousand lighters at any stadium in the late '80s, and the absolutely embarrassing "Heavy Metal Christmas" ("12 silver crosses, 11 black mascaras, ten pairs of platforms, nine tattered T-shirts, eight pentagrams, seven leather jackets, six cans of hair spray, five skullhead rings, four quarts of Jack, three studded belts, two pairs of spandex pants, and a tattoo of Ozzy") is almost impossible to turn off without seeing it through to its loathsome but charming end.
1 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Blane, Martin) 4:48
2 Oh Come All Ye Faithful (Traditional) 4:39
3 White Christmas (Berlin) 3:56
4 I'll Be Home for Christmas (Gannon, Kent, Ram) 4:08
5 Silver Bells (Evans, Livingston) 5:05
6 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Connor) 3:39
7 Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Cahn, Styne) 3:09
8 Deck the Halls (Traditional) 2:52
9 The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) (Torme, Wells) 3:40
10 Heavy Metal Christmas (The Twelve Days of Christmas) (Snider, Traditional) 5:14
11 :36

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Swingin Rockablly Xmas with Brian Setzer Orchestra - 2002 - Boogie Woogie Christmas

Year: 2002
Genre: Rockabilly, Swing
Codec: MP3 320kBpS 44.1kHz

Review by Hal Horowitz
Brian Setzer takes his horn-fueled big band on a sleigh ride into Christmas/holiday music with generally impressive results. Meshing his rockabilly guitar solos with brassy charts and a lounge/Vegas sensibility that is part tribute and part retro characterization, Setzer dusts off and polishes up obscure nuggets like Kay Starr's "(Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With the Bag" and Lionel Hampton's swinging "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus." He rocks up played-out chestnuts "Winter Wonderland" and "Jingle Bells," slightly altering the latter's lyrics to, "Oh what fun it is to ride in a '57 Chevrolet." Elvis' "Blue Christmas" succeeds despite, or maybe because of, its obvious inclusion, narrowly missing a parody of the original due to Setzer's reverb-heavy guitar solo. A rough, blues-heavy "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" successfully kicks the tune into classic urban R&B territory, with the bandleader's guitar getting down and dirty and the horns blasting away like Doc Severinsen's orchestra. Ann Margaret sounds a little tentative playing the sultry sex kitten next to Setzer's slick Bobby Darin on a nevertheless frisky duet romp through "Baby It's Cold Outside." But the album's obvious highlight is an intricately rearranged, instrumental big band blowout of "The Nutcracker Suite," originally written for Les Brown's orchestra in the '50s. It displays the group's stop-on-a-dime chops and swings like mad. A 30-piece choir backs Setzer doing his best Presley mannerisms on a smarmy "O Holy Night" and closes the album on a serious note with a prayerful "The Amens."

1 Jingle Bells Pierpont 2:22
2 Boogie Woogie Santa Claus Rene, Rene 3:02
3 Winter Wonderland Bernard, Smith 2:40
4 Blue Christmas Hayes, Johnson 2:48
5 Santa Claus Is Back in Town Leiber, Stoller 3:48
6 Baby, It's Cold Outside Loesser 3:43
7 The Nutcracker Suite Tchaikovsky 7:13
8 (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With the Bag Brooks, Irving, Stanley 2:48
9 Sleigh Ride Anderson, Parish 2:40
10 So They Say It's Christmas Setzer 4:46
11 O Holy Night Adam, Dwight, Traditional 4:49
12 The Amens (Traditional) :59

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Nutcracker - Classical Xmas with Peter Tchaikovsky

Conductor: Evgenij Svetlanov
Performer: The USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Year: 1988
Genre: Classical
Codec: MP3 320kBpS 44.1kHz

Rewiev by HZ
Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" (1816) and composed by Peter Tchaikovsky in 1891–1892. Well-known to everyone who have ears and any kind of audio equipment.

01. Overture [3:15]
02. The Decoration of The Christmas Tree [3:55]
03. March [2:29]
04. Children's Galop and Arrival of the Guests [2:20]
05. Arrival of the Drosselmayer [5:58]
06. Dance of the Grandfathers [7:23]
07. The Magic Spell Begins [7:50]
08. The Battle [3:18]
09. In the Pine-Forest [4:22]
10. Waltz of the Snowflakes [7:29]
11. Le royaume des sucreries [4:23]
12. Clara et le Prince [4:43]
13. Divertimento : Chocolat, danse espagnole [1:13]
14. Divertimento : Cafe, danse arabe [3:48]
15. Divertimento : The, danse chinoise [1:09]
16. Divertimento : Trepak, danse russe [1:02]
17. Divertimento : Danse des flutes [2:32]
18. Divertimento : Mere Cigogne et les clowns [2:08]
19. Valse des fleurs [7:01]
20. Danse du Prince et de la Fee Dragee [5:22]
21. Variation 1 : Tarentelle [0:41]
22. Variation 2 : Danse de la Fee Dragee [2:21]
23. Pas de deux [1:20]
24. Coda [3:33]
25. Apotheose [1:57]

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Year: 1996
Genre: Crossover Jazz
Codec: MP3 320kBpS 44.1kHz

Review by Ken Dryden

This 1996 Scottish release predates the CD Celebrating Grappelli (released under Stephane Grappelli's name shortly after his death on Dec. 1, 1997 but with Taylor, in fact, as the leader) by over a year, yet it overlaps considerably with that album. Several tracks that were dropped to make room for additional material with Grappelli are found on this disc: the easygoing ballad "Going Home Again," the Gypsy-flavored "Monti," and an additional vocal by Claire Martin on the well-crafted "Hi Lily, Hi Lo," a piece rarely heard in a jazz setting. Years Apart should be acquired instead of Celebrating Grappelli because most fans will already have the Grappelli-Taylor duets heard on the latter album, which were repeated from their earlier Linn CD, Reunion.

Selected Tracks:
01. Sweet Sue Just You [4:18]
02. Going Home Again [4:10]
03. Undecided [3:29]
04. Musette for a Magpie [4:18]
05. I can't give you anything but Love [4:54]
06. Czardas [2:45]
07. Hi lily, hi lo [4:33]
08. Dinah [4:37]
09. Years Apart [4:23]
10. The Gypsy [3:23]
11. Chicago [4:37]
12. Manoir de mes reves [4:06]

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Year: 1999
Genre: Gothic Metal
Total Mime: 01:06:41
Codec: MP3 320 kBpS 44.1kHz

01. Prelude 1:41
02. Futility 3:35
03. New Day 3:39
04. A Better God 3:59
05. Intransigence 3:58
06. Torn Being 4:43
07. Courageous 6:15
08. The Vortex 5:22
09. Awaking 4:18
10. Vagrants In Space 4:23
11. Calling The Sun 5:18
12. Exile 5:02
13. The Cycle 4:24
14. Twist In My Sobriety (Tikaram) 4:04
15. Futility (Project Pitchfork Remix) (Bonustrack) 5:49


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rewiev by HZ
ex-Christian Death bdsm-goth-princess GITANE DeMONE with the little help from her friends -
Dreadful Shadows and their leader Sven Friedrich makes here some classical patterns of
neo-goth movement. Recommended.:)

01. Stars Of Trash 5:32
02. Solitary War 5:15
03. The Only One 6:00
04. I Lost A Friend To Heroin 4:40
05. Rock And Roll Child 4:51
06. Little Dreamer 4:44
07. Cancel Logic Brain 6:23
08. Kill The Censor 4:13
09. Strange Baby Strange 4:16
10. Valentine 6:21
11. Shangri-La-La-Land 6:51
12. Memoriam 5:14

---Bonus Tracks (From Minicd 'Solitary War')---
13. Solitary War (Radio Edit) 3:48
14. Strange Baby Strange (Short Edit) 3:46
15. Strange Baby Strange (Club Edit) 5:01
16. Dreadful Shadows - Twist in My Sobriety 1999 (non-album extended club edit)

Arrangements on tracks 1,2,6 & 9 featuring Dreadful Shadows. Music and lyrics Gitane DeMone.
Recorded at Thommy Hein Studio, Berlin, July & August '99. Produced by Thommy Hein, Gitane
DeMone, Sven Friedrich. Mastered by Thommy Hein. Photography: Tobias Seeliger. Artwork: Cindy Drzymala. Photo location: Hotel Kunstlerheim, Luise, Berlin.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Review by HZ
Good compilation of interesting and weird remixes as well as some originals.

1 Give Peace a Chance [Remix 2005] 6:11 (Performed by: Voices Of Asia, Lennon)
2 Gimme Some Truth [Remix] 3:16 (Performed by: Lennon, Flux Fiddlers)
3 Love [Remix] 3:22
4 Hold On [Remix] 1:53
5 Give Peace a Chance 2004 Y2K+ Ono 3:54 (Composed by: Ono Performed by: Yoko Ono)
6 Imagine [Remix] 3:04
7 Bring on the Lucie (Freeda People) [Remix] 4:13
8 Mind Games [Remix] 4:13
9 I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier [Remix] 6:04
10 Instant Karma! (We All Shine On) 3:20
11 Power to the People [Remix] 3:23
12 Real Love [version] 4:08
13 Help Me to Help Myself 2:09
14 I Don't Wanna Face It 3:23
15 Bless You 4:37
16 Happy Xmas (War Is Over) 3:34
17 Listen the Snow Is Falling 3:10
18 Give Peace a Chance 4:54


Totally Fuzzy