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Paul's Choices: 

 

Aimee Mann -Mental Illness

 

This ones  a favourite at the moment  standout tracks include,

Goose Snow Cone/ You never loved me/stuck in the past/patient Zero/ Rollercoasters

certainly worth a listen and very consistent all the way through. great lyrics to boot. -Paul.

Over the course of her career, Aimee Mann has given voice to those who aren’t necessarily losers so much as self-saboteurs, lovers who bristle at intimacy, who race full speed ahead toward happiness only to shoot themselves in the foot just shy of reaching their goal. “Always snatching defeat/It’s the devil I know,” she sings on “Goose Snow Cone,” the opening track of her ninth album, Mental Illness. “Even birds of a feather find it hard to fly,” the singer-songwriter goes on to say. Love may be the answer, and it may be all that we need, but it’s not always the last word.

 

 

Download 1

As the compilation reasserts, White has been writing on an acoustic since day one, however, the kinds of acoustic songs he writes have changed considerably over the years. More than just showcasing his tuneful side, Acoustic Recordings is a shrine to White’s self-sufficiency, in both the musical and ideological senses. After all, White has always been one to take matters into his own hands, whether he’s building guitars from some spare wire and woodopening his own record press, or ensuring aliens have access to a turntable. And until he can get off this godforsaken planet and join his records in space, Acoustic Recordings stockpiles a great American songbook that can endure even after we’re all forced to live off the grid.

 

 

 

Decemberists 640x640

 

 

 the Decemberists have gone back to their beginnings for The King Is Dead, with leader Colin Meloy forsaking epic storytelling for taut, disciplined, melodic guitar pop. The influence of REM is apparent throughout in arpeggiated guitar figures written in the style of Peter Buck, and often played by him – Calamity Song and Down By the Water, in particular, sound like the Georgia band at their top-notch best. It's no retreat, though: the confident swing of opener Don't Carry It All sets the tone for the album, and song for song, this is certainly Meloy's best set since the Decemberists' breakthrough album, Picaresque. Though the craftsmanship is evident – in the delicacy of the pair of seasonal ballads June Hymn and January Hymn, in the hillbilly-ballad-cum-indierocker Rox in the Box – it sounds as though Meloy has allowed instinct to supplement his intellect. A relatively understated delight from a band few might have suspected capable of understatement.

 

Neil's Choices:

 


Dead Can Dance- Within The Realm of a Dying Sun

                         

With its two sides split between Perry and Gerrard's vocal efforts, Within the Realm of a Dying Sunserves as both a display for the ever more ambitious band and a chance for the two to individually demonstrate their awesome talents. Beginning with the portentous "Anywhere Out of the World," a piece that takes the deep atmospherics of "Enigma of the Absolute" to a higher level with mysterious, chiming bells, simple but effective keyboard bass and a sense of vast space, the album finds Dead Can Danceon a steady roll. Once again a range of assistant musicians provide even more elegance and power to the band's work, with a chamber string quartet plus various performers on horns, woodwind, and percussion. Impressive though the remainder of the first side is, Gerrard's showcase on the second half is even more enveloping and arguably more successful. The martial combination of drums and horns that start "Dawn of the Iconoclast" call to mind everything from Wagner to Laibach, but Gerrard's unearthly alto, at its most compelling here, elevates it even higher. "Cantara" is no less impressive, a swirling, drum-heavy song that sounds equally inspired by gypsy dancing, classical orchestras and any number of Arab musical traditions. "Summoning of the Muse" is perhaps too formal in comparison, though still quite impressive, but "Persephone" is the finer effort and a good way to close.

 

 

 

 


My Dying Bride - Turn Loose The Swans

Turn Loose the Swans is the debut album by My Dying Bride, and is a taste of the dominance that this band will show in later years in the genre of doom metal. Along with classic albums like Dance of December Souls (Katatonia) and Forests of Equilibrium (Cathedral), Turn Loose the Swans is one of the foundations that the whole genre is built on. It is an excellent album to listen to, and a wonderful addition to any metal collection.

The album begins with the song Sear Me MCMXCIII, which is a very atmospheric piece. It features slow and mournful singing from Aaron Stainthrope, and utilizes strings and a keyboard to create a emotion-filled introduction to the album. It is a very nice way to begin, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. 
The next song is Your River, a personal favourite of mine, and a classic track. Again, this one is very atmospheric, and you can feel the tension building up throughout the song until it explodes at the end with a very catchy, yet heavy riff. Stainthrope shows off his harsh vocals for the first time (which he doesn’t do enough of anymore). The song ends with the lyrics:
'Where now" Feed me! Hold me! Save me! Save
yourself! Where now" Which way" Dear god,
show me. Take your own. Struggle free! Arise!
You're Ruined! Stand down! Your kin, piled
thick around you. Save yourself!'
This track will haunt you long after you have listened to it.

The next two tracks, The Songless Bird and The Snow in My Hands follow the same sort of formula, oozing with atmosphere, fading in and out between melodic harmonies and aggressive tones. Special mention must be made of Stainthropes's voice. He has the perfect voice for doom metal, and his harsh vocals are very good. He manages to create a balance between the two vocal styles which gives this release an edge over rival album, such as Katatonia’s Dance of December Souls. Stainthrope’s voice just fits doom metal a lot better than Renske’s. So we're 4 songs into the album, and we've already had 30 minutes worth of music. With albums of this type, you'd expect there to be some sort of short filler to give us a break from the music, but no, we are thrown into two even longer tracks and one shorter one to finish off the album. This can make album hard to listen to, especially if you aren't that patient or don't have a fondness of doom metal. On the other hand, it makes the album a whole lot more powerful and involving, as long as you are willing to give it that extra bit of attention.

The first of these two longer songs, The Crown of Sympathy chugs along at a steady pace, slowing down, and then speeding back up. This is probably the dullest song on the album. It is the longest, and just doesn’t have any brilliant moments which the other tracks all have. Being 12 minutes long, you'd want it to be interesting. Next comes the title track, and immediately sucks you in with an immersing guitar riff backed with strings, before Stainthrope begins the song with a very evil and menacing tone. Turn Loose the Swans is a very strong track, and probably the heaviest on the album. This song, along with Your River, epitomizes what My Dying Bride was trying to achieve with the album: a balance between atmospheric dread and Armageddon. Turn Loose the Swans is the defining Doom Metal song; it literally spells out doom, musically. 
Following the title track, we have the final song, Black God. This is a beautiful and somber piece of music, which finishes off the album nicely. At first glance, I thought this was just another song, as it is almost 5 minutes long, but it is just a very long outro. The outro is so important for an epic album likes this, as it sets the mood that one would feel after finishing the album. This gives it that extra something that is missing from a lot of today's music. Black God is just sublime. I cannot give it enough praise. It is probably my favourite track behind Your River and Turn Loose the Swans.

Highly recommended. Keep an open mind and this album might just surprise you.