Saturday, 20 January 2018

Various ‎12"/80s/2


Various12"/80s/2

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A second volume of 12"/'80s was released only a few months after the first, which proved to be a success -- as much as a various-artists catalog release with a big ad push can be a success, at least. This set is nearly as extensive (one less track spread across three discs), but it's relatively thin in quality of content. It falls short of the first volume due to a few too many (justly) forgotten acts and mixes that are extremely inferior compared to the original versions. Remixes from the latter half of the decade -- this set is heavier on them -- often incorporate elements that disassociate themselves from the originals, and that's to no good effect. The tricks tend to make the tracks sound a lot less fresh and strictly of their time, especially when the originals themselves weren't all that hot to begin with. None of this makes the set a total waste; there's still plenty of good material to keep you on your feet. You just have to do a little more sifting and plucking. The highlights include Heaven 17's "Penthouse and Pavement," the Associates' "Party Fears Two," Style Council's "Long Hot Summer," Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love," Pigbag's "Papa's Got a Brand New Pigbag," the Human League's "Sound of the Crowd," and Altered Images' "Don't Talk to Me About Love."

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Various ‎12"/80s


Various12"/80s

Get It At Discogs
A relatively populist extension of Universal U.K.'s 2002-released The Sound of the Crowd, 12"/'80s -- issued by Family Recordings, a catalog wing of Universal U.K. -- compiles extended and remixed versions of singles released throughout the '80s, with a definite preference toward the early half of the decade. Unlike the state of the remix throughout the '90s and early 2000s (singles were often remixed several times over for potential crossover, or for no good reason at all), remixes as they are heard here are more functional, made strictly with the intent to impact the clubs. Even though several tracks have popped up on other compilations or album reissues heavy with bonus tracks, the box is a potential feast for new wave fans -- especially those who remember hearing the tracks while on dancefloors. The selections are generally smart: Japan's "Quiet Life," ABC's "Tears Are Not Enough," Simple Minds' "Promised You a Miracle," Scritti Politti's "Wood Beez," Propaganda's "Mabuse," and the Cure's "A Forest" (ironically a minute shorter than the version heard on the band's Seventeen Seconds) are just some of the notables

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Various ‎100 Hits Alternative



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While 100 Hits: Alternative plays a little fast and loose with the meanings of the terms "alternative" and "hits," more often than not it ends up working in the listener's favor. This five-disc set reaches back to '70s punk and post-punk with tracks from The Stranglers and Public Image Ltd. and makes stops along the way for songs from the college rock and Brit-pop of the '90s before winding up at the electro-rock hodgepodge of the 2000s. And while songs such as Radiohead's "Karma Police" might not have been chart-topping singles, they certainly define alternative rock. While this collection is far from comprehensive, and a few too many tracks from the same artists make it even less so, it still has an eclectic enough mix of one-hit wonders and tried-and-true artists to please anyone partial to these sounds.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Various ‎100 Hits Punk & New Wave



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Don’t be duped by the totally no frills packaging; Demon Music Group’s 100 Hits: Punk & New Wave is a first-rate budget package collecting a bit of essential and a whole lot of obscure. The title alone is priceless. Were there even 100 punk and new wave hits during the ‘70s and ‘80s? Not likely. So the compilers aren’t required to assemble five discs of material anyone should expect to be definitive. Yes, there are beloved warhorses from The Sex Pistols, Blondie, The Buzzcocks, X-Ray Spex, and XTC. And certainly no one with even a passing interest in this kind of music should be without full-length L.P. by those artists. The real value of this set is the odd treasures by Department S, Fad Gadget, D.A.F., Modern Eon, Leyton Buzzards, The Records, The Flys, Honey Bane, and many others.Because this set covers such a wide swath of sub-genres, the compilers arranged the individual discs fairly thoughtfully. There are few jarring stylistic shifts. The Human League isn’t sandwich between, say, The Saints and The Fun Boy Three. Disc one is the most eclectic, providing an overview of each subgenre to come and parading out most of the best known tracks (“God Save the Queen”! “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)””! “Hanging on the Telephone”! “Whip It”!). Disc two is mostly devoted to synthy, dancey new wave. Disc three is cheekily split between the set’s lightest and heaviest numbers. Disc four spotlights power pop and ska. Disc five is wall-to-wall punk.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Various ‎Verve // Remixed Christmas

Hello Everyone Last Post Of The Year - Thanks For All Your Comments & I Wish You All A Happy Christmas & A Happy New Year
Back On January 10th 


Get It At Discogs
Verve Records had several producers and DJs remix a set of classic holiday songs from the label's impressive back catalog and the result was the album called Verve Remixed Christmas, and this set serves as a companion to that volume, containing the untouched mixes of the songs in their original versions. Remixed or no, there are some pleasant treats here, including Jimmy Smith's funky big-band soul-jazz approach to "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," Nina Simone's stunningly intimate phrasing on "I Am Blessed," and Louis Armstrong's classic "What a Wonderful World" (is this really a Christmas song? No matter, it's great.) One could argue that none of these sides really needed to be remixed, and the proof of that is certainly here, but listening to this set in conjunction with the remixed versions is a lot of fun, and quite fascinating at points



Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Various ‎Chantons Noël Ghosts Of Christmas Past LP



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Aztec Camera's Hot Club of Christ is a busy, Django-esque run through a few well-known Christmas ditties, while Michael Nyman's Cream or Christians is a silly but loveable fragmented organ collage in a typical English eccentric tradition. Elsewhere, A Certain Ratio's Simon Topping contributes a beaty, bongo-brassy little thing, which would have sounded a lot less formal had the likes of Rip Rig been let lose on it, Tuxedomoon are in playful Residential mood, while The Durutti Column's One Christmas For Your Thoughts is exactly what you'd expect, an exquisite, gentle instrumental operating on a level where factors of 'interest' and 'boredom' don't figure

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Shed Seven ‎The Singles Collection


Shed SevenThe Singles Collection

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Never the most fashionable of outfits, York four-piece Shed Seven nevertheless were one of the few Brit-pop bands to sustain a career once the whole scene had eaten itself. They may have lacked the swagger of Oasis, the raw energy of Elastica, and the critical success of Pulp, but their solid brand of anthemic indie rock, backed by frontman Rick Witter's distinctive vocals, spawned an impressive 15 Top 40 hit singles over a nine-year period, before they disbanded in 2003. Now, following the lead of other '90s mid-table indie bands Cast, Dodgy, and Echobelly, they have re-formed for what has turned out to be their biggest-ever U.K. tour, hence the release of their second greatest-hits package, The Singles Collection. This extensive two-CD, 38-track compilation includes all but one of the 15 tracks that appeared on 1999's Going for Gold (only "High Hopes" is omitted), alongside a bonus disc which features 12 B-sides handpicked by the band, and eight previously unreleased songs and demos. Listed in chronological order, the album proves that despite their formulaic reputation, each of Shed Seven's four studio albums showed a steady progression. The likes of early singles, mobile phone ad jingle "Speakeasy," and the plodding "Ocean Pie" are pretty standard indie fare which sounded utterly pedestrian when compared to the colorful output of their more illustrious counterparts. But their breakthrough album, A Maximum High, considerably upped the ante, with its ultra-confident, Smiths-esque sound responsible for five anthemic arena singalong Top 20 hits, including the storming brass band-heavy "Getting Better," and their jangly guitar-led signature tune "Going for Gold," surprisingly the band's only Top Tenner. However, it was "Chasing Rainbows" which belatedly appeared on third album, Let It Ride, that provided the band's career high point, a heart-wrenching melancholic ballad which sounds uncannily like the Killers' more Anglo-centric early material. Although they never reached the same heights again, they were still capable of producing the odd killer single. The shouty terrace anthem-style "She Left Me on Friday" echoes the punchy mod-pop of Parklife-era Blur, "Disco Down," like its title suggests, is an indie disco number full of swirling strings and Superstition-esque funky basslines, while the Franz Ferdinand-style swan song "Why Can't I Be You?" suggested the band's decreasing chart positions weren't the result of a lack of trying. The re-recorded and remixed versions of several tracks and the second disc of rarities means The Singles Collection is more likely to appeal to their loyal following rather than the casual fan who may have picked up their previous compilation. But while they've perhaps unfairly remained a minor footnote in the success of the Cool Britannia era, The Singles Collection proves that when it came to creating admirably catchy guitar pop tunes, not many bands did it better.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Brilliant Corners ‎Heart On Your Sleeve (A Decade In Pop 1983-1993)




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Singles comps are interesting things; if the programmer presents the songs in chronological order, one can hear the maturity of a band. In the case of Bristol-based indiepop band The Brilliant Corners, one hears a band that started out fabulous only grow more amazing and more, ahem, brilliant. Their first single, “She’s Got Fever,” is a quick burst of something new; it’s part punk, part rockabilly, the genre made more confusing by the addition of a muted trumpet! B-side “Black Water” is a funk number with a rolling bass line that reminds of Gang of Four. In other words, for a debut single, it’s confusing, because they deftly do not define their sound; the only thing that links them is the distinctive singing of Davey Woodward. The diversity didn’t stop, either; the 48 songs on this collection never sit still, presenting a healthy amalgam of punk, rock, rockabilly, and pop. As prolific as they were—eleven singles and EP’s and five albums over a ten year period is a lot of music, Surprisingly, quality control was never an issue, nothing feels like filler, and it’s always a promising sign when a band’s unreleased material leaves the listener wondering why those songs were shelved. It wasn’t until 1988’s single “Teenage” that one starts to see a distinctive signature sound begin to form; after that, their sound was more in tune with the British indie-pop sound, and even though later singles don’t vary as much, that doesn’t decrease the overall quality of the material. For those familiar with this lovely band, you’ll want this to complete your collection. For those unfamiliar—as I most certainly was—this is a superb and excellent compilation of a band that deserves to be rediscovered.
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