domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2009

The Verve - Urban Hymns (1997)

Not long after the release of A Northern Soul, the Verve imploded due to friction between vocalist Richard Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe. It looked like the band had ended before reaching its full potential, which is part of the reason why their third album, Urban Hymns -- recorded after the pair patched things up in late 1996 -- is so remarkable. Much of the record consists of songs Ashcroft had intended for a solo project or a new group, yet Urban Hymns unmistakably sounds like the work of a full band, with its sweeping, grandiose soundscapes and sense of purpose. The Verve have toned down their trancy, psychedelic excursions, yet haven't abandoned them -- if anything, they sound more muscular than before, whether it's the trippy "Catching the Butterfly" or the pounding "Come On." These powerful, guitar-drenched rockers provide the context for Ashcroft's affecting, string-laden ballads, which give Urban Hymns its hurt. The majestic "Bitter Sweet Symphony" and the heartbreaking, country-tinged "The Drugs Don't Work" are an astonishing pair, two anthemic ballads that make the personal universal, thereby sounding like instant classics. They just are the tip of the iceberg -- "Sonnet" is a lovely, surprisingly understated ballad, "The Rolling People" has a measured, electric power, and many others match their quality. Although it may run a bit too long for some tastes, Urban Hymns is a rich album that revitalizes rock traditions without ever seeming less than contemporary. It is the album the Verve have been striving to make since their formation, and it turns out to be worth all the wait. Source: [AMG]

The Verve - Lucky Man

Track Listing
1. Bittersweet Symphony
2. Sonnet
3. The Rolling People
4. The Drugs Don't Work
5. Catching the Butterfly
6. Neon Wilderness
7. Space and Time
8. Weeping Willow
9. Lucky Man
10. One Day
11. This Time
12. Velvet Morning
13. Come On/Deep Freeze

[Download Part 1]
[Download Part 2]

sábado, 12 de septiembre de 2009

The Posies - Amazing Disgrace (1996)

The Posies let their true power pop colors fly but with a tougher edge by steeping the songs on their fourth album in punk rock and '70s metal. "Throwaway" is a big guitar rocker with a harmonious chorus — the kind that became the band's calling card. The band invited Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander to sing along on "Hate Song." Unfortunately, the elder pair's charms were lost in the mix, though "Daily Mutilation" would be a good choice of cover for their own band. "Everybody Is a Fucking Liar" takes a trip back in time with its histrionic guitar parts. Naturally, "Grant Hart" and "Broken Record" are punk rock. "Song #1" and "Will You Ever Ease Your Mind?" are the kind of gorgeous pop songs on which the band grew their reputation. Whether they tackle punk, hard rock, or soft rock, the Posies' brand of songcraft is extraordinary, though, sadly, it would appear this was their swan song. Source: [AMG]

The Posies - Daily Mutilation

Track Listing
1. Daily Mutilation
2. Ontario
3. Throwaway
4. Please Return It
5. Hate Song
6. Precious Moments
7. Fight It (If You Want)
8. Everybody Is a Fucking Liar
9. World
10. Grant Hart
11. Broken Record
12. The Certainity
13. Song #1
14. ¿Will You Ever Ease Your Mind?
15. Terrorized


martes, 1 de septiembre de 2009

Girls Against Boys - Cruise Yourself (1994)

Having fully made their case with Venus Luxure, Girls Against Boys kept on course with the equally fine Cruise Yourself. The hints of lounge and Vegas were even more explicit here -- the cocktail artwork on the CD, the fact that one particularly bitter number is called "My Martini." Again, though, these weren't the gauche clichés of characters like Combustible Edison, but signposts of a vicious, cutting quality in lyrics and music. McCloud's purring rasp again serves as one of the band's chief qualities, perfectly suited to the sassy, snarling burn of songs like "Cruise Your New Baby Fly Self" and "The Royal Lowdown." Though backing vocals aren't specifically credited, it's Janney adding the high parts here and there, such as the effectively creepy chorus of "Explicitly Yours." Ted Niceley and Janney once again handle the production/engineering combination, and, unsurprisingly, the whole album is a tightly wound effort that sounds like it's going to explode every second. In an interesting switch, and a demonstration of the band's increasing reach, Temple took over the duties with the sampler, while Janney concentrated not only on his own bass work, but organ and vibes as well. "Kill the Sexplayer" was the arguable standout, and while again many critics saw McCloud's slurring sneer as being the new incarnation of Mark E. Smith, that's a lazy connection. McCloud's singing oozes its own attitude, while the band isn't reinventing art/rockabilly as much as finding its own fast, bass-led charge. Certainly, though, the German motorik touches both bands share have their place on Cruise Yourself -- half the time on "Psychic Know-How," Fleisig is laying down a smart Krautrock chug and both Temple and Janney are right there with him, especially with Janney's keyboard glaze. And at one point -- "From Now On" -- McCloud's distorted rasp does for once sound exactly like the Mancunian master. Source: [AMG]

Girls Against Boys - (I) Don't Got A Place

Track Listing
1. Tucked-In
2. Cruise Your New Baby Fly Self
3. Kill the Sexplayer
4. (I) Don't Got a Place
5. Psychic Know-How
6. Explicitly Yours
7. From Now On
8. Raindrop
9. The Royal Lowdown
10. My Martini
11. Glazed-Eye