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Get Rich Or Die Tryin' [Explicit Lyrics]

50 Cent, Get Rich Or Die Tryin'

50 Cent is not an angel, and it would be the music (we talk about hip hop here) that would have helped him to get out of crime. He always goes out with his bulletproof jacket and an army of bodyguards. Dr. Dre and Eminem took him and helped him for his first album we have here and it surfs at the top of the charts since its release. From the beginning, we guess we will appreciate it when we hear the depth of the music. Eminem, comes in mind quickly (especially when we hear him on a few songs like on Patiently Waiting), but 50 Cent's voice makes all the difference. Because of its past, we can think it will be a not interesting gangster rap, but thanks to the work of Eminem and Dr. Dre, it's not the case at all. The arrangements and sounds are deep and the melodies are effective. There is only the coarse language and a few gun shots to remind us of whom we are listening to. Even if the album lasts 70 minutes including 3 bonus songs, it's an album we can listen to from the beginning to the end without any problem, and weaknesses are rare. We can already hear the hit In Da Club that is not very melodic but represents well the rest of the album. If Eminem released the best hip hop album of 2002 with "The Eminem Show", it's already easy to predict that "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" will be the best of 2003. An excellent album that every hip hop fan and Eminem fan should buy without any hesitation. (April 2003)

A.F.I. - Sing The Sorrow 

A.F.I., Sing The Sorrow

Here is the new album of the californian punk rock band AFI (A Fire Inside). At the opposite of many of their punk brothers of the west coast who are generally in the skate punk or pop punk style, AFI is mainly influenced by the Misfits musically and presents a gothic look. Their punk music is heavy and brings us in an atmosphere not so far from horror, even if their melodies are hooking. "Sing The Sorrow" is their best album at this time and is too the one that brings the best results on the american charts, which is amazing considering it's often the opposite in the US. Many of the songs of the album have the potential to become big hits, but their look will always scare the general audience. Nevertheless, Girl's Not Grey, This Celluloid Dream and The Leaving Song, pt.2 had success and were played in some radios and tvs (specialized ones for most of them). If you're not an expert of AFI or their ancesters the Misfits, the first listening of "Sing The Sorrow" can give you a repulsion and bring you on the defense. But after a couple of listenings, the melodies will start to hook you and you will appreciate more and more, specially if you like good moving rock with personnality (for the slow song at the end of the evening, you will have to change the CD). It's an excellent album that every american punk music fan should have, to be able to compare with other bands that are not good at all. (October 2003)

½

Avenged Sevenfold – Waking the Fallen: Resurrected (2 CD + DVD)

Avenged SevenfoldWaking the Fallen: Resurrected (2 CD + DVD) (2014 Edition)

In 2003, Avenged Sevenfold had a second album that would set the tone for their career with the ideal mix of metal and post-hardcore, including some very good melodies and uncommon energy. We would especially find the virtuosity of these exceptional musicians who would continue to be thereafter. Eleven years later, the album revives by adding a second CD of demos, alternate versions and live versions. Also included is a DVD with a documentary, live footage and two versions of the video for "Unholy Confessions". Here is a great way to rediscover the early career of your favorite band. (October 2014)

Documentary

Hopeless / Universal

½

The Be Good Tanyas - Chinatown

The Be Good Tanyas, Chinatown

The Be Good Tanyas is an all female trio from Vancouver and this is their second album. They do folk music with country influences, but they play it a very modern way. The most important instruments are acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo, what makes a different sound from what we hear most of the time. Their music is calm and relaxing and from the first moments of It's Not Happening, we can hear the high quality of the product, musically and for the producing too. Through the 14 songs of the record, that lasts more than 56 minutes, we can hear a lot of covers of traditional songs, even if most of them are not well known (I don't know for Vancouver, but it's not known in Québec). But, there is a cover of the classic House Of The Rising Sun made popular by The Animals and in french by Johnny Hallyday. A completely different melody, will do that you won't recognize it at first, but the band does an excellent version of it. You will also be able to hear a very good version of Waiting Around To Die by Townes Van Zandt, an original american country singer. You can also note one of my favourite songs: Ship Out On The Sea. The only weakness to the album is its length, because it's a little bit annoying on the second part, and the mandolin and banjo we loved on the first songs are least interesting from the 8th song. Anyway, if you like to listen to high quality folk and country music and you're looking for something new and different, don't hesitate. (July 2003)

Nettwerk

Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress

Belle & Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress

Here is the 5th real album by the scottish band Belle & Sebastian, and maybe their most interesting since "If You’re Feeling Sinister" released in 1996. Once again, we can hear the beautiful orchestral arrangements which are always a big part of the band’s sound. On the other part, they leave aside the ambiant sound (sometimes even boring) of "Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant", to give us a sound more pop and happier. The Beatles’ influence and 60’s influence has never been as strong for Belle & Sebastian, which gives a lighter side to the album and makes it easier to listen to than the previous recordings of the band. Orchestral works are greater than ever and musical creativity reaches new hights. We can hear anyway a few acoustic songs but they are of a huge effectiveness. It’s an excellent album every band’s fan should own. (January 2004)

Billy Talent - Billy Talent

Billy Talent, Billy Talent

Billy Talent is a canadian band from Ontario which presents its first album on a major record company, after independants album and EP. They had the chance to open for the Buzzcocks and to participate to Lollapalooza, and now they offer us a sound influenced by punk rock, but with a mainstream direction. Good melodies, and high quality production gave the opportunity to the album to reach good positions on the charts, even in the US, most of all because of their first successful single Try Honesty. But, Billy Talent is a lot more than a new Nickelback. It’s because most of the songs present originality and freshness, which is some kind of different from a lot of other stuff from Canada. Each of the 12 songs of the album should have no problem to stay in your mind for many days, but they also have the advantage of being difficult to compare to other bands. There is a bit of Sum 41 on one side and some Green Day and Jimmy Eat World on the other side, but we can’t make a parallel with a specific band. Even in some moments, the voice reminds me of Brian Johnson of AC/DC. What is sure is that this first album of Billy Talent is easy to listen to from the beginning to the end and the 41 minutes seem incredibly short. A very good album which, in the pop punk genre, represents one of the best albums of 2003. (January 2004 featured review)

½

The Black Keys - Thickfreakness

The Black Keys, Thickfreakness

The Black Keys is a pair of guys from Ohio which presents a minimalist blues/rock (guitar, drums and voice). Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney can obviously remind us of The White Stripes, but there are very few similarities between the two bands. The blues side of The White Stripes can be close to The Black Keys, but the last ones are more in the traditional blues from the south of the United States. Even if they belong to the garage wave of the last years, we won't see them side by side with The Strokes or The Hives. They should stay instead among the good underground and modern blues bands. In some occasions, It reminded me of the Eric Clapton of The Yardbirds years (Midnight In Her Eyes). On some other songs, it was closer to the Stones or The Who, but for only a few seconds before I realised it was closer to the black american classics like John Lee Hooker and B.B. King. This 2nd album of the Black Keys is a really good one for open-minded people who like new intelligent and original artists. It's a great discovery I made. (December 2003)

Fat Possum / Epitaph

½

Blink 182 - Blink 182

Blink 182, Blink 182

After the disappointing "Take Off Your Pants And Jacket" and the parallel project of 2 of the band's members (Boxcar Racer), here is the comeback of the bad boys of Blink 182. They built their reputation on f-words, teenage lyrics and their sex stories, but they are offering us now an album that wants to be more adult, closer to Boxcar Racer than the old Blink. It's sometimes well done like for the great I Miss You that you certainly already know, but most of the time it can be disappointing for the fans of the beginning like me, for whom it's exactly their teenage actions that were exciting. Maybe they told themselves they had to make adjustements to their music for the fans that are now older, or maybe they simply feel all grown up. The problem, it's that there are many bands doing adult music and most of them are a lot better than Blink 182 (U2, REM, etc.). I also heard for the first time some kind of an influence of the Smashing Pumpkins. It's a good album anyway, but that will be disappointing for many people. It's sad to say this, but the band doesn't seem to be able to repeat the greatness of the album "Enema Of The State". (April 2004)

½

The Bouncing Souls - Anchors Aweigh

The Bouncing Souls, Anchors Aweigh

"Anchors Aweigh" is released on the 15th anniversary of the Bouncing Souls, american underground punk rock band. They come back with one of the greatest albums of their career, after working on their sound for many years. Bad Religion cousins, we can also compare them to Green Day on a few songs. But, their influences are for sure from California. On this new record, the band gives us 16 titles plus a hidden track on acoustic guitar entitled The Fall Song. From Apartment 5F to I'm From There with the first single Kids And Heroes, Sing Along Forever, Born Free and the excellent Better Days (my favourite one), the band presents a punk rock music with good melodies and a heavy side too. The CD also contains an enhanced portion with recording sessions in the studio, a comeback on their 15 first years and the music video for Kids And Heroes. It's a very good purchase for every band's fan, and for punk rock fans who want to discover more interesting bands. (September 2003)

Epitaph

BT - Emotional Technology

BT, Emotional Technology

BT (his real name is Brian Transeau) is an excellent programmer and musician from Washington D.C. who worked with artists like Sting and *NSYNC, and composed music for films like "The Fast and The Furious". He mainly had success with remixes of Madonna, Seal, Sarah McLachlan and more particularly the song Blue Skies by Tori Amos in 1996 which helped him to become famous. "Emotional Technology" is the 4th album of his career. Some critics talk about his weakest album at this time, but because I didn't hear the previous ones, I won't be able to compare. What I know is that the album begins greatly with the intro and the 4 first titles. We discover excellent electronic dance songs with a trance progressive direction (this is his favourite style), but his influences are various (rock is very present on Superfabulous for example). Later on the CD, the slower rhythm (almost boring) of Dark Heart Dawning helps us to push the skip button to go to the excellent The Great Escape, an ambiant electro song reminding us of Sarah McLachlan or Delerium. On the following one, we find back house music with Paris, before coming back to pop rock on Circles, even if the background is still electro. On the 4 last tracks, sometimes dance and sometimes acoustic, you won't find anything very creative. Maybe you will appreciate, but you won't remember anything of it. To conclude, the album that lasts 78 minutes, contains a little bit too much extra songs that mitigate the effects of the excellent compositions. Shorter of 3 or 4 titles, the album would have been a lot better, but if you don't have any problems skipping a couple of songs, don't hesitate to get it; you will have a lot for your money anyway. Check out this month the release of his new album: the original soundtrack of the movie "Monster", which contains a CD and a DVD. (March 2004)

Nettwerk

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Nocturama

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Nocturama

"Nocturama" is about the 15th album in career for the australian Nick Cave. He always liked to play what he wanted and he signed to Anti- that is specialized in that kind of artists (Tricky, Daniel Lanois, Muggs, etc.). On this new record, Cave clearly decided to produce a pop album. Maybe he was tired of being underground and to be excluded of the charts for every new album? In the beginning, the result seems to be interesting. But, after a few tracks, we agree about the fact that it's not the style he is the most comfortable with. The melodies are hooking, but sometimes a little bit too simple in comparison to what he did in the past. The album contains 10 songs for a 56 minutes total and it ends up with the never-ending Babe, I'm On Fire of near 15 minutes. Some big fans of Nick Cave talk about the worst album of his entire career. I won't go that far, but it's certainly not one of his bests. Anyway, the worst Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album would always be better than a lot of new albums by other artists that are less creative. "Nocturama" will be disappointing for every fan of Nick Cave, but should be able to reach a new audience that was not appreciating his hard to listen to style of the previous albums. In his genre, this new daring record by Nick Cave is still a good album. (February 2004)

Anti- / Epitaph

The Darkness - Permission To Land

The Darkness, Permission To Land

Since the release of the album of The Darkness, I asked myself if it's serious or if it's another bad joke like Spinal Tap. It's because the band, with its look and music style, seems to simply parody the 80's hard rock. But, when we pay attention to their music, we have to admit they did great songs. This british band proves us there are not only bad things to remember from the 80's. Ok, the subjects are most of all about sex, drugs and rock n' roll and the songs are exclusively based on the chorus efficiency, but the result is convincing. So, it's some kind of a proof that the complicated compositions are not essential to produce a very effective song. Their influences come probably from Queen, Scorpions, Cheap Trick and KISS, maybe also Judas Priest in the heavier songs. But, for most of the tracks, they have nothing to learn from those bands, especially for the four last names. Rhythm guitar can also remind us of AC/DC in some occasions. Like every good hard rock band, they couldn't have miss a couple of ballads, to be sure to see lighters in their shows (Love Is A Feeling and Holding My Own). You will enjoy the hits I Believe In A Thing Called Love and Get Your Hands Off My Woman, plus the excellent Black Shuck and Givin' Up. Justin Hawkins' voice is sometimes impressing because he sings so high, but it goes well with the music and it's never stressing. If you liked what you heard from them until now and you are missing the 80's, you don't have to hesitate. It's a powerful album that will give a tough time to your sound system and will surely make your neighbors angry because of your non-stop tendency to turn up the volume. But, I'm very afraid of their next release. (April 2004 featured review)

½

The Dears - No Cities Left

The Dears, No Cities Left

For the ones who liked "End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story", their first album released in 2000, you didn't hear anything yet. The band from Montreal brings its art to another level on "No Cities Left". Their sound, very british, is close to great bands like Coldplay and Radiohead. It's a band that doesn't hesitate to always create new sounds and take new directions. For example, only in the song Expect The Worst / 'Cos She's A Tourist, we can hear orchestration followed by opera, keyboards relaxing arrangements and a brass section. You understand that we are far from Britney Spears here! Their writing is always dark, profound and intelligent. It's not an easy music to catch at first and it needs a few listenings to really appreciate it (what is more often the case with british music than american music). But, when you will integrate this music, you will have the feeling that the 66 long minutes of the album are not so long and you will ask for more. It will certainly be an album that will fight with the new Radiohead album in my 2003 top 20, except if Radiohead offers a bad one. If you like the first single, Lost In The Plot, don't hesitate to buy this new album because that song gives a good idea of the musical direction of The Dears. Every fan of good british music should consider seriously this Montreal band that is at a level of his own. (July 2003)

Death By Stereo, Into The Valley Of Death

Here is the 3rd album of the South California band Death By Stereo. The band, who offers a sound a little bit more hardcore than most of the bands of the area, possibly gives us its best album to date with "Into The Valley Of Death". We can sometimes make comparisons with the metal sound of Slayer, Korn or Iron Maiden, but what is easier to remember from this record is a very efficient and energetic punk sound. What is different in them than in any other punk band is the deep and powerful voice of the singer Efrem Schulz, often singing and sometimes screaming. The 13 track CD, lasting less than 38 minutes, have very few weaknesses and is a good ensemble showing all the band's rage, which is offering an excellent way to work off the tensions for the listeners. The album will certainly please a large underground audience from punk rock to any genre of metal among the quickest and darkest. Also mention that it is an enhanced CD containing the video for Wasted Words. (December 2004)

Epitaph

½

Deftones - Deftones

Deftones, Deftones

After the excellent "White Pony" released in 2000, the expectations were huge for this new record by the california metal band Deftones. The group, that was formed in 1989, but released its first record in 1995 ("Adrenaline"), is one of the pioneers of nu metal, even if they needed many years to be discovered by a large audience. We often consider them like Korn disciples, but they were there before. On this eponymous album, their 4th in career, they continue to present heavy music but intelligent music at the same time. The lyrics are bright, the melodies are easy to catch and the sound of the album will please all the biggest metal fans. Not like other bands of the same type, they don't try to introduce hip hop in their sound and don't try desperately to be successful on the radio (like Incubus for example). The ballads are impossible to find here, even if some songs are slow, like the hit Minerva (that is not so far from songs of Filter in the "Short Bus" days), Deathblow or Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event. The wall of guitars and the screaming voice are essential conditions to the sound of Deftones, and in that sense, this album is a total success, particularly on When Girls Telephone Boys that will not help you to go to sleep. This Deftones album won't become a classic like "White Pony" became, but it is not so far behind and it will give you satisfaction. An album to listen to from the beginning to the end. (August 2003)

½

Delerium - Chimera

Delerium, Chimera

Delerium existed for more than 15 years now and is the main band of Rhys Fulber (Conjure One, Front Line Assembly, etc.), a duo with Bill Leeb. The band offers a beautiful mix of electronic music, ambiant rock, alternative rock and dance music. Their sound is mainly soft, but doesn't misses rhythm. It's a diffucult sound to catch at the first listen, but after a couple of them, we completely enter the album and we cannot live without it anymore. Every situation is a good one to listen to it again. The album offers a little bit more substance and variety than the previous project of Fulber, Conjure One, even if the main direction is not so far. They asked for different female singers to sing on the 11 songs (on a total of 13) of the album. We can hear Kristy Thirsk, a long time collaborator, on the ending song of the album, Returning. The hits Love and After All are excellent, like most of the album which reminds us of Sinead O'Connor, Sarah McLachlan and sometimes even Björk. In addition to the 68 minutes of the album, you will have a bonus CD (probably for a limited time only). This CD will offer you 2 bonus songs (including a remix of After All) and 3 videos from their previous albums you will be able to see on your computer (Silence with Sarah McLachlan, Flowers Become Screens and Aria). If you like this ambiant and dancing sound , don't hesitate a second to buy this new record by Delerium which will give you a lot for your money. (September 2003)

Nettwerk

½

Dropkick Murphys - Blackout

Dropkick Murphys, Blackout (CD + DVD)

Here is the 5th studio album in 6 years for Dropkick Murphys, punk hardcore band from the Boston area. We can compare them to Rancid, Dead Kennedys and even The Clash, but they built their own style through the years. In spite of their hardcore background, we can hear a pop rock tendency with traditional and celtic influences. The use of bagpipes and accordion certainly helps in that direction. From the first guitar riffs of Walk Away, we discover a bigger pop rock side for the band which could invade rock radios without any problem. When the bagpipes start at the beginning of Worker's Song, we can be a little bit surprised of the result of the mix of this instrument with punk rock music. One of the best songs on the album is certainly Gonna Be A Blackout Tonight which presents Woody Guthrie lyrics the Dropkick Murphys agreed to compose the music for when asked by Guthrie's daughter, Nora. The complete album contains 14 titles for a total of 46 minutes and it offers good variations of style from one song to the other keeping a good main direction anyway. There is music for all tastes on the album, from good rock n' roll to traditional songs and slow and introspective songs. It's a very good album and probably the band's best. In bonus, you will have a DVD offering 2 live songs (Rocky Road To Dublin and Boys On The Docks), the Gonna Be A Blackout Tonight video and a trailer for the forthcoming full length DVD. A very good purchase! (September 2003)

Hellcat / Epitaph

½

Evanescence - Fallen

Evanescence, Fallen

After a few seconds of the big hit of Bring Me To Life, I'm sure everyone thought: "Oh, Linkin Park hired a woman as a singer!". But it's not Linkin Park, it's Evanescence. The song is good but it's the very best of the album that is all the same from the beginning to the end. The same little voice, calm, sad, annoying voice on a metal guitar not very interesting. If it was like Linkin Park all the way, it would be a lot better. They only take the worst from the metal music and they repeat it until the end. Some critics compare it to Tori Amos with the music of Nickelback and it's true, but not a good combination. It's very annoying and I insist on very. When we listen to music, it's not to be annoyed, so I don't understand why it's at the top of the Billboard charts. If you like Bring Me To Life, you only have to turn your radio on because they play it every hour. Keep your 20$ for something else (Linkin Park just released a good album). My prediction: in one year nobody will remember who is Evanescence. Note that my stars go to the hit single only. (May 2003 album to forget)

Everclear - Slow Motion Daydream

Everclear, Slow Motion Daydream

Everclear is unfortunately a band that was never able to release another album of the level of "So Much For The Afterglow" released in 1997. They repeated the same patern on every album they produced after that, especially in 2000 when they released 2 albums at the same time in "Songs From An American Movie" volumes 1 and 2, which was a lot too much at one time. It's still the case on "Slow Motion Daydream", when they use one more time the same pop sounds on a guitar background we heard many times before. The melodies will stay in mind and commercial radios will love it, but there is nothing very interesting musically. It's light and there is a big  lack of affectedness on this album. It's unfortunate Everclear has become this uninteresting band, because I saw them on stage for their "Sparkle And Fade" tour, their first album released in 1995, and I thought they were very talented musicians with great energy. At that time, their pop rock songs were better than a lot of the post-grunge bands. The problem is that a lot of other bands appeared after that and Everclear are still at the same place they were in 1997. If you like easy listening pop music, you should appreciate the album anyway (and it's better than a lot of pseudo-artists we can find on the Billboard charts), but if you prefer music with deepness, don't take the risk with Everclear. (July 2003)

½

F-Minus - Wake Up Screaming CD

F-Minus, Wake Up Screaming

The first impression in listening to this band from South California : this is a hardcore punk group having a raw and contagious energy. Another thing that is particular to F-Minus is the male and female totally screaming voices that alternate. The members of the band changed a lot through the years around the singer and guitarist Brad Logan. Wake Up Screaming is the 3rd album by the band and was recorded by the legendary Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies). The funniest thing in the choice of Albini is that they state having left mistakes on the final version of the CD. So was it really necessary to pay for a big name like Albini if we had the desire to leave mistakes in the final version anyway? Otherwise, we can say that the sound is well done with a good balance between all the instruments and a good presence of all of them. The fast rhythm of the CD with its 15 songs divided in 36 minutes won’t discourage you to listen to it often. Of course, you have to get your ears well prepared to receive those screaming voices. Without being incredible, it’s a good album. (June 2005)

Hellcat / Epitaph

Gob - Foot In Mouth Disease

Gob, Foot In Mouth Disease

Here is the fourth album by this pop punk canadian band from Vancouver, who has the chance to open for the young Billboard princess Avril Lavigne. Like for their last record "The World According To Gob", the band pitches us all its energy right in the face. Like for the californian punk style, they offer a well produced record with good sound from the beginning to the end. Cleaner than Sum 41 and more rock n' roll than Simple Plan, they have nothing to be jealous about on the biggest US bands in the genre (Blink 182 and others). They worked with the producer Mark Trombino who also worked with Blink and Jimmy Eat World. They offer songs very effective like Lemon-Aid, Oh! Ellin, Bones and Bully, all songs that are perfect for the coming summer. It's an energetic album, perfect for a party and necessary for any fan of that style and especially for all skateboard fans. Without doing a revolution in the modern punk music, Gob has a good place in it. Please note that it is sold with a bonus DVD with 13 other songs and 3 videos. Check them out on their world tour in support to Simple Plan and Avril Lavigne in the next months. (June 2003)

Nettwerk

Ikara Colt - Basic Instructions EP

Ikara Colt, Basic Instructions EP

Ikara Colt is a quartet from London, England and they are together since 1999. They offer us indie alternative rock of great creativiy and originality. After, their first album, "Chat and Business", released in 2002, the guys come back with "Basic Instructions", a 5 song EP only. Among others, we can hear 2 versions of May B 1 Day, which was included on their first record. In spite of the 17 minutes presented here, the quality of the compositions and the arrangements make us completely addicted to this EP. The only negative point we can find is that it is too short. So, don't hesitate to buy it because its price is not too high and it will make you wait for the next complete and real Ikara Colt album. (March 2004)

Fantastic Plastic / Epitaph

Izdatso, I Know Nothing...

Izdatso was created by a french guy, Bernie Swell, who composed a lot for local artists before launching his own project. With a big influence from drum 'n' bass, he offers a music between ambiant pop and drum 'n' bass, always staying in the electronica sound. Sometimes, it's not so far from industrial music, like in the second part of I Love U?, even if there is not the guitar of KMFDM. We can't talk about heavy music but there is more rhythm than Tori Amos for example. There are always very nice sounds and the producing and the arrangements are absolutely perfect. It's a fact that electronica fans can't miss Izdatso, but I would like to say that it's one of the best albums for an industrial fan who would like to discover a more ambiant and hot electronic sound. A very good record to listen to a few times to really appreciate, but you will have the best relaxation moments with Izdatso. A very nice discovery. Note that the CD also contains an enhanced portion with the I Love U? and Micropluto videos. (June 2003)

Nutone / Nettwerk

½

Jane's Addiction - Strays

Jane's Addiction, Strays

After a long 13 years break, Jane's Addiction gets back to us with a new album, surprisingly. The Perry Farrell's band, who was offering a unique alternative sound in the 80's before having big success in 1990 with "Ritual de lo Habitual", completely disappeared from the music scene in the 90's. Farrell recorded albums with his side project Porno For Pyros and Dave Navarro joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but the good old Jane's Addiction was eagerly awaited. The 4 guys are coming back in a great shape on "Strays" and they continue where they left. We can still hear their heavy alternative sound between indie and metal. The album got a great quality production and the arrangements are perfect. Some people could talk about overproduction, but I think it suits them very well. The energy can be heard on every song of the album, the guitar keeps our attention with great pleasure and the Farrell's melodies are still perfectly done and hooking. The weird side of Jane's Addiction is less present on this new recording (probably because they don't use as much drugs as they used to). But the quality is still present and the pop side of the album should reach a new audience which was very young when their last album was on the charts. With all the bands that appeared and disappeared in the last 13 years, Jane's Addiction lost its place with the most innovative and original bands. But, the quatuor proves us it's still one of the best in the genre. A few songs among the 11 of the album will disappoint you and after 48 minutes of listening, you will have the desire to play it again from the start. If you like the hit Just Because, no bad surprise will occur. A very good album! (November 2003 featured review)

½

Jewel - 0304

Jewel, 0304

When this young lady from Alaska appeared in the music industry in 1995, she was offering adult alternative music, sometimes even folk, which was particularly appreciated by the critics. Now, what am I hearing on this new album? Light pop and dance in the Britney Spears style. It's probably her lack of success on the charts after her first album that pushed her in that direction and her goal is certainly reached because it entered the Billboard pop chart in the first positions. The hit Intuition carried her right to the top. Good for her bank account, but did we really need another singer with stupid choreography in the present music industry. In my opinion, there is already too much singers of that type. Even the queen Madonna has more and more problems to make a place in this industry. In the Jewel case, there is probably a question of personal opinion because young teen girls will probably think she is a genious, but I can't agree with them. The star goes to the album cover. (August 2003 album to forget)

½

Kinky - Atlas

Kinky, Atlas

Kinky is a mexican band and this is its second album. Strangely, the band was first signed to a british label, Sonic 360, before being distributed in America by Nettwerk. The band gives us a pop and dance music incorporating elements of rock, funk, and traditionnal music from South America. On the contrary of their first album, "Atlas" contains less electronica music. Maybe they changed their direction after having done many shows with very good reviews. Some of those talk about a better band on stage than on CD. Sometimes in spanish and sometimes in english, Kinky music is always easy to remember, like you will hear on the 2 first singles Presidente and Snapshot. In The Headphonist, John McCrea of Cake gives spoken observations on sound, and Airport Feelings is played in the Cake way, what is perfect for the fans of the californian band, but is ruining everything for the others. With Do U Like It?, the band explores house music in a beautiful way. And all this diversity continues for 45 minutes with 11 songs and a hidden track. So, it's a well mixed album that Kinky gives us, an album that needs a couple of listenings of adaptation, but that is creative and more than interesting. Fans of mexican or latin music in general maybe won't be completely satisfied because there is not a lot of it left. It's more a great album of international music that is given to us, ideal for the ones who want to hear a different sound. (April 2004)

Sonic 360 / Nettwerk

½

Korn - Take A Look In The Mirror

Korn, Take A Look In The Mirror

Even if I appreciated their previous album "Untouchables", we have to admit that Korn is losing quality since "Follow The Leader" released in 1998. It's true that "Untouchables" was somewhat interesting, but in retrospect, we don't keep anything in mind from that record and that's what makes the difference between a great album and an album in the average. On "Take a Look In The Mirror", the band comes back with a heavier sound closer to their first records. Metal fans, who had very few good discs to listen to in the last couple of years, will certainly appreciate. But, we have the feeling that the band is a little bit lost and the guys have problems to stay creative without repeating themselves (especially in the first half of the album). The presence of the rapper Nas on Play Me brings an interesting wind of freshness to the 8th track, which will improve greatly the second half of the album that is a lot superior. Or maybe it's only because we are now used to the style of the disc. We have to mention the band's irony on Y'all Want a Single that will be the next single from the album. One of the greatest moments of the CD is a hidden track: their live MTV version of One by Metallica. What is sure about this new record by Korn is that we absolutely need a couple of listenings to appreciate, but it's a good metal record anyway. (March 2004)

½

Daniel Lanois - Shine

Daniel Lanois, Shine

After producing some of the most important albums of the last 20 years ("Time Out of Mind" by Bob Dylan, "So" by Peter Gabriel, "The Joshua Tree" and "All That You Can't Leave Behind" by U2), Daniel Lanois comes back with his third solo record, his first in 10 years. Born in Quebec and from a francophone origin, Lanois worked with the greatests in the world like Brian Eno. In fact, the sound on "Shine" is not so far from the Eno sound from 25 years ago. It's ambiant music with a folk side on it that Neil Young would have like to do. His voice is not the best but is replaced by a perfect play on the pedal steel guitar that he plays on about every song, and it adds a unique atmosphere to the album. He plays all the instruments on this record, except for the drums (by Brian Blade). On I Love You, we can hear harmonies by Emmylou Harris, and Bono comes to sing on Falling At Your Feet, a song Bono and Lanois wrote together. His creative mind and his desire to do what he wants to do made him sign with a record company leaving him work his way. That's why we find his CD in the Anti- catalog distributed by Epitaph, a record company that also signed other artists with that desire (Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Tricky, etc.). So, we can be assured what we hear on "Shine" is really what Lanois wanted to do. It's a relaxing album, with a specific guideline that will make its place in your subconscious for sure. A few listenings are better to really appreciate it, but if you like ambiant music, you will have your ears full with the 46 minutes of the record, that is very good. (June 2003)

Anti- / Epitaph

½

Limp Bizkit - Results May Vary

Limp Bizkit, Results May Vary

After 2 excellent albums in 1997 and 1999 with "Three Dollar Bill Y'All$" and "Significant Other", it's always worst and worst for Limp Bizkit who proves us again it's tougher staying successful than reaching that success. On "Results May Vary", we find a Fred Durst in a complete lack of creativity. Yet, the release of the album was postponed a couple of times which should have give him more time to make perfect songs. But, my feeling is that the record company was shy to release that record and prefered to postpone the release moment. We can hear 16 songs, all built on the same basis, for a too long total of 69 minutes. It's an album without energy which inspires more to push the "skip" button on our CD player than the "back" button. We find the exact same components already used on the previous recordings of the band, but in a no flavour version. On Phenomenon, we can hear a bad copy of Nookie, when the acoustic ballads Behind Blue Eyes and Drown come to give us the definitive K.O.. There is only Gimme The Mic which is interesting and reminds us of the band's good years. All along the record, I had the feeling that Durst worked all alone on this new one and the other members were very far behind him. Here is my personal prediction: the band will disband in one or two years from now. We will see if I can make that kind of predictions. Before that, if you have 20$ to waste or if you are a too big fan of the band to get over it, you can buy this new Limp Bizkit album. But, is it really necessary? On my part, it's not in my collection for a long period of time. (November 2003)

(I feel very generous today!)

Linkin Park - Meteora

Linkin Park, Meteora

Linkin Park gave us one of the best albums of 2000 in "Hybrid Theory", but I have to admit I was not very excited about the idea of a new album by the band. It's because the band offers a very commercial sound and I was sure they would fall in the same lack of creativity than Creed, Incubus or more recently Papa Roach and Disturbed. I was really surprised listening to the album, because it's at least as good as their first release, even better after a couple of listenings. Linkin Park is the band who does the best job mixing quality hip hop and energetic metal. You won't hear small and dull ballads Bon Jovi style on "Meteora". Staind will give you satisfaction for that part. The quality of the melodies is always at its best and you will always hear those melodies on good rhythms and great energy. The arrangements are beautiful with different sounds, often electronic sounds (Session), we can hear at any surprising moment. They were able to insert string arrangements (Easier To Run, Faint and Lying From You) and flutes (Nobody's Listening) we can think they are not appropriate to their musical style, but it gives great wealth to their mix. All those arrangements take advantage of a first quality production. Some could talk about overproduction, but for Linkin Park, the result is really impressing. After a short intro, the album starts quickly with Don't Stay and we already know it will be a good record. It continues with the hit Somewhere I Belong that is also excellent. The magic will continue over the 13 songs of the album that is quite short with only 37 minutes. Linkin Park stays a commercial metal band, but if you liked their first album and the first single from this one, don't hesitate to buy it and you will be thankful to me. One of the best surprises of the year! (July 2003 featured review)

½

Live - Birds Of Pray

Live, Birds Of Pray

Here is the 6th album of Live. They come back with a heavier sound on "Birds Of Pray" trying less to give social messages, which gives an interesting sound. But, the song structures are very simple and they use well known formulas in the rock industry and they repeat what gave them their big successes of the mid-90's. So, there is no more of the freshness and creativity of the first albums, what made them one of the best american rock bands of the previous decade. There is too much "power ballads" which doesn't help. There are also a couple of radio hits on this album (like Heaven), good melodies, plus a sound that is fun to listen to, but we can't ask too much for the artistic side. It's not anymore the band we knew in the past. Live is searching for its own identity since the excellent "Throwing Copper" of 1994. The band we compare to U2 will have a lot of work to do to last as long as the irish band. The fans should appreciate anyway this new record full of hooking songs. (November 2003)

100th Window *

Massive Attack, 100th Window

Massive Attack has nothing left of the trio it was in the beginning. There is only one original member, Robert Del Naja, who works in duo with the producer Neil Davidge. But, musically, the difference is not very important with the past albums of this band from Bristol, England. It's still the same atmospheric sounds, very calm and restful. The critics don't agree on this new album from Massive Attack, but "100th Window" stays an excellent electronic album. We don't talk anymore about trip hop since 3 or 4 years (with the waiting for new Portishead material and a lot of bands who couldn't survive from that movement), but Massive Attack comes to prove to everyone the trip hop style is still alive and they can bring it somewhere else. Without any revolution, they offer good songs, perfect for background music in a lounge bar or just to relax before sleeping. The main weakness is the songs sound almost all the same and we need a few listenings to make a difference between them. There is only the very good Special Cases you will recognize easily after only one listening. There are 9 titles on the album plus an instrumental in bonus and it lasts 68 minutes. So, you won't be able to listen to the entire album more than once a day, because you won't appreciate the second listening. The best way to listen to it is once a day and you will love it after a week. Even if this album is not as good as "Mezzanine", "100th Window" is a very good album. But, it shouldn't have the same success as the last one, because of the style that is not in vogue like it was 5 years ago. (May 2003 featured review)

½

Erin McKeown - Grand

Erin McKeown, Grand

"Grand" is the third album by this young american composer, singer and musician. She offers soft alternative and adult music based on rock, but most of all on folk and sometimes on country (How To Be A Lady). She sings and plays most of the instruments from acoustic and electric guitar, to piano, organ and accordion. She also plays bass and drums on the song James!, what makes her a very complete artist. Because of her very soft and acoustic sound, she will mainly reach an adult audience, fans of folk and other not too heavy sounds. Her charming voice and her hooking melodies will please the same people as Lisa Loeb and Natalie Imbruglia. The album starts with its best songs with Slung-Lo and Cinematic which can remind us of Elvis Costello because of the arrangements. On The Taste Of You, the rhythm of the song with the brass brings us almost back to the 20's. After that, I had the impression she was a little bit too much in an adult style which won't help her to be discovered by a large audience (one of the main markets is the teenagers). It's 14 short songs we can hear for a total of 40 minutes only. It's an album easy to listen to, even if it can be a little bit boring at the end. It's creative and the fans of this genre should love her. (September 2003)

Nettwerk

Sarah McLachlan - Afterglow

Sarah McLachlan, Afterglow

This talented female singer from Halifax, Nova Scotia had the ability to create a huge army of fans since her debut 15 years ago, not only in Canada, but also in the US and in Europe. Because of her specific ambiant pop sounding, she seduced a large audience and she was also able to receive good reviews from the critics. With "Afterglow", it’s in fact her studio comeback after the successful 1997 album "Surfacing". This one is similar to the previous one with very few new sounds, except for a lot more experience on her part. Melodies are still as effective and the pop potential is once again completely present. The album was once again produced by Pierre Marchand, a good collaborator of McLachlan for many years. Marchand also plays keyboards, guitars and bass on many songs of the album. Among the other musicians, there is the important presence of the Quebec cello player Jorane, who plays cello and do the arrangements of it and who also add her warm voice to a few songs of the album. The legendary bass player Tony Levin plays a couple of songs and McLachlan’s husband plays drums and percussions on all the album. "Afterglow" will be certainly enjoyed by the Sarah McLachlan’s fans who loved "Surfacing". There is only a couple of songs of top quality missing to make this album an historic album and it’s a little bit too short with only 40 minutes. It’s a very good comeback for her anyway. (January 2004)

Nettwerk

½

Metallica - St. Anger

Metallica, St. Anger

Metallica took 6 long years to release new material after "Reload" issued in 1997. We have to say they used most of their time fighting illegal downloads instead of writing new songs. "St. Anger" brings us a completely different style that was eagerly awaited, specially for the fans of the beginnings like me. We find a lot of 7 or 8 minute songs with different tempos in all of them, like it was in the best years of the band back to their 4 first albums in the 80's. The thing I was a bit afraid of was they worked one more time with the producer Bob Rock, well known for his overproduced pop rock albums. The result had been very good on their eponymous album (the black album) of 1991, with record breaking results for a metal product, but on "Load" and "Reload", it was a lot worst. Listening to this album, I was surprised to hear a more garage sound than the producer made in his career with many hard rock bands. I had another doubt with the first single, the title song. But after a couple of listenings, it's one of the bests of the album with Frantic and Invisible Kid. All the album must be listened a couple of times to really appreciate it and we have to like heavy music for sure, because it rocks very much. The people who discovered the band with the black album will probably have a heart attack hearing "St. Anger", because the pop side they had at that time doesn't exist anymore. On my part, following all their career since the beginning, I still have a doubt with this new record. I listened to it for the last month and I can't talk about it as positively as the other critics do. It seems to me that we are very far from the classics of "Master Of Puppets" and "...And Justice For All" that are still the Metallica albums to possess absolutely. There is something missing on "St. Anger" and I can't say what it is exactly, but it doesn't have the same dependant effect on me some other Metallica albums had in the past. It's certainly their best since the black album, but I have the feeling the band takes advantage of a lack in metal music to look genious (we're waiting for the next System Of A Down album). The future will talk for itself, but I consider this album in the average. Do your own opinion about it , but don't write me with insults. Or before doing it, listen to their recordings of the 80's. They are all available at Archambault.ca. (August 2003 featured review)

½

Morning Star, My Place In The Dust

Morning Star is most of all a guy, Jesse D. Vernon, who worked in England for many years. He's a new generation crooner who works on a background of brit pop somewhat jazzy or sometimes folk. This type of seducer doesn't offer my type of music and I consider more his background music than his vocal talent, even if he has a great voice. His voice can remind us of Jim Morrison and on the song Morning Star, we're not very far from what The Doors did, especially with the help of the organ. On most of the album, the music is very rich in sounds (even if it's Vernon's voice that takes the advantage) because of the use of various instruments like flute, a brass section, cello, violin, accordion and piano. The album, which is only 40 minutes long, is a very good tool for relaxation moments and there is a good guideline on it. So, it's an ideal album for fans of strong voices and soft music. Important notice: listen to it a couple of times to be able to really appreciate. (October 2003)

D7 Recordings

Muggs - Dust

Muggs, Dust

Muggs (his real name is Lawrence Muggerud) is an american DJ and producer who worked with many well known artists, specially in hip hop. He collaborated with House Of Pain and Ice Cube, but most of all he is known for his work with Cypress Hill. He also had success in 1997 and 2000 with the chapters 1 and 2 of "Muggs Presents The Soul Assassins" on which we heard some of the biggest names of today’s hip hop. On "Dust", his first solo album, we can only hear a few elements of hip hop. We can hear more of trip hop and rock mixes between Massive Attack, Tricky, Moby, Radiohead and even REM (on Faded). Electronica occupies a big place on it (nothing impressing because he is a DJ after all), but he also uses smooth guitars which bring a very friendly mood to this album of 47 minutes only (divided in 14 songs). A very good album that every creative and new music fan should own. (January 2004)

Anti- / Epitaph

½

 My Morning Jacket – It Still Moves (2 CD)

My Morning JacketIt Still Moves (2 CD)

The alternative rock band with country trend from Kentucky released the album It Still Moves in 2003. It was their third studio album. Thirteen years later, it is reissued in a remixed and remastered version, with a second bonus CD containing previously unreleased material, including several demo versions. On It Still Moves, My Morning Jacket offer us music that is not without reminding us of Neil Young and The Band, southern folk rock with a high quality. Several songs extend in length with 12 tracks totaling 72 minutes, but it always seems justified and rarely boring. Well built, the album is still among the most interesting of their career. (June 2016)

ATO

½

Nataraj XT - Ocean Birds

Nataraj XT, Ocean Birds

Nataraj XT is a french trio and this is their second album. The band plays a mix of traditional indian music (with sitar and sarod) and electronic music. The result is absolutely original and modern. Even if the music, completely instrumental, takes an ambiant direction, it's closer to dance music at some moments too. In fact, on some songs, we can easily imagine a traditional indian dancer doing her show. The album, with its 11 titles for close to an hour of music, has a very good guideline and uniformity. This uniformity is probably its main negative point too, especially for someone like me who doesn't have a natural attraction for this music genre. But, modern electronic music fans and traditional world beat music fans will have a lot of fun and will discover how much interesting and surprising is the mix of the two genres. If you want to open your ears to new music possibilities, Nataraj XT will give you a lot of satisfaction. (October 2003)

Nutone / Nettwerk

Nickelback - The Long Road

Nickelback, The Long Road

Here is the follower of the great success of 2001 "Silver Side Up" which sold many million copies and gave the band the opportunity to reach fame in the United States, most of all because of the smash hit How You Remind Me. Often considered like the Bon Jovi of the 2000's, Nickelback was able to build a hooking style which gives a lot of pleasure for all the rock radio stations since 2 years. So, we had to expect the same formula on the following album and that's what we can hear on "The Long Road". Nothing should amaze you except for a couple of heavier songs like the entering song Flat On The Floor and Because Of You which are a lot heavier than anything else on the CD. In addition to Someday and Figured You Out, we can find 3 bonus tracks including the excellent cover of Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) by Elton John. The melodies are great and the good rhythm guitar gives us an album with a very good pop side, which will discourage completely most of the critics. Artistically, the album has nothing particularly creative and original, but commercially, it's a record of a great effectiveness which will supplant a great number of bands of the moment. Even if I don't think Nickelback will survive many generations, they offer us an album easy to listen to and we will hum for months to come. In this style, Nickelback is still on top of the list with "The Long Road" and the guys of the band will completely satisfy their fans. It's an honest album you just have to avoid if you're an anti-commercial. (December 2003 featured review)

½

The Offspring - Splinter

The Offspring, Splinter

Here is a band among the firsts to relaunch punk rock in the early 90's with Green Day. Their "Smash" album had so much success that punks hated them and turned their back on the band. Yet, even if the album was accessible for a large audience, it was not so different from what they did before. But after, the band definitely took a different direction with a bigger pop side, especially with the "Americana" album. "Conspiracy Of One" disappointed me and I was waiting impatiently for a new record. Now, here is "Splinter" which gives us a return to the sound of their beginnings, particularly the "Smash" sound. There is only the hit single Hit That that reminds us more of "Americana" with its simple but so effective pop direction. Once again, the band presents short, quick and effective songs that bring us throughout the album like a wind blow. They still have their teenage immature attitude that did their fame and they don't try to do serious and mature music, like Blink 182 for example. We have a good proof of that point on The Worst Hangover Ever (on which they do a ska out of their familiar sound). It ends up with a song in the 30's or 40's style with a bad sounding (When You're In Prison). If you like the genre pop/punk easy to swallow, The Offspring stays definitely an unavoidable one. It's a good album! (March 2004 featured review)

½

Oh Susanna - Oh Susanna

Oh Susanna, Oh Susanna

Oh Susanna (her real name is Suzie Ungerleider) is a young country folk singer of Vancouver B.C.. It's her 3rd album, offering the follower of "Sleepy Little Sailor" released in 2001. She writes all her songs, lyrics and music, and she sings them in a great way. She also plays guitar on all of the 12 tracks of the album, which is between country, folk rock and contemporary pop music. We can compare her to Melissa Etheridge (with a much better voice), Sheryl Crow and even Tori Amos in a few moments. On Right By Your Side, we can even hear a Rolling Stones inluence, a very important band for her in her younger years. Except for that song and maybe Cain Is Rising, the mood is most of the time soft and should not be interesting for rockers who will be quickly annoyed. But, fans of good contemporary folk music should pay attention to Oh Susanna who will give them a quality product to listen to. Even if I don't think she will be very important in the canadian music industry with this album, she gives us anyway a good record. Check her out in a couple of years... (February 2004)

Nettwerk

Pennywise - From The Ashes

Pennywise, From The Ashes

"From The Ashes" is the 7th album of Pennywise, and maybe their best since 1995. The band comes back with the good old fast punk music that made the best years of the band and Bad Religion's. In some occasions, the similarity with the Bad Religion of 1990 is a bit embarassing. But after all, there is nothing wrong to be compared with the best California punk rock band of all time. I think that with this new album, the band takes back its first place among all those other punk bands from the west coast that released disappointing albums with no energy in the last couple of years. On "From The Ashes", there is really a lot of energy and you won't be annoyed a second. Obviously, they don't recreate anything, because all the possibilities have been explored in this genre in the past, but they do it in a very good and impressive way. A good album (including a DVD) which should please all their fans and could also bring them new ones. Their shows should be more than interesting. (December 2003)

Epitaph

½

A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step

A Perfect Circle, Thirteenth Step

A Perfect Circle was formed in 1999 by Tool singer, Maynard James Keenan and his guitar tech, Billy Howerdel. At the beginning, It was supposed to be only a side project of Tool in a time when the band had contract problems with the record company. The first album of the project, "Mer de noms", had success with great artistic qualities. The band comes back this year with "Thirteenth Step" which follows the same direction as the previous one with a better commercial potential. The sound is not so far from Tool's sound (because of the unique voice of Keenan and the no constant rhythm guitar). But, the songs are a bit less dark and the melodies are very effective. They explore ambiant music in some occasions with orchestrations and beautiful arrangements, which would not be possible with the metal sound of Tool. The hit Weak And Powerless reached good positions in the radios at its release and seems to stay in the charts. Very few other songs will probably reach the same status because, even if their potential is huge, the band is still alternative and different from the present mood. Fans of heavy and creative music will be pleased, because it's a great album that should be in my 2003 top 20. Check it out. (December 2003)

Placebo - Sleeping With Ghosts

Placebo, Sleeping With Ghosts

This 4th album by the London band Placebo is probably the easiest to listen to. Its pop potential is huge and I had almost the feeling to hear Live or any other commercial band of that type. In some other occasions, the band reminded me of a rock sound of the 80's between Rush and some hard rock bands. The experiment is still here, but what is sure is the quality of the melodies which will stay in your mind for a long period of time. Unfortunately, one more time, the americans who dislike british music a lot should not adopt Placebo, which is bad for the success of this good album. I strongly suggest this album to any fan of british rock and the band's fans should not be disappointed. Some editions of the CD contain 2 hidden tracks: an amazing version of Daddy Cool by Boney M and a remix of Without You I'm Nothing by Unkle featuring David Bowie. (December 2003)

½

Iggy Pop - Skull Ring

Iggy Pop, Skull Ring

For the first time in 30 years, Iggy Pop works once again with the Stooges (Ron and Scott Asheton) with whom he made a name for himself in the 60's and recorded the classic album "Raw Power" in 1973. We can hear the Stooges on 4 of the 16 tracks of the album including the opening song (Little Electric Chair) and the title song. On the first single, the excellent Little Know It All, we can hear the canadian punk band Sum 41, and Green Day comes to play on 2 songs. The most interesting collaboration is certainly the one with Peaches who comes to rock on 2 titles, Rock Show and Motor Inn, the 2 most creative songs of the CD. For all the rest of the album, it's the Trolls that come to play with Iggy, except for an acoustic song played by Iggy by himself (Til Wrong Feels Right). So, we can find many good songs on this new record by the grand father of punk who proves us that, even if he is 56 years old, he's still one of the bests in his genre. (February 2004)

½

Puddle Of Mudd - Life On Display

Puddle Of Mudd, Life On Display

At the release of this second album by Puddle Of Mudd, I stayed indifferent because I didn't like the lack of creativiy on their first record, "Come Clean". But after the reading of incredible reviews about it talking of one of the best metal albums of 2003, I decided to listen to it. Finally, I should have follow my first idea. It's that you won't hear anything more creative on "Life On Display", but in addition you won't hear great hits like on their first one. Once again, it's only a listing of classic elements of rock, metal and grunge and it's too easy to do a parallel with Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Alice In Chains to name a few. They are going on the same road as their big brothers of Creed who won't be able to retain their success indefinitely without more creative elements. They also remind me of Incubus, a band I don't want to listen to anymore with their latest release, because they depress me. Even if it's because of Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit that Puddle Of Mudd became famous, the band won't be able to reach the quality of the early recordings of Limp Bizkit (today it's different). In that genre, the guys from Nickelback seem to be genious in comparison to Puddle Of Mudd. An annoying album with very few interesting elements. (April 2004)

Puddu Varano, Time To Grow

Alex Puddu (from Italia) and Morten Varano (from Denmark) give us a mix of funk, house, disco, soul, jazz, rock and latin music, so it's hard to compare them to other bands. Both of them were influenced by punk rock and underground music and they connected together in a more electronic sound. Varano has two of the most popular clubs of Copenhagen, Denmark. The duo presents its 3rd album since 1997, the first to be released in Canada thanks to D7 Recordings. "Time To Grow" gives us 10 songs with a lounge direction and an incredible music richness. You will hear a musical atmosphere you've never heard before which will fill your ears of a number of different sounds (always fun to listen to) for 45 minutes. We can hear invited female singers on most of the songs, even if the lyrics are not so important in the Puddu Varano compositions. The most important default of the album is we don't remind a lot of the album after a listening of it and it's most of all an ambiant album instead of a mainstream album. "Time To Grow" stays an album to discover anyway for any fan of new original music with various rich sounds. (November 2003)

D7 Recordings

½

Radiohead - Hail To The Thief

Radiohead, Hail To The Thief

Many Radiohead fans, who reached the nirvana with the excellent "Ok Computer", had a little difficulty to follow the band in its electronic experiments of the "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" albums. The rumors before the release of this album talked about a return to a sound more rock and it raised the haste to listen to "Hail To The Thief". It's exactly an album with more rock elements than the 2 previous ones, but there is also electronic music on it. It's probably the best compromise the band could do (if it was a compromise because it's not their style to make compromises). The album contains 14 titles for a total of 56 minutes and there is anything on it to satisfy every fan from "The Bends" to "Amnesiac". Like it was the case for their previous albums, we need a couple of listenings to really appreciate, but our patience is greatly awarded. At a couple of occasions on the record, the rock songs reminded me of the Pearl Jam of the "Vs" album because of the rhythm and the guitar sound. In more introspective songs, we're not so far from what Coldplay gave us last year on "A Rush Of Blood To The Head". Nothing to be ashamed of for Radiohead who invented the genre anyway. The first single There There takes some time to catch our ear, but the song is absolutely excellent, like the new single, A Punchup At A Wedding. The songs follow each other perfectly and even with a long album and a heavy atmosphere, we don't have any choice but listening to it completely. If "Ok Computer" was the album of an era, "Hail To The Thief" is not very far behind and will be for sure one of the greatest albums of 2003. Congratulations... (September 2003 featured review)

½

Sam Roberts - We Were Born In A Flame

Sam Roberts, We Were Born In A Flame

Here is a young man from Montreal who is more and more well known in the pop rock canadian industry and will soon conquer the world. After a successful EP (mainly because of Brother Down), he gives us his first complete album, "We Were Born In A Flame". Here, we can find 14 titles including 3 successes from his EP (Brother Down, Where Have All The Good People Gone and Don't Walk Away Eileen). He presents a rock sound always melodic and original, perfect pop songs for the rock radios which you will keep in mind for many days to come. His influences are in the 70s' rock as well as in the 90s' rock and folk music, and we can even hear a kind of a country side on some moments (with a little exaggeration maybe). I consider him like the #1 pop rock Montreal singer at this time, especially because of the lack of originality of David Usher since the beginning of his solo career and his tendency to stay far from rock to seduce his female audience. Not like Usher, Roberts falls rarely in clichés. Lyrics are studied (even in french on No Sleep), melodies are effective and the mood is sunny. At some times, I had the feeling to be in a beautiful sunny day of the 70s, when everything seemed to be perfect in the world and there was a lot of good music. It's a very good album which will satisfy you for sure. A name to remember... as well as his songs. (October 2003 featured review)

½

Sense Field - Living Outside

Sense Field, Living Outside

Fifth album by this pop/rock/alternative californian band. On this new record, we hear a lot less of their punk and hardcore influences than on their early records. It's more a pop rock album, well influenced by new wave and 80's rock. In some occasions, I thought of typical 80's bands like Honeymoon Suite or Haywire. Nothing very exciting on this side. But, in other occasions, it was The Police, The Cars, Bon Jovi and The Cure that came to my mind. In fact, we can hear a Cure cover on the album (A Letter To Elise). Among their contemporaries, we can compare them to Collective Soul, Gin Blossoms and Bush. They are definitely at their best when they rock a little bit more and forget ballads. It's most of all an adult album that will satisfy fans of the 80's and clean music, perfectly produced. It won't change the face of music, but it's a well done record that will please fans of this genre. (April 2004)

Nettwerk

Sounds From The Ground - Natural Selection

Sounds From The Ground, Natural Selection

Here is the third album by this british techno ambiant duo. Sounds From The Ground gives us a lounge/trance music very relaxing with a programmed sound on the entire album that reminds us of wind sounds. It's easy to guess that the band was well influenced by the sounds of nature for the writing of "Natural Selection". They have a urban sound but they are also able to bring us back to nature. It's very well done. Nick Woolfson and Elliot Morgan Jones asked for help by different singers on their compositions. We can hear Colein, Nicola Hitchcock, Aine and General Levy who sing all in softness the 7 songs on the album (on a total of 10 titles). There is a beautiful guide line to all the record and the 58 minutes look like only 40 when we play it for a special atmosphere. There are a couple of lengths and some songs start very slowly, what can be a little bit boring when we listen carefully to the entire album, but the relaxing effect is perfect. If you're looking for a good ambiant album and don't want to go back to Brian Eno's classics, Sounds From The Ground will do a very good job for you. (August 2003)

Nutone / Nettwerk

½

The Strokes - Room On Fire

The Strokes, Room On Fire

In 2001, the new yorkers of The Strokes were the leaders of a new alternative wave with a garage sound a lot different from the overproduced bands of the previous years. Their excellent album "Is This It" was not only acclaimed by the critics, but also by the general audience which was able to follow this new sound influenced by the lo-fi recordings of the 60's. So, the new album by The Strokes was eagerly awaited and "Room On Fire" does its job very well. Once again, the band gives us a short record (32 minutes) of a great efficiency. The main difference with their first album is that many of the tracks offered have a good pop potential, which can be sad for many people. But, I think the most negative point for this album is that there is no surprise anymore, not like their first one which was out of the actual wave. In fact, for the last couple of years, many bands of that genre took a place in the industry without having originality and freshness. Anyway, The Strokes is still one of the most important bands in that style and should stay in that position for some years to come. If the pop side of the first single 12:51 irritates you, you will maybe have problems to like the new Strokes record. However, if the pop rock bands of these days annoy you, the Strokes are on their own level. An album that is easy to listen to and we only want to push play again when the 11th song is over. (February 2004 featured review)

½

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Streetcore

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, Streetcore

Almost one year after the death of Joe Strummer, we can see in stores the album he was working on before leaving us. "Streetcore" becomes the 3rd album of Joe Strummer with The Mescaleros and is certainly the best among them. We can hear once again a world beat and reggae sound like he did on his last years with The Clash (with more creativity now than at that time), but we can also hear folk and rock music. The album begins with a song that could have been a Clash song 20 years ago (Coma Girl). With Get Down Moses, it’s a reggae classic we have the feeling to hear, when later he does a cover of a real reggae classic, the powerful Redemption Song from the great Bob Marley in a version a little bit more folk, but as effective as the original version. On the acoustic Long Shadow, we could be hearing a country classic in the Johnny Cash style, when Arms Aloft and All In A Day are effective rock songs. The 10th track, the title song, is an excellent folk song in the Neil Young style and ends greatly this very good album that will figure among the bests of 2003. (January 2004)

Hellcat / Epitaph

Cyclorama *

Styx, Cyclorama

Styx takes the decision to release a new album, so it's not good news! Even in their best years, they released albums that were far from perfect and a few will make history, maybe with the exception of "The Grand Illusion". "Cyclorama" is probably a reason for a new tour, but they could have done a new tour with their classics and it would have been very appreciated by everyone. The only little interesting element about this new record was the new singer and keyboardist Lawrence Gowan (a montrealer). But, after one song, there was nothing interesting left and there were 13 more songs to listen to! I have to make a confession: most of the time, I listen to the entire album even if I hate it, but with Styx it was impossible and I stopped it before the end. There are limits to stupid. It's only a package with ridiculous cliches, some of the worst parts of rock music. We can't even talk about a copy of what they did in the past, but a copy of the worst they did before. Did I say I hated it? I implore you: don't throw away your money and don't even use bandwidth to download it from the web! (June 2003 album to forget)

Sugar Ray - In The Pursuit Of Leisure

Sugar Ray, In The Pursuit Of Leisure

Sugar Ray was offering an interesting potential on its debut when the band performed a certain quality metal. They had great success in 1997 with the "Floored" album and most of all, the single Fly that was completely different from the rest of the album with its funk and hip hop side. Since that time, they fall album after album and they try not to do metal music anymore. They reach their lowest level with "In The Pursuit Of Leisure" on which we hear only a light pop music without any interest. On my first viewing of the clip Mr. Bartender (It's So Easy), I thought it was a new boys band *N Sync style! But no! It was only a new annoying incarnation of Sugar Ray. Some critics say that Sugar Ray is better in pop music than in metal music, but when we see how bad they perform on the charts, we can have doubts about it. Good quality pop music usually performs well on the charts. What we have remaining to satisfy us? Absolutely nothing. I think we can definitely forget this band for the years to come. (July 2003 album to forget)

Super Furry Animals - Phantom Power

Super Furry Animals, Phantom Power

The band from Wales, Super Furry Animals, presents its 6th album in 7 years with "Phantom Power". This is the logical follower of "Rings Around The World" released two years ago and that reached some kind of a good position on America's charts. It's too bad the band is not able to reach greater success with the americans, because they always give us creative music with great artistic qualities. Melodies are hooking and there is a good pop potential that should have a better place in rock stations. There are a couple of songs harder to catch, but it's not a good reason to ignore them and avoid presenting them to a larger audience. On "Phantom Power", we can again hear instant hits like Hello Sunshine, Liberty Belle and Venus & Serena. On The Piccolo Snare, a more introspective song, they experiment a lot for 6 minutes. Out Of Control continues where they left us with the title song of their previous album, because it's a very efficient rock song. They prove they can do reggae on The Undefeated and minimal techno on Slow Life. We can hear different sounds all along the album with the use of xylophones, a brass section and electronic programming. In a couple of moments, they use a "crooner" style in the singing, not like Frank Sinatra, but not so far. Finally, it's a very interesting album, as interesting as the 5 previous ones, and the ones who discovered the band with "Rings Around The World" have absolutely no reason to ignore this new one. After a couple of listenings, you will fall in love with most of the 14 songs of the album (that lasts 54 minutes). (November 2003)

½

Swollen Members, Heavy

Swollen Members is the #1 hip hop band in Canada. From Vancouver B.C., the 4 guys just released their 4th album with "Heavy". With this one, they reach a new level of maturity and give us 14 songs of a great quality (for a total of near 60 minutes). With songs like Watch This, Bottom Line, Adrenaline and Burn It Down, the band has nothing to be ashamed of in comparison with the best american hip hop artists like Eminem, 50 Cent, N.E.R.D. or Outkast. The melodies are effective and the arrangements help to present the quality of the compositions. Even if I'm not a big hip hop fan, they had my attention on a couple of moments and kept it until the end. There are very few lacks on this album and hip hop fans should not hesitate a second to buy this new Swollen Members' record. In bonus, you will have a DVD containing different parts of their rapper life, the making of for the video Watch This, and 6 videos of songs included on their previous albums. (February 2004)

Battle Axe / Nettwerk

½

Tiësto - Nyana

Tiësto, Nyana

DJ Tiësto is one of the best known DJs in the world. Born in the Netherlands, he's particularly well known in Europe, but he takes more and more his place in America, thanks to Nettwerk Productions. He does techno trance music very repetitive and cold, in the german way. This greatest hits collection is dance music from the beginning to the end and he perfectly makes links between every song on 2 CDs. He's moreover well known for the longest mixes with 5 or 6 hours of non-stop music. Not like some quebecer DJs that take the baddest dance songs and mix it, Tiësto takes different other songs not well known and he builds his own creations. You can hear a very good remixed version of Conjure One / Sinead O'Connor's Tears From The Moon. The second CD is a little bit hotter with songs not so far from house music that are very interesting. Because I'm not a big fan of that kind of music, I have to say that the 2 discs are very long, but it's not so tough to listen to it from the beginning to the end because there are very few poor songs. For a techno fan, it's a necessary album to add to his collection, because it's 2 hours and a half of the best music in the genre. If you like that style, don't hesitate a second. (June 2003)

Nettwerk

Turbonegro - Scandanavian Leather

Turbonegro, Scandinavian Leather

Turbonegro is a norvegian band that exists since the beginning of the 90's. They offer a very good quality of hard rock, like the scandinavians can very well play. In their sound, we can find punk influences (Sex Pistols, New York Dolls, Dead Kennedys, etc.), and more commercial influences (Guns N' Roses and some american glam rock bands of the late 80's). Their style would have the potential to reach a large audience, but their look of glam rockers psychopaths and their violent lyrics talking often about war and violence, can discourage most of the radio stations. Their 1999 album "Apocalypse Dudes" (that I never heard) would be the best hard rock album since "Appetite For Destruction" by Guns N' Roses and I think I can trust it (my sources are very good). With "Scandinavian Leather", I don't think it's the same thing, but it's a very good one too. Having heard so much hard rock bands in my life  (even the less known of them), I didn't think it would have been possible to impress me, but they did a couple of times. They present music of great creativity and 2003 sounds, despite all that has been done in the past by so much bands of the same style. I prefer them when they are more hardcore (Turbonegro Must Be Destroyed, Train Of Flesh and Drenched In Blood for example). We can also hear a very good song in french, Le Saboteur. An excellent album for the ones that don't fear weird musicians or the ones that want more good hard rock music. The 3 guitars of Turbonegro will give you all you want. (October 2003)

Burning Heart / Epitaph

½

Rufus Wainwright - Want One

Rufus Wainwright, Want One

Here is the 3rd album of this genious singer, musician and composer from Montreal. Once again, we can find a great musical quality with a lot of creativity and freshness, which is so different from many other bands using the same formula again and again. On "Want One", there is a good richness in the orchestrations and they have an important task to complete perfectly the Wainwright universe and hide his lacks on the voice level. Soft music and very relaxing sound, it has to be listened to with attention, with a complete abandon to this unique atmosphere created so perfectly by Rufus Wainwright. The recording sessions were so good for "Want One", Wainwright already decided to release another album in 2004 (which will probably be entitled "Want Two"). Some bad reviews talk about the fact he should have concentrate all his songs on a lonely CD to be sure to include only good songs on it, which is also my opinion most of the time. But here, I don't think there are a lot of bad songs and I have nothing negative to say about the 60 minutes of the CD. If all the artists could have the same number of bad songs on their album, bad albums would be hard to find. A very good album that will make us wait a little more for the next one. (February 2004)

½

Patrick Watson - Just Another Ordinary Day

Patrick Watson - Just Another Ordinary Day (2009 Re-edition)

In 2003, Patrick Watson was regarded as a band (a quartet) and not as a solo project of its singer of the same name. They issued this first album independently and in a limited edition. After the success of Close To Paradise and Wooden Arms, they decided to re-release this first album with extraordinary qualities. We can obviously find the atmospheric pop sound which made the trademark of Patrick Watson on his 2 following albums. But also various textures, often one above the other, are found, which largely come to enrich Watson’s piano. For sure, Just Another Ordinary Day remains an atmospheric album which will like the fans of Radiohead and of other ambient music that is difficult to reach. On the other hand, the musical richness presented here impresses largely when we consider it’s the very first album of a band without much experience. Without being at the same level as Close To Paradise, Just Another Ordinary Day is an extremely good album which will carry you in a quite particular atmosphere. (February 2010)

Secret City / EMI / SIX

½

Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site

The Weakerthans, Reconstruction Site

The Weakerthans is a band from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada that gives us its 3rd complete album in career. They have a canadian rock sound with influences like punk, country and sometimes even folk. They can be compared to California punk rock, Sloan, Wilco, Neil Young and even Pearl Jam. But, it's important to mention that punk rock is less used than on their first records and the band takes distance from that style year after year. The mood of "Reconstruction Site" is a lot more introspective and the lyrics seem to be more important than before. The album lasts 40 minutes and contains 14 songs, including the excellent The Reasons which is certainly my favorite one. We can also hear One Great City!, a folk song on which John K. Samson, the singer of the band, explains us clearly how much he hates his hometown of Winnipeg. "Reconstruction Site" is a very good album that won't reconstruct the music industry, but is a part of the best in that genre in Canada these days. In the enhanced portion of the CD, you will be able to see the video for Our Retired Explorer, footage in the studio and many different images on the road. (February 2004)

Epitaph

½

The White Stripes - Elephant

The White Stripes, Elephant

I loved the last album from The White Stripes titled "White Blood Cells" issued at the end of 2001 and "Elephant" was eagerly awaited. This album was worth the wait because it's better than the previous one. Once again, with only the voice, piano and guitar by Jack White, and the voice and drums by Meg White, they built a beautiful mix of rock, blues and folk songs, all great. From the immediate hit of Seven Nation Army to the simple Well It's True That We Love One Another, with the excellent Black Math, the cover from Burt Bacharach I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, the beautiful In The Cold Cold Night (sang with greatness by Meg), the bluesy Ball And Biscuit, The Hardest Button To Button (in the Rolling Stones style) and the next radio hit Hypnotize, the Detroit duo carries us in its unique universe that nobody can ignore. Their sound, with a big influence from blues, takes also its inspiration from The Rolling Stones, The Smashing Pumpkins and from the New York punk wave of the 70's. Compared with the garage sound of the last years, the band now takes the lead ahead of The Strokes and The Hives. I didn't hear the first two records by the band released in 1999 and 2000, but now I don't have any other choice to buy those very soon. "Elephant" is the best album of the year so far and it will close 2003 in the top 5 for sure. A necessary album for any fan of original rock! (June 2003 featured review) (see also Historical Albums)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever To Tell

Here is a New York City trio with a garage sound like The Strokes. Since it was popular for the last couple of years, they don't use bass (only voice, guitar and drums). Their sound is in fact not so far from The White Stripes, except for the female voice (Karen O). Their music has good rhythms and it will satisfy for sure any fan of actual alternative music, even if their influence is from the beginnings of the New York punk rock (especially the New York Dolls). In comparison with more modern artists, there is The White Stripes (in a less bluesy style) and The Hives. The melodies are very effective and will stay in your mind for days to come. The 2 hits from the album (Date With The Night and Pin) give a good idea of the sound of the entire album and if you like them, you shouldn't hesitate a second to buy "Fever To Tell". The 11 songs for a total of 37 minutes will give you really good moments and will make you forget all your problems. There are a few punk cliches at some times, but if it stays effective, we don't have to complain about it. An excellent finding! (August 2003)

½

Zwan - Mary Star Of The Sea

Zwan, Mary Star Of The Sea

Zwan is the newest band of Billy Corgan, former leader of The Smashing Pumpkins. Since he considered having no more ideas for the Smashing Pumpkins (and probably also because the 2 latest albums of the band didn't have the success of the previous ones), Corgan made the decision to restart at the beginning with a new band, new sounds and new ideas. That's what he told us at the beginning of the band a few months ago, but when we listen to the album, we hear only a new version of The Smashing Pumpkins, without any major change. The sound is not so different and we have to say his carasteristic voice made the sound of the Pumpkins. The most important change is for the pop side of the album. There is no more experimental music with guitar distortion and songs in different parts (except for Jesus, I / Mary Star Of The Sea). With Zwan, we talk more about pop rock music with easy melodies and it's perfect for pop/rock radios. Even if the Smashing Pumpkins had pop songs, it was only the case for a couple of songs per album, but here, it's all that style from the beginning to the end. Too much the same, because it's hard to make a difference between all the songs of the album. I would have a lot of problems to tell you something on every song without listening to it carefully at the same time. Even if it seems to be pop songs because of the melodies, we keep nothing in mind at the end of it. The first hit, Honestly, is certainly the most interesting song of the album. For the rest, everything could be played on the radio, but nothing will reach the success. It's an album above the average of all the pop rock bands we have these days, but a lot below what Corgan gave us in the past. Without being a bad purchase, be informed that maybe you will be disappointed by the Zwan album. (April 2003 featured review)

 

 

 

     

     

 

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