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Note: If you can read french, go to the french section for additional content.

 

0-9 - 108 -

A - ActionReaction - AFI - The Aggrolites -

B - Barenaked Ladies - The Beatles - Beck - Betrayed - Billy Talent - The Black Keys - The Bouncing Souls - Boys Sets Fire -

C - Neko Case - Nick Cave and Warren Ellis - Gregory Charles - Natalie Choquette - Converge - The Coup -

D - Dashboard Confessional - The Dears - Deftones - The Draft -

E - Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Escape The Fate (2) -

F - Fear Before The March Of Flames - From First To Last -

G - Gnarls Barkley - Goldfrapp - Goodbye Tomorrow - Good Clean Fun - Greg Graffin - Grimskunk -

H - Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - The Heart Attacks - Heavens - Hell Is For Heroes -

I - I Am Ghost -

K - The Killers -

M - Matchbook Romance - The Matches - Mercy Killers - Misstress Barbara - Mobile - Motion City Soundtrack - Muse - My Chemical Romance -

O - Orgamilk -

P - Ricky Paquette - Parkway Drive - Peezee - Pete Philly & Perquisite - Pink - Plain White T's - The Prize Fighter Inferno -

R - The Raconteurs - Raised Fist - Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Reset - Damien Rice - Rise Against - The Robocop Kraus -

S - Scissor Sisters - Seemless - Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars - Bob Sinclar - The Slackers - Sol.illaquists of Sound - The Sound of Animals Fighting - Still My Queen - Gwen Stefani - The Stills - The Strokes - Tomi Swick -

T - Third Eye Blind - Time Again - Tool -

V - Vanna - Versus The Mirror -

W - Tom Waits - Westbound Train - Amy Winehouse -

Y - YouInSeries - Neil Young - Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Yusuf -

COMPILATIONS - Bon cop, bad cop - Give 'Em The Boot V - Revolution Rock - Rogue's Gallery - Unsound

 

 

108 - Creation. Sustenance. Destruction (2 CD)

108, Creation. Sustenance. Destruction. (2 CD)

The specialists of hardcore metal know probably who we are talking about with 108, a band formed in 1992 and disbanded 4 years later that recorded 3 albums and 1 EP. The band was formed after the separation of Inside Out, when Zack de la Rocha went to form Rage Against The Machine and Vic DiCara, 108. What we find here is their complete discography on 2 CDs for a total of 93 minutes. Nothing was put aside and it will certainly please the hardcore fans that had problems to find their albums. They do an agressive style of metal but creative that reminded me many times of the "famous" Quebec band Voivod, with also a couple of elements of Biohazard and Helmet. Creation. Sustenance. Destruction. is an anthology piece for every fan of hardcore music. (August 2006)

Equal Vision

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ActionReaction - 3 Is The Magic Number

ActionReaction, 3 Is The Magic Number

ActionReaction is a new trio from New Jersey leaded by Jason Gleason (former member of Further Seems Forever). Be careful not to mix them with Action Reaction which is a band of christian hardcore that also released an album a few weeks before. In this specific case, itís an excellent indie rock band with great commercial possibilities, a band that is much different than the other bands we usually hear on Equal Vision Records. The powerful choruses of the early tracks ("Sinner's Algebra" and the first single "Can You Hear The Sun?") have everything they need to become rock anthems sung throughout the all world, even if I have doubts they will have enough promotion to reach that kind of successful status for now. After those songs, the sound becomes more introspective in some moments, which is reminding us more of the British rock of Radiohead and Travis. Their skill to go from arena rock to a smarter introspective rock sound is very impressive and always keeps our attention all along the record. 3 Is The Magic Number includes some really great moments, even if some rare tracks leave us a little bit with our hunger. What is perfectly clear is that this trio, in addition of being formed by particularly talented musicians, has a great gift for composition. It will be interesting to check them out in the future, especially with a record company that doesnít give them a mandatory musical direction. (October 2006 Featured New Artist)

Hope Division / Equal Vision

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AFI - Decemberunderground

AFI, Decemberunderground

After the success of the album Sing The Sorrow in 2003, the hardcore punk band from California AFI is back with Decemberunderground. In their case, we still talk about a hardcore band, but in the facts they became a pop punk band through the years, despite occasional screams reminding us of their Misfits roots ("Kill Caustic", "Affliction"). Decemberunderground has everything it needs to become a popular album with a large audience with extremely effective beats and melodies. In fact, they started well with the hit "Miss Murder" which can be heard on all the biggest radio stations and TV music channels. This is the most important advantage of getting all the promotion resources of a first category record company, the other one being to have a good production budget giving them the opportunity to get an exceptional sound quality. We can hear on this album a few electro moments ("Love Like Winter", the latest single), new wave ("37 mm"), a bit of U2 not really well done ("The Missing Frame") and a few ballads ("The Interview", "Endlessly, She Said"), everything it needs to make every true hardcore punk fan run! Itís anyway an honest pop album, even if itís better in parts than in its entirety. At the end, this album is inferior to their previous one, but you will certainly find a song to please you at one moment or the other. (October 2006 Featured Review)

The Aggrolites - The Aggrolites

The Aggrolites, The Aggrolites

The Aggrolites was formed from a collective of artists from Southern California that were backing musicians for the Jamaican ska singer Derrick Morgan. After a studio project of Morgan that aborted, some of the musicians, from 2 different bands, decided to merge to form The Aggrolites. They are giving us here their 2nd album of 19 tracks, essentially reggae but with also a couple of moments a little bit more ska. Even if they have and American style, the old school sound they give to the album can give us the feeling it was recorded 40 years ago in the heart of Kingston, Jamaica, with the legendary Bob Marley playing in the other studio. Despite a heavy sound, they always have a touch of joy in their songs making them sunny songs. With these songs followed by good quality instrumentals, this 66 minute album is perfect for the warm days of the summer to come. A few songs really differentiate from the others, but the whole disc is fun to listen to in its entirety. A band to discoverÖ (June 2006)

Hellcat / Epitaph

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Barenaked Ladies - Barenaked Ladies Are Me

Barenaked Ladies, Barenaked Ladies Are Me

In September 2006, the Toronto band Barenaked Ladies offered us its 7th studio album in career, Barenaked Ladies Are Me. As on the previous one, Everything to Everyone, the group proposes us topics filled with maturity and positivism carrying to reflection. The melodies are always as effective and the band remains possibly the best Canadian group in this kind of post-REM melodic folk rock with a unique style, always apart from any musical movement. Barenaked Ladies succeed in catching our attention as in the first track, "Adrift". Thereafter, we can hear other good moments as in the more electric "Sound of Your Voice", the very soft "Easy" and "Vanishing", as well as "Peterborough and the Kawarthas". There are in fact some songs that didnít interest me much, because they perhaps remind us a little too much of what the band did in the past. But quality is still there on Barenaked Ladies Are Me which is maybe their best album since Stunt released in 1998, the album that really brought them to success. A deluxe version of this new album was also issued with 14 additional tracks. Those songs were re-released again recently on a single CD entitled Barenaked Ladies Are Men, which contains 2 additional tracks. Next month, a review of that album will be added. (March 2007)

Warner

The Beatles - Love

The Beatles, LOVE (CD + DVD audio)

I have to admit I cannot be very objective with this "new" album by The Beatles, because I had the privilege to see the show of the same title by the Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas and itís certainly the best show Iíve seen in my life, any category considered. We know the tendencies the Cirque has to present magnificent shows, but with the Beatles music as engine, it becomes totally magical. We can hear the complete music of the show on the DVD-audio in a 5.1 version. The sound is of an exceptional quality, a quality that is very close to what we can hear at the Mirage hotel with speakers in every seat of the theater. The CD includes a lightly shorter stereo version, to make it fit on this format of a maximum of 80 minutes, but good luck to find what is missing exactly. What is special about this album is that the music of the Beatles was totally rebuilt by Sir George Martin (the 5th Beatle) and his son Giles with different recordings. Each song has been reinvented with the addition of many elements from other tracks. For example, "Get Back" which is really starting the album, begins with one of the rare drum solos by Ringo Starr recorded for "The End", and itís in stereo! "Within You Without You" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" were combined on Ringoís drum beat, and "Sun King" became "Gnik Nus" turning it backwards, exactly the sort of thing that John Lennon would have gone for. Among the strongest moments of the CD, there is "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "Yesterday", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Lady Madonna", "Come Together", "Revolution" and "Hey Jude". "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" becomes stronger with the addition of new string arrangements to a demo version. But, my favorite one is still the song by Ringo "Octopusís Garden" which I keep in mind for a long time after having listened to it, like it was the case after the show. The album ends up with "Sgt. Pepperís Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" and "All You Need is Love" to conclude greatly this audacious project, that can be unpleasant for some, but is so well done. Even if we know each and every song and even if they are not so different from the original versions and can be easily recognized, we can say this is the first new Beatles album since their split-up. Paul McCartney and Ringo, as well as Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison left in fact their conflicts apart to endorse completely the project, a project that started a few years ago with the idea by George Harrison with his friend Guy Lalibertť, the founder of Cirque du Soleil. Critics donít agree about this album because some of them think they didnít go far enough in the rebuilding of the songs when others think itís not a good idea to rebuild songs by the greatest band of all time. In my opinion, I think they were able to make the perfect balance between the two extremes making an interesting album for the first fans as well as for new fans. This is also the first Beatles album to be available in 5.1 surround sound, even if a version with only the stereo CD is as well on sale. (January 2007 Featured Review)

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Beck - The Information (CD + DVD)

Beck, The Information (CD + DVD)

Beck started to work on this album after Sea Change issued in 2002, but he stopped his work to return with the Dust Brothers for an album, Guero. Musically, the album approaches mainly Midnight Vultures by its psychedelic side. The folk sound we were hearing on his 2 previous albums is somewhat left aside to make room for a little more electronics. It offers again a mixture of alternative rock, hip hop and funk, in addition to playing side by side acoustic guitar and more modern electronic sounds. Itís this mixture I appreciate the most about Beck, a mixture which makes a single artist of him. Some tracks distinguished definitely from the batch to quickly become our favorite ones. This is the case for "Cellphone's Dead" and "Nausea". As a whole, The Information is a good record presenting a beautiful coherence and a contagious energy on several occasions. Itís always a great challenge to make comparisons between Beckís albums considering the constant variation in the styles he offers to us, but letís say that this new album can be easily compared with some of the greatest moments of his career. Only some tracks a little weaker and less interesting prevent us from talking about genius while rather bringing back our feet well on the ground. The Information is presented to us in an interesting packaging whereas we can build our own cover design starting from the provided stickers. A DVD is also offered in bonus presenting videos for each song of the CD. They are rather simplistic home videos, but they are anyway interesting to view. A deluxe version is also available. (May 2007)

Interscope / Universal

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Betrayed - Substance

Betrayed, Substance

The band from the US west coast Betrayed gives us its first full-length record. They play real hardcore punk in the tradition of Minor Threat and the Dead Kennedys, a sound we lose more and more these days. The songs are aggressive and fast, but they are able to keep a kind of melody thanks to the voice of Aram Arslanian, even if he screams all along the CD. The guitar riffs of Todd Jones are absolutely remarkable and the beat is particularly swinging from the beginning to the end. At the end, Betrayed is able to give me again a good opinion of the hardcore punk genre. I even surprised myself by increasing the volume in a couple of occasions, instead of doing the opposite like itís often the case with this kind of aggressive music. Itís a very good discovery I made with this band that we will have to check out in the years to come, on disc and on stage. (September 2006)

Equal Vision

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Billy Talent - Billy Talent II

Billy Talent, Billy Talent II

In 2003, the new Canadian band Billy Talent made its apparition in the pop punk scene that was already kind of saturated. But, with their unique style combining pop melodies to punk not so far from hardcore and metal riffs, they were able to differentiate from all the other bands. The Billy Talent album got a big commercial success with a series of explosive hits including "Try Honesty", "River Below", "Nothing To Lose" and "The Ex". However, I had the feeling they were insisting a little bit too much on it with promotions still on the way 2 years after its release. With Billy Talent II, the band continues in the same direction, without any big surprises. The band is able to evolve anyway in a great way with a broader music spectrum. The first fans of the band wonít be disoriented because they will hear punchy tracks right to their face. Letís take for example the first single "Devil In A Midnight Mass" which is an instant hit, and other guaranteed hits like "Red Flag" and "Perfect World". Even when the band slows down the beat, they are able to stay energetic and to make us appreciate ballads like "Pins And Needles". The guitar of Ian D'Sa is still as powerful, like the voice of Ben Kowalewicz. And the rhythm section makes us appreciate quickly the music of the band and we couldnít live without it. Billy Talent is making itself a sure place in the Canadian pop punk scene with this album proving that the band is here to stay. They will probably sell more copies of this one than their previous one because Billy Talent II is a very good album!. What is different with Billy Talent, playing though in a genre having an incredible number of bands, itís that they have their own style and we can recognize a Billy Talent song among all the others. If you want to see them in concert, they are a part of the Vans Warped Tour this summer, before leaving for a US tour this fall. (August 2006 Featured Review)

Warner

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The Black Keys - Magic Potion

The Black Keys, Magic Potion

The blues garage duo The Black Keys is back with a new album, their 4th in 5 years. Even if the band changed of record company, Magic Potion is still the logical follower to their 2 previous albums which were really good. Once again, the band gives us a mix of black blues from the south of the US and British R&B of the late 60's, all played with only a guitar and a drum kit. The album contains only original songs; there are 11 for a total of more than 42 minutes. You'll fall in love quickly with "Your Touch" which has an unforgettable melody. The rest of the album is a little bit more all the same, but always good. In comparison with Rubber Factory, this new album is maybe lightly below the standard of the previous one with less impressive songs. But, it's a part of the same category of first class albums. The Black Keys are still a sure shot and they won't be disappointing for their fans. (November 2006)

Nonesuch / Warner

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The Bouncing Souls - The Gold Record

The Bouncing Souls, The Gold Record

The best way to get a gold record is by doing one, literally. So, here is the gold record by the punk band from New Jersey The Bouncing Souls. The worst, is that it could really become the best selling album of their career, after almost 20 years. I liked their previous album, Anchors Aweigh, but now they elevated the level of quality with The Gold Record, their 7th studio album. Itís good to hear an effective and energetic punk album with creative compositions! Is it just me or itís pretty rare these daysÖ For the ones that are not familiar with the band, they can easily be compared to Screeching Weasel, Descendents and Pennywise, with more Californian influences than New York influences. The album begins strongly with "The Gold Song", an instant classic for the band. "The Pizza Song" presents a less known side of The Bouncing Souls with acoustic guitar and accordion for an impressive result. The band covers greatly "Better Things" by The Kinks, and also "Lean On Sheena" by Avoid One Thing. Itís really hard to find weaknesses among the 12 tracks of this excellent CD offering us an energetic, melodic and intelligent mix. It took a lot of time, but the band just entered a unique club. The Gold Record, which is for sure the best punk rock album of 2006 at this time, will certainly be also among the best albums of the year, all genres included. You need this one absolutely! (September 2006)

Epitaph

Boy Sets Fire - Misery Index: Notes From The Plague Years

Boy Sets Fire, The Misery Index: Notes From The Plague Years

Here is the 4th full-length album of the hardcore / post-hardcore American band Boy Sets Fire. The band leaves more and more the aggressiveness of their debut and presents more hooking melodies and impressive vocal harmonies. Otherwise, the guys experiment more on The Misery Index: Notes From The Plague Years, trying things they would never have tried on their previous recordings. Boy Sets Fire surprises us on "So Long... Thanks For The Crutches" and "Dejŗ Coup" with a horn section giving great results, even if itís difficult to imagine in the sound of the band. Nathan Gray uses less his screaming voice on this album, and Iím very happy about it because they were the moments I hated the most on their previous records. Here, the effective melodies give to the band a pop direction they never had in the past. We can even hear for the first time a few possible hits, including "Dejŗ Coup" which has everything it needs to obtain success. The good moments of this album make me prefer it to The Day The Sun Went Out, their first album and their best at this time. (May 2006)

Equal Vision

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Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

Born in the USA, Neko Case moved out to Vancouver in 1994 to study at School of Arts. She is now releasing her 4th studio album, in addition to her work with the New Pornographers. She does alternative country music in the Wilco style with other possible comparisons with Elliott Smith. On Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, she also brings a touch of the folk music of the 60ís like the music of The Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel and The Byrds, particularly on "Hold On Hold On". Her previous album, Blacklisted, is considered by many like her best at this time, but the quality of Fox Confessor Brings The Flood is very close to it at any point of view. Melodies of great effectiveness and incredible accuracy, expertly sung by her suave and powerful voice, and accompanied by nice and creative guitars bring the album of 35 minutes in the first class category. This is a CD full of richness, maturity and depth. The album, that is most of the time soft, needs that we listen to it a couple of times to get invaded by her universe. But, after that, it becomes quickly one of our favorite albums in the genre. Maybe it wonít make history, but it will certainly be an important album of 2006. I even have the feeling it will become better and better through the years, like good wine. This is an album that was awaited by the fans for the last 4 years, but it reaches the goal. Mission accomplished! (August 2006)

Mint

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - The Proposition

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, The Proposition (original soundtrack)

The Proposition is a movie written by Nick Cave that was only out for a few weeks. I present here the CD for the original soundtrack of that movie, composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (member of the Bad Seeds, the band of Nick Cave). To go well with the movie, the music had to create a far west atmosphere, very often grave and sad. We can hear elements of classical music. But in general, we can recognize the Nick Cave style he often used on his albums, an ambient and very introspective sound. The main difference with what he does normally is that most of the tracks are instrumental. There is often uncut and monotonous violin on a very slow beat. Even If I didnít see the movie (only the preview), the music by itself was effective enough to make me imagine the movie. So, itís a fundamental CD to get after having seen The Proposition, because it will remind you of many moments of it. We recognize in part the style of Nick Cave, but we must not forget it was composed expressly for the movie. So there is a big difference between this and his regular albums and there is only one reachable song, "The Rider Song", at the 15th track on a total of 16. Some moments can seem a little bit weird and can motivate you to go to the following track, but itís anyway an original soundtrack with great artistic qualities, a rare fact! The biggest fans of Nick Cave and of the movie will probably be the only ones to be able to listen to the soundtrack on a regular basis, because of its difficult approach and its apparent dreariness. But, itís a very good ambient album. (April 2006)

Mute

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Gregory Charles - I Think Of You

Gregory Charles, I Think Of You

After years during which Gregory showed us about all its talents (at least in Quebec), here is a new one he makes us discover, the talent of composer-songwriter. With this first album entirely composed of original songs, we discover that this one-man band with an unlimited talent can indeed write good songs. Assumed music lover, he is drawing from some of his most important influences to offer an album with different styles that is particularly interesting musically. The base remains very pop with catchy choruses and simple structures. But, we nevertheless can hear soul, jazz, R&B and gospel. We also hear far too many ballads and love songs, the subject having already been exploited in all the possible directions. In spite of this small irritation, itís a particularly good CD, mainly thanks to its musical richness filled with piano, brass, orchestrations and the powerful voices of Kim Richardson, Sylvie Desgroseillers and Vťronic Dicaire. Gregory is also accompanied by his faithful companion, the other one-man band Guy St-Onge. His warm voice is perfect for the majority of his songs. The title-song spent several weeks on the charts making it possible for the album to beat sales records at its release, but we find also the other hit "I Put My Trust In You", as well as the excellent "Our house", one of my favorites. There are 10 English lyrics among the 11 tracks presented, the 11th being a Spanish version of "I Think Of You". This first real album by Gregory Charles is a good pop intimist CD. You can get it by visiting the store. (June 2007)

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Natalie Choquette - Aeterna Celesta

Natalie Choquette, Aeterna Celesta

I donít write very often about a disc of classical music or a disc of opera, but it was impossible to avoid this one. Natalie Choquette, who became most of all famous as a fanciful diva, presents the 3rd part of a beautiful trilogy, Aeterna. Started in 2004, its 2 first discs (Aeterna and Aeterna Romantica) have already sold more than 50,000 copies, giving over $20,000 to the Cancer research fund of Quebec. So, sheís coming back with the conclusion of the trilogy, Aeterna Celesta, a majestic album celebrating heaven, hope and eternity in music. We can hear 16 great classics of the baroque and romantic eras with among others masterpieces by Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and Haendel (including his famous "Halleluja"), without forgetting the well known Pachelbelís "Canon" in which Natalieís voice replaces the 3 violins. One of the most moving moments of the CD is certainly her interpretation of "Ave Maria" from Caccini, a piece of work that is unfortunately not enough known. We can also hear "Notre-PŤre" put in music by the French composer and organ player of the 20th century Maurice Duruflť. The soprano is able once again to impress us in many occasions with her powerful voice mixing perfectly with the great scope of the tracks offered. Itís not less than 33 musicians, 18 singers and her 2 daughters (Florence K. and …lťonore) that participated to the recording of this album, without forgetting the production, musical direction and arrangements by …ric Lagacť who did a wonderful work. The strings and brass instruments complete perfectly Natalieís voice to create a great spread out album. On the contrary of some things the diva did in the past, this album is less oriented towards a large audience, even if some famous tracks are well known by everybody. With the number of classical discs that are released every year in every possible form, itís very hard to offer something really different. But, Natalie Choquette has all the personality necessary to offer this little something in bonus which is making this album more interesting than the average classical album. In addition, when you buy the album, you contribute directly to cancer research. So, if you like the genre or are simply curious, donít wait and buy it, because Natalie Choquette will be certainly able to blind you at one point or another. (January 2007)

Isba

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Converge - No Heroes

Converge, No Heroes

Itís with 5 tracks of less than 2 minutes that this new album by the metal hardcore band Converge begins. Even if they never really dissociated from their roots, having a great consistency, they come back to their roots anyway and pitch us all their rage without the possibility for us to fight back. With Converge, there is no compromise: the riffs are fast and heavy, the guttural voice is aggressive and the guys are not there to sing you a sweet lullaby. There are a couple of moments on which they slow down the beat, like on "Plagues" for example, but itís not common and itís not lighter anyway. The only real contrast of the No Heroes album can be heard at the 8th track with the near 10 minute anthem "Grim Heart/Black Rose" on which we hear the guest singer Jonah Jenkins who has a very different voice from Jacob Bannonís voice (a voice I donít like very much by the way, but thatís my opinion). That track, which is different from the habitual sound of the band is in my opinion the best of the CD which is not bringing many new things to the band or the genre. The fans of hardcore will have a good value for their money, but Converge doesnít break any rules, once again. (December 2006)

Epitaph

The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon

The Coup, Pick A Bigger Weapon

The rap trio The Coup has become a duo with the rapper Boots Riley and the DJ Pam The Funkstress. They are known for having their own opinions on politics and they donít hesitate to denunciate. Even if they are only 2 persons officially in the band, many musicians collaborate to the album. So, they are giving us good musical richness with strong funk influences and a touch of reggae. We can compare them to The Roots and Outkast as well as Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire. Some say Pick a Bigger Weapon has a faster beat than their previous albums that I donít know. After an intro of 1:30, the album starts very well with the excellent "We Are The Ones", a sure hit. After that, there are more underground tracks, hard to reach, than instant hits. There are also some more ambient tracks. Some songs are under the average, but we can find good ones anyway at different moments that making it a pleasant album to listen to. (June 2006)

Anti- / Epitaph

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Dashboard Confessional - Dusk and Summer

Dashboard Confessional, Dusk And Summer

Dashboard Confessional is in fact one guy, Chris Carrabba, writing everything, singing, and playing guitar. With his pretty face, itís necessarily him we always see when they have to do promotion, on TV or in magazines. He is supported anyway by 3 talented musicians. Formed in Florida, the band presents us its 4th album and I have to confess that I discover their music with this one, none of their previous albums having capture my interest. Dusk and Summer is a very personal album where the pop punk sound they were associated to before is not present at all anymore. I would compare instead the sound of the album to Coldplay, but with less quality. Carrabba writes good songs we can like to read when we listen to them, but musically, there is a kind of monotony with a similar music from one song to the other. Sincerely, I cannot approve all the positive reviews I read about the band since the beginning of their career. I saw them in concert last June and I have to say I asked myself all along the concert why the girls were screaming so much and knew all the lyrics. I finally understood that the charm of the guy is certainly responsible for it. On my part, the good moments were not frequent at this concert, except for their excellent interpretation of "Fake Plastic Trees" of Radiohead. To come back to the album, despite a good beginning with the hit "Don't Wait", a very good collaboration by the Counting Crowsí singer, Adam Duritz, on "So Long, So Long" and the production of 2 songs by Daniel Lanois including the excellent "Heaven Here", I didnít have many moments of seduction, a proof that the charm of Carrabba is not effective on everybodyÖ For the fans of modern songwriters, maybe youíll find something interesting. But, if like me you consider the music before the lyrics, you will probably use your remote control in many occasions to go to the following track. On their part, the previous fans of the band will certainly appreciate. (August 2006)

Vagrant

The Dears - Gang of Losers

The Dears, Gang of Losers

The Dears is maybe the most British of all Montrealís indie rock bands. We can compare them to the other Montrealers of The Arcade Fire, but most of all to Blur, Travis and Coldplay. With Gang of Losers, the band offers us its 3rd album after End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story and the excellent No Cities Left released 3 years ago. After the orchestral extravaganza we heard on the previous album, the band comes back to the basis of its sound on this new CD. The arrangements are much simple and the weird experimentation disappeared. Each composition seems to find its solid foundation on the powerful voice of Murray Lightburn, as well as on the guitars. We still hear all the nostalgia and sadness we were hearing on the previous recordings of the band, which is not making a very sunny and happy album of it. Itís easier to imagine a fall rain when we listen to this emotional CD (maybe a London rainÖ). The album begins with a very soft 1 minute and a half introduction, "Sinthtro". After that, we can hear the first single, the excellent "Ticket to Immortality", followed by the very interesting "Death of Life We Want You". Then, uniformity begins, which can seem to be monotony at first, or for any non initiated audience. But, when we listen to all the details of those quality compositions, we discover a great musical richness that is hard to find these days. After having listened to it carefully many times, we realize the uniformity we had the feeling to hear was only a mirage, because none of the 12 tracks of the album are similar, and each one is full of creativity. You will certainly not find a radio hit on this, but this new album by The Dears is at least as good as its predecessor. The simplicity of the arrangements even makes me think I prefer Gang of Losers to No Cities Left. (December 2006 Featured Review)

Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist

Deftones, Saturday Night Wrist

The guys of Deftones were among the nu metal movement pioneers with Korn and Limp Bizkit. They always recorded great albums, most of the time out of the charts. But with their previous album, a self-titled album, they were able to reach #2 of the Billboard album chart and to get great radio airplay with the hit "Minerva". On Saturday Night Wrist, produced by Bob Ezrin (mostly known for his work with KISS), we can find a mix of the aggressive side of their previous album and of the nuances of the excellent White Pony, their best album at this time. The wall of guitar is still as present, a sound that represents the trademark of the band since its formation. We can hear the hit "Hole in the Earth" as soon as at the opening of the CD, an effective track giving us the desire to listen to the rest of the album. After that, we hear many slow tracks including a couple that reminded me of Filter during the Short Bus album period. You will find uniformity on the CD which is not catchy at first, but you should take the time to get into the album and discover all its particularities. Without being incredible, itís a good metal album of the years 2000, an album that will satisfy the fans of the band one more time. (December 2006)

Maverick / Warner

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The Draft - In A Million Pieces

The Draft, In A Million Pieces

The Draft is a new band by 3 former members of the Florida band Hot Water Music with the addition of the guitar player Todd Rockhill. They give us a style we can compare to their previous band, let's say post hardcore punk, but with less elements of hardcore and better melodies. We can also sometimes hear ska ("Let It Go"). The beat at the beginning of "Wired" reminded me of Queens Of The Stone Age, when the rest of the track was closer to Alkaline Trio. In A Million Pieces is a consistent album, with no songs getting out of it. But, the weaknesses are rare and many tracks are good enough to become hits (even if it probably won't be the case). Some were less interesting to me like "All We Can Count On", because I prefer The Draft in their more energetic moments ("Out Of Tune", "Longshot"). At the end, this is a good album The Draft is offering us. (November 2006)

Epitaph

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Ramblin' Jack Elliott - I Stand Alone

Ramblin' Jack Elliott, I Stand Alone

Now 75 years old, Ramblin' Jack Elliott presents a new album anyway, 7 years after the previous one. A true living legend, who influenced many other legends (Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, etc.), Elliott shows us he didn't lost his love of the American traditional music, after having been influenced at the beginning by Woody Guthrie. He gives us folk music with a touch of country and hillbilly somewhere between Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. But be careful, because you will only hear one new composition by Elliott, the 15 other tracks being American folk classics. I would say that it is the most negative point about the CD, because I would have love to hear new material, but it seems he doesn't write anymore. Otherwise, that track, "Woody's Last Ride", ends beautifully the album when he explains his last meeting with Woody Guthrie. For many songs of the album, Elliott is well supported by very talented musicians and singers instead of being alone with his guitar. There are Lucinda Williams, David Hidalgo and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In the American folk genre, exploring the roots of that country, Ramblin' Jack Elliott is probably the one to discover and it's a good start with this album. (August 2006)

Anti- / Epitaph

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Escape The Fate - Dying Is Your Latest Fashion

Escape The Fate, Dying Is Your Latest Fashion

After an EP that was out last spring, the post hardcore band from Las Vegas Escape The Fate presents its first full-length album. Once again their sound contains elements of arena rock of the 80's with influences of MŲtley CrŁe and Iron Maiden, but the best comparisons are still with My Chemical Romance, From First To Last, The Used and Sum 41. There are a couple of moments when hardcore can still be heard like in "The Guillotine" for example, a song ending in a dark atmosphere with the guttural voice of Ronnie Radke. The album includes many potential hits like the sure hit "Situations" and the ballad "Cellar Door". Otherwise, on a creative point of view, there is nothing very impressive on this album reminding us too much about many other bands of the same genre. Nothing really makes a difference between Escape The Fate and the large amount of post hardcore bands invading us and we realise particularly there is now a little bit too much of them. Some will survive, but I don't have the feeling Escape The Fate will be one of those. The fans of the genre that won't have too much expectations will be satisfied anyway with this first album which is interesting to listen to despite its weaknesses. (November 2006)

Epitaph

Escape The Fate - There's No Sympathy For The Dead

Escape The Fate, There's No Sympathy For The Dead

Escape The Fate is a new band from Las Vegas, Nevada. They had their first chance by winning a contest in a radio station giving them the opportunity to open for My Chemical Romance and Alkaline Trio, 2 bands we can compare them to musically (plus Sum 41). They are giving us here an EP of 5 tracks to make us wait for their first full-length record coming up on September 26th, 2006. Their sound is somewhere between the arena rock that was so popular in the 80ís and the modern punk rock in the post hardcore genre. Good vocal harmonies, powerful choruses and very effective beats are the most important trademarks of the Escape The Fate distinctive sound, everything necessary to please a large audience. For the first 2 tracks, "Dragging Dead Bodies In Blue Bags Up Really Long Hills" and the title song, we can even talk about possible hits. Itís an entertaining EP that is presented here by this young band and weíll see in the future if they will be able to follow the beat all along their first album. Check it out! (June 2006)

Epitaph

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Fear Before The March Of Flames - The Always Open Mouth

Fear Before The March Of Flames, The Always Open Mouth

Despite a couple of creative elements, I was not completely impressed by the previous album of Fear Before The March Of Flames, Art Damage. But they announced an important change for the group with The Always Open Mouth, a change I discovered quickly because the guttural voice takes less place. They also added a keyboardist which is bringing a totally different touch to this hardcore band. On this new album, the band flirts with progressive metal, experimental rock and industrial. In fact, I liked the comparison I read with Mike Patton singing for Nine Inch Nails. We can also compare them to Faith No More, Voivod and Korn in a few occasions. So, itís a totally different Fear Before The March Of Flames we can hear on this, a band that has nothing to do anymore with the one you maybe saw in concert with Norma Jean and Underoath. The fans of hardcore punk will probably give up, but if you like a dark and heavy album with a portion of creativity, The Always Open Mouth will satisfy you much more than the 2 previous albums of the band. (October 2006)

Equal Vision

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From First To Last - Heroine

From First To Last, Heroine

After a first album that left me a bit indifferent (Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Bodycount), the post-hardcore band From First To Last is back with Heroine. The album was produced by Ross Robinson (Korn, Limp Bizkit, Sepultura, Glassjaw, At The Drive In, Slipknot) and it represents a great step forward for the Los Angeles band. We still hear the elements of hardcore and metal of the first record with excellent vocal melodies that can remind us sometimes of Coheed and Cambria. The moaning of the young Sonny Moore, that annoyed me deeply on the previous album, takes a direction a lot more interesting here and is not as irritating as it was at the time. We can now place them somewhere between hardcore and My Chemical Romance. If they sold 100,000 copies of their first album, I have absolutely no problem to anticipate an even more brilliant future for the band with Heroine which is an album of an impressive solidity. Itís interesting to note the presence of Wes Borland (former Limp Bizkit) playing bass on the album. We also have to note once again the virtuosity of Derek Bloom on drums who fills up our ears, even if the tracks of this album give him less place to show his talent than on the previous album. Itís anyway once again a pleasure for the drums fans. Here is a band taking more and more place in the music industry. (May 2006)

Epitaph

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Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere

Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere

Gnarls Barkley is the result of a collaboration between producer Danger Mouse (his real name is Brian Burton), who worked among others with Gorillaz, and singer Cee-Lo Green. The duo reached the top of the charts with the single "Crazy", but this pop song that stays in our mind doesnít represent well the album. St. Elsewhere gives us most of all a weird mix of styles from hip hop, to soul, and to rock. The album includes much sampling and experiment and some moments are much more difficult to listen than "Crazy", which can mix up many persons. The only song that can maybe have the same kind of success is the excellent "Gone Daddy Gone", with maybe also "Storm Coming". By listening to this album, we can make comparisons with Outkast, Gorillaz and DJs and MCs of the underground, but Gnarls Barkley stays apart. You will probably have problems to like a few tracks a little bit weird, but the total is interesting. St. Elsewhere is a concept album on the theme of mental sickness and the lyrics can sometimes be hard. Gnarls Barkley gives us with St. Elsewhere a varied and musically rich album, a unique albumÖ (February 2007 Featured New Artist)

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Goldfrapp - Supernature

Goldfrapp, Supernature

Here is the comeback of Alison Goldfrapp and her long time collaborator Will Gregory on their 3rd album, after the great reviews they received their 2 first records. The British duo is offering us once again its electronica music entirely played with synths, except for the addition of guitar, bass and drums in very rare occasions. They produced the album themselves and it was mixed by Mark 'Spike' Stent who worked with the greatest artists in the genre (including Madonna, BjŲrk, Massive Attack and U2). Most of the time dancing, the sound of Goldfrapp can also become a little bit more ambient, flirting with the trip hop of Portishead in a couple of moments, like for example with "Let It Take You" and the orchestral works of "Time Out From The World". "Satin Chic", on its part, can easily be compared to the Scissor Sisters. The 3 first singles of the album (which is out in Europe since a few months) present us Goldfrapp like we know them well, in a dancing glam pop style. Those songs are "Ooh La La" (opening the CD), "Number 1" (closing the CD) and "Ride A White Horse". "Lovely 2 C U" has also the same pop direction. The imagery of the band could fit at the back of many movies, including the movie of your life. A very good album ending too quickly with its 43 minutes. Take note this CD is an "opendisc" giving you access to exclusive material when you put it in your computer. A version with DVD is also available in Europe. (March 2006)

Mute / EMI

Goodbye Tomorrow - Goodbye Tomorrow EP

Goodbye Tomorrow, Goodbye Tomorrow EP

Goodbye Tomorrow is a new indie rock band from Phoenix, Arizona. They offer us here an EP of only 3 tracks and 12 minutes, but we can discover their huge possibilities anyway. They propose hooking songs thanks to melodies of great quality that reminded me of The Cure. Their music also has an introspective and melancholic side. Their first full-length record should be out somewhere in 2007. So, you have to check it out closely, because it will be possible at that time to really make a judgment about their talent of composers. (September 2006)

Equal Vision

Good Clean Fun - Between Christian Rock And A Hard Place

Good Clean Fun, Between Christian Rock And A Hard Place

Good Clean Fun is from Washington D.C. and gives us a hardcore punk sound. Their lyrics are humoristic and they donít hesitate to talk about all that is deranging for them. On Between Christian And A Hard Place, their 1st real album, the band is seeking christian rock bands which are very popular in the US these days. Even if Good Clean Fun donít give us anything revolutionary on a musical point of view, their scratching humor makes them sympathetic immediately. Anyway, if their music is too disturbing to you, it wonít last very long because only 4 of the 12 songs presented here last over 2 minutes. We can find very effective music anyway in a couple of occasions. The album is ending with "The Myspace Song", an acoustic ballad talking about the problems of human relations due to the Internet (with humor, like they always do). So, itís a funny and pleasant album offering a light entertainment to fans of hardcore punk used to hear darker and more depressing lyrics. (March 2006)

Equal Vision

Greg Graffin - Cold As The Clay

Greg Graffin, Cold As The Clay

Here is the first real solo album by the singer of Bad Religion, Greg Graffin, who released an album in the late 90ís under a pseudonym. On Cold As The Clay, Graffin wanted to go back to his country and folk roots. He was first compared to a folk singer in his beginning with Bad Religion. The result here is pretty surprising with very few weaknesses. Among the 11 tracks of the album, we can hear 5 compositions by Graffin, the others being new arrangements of traditional American songs. The production of Brett Gurewitz, his old colleague in Bad Religion, is absolutely astonishing and we have the feeling to sit aside of the musicians in a cabin of the mid-west 200 years ago. Graffin is supported by 3 musicians of the Weakerthans, and we hear the voice of Jolie Holland on "Talk About Suffering". The album is opening strongly with the country/rock song "Don't Be Afraid To Run" we quickly want to sing. After that, itís more acoustic with guitar and a lot of banjo. Which is unique to the album is that we only have to take out the banjo and to accelerate the beat to get a simpler version of Bad Religion, proving the music of this punk rock band was strongly influenced by American traditional music. This is a very good folk album offered here by Greg Graffin who still has his very effective voice. (August 2006)

Anti- / Epitaph

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Grimskunk - Fires Under the Road

Grimskunk, Fires Under the Road

The now legendary alternative band from Quebec Grimskunk is back on disc with an 8th studio album. I have to say I didnít listen to their previous album, The Seventh Wave, but I can say that Fires Under the Road brings me back to where I preferred them, with a good heavy rock with no censorship in the lyrics. We only have to think about "America Sucks", a critical position on America that wonít win any literary award, but is able to express all the rage they have on an effective music. In "Vive le Quťbec libre", one of the 2 songs in French, they clearly take position on the independence of Quebec from Canada. The other song in French, "Parfait perdant", is from Vincent Peake, a former Groovy Aardvark member, who is now a full-time member of Grimskunk at bass. You wonít be really lost with this new Grimskunk recording still mixing heavy alternative rock with elements of punk and metal. A few bands go that far with a wall of guitar sound in Quebec and this is probably the reason why they sell more CDs outside the country (or should I say outside the province!), the audience in Quebec being so afraid of heavy guitar. This is now once again a good album by a band that was leading the underground alternative scene in Quebec for so many years. (December 2006)

Indica

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Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - Knives Donít Have Your Back

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, Knives Donít Have Your Back

In 2006, the singer of the alternative group from Toronto Metric (and Social Broken Scene) decided to do her own thing in a separate way with an album named by her own name (accompanied by The Soft Skeleton which includes members of the 2 groups previously named). Whereas Metric plays primarily in the indie rock genre with new wave influences, Haines offers us here a much softer music. It presents a majority of introspective songs played on piano in the pop indie genre, with jazz influences that her late father would not have disavowed, the jazz poet from Montreal Paul Haines. Her style can be compared to songwriters like Neil Young, Neko Case, as well as Rufus and Martha Wainwright. At the end, Knives Don't Have Your Back is a committed and mature album which solidifies even more the position of Emily Haines in contemporary brilliant pop music. The CD requires you listen to it a couple of times to catch your attention and we cannot listen to it in any circumstances because of its rather calm atmosphere. On the other hand, it makes it possible to discover a singer and songwriter with great talent. You can also read my review about an EP that was just released, What Is Free To A Good Home?. (September 2007)

Last Gang

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The Heart Attacks - Hellbound & Heartless

The Heart Attacks, Hellbound & Heartless

The Heart Attacks is a garage rock n' roll band from Atlanta, Georgia which has been discovered by Tim Armstrong (Rancid) and signed on the Hellcat Records label after a first album on an independent label in 2005. Hellbound and Heartless was produced by Lars Frederiksen (another Rancid member) and gives us an extremely energetic garage punk rock somewhere between the New York Dolls and the New Bomb Turks. The band was also strongly inspired by the 80ís glam rock (Poison, Pretty Boy Floyd, etc.), especially for the song "Eyes". We can also guess they are big fans of Joan Jett, who is singing by the way on "Tearstained Letters", a track in which we can hear organ, an instrument coming back in a couple of incongruous moments throughout the album. The band covers greatly "Travelin' Band" by Creedence Clearwater Revival and is making a rock ní roll version of it which is very full of energy. That song is the first single from this intense 40 minute album which is definitely dangerous for ďheart attacksĒ. The CD has also a great creativity in addition to that energy, and it takes its inspiration from any genre and era. This is an album with no weaknesses, except maybe for the fact we canít hear something really new. Despite the fact they donít create a new sound, they are so good to appropriate themselves the mix they play, we can say they give us one of the good albums of the year. (December 2006 Featured New Artist)

Hellcat / Epitaph

Heavens - Patent Pending

Heavens, Patent Pending

Heavens is a side project by Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio and Josiah Steinbrick of F-Minus. This project gives them the opportunity to explore new horizons compared to their own band and they play most of all punk and new wave of the late 70's (Wire, Television) and alternative rock of the 80's (Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode), and all that with sythetizers and electronic drums. The collaboration is born after Steinbrick played a couple of instrumental compositions for his friend Skiba who loved it. Excited by the commercial possibilities of those compositions, even without the lyrics, they decided to embark in the adventure in which Steinbrick composed the music and plays the instruments when Skiba wrote the lyrics and sings. Patent Pending was totally composed in approximately one week in August 2004 and we can hear at last the final product. By listening to the first single, the title-song, I was very impressed by the quality of it and this is by far my favourite one. Other tracks are particularly effective, despite their simplicity, and there are almost no weaknesses. I have the feeling this side project by the 2 guys could easily become a full time project because of its creativity. This is a very good discovery I made... (November 2006)

Epitaph

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Hell Is For Heroes - Transmit Disrupt

Hell Is For Heroes, Transmit Disrupt

Hell Is For Heroes is a British post-hardcore band and they now offer us a 2nd explosive album. Their first one, Neon Handshake, obtained great reviews in England and now itís the entire world that discovers the band with Transmit Disrupt. They are influenced by Refused and Fugazi, but Hell Is For Heroes is a lot more reachable. We can easily compare them to My Chemical Romance (but a lot better), with also discreet elements of grunge (Nirvana). Despite the good accessibility of the band, they will certainly scare the commercial radios. But, in the underground, Hell Is For Heroes has good chances to have a bomb effect. The legendary creativity of the British bands makes the quintet very different from all the American bands in that genre. A couple of songs are different because of their particularly catchy melodies like the hits "Kamichi" and "Models For The Programme", without forgetting the excellent "One Of Us" and "Folded Paper Figures". Itís an album we discover at each listening and comes a moment when we cannot live without it anymore. An excellent album that will certainly have its place in the top 20 of the current year. (May 2006)

Video: "Kamichi"

Burning Heart / Epitaph

I Am Ghost - Lovers' Requiem

I Am Ghost, Lover's Requiem

I Am Ghost is a band from California in the post hardcore / gothic genre. We can compare them to My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, even if they use a lightly different approach. The band offers us here its 2nd full-length album in 2 years and this is a rock opera. I have to admit the result is impressive in the opera genre. Even the guitar harmonies, that reminded me sometimes of the virtuosos Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai, bring us closer to the classical side of the opera, in addition to the occasional use of organ and violins. For the ones starting to get afraid, donít worry because the center of the album is still pure punk rock, a very energetic punk rock in fact. Itís only for the arrangements and the musical texture we can talk about a rock opera. The result is excellent and Lover's Requiem, without revolutionizing the music industry, presents a different product from anything we can find on the market these days. Itís an album that is fun to listen to from the beginning to the end, despite the fact no song pops out of it. (December 2006)

Epitaph

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The Killers - Sam's Town

The Killers, Sam's Town

Directly from Las Vegas, here are The Killers again with their 2nd album after the huge success of Hot Fuss 2 years ago. They were then giving us a surprising album with effectiveness and creativity, and we considered them like the American version of Franz Ferdinand. With Sam's Town, we have to forget everything we know about the band. I don't know exactly what they tried to do, but I have the feeling they were a little bit confused at the time they wrote this 2nd album, when it was the moment of the real test. They tried to be more true to themselves, beards helping, and the title of the album, Sam's Town, is the name of a casino in Las Vegas which is considered like the real face of the city on the contrary of the other mega casinos that appeared in the last years. They tried to be more serious, but "more serious" equals unfortunately "less entertaining". Musically, the comparisons are closer to the "serious" U2 and Bruce Springsteen, but we have to talk more about copy than inspiration. With "My List", I had the feeling to hear a collaboration between Meat Loaf and Styx, which is nothing really exciting for any real music fan! We can appreciate anyway the hit "When You Were Young", "For Reasons Unknown" and the title-song, but many other tracks are really dull and not really creative. So, this is a disappointing album The Killers offer us after having created huge expectations with their previous album. Sam's Town is really not in the same league than their colossal first one... (November 2006 Featured Review)

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Matchbook Romance - Voices

Matchbook Romance, Voices

Matchbook Romance is a band from the state of New York identified at first as a punk, post hardcore and emo band. On Voices, their 2nd album, we find commercial rock instead with many power ballads (ballads with rhythm anyway). There is a dark and dramatic atmosphere, and the disc is orchestrated in the way of a rock opera. We almost have the feeling to listen to the soundtrack of a romantic drama turning into horror. So, we can say they were able to innovate greatly on this 2nd tryout which is certainly better than their 1st one in creativity. Maybe their fans will have problems at the first hearing and itís a new audience they will reach with this new album. Despite all those efforts of creativity they made, I was unfortunately not very attracted by the songs of Voices. Itís probably a question of opinion here, but I found nothing really popping out of this album (except for "Monsters", the first single of the CD). I have the feeling this type of album takes all its sense in a theatrical drama show with many effects. If youíre attracted to this kind of music, youíll certainly hear many interesting elements, but on my part, I was not really impressed. (March 2006)

Video: "Monsters"

Epitaph

The Matches - Decomposer

The Matches, Decomposer

2 years ago, we discovered a new pop punk band full of promises and I said at the time we would have to wait for their 2nd album to really see The Matches break out. Now, this is their 2nd album and I can say I was perfectly right. Itís indeed a CD full of creativity we find with Decomposer. As much as 9 producers worked on the 13 songs of the record of almost 45 minutes. Among the best known ones, we can mention Tim Armstrong, Mark Hoppus and Brett Gurewitz. The result is an extremely various and eclectic album, but with tracks fitting beautifully together anyway. It begins with a chamber orchestra on "Salty Eyes", a surprising mix with the band, but very well done anyway. In some occasions, we can hear electro, break beat, even almost hip hop. But itís the pop punk sound that stays at the center of their music, even if itís not the same type of pop punk we heard a lot in the last years. You will be able to hear the excellent hit "Little Maggots" as well as the new single "Papercut Skin", but my favorite one is certainly the completely crazy "Lazier Than Furniture", a punk track that is perfect for a collective release. There is also the excellent "You (Don't) Know Me", produced by Tim Armstrong, which is beyond compare and wonít let you indifferent. Decomposer is an album that can seem a little bit weird at first and keep you on distance, but we appreciate it more and more by listening to it closely. I recommend it strongly. (October 2006)

Epitaph

Mercy Killers - Bloodlove

Mercy Killers, Bloodlove

Here is a trio from California doing really energetic punk rock n' roll. Their influences come essentially from England and we can compare them to The Damned, Generation X and the early period of The Clash. After an EP in 2005 and many concerts with Transplants and Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards, the band is offering us its first full-length album, Bloodlove. With less than 30 minutes, itís an album that goes right to the point with tracks ďright to your faceĒ with no hesitation. For the fans of introspective music, you should forget it, because Mercy Killers gives you instead very effective rock n' roll. At the moment we feel that the rhythm is slowing down, at the beginning of "End Transmission", we hear instead one of the heavier songs of the album, thanks to a chorus not so far from hardcore. So, itís an extremely well done record that gives us this new band which will be to check out closely in the years to come. (October 2006)

Hellcat / Epitaph

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Misstress Barbara - Come With Me...

Misstress Barbara, Come With Me...

After 4 years of waiting since her last album, the Montrealer, born in Sicily, Barbara Bonfiglio, alias Misstress Barbara, is back with the album Come With MeÖ The DJ of international reputation had the possibility to perfect her style throughout the years thanks to performances in the best clubs around the world. After playing drums as a teenager when her music preferences were only into rock music, Barbara discovered techno music for our best pleasure. She developed her own style of hard techno and deep house, under the pseudonyms of Misstress Barbara and Barbara Brown. Otherwise, Come With MeÖ presents us a lighter side of her. There are still all those influences of rock, punk, latin and jazz we can hear through her dancing techno, but she is closer to a lounge music in some moments. We feel more than ever emotions through the mixed music of Barbara and itís the case for all the 72 non-stop minutes of the album. Among the 17 tracks offered, we have to note the presence of 2 compositions by the beautiful 30 years old Sicilian. This includes "I Love You" which is certainly the most interesting track of this disc. After a good opening with the minimalist "Too Hot" of Sebo K, there are many good moments like "My Wav (club mix)" of Andrea Bertolini, "Beta Boy" of Trentemoller, "Donít U Want" of Zdar and "He-Man" of Boysnoize. The second half of the CD is maybe a little less explosive, becoming more ambient (despite an always effective groove to dance). The tracks are beautifully mixed, which is not a surprise considering the great professionalism she was able to get through the years. For a techno/house album of great quality, this new CD by Misstress Barbara has to be strongly considered before many other ones. (March 2006)

Iturnem / Uncivilized World / Koch

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Mobile - Tomorrow Starts Today

Mobile, Tomorrow Starts Today

Mobile is a band that was formed in Montreal, but moved out to Toronto when the Montreal music scene was emerging throughout the world. They give us modern pop rock music influenced by the 80ís, with regular beats that are particularly effective. We can compare them to The Killers and Franz Ferdinand, and we can hear a couple of influences of The Cure and The Police. They already had a hit in 2005 with "Montreal Calling", a song they included on this first full-length album. We can also hear the hit "Out Of My Head", one of the bests of the CD, and the new single, "See Right Through Me". The title-song is also of great quality. The production of Matt DeMatteo is incredible all along the disc and always gives us the desire to listen to it at a higher level when we hear those punchy and unforgettable songs. For the fans of pop rock with quality, Mobile is certainly a band to discover, a band we will hear in every radio station in the months to come. (August 2006 Featured New Artist)

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Motion City Soundtrack - Commit This To Memory: Deluxe Version (CD + DVD)

Motion City Soundtrack, Commit This To Memory: Deluxe Version (CD + DVD)

Motion City Soundtrack gave us in 2005 its 2nd album, Commit This To Memory, and you can read my review of August 2005 about it by clicking here. They offer us now a deluxe version of that album. We can hear on it a bonus track ("Invisible Monsters"), and also a DVD. Particularly complete for a bonus DVD, it includes a documentary, a live concert in their hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, behind the scenes footage, all their videos at this time including the exclusive video for "L.G. Fuad" and much more. This DVD contains more than 3 hours of footage and it could have been sold by itself. So, it adds a great value to that album I first thought it was so-so. Moreover, I realize by listening to the concert that most of their best songs are the punk ones and they are all included on their first album, I Am The Movie. If you want to purchase Commit This To Memory, I think you definitely should choose the deluxe version which will give you a lot more for your money. (September 2006)

Epitaph

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Muse - Black Holes And Revelations

Muse, Black Holes And Revelations

The British trio Muse is back with its fourth album, after the big success of Absolution in 2003 which gave them the opportunity to get known in America after all this time. The band goes far ahead once again by exploring new territories. We can differentiate it more and more from Radiohead, even if a couple of songs bring that band back to our mind. We were hearing a few metal influences on the previous record, but now there is more. We can hear industrial music with influences of Nine Inch Nails, and electronic music in the Depeche Mode genre. The guitar riffs are very effective and there are many good guitar solos. The beat differs a lot all along the album, keeping us interested from the beginning to the end. With the richness of the arrangements, we donít have the feeling to hear a trio anymore, but a band of 6 or 7 musicians. Which is constant in comparison with the previous albums, itís the themes they like to write about, always around the health of our planet. We hear on this one 11 of the best compositions of the band at this time, all reunited on the same disc, which is giving us for sure the best Muse album. The weaknesses are difficult to find, the energy is impressing and, after having listened to the album a few times, itís very hard to ignore it. Not only Black Holes and Revelations is certainly the best album of the band, but it is probably the best album of 2006 at this time. For a rock, intelligent and quality album, this new record by Muse represents a very good value. (September 2006 Featured Review)

Warner

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My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade

The pop punk American band My Chemical Romance is back 2 years after the mega hit Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. This time, the quintet gives us a concept album on the theme of death. They said they were inspired by concept albums by The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper), by Pink Floyd (The Wall) and by Queen (A Night at the Opera). I had some problems to hear those comparisons, except maybe for the structure in a couple of moments, because they are a lot closer to Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte. I have to admit I was not very moved by their previous album and I think this one is better. It takes some time before we really get into the album, but at the 4th track, "The Sharpest Lives", we start to get interested, because itís certainly a future hit. After that, we can hear the hit "Welcome to the Black Parade". "House of Wolves" is certainly one of my favorites of the album with a crazy beat and an incredible energy. "Mama" has a special beat and is maybe the one that is the closest to the classic concept albums listed earlier. "Teenagers" seems to have been written for an advertisement for teens with its simple melody, but it has the advantage of changing the energy of the CD (and of the entire genre). Through those creative tracks, a number of ballads and standard pop punk songs remind us what kind of band weíre listening to. But, at the end, The Black Parade is a sufficiently good album to be among the best albums in that genre released in 2006. This is an album that will represent a good surprise for you at different momentsÖ (December 2006)

Reprise / Warner

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Orgamilk, Fluid

Orgamilk is an acoustic project of Pedro, a French guy from Nantes, and Fluid is a self-produced album of 11 tracks that Pedro entirely recorded at home. We can hear songs only played with an acoustic guitar and his voice. On stage, the duet is completed by Jean-Phi on bass. I have to admit I didnít expect much of this album, but I was quickly impressed. Itís because the Pedro influences are Anglo-Saxon which results in tracks totally in English, a lot closer to a British or US sound than a French sound (and I was very happy about it!). Some tracks make me think of Nirvana ("One More Joke", etc.), while others can be compared to Jeff Buckley (the title-song, etc.). Pedro has a rock voice without a great power, but extremely effective to show emotions in this type of songs. But, what I remember the most about the album, itís the quality of the compositions we can really appreciate in this simple acoustic context. There are a couple of songs that are a bit less impressive by their creativity, but generally, the satisfaction is present. Orgamilk is most certainly a band to discover and to check out in the years to come. (April 2006)

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Ricky Paquette - Early For The Show

Ricky Paquette, Early For The Show

Ricky Paquette is a 15 year old blues guitar virtuoso (he was only 14 when he finished this 1st album). This young guy of the Ottawa region (on the Quebec side) gives us essentially blues classics, but he also presents 3 excellent compositions: "Schoolboy Blues" (one of my favorite ones), "I'm A Fool" and the instrumental "Woodshed Blues". The album starts quickly with the classics "Caledonia" of Fleecie Moore and "Crossroads" of Robert Johnson. Later, softer tracks have a slower beat: "Leave My Little Girl Alone" of Buddy Guy and "Red House" of Jimi Hendrix. The album is ending with other classics of Robert Johnson, The Allman Brothers Band and Jimmie Vaughn. In bonus, we can hear the unique "Georgia On My Mind" made famous by Ray Charles. We often say itís necessary to be tortured and having suffered a lot to be a good blues singer. Ricky Paquette proves itís not the case with an extremely mature voice for his age and a way of playing guitar we can compare to the greatest bluesmen. I have to confess I didnít have many expectations before listening to the album of a teenager playing blues, but Ricky Paquette is a lot more than that: we can already consider him like one of the best bluesmen in the country and he has a great future ahead. Also, with good compositions of his own like we can hear on this, maybe we will hear a full-length album of new songs sooner than later, which will give him the opportunity to play something else than the classics in the genre. This young guy will quickly please all the fans of blues! (August 2006)

Preservation

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Parkway Drive - Killing With A Smile

Parkway Drive, Killing With A Smile

Parkway Drive is a hardcore band from Australia that had much success in its country before getting signed by Epitaph for distribution in America. Their sound is closer to the thrash metal or even the death metal than hardcore punk. We can of course compare them to bands like Hatebreed and Killswitch Engage, but all along the CD I remembered the 80ís metal (because yes I was there!). Their guitar style with perfect harmonies would certainly be appreciated by the guys of Slayer, Helloween and Iron Maiden. For the guttural voice, it would probably be interesting for the singers of Sepultura, Kreator and Napalm Death. In the music structure, we can hear punk influences, but I had more the feeling to hear a metal album than an album of descendants of the Dead Kennedys. The rhythm slowing down in a couple of occasions making the music a little bit heavier will probably please in particular the fans of true heavy metal. Killing With A Smile donít bring new standards, because itís a genre that was very well exploited lately, but the band brings some freshness which is interesting to hear for a style that was invented 3 decades ago. Their creativity will probably push them to the world underground hardcore scene, unfortunately beside numerous other bandsÖ (October 2006)

Epitaph

Peezee - Star Status

Peezee, Star Status

Peezee is a rapper, producer from Montreal giving us here his second album. He plays hip hop music with extremely rich musical arrangements and he can easily be compared to the Americans. Incidentally, he sings in English, which is making a difference with all the other rappers from Quebec. He uses many established clichťs in the genre, like pretty ladies with plunging neckline and a swaying walk in his first video for the song "Mr. Fira". This track, with dance hall influences in the Sean Paul style, is different from the rest of the album, like for the second single, "Kool Bammaz". Itís in that style that Peezee is at his best in my opinion. The rest of the CD is essentially hip hop with influences of R&B, everything with good rhythms and well arranged. Peezee has everything he needs to reach "star status" and being idolized by the young fans filling the numerous hip hop and R&B clubs of Montreal. If you like the genre, he certainly wonít disappoint you. An artist to check out very closely! (April 2006)

Diffusion YFB

Pete Philly & Perquisite - Mindstate

Pete Philly & Perquisite, Mindstate

Pete Philly and Perquisite are 2 guys from Amsterdam offering us a hip hop sound with great creativity. The musical richness hit me immediately because they use elements of new jazz, soul and funk. We are very far from the old school rap that was using only the music as a companion to the violent lyrics of the rappers. Here, the music is at the centre of everything and itís not so unique in European hip hop (we only have to think to the English of The Streets). In fact, the 2 guys have a great music background. The producer Perquisite started to play cello at the age of 8 and created his first hip hop beats at 14. He is only 24 and owns his record company, in addition to have collaborate with different artists of all genres. On Phillyís side, before being a well known rapper in the Netherlands, he played different styles from metal to Michael Jackson. Mindstate is a concept album on which each track gives us a particular emotion and mood. It lasts for almost 70 minutes and itís good from the beginning to the end. There is a certain uniformity in the beat that can make it a little bit annoying in some moments, but never for a very long time. Forget the radio hits here (except maybe for "Cocksure"), because Mindstate stays alternative from the beginning to the end. So, it wonít be the commercial hip hop fans who will buy this very good CD, but the fans of real music, rich, creative and modern. At this time of 2006, this is certainly the best hip hop album of the year. There are only a few hooking tracks missing to guarantee a place to the album in the first positions of the Musicomania top 20 of the year. (May 2006 Featured New Artist)

Anti- / Epitaph

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Pink - I'm Not Dead

Pink, I'm Not Dead

Since the beginning of her young career, Pink have always been able to mix perfectly pop and rock music on each of her albums. Itís once again the case here when she offers the very pop "Stupid Girls" for the first single of Iím Not Dead, before doing energetic rock songs later. In the middle of the 2 genres, she does very effective power pop tracks like "Who Knew" and "Long Way To Happy", 2 hits to come for sure. On the latest one, we almost have the feeling she is crying when she sings the chorus because the screams come from the heart. Itís also the case when she does different ballads ("Nobody Knows", "I Got Money Now", etc.) including also folk acoustic ballads, a style she doesnít do really often ("Dear Mr. President", "I Have Seen The Rain" which is a hidden track composed by her father and sung with him with emotion, etc.). So, itís once again an album full of variety Pink offers us, an album with many possible hits. It certainly figures among the best pop albums of the year, despite a couple of a little bit less powerful compositions. She seems to be a girl with very different influences and I like it a lotÖ (November 2006)

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Plain White T's - Every Second Counts

Plain White T's, Every Second Counts

Plain White T's is a Chicago band that was formed almost 10 years ago. They give us common pop punk, but energetic. Every Second Counts is their first major label album and the success possibilities are huge on this extremely easy access CD. Right at the beginning, the high energy of "Our Time Now" will surely make you desire to hear what's coming next. "Come Back To Me" and the hit "Hate (I Really Don't Like You)" continue the job in a direction that will please all the fans of the genre. After that, some compositions are a little bit less interesting and can seem much too simple. A few ballads will certainly pull out the lighters at their shows and it's easy to imagine a crowd of young girls singing out loud. Even if the Plain White T's won't revolutionize the genre, they offer a product that can certainly get as much success as many other well known pop punk bands. Every Second Counts is an album for the fans of Simple Plan, Blink 182, Amber Pacific and Jimmy Eat World. (November 2006)

Hollywood

The Prize Fighter Inferno - My Brother's Blood Machine

The Prize Fighter Inferno, My Brother's Blood Machine

The Prize Fighter Inferno is a side project by Claudio Sanchez, the front man of the progressive band Coheed and Cambria. We can discover in the album the resurrection of Inferno, a character previously known in the stories of Coheed and Cambria (for the ones who know the band). But, except for the continuation of the concepts he used with his band, Sanchez gives us a music style that has nothing to do with what we know about him. You wonít hear any metal or punk on this, but instead a mix of acoustic and electronic songs stripped down to their core. Generally softer, this new sound offered by Sanchez is still totally experimental, despite excellent melodies and very good catchy songs. Through those ambient tracks, we can even hear a couple of danceable ones. This style was supposed to be what the band wanted to play at first and it seems that many years later, thatís what we receive here. My Brother's Blood Machine is an album based most of all on creativity, which can catch your attention or not, but which can certainly satisfy any fan of original sounds and unique atmospheres. This is a particularly interesting album and it is also offered in a beautiful packaging including tarot cards and gold printing. (December 2006)

Equal Vision

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The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers

The Raconteurs, Broken Boy Soldiers

The Raconteurs is a super band of friends including guitarist Jack White (The White Stripes), singer Brendan Benson and 2 members of the garage band The Greenhornes, drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist Jack Lawrence. The first single, "Steady, As She Goes", started the project and was a sure hit, but the rest of the album is much more eclectic and hardly accessible. Some tracks can seem totally brilliant, but others remind us weíre listening to a side project by guys having their own career. In fact, genius of White and Benson appears in different occasions, but itís not difficult to realize they recorded this album most of all to have fun. Itís anyway a creative album that will probably be interesting for many people. (March 2007)

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Raised Fist - Sound Of The Republic

Raised Fist, Sound Of The Republic

Raised Fist is a totally unique Swedish band of hardcore punk and metal. Sound Of The Republic is their 4th album and they offer us once again a brutal, heavy and fast sound. We can compare them in many occasions to System Of A Down, as well as to the good years of MotŲrhead. The distinctive voice of Alle is making any other comparison very difficult. He has a screaming voice, without being guttural, which is mixing perfectly with the music, two effective guitars on a rhythm section that will run through your body. Itís a really good work that did the producer Daniel Bergstrand, who worked in the past with In Flames and Meshuggah. Despite the sound of the band leaving not a lot of place for melodies, some tracks are so good we have to take the booklet with the lyrics and sing with them. This is the case for "Perfectly Broken", "Some Of These Times" and the title-song. Even if Iím not the #1 fan of hardcore, here is a very good album that surprised me and impressed me a bit. Note for the fans of the genre: you certainly wonít be disappointedÖ (July 2006)

Video : "Sound Of The Republic"

Burning Heart / Epitaph

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Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (2 CD)

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium (2 CD)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers were considered a totally alternative and anti-commercial band in the 80ís. But, after the success of the excellent album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the band took a disc break of 8 years before coming back as a commercial band on Californication. It continued on By The Way 4 years ago and itís still the case here because, even if the band has its own style, there is absolutely nothing alternative left. Stadium Arcadium is a double album containing the disc Jupiter and the disc Mars. The band says that even if the tracks are presented here in this particular order, we can make our own digital playlist for our MP3 player placing them any way we want. The album starts greatly anyway in this pacing with the excellent instant hit "Dani California" and the catchy "Snow (Hey Oh)". "Charlie" brings us back the funky side that made the band known for. The title-song is good but, after that, the interest falls down quickly and a few tracks are able to catch our attention and to stay in our minds. 28 titles, itís way too much! I always had problems with double albums and itís even more terrifying when the band had problems for many years to record a regular full-length album completely good. There are a couple of tracks anyway you will like to hum (like "Slow Cheetah" for example), but nothing is really impressing. Without being bad, all the tracks vary around what we know of the band, without creativity. There are way too much ballads and they bring monotony to the album, a monotony that can only be broken by an occasional funk track. I donít know if someone was able to find a better mix for the tracks of the album, but I think this one is doing great by presenting all the best songs at the beginning. In fact, itís not true, because there is a better way to place the tracks: by taking off half of themÖ Itís an audacious album, but we have seen the Red Hot Chili Peppers in a greater audacity in the past. (July 2006 Featured Review)

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Don't You Fake It

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Don't You Fake It

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is a new pop punk band from Florida offering us its first album. We can compare them to Hoobastank, Jimmy Eat World and Hawthorne Heights. The only problem is that the line is much too thin between inspiration of those bands and a simple copy of them. Though, by listening to the first track, "In Fate's Hands" (which was the name of their previous band), I had a positive feeling because itís really excellent. Unfortunately, the quality would go down of many levels quickly after that. There is the first single, "Face Down", which is interesting, but the ballad "Cat and Mouse" would finish killing me at the 6th track and the curiosity I had before was now disappeared. They have perfectly formatted tracks for the radios, but without having the recognizable melody to give it the opportunity to become a hit. Their little punk side (very little in this pop punk of the 2000ís) give them the opportunity to still fit in festivals like the Vans Warped Tour, but letís bet they are not the ones the audience remember the most when they go back home after all those bands they saw and heard. I have unfortunately to conclude that Don't You Fake It is a 2-song record surrounded by unneeded tracks. (September 2006)

EMI

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Reset - No Worries No Limits

Reset, No Worries No Limits

Reset is a punk band from Montreal that existed for 6 years in the 90ís. At the time of the recording of their first real album in 1997, No Worries, the band included singer Pierre Bouvier and drummer Chuck Comeau, now famous as founding members of Simple Plan. Comeau left the band before the recording of No Limits in 1999. Another future member of Simple Plan was a part of Reset for a period of time, singer and bassist David Desrosiers. On this CD, we can find the re-edition of their 2 albums on one disc only. So we can hear 25 tracks in the aggressive punk rock genre, a genre that has nothing to do with the teen pop punk Simple Plan offers us today. We can even hear metal influences in many occasions with a rhythm section and guitar riffs reminding us of speed metal bands like Slayer and others. We can say that the band wasnít missing energy, but we have to admit they were only teenagers at the time. The No Worries part of the CD is very uniform, even if we can find interesting songs offering a larger range and catching our attention throughout everything else ("Everyday", "Holy War", "United We Stand Tall"). On the No Limits section, youíll hear songs that are closer to what Simple Plan does ("Pollution", "My Dream and I", "Let Me Go", "What Now?"). This is an interesting CD for the Simple Plan fans to discover where the guys came from, but also for the fans of fast, aggressive and effective punk rock. The ones who think that Simple Plan plays too much ballads should pay attention to this compilation CD by Reset. (February 2007)

Union 2112 / Warner

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Damien Rice - 9

Damien Rice, 9

Damien Rice is an Irish songwriter, singer and musician giving us a contemporary folk sound very soft and calming. We could say he is a mix between Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke with influences of John Lennon and Bob Dylan. 9 is his 2nd album, going in the same direction than his previous one, but with a little less freshness. Once again, he plays a sound based on acoustic guitar with discreet accompaniments, orchestrations for most of them. He goes somewhere else on "Me, My Yoke & I" which is a real rock track, a style he also explores on "Rootless Tree". For the rest of the material, it can be a little bit narcotic at some points and it should definitely include a notice to tell us not to drive when listening to this, especially late at night on a country roadÖ Take note of the presence of Lisa Hannigan which is offering her beautiful voice at different moments, including the opening and the ending of the album. To conclude, this is not a bad album because it includes very solid songs and we can often feel the emotion. But, it cannot be compared to his first album, as well as to the other artists in the same genre. 9 will satisfy most of all the biggest fans of acoustic folk music. The other ones will maybe have problems to jump into the adventure. (January 2007)

Warner

Rise Against - The Sufferer & The Witness

Rise Against, The Sufferer & The Witness

Rise Against is a post hardcore band from Chicago and this is its 4th album. While entering to the 10th position on Billboard 200, The Sufferer & The Witness became their most successful album to date, after having had many good reviews since their beginnings in 2001. On this new album, the melodic hardcore sound of the group makes them more mainstream than ever, but it has the advantage of remaining particularly energetic and full of passion on the contrary to other bands in the same genre which fall quickly into pop music of less quality. Rise Against remains a punk group above all, with a perfect sound for the extreme skateboarders. There are in fact some tracks which could be a little more corrosive ("Chamber the Cartridge", "Under the Knife"), but others completely come to satisfy us ("Injection", "Ready to Fall", "Prayer of the Refugee"). Most of the critics agree to say that the band released his best album in 2003 with Revolutions Per Minute (before being signed on a major label). But, The Sufferer & The Witness hasnít much to envy to that album, because what it loses with a few rare moments a little less exceptional, it gains it in maturity. The group succeeds in proving to the fans of punk who spit on the major labels that we can remain authentic and impassioned inside such a large company. (May 2007)

Geffen / Universal

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Robocop Kraus - They Think They Are The Robocop Kraus

The Robocop Kraus, They Think They Are The Robocop Kraus

The Robocop Kraus is a German band formed in 1998 and presenting us here its 2nd album, at least in North America. The quintet does a pop/rock/electro dancing sound which is somewhere between Franz Ferdinand, Talking Heads, The Killers, Kraftwerk, the British alternative rock of the 80ís and the new wave of the beginning of the same decade. So, they fit perfectly in the actual new wave of post-punk we can find since a couple of years. Even if they are politicized in their lyrics, they stay easily accessible in their sound that could reach a large audience. They Think They Are The Robocop Kraus is an album of 12 tracks for a total of 44 minutes with very few weaknesses. Otherwise, we donít hear very explosive tracks that could launch them into fame. An interesting album for every fan of modern and innovative pop rock, and every fan of bands like Franz Ferdinand. (March 2006)

Epitaph

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Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah

Scissor Sisters, Ta-Dah

Here is the eagerly awaited follower to the first album by the Scissor Sisters, one the best new acts of 2004. It is the logical follower to the previous one with once again a mix of disco and danceable pop music of the 80ís, everything with the addition of a 2000ís sound. The first album was surprising by the quality of its compositions, but we can say that the surprise is not as big here, because we already know their style. On Ta-Dah, we can hear a more evident pop direction, even if the creativity is still as important as it was before. The first single, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" was the best proof of it when it totally invaded every commercial radio station. On the first disc of the band from New York City, there was only the cover of Pink Floydís "Comfortably Numb" that brought a little bit of attention on them. We still can hear big influences of Elton John, collaborating in fact to a couple of tracks including the hit single "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'". Weirdly, itís not those tracks that remind us the most of the Elton John style, a comparison easier to do on "She's My Man" and others. Among the other references, we have to talk about the Bee Gees and George Michael. "Kiss You Off" has a beat that is closer to Goldfrapp than to the disco of the 70ís. The album still can count on a first class production by Babydaddy, the keyboardist and bassist of the band. Even if itís impossible to consider this album as good as the first one because there is no more surprise, Ta-Dah gives us 12 good songs anyway with very few weaknesses. The lightness of some tracks can be disappointing for some people (fans of underground and weird music), but itís important to remember that with the Scissor Sisters we are most of all in the mood of the Studio 54 in the late 70ís. So, donít be too demanding and let yourself go to the danceable and smart music of the band. (February 2007 Featured Review)

Seemless - What Have We Become

Seemless, What Have We Become

Seemless is back with its 2nd album in the metal rock ní roll bluesy genre. Once again, the first name that comes to our mind is Soundgarden, but we can also easily compare them to Queens Of The Stone Age. At first, the album interested me a lot with the tracks "In My Blood" and "Cast No Shadow", 2 compositions full of energy on which the raw sound is certainly close to their live performances. Unfortunately, itís not as interesting after that with the very boring "Numb". The following tracks all seem copied on the 3 first songsÖ and on their influences named earlier. They do a good effort on the last track, "...Things Fall Apart", a ballad showing a little more creativity, but itís too late because weíre not open to it anymore. Itís sad because they play a music style I like, but I still prefer to listen to the albums of Soundgarden and QOTSA, and also of the Montreal band Priestess. With What Have We Become, Seemless doesnít bring anything new, nothing that can keep us interested until the end. (October 2006)

Equal Vision

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Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars - Living Like A Refugee

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, Living Like A Refugee

In 2002, a documentary was filmed in a refugee camp in Guinea and it was putting in front musicians from Sierra Leone. After the documentary is born the idea of recording on disc the music of those people who suffered the worst atrocities. So, we can find here the 1st album of the Refugee All Stars, an album mixing reggae, traditional music and other world beats. The lyrics narrate of course the darkest sides of the war and the social inequity, and sometimes they seem to be real screams from the heart. But, musically, most of the tracks of the album are danceable and are perfect to party. Among the 17 tracks of the album, we can hear great treasures like "Soda Soap", "Big Lesson" and "Let We Do We Own", without forgetting the title-song. Even if the majority of the songs offered here were recorded in studio, some were recorded directly in the refugee camp, which is adding more emotion to their interpretation. By the end, this is an album with great musical and cultural richness that is offered here and Living Like A Refugee will have the privilege to immortalize the memories of all those people who had their lives totally disrupted. (November 2006 Featured New Artist)

Anti- / Epitaph

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Bob Sinclar - Western Dream

Bob Sinclar, Western Dream

Christophe le Friant, or if you prefer Bob Sinclar, is a DJ from Paris that has been producing for many years. His most recent album, Western Dream, is staying in the charts since its release, mostly thanks to the hits "Love Generation" (the theme song for the last world soccer championship), "World, Hold On" and "Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)". Like the title says, the album presents some influences from the west of the US with a few country music sometimes integrated to his very danceable house music. Itís most of all the case in "Tennessee", one of my favorite tracks, which is reminding us of the most danceable pop songs by Shania Twain. I also like "For You" that has a good energy. Even if we talk about house music, the style of Western Dream is definitely pop and is more for a large audience than for the hard house fans. A few tracks are offered on the album in a long version that can become annoying (like "Love Generation" among others), but in general, this is a good album with much creativity. In bonus, we can hear as the 13th track a remix of "World, Hold On" by Axwell. This is a good album in the energetic pop genre. (February 2007)

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The Slackers - Peculiar

The Slackers, Peculiar

Peculiar is the 6th album by the New York ska/reggae band The Slackers and it may be their best at this time. Right at the beginning, on "86 The Mayo", we realize the band is carrying its sound far ahead, which is showing a great maturity. We can compare them to The Clash and to the electric moments of Bob Marley & The Wailers. But, the link is now harder to do instantly to the ska/punk bands in the Rancid genre. In addition to the quality of their compositions, what I like the most about The Slackers is their great use of brasses that are never too present and only add a great musical richness. Itís also the case for the few uses they do of organ and piano. Among my favorite tracks, there is the first single, "Propaganda" (for which the video is also included on the disc), and the title-song. The almost instrumental "In Walked Capo" will seduce not only the reggae fans, but also any fan of party music and jazz. A great moment of the CD! The album ends with their personal cover of "I Shall Be Released" of Bob Dylan. There are a couple of weaker songs, but the 13 titles are fun to listen, with an incredible production quality. Every music listener who doesnít care about the music movements should pay attention to this band mixing greatly the genres to do a unique one totally universal and moveable in time. (April 2006)

Hellcat / Epitaph

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Solillaquists Of Sound - As If We Existed

Sol.illaquists Of Sound, As If We Existed

Here is a new hip hop band which was discovered by the alternative rapper Sage Francis. They play an extremely rich and various music, sometimes rapped (with Swamburger) and sometimes sung (with Alexandrah). This music integrates much more than simple rap thanks to numerous elements of trip hop and R&B. In addition to the music, the lyrics are very intelligent, which can create a distance with the commercial hip hop usually loved these days. Sol.illaquists of Sound is a band that speaks most of all to the fans of underground quality hip hop which are often disgusted by what we have to offer them on a daily basis. They will certainly be pleased to listen to the 12 tracks of this 51 minute album which can most of all be compared to Pete Philly & Perquisite mixed with the best of The Black Eyed Peas and Outkast. As If We Existed is a solid first album for a band that will probably become important in the genre in a near future. (January 2007 Featured New Artist)

Anti- / Epitaph

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The Sound Of Animals Fighting - Lover, The Lord Has Left Us...

The Sound of Animals Fighting, Lover, The Lord Has Left UsÖ

Maybe this is the weirdest album of 2006! The Sound of Animals Fighting is a collective of anonymous musicians that would be members of the bands Circa Survive, Chiodos, Days Away, RX Bandits and The Autumns. They all wear animal masks, and thatís what gave the name to the band. Lover, The Lord Has Left UsÖ is the 2nd album of the band. The first one was sold at 10,000 copies in 2005 only on word of mouth. For the recording of the disc, each musician worked on his side, without knowing what the others did. So, the improvisation has an important place on this totally experimental record. Certain tracks are totally cacophonic, when others are well structured. In the beginning of the album, with the soft "Skullflower", the name of BjŲrk came to my mind and it was the case at different occasions all along the CD. In other moments, the band pitches us a metal guitar in the face on a background of weird rhythms and sounds in loops. So, you need to be very open-minded to listen to this album. This is pure art, total creativity. But, Iím not sure we can still use the term music here, because the majority of the album is made with a collage of different noises. There is anyway a certain melody you can sometimes catch, but forget pop songs. We are in a completely different universe at light-years! If you like real art and are curious, you will be interested by this album. If itís the music that is exciting you, you wonít probably listen to it many times. (July 2006)

Equal Vision

Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape

Gwen Stefani, The Sweet Escape

After a convincing first solo album, No Doubtís singer had to offer a second one. The few rare traces of rock still present on Love.Angel.Music.Baby. are even rarer on The Sweet Escape which offers a mixture between Eighties pop and 2000ís R&B. The best example of it is the excellent title song, a summer song integrating the Madonna style of her debut as well as current R&B. The most important problem with this new record is the presence of too many songs that are very weak musically. Several of them seem to have been rejected from the previous studio sessions, making non useful filling on the album. Some are simply unbearable and completely ruin the record. Gwen tries too often to rap, which can give sometimes awkward results as in "Yummy", a cheap copy of the Black Eyed Peas, featuring Pharrell. She should rather concentrate on the production of solid dancing tracks like "What You Waiting For? " we can hear on her previous album. A track of that quality definitively misses to The Sweet Escape which is not able to catch our attention except for a few rare moments. (March 2007)

Still My Queen - Make It Happen

Still My Queen, Make It Happen...

This new band from Quebec City offers us a very standard punk sound we could compare to a bunch of American bands. But Iíll only say that since their foundation in 2003, they did concerts with bands like Goldfinger, Silverstein, No Use For A Name and The Weakerthans. Their melodies are good and a couple of songs stay in our minds ("The Golden Years", "Eighteen Reasons", "Forever", etc.). For fanatics of modern punk that have to listen to everything they can find, Still My Queen will give you a lot for your money. For the other ones, the question is: "Why buying this band instead of any other band appearing every week? The only answer I have is: "To help Quebec talents." The album is currently on sale (at the Exo store and online), but take note it will be officially released on February 11 at Anti for 5 $ and many other bands will be there like GFK, Wasted Sunday and Raiden. The party will continue after at the Monkey of Sainte-Foy with champagne and albums to win. The band is planning to go on tour after that throughout Canada and the US. (February 2006)

New Horizon

The Stills - Without Feathers

The Stills, Without Feathers

After the success of the album Logic Will Break Your Heart and of the mega hit "Still In Love Song", the expectancies were huge for a second album by the band from Montreal The Stills. We can compare them to The Doves, The Strokes and Interpol, with a few tracks that brought me 30 years back with Elton John and David Bowie. The plenty use of piano and Hammond organ makes Without Feathers very different from the previous album, making it maybe a little closer to The Arcade Fire in a couple of moments, the other Montreal band that catches the attention of the entire world. The album contains very few songs with commercial possibilities and you will have to make an effort to appreciate it, because it has more experimentations than the previous one. There are the catchy "Helicopters" and "It Takes Time" that can bring us back to what we know about the band, and destabilize us a little bit less. But, those songs aside, itís a totally alternative sound that is offered by the band. Itís a very good album and The Stills are still a creative band and an important player in the Montreal alternative scene, so appreciated around the world. I have to note the presence of Emily Haines (Metric, Broken Social Scene) singing on the song "Baby Blues". Finally, on "Oh Shoplifter", itís a bunch of guests that come to play and clap hands including Sam Roberts, Melissa Auf Der Maur, Gus Van Go and Broken Social Scene. (July 2006)

Vice / Warner

Strokes - First Impressions Of Earth

The Strokes, First Impressions Of Earth

3rd album of the New Yorkers of The Strokes, First Impressions Of Earth presents us an important change of sound in comparison with the 2 first albums of the band. First, exit the garage sound that made them famous and launched a new wave in the early 2000ís. Here we can count on a production of great quality, presenting the melodies as well as the catchy rhythms of the band. The voice of Julian Casablancas is not modified anymore and we can appreciate it totally. The critics donít agree since the release of this new album and I have to say I had problems making my own idea about the album for the last couple of weeks. The first impression was great, but the non useful tracks make it weaker. Itís because for the first time The Strokes give us an album of more than 35 minutes, with a big 52 minutes divided in 14 tracks. The album starts with "You Only Live Once", that seems to be a cover of "I Want To Break Free" of Queen in the introduction, but totally changes after to become one of the best songs of the CD. For the first single, "Juicebox", itís definitely the best of the album with a unique and unforgettable rhythm. Even if it has nothing to do with what we know about the band, we appreciate it immediately like a song representing the evolution of the band. "Heart In A Cage" and the ballad "Razorblade" are interesting, but after, we are not all on the same page. On "Ask Me Anything" for example, we have the feeling to hear Rufus Wainwright telling us he has nothing to say ("I Have Nothing To Say" is repeated many times by Casablancas). In fact, I realized there are 2 completely different ways to listen to the album. Without paying too much attention, we discover a good album interesting to hear from the beginning to the end and I even prefer it to Room On Fire, their previous one which didnít really catch my attention. On the other hand, if we listen to it carefully, we hear weaknesses, a couple of irritating easy comparisons not so far from copies and a couple of annoying tracks ("15 minutes" is so boring). Itís a good album, but it wonít make history and itís far from being close to the quality of Is This It, their first album which moved all the world of music in 2001. Take note you can also buy a deluxe version of the album, but itís not necessary because all you will have for your extra dollars is a more creative cover, nothing really impressing. (March 2006 Featured Review)

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Tomi Swick - Stalled Out In The Doorway

Tomi Swick, Stalled Out In The Doorway

Tomi Swick was born in Hamilton, Ontario and was initiated to music at a young age. He started to realize it was possible to make a career in music when he played in a local band at the age of 19. After they were not able to get a record deal, he left the band to go solo. So, he presents us here his very first album, Stalled Out In The Doorway. He plays a folk rock sound with British influences in the Radiohead style, a band he says he loves, especially with their album The Bends. We can also compare him to Jeff Buckley, Ron Sexsmith and James Taylor. He has a very nice voice full of emotion and he has nothing to be jealous of the greatest singers of his generation. He pays a particular attention to the lyrics and one of his favorite subjects is honesty. His songs, often introspective, have good hooks which can be attractive for the commercial radios. There is also rock music at some points ("Habits", etc.) and a couple of tracks proving his admiration for Radiohead ("Come in 2s", the title-song, etc.). Maybe you already know "A Night Like This" that was on the compilation From The Heart released last January, on which he was appearing with Josh Groban, Michael Bublť, James Blunt, Simple Plan, Collective Soul, Blue Rodeo and many others. You can see the video for the excellent "Everything Is Alright", the most recent single from this album. Stalled Out In The Doorway is a very good first album for this new singer with a very promising talent. There are a couple of tracks I liked less, that annoyed me a bit, but this is only my opinion here. If you like quality folk rock, well written and composed, Tomi Swick is a name to remember. (September 2006 Featured New Artist)

Warner

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Third Eye Blind - A Collection

Third Eye Blind, A Collection

Third Eye Blind first got recognition with its first album, a self-titled album that is among the best pop rock records of 1997. There were many hits on it like "Semi-Charmed Life", which launched them, "Howís It Going To Be", "Jumper" and "Losing A Whole Year". The band came back 2 years later with Blue that didn't contain the same quality material despite the excellent first single "Never Let You Go" and other great radio hits. After that, the departure of the guitarist Kevin Cadogan left a big hole and the band took a break before its third album in 2003, Out Of The Vein, which didnít make a big impact. So, itís after only 3 albums in less than 10 years that they give us a compilation of the greatest hits of Third Eye Blind. By listening to the first half of the 19 titles offered, we realize they had many radio hits because we know them all. After that, there are less well known hits, but they are good songs anyway. We can also hear rarities that will be very appreciated by the fans that bought their 3 albums before. The booklet includes a lot of information and the only true negative points about this compilation are there is no chronology and they forgot the hit "Anything". That aside, this is an excellent collection we have here by one of the best pop rock bands of the end of the last century. (September 2006)

Warner

Time Again - The Stories Are True

Time Again, The Stories Are True

Here is a true punk band like we hear less and less these days. This new Californian band gives us its first album of 13 tracks and only 28 minutes. We can compare them to The Unseen and Pennywise with elements of The Clash. But, itís really Rancid that comes to our mind, a little bit too much in fact. Even the singer Daniel Dart sings like Tim Armstrong and we can compare their voice on the title-song because Armstrong accompanies Dart. We can barely hear the difference. Itís like if Time Again was the little brother trying to imitate his big brother, his idol, because he looks so coolÖ Despite this embarrassing parallel at some points, we find good punk rock songs hitting us right to our face. The album begins in a fast way with "Junkies" and "Say Again", before slowing down the beat on "Broken Bodies" and the disappointing title-song, different from the others, but one of the worst songs of the CD. After that, it will be as fast as they can for the 8 next tracks until the ska song "Streetwalker" concluding the album. Itís one of the bests. All the tracks are filled with energy, but they donít stay in our mind for a long time. For the subjects they use in their songs, retake all the subjects presented by The Clash throughout their career and you will have a good idea of what they inspire them (society problems, anarchy is the best thing, tough childhood with crimes and drug problems, etc.). Itís an effective album to entertain you, but you shouldnít listen to it too carefully and with too much anticipation. (July 2006 Featured New Artist)

Hellcat / Epitaph

Tool - 10,000 Days

Tool, 10,000 Days

After a 5 year hiatus filled with parallel projects, including A Perfect Circle, Tool is back with its good quality experimental progressive metal. 10,000 Days is the 4th album by the band since 1993 and the fans of the beginning should not be lost with this new one. We still find the same unique elements to the band like the heavy guitar and bass, the particular beats, a dark atmosphere and a never-ending renewal of their creativity. Once again, donít lose your time trying to find a hit, because there is no one. Instead, Tool gives us complete albums with no song really popping out of the package. With 10,000 Days, the band is once again able to pass through music waves giving us a product hard to reach, but deserving intent listening in a few occasions to discover all the nuances. The band succeeds admirably to go to the roots of early heavy metal with elements of Black Sabbath and Blue ÷yster Cult in this music that is anyway of its own era. The point on which the band goes a step forward compared to its previous albums is the themes they explore. There is less anger and more introspection in the lyrics of Maynard James Keenan. He even pays tribute to his mother who passed away on the song in 2 parts "Wings For Marie / 10,000 Days" totalizing 17 minutes. Anyway, there is still "Vicarious" in which Keenan presents us once again his frustrations with a biting commentary on reality television, information stimulus overload and living through othersí experiences. Despite many tracks over 6 minutes, 10,000 Days gives us an interesting and rewarding music experience. When the 76 minutes are ending, we even say to ourselves that Tool is filling an important hole in the music industry. Despite the presence of bands like The Mars Volta and Coheed and Cambria giving us great albums, Tool has its own place in the progressive metal genre. We can maybe say they are the introspective side of System Of A Down. Because Tool never does things in an ordinary way, the album comes with a beautiful box with 3D glasses to give us the opportunity to appreciate all the creative visual works we can see in it. This new album by Tool has good chances to become the best metal album of 2006. (June 2006 Featured Review)

Vanna - The Search Party Never Came

Vanna, The Search Party Never Came

Vanna is a young quintet from Boston giving us its first record, an EP of 6 tracks and 22 minutes. We can compare them to Norma Jean and Underoath in the post hardcore genre, but their influences vary. Right at the beginning of "A Dead Language For A Dying Lady", I had the feeling to hear Coheed and Cambria, even if after that the band is much different. Vanna is unique by its skilled way to go from melodies to visceral screams. The band plays sometimes irregular beats that wonít make you slap your feet, especially on "That Champagne Feeling". If you like the mix of metal and hardcore punk, Vanna will please you for sure and you can buy this EP before they release a first full-length album. (September 2006)

Epitaph

Versus The Mirror - Home

Versus The Mirror, Home

Versus The Mirror was formed by young guys in their early 20s from Tucson, Arizona. They give us a post-hardcore sound with natural guitar without distortion making a contrast with the voice of David Siebold, a young screamer of only 19 years old. Musically, the band creates a perfect fusion between the new generation and an older sound, thanks to the use of old equipment, instead of reworking everything with a computer. The band does many rehearsals and they wanted to recreate their live sound on Home, without any unnecessary arrangements. The result is effective and I like the musical creativity of the band. In fact, the only negative element I found is the screaming voice of the singer that doesnít seem appropriate to this music with a certain depth. There is also maybe the fact that I cannot stand that type of voice anymore, but itís only my personal opinion here. Itís because it seems to me the contrast between the music and the voice, that may be sometimes interesting, is most of the time incompatible. Itís anyway a good first album for this band with a lot of talent that will certainly develop it in the future. (June 2006 Featured New Artist)

Equal Vision

Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards

Tom Waits, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (3 CD)

Tom Waits has a career spanning 4 decades and over 20 albums. He is considered like an innovative force in a pure way, experimenting all along his career and influencing many artists, including none other than Bob Dylan. Orphans : Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards is a 3-CD set on which we can hear 56 rare songs or songs never heard before. This collection includes 30 new recordings, recorded in the past few years with the help of his wife and long-time collaborator Kathleen Brennan. This deluxe limited edition comes with a 94-page beautiful booklet including lyrics and rare photos. Each of the three CDs is separately grouped and sub-titled and includes a particular style. On Brawlers, we can hear the rockier sounds with blues, the style I prefer by Waits. We can hear great garage blues tracks that could be played by modern bands like the Black Keys. Bawlers presents essentially ballads from country to crooners type of songs. Finally, Bastards gives us a package of the most experimental tracks, often very weird, the kind of music by Waits I donít like very much, but made him famous in a certain way. At many parts of the 3 hours of the album you will hear a singing and dancing Tom Waits like you never heard him before. So, there is stuff for everyone on this album and it should satisfy his long-time fans as well as new fans at some points. The only problem, itís that the album is too long to listen to it in its entirety at once. Itís better to listen to it one CD at a time and it can also seem not constant because it goes from an excellent track to a more ordinary one. In my opinion, itís most of all an album for collectors and for the biggest fans of Tom Waits. (January 2007)

Anti- / Epitaph

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Westbound Train - Transitions

Westbound Train, Transitions

Westbound Train is a band from Boston which is offering us its 3rd album, the 1st on Hellcat Records. They play a mix of ska and reggae strongly influenced by the Jamaican reggae of the 60's. We can also hear elements of jazz (most of all thanks to the use of brass), rock, soul, R&B, funk and Motown. Right at the beginning, by listening to the track "Please Forgive Me", we are already almost convinced it will be a good album because it's energetic and unforgettable. It's certainly not all the tracks that have commercial possibilities, but the weaknesses are pretty rare and the album is fun to listen to from the beginning to the end. Effective beats and easy to remember melodies are the winning formula on this album that could catch the attention of a large audience. Unfortunately, it won't probably get the success it deserves because its style is out of every music vogue. But, if you like creative and energetic music, Westbound Train represents a good investment. (November 2006)

Hellcat / Epitaph

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Amy Winehouse - Back To Black

Amy Winehouse, Back To Black

Amy Winehouse is a young London singer who is famous as much for her powerful soul and jazz voice than for her alcohol abuse. Her management company asked her to go in rehab in 2006, but it rather became the subject of the first single from her new album, the hit "Rehab", whereas she dropped the company. Itís this track which starts Back To Black, her 2nd record, and which is leading this album with various influences. It indeed draws its inspiration partly from the traditional jazz and soul and American R&B of the last years. We can compare it at one moment or another with Lauryn Hill, Macy Gray, Norah Jones, Joss Stone and Billie Holiday and her voice makes her a leader in comparison with her closest competitors in the R&B genre. Moreover, this young woman writes all her songs and is very creative. Her exceptional capacity to mix the styles makes totally original music in a genre including most of the time a pre-fabricated formula. Potential hits are numerous and, in spite of a few moments which less catched my attention, I can say that it is an extremely solid album which is offered here. Its most important negative point: itís too short with only 10 tracks for a total of 32 minutes... (June 2007)

Island / Universal

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YouInSeries - Outside We Are Fine

YouInSeries, Outside We Are Fine

YouInSeries is a new band from Las Vegas formed by 5 young guys of only about 20 years old. They give us post-hardcore music we can compare to Circa Survive, Taking Back Sunday and The Mars Volta. The melodies are effective and the beats are not very regular, just to keep us awake. Despite all the interesting elements and the quality we can find on this album, it was not able to catch my attention. The tracks seem all similar, so you have to appreciate it from the beginning to be sure the 35 minutes of the album don't seem too long. It's a product of quality, well produced and we see the guys are very talented, but we will have to be patient to discover their true talent. Until that time, the fans of the genre will appreciate anyway. (August 2006)

Equal Vision

Neil Young - Living With War: Raw

Neil Young, Living With War: Raw (Special Edition CD + DVD)

Released earlier in 2006, the anti-war album Living with War has been recorded as fast as lightning and put online before its official release. There is now a new version of it with a bonus DVD. The DVD of 82 minutes includes studio footage and every song of the album is presented with war images and other images in a format caricaturing CNN (becoming LWW to present non-stopping war). All the footage offered respects the goal of the album to denounce war, but also the heat of our planet, the over consumption, and more. A thing I really liked is when they present all the American presidents on the song "Lookin' for a Leader". This album is maybe the most engaged by Neil Young at this time, because he says what he has to say without questioning himself. He presents 9 tracks before concluding with "America the Beautiful". Musically, the CD is still in the genre we know about him, the unique folk rock sound of Neil Young. The album is always in the same atmosphere and after a couple of tracks, weíre a little bit tired of it (I still talk about the music here). But, the lyrics wonít leave anybody with their hopes. "After the Garden" talks about the environmental problem of our planet and "The Restless Consumer", the over consumption. Most of the rest of the album talks about war and everything around it and we can feel his bad impression about President Bush on 2 tracks (at least): "Let's Impeach the President" and "Lookin' for a Leader". Despite itís almost always the same musically, I have to admit we can hear very good catchy songs on Living with War making it one of his best albums of the last 10 or 15 years. In addition, the album has an interesting instructive dimension that will teach lessons to many people. (February 2007)

Reprise / Warner

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Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Live At The Fillmore East

Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Live At The Fillmore East

Here is the first volume of The Neil Young Performance Series Archives, recorded on March 6 and 7, 1970. This is a part of a legendary concert that is offered by the original line-up of Crazy Horse with Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot, the late Danny Whitten (who died 2 years later of a heroine overdose) and Jack Nitzsche. The band had recorded only one album at the time, so we can say itís almost their debut on stage we can hear on this CD. There are only 6 tracks, but they make a total of 43 minutes anyway. The album starts well with the excellent "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" which is followed by "Winterlong" and the hit "Down By the River" (lasting more than 12 minutes). The second half includes "Wonderiní", "Come On Baby Letís Go Downtown" (written by the guitarist Danny Whitten) and "Cowgirl In the Sand" (16 minutes to close the CD). The most negative point about the album is that on that tour, Young was starting the concert alone on stage for a few acoustic songs and we cannot hear anything of it on this. The cover is simple, but itís very interesting to read the commentaries made at the time about the concert. We have to say that for that concert, the legendary jazzman Miles Davis and the Steve Miller Blues Band were opening for Neil Young and Crazy Horse. This is a CD that will most of all please the hardest fans of Neil Young as well as collectors. This is a very good album, but an incomplete oneÖ (February 2007)

Reprise / Warner

Yusuf - An Other Cup

Yusuf, An Other Cup

Cat Stevens got success in the 70ís with an inspired folk rock. After having become a Muslim in 1977, he decided to change his name to Yusuf Islam. The last studio album by Cat Stevens was released in December of 1978 and after that, he took his distance from the music industry for many years. With An Other Cup, we can see his first album on the shelves in 28 years, the first real album under the name of Yusuf. He takes it exactly where Cat Stevens left, with a folk introspective music extremely rich musically. In addition, he integrates some elements of world beat, most of all with the use of percussions, which bring more richness to his music based on acoustic guitar. We can also hear piano and brass that bring us at some points in the jazz universe ("I Think I See the Light", etc.). His lyrics are positive and spiritual and they talk a lot about happiness, peace and love. We can hear a cover of The Animals, "Donít Let Me Be Misunderstood", with orchestrations that make it very different from the original. Without being an astonishing album, An Other Cup can give a good idea of the Cat Stevens talent to a new generation that didnít know him at the time. For his fans, they wonít have any problem to follow him in his continuous adventure and they wonít be too mixed up. (January 2007)

Atlantic / Warner

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Compilations:

 

 

Bon cop, bad cop (musique originale)

Bon cop, bad cop (original motion picture soundtrack)

Since its debut in theatres on August 4th, the movie Bon cop, bad cop, written by Patrick Huard, beats all the records at the box-office. So, we have to predict a big success for its original soundtrack presented here. The theme song, "Tattoo", is by …ric Lapointe and itís one of his heaviest songs at this time, because he admitted he forgot the radio standards for the writing of it. Without being astonishing, itís effective. After that, there is an excellent track by Jakalope ("Upside Down"), who I didnít know and who surprised me a lot. Sam Roberts sings a song in French, "Embrace-moi", and we can hear tracks by Mentake and Mobile. From the heavy metal of …ric Lapointe, we go to the folk softness of Florent Vollant and jazz softness of Bet.e and Stef. But in fact, an original soundtrack of a movie has most of the time that problem of going in every direction. They even go to the French pop music of the 60ís with a song by Dany Aubť. The French songs and English songs go together all along until the instrumental version of "Tattoo" at the end. Despite the numerous changes of directions and styles, many excellent tracks by great artists are offered on this compilation that has everything to break the record sales for a movie original soundtrack. This is a good disc in the genre and it will make you have your own favorite moment at one time or the other, but hardly from the beginning to the end. (September 2006)

Diffusion YFB

Give 'Em The Boot Vol. 5

Give 'Em The Boot V

For the 5th time, the punk label Hellcat Records gives us a compilation of its best artists. There are 18 tracks with many from the most recent albums of the artists. Among the most interesting songs, there are some by Dropkick Murphys, Time Again, Tiger Army, The Slackers, The Aggrolites, HorrorPops, Lars Frederiksen and The Bastards and Nekromantix. But, in my opinion, what is making this compilation really interesting, it's that there are unreleased tracks. There is a new one by Rancid, a song from the upcoming album of Left Alone (not very impressing compared to the compositions of their excellent previous record), and unreleased tracks by The Unseen (one of my favorite ones), Roger Miret and The Disasters and Orange. There are also some bands I discover here, which is always pleasant: The Heart Attacks, Mercy Killers, Westbound Train, Static Thought and Los Difuntos. It's a perfect compilation for the fans of Hellcat Records music, and also for the ones who would like to discover talented bands in the punk rock genre and other parallel genres. (July 2006)

Hellcat / Epitaph

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Revolution Rock: Joe Strummer Memorial Night at Klubi, Tampere Finland

Revolution Rock: Joe Strummer Memorial Night at Klubi, Tampere Finland

On December 29, 2004, a tribute concert to Joe Strummer took place in Finland and we can now hear it on CD. At the beginning, we can hear 3 Strummer songs by JS & The Strummers: "Keys To Your Heart", "Harder They Come" and "Coma Girl". But most of the record is by the band Control which played the songs of The Clash in Finland for the last 20 years or so. We find them in company of many guest artists to play all the bandís classics. They offer even a version of "London's Burning" in Finnish which becomes "Kotka palaa". The CD ends with a mega jam for "White Riot". The interpretation is sometimes slightly defective throughout the CD, but the energy is definitely there. This is an interesting curiosity for the fans of Joe Strummer and The Clash... (June 2007)

LampLite

Various Artists - Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys (2 CD)

Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, & Chanteys (2 CD)

Following the movie Pirates of the Caribbean II, the idea behind this album was born in the mind of the movie producer, Gore Verbinski, and his friends Johnny Depp and Brett Gurewitz (of Bad Religion, but also owner of Anti and Epitaph Records) The idea was to find ancient songs sung on the seas of the world and to make them recorded by contemporary artists in different genres. The result is this double album of 43 tracks, an album of folk tracks that will seduce many people. We can hear singers very well known, and more obscure folk singers. Among the best known names, we have to mention Bono, Sting, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Bryan Ferry, Lucinda Williams, Jack Shit, Andrea Corr, Jolie Holland, Loudon Wainwright III (the father of Rufus and Martha), and a duo of Rufus Wainwright with his mother Kate McGarrigle. I have to say I was a little bit reluctant at first to the listening of a double album of not well known folk songs, but I got a good surprise. Itís because most the songs have an unforgettable melody and stay in our minds for a long period. Itís sure you must not be too resistant to ancient music and traditional instruments, but itís easy to get caught by this soft music with beat anyway. Despite a couple of less impressive tracks, this is an album you will love as background music. (October 2006)

Anti- / Epitaph

Unsound

Unsound (CD + DVD)

After 10 editions of the Punk-O-Rama compilation, a collection of the best artists of Epitaph Records, here is Unsound that has the exact same goal. There are 17 tracks by current artists signed with Epitaph, most of all in the punk rock genre, but also with a bit of hardcore and underground hip hop. The compilation is leaded by the excellent "The Latest Plague" by From First To Last from one of the best Epitaph albums of the year, Heroine. We can also hear a remix of it by Atticus at the end of the CD. Bad Religion (with "Los Angeles Is Burning"), Pennywise and The Bouncing Souls bring a touch of experience in this compilation including many young bands. Among the most interesting ones, there are Escape The Fate, The Matches and Vanna. There is also a remix of "The Buzz Kill" by the rapper Sage Francis. The bonus DVD includes 10 videos by 9 of the artists already presented on the CD with different songs; except for From First To Last and Bad Religion, because we can see the videos for the same tracks than on the CD. The 10th video we can see is by the very weird Robocop Kraus with "You Donít Have To Shout", from the excellent album They Think They Are The Robocop Kraus. Unsound goes in different directions which can be disappointing and make us appreciate less some parts of the CD. But, you will have anyway a good idea of what is offered at Epitaph these days. (September 2006)

Epitaph

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