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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

All American Rejects - Move Along

The All-American Rejects' effervescent 2003 hit "Swing Swing" sounded like a pop-punk adaptation of Better Than Ezra, and their sophomore effort makes this mix even more apparent. The earnest racket of an outfit like the Get Up Kids is a component in Move Along's sound. But the Rejects blend and sculpt that with keyboards, choirs, pianos -- there's even a classical guitar on "Top of the World" -- and the result is superficial midrange pop with appeal for a general audience of casual listeners. Fans of Wakefield, Something Corporate, Switchfoot, and American Hi-Fi should take note. The Rejects rock out a little on "Night Drive," "Dirty Little Secret," and "I'm Waiting" -- the guitars crackle anxiously, and Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler's breathy harmonies soar like they mean it. There's also distortion somewhere in "Stab My Back," but it's buried under acoustic guitars, vocal overdubs, and mournful keyboards. Move Along has some memorable hooks, like on the title track or "Change Your Mind." And, living up to its title, it moves along efficiently, usually keeping the pace at a snappy midtempo. The songs are also impeccably arranged, even if they're relentlessly processed and some of the instrumentation seems like overkill. (A children's choir? Come on....) In other words, it's easy to like the All-American Rejects if you're looking for 21st century mainstream rock that takes very, very few chances but does offer solid melodies and easy to swallow take/break and night/flight rhyme schemes.

1. Dirty Little Secret
2. Stab My Back
3. Move Along
4. It Ends Tonight
5. Change Your Mind
6. Night Drive
7. 11:11 P.M.
8. Dance Inside
9. Top Of The World
10. Straitjacket Feeling
11. I'm Waiting
12. Can't Take It

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Five For Fighting - The Battle for Everything [2CD] [LIMITED EDITION]

With "The Battle for Everything", Five for Fighting has moved into a more mainstream, classic rock sound, and a bit further from what makes him unique; it is more mature and more toned down than his previous two albums. It is also a tad bit less daring. That said, it is still a very good record. The Devil in the Wishing Well is a trademark Five for Fighting song, a bit weird, one that I don't understand very much but enjoy nevertheless. I absolutely love the good-humored irony of "Angels & Girlfriends" and the naughty, irreverent "Infidel". Of course, "100 Years" will be the song that shall be played and remembered most, and captures the mood of the album best. Listening to The Battle for Everything is an enjoyable experience

Disc: 1
1. NYC Weather Report
2. The Devil in the Wishing Well
3. If God Made You
4. 100 Years
5. Angels & Girlfriends
6. Dying
7. Infidel
8. Disneyland
9. Maybe I
10. The Taste
11. One More For Love
12. Nobody

Disc: 2
1. Silent Night
2. Superman (It's Not Easy)- Acoustic Version
3. Something About You- Remix
4. Sister Sunshine
5. 2+2 Makes Five

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Neil Diamond - The Jazz Singer

Artist : Neil Diamond
Album : The Jazz Singer
Source : CD
Year : 1980
Genre : Soundtrack
Encoder : exact audio copy 0.96b
Codec : lame 3.91 --alt-preset standard
Quality : CBR, 320kbps, joint stereo
ID3-Tag : Yes, Version 1 & 2.3
Included : This Info-File (NFO)
Review by Johnny Loftus

Neil Diamond's 1980 screen turn as a charismatic singer torn between Jewish tradition and pop music stardom spawned this phenomenally successful soundtrack album -- six million copies and counting. Diamond's 21st century resurgence as a walking item of kitsch has sparked renewed interest in the bombastic melting-pot jam "America," as well as his signature late-career ballad "Hello Again." In addition, the lite FM favorite "Love on the Rocks" is classic, raw-throated Neil. But beyond these notables, The Jazz Singer is an album of passable pop songs that stand on the edge of disco and in the grip of melodrama. The hyper "You Baby" is dressed up with an audio clip marking the film's embarrassing black face sequence, while the album's midsection sags with songs that shine like Sunset Strip billboards, yet lack any real substance. Swelling strings and lovely lyrics abound, but it all seems directionless, as if Diamond's just going through the motions. Similarly, Jewish traditionals like "Kol Nidre/My Name is Yussel" are important as thematic elements. But removed from the film and in the context of open-collared, glitzy numbers like "Hey Louise," their reverence is off-putting. As it's aged, The Jazz Singer has come to mark the moment when Diamond fully embraced his soft rock audience and completely turned his back on the ambition and spine-tingling vocal presence of his early career. That decision certainly proved to be an economic winner, but it ignored the fact that his most resonant performances really tear into a song with true mirth. The Jazz Singer's big hits have this quality -- a fact not lost on a new generation of listeners who revel in Diamond's powerful voice and showmanship. But the album's bulk is as wooden as Neil's acting.
01 (4:17 ) America
02 (0:35 ) Adon Olom
03 (2:57 ) You Baby
04 (3:38 ) Love On The Rocks
05 (2:52 ) Amazed And Confused
06 (2:02 ) On The Robert E. Lee
07 (3:17 ) Summerlove
08 (4:05 ) Hello Again
09 (2:50 ) Acapulco
10 (2:59 ) Hey Louise
11 (3:34 ) Songs Of Life
12 (3:05 ) Jerusalem
13 (1:38 ) Kol Nidre-My Name Is Yussel
14 (2:21 ) America(Reprise)

Playing Time : 40:10
Total Size : 92.2 MB
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Monday, November 06, 2006

Soul Jazz Records - Studio One Dub

Artist...............: Soul Jazz Records
Album................: Soul Jazz - Studio One Dub
Source...............: NMR
Year.................: 2004
Ripper...............: NMR
Codec................: LAME 3.93
Version..............: MPEG 1 Layer III
Quality..............: CBR 256, (avg. bitrate: 256kbps)
Channels.............: Stereo / 44100 hz
Tags.................: ID3 v1.0, ID3 v2.3
Continuing the Studio 1 Series this album features classic and rare Dub tracks from Studio One, many available for the first time in over thirty years. Studio One Dub includes the dubs of many classic tracks such as Horace Andys Skylarkin, Johnny Osbournes Truth and Rights, John Holts Hooligan, Freddie McGregors Bobby Bobylon plus many more rare tracks. In short, this is an essential album!

01. (00:03:22) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 01 - Bionic Dub
02. (00:02:27) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 02 - Take A Ride Version
03. (00:03:08) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 03 - Sky Rhythm
04. (00:03:32) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 04 - Taurus Dub 2
05. (00:02:31) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 05 - Hooligan
06. (00:03:22) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 06 - Dub Rock
07. (00:03:30) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 07 - Rastaman Version
08. (00:02:40) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 08 Jah Jah Version
09. (00:03:10) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 09 - Creator Version
10. (00:03:31) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 10 - Running Dub
11. (00:02:26) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 11 - Hi Fashion Dub
12. (00:02:37) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 12 - Pretty Version
13. (00:02:16) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 13 - Race Track Version
14. (00:03:22) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 14 - Spawning
15. (00:02:36) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 15 - In Cold Blood Version
16. (00:02:50) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 16 - Chase Them Version
17. (00:02:50) - (CBR 256 kbit/s) Soul Jazz Records - 17 - Feel The Dub

Playing Time.........: 00:50:10
Total Size...........: 92.46 MB
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Doc and Merle Watson - Black Mountain Rag

Artist : Doc and Merle Watson
Album : Black Mountain Rag
Source : NG
Year : 2006
Genre : Country
Encoder : exact audio copy 0.96b
Codec : lame 3.91 --alt-preset standard
Quality : VBR, average 208kbps, joint stereo
ID3-Tag : Yes, Version 1 & 2.3
Review by Steve Leggett
Black Mountain Rag is drawn from Doc and Merle Watson's three early-'80s albums for Flying Fish Records (1981's Red Rocking Chair, 1983's Doc & Merle Watson's Guitar Album, and Watson Country, which in turn was a sort of a best-of the Flying Fish years), and what is immediately striking about this compilation is how varied it is, even as it settles nicely into familiar "Watson country." Doc Watson is incapable of ever making a bad album, given his warm, easy singing style (Watson's vocals sound eerily like Jack Teagarden's, if Teagarden had been born in North Carolina instead of Texas and had played guitar instead of trombone and had devoted his career to traditional music instead of jazz) and his simply stunning acoustic guitar playing, but here he shows how at home he and Merle are with not only traditional folk fare ("Red Rocking Chair," "Mole in the Ground") but also Western swing ("Smoke, Smoke, Smoke"), organic bluegrass ("Blackberry Blossom"), fiddle tunes reconfigured for guitar ("Fisher's Hornpipe/Devil's Dream"), straight jazz (the Gershwins' "Liza/Lady Be Good") and even a hybrid that might be termed Appalachian jazz (the striking "Below Freezing," which features clarinet lines from Tom Scott). A young Mark O'Connor plays fiddle on several tracks here, and Byron Berline takes a turn at the fiddle for "Down Yonder." There's also a 1990 trio recording ("Blackberry Blossom") featuring Doc with Norman Blake and Tony Rice, which is here as a sort of bonus track. Again, there's no such thing as a bad Doc Watson album, and this one, like all the others, shows why he's a true national treasure.
01 (2:42) Black Mountain Rag
02 (2:47) Smoke Smoke Smoke
03 (2:34) Black Pine Waltz
04 (2:06) Red Rocking Chair
05 (3:04) Twinkle Twinkle
06 (2:20) Below Freezing
07 (2:30) Mole In the Ground
08 (2:56) Lizalady Be Good
09 (2:24) Down Yonder
10 (2:47) Cotton Row
11 (2:30) Sadie
12 (2:32) Leaving London
13 (2:22) Guitar Polka
14 (1:44) Fishers Hornpipedevils Dream
15 (2:52) Along the Road
16 (2:13) Bye Bye Bluebellesmiles
17 (2:53) Sheeps In the Meadowstony Folk
18 (2:17) Take Me Out To the Ballgame
19 (3:15) Blackberry Blossom
20 (2:31) Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar

Playing Time : 51:19
Total Size : 76.7 MB
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Sugarland - Enjoy The Ride

Artist : Sugarland
Album : Enjoy The Ride
Source : NG
Year : 2006
Genre : Country
Encoder : exact audio copy 0.96b
Codec : lame 3.91 --alt-preset standard
Quality : VBR, average 217kbps, joint stereo
ID3-Tag : Yes, Version 1 & 2.3
One of country's fastest-rising acts, Sugarland arrive at their follow-up to 2004's triple-platinum Twice the Speed of Life in a considerably altered state. Chief songwriter and founding member Kristen Hall is gone, and producer Garth Fundis (Trisha Yearwood) has been usurped in favor of crossover hitmaker Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill). One could argue that these are the predictable results of success--by opening for such megastars as Kenny Chesney and Brooks & Dunn, the Atlanta-based trio was forced to retool its organic, singer-songwriter, folk-rock sound to fill arenas. And while their intricate vocal harmonies added a subtle creative dimension to their debut, Enjoy the Ride is made up mostly of songs ("County Line," "Mean Girls") constructed to showcase lead singer Jennifer Nettles's big voice in ways the previous album did not. While the repertoire was written by Nettles and surviving partner Kristian Bush in collaboration with proven songsmiths Bobby Pinson, Lisa Carver, and Tim Owens, much of the wistful intimacy of the first album is now diminished. Furthermore, it seems foolish to now call this act a duo, as Bush receives very little time in the spotlight apart from his vocal harmonies and performance on guitar and mandolin. None of this should matter on the charts, however, since the real focus was always on Nettles, whose twangy, force-field soprano more than carries the day. As before, the lyrics are upbeat and positive--if the message of the first album was of flight and searching, the theme here is of digging in. The winsome Nettles does a fine job of selling it all, positioning herself as the Ambassador of Optimism, the Deep South successor to Jo Dee Messina. --Alanna Nash

01 (3:27) Settlin'
02 (2:50) County Line
03 (3:35) Want To
04 (3:53) Everyday America
05 (5:17) Happy Ending
06 (3:50) These Are The Days
07 (4:18) One Blue Sky
08 (3:25) April Showers
09 (2:41) Mean Girls
10 (4:45) Stay
11 (4:24) Sugarland

Playing Time : 42:25
Total Size : 65.5 MB
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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hollies-What Goes Around...-1983-320kbs

Hollies-What Goes Around...-1983-320kbs

The Hollies were one of the biggest groups to come out of the 60's British invasion. In 1983 original members Graham Nash, Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks & Bobby Elliott reformed to record one album for Atlantic Records. 'What Goes Around' is making it's worldwide CD debut and features bonus track of the non-LP b-side 'Musical Pictures'. Wounded Bird Records.

Reviewer: Thomas M. Bayne (Spokane, WA United States)

Suprisingly, Graham Nash returned to the fold in 1983 for this solid studio effort and brief tour. The two and three part harmonies beloved by Hollies fans are in full force. The production has an 80's gloss that some will dislike. At the time of release, some reviewers expressed disappointment that the songs were written by outsiders ... not the classic (and great) Clarke-Nash-Hicks combo. Well, big deal I say ... the tunes are perfectly servicable, occasionally compelling, and create a fine venue for those distinctive voices. If there are no great songs, there is nothing bad either. By the way, "Stop in the Name of Love," which scraped the lower regions of the U.S. top-40, is one of the LESSER performances here. This is, for the most part, an energetic, contemporary (for 1983)sounding record, with a ballad or two for balance. Everyone is in great voice -- no ragged edges whatsoever. Some will dislike the heavy "synth" feel to the tracks, but the superb (and criminally underated) Tony Hicks still gets in some stirring guitar licks here and there. So hell, what's there to complain about? This is a good listen all the way through if you like killer harmonies in a pop-rock setting. In terms of sheer vocal power, let me suggest that this group (with Nash)have few if any peers.

1. Casualty
2. Take My Love And Run
3. Say You'll Be Mine
4. Something Ain't Right
5. If The Lights Go Out
6. Stop In The Name Of Love
7. I Got What You Want
8. Just One Look
9. Someone Else's Eyes
10. Having A Good Time
11. Musical Pictures

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