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Editor's rating: 
 4.0
 
Friday, 08 August 2008 |  Written by Jonathan Easley  | 
Boris - Smile If Boris seems to bristle at the success of their cool-rock, straight metal albums, it’s not necessarily a reactionary recoil to the prospects of commercial prosperity.  If that were the case, it’s doubtful that the band would have been available for profile to a print medium as trend-trailing as the New York Times.  And besides, there’s a language barrier that probably makes their words come across a little rougher and more direct than intended.  Boris is a Japanese trio (two skinny, long-haired dudes and one skinny, long-haired chick, all well into their 30s) who’ve been exploring the fringes of psych-metal since the mid-‘90s.  They didn’t gain large-scale exposure with the stateside indie crowd (where they are infinitely more popular than in their homeland) until their well-received 2006 album Pink was released on Southern Lord records.  Southern Lord is fast becoming ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.3
 
Friday, 01 August 2008 |  Written by Matt Fink  | 
Neil Diamond - Home Before Dark Always regarded as a great craftsman and tunesmith, Neil Diamond has occupied an unusual place in the American songwriting canon, utilizing his undeniable gifts to sell millions of records but remaining just on the cusp of counterculture acclaim throughout his now 50-year career. With a catalog stuffed with memorable hooks and clever turns of phrase, he nonetheless has remained a terminally un-hip artist, a man whose overwrought self-examination and melodramatic phrasing has kept him from ever achieving the sort of stoic gravitas that has come so naturally to the Bob Dylans and Leonard Cohens of the singer-songwriter world. As such, he provided a particularly daring choice for Rick Rubin, the uber-producer who revived the moribund Johnny Cash 15 years before he attempted a similar renaissance for Diamond on 2005’s 12 Songs. And while Diamond didn’t become an overnight icon for ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.0
 
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 |  Written by K L Poore  | 
Frank Zappa - The Torture Never Stops The Torture Never Stops proves how reality rarely lives up to expectations. We didn’t have cable back in ’81 when this concert was shown on MTV (you know… back when the M stood for music). Since that Halloween night I’ve lived with the regret that I didn’t get to see FZ stun America with his genius as he took the fledgling music channel to new heights while unknowingly convincing them they should never do another live broadcast. For the next 20-something years I saw a few grainy clips which had been recorded on ancient VTRs but mostly this magic concert existed only in my thoughts as the night Frank was able to give the music industry the finger, something I’ve always treasured. Now the Zappa family trust has released the show under the title The Torture Never Stops and I regretfully ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.0
 
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 |  Written by K L Poore  | 
Steve Winwood - Nine Lives Steve Winwood‘s voice is like glue. It can hold a song together where other less talented, less gifted voices would merely sound like cats crying outside your bedroom window at three in the morning. It’s no different on his latest release, Nine Lives, as Steve’s voice is the primary instrument and its saving grace.     After getting beyond the almost unforgivable cliché title I was happily surprised to find some really good songs and a lot of good music on this nine-cut CD. Nine Lives. Nine tracks. It sounds like some dork record company exec came up with that beauty and wouldn’t let go. I really loved Traffic, I think Blind Faith was much better than history gives it credit for, and “Gimme Some Lovin’” is classic rock at its finest. But Steve Winwood’s solo efforts have always been hit and miss ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.8
 
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 |  Written by K L Poore  | 
Mike Keneally - Wine and Pickles Mike Keneally calls Wine and Pickles “The album I didn’t know I was making over the last 10 years.” We should all be very happy that his subconscious has been working as hard as his conscious self, because Wine and Pickles is pure unadulterated pleasure. Subtitled “being a collection of unreleased things, rarities and all sorts,” W&P is one of those rare releases where the whole of the work is much greater than its pieces and seems to speak to something much greater. Like in “Fantastic Voyage,” it feels as if we’ve been shrunk to microscopic size, injected into MK’s brain and allowed to wander a path made up of his wildly creative and highly electric/eclectic synapses. Wine and Pickles is a generous compilation that doesn’t have that feeling of “let’s put out anything left in the vaults and try to ...
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