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Music Reviews - Doug MacLeod: Whose Truth, Whose Lies?

Doug McLeod: Whose Truth, Whose Lies?

“This is one of the best albums of the year. Doug MacLeod is John Fogerty with a mean slide, singing acoustic blues originals that sound like they’ve been around forever. Equal parts playful, vengeful, and forlorn, MacLeod is a fully developed songwriter in his prime….”

Music Reviews - The Conga Kings

The Conga Kings

“When the boss handed me this one I couldn’t help but giggle. On the cover sit the three kings of conga, Giovanni Hidalgo, Candido, and Patato Valdes, posed around a drum just exactly how my grandfather would have asked them to. His normal set of directions: straigten that spine, slide your butt up to the edge of the seat, and just when you think you can’t possibly be more uncomfortable, smile as wide as you can. Smile so hard that your eyebrows go up whether you told them to or not…..”

Music Reviews - The Beatles: 1

The Beatles 1

“The Beatles most recent offering is a collection of twenty seven songs that they released as singles, all #1’s. I like a greatest hits compilation such as this, because it fits so well into a CD jukebox, not that I own one. The idea is to stuff a CD changer full of discs of greatest hits compilations. Nakamichi released a machine several years back that can hold as many discs as you have, since it can be daisy chained to increase its capacity, I suppose, indefinitely. — Odd way to start a record review of the greatest band ever…?”

Music Reviews - No Doubt: Return of Saturn

No Doubt:  Return of Saturn

“The 1995 release Tragic Kingdom took three years to top the charts, and upon achieving multi-platinum status No Doubt embraced their hard-earned fame. They didn’t resent the public for ignoring their punk/ska roots, and they didn’t force ten years worth of old material down young teeny-boppers throats when they flocked to their concerts. Consciously, the band opted to milk their fifteen minutes for as much as they could, and now five years later their conversion to top-forty pop is complete with the release of Return of Saturn…”

Music Reviews - Drivin n Cryin, The Essential Live Drivin n Cryin

The Essential Live Drivin' n' Cryin'

“Most of the great hairspray metal bands hail from either Los Angeles or Great Britain. Perhaps a geographical quirk, more likely a government sponsored initiative to increase spandex sales in influential markets. The mind is left to wander…what would happen if cock rock exploded in Sweden? Would all metalheads fill stadiums and raise their fists to rock with the legendary Yngwie Malmsteen? What if the newcomers on the Canadian music scene all cited radio legends Slik Toxic, Skid Row, and Lee Aaron as their primary influences…?”

Music Reviews - Neil Young: Silver and Gold

Neil Young: SIlver and Gold

“All I could think about as this disc spun over the laser was how much Lou Reed hates Neil Young. “Love’s the answer, love’s the question…” warbles Neil, in gentle falsetto over piano and six-string. I imagine what Swift might have felt if forced to sit and read Wordsworth. Maybe Lou’s just jealous because he’ll never get asked to sing around a campfire. The cash-cow reunion tour with CSN has put Mr. Young back in the acoustic mood, singing about grassy hills and “feeling the earth” and the kind of love that never grows old…”

Music Reviews - High Fidelity: Original Soundtrack

High Fidelity: Original Soundtrack

“Many of the bands are familiar, but this is no greatest hits compilation. Bob Dylan, The Kinks, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder and The Velvet Underground are the legends present, offering tasty selections and fine points of comparison for the non-legends that contribute the album’s most memorable songs. The Beta Band’s “Dry the Rain” achieves a level of pop euphoria rarely reached since, well, “Oh! Sweet Nuthin” by the Velvet Underground….”

Music Reviews - Pavement: Terror Twilight

Pavement: Terror Twilight

“With the release of their fifth, and most accomplished, album, Terror Twilight, suburban California’s pre-eminent slack-rockers, Pavement, have found themselves mired in a maelstrom of widespread critical adulation. In association with lavish praise from “The Village Voice”, who have declared Pavement the “finest rock band of the ’90s”, mainstream media-outlets, including Canada’s notoriously stodgy Globe & Mail, have rushed to celebrate the band as a bonafide touchstone of modern rock. The acclamation is well deserved and long overdue…”

Music Reviews - Red Hot Chilli Peppers: Californication

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Califonication

“If you’re a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that long time Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante has returned to the band after a hiatus spanning several years and one album (the middling One Hot Minute, which aside from about three tracks, was very forgettable). The bad news is Californication is not the return to form that fans might have hoped for…”

Music Reviews - Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer

Buena Vista Social Club Presents Imbrahim Ferrer

“In case you somehow hadn’t noticed, there’s something of a craze surrounding Cuban music these days, especially resurrected vintage Cuban jazz. Touched off by the first Buena Vista Social Club record two years ago (which has since sold over 100,000 copies in Canada alone) the interest in formerly obscure and impoverished, aging Cuban Jazz giants like Ruben Gonzalez and Ibrahim Ferrer continues to grow. With this second disc, a documentary by Wim Wenders, and the performers themselves set to make their way through Europe and North America this summer, you can expect to hear a lot more about Cuban Jazz in the coming months….”

Music Reviews - Chuck Mangione: The Feeling’s Back

Chuck Mangione, The Feeling's Back

“I have no idea why music like this exists. There’s nothing really wrong with Chuck Mangione, just as there’s nothing really wrong with margarine or Erma Bombeck. What we have here is a clear example of the smorgasbord effect: some artists aim to be a smorgasbord of versatility, while others aim to entertain people at a smorgasbord. There’s really no point in evaluating Chuck’s flugelhorn, for I suspect that if after all these years buying one of his albums still seems like a good idea, then you probably know what you’re in for..”

Music Reviews - John Hiatt: Slow Turning

John Hiatt: Slow Turning

“John Hiatt is the Billy Bob Thornton of country music: once you find out who he is you suddenly realize he’s been in every production made in the last twenty years. Just about every country artist worth his salt has covered a Hiatt tune, and Slow Turning is a good hint why. Each song has a sweet honesty at it’s heart, urging you to listen on even when the tune feels a little too familiar…”

Music Reviews - Squarepusher: Budokan Mindphone

Squarepusher: Budakan Mindphone

“Hot on the heels of his critically acclaimed album (at least, that is, for those sources that bothered to review it) ‘Music is Rotted One Note’, comes Squarepusher’s latest release ‘Budakhan Mindphone.’ Appropriately subtitled ‘a mini album’, this is not a full-length production, and clocking in at just over 30 minutes, can be seen as complimentary release to its predecessor….”

Music Reviews - The High Llamas: Lollo Rosso

The High Llamas: Lollo Rosso

“Combine one part Paul McCartney, three parts Brian Wilson, and a hint of Lawrence Welk’s characteristic schmaltz and you get the transcendental pop of the High Llamas. Allow the world’s best electro-trance artists to re-mix these silver-toned melodies and you get Lollo Rosso - a ground-breaking new record from the High Llamas that successfully blends bright melodies with the best of ambient beats….”


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