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October 20, 2004

Maj Karma: Sodankylä

Maj Karma: SodankyläCD, Johanna kustannus 2004

Track list: Avaus - Pohjola - Kyynel - Sodankylä - Pää - Kello 18:00 - Sarvia ja hampaita - Pakko - Katala kamara - Turpaan vaan - Aaverakastajat

After hearing the first single "Kyynel" the new Maj Karma album was a must-buy. Unfortunately the rest of the album isn't nearly as good as the one killer hit, but perhaps it'll grow on me. Wouldn't be the first time that happens with a Maj Karma album. They're still amongst the best Finnish rock bands, there's no doubt about that. ****

September 28, 2004

Cave, Nick & the Bad Seeds: Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus

Cave, Nick & the Bad Seeds: Abattoir Blues / Lyre of OrpheusCD, Mute Records 2004

Track list: Abattoir Blues: Get Ready for Love - Cannibal's Hymn - Hiding All Away - Messiah Ward - There She Goes, My Beautiful World - Nature Boy - Abattoir Blues - Let the Bells Ring - Fable of the Brown Ape - The Lyre of Orpheus: The Lyre of Orpheus - Breathless - Babe, You Turn Me On - Easy Money - Supernaturally - Spell - Carry Me - O Children

Nick Cave has been productive recently: Bad Seeds comes up with a double album and Cave has also written and recorded several songs for the new Marianne Faithfull album. The two sides of this album differ by drummers: there's Jim Sclavunos on one side and Thomas Wydler on the other. Sides aren't radically different from each other, but still have distinct moods. Both are also quite good, though at the moment I think I prefer Abattoir Blues, mostly because it has the two best songs of the album (There She Goes, My Beautiful World and Nature Boy). ****

June 21, 2004

Morrissey: You Are the Quarry

Morrissey: You Are the QuarryCD, Attack Records 2004

Track list: America Is Not the World - Irish Blood, English Heart - I Have Forgiven Jesus - Come Back to Camden - I'm Not Sorry - The World Is Full of Crashing Bores - How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel? - First of the Gang to Die - Let Me Kiss You - All the Lazy Dykes - I Like You - You Know I Couldn't Last

Morrissey is back. First of all, let me state that "Irish Blood, English Heart" is certainly one of the better songs ever written. It's very close to perfection. Fortunately, it isn't the only good song. The album is full of them. It all sounds so beautiful. Just listen to tracks like "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?" or "I Have Forgiven Jesus". It's melancholic, it's dramatic, it's pathetic, it's Morrissey. I'm still being careful with the stars, even though this one seems to be one of those albums with true staying power. ****

May 27, 2004

Branded Women: Velvet Hours - Stolen Moments

Branded Women: Velvet Hours - Stolen MomentsCD, Ranch 2004

Track list: Still in Me - Something to Hold on - More - You Know Me - Worth Living - Sunbather - Explanations - Perfect - Runner - Feel

I saw these ladies live years ago at Jyrock festival and finally they've come up with an album. It took a long time, but the wait was worth it - it's a great album. Their brand of rock is hypnotic, laid back and cool. Vocalist sounds sometimes quite like P J Harvey, which is always good. The music's soft and pleasing, like honey to my ears. Velvet hours, indeed. ****

April 05, 2004

Magyar Posse: Kings of Time

Magyar Posse: Kings of TimeCD, Verdura Records 2004

Track list: eight untitled tracks

I enjoyed Magyar Posse's previous album We Will Carry Your Over the Mountains so much that their new album was a must-buy, even without the glowing reviews it got. The style is same: soundtrack-ish instrumental rock. The new album doesn't have a similar standout song like "Singlesparks Are Spectral Fires", but that's probably on purpose: the songs don't even have names (which is very boring decision, by the way). I like number seven. This is clearly an album which I will appreciate more the more I listen to it, but I like a lot already. ****

Maj Karman Kauniit Kuvat: Musta Paraati

Maj Karman Kauniit Kuvat: Musta paraatiCD, Johanna Kustannus 2004

Track list: Romanssi - Muukalainen - Peilitalo - Ajatus - Metalliset kasvot

Maj Karma pays tribute to the legendary Finnish new wave or goth band Musta paraati by performing five of their songs on this EP. Maj Karma turns out to be just the band to do it, because they do it well. Their versions of the tracks are so good, that I think they just might be better than the originals... But then again, I only got to know Musta paraati few years ago; old time fans will probably prefer the originals. Still, even old time fans of Musta paraati should be able to appreciate these versions. ****

Pain Of Salvation: 12:5

Pain Of Salvation: 12:5CD, InsideOut 2004

Track list: Brickwork part 1 (I-V) - Winning a War - Reconciliation - Dryad of the Woods - Oblivion Ocean - Undertow - Chainsling - Brickwork part 2 (VI-X)

12:5 is a live album by the Swedish prog rockers. Their style is definitely progressive, as the songs sternly refuse to take the shortest route from A to B. What I've heard from Jethro Tull sounds quite the same, only better. It's an interesting, longish album, with songs that work together to create a whole larger than the sum of it's parts. However, in the end, something's missing, a bit of personality or something like that. Thus only three stars. ***

March 22, 2004

Kuolleet intiaanit: Ne tekevät sitä itsekseen -EP

Kuolleet intiaanit: Ne tekevät sitä itsekseen -EPCD, Riemu 2004

Track list: Maalaan kasvoni - Kuolleita kuin kuu - Ja matkaliput olkaa hyvä - Asioita toimittelin - Olet surrealisti, eikö niin...

Kuolleet intiaanit is an artistic alternative rock band. However, their artistic style is mostly present in the vocalists annoying singing style. Even though the music itself isn't bad, the vocalist makes it rather difficult to enjoy. At his best, the vocalist copies the style of YUP's Jarkko Martikainen and I'd rather listen to him, really. Unimpressive - and what's the bloody point at having several minutes of telephone busy signal in the end of the album? **

February 17, 2004

Einstürzende Neubauten: Perpetuum Mobile

Einstürzende Neubauten: Perpetuum MobileCD, Mute 2004

Track list: Ich gehe jetzt - Perpetuum Mobile - Ein leichtes leises Säuseln - Selbsportrait mit Kater - Boreas - Ein seltener Vogel - Ozean und Brandung - Paradiesseits - Youme & Meyou - Der Weg ins Freie - Dead Friends (Around the Corner) - Grundstück

Einstürzende Neubauten is one of my true favourite bands. I like everything they've done. Perpetuum Mobile didn't let me down, either. Of course their style has changed a lot since they started their infernal racket, but I like the way it has evolved. Perpetuum Mobile is indeed very far from metal clang of Kollaps, but quite close to their previous album Silence Is Sexy. It's more quiet, but not serene. The soundscape is very interesting, full of clinking metal and odd whirling of compressed air. I love their imagination... In "Ein leichtes leises Säuseln" Andrew Chudy plays "dried linden leaves / survival blanket / gas burner". That's all very neat. I also like Blixa's vocals, he's certainly one of my favourites.

The limited edition has a bonus DVD with five songs with 5.1 channel sounds. I'd like to hear them played with proper equipment, which I unfortunately don't have... So the limited edition isn't really vital, unless you have good home theater equipment. Still, the album is absolutely brilliant. *****

January 05, 2004

Sway: s/t

Sway: s/tCD, self published 2003

Track list: Circles - Rising - Solid Gold Universe

Sway doesn't impress me much. Ok, it's just a demo, but anyway: the music's a bit bland. After listening to the disc, I remember nothing of it. It's technically pretty good, just bland and unimpressive. Like I've heard dozens of bands like this... With more edge, something more, Sway could be much better. *** (on a demo scale)

Eläkeläiset: Jenkkapolkkahumppa

Eläkeläiset: JenkkapolkkahumppaCD, Stupido Twins 2001

Track list: Jenkkapolkkahumppa (Faster, Harder, Scooter) - Humppasonni (Join Me) - Humppastara (Movie Star) - Hyljätyn humppa (Don't You Ever Leave Me)

In case you don't know Eläkeläiset ("Pensioners"), here's a short primer: the band plays humppa covers of familiar rock classics. Humppa is a Finnish dance, somewhat related to polka. Of course, the songs get new lyrics, more focused on the world of old people and humppa. The concept is simple, but effective. What's best, the band is actually gathered some fame outside Finland (at least in Germany).
The single features four great humppas. Best of them is easily "Humppasonni", cover of HIM's "Join Me". It's probably their best song ever. The other three aren't bad either. Unfortunately for all you people who don't speak Finnish, you'll never be able to completely understand and appreciate Eläkeläiset. ****

November 11, 2003

CMX: Aion

CMX: AionCD, EMI Finland 2003

Track list: Pirunnyrkki - Sielunvihollinen - Melankolia - Fysiikka ei kestä - Palvelemaan konetta - Kuoleman risteyksestä kolme virstaa pohjoiseen - Kyyn pimeä puoli - Sivu paholaisen päiväkirjasta - Nahkasiipi - Ensimmäinen saattaja - Hautalinnut

Brilliant. It's that simple. Aion is a really good album. Instead of plain rock, they've taken another step towards progressive rock and other trickery. And it sounds good! There are very beautiful melodies, strange effects and heavy guitars. Works like a charm. The theme is somewhat devilish, which suits me fine. "Hautalinnut" is a brilliant song, and there are others - it's not an album full of hit singles, but full of good, quality songs. *****

October 29, 2003

Modern Day Urban Barbarians: The Endless Retreat

Modern Day Urban Barbarians: The Endless RetreatCD, South 6 Prod 2003

Track list: TV - Waiting for a Break - New Elvis - Treading Water - Pop Culture Casualties - Slaves - Enjoy the Ride - Outer Space - Statement

This NYC duo consists of bassist/vocalist and a drummer playing rough music. It actually sounds pretty good. It doesn't reach the heights of genius Ruins does, but sounds definitely interesting. Unfortunately the good music is ruined by very weak vocals. Were this instrumental, I'd give it probably four stars. With this vocalist singing these banalities ("Pop Culture Casualties" and "Slaves" being the worst examples), two stars is the best I can do. I'd like to like this, but the vocals make it quite difficult. **

September 25, 2003

Rättö ja Lehtisalo: Kopernikus hortoilee näkinkengissä

Rättö ja Lehtisalo: Kopernikus hortoilee näkinkengissäCD, Ektro Records 2003

Track list: Valonnopeus - Vihertävä mies - Avaruusshampanja - Taivaankansi - Muinaiset taikurit - Lentävä sateenvarjo - Nykyaika

Mika Rättö (from Kuusumun Profeetta) and Jussi Lehtisalo (from Circle and Ektroverde) have been cooperating a lot lately. Here's another proof of their close relations. This album combines the hypnotic grooves of Jussi Lehtisalo to the nonsensical musings of Mika Rättö and the result is just great. "Valonnopeus" is one of the best songs this year and the album is just brilliant. Parts of it sound surprisingly quite Kraftwerk-ish. If you like Kuusumun Profeetta, check this one out. ****

September 16, 2003

White Stripes, The: Elephant

The White Stripes: ElephantCD, XL Recordings 2003

Track list: Seven Nation Army - Black Math - There's No Home for You Here - I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself - In the Cold, Cold Night - I Want to Be the Boy to Warm Your Mother's Heart - You've Got Her in Your Pocket - Ball and Biscuit - The Hardest Button to Button - Little Acorns - Hypnotize - The Air Near My Fingers - Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine - Well It's True that We Love One Another

I bought the album mostly because of "Seven Nation Army", a track I really admire. I hadn't heard any other songs from the album, but I liked some of their earlier hits. I wasn't disappointed. Even though every song on the album isn't another hit, it's still so much more than just one hit wonder. Most of the songs are really, really good. Jack White is simply great, he's an amazing artist. If you're looking for good rockin' blues punk whatever, look no further. ****

September 03, 2003

Slideshaker, The: Hotwired Soul

The Slideshaker: Hotwired SoulCD, DBS Records 2003

Track list: Big Thick Love - Beware - Backseat Heat - Hell of a Love - Dollar Eyes - One Trick Pony - Brother James - Entertainer - Out of My Head - Jail Bait Blues

Slideshaker is another blues group from deep Savo (Cosmo Jones Beat Machine is the other). Makes me feel proud of my roots, really. Their simple but brutal sound is just brilliant. The album is slightly on the shorter side, clocking under 30 minutes. A little bit more would've made it better. Still, their wicked blues rock punk is definitely worth four stars, such an entertaining album it is. ****

July 29, 2003

Nilly.: Carcrush

Nilly.: CarcrushCD-R, Muovi 111 2002

Track list: Motorman - Deathrace 2000 - I need a car - Girl on the hill

Nilly. used to sound more like Nine Inch Nails. I suppose it's not a bad thing that it's not the case anymore. Their music is electronic has certain industrial rock influences, I guess - but also something from trip-hop and wherever. The whole of it sounds guite good, but lacks hits. The songs simply are not catchy enough. With "easier" songs, they'd deserve one more star. ***

July 28, 2003

Amorphis: Tuonela

Amorphis: TuonelaCD, Spinefarm 1998

Track list: The Way - Morning Star - Nightfall - Tuonela - Greed - Divinity - Shining - Withered - Rusty Moon - Summer's End

I generally think the opinions presented in All Music Guide are ok, but their review of Tuonela, with 1½ stars is way off. Way way off. The writer seems to be an older fan of death metal -era Amorphis. Well, I'm not. Karelian Isthmus is the worst Amorphis album ever and the only one I dislike. Tuonela, in the other hand, features few killer tracks ("The Way", "Tuonela" and "Divinity") and sounds simply great. Influences from eastern lands and progressive rock can be heard. Pasi Koskinen does great work on the vocals. ****

Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the Deaf

Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the DeafCD, Interscope 2002

Track list: You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire - No One Knows - First It Giveth - A Song for the Deaf - The Sky Is Fallin', Six Shooter - Hangin' Tree - Go with the Flow - Gonna Leave You - Do It Again - God is in the Radio - Another Love Song - A Song for the Deaf - Mosquito Song - Everybody's Gonna Be Happy

I finally went and bought this much-hyped album. Like apparently millions of others, I just love "No One Knows" and "Go with the Flow", which are simply brilliant rock songs. So how's the whole album like? Quite decent. It's not as good as the hype would make you think. The biggest problem with the album is that the whole album sounds very much the same. The acoustic guitars in "Mosquito Song" would've been nice every now and then. However, if you like the hits, you'll like the rest of it. There are other very good songs, too, for example "First It Giveth". For the fans of low, grumbling stoner guitars. ****

July 11, 2003

Die Krupps: The Final Remixes

Die Krupps: The Final RemixesCD, Rough Trade 1994

Track list: To the Hilt - Paradise of Sin - Language of Reality - Fatherland - Worst Case Scenario - Shellshocked - Crossfire - Bloodsuckers - Iron Man - Inside Out - New Temptation - Hi Tech Low Life - The Dawning of Doom - Ministry of Fear - Metal Machine Music - Rings of Steel

I'm not a huge fan of Die Krupps' later releases, but I like them anyway. This one was an obvious purchase, as I got it cheaply (3 euros) and it includes the "Fatherland" remix by Andrew Eldritch and Rodney Orpheus. It's great song and the best remix of it I've heard. "The Dawning of Doom" by Waltari and "New Temptation" by F.M. Einheit (of Einstürzende Neubauten) are rather good as well. Rest of it doesn't really stand out. The songs are good, but remixes aren't really that special. I'd really expect something different from a remix by Jeff Walker (of Carcass). ***

May 26, 2003

CMX: Lepattajat

CMX: LepattajatCD, Herodes/EMI Finland 2003

Track list: Lepattajat - Ruisperkele

CMX was my favourite band for long, but slowly my interest is waning. At least I'm seriously considering the need to buy every single they release. Of course, it's good to hear some tasters of the coming album - especially as I don't listen to radio. Their b-side songs are usually interesting, as is the case this time. Both "Lepattajat" and "Ruisperkele" are good songs, there's no doubt about it. Don't let the bad rating mislead you, it's not the songs. But the price! The bloody two-song six-minute single cost 5,95 euros! That's theft. It's good I can split the costs with my girl friend, but still it's too much. I'll be buying their albums, but I'll have to reconsider the singles. **

May 08, 2003

Cosmo Jones Beat Machine: Negrospiritualized

Cosmo Jones Beat Machine: NegrospiritualizedCD, Hot Igloo 2003

Track list: Aboriginality - (Doin' the) Jonestown Stomp - Stripped-Down Spirituality - Dinin' with the Mau-Mau - Jesus Don't Mind My Drinking - Mississippi Sound System - EuroLeroy - Voodoo Audio Blues - Parallel City - Preachin' the Gospel - Hellbait - Smilin' Snakes

I liked My Style Is Eurostyle - the previous album from Cosmo Jones Beat Machine - a lot. That's kind of curious, because my first contact with the band was a gig I didn't like. It took them a long time to release their second album, but here it is finally - and it's way better than the first one! Their rhythm'n'blues stomp has a bit more variety than before, but the wicked groove that makes your head nod and feet click the beat is there. Simply the best blues I've got in my collection. ****

March 01, 2003

Office Building: The Sun Hit the Water

Office Building: The Sun Hit the WaterCD, Aisti Records 2003

Track list: Flies Around the Fire - She Appeared to Me - Crystal Clear - Tomorrow Again - Keep Walking On - Defy the Laws of Reasoning - The Land of Golden Dreams - All Unwinds - The Door to the Room of Your Heart - Don't Let Me Hang On - The Road Is Long Enough - The Right to Dream

Office Building has done two excellent but little-known albums before this one. Could it be their time now? At least the album is perhaps better than ever before. Their slightly introverted attitude has opened up a bit, the songs are less complicated and easier to grasp. And good as ever! Just check "Flies Around the Fire" or "Tomorrow Again". "Don't Let Me Hang On" hangs on to their earlier material, Pekko Käppi's violin brings shades of their past. There's even something for the fans of The Smiths and people who like country music. Brilliant album. *****

February 04, 2003

Cave, Nick & the Bad Seeds: Nocturama

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: NocturamaCD, Mute Records 2003

Track list: Wonderful Life - He Wants You - Right Out of Your Hand - Bring It On - Dead Man in My Bed - Still in Love - There Is a Town - Rock of Gibraltar - She Passed by My Window - Babe, I'm on Fire

The new album of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds surprised me a bit, I didn't see it coming. Quite soon after I heard it was coming, I was able to listen to few of the songs from Yahoo! net radio. They sounded good, so I was in quite a positive mood about the album. And that positivity remains, now I've heard the whole album. It's really nothing new - "Right Out of Your Hand" sounds just like "People Ain't No Good" and "There Is a Kingdom". Still, it sounds more like Boatman's Call than No More Shall We Part, which, I think, is a good thing. There are few very good rock tracks ("Bring It On" and "Dead Man in My Bed") which I just love. The slower songs take more time, but Nocturama feels like a good, solid Bad Seeds album. Nothing really new, so "only" four stars for this one. ****

December 30, 2002

Waits, Tom: Bone Machine

Tom Waits: Bone MachineCD, Island Records 1992

Track list: Earth Died Screaming - Dirtin the Ground - Such a Scream - All Stripped Down - Who Are You - The Ocean Doesn't Want Me - Jesus Gonna Be Here - A Little Rain - In the Colosseum - Goin' Out West - Murder in the Red Barn - Black Wings - Whistle Down the Wind - I Don't Wanna Grow Up - Let Me Get Up On It - That Feel

On Bone Machine, Tom Waits sounds very much like he usually does. No surprises, really - some tracks go "klink-klank-boom", some are slower and sadder and the rest are done in plain blues format. Whatever the song sounds like, Tom Waits sings in his usual style. Which I like, therefore I like the album as much as any other Tom Waits album. If you don't like Tom Waits, this album is probably not going to change your mind. ****

December 22, 2002

Magyar Posse: We Will Carry You Over the Mountains

Magyar Posse: We Will Carry You Over the MountainsCD, Verdura 2002

Track list: Sleepwalker - Witchcraft - Singlesparks Are Spectral Fires - Pacific Ocean / Death in the Desert - - Enemy Within - The Endless Cycle of Violence - Lufthan

I heard Magyar Posse live in the Aisti festivals and loved them. So, of course I bought their debut album when it came out. And I like them still! The closest comparison I can come up with is to Godspeed You Black Emperor. Style is the same, instrumental music with some soundtrack quality in it. There are similar crescendo structures, too. There are beautiful melodies ("Singlesparks..." being perhaps the best example) and good rhythm. It's a very good album - only really negative side being the stupid name of the band. ****

October 31, 2002

CMX: Minne paha haudattiin

CMX: Minne paha haudattiinCDs, EMI 2002

Track list: Minne paha haudattiin - Ehdota jotain parempaa - Kvartetto rock-yhtyeelle ja solistille, op. 1 - Minun sydämeni on särkynyt (video)

"Minne paha haudattiin" is one of the best songs on the new CMX album. It's also the heaviest track of the album, bearing echoes from Black Sabbath. It is also the latest single from the album. It's been coupled with some nice tracks and a video. Both of the side tracks are good, especially "Kvartetto...", which has catchy chorus and some really nice guitars. Great single! *****

August 27, 2002

Tortoise: Standards

Tortoise: StandardsCD, Thrill Jockey 2000

Track list: Seneca - Eros - Benway - Firefly - Six Pack - Eden 2 - Monica - Blackjack - Eden 1 - Speakeasy

This album of instrumental music is mostly ok, but also most of the time not catchy enough. There's some nice, groovy beats, but if you compare to this to, for example, Can, you can hear a lot of difference there. Few better tracks ("Benway", for example) stand out, but most of it is quite uninspiring. ***

August 26, 2002

Waits, Tom: Alice

Tom Waits: AliceCD, Anti 2002

Track list: Alice - Everything You Can Think - Flower's Grave - No One Knows I'm Gone - Kommienezuspadt - Poor Edward - Table Top Joe - Lost in the Harbour - We're All Mad Here - Watch Her Disappear - Reeperbahn - I'm Still Here - Fish & Bird - Barcarolle - Fawn

These songs are over ten years old, but they are new recordings. Alice is much more gentle album than it's companion Blood Money: jazz ballads, waltzes, theatrical music. This is also originally theatrical work, for a play loosely about Alice Liddell, the original Alice in Wonderland. This one's for those, who like the gentle blues ballad side of Tom Waits. Alice, for example, is quite remarkable song. Great work, simply put. *****

Waits, Tom: Blood Money

Tom Waits: Blood MoneyCD, Anti 2002

Track list: Misery Is the River of the World - Everything Goes to Hell - Coney Island Baby - All the World Is Green - God's Away on Business - Another Man's Vine - Knife Chase - Lullaby - Starving in the Belly of a Whale - The Part You Throw Away - Woe - Calliope - A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Blood Money is written for a theater play "Woyzeck". I've seen, but it was a different version. However, this would fit quite nicely. As you can see from the song titles, this isn't the most happy music ever recorded. The album features one of the very best Tom Waits tracks ever, "God's Away on Business". Rest of it is almost equally good, so if you like Tom Waits' musical curioties, you'll love Blood Money. To the uninitiated, caution is advised. *****

August 04, 2002

CMX: Isohaara

CMX: IsohaaraCD, EMI 2002

Track list: Päänsärkijä - Pohjoista leveyttä - Veitsenterä - Minne paha haudattiin - Isohaara - Revontulten repijä - Minun sydämeni on särkynyt - Post mortem - Lihan syvyyksiin - Silmien takana - Tuulilukko

The singles promised a lot and Isohaara keeps those promises. It's a brilliant album, I think. Lyrics are written in a similar style as on their previous album, the progressive and epic double album Dinosaurus Stereophonicus. However, Isohaara is no dinosaur. It's a lot more simple and straightforward album and sounds very, very good. There are few slow and smooth tracks and some quite heavy guitars too. And lots of wonderful tracks! I love it! *****

Six Months Later:
Yes, yes. Excellent album, even though it took me a while to figure that out. The best songs ("Minne paha haudattiin", "Lihan syvyyksiin", "Pohjoista leveyttä") are just excellent. *****

July 20, 2002

New Model Army: The Ghost of Cain

New Model Army: The Ghost of CainCD, EMI 1986

Track list: The Hunt - Lights Go Out - 51st State - All of This - Poison Street - Western Dream - Lovesongs - Heroes - Ballad - Master Race

New Model Army is one of my favourite punk bands. Their songs are melodic and catchy - anything that makes you sing along a political or social lyrics is good in my books. The vocals are excellent and the album sounds very good. My favourite tracks are the singles "51st State" and "Poison Street", but also "Lovesongs", "Western Dream" and "Heroes" are especially worth checking out. *****

Six Months Later:
Excellent, just excellent. The album is very close to perfection. *****

June 13, 2002

CMX: Pohjoista leveyttä

CMX: Pohjoista leveyttäCDs, EMI 2002

Track list: Pohjoista leveyttä - Kolme kimaltavaa neitoa - Väkivallan moottorit

This new single promises an interesting album on the way. The title track reminds me pleasantly of their earlier Aurinko album, which I like a lot. A return to their roots, perhaps? "Kolme kimaltavaa neitoa" is a slower ballad, and not really that interesting. Nice, but nothing special. "Väkivallan moottorit" is definitely single b-side material: it's a heavy metal track, not really album material but possible live hit. All in all, the single is very promising! ****

Six Months Later:
Well, the album kept the promises. Unfortunately, the band didn't play "Väkivallan moottorit" when I saw them play later. "Pohjoista leveyttä" is a great song, but the rest of it isn't that top-notch. So, let's drop one star: ***

Jethro Tull: Thick as a Brick

Jethro Tull: Thick as a BrickCD, Chrysalis (1972)

Track list: Thick as a Brick

Thick as a Brick is second major album of the Jethro Tull, right after Aqualung. It's a somewhat thematical album for one very simple reason: it's consists of only one song, a bit over 40 minutes in length. It is cut in two, obviously, being from the lp era. However, between the different parts of the song there are more variation than between different songs on some albums. Jethro Tull's music is a mix of progressive rock, hard rock and folk influences. Ian Anderson's flute works wonders and the music is generally quite cheerful and interesting. Ian Anderson is also a quite good vocalist and lyrics are clever. *****

Six Months Later:
I recently listened to Thick as a Brick as I wrote a review of it. It's brilliant! I can't help but to adore the dexterity and the various influences from different styles it features. *****

May 28, 2002

Plastic People of the Universe, The: Pulnocní mys

The Plastic People of the Universe: Pulnocni mysCD, Globus Music 2001

Track list: Pulnocní mys - a. Ruka b. Co zde sním a co zde vypiju - Mladý holky - Leze - Podvlíkacky - Vrátí se - Podél zdi a doleva - Z kouta do kouta - Zpívá - Pokousení

First, apologies to Czech readers for the lack of accents - I just couldn't figure out how to produce all the necessary characters. This band was partly responsible for the end of communist regime in Czechoslovakia. The way they were treated inspired Vaclav Havel, the current president of Czech Republic. With such merits, how about the music? Pulnocní mys, the midnight mouse, was recommended to me as an easily approached album. Well, after the initial "shock" of the uncomprehensible lyrics, the music sounds good. Comparisons are made to Zappa, Mothers of Invention, I don't know about that, but their music is definitely psychedelic and quirky. A bit progressive, maybe, interesting, no doubt. ****

Six Months Later:
Plastic People are among the curiosity department of my music collection. I like the album, but in general I'm not a huge fan of that kind of music. So - little play time for Plastic People, unfortunately. ****

May 17, 2002

My Bloody Valentine: Loveless

My Bloody Valentine: LovelessCD, Sire 1991

Track list: Only Shallow - Loomer - Touched - To Here Knows When - When You Sleep - I Only Said - Come in Alone - Sometimes - Blown a Wish - What You Want - Soon

My Bloody Valentine was for a long time a band I was planning to check out. The opportunity finally presented itself in form of this cd found in the local library. Now I wish I had found it earlier. Loveless is a wonderful album. My Bloody Valentine sounds fuzzy, the guitars form a noisy, soft wall and the vocals (male and female, both silent and soft) sort of sink in that cloud of music. The result is dreamy. Single tracks don't really stand out (still, if you want to check out only one track, try "Blown a Wish" which is the high point of the album to me). Loveless is very gentle and relaxing trip. ****

Six Months Later:
I haven't listened to My Bloody Valentine lately, but my memories of the album are still very fond. Actually, I'll listen to it right now... Yea, still sounds good. I really like the hazy, fuzzy softness of it all. ****

May 15, 2002

Kroko: Furia

Kroko: FuriaCD, Verdura 2001

Track list: On Fahrenheit And Little Bit Celsius - Ambient Ballad pt. I - Polanski After Ski - On The Sunny Side Of The Meat - Agent Weird - Liero - Bad Day For Mr. Rudiment - Sol Ist - Budala Ptiza - Bummärtti - Fire Will Bring Me Home It's What My Soul Needs - Trukki - In Your Fratze - Sweet Home Albamama - Colors + Rainbows + Teddybears - Setzur Au Naturelle - Ambient Ballad pt. II - Roikkuu Katosta

This albums starts with someone snoring and being waken by an alarm clock, after which starts the second track, Ambient Ballad pt. I. The title is some irony, as the song is quite noisy. And that's what describes the rest of album, as well. Noisy. Some of the tracks are recorded in studio, many are recorded live, some are planned, some are improvised. All are instrumental. There's one that is seven minutes long, many which are short noise bursts under one minute. Sound is generally distorted, loud and rough. There are few easier, softer tracks, but most often the sound is violent. ****

Six months later:
Four stars is good. It's definitely not five, and three isn't good enough for this. I haven't listened to this one much, but I've got a warm feeling from the fact it's in my collection. It's not an album I'd like to listen often, as it demands a lot (a lot more extreme example of the same phenomenen is Merzbow - I'm very happy to have 1930, but it still doesn't mean I'm going to listen to it more than very rarely).****

Stereolab: Switched On

Stereolab: Switched OnCD, Too Pure/Duophonic 1992

Track list: Super-Electric - Doubt - Au Grand Jour' - The Way Will Be Opening - Brittle - Contact - Au Grand Jour - High Expectation - The Light That Will Cease To Fail - Changer

After reading an article about post rock from a Finnish music magazine and listening to one mp3 song ("French Disko"), I expected this one to be good. I wasn't disappointed. Stereolab is very close to Neu!, they have the very same motor-like, should I say Teutonic beat in their music. It's not made by machines, it's made by humans but it emulates a machine. Still, Stereolab is very organic. There's the machine beat and a damn fine groove created by drums, guitars, bass and analog synths and on top of that, very beautiful and soft female voices singing. I don't know how this could be any better. *****

Six months later:
I'm taking one star of the initial review. Stereolab didn't seduce me as thoroughly as I perhaps thought it would. I haven't listened to it much, but that's also because I've been busy being interested in other things (jazz in the summer, black metal lately). But some of it has to do with the fact that the tracks just didn't make a strong impression on me - the music is good, but none of the tracks leave an impression, so I don't listen to the album much. If there were a real killer track I absolutely love, I bet I would listen to the album more. ****