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Week 36

Issue 26 - updated: 29th August 2004

 

·Release of the Week:

Absorber

·Album Reviews

Adam Rafferty Trio / Amon Amarth / Cataract / Chastain / Everest / Guardians of Time / Heidi Saperstein / Jeffrey Michael / Johnny Forlord / Martin Stockdale / Ming & Ping / Various Artists: The Spirit Lives On – The Music of Jimi Hendrix Revisited Vol. II

·Single/EP reviews

Brody & Quint / Carbon Parlor /  Winterbrief

 

 

Release of the week:

 

Absorber; Open Your Eyes

Pandailectric

Oh, it was nice to get another release from Pandailectric. Most of the releases they sent me last time blew me away and the ones that didn’t were still rather good compared to what else is out there. Absorber is another band I am not familiar with. They’re Michael K (vocals), Dirk G (vocals) and Kai K (instruments). And boy have these guys made a good album with “Open Your Eyes”. I like the sad sentimentality that’s present throughout most of these recordings. These guys are clearly inspired by good synth-pop bands from the 80’s but also by some of the more dark electronic stuff that’s coming out these days. But before you think this is all “go kill yourself” material, listen to “Leave It All Behind” – a song that should be topping every damn dance chart over the whole world if there was any justice left in the world and a song that definitely would have if it was released in the 80’s. (JJJJJ-) Release date: out now

 

 

Other album this week:

Adam Rafferty Trio; Three Souls

Consolidated Artists Productions

(Provided by the Creative Service Company)

Adam Rafferty Trio is Adam Rafferty on guitar, Danton Boller on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. Adam Rafferty Trio, with Adam who is one of New York City’s most respected jazz-guitarists leading the way, is a high-level and high-quality jazz-trio with small doses of blues, rock, funk and classical influences also making appearances. It’s all well-played and arranged, but somehow it has a tendency of going right over my head. It’s almost too perfect. (JJ----) Release date: out now

 

Amon Amarth; Fate Of Norns

Metal Blade

(Provided by Target Distribution)

Amon Amarth is a band that has proven itself to grove on me. I first heard these Swedes on their “The Crusher” (2001) album, but although they knew how to play good melo-death, I didn’t feel convinced that these guys were the real deal. On their next album, “Versus The World” (2002), I felt that the band had gotten even better, but still I didn’t feel that these guys were as convincing as everyone around me kept saying. On the newest album “Fate Of Norns”, however, I actually start to think that there’s something about the talk. Beside HateSphere, Withing Surface, Arch Enemy and perhaps a handful of other death bands, Amon Amarth is actually the death metal band you should be looking into next. (JJJJJ-) Release date: 6th September 2004

 

Cataract; With Triump Comes Loss

Metal Blade

(Provided by Target Distribution)

I talked to a member from this band on the phone the other day, and when asked how he’d describe the band he said that they were a cross between Hatebreed, Slayer and The Haunted. I’ve seen this description in one or two reviews I’ve read as well, which makes this quite easy for me, doesn’t it? No, all joking aside, it’s actually a fair description of this band from Switzerland that is one of several metalcore signings Metal Blade has been doing lately. It’s heavy, aggressive and catchy from start to finish. (JJJJ--) Release date: 6th September 2004

 

Chastain; In An Outrage

Massacre Records

(Provided by Intromental Management)

It has been seven years since the last Chastain album, but I guess an album just had to be released this year as 2004 marks a 20 year anniversary for this band that was founded in 1984 and released several well-respected albums in the 80’s before they went a bit more silent in the 90’s. The perhaps most interesting thing within this old-school metal machine is the fact that there’s a woman singing. Her name is Kate French and while she’s can’t beat around the bushes with Sabina of Holy Moses she’s still quite a powerful metal singer. On a different note you’ll find what used to be Vicious Rumors’ rhythm section, Larry Howe and Dave Starr, also playing drums and bass in this band. (JJJ---) Release date: 30th August 2004

 

Everest; Heimlich Maneuver

Everest Records

I am starting to get used to it as it happens more and more, but it’s always nice to see what you have written on a bands older albums used in the press-release for a new one. It was like that with this one too. I remember reviewing a previous recording (EP) by this Swiss duo last year and now they bring us a new album “Heimlich Maneuver” with the most wonderful landscape gracing the cover. The music is still ambient, electronic, minimalist and avant-garde sounds and it’s still quite original and unusual. At least when compared to most of the stuff I am getting sent for review these days. I’d say that if you’re looking for something adventurous within the electronic world you couldn’t go very wrong by checking out Everest. (JJJJ--) Release date: out now

 

Guardians of Time; Machines of Mental Design

Massacre Records

(Provided by Intromental Management)

This album was originally released by Face Front Records in Norway, but since then Massacre Records have signed these guys and as seen so often before the first release is a re-release of the latest album the band has done before signing the contract. Guardians of Time are from Norway, but don’t expect a viking or black-metal band here, though. Instead this is a rather ordinary and little adventurous power metal band that has chosen to do things strictly by the book. The musicianship is rock-solid, but I am missing something that goes a little beyond just that. (JJJ---) Release date: 30th August 2004

Heidi Saperstein; Zara

Kimchee Records

On the cover of this album you can see a painting of a dog and when reading inside the booklet (the thank-you list), you realize that this is Heidi Saperstain’s dog named Zara and to whom this album is dedicated. I bet that dog doesn’t know how lucky he is? I would love to have this record dedicated to me, because it rocks. The album opens with “Second Skin” – a song that’s actually one of the coolest rock-songs heard all year and it continues with 9 other strong alt-country/folk/rock tracks spiced up with piano, organ, trumpet, cello and percussion. For fans of everything from PJ Harvey to Cowboy Junkies. (JJJJ--) Release date: out now 

 

Jeffrey Michael; After The Storm

Fireheart Music

(Provided by The Creative Service Company)

Jeffrey  started playing the piano at six, played the theme from “Chariots of Fire” at seven, started composing at 11, recorded his first project at 15 and sold 5,000 albums locally before he was 18. Today he has sold over 150,000 albums worldwide and has performed in front of more than eight-and-a-half-million people, while also having composed and recorded music for 37 film projects as well as having created music for the videogame SEDA-X2. Surely a man with a lot of achievements. Now, being 27  years old, his new album “After The Storm” is, kind of like the other classical piano release I received from The Creative Service Company this month (Mary Martin Stockdale, also aimed at people with a passion for instrumental, classical and romantic piano music. (JJJ---) Release date: out now

Johnny Forlorn; The First Loss

Tragick Records

Here’s the first solo-release from John Cough who by some of you is known as the keyboard-player in Faith & Disease and vocalist in Shadow Light. On “The First Loss” he handles both as well as having written all the songs on there. His songs take on a dark folk-rock approach in places and a goth-like alt-country one in others. “Evelyn” is my favorite track on this ten-song disc. It sounds like a bunch of people gathering around the piano and the guitar in the living-room singing from some “old favorites songbook”, only here there’s a whole band backing it up, which makes the sound fuller and more appealing. Fans of the likes of Johnny Cash, Nick Cave and Tom Waits are gonna like this. (JJJJ--) Release date: out now 

Mary Martin Stockdale; Timeless

Scorpiano Music

(Provided by The Creative Service Company)

With her horse and her piano being the main things in her life while growing up (her first song that she wrote when being 11 years old was about her horse Clipper) Mary Martin Stockdale is now a gifted piano-player with two previous releases under her belt (“Portraits On The Piano” from 1999 and “Trout Creed Lullaby” from 2001). Her third album “Timeless” has, like her previous albums, already climbed unto the top of the international new age airplay charts. The music is romantic instrumental piano music that, like the album title says, is timeless. (JJJ---) Release date: out now

Ming & Ping; Mingping.com

Monotone/Omega Point Records

Didn’t think I was gonna like this album when seeing Hong Kong-born twins Ming & Ping holding hands on the album-cover all dressed up (not fancy though. Try trendy) with make-up and everything. Turns out that I like it a lot, though. The press-release tells us that these guys have never been interested in becoming American- style rock stars, although they’ve been heralded by some as the first full-blown pop icons of the MP3 age and looking at the pictures in the in-lay card, they sure could’ve fooled me. But this isn’t about the looks (I think they look cool, did I mention that?), it’s about music and these twins are good at making that too. “Mingping.com” is all about the synth-pop melodies and new wave that aired in the 80’s, although here slightly updated in sound. It’s like the 80’s gone 2000-something or the other way around. I am reminded on bands like Erasure, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and stuff like that, but also more original and less pop oriented acts such as New Order. (JJJJ--) Release date: out now 

 

Various Artists; The Spirit Lives On – The Music of Jimi Hendrix Revisited Vol. II

Lion Music

I am surprised to see that Vol. II is already out, because it feels like only yesterday that I reviewed Vol. I. Anyway, this is the same kind of thing. Lion Music artists covering timeless Jimi Hendrix classics. It’s good stuff, but the question is weather or not Lion Music should have left it at Vol. 1 as this one doesn’t outdo the first one. Nonetheless I like most of the stuff here. Favorite cuts included Vinterlong’s version of “Purple Haze” and Project Alcazar’s version of “Manic Depression”, although their version surely doesn’t beat King’s X’ version... May the music of Jimi Hendrix live on. (JJJ---) Release date: out now

 

Singles/EP’s this week:

Brody & Quint; Brody & Quint

Self-released

Brody & Quint are a new acoustic duo featuring Rosemary Harrison from Boston and Mark Barlow from Liverpool. On their debut-EP they offer seven tracks of beautifully played and sung alt-folk. Sure it’s simple, but as you hear the vocals of the two melt together with the gentle guitars, you just can’t help but enjoying it. (JJJJ--) Release date: out now

Carbon Parlor; Carbon Parlor

KAM Productions

Here’s a seven-track EP that was recorded live in the studio on 2/24-2004. The CD itself has a few words written on it that are to explain what to expect and I think they hit it right on the nail: Rowdy, sweat drenched, beer drinking, bottle fighting, woman stealing, motor reving, risk taking rock n’ roll. These guys would definitely cause some heat if they played in your local bar. They’ve got a stoner rock feel throughout these tracks, but they’re not afraid to go in several other different directions such as Latin-blues and heavy metal which makes this is a slightly more varied offering. (JJJJ--) Release date: out now

 

Winterbrief; Unwrapped (7')

Promenade Recordings

Here are two guys, Julian and Jan, who’ve spent a lot of time listening to punk and electronic pop records. I could easily imagine these guys signed to a label like Omega Point Records, as their sound has both elements of synth-pop and punk. There are four tracks on this EP, whereof one was recorded for some Captain Beefheart Tribute. See, now you know that these guys are also a bit strange. (JJJJ--) Release date: out now

Hans Jakup Eidisgard, PO BOX 38, FO-470 Eidi, Faroe Islands, Via Denmark

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