Archive for ‘Album Reviews’

June 29, 2006

STICKBOY – Stickboy (CD Album)

Stickboy AlbumSelf-Released STICK003: 16th June 2006
1. Now It’s All Gone
“The sea tasted salty, but you sank like a boat, down, down.”
2. Pills For The Pain
“They scattered flowers for the sadness, they took pills for the pain, they saw their tears as a weakness, so they covered them with rain”
3. Seasons Change
“And how come I have those pictures in my mind, I remember better times, we had so much to say”
4. Green Eyes
“It’s 5 o’clock in the evenin’, these colours fill up my eyes, there’s beauty I never believed in”
5. The Riots
“She said the riots had started the fires, but I saw you with a match in your hand”
6. My Weakness
“I can’t predict the future, or see which way to go, for my life has drawn a circle, against the gentle flow”
7. The Hurt
“And it’s getting late now, I wish that I could leave, is this hurt worth the love that we receive”
8. Today
“Who can you trust when your shadows been cheating, making shapes of unfamiliar people”
9. You Know No More
“Head into the city, where the traffic seems so pretty in the day, buy yourself an old guitar, learn some chords to earn your pay”
10. Out Of Your Reach
“If you’re down and needing a friend, keep me out of you’re reach”
11. Fighting A Battle
“Let’s dig our own grave, then all go to work, the green light’s gone out, we’re on red alert”
12. Hidden Instrumental

Is this an album or a demo CD, from the quality I’d say it’s a full-blown album. It’s certainly the longest release so far, from Manchester’s Stickboy aka Craig Edmondson. I’ve loved his songs since I heard 2004’s ‘Odd Little Moments’ CD. Since then he’s released the ‘Empty Pages’ mini-LP, and then the stupidly limited ‘EP1’. It was limited to a ridiculous 25 copies. When I protested he kindly sent me a CD-R with the tracks on (What a nice guy). If he’s as big as his talent deserves and if you we’re lucky enough to get a copy, you could find you’ve got one of the most sought after records ever. I saw a copy on Ebay once, but it was quickly taken down again, he probably realised it was worth hanging on to. A guy on the Stickboy forum found one a while ago, hidden in the S racks in Piccadilly records, git, git, git!

The themes of the album range from wistful introspection to sun-drenched optimism. The fragile beauty this creates, reminds me of John Lennon’s ‘Plastic Ono Band’ LP. John Lennon isn’t the only legend that this album brings to mind. ‘The Riots’ is sinister Eels like pop, ‘Today’ searches like Cat Stevens, ‘You Know No More’ borrows Guitars from The Strokes, ‘Fighting A Battle’ has the anger of Dylan and ‘My Weakness’ is pure Nick Drake beauty. One influence that I only noticed after I’d listened to this CD about 4000 times is Coldplay. Listen to the shimmering Guitars on ‘Now it’s All Gone’, the anthemic Drums on ‘Pills For The Pain’ or the combination of Drums and Guitars on ‘The Riots’. It’s not immediately obvious, but it is there, just below the surface.

The star of the album is Craig’s voice. Listen to the sighs of joy on ‘Green Eyes’ or the drawn out exhales on ‘The Hurt’. Undoubtedly the best song here is ‘Pills For The Pain’ (And maybe one the finest songs ever written). They way that he sings the line “True love died” is unforgettable. The album’s prevailing emotions are sorrow and hope but on ‘Fighting A Battle’ he unleashes his vitriol to devastating effect. After this rush of soaring anger the album comes back down for the conclusion with a delicate Patrick Wolf like Instrumental. You feel like you’ve been taken on a wonderful journey, and it’s a journey I’ll be revisiting again and again.

If this isn’t a proper album, at this rate he’ll have a whole catalogue of songs to draw from when he compiles it (I’ve got 35 little gems on my hardrive so far). Every record Stickboy puts out, seems to eclipse the one before. Based on how good this album is, his next release could be the record they’ll bury me with.

You can buy this album from Piccadilly Records for only £4.99.

Visit ‘Manchester Music’ to read some reviews of other Stickboy releases.

Stickboy Website / Stickboy MySpace Page

June 19, 2006

PRIMAL SCREAM – Riot City Blues (CD Album)

Riot City Blues CoverColumbia 82876831652: 5th June 2006
1. Country Girl
"Never get too big, never get too heavy, never get too cool, that you stop payin' your dues"
2. Nitty Gritty
"City Streets, full of creeps, I'm knee deep in scum, I feel like Christ on the cross, with a loaded gun"
3. Suicide Sally & Johnny Guitar
"She got her wings, givin' head to a priest, that fucker choked on his rosary beads"
4. When The Bomb Drops
"Once you were, a thief of fire, now you're just a junkie liar, what you gonna cop, when the bomb drops?"
5. Little Death
"Make me dance, make me sing, buy you a death's head, diamond ring"
6. The 99th Floor
"Birds in the sky, dogs on the ground, rats in the garbage, but my baby can't be found"
7. We're Gonna Boogie
"The atomic bomb, the golden dawn, you're the one I want"
8. Dolls (Sweet Rock & Roll)
"I searched all over town, quizzed the dudes hanging around, no one had ever seen a chick like you before"
9. Hell's Comin' Down
"Made love in the morning, we got drunk at night, when she was a-sleepin', I stabbed her with a knife"
10. Sometimes I Feel So Lonely
"You can be redeemed, boys, you can be redeemed, life is but a dream, boys"

'Riot City Blues' is a return to the Rolling Stones influences that we all know Primal Scream have been shying away from for the last decade. It positively revels in ludicrous Rock clichés like, midnight trains, leather boots, guns, junk, Jesus, the Devil, murder and salvation. Loads of the lyrics are just plain stupid if you think about them, but deep down in your gut they feel so right. I've quoted some lines above, but the best has to be "I feel like Christ on the cross, with a loaded gun".

The chorus "We're gonna get right down to the real nitty gritty" sums the album up, there are no new boundaries being pushed here, it's just the filthiest Rock 'n' Roll album since 'Appetite For Destruction' (With none of the whiney vocals). It uses every trick in the book, Guitar solos, "Na-na-nas", handclaps and even a Patti Smith style interlude. This interlude is performed by VV from The Kills, who provides extra vocals on many tracks (She's credited here by her real name, Alison Mosshart). 'Riot City Blues' shares one thing with their 1991 masterpiece 'Screamadelica'. Broadly speaking, that album had a loose structure that started with Rock/Dance, progressing into Psychedelia and then finally the comedown, and 'Riot City Blues' follows a similar path.

'Country Girl' was their biggest hit to date but that's not the only track here. There is the Rolling Stones sleaze of 'Nitty Gritty', the Psychedelic Doors like 'Little Death', the Soledad Brothers stomp of 'The 99th Floor', the T. Rex like 'We're Gonna Boogie' and the beautiful Gospel-Country closer 'Sometimes I Feel So Lonely'. But the best track has got to be 'Dolls'. I loved it right from the first listen, it's surely going to be another smash hit for them. They've managed to create a song that's fuelled by Dance at the core, but never straying from pure Rock on the surface. Dance floors across the country will be echoing with shouts of the fist waving chorus, "Let's have a good time".

I remember watching Colin Murray's infamous interview with Primal Scream at the last Glastonbury Festival. On the same night he described them as "The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll band on the planet". Having been less than impressed with their 'Evil Heat' album, I just put that statement down to Colin Murray being a proper twat. But after I've had this album on an almost constant loop for the last week, I whole-heartedly agree. I can't remember an album that was just… so much fun!

Country Girl mp3

Click here to watch the legendary Glastonbury interview on YouTube (My favourite bit is when Bobby sings "Hey, hey, we're the junkies").

Go to the Primal Scream Website to use its amazing video player. I worship at the feet of whoever designed the thing. You just type in the name of any Primal Scream single and it plays you the video (Including the brilliant new one for 'Dolls').

Primal Scream Website / Primal Scream MySpace Page
Webadelica Fansite

June 13, 2006

LILY ALLEN – Alright, Still (Promo CD Album)

Still Alright Promo CoverRegal ALRIGHT01: June 2006
1. Smile
"When you first left me, I was wantin' more, but you were fuckin' that girl next door
2. Knock 'Em Out
"Go away now, let me go, are you stupid, or just a little slow?"
3. LDN
"If you look with your eyes, everything seems nice, but if you look twice, you can see it's all lies"
4. Everything's Just Wonderful
"All the magazines, they talk about weight loss, if I buy those jeans, I can look like Kate Moss"
5. Not Big
"Let’s turn back time, to when you couldn't get it up"
6. Friday Night
"It's quarter to, and we get to the front, girl on the guest list, dressed like a…"
7. Shame For You
"Oh my gosh, you must be jokin' me, if you think that you'll be pokin' me"
8. Littlest Things
"Sometimes I wish we could just pretend, even if only for one weekend"
9. Take What You Take
"What the fuck do you know? Just 'cause you're old, you think you're wise"
10. Friend Of Mine
"I don't want us to have another fight, but in the background I can here you chattin' shite"
11. Alfie
"Oh, oh deary me, my little brother's in his bedroom smoking weed"

I resisted the temptation for a couple of days after seeing this Promo on Ebay. But I gave in and forked out £25… it was worth every penny. When you discover an exciting new artist, your hopes and dreams of what the artist is capable of, often don't pan out. Maybe the song you loved was a one off, maybe they sell out or maybe their album just stinks. Not in this case, 'Alright, Still' represents everything I hoped Lily Allen would be.

The dominant sound is Reggae, Ska and Pop with a touch of Jazz. The lyrics to 'LDN' which was her first 7" capture the spirit of the whole album. With their description of a beautiful sunny day that disguises robberies, pimps and crack whores. It's also an album about Lily's "Fuck You" attitude, with lines like "If you're gonna play with fire, you're gonna get burned" and "Don't take me on, no". But it also shows her vulnerable side, and none more so than on the delicate Kinks like 'Littlest Things'. She also casts a mocking glance at the club scene, on the Specials influenced 'Friday Night' (My new favourite Lily track). On 'Take What You Take', Lily sneers at all that familiar advice like "All that glitters is not gold" with the swagger of a female Liam Gallagher. These are party tunes, tunes to make you laugh, tunes to make you cry, tunes to make you think and most of all tunes to dance to. I'd suggest the Madness dance for 'Friday Night' and the Peter Kay march for 'Alfie'. Go on try it, you know it makes sense. Your life will be better when you own a copy of this album, I guarantee it!

One more reason you might want to pick up a copy of this promo is because I think it's got a more tasteful cover than the proper version (Maybe I'll get used to it). Of the mp3s available on the net, only 'Cheryl Tweedy', 'Nan You're A Window Shopper', 'Oh My God', 'Sunday Morning' and 'Truth' aren't present. Hopefully they'll be B-sides (I've added links to demos of these tracks to keep you going till then).

Click here to search for a copy of this promo on Ebay.

Here are some links to pre-order her album from Amazon and HMV.

Click here to read a review from MusicLikeDirt (With more links).

Also here are two links to watch the videos for 'Smile' and 'LDN' on YouTube.

Sunday Morning (Demo) mp3
Truth (Demo) mp3
Cheryl Tweedy (Demo) mp3
Nan You're A Window Shopper (Demo) mp3
Oh My God (Demo) mp3
My First Mixtape (50 min Lily Mix) mp3
My Second Mixtape (60 min Lily Mix) mp3

Lily Allen MySpace Page / Lily Allen Website