Total Pageviews

Thursday, March 31, 2011

XTC - English Settlement

Released : 12 February 1982
Recorded : October–November 1981 at The Manor, Oxfordshire, England
Genre : New Wave, Alternative rock
Length : 72:22
Label : Virgin Records
Producer : Hugh Padgham, XTC

Andy Partridge's discovery of the 12-string guitar set the tone for English Settlement, an album that moved away from the pop gloss of Black Sea in favor of lighter, though still rhythmically heavy, acoustic numbers with more complex and intricate instrumentation. There are plenty of pop gems -- "Senses Working Overtime" stands as one of their finest songs -- but the main focus seems to be the more expansive sound; most of the songs are drawn out to near-epic length, ultimately taking some of the impact of the songs away. Despite several terrific tracks, English Settlement seems more a transitional album than anything else, although the textural sound of the album is quite remarkable, indicating the direction they would take in their post-touring incarnation.

Tracks

1. Runaways
2. Ball And Chain
3. Senses Working Overtime
4. Jason And The Argonauts
5. No Thugs In Our House
6. Yatch Dance
7. All Of The Sudden (It's Too Late)
8. Melts The Gun
9. Leisure
10.It's Nearly Africa
11.Knuckle Down
12.Fly On The Wall
13.Down In The Cockpit
14. English Roundabout
15.Snowman


download

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vibrators, The - Guilty

Released : 1983
Genre : Punk Rock, New Wave
Label : Anagram Records

After Knox's unguarded comments about starting a solo career had ensured the death of the original Vibrators in 1980, they seemed destined to be remembered as underachieving also-rans from punk's first wave. However, in 1982 bass player Pat Collier, who had established the highly successful studio enterprise Alaska 127, decided to get the old gang back together, putting out a call to fellow original members John Ellis, Knox, and Eddie. Knox recalls the spirit behind the reunion: "They were initially saying, 'Oh, we can knock out any old rubbish and make some money.' But I said that we couldn't really; we had a history for being a good band, so we had to write good material." One thing his fellow band members did impress on Knox was that they wanted an equal share in songwriting. Not a good idea -- the resulting Guilty suffers from a lot of uneven compositions.

Tracks

1. Wolfman Howl
2. Rocket To The Moon
3. Sleeping
4. Parties
5. Jumping Jack Flash
6. Watch Out Baby
7. Do A Runner
8. We Name The Guilty
9. Baby Baby
10.Fighter Pilot
11.The Day They Caught The Killer
12.Kick It
13.A Dot Aint A Lot
14.Claws In My Brain


download

Vibrators, The - Punk Rock Rarities

Released : Dec. 4, 2001
Date Recorded : Nov. 1976 - 1988
Genre : Punk Rock, New Wave
Label : Captain Oi! Records

The late '90s/early '00s saw open season declared on the Vibrators' archive and, while it'll take a lot to top the 100 Club punk festival tapes included on Overground's Live at the Nashville & 100 Club collection, Captain Oi's Punk Rock Rarities compilation -- culled from the private vaults of vocalist Knox and drummer Eddie -- does fill in a lot of gaps in the band's long history. The most important inclusions, of course, are those dating from the band's earliest days, the mid-'70s punk era when the Vibrators really were on top of their game. Included here are outtakes and demos from each of the original lineup's albums, including hot versions of "Automatic Lover," "Pure Mania," "London Girls," and "Judy Says," together with highlights from the projected (but ultimately canned) third album in 1978. A 1977 London radio session blisters with all the verve for which the band was renowned, and -- most intriguing of all -- the coupling that was originally intended as their second single, "Bad Time"/"No Heart," is finally revealed. Recorded for the RAK label in late 1976, it was abandoned when the band signed a long-term deal with CBS. A total of 17 tracks take listeners through the classic period; three more date from a flurry of renewed/re-formed activity toward the end of the 1980s and, it's safe to say, they're as fiery as anything that preceded them. An excellent collection for the Vibrators fan in everyone.

Tracks

1. Automatic Lover
2. Wake Up
3. Pure Mania
4. Bad Time
5. No Heart
6. Splitting Up
7. Ticket to Paradise
8. Fighter Pilot
9. Judy Says
10.Stitch You Up
11.Pushin' Too Hard
12.London Girls
13.Wrecked on You
14.24 Hour People
15.War Zone
16.Office Girls
17.Gunshy
18.Lovin Machine
19.I Can't Get No Answer
20.A Fire Is Burning


download

Vibrators, The - V2

Released : 1978
Genre : Punk, new wave
Length : 38:34
Label : Epic, Columbia
Producer : Vic Maile

As in their first album, V2 shows the Vibrators taking the driving energy of punk and applying it to songs that have a subtle, pop-like quality; while it does not have the wonderfully brash and itchy cohesiveness of Pure Mania, it's a solid album well worth hearing. The songs are mostly catchy and listenable, the lyrics are as capable as those in the group's previous release, and the arrangements have much more variety and color than most punk records of the time do. "24 Hour People" sports Chuck Berry-style guitar licks and 1960s-derived backing vocals, "Public Enemy No. 1" and "Fall in Love" are less punky and more straightforward rockers, "Feel Alright" has a 1960s garage band-style chorus, and "Nazi Baby" audaciously adds strings to the fast, almost danceable music. The only really ineffective excursion on this album is "Troops of Tomorrow," a slow, menacing number that somehow gets too thick for its own good and is further marred by an excessively lengthy opening section.

Tracks

1. Pure Mania
2. Automatic Lover
3. Flying Duck Theory
4. Public Enemy No. 1
5. Destroy
6. Nazi Baby
7. Wake Up
8. Sulphate
9. 24 Hour People
10. Fall in Love
11. Feel Alright
12. War Zone
13. Troops of Tomorrow


download

Vibrators, The - Pure Mania

Released : 1977
Genre : Punk Rock
Lenght : 34:42
Label : Epic

Were the Vibrators real punks? Maybe not, but then again, were the Stranglers? Or Eddie and the Hot Rods? Even more to the point, was Steve Jones? Plenty of rock careerists jumped onto the punk/new wave bandwagon in the wake of the Sex Pistols' success (and more than a few folks, like Jones, stumbled into the new movement by accident), but unlike most of them, the Vibrators took to the fast/loud/stripped down thing like ducks to water, and both Knox (aka Ian Carnarchan) and Pat Collier had a genius for writing short, punchy songs with sneering melody lines and gutsy guitar breaks. If the Vibrators were into punk as a musical rather than a sociopolitical movement, it's obvious that they liked the music very much, and on that level their debut album stands the test of time quite well. Pure Mania boasts a bit more polish (and less politics) than many of the albums from punk's first graduating class (such as Damned Damned Damned or The Clash), but if you're looking for a strong, satisfying shot of chugging four-square punk, cue up "Yeah Yeah Yeah," "No Heart," "Petrol," or "Wrecked on You" and you'll be thrown into a gleeful pogo frenzy. Maybe Pure Mania isn't purist's punk, but it's pure rock & roll, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Tracks

1. Into The Future...
2. Yeah Yeah Yeah
3. Sweet Sweet Heart
4. Keep It Clean
5. Baby Baby
6. No Heart
7. She's Bringing You Down
8. Petrol
9. London Girls
10.You Broke My Heart
11.Whips & Furs
12.Stiff Little Fingers
13.Wrecked On You
14.I Need A Slave
15.Bad Time


download

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Venom - Hell

Released : June 9, 2008 (UK), June 10, 2008 (US)
Recorded : DoomtooN Facilities, UK
Genre : Thrash metal, speed metal, black metal, heavy metal
Length : 55:25
Label : Universal
Producer : Conrad Lant

Long credited with inventing black metal, veteran Newcastle trio Venom can pretty much do whatever it wants and get away with it, but the group's surprising return to form in 2006 with the comeback album Metal Black proved that they (bassist/singer Cronos is the only remaining original member) still had something evil to say. 2008's Hell (calling a Venom record Hell is like naming your dog "barky") may not be clever, forward thinking, or subtle, but it's certainly reliable. The production is a notch up from Metal Black's deliberately lo-fi celebration of its former glories, and the songs are expertly played, dutifully sparse and legitimately cruel, boasting typical Venom-esque titles like "Stab U in the Back," "Evilution Devilution," and "USA for Satan." At this point in its career, Venom need not fall prey to the dangers of growth, especially when the genre that it helped birth continues to breed both new bands and new fans. Like Motörhead, who also continue to release the same album every couple of years, it's more about staying in the game than changing the rules.

Tracks

1. Straight To Hell
2. The Power & The Glory
3. Hand Of God
4. Fall From Grace
5. Hell
6. Evil Perfection
7. Stab U In The Back
8. Armageddon
9. Kill The Music
10.Evilution Devilution
11. Blood Sky
12.USA For Satan
13.Dirge / Awakening


download

Venom - Black Metal

Released : November 1982
Recorded : 1982 at Impulse Studios in Newcastle, England
Genre : Speed Metal, Thrash Metal
Length : 47:49
Label : Neat
Producer : Keith Nichol and Venom

Newcastle natives Venom had exploded across the U.K. in 1981, unleashing one of the most reviled, unapproachable, and, well, toxic debuts in rock history with their landmark Welcome to Hell opus. An unprecedented example of sonic excess applied to the lowest fidelity recording available (or even imaginable), the album wielded its satanic subject matter and uncontrolled speed like a weapon against all that was considered tasteful and refined in music -- a true Frankenstein's Monster, even by heavy metal standards. Needless to say, it was ruthlessly derided and ultimately doomed commercially, but amazingly influential nevertheless, sowing the seeds of much that would be referred to as "extreme metal" in the coming decades. Released hot upon the heels of this first assault came Venom's nearly as crucial second album, 1982's Black Metal, whose title alone still lends itself to the most uncompromising strain of heavy metal in existence today. Like Welcome to Hell, Black Metal revealed a trio of visionary village idiots grappling with forces beyond their control (i.e., creative developments so groundbreaking they themselves had little control over its final destination, nor the technical ability to match their vision, more often than not). And yet, that epitomizes Venom's enduring mystique, carried forward here by another slew of proto-thrashing classics like the title track (introduced by a chainsaw, no less -- how subtle), "Raise the Dead," and "Acid Queen." Further highlights include the surprisingly complex "Leave Me in Hell," the unusually goofy "Teacher's Pet," and the absolute classics "Bloodlust" and "Countess Bathory." Also on hand as the LP's final track is the introduction to the 20-minute epic "At War With Satan," which would take up their next album's entire first half in what proved to be a fatefully ill-conceived (and executed) overextension of the band's capabilities. And while no single track here would match the impact of first album nuggets like "Witching Hour" and "Angel Dust" in terms of future influence (the aforementioned "Countess Bathory" possibly being the sole exception), taken as a whole, Black Metal is right up there with its predecessor. [Neat/Sanctuary's 2002 reissue features an additional nine tracks -- all rarities -- and killer packaging to boot, making it the definitive version to own.]

Tracks

1. Side Black
2. Black Metal
3. To Hell And Back
4. Buried Alive
5. Raise The Dead
6. Teachers Pet
7. Side Metal
8. Leave Me In Hell
9. Sacrifice
10.Heavens On Fire
11.Countess Bathory
12.Don't Burn The Witch
13.At War With Satan (Introduction)


download

Venom - Welcome To Hell

Released : December 12, 1981 (UK)
Recorded : 1981 at Impulse Studios in Newcastle, England
Genre : Speed metal, early thrash metal
Length : 39:26
Label : Neat
Producer : Keith Nichol and Venom

Welcome to Hell, and Venom themselves, for that matter, have long been the subject of heated debate within the heavy metal community. Few bands have been as recognizably influential yet so universally panned by critics during their careers, and, of course, it was this, their first long-player, which ignited most of that controversy in the first place. This shocking debut was the scene of a bloody, head-on collision between Black Sabbath's original heavy metal commandments and lyrical obsessions with all things demonic, and Motörhead's unparalleled distortion and breakneck speed. Make no mistake: Welcome to Hell, more than any other album, crystallized the elements of what later became known as thrash, death, black, and virtually every other form of extreme metal, serving as a primer for thousands of post-New Wave of British Heavy Metal teens to follow. Primitive with a capital P, the album's production values are so poor that fittingly Welcome to Hell truly sounds like it was recorded in a tomb, the band's Marshall stacks caked with dirt and oozing worms even as they tore through their material like a pack of speed freaks. It's not that the hellish triumvirate of bassist/growler Cronos, guitarist Mantas, and drummer Abaddon -- there, even the ghoulish names set a precedent -- were such incompetent musicians individually (OK, maybe Abaddon), but their performance as a unit often sounds clumsy and underrehearsed. All of this only contributes to the album's gimmick-free honesty, of course, and highlights include such timeless satanic onslaughts as the title track, "In League With Satan," "One Thousand Days in Sodom" (whose there-and-back riff would later be re-written by Slayer a dozen times), and, most notably, the absolute classic "Witching Hour." Possibly Venom's single most important track, in it you'll hear a number of stylistic devices which would later pervade all extreme metal genres, indeed become their most regularly abused clichés. Additional early singles like "Angel Dust" and "Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)" round out the disc in bombastic fashion, while lesser-known numbers like "Sons of Satan" and "Poison" just plain rock out. [Neat/Sanctuary's 2002 reissue adds a whopping 11 bonus cuts between alternate takes, singles, and demos, and killer packaging to boot. And original fans can rest assured that no amount of remastering can put a pretty face on Venom's incredible racket (the drums still sound like cardboard boxes -- thank God).]

Tracks

1. Sons Of Satan
2. Welcome To Hell
3. Schizo
4. Mayhem With Mercy
5. Poison
6. Live Like An Angel (Die Like A Devil)
7. Witching Hour
8. One Thousand Days In Sodom
9. Angel Dust
10.In League With Satan
11.Red Light Fever


download

Monday, March 28, 2011

X - Wild Gift

Released : May 1981
Recorded : March 1981, Clover Recorders, Los Angeles, Golden Sound Studios, Hollywood
Genre : Punk rock
Length : 33:02
Label : Slash
Producer : Ray Manzarek

For X's second release, 1981's Wild Gift, the quartet followed the same path they had taken a year earlier on their debut, Los Angeles, creating another batch of timeless compositions that merged the energy of punk rock with other musical styles. Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek reprised his role as producer on what would turn out to be X's last independent release before signing to Elektra. Included are such eventual punk standards as "We're Desperate," the melodic hookfest "White Girl" (sampled years later by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in their song "Good Time Boys"), and "Beyond and Back" (which would serve as a title for their 1997 two-CD anthology). Other highlights include the '50s-prom feel of "Adult Books," the punk-pop composition "In This House That I Call Home," and the rapid "Back 2 the Base." While it may be a shade less exceptional than its predecessor, Wild Gift is nonetheless a classic effort. [In 1988 Los Angeles and Wild Gift were combined as part of a CD reissue by Slash Records.]

Tracks

1. The Once Over Twice
2. We're Desperate
3. Adult Books
4. Universal Corner
5. I'm Coming Over
6. It's Who You Know
7. In This House That I Call Home
8. Some Other Time
9. White Girl
10. Beyond And Back
11.Back 2 The Base
12.When Our Love Passed Out On The Couch
13.Year 1


download

X (Australia) - Aspirations

Released : 1979
Genre : Rock, Punk
Label : X Music, (1979 release), Aztec Music (2009 reissue)
Producer : Lobby Loyde

Following unsuccessful attempts to replace original guitarist Ian Krahe, who died six months after the group's live debut, X reverted to the trio lineup of original members Stephan Lucas (lead vocals, guitar), Ian Rilen (bass, vocals), and Steve Cafiero (drums) for the recording of the band's debut album. At the helm was Australian rock guru Lobby Loyde, who oversaw the five-hour session. That the album only took that long to record is evidenced by the crude nature of the performances, but Aspirations is one example where such guerrilla-style studio tactics pay off. Punk rock had caught fire, establishing strongholds in England and America, and eventually reaching X's native Australia. Drawing on its predecessors for inspiration, this music is burning with a primal intensity that is vintage 1979. The group combines the revolution rock of the Clash, the bitter new wave of Elvis Costello & the Attractions, the mindless punkisms of the Ramones, and the no-future deadpan of the Sex Pistols. This punk collision could be a recipe for disaster, yet X somehow manages to walk the razor's edge while avoiding the collapse the band seems perpetually headed for. Rilen's basslines amount to a rollicking sludge which, along with the weighty pummel of Cafiero's attack, provides the stark underbelly for Lucas' desperate guitar shards. Krahe's guitar playing was, sadly, never documented on record, but it could hardly be rawer than this. Unfortunately, X didn't enter the studio again for another five years. Continued attempts to fill Krahe's vacancy also hindered X, meaning that the group probably never got the attention it deserved. This reissue from Amphetamine Reptile attempts to remedy that, taking listeners back to the music's heyday for an underrated punk gem.

Tracks

1. Suck Suck
2. Present
3. Simulated Lovers
4. Police
5. Revolution
6. Turn My Head
7. Good On Ya Baby
8. Delinquent Cause
9. I Don't Wanna Go Out
10.Dipstick
11.It Must Be Me
12.Coat Of Green
13.Waiting
14.Batman


download

Youth Of Today- We're Not In This Alone

Released : 1988
Recorded : 1988
Genre : Hardcore punk
Length : 19:58
Label : Caroline Records
Producer : John Porcelly

From the opening declaration of "Flame Still Burns" onward, We're Not in This Alone stands as Youth of Today's most accessible document of positive force. The album's speedy kinetic energy and affirmative content indicate a large 7 Seconds influence. Youth of Today, though, give their compositions the New York City treatment, meaning there are mosh-ready breakdowns and an overall heaviness not present in earlier posi-punk predecessors. And though their musical prowess is noteworthy, We're Not in This Alone's most enduring legacy is the song "No More," Ray Cappo's anti-selfishness, anti-meat manifesto. This song provided a platform for the vegetarian movement in hardcore, confirming Youth of Today's suspicions that their music could serve as a vehicle for change.

Tracks

1. Flame Still Burns
2. Slow Down
3. Choose To Be
4. Put It Aside
5. Wake Up And Live
6. No More
7. What Goes Around
8. Potential Friends
9. A Time We'll Remember
10.Live Free
11.Understand
12.Prejudice
13.Keep It Up


download

Youth Of Today - Break Down The Walls

Released : 1986
Genre : Hardcore
Label : Revelation Records

Youth of Today's debut full-length, Break Down the Walls, sounds like standard New York hardcore, but the enormous influence that this disc had on the straight-edge movement is almost immeasurable. Each song is a fast-paced punk slugfest, geared toward the group's angry young male fan base. The performances are sloppy but fierce, and the message is a predictable anti-establishment rant. Positivity, clean living, and the benefits of a fully vented spleen are stressed to a raw extreme, thus establishing a hardcore blueprint for the many artists who followed Youth of Today's example. Highlights include live favorites like "Make a Change" and "Stabbed In the Back." Ray Cappo maintains his vocal intensity throughout all 13 tracks (coming in at around 20 minutes), and the band follows suit with passionate performances. A must-own for straight-edge enthusiasts and New York hardcore scholars, Break Down the Walls is generally considered one of its genres all-time greats.

Tracks

1. Make A Change
2. Thinking Straight
3. Stabbed In The Back
4. Take A Stand
5. Honesty
6. One Family
7. Break Down The Walls
8. Shout It
9. Time To Forgive
10.Positive Outlook
11.Standing Hard
12.Free At Last
13.Youth Of Today


download

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Violent Femmes - 3

Released : early 1989
Recorded : Carriage House, Stamford, CT
Genre : Alternative rock, Folk punk
Length : 36:07
Label : Slash
Producer : Violent Femmes, Warren A. Bruleigh

The fourth album finds the band in somewhat of a rut creatively. Fans of the band's early days will appreciate the slightly stripped-back acoustic production, but without much energy and less focus on teen angst, the album falls flat in most places. Only the single "Nightmares" and the confessional "See My Ships" leave any lasting impression.

Tracks

1. Nightmares
2. Just Like My Father
3. Dating Days
4. Fat
5. Fool In The Full Moon
6. Nothing Worth Living For
7. World We're Living In
8. Outside The Palace
9. Telephone Book
10.Mother Of A Girl
11.Lies
12.See My Ships


download

Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes

Released : April 1983
Recorded : All songs: July 1982 at Castle Studios in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Track 11 & 12: Music Works Studios in London on August 31-September 1, 1983
Genre : Folk punk, Alternative rock
Length : 43:21
Label : Slash Records
Producer : Mark Van Hecke

One of the most distinctive records of the early alternative movement and an enduring cult classic, Violent Femmes weds the geeky, child-man persona of Jonathan Richman and the tense, jittery, hyperactive feel of new wave in an unlikely context: raw, amateurish acoustic folk-rock. The music also owes something to the Modern Lovers' minimalism, but powered by Brian Ritchie's busy acoustic bass riffing and the urgency and wild abandon of punk rock, the Femmes forged a sound all their own. Still, the main reason Violent Femmes became the preferred soundtrack for the lives of many an angst-ridden teenager is lead singer and songwriter Gordon Gano. Naive and childish one minute, bitterly frustrated and rebellious the next, Gano's vocals perfectly captured the contradictions of adolescence and the difficulties of making the transition to adulthood. Clever lyrical flourishes didn't hurt either; while "Blister In the Sun" has deservedly become a standard, "Kiss Off"'s chant-along "count-up" section, "Add It Up"'s escalating "Why can't I get just one..." couplets, and "Gimme the Car"'s profanity-obscuring guitar bends ensured that Gano's intensely vulnerable confessions of despair and maladjustment came off as catchy and humorous as well. Even if the songwriting slips a bit on occasion, Gano's personality keeps the music engaging and compelling without overindulging in his seemingly willful naiveté. For the remainder of their career, the group would only approach this level in isolated moments.

Tracks

1. Blister In The Sun
2. Kiss Off
3. Please Do Not Go
4. Add It Up
5. Confessions
6. Prove My Love
7. Promise
8. To The Kill
9. Gone Daddy Gone
10.Good Feeling


download

Violent Femmes - Add It Up 1981-1993

Released : September 14, 1993
Recorded : September 12, 1981 – April 6, 1992
Genre : Folk Punk, Alternative Rock
Length : 72:08
Label : Slash/Reprise

Add It Up is not quite the definitive Violent Femmes compilation one might hope for, even if it does feature 23 tracks and adds essential later items missing from their first comp, Debacle: The First Decade. There are several charming rarities to hook dedicated fans, who will likely find several favorites missing (perhaps another song or two could have been substituted for the between-song bits). The group's self-titled debut does a better job of encapsulating why they were important, and remains the first Femmes album to buy; besides, no compilation that includes live versions of "Kiss Off" and "Add It Up" in place of the original studio cuts can claim to be definitive. However, even casual fans who enjoyed Violent Femmes will find post-debut songs like "American Music" and "I Held Her in My Arms" to be essential, so even if Add It Up is a little too imperfect to be a necessary first purchase, it's definitely a necessary second purchase. Unless you're a die-hard fan, it will likely be the only other Violent Femmes disc you'll need.

Tracks

1. Intro
2. Waiting For The Bus
3. Blister In The Sun
4. Gone Daddy Gone
5. Gordon's Message
6. Gimme The Car
7. Country Death Song
8. Black Girls
9. Jesus Walking On Water
10.36-24-36 1:47
11.I Held Her In My Arms
12.I Hate The TV
13.America Is
14.Old Mother Reagan
15.Degradation
16.Dance, M.F., Dance!
17.Lies (Live)
18.American Music
19.Out The Window
20.Kiss Off (Live)
21.Add It Up (Live)
22.Vancouver (Live)
23.Johnny (Live)


download

Wire Train - Between Two Words

Released : 1985
Label : Columbia/415
Genre : New Wave
Producer : Peter Maunu

While Between Two Words doesn't have the consistent hooks of Wire Train's first album, In a Chamber, it contains three of the group's best tracks. Less ambiguous and frenetic than In a Chamber, Between Two Words is nevertheless more of the same -- shimmering guitars, vigorous drums, and English-styled vocals. The songs just aren't as catchy except for a trio of pop gems: "Skills of Summer," "Last Perfect Thing," and "God on Our Side." The swirling riffs of "Skills of Summer" resemble the Church's psychedelic jams so much that one wonders which band influenced the other; after all, they debuted almost simultaneously. "Skills of Summer" could easily be placed on the Church's Remote Luxury or Heyday LPs, and only dog ears would notice the difference. The rocking "Last Perfect Thing" finds Wire Train leaning closer toward the more aggressive feel of 1987's Ten Women. "God on Our Side" is actually a Bob Dylan cover, and Wire Train courageously updates it with a new wave sheen; coated with jangling, glimmering guitars, it sounds like, well, Wire Train. Since Oglio records combined In a Chamber and Between Two Words onto a single CD in 1995, skip the vinyl; just think of the CD as In a Chamber with three outstanding bonus tracks and some halfway decent filler.

Tracks

1. Last Perfect Thing
2. Skills Of Summer
3. When She Was A Girl
4. God On Our Side
5. Love, Love
6. I Will
7. No Pretties
8. The Ocean
9. Two Persons
10.Home


download

Wire Train - In A Chamber

Released : 1984
Label : Columbia/415
Genre : New Wave
Producer David Kahne

The catchiest song on Wire Train's In a Chamber is also the LP's most misleading number. The bouncy "Chamber of Hellos," with its chiming guitars, jumpy percussion, dreamy vocals, and rollicking chorus, is actually about a homicide. Nevertheless, it's an addictive toe-tapper, a track that hasn't lost its aura of mystery more than a decade later. Like Translator, Wire Train were in awe of both '60s psychedelic rock and late-'70s new wave; their music reflected the otherworldly textures of the former and the frantic energy of the latter. The giddy "I'll Do You" is driven by throbbing basslines while the hypnotic "Everything's Turning Up Down Again" and the moody "Like" coast on atmospheric riffs reminiscent of the Church. On first listen, In a Chamber might seem light and superficial; however, the album can grow on just about anybody patient enough to let the musical and lyrical hooks peek through the enigmatic songwriting. "Chamber of Hellos" is so catchy that it's tempting to only listen to that track and ignore the rest of the LP. The shimmering guitars of "She's on Fire" and the Joy Division drone of "I Gotta Go" are more reasons to stick around after Wire Train have delivered their hellos.

Tracks

1. I'll Do You
2. Everything's Turning Up Down Again
3. Never
4. Like
5. I Forget It All (When I See You)
6. Chamber Of Hellos
7. Slow Down
8. She's On Fire
9. I Gotta Go
10.Love Against Me


download

Monday, March 21, 2011

Samhain - November-Coming-Fire

Released : 1986
2000 (Samhain Box Set)
2001 reissue
Recorded : 1985 - 1986
Genre : Deathrock
Length : 28:44
Label : Plan 9
Producer : Glenn Danzig

This was ex-Misfits singer Glenn Danzig's second band. This album continues to be an influence for both punk and thrash bands.

Tracks

1. Diabolos '88
2. In My Grip
3. Mother Of Mercy
4. Birthright
5. To Walk The Night
6. Let The Day Begin
7. Halloween II
8. Novembers Fire
9. Kiss Of Steel
10.Unbridled
11.Human Pony Girl


download

Samhain - Initium

Released : 1984
Recorded : 1981, 1983-1984
Genre : Death rock, Horror punk
Length : 29:01
Label : Plan 9
Producer : Glenn Danzig

As soon as the Misfits ended, gonzo-demon Glenn Danzig put drummer Eerie Von on bass and introduced the world to Samhain via Initium. Being a transitional phase between the cult phenom Misfits and the death-defining Danzig, remnants of both entities can be discerned within these dark grooves, as Glenn dyes his punk roots black. He's definitely running the show, welding metal to ever-maturing "Horror Biz" (updated "Misfits") on the eponymous and signature tunes. The bloody trio buries "The Howl Arcangel" (originally written for Dave Vanian). "All Murder, All Guts, All Fun" swings as cool as its name. Minor Threat's Lyle Preslar lays some thin guitar lines. Ultimately, Initium is a gas: a monster mashing graveyard bash before the encroaching goth seriousness of the band's future.

Tracks

1. Initium
2. Samhain
3. Black Dream
4. All Murder, All Guts, All Fun
5. Macabre
6. He-Who-Can-Not-Be-Named
7. Horror Biz
8. The Shift
9. The Howl
10.Archangel


download

Samhain - Unholy Passion

Released : 1985, 1986, 2000
Recorded : October 1984, 1987
Genre : Death rock, gothic rock
Length : 17:22
Label : Plan 9, E-Magine Records
Producer : Glenn Danzig

Unholy Passion is the second release by Samhain, Glenn Danzig's band after the disbanding of The Misfits. The original Unholy Passion EP is now long out of print. In 1987 Danzig re-recorded the guitar and some vocal tracks for the songs, removing the original work done by Pete "Damien" Marshall. The recordings were given new mixes and, with the addition of "Misery Tomb", were released as part of Final Descent in 1990. The remixed versions were released as a standalone CD for the first time as part of the Samhain Box Set in 1999 and as an individual CD in 2000.
The original 12" vinyl EP was pressed twice: once on black vinyl and the classic tan cover, and then again in 1986, on both red and black vinyl (with a maroon sleeve), and white vinyl (with tan cover).

Tracks

1. Unholy Passion
2. All Hell
3. Moribund
4. The Hungry End
5. Misery Tomb
6. I Am Misery


download

Wild Swans, The - Space Flower

Released : 1990
Genre : Alternative Rock, Indie Pop
Label : Warner Bros.
Length : 41:26

The Wild Swans' Space Flower follows XTC (masquerading as the Dukes of Stratosphear) and the Damned into the more pop-oriented side of the '60s: the sort of area that could produce a three-minute single and a ten-minute hallucinogenic mind-blower. Pink Floyd got to be quite masterful at this aspect of things with Syd Barrett; the Moody Blues, too, used to be able to do this to a degree. Typically, the Wild Swans, with a somewhat softer sound than they've had previously, have followed in this rather English area, twenty-some years down the line. What you get for your money is a rather catchy collection of hook-driven numbers with titles like "Chocolate Bubblegum" and "I'm a Lighthouse," not to mention the royally absorbing "Sea of Tranquility," a track that ticks along on a rolling bassline, dispenses with vocals along the way, and proceeds to play sonic games that suck you in and make you wish it could have gone on lots longer than ten minutes. One of the factors in the Swans' favor is certainly an endearing simplicity. Where their songs have often been complex sonic tapestries, Space Flower shucks off the complexities in favor of a very '60s production -- even the sound effects utilized by Paul Simpson are low-key, with the exception of one that's truly startling on "Sea of Tranquility," while his trademark Mellotron, which has sometimes been as omnipresent as those on early King Crimson albums, is hardly to be heard on the album. It's great fun, very catchy, and probably great for parties. Now, if they could just do something about that wretched cover.

Tracks

1. Melting Blue Delicious
2. Butterfly Girl
3. Tangerine Temple
4. Immaculate
5. Space Flower
6. Chocolate Bubblegum
7. I'm A Lighthouse
8. Magic Hotel
9. Vanilla Melange
10.Sea Of Tranquility


download

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - 1984 - 1989

Released : Jun 1989
Genre : Rock, Indie Pop
Length : 52:40
Label : Capitol

The lush, facile simplicity of Lloyd Cole's music is brimmed with cushioned harmonies and soft-spoken choruses, and more often than not deals with the complexity of love. Accompanied by the bright jangle of guitar that's hitched to palatable pop tempos, his work with backup band the Commotions produced a number of melody-ridden songs that are best accessed on 1984-1989, a collection of their finest material. Not unlike Orange Juice or the Blue Nile, Cole's music used polished instrumentation behind elements of subdued '80s Europop, best exemplified in songs like "Perfect Skin" and "You Will Never Be No Good." As an enduring and enjoyable compilation, 1984-1989 really does gather the cream of their music, and each song relinquishes a clean, robust sound. Some of the more beautiful tracks include the friendly candor of "Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?" or the irregularity between the lines of "Jennifer She Said." "Brand New Friend" glimmers with Cole's vocal resilience, as does the pristine bounce of "Lost Weekend." All three of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions' albums contribute songs to this best-of, with the stronger pieces coming from 1984's Rattlesnakes. Cole's music strays from sounding contrived or overlapped and sports comparisons to the Beautiful South in that they share the same lyrical wit and appeal. Relatively unknown in North America, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions contributed to some of the finest music to ever hover with pop ease, and this compilation lines up his best work all in one place.

Tracks

1. Perfect Skin
2. Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?
3. Forest Fire (Bruce Lampcov Remix)
4. You Will Never Be No Good
5. Rattlesnakes
6. Perfect Blue
7. Brand New Friend
8. Cut Me Down
9. Lost Weekend
10.Her Last Fling
11.Mr Malcontent
12.My Bag
13.Jennifer She Said
14.From The Hip


download

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pulp - This Is Hardcore

Released : 30 March 1998 (U.K.)
March 31, 1998 (U.S.A.)
1 April 1998 (Japan)
Deluxe edition :11 September 2006 (U.K.)
Recorded: 1997,CTS Studios, Whitfield St., London, England; CTS Sudios; Olympic Studios, London, England; The Townhouse
Genre : Britpop, Alternative rock
Length : 69:49
Label : Island Records
Producer : Chris Thomas

"This is the sound of someone losing the plot/you're gonna like it, but not a lot." So says Jarvis Cocker on "The Fear," the opening track on This Is Hardcore, the ambitious follow-up to Pulp's breakthrough Different Class, thereby providing his own review for the album. Cocker doesn't quite lose the plot on This Is Hardcore, but the ominous, claustrophobic "The Fear" makes it clear that this is a different band, one that no longer has anthems like "Common People" in mind. The shift in direction shouldn't come as a surprise -- Pulp was always an arty band -- but even the catchiest numbers are shrouded in darkness. This Is Hardcore is haunted by disappointments and fear -- by the realization that what you dreamed of may not be what you really wanted. Nowhere is this better heard than on "This Is Hardcore," where drum loops, lounge piano, cinematic strings, and a sharp lyric create a frightening monument to weary decadence. It's the centerpiece of the album, and the best moments follow its tone. Some, like "The Fear," "Seductive Barry," and "Help the Aged," wear their fear on their sleeves, some cloak it in Bowie-esque dance grooves ("Party Hard") or in hushed, resigned tones ("Dishes"). A few others, such as the scathing "I'm a Man" or "A Little Soul," have a similar vibe without being explicitly dark. Instead of delivering an entirely bleak album, Pulp raise the curtain somewhat on the last three songs, but the attempts at redemption -- "Sylvia," "Glory Days," "The Day After the Revolution" -- don't feel as natural as everything that precedes them. It's enough to keep the album from being a masterpiece, but it's hardly enough to prevent it from being an artistic triumph.

Tracks

1. The Fear
2. Dishes
3. Party Hard
4. Help The Aged
5. This Is Hardcore
6. TV Movie
7. A Little Soul
8. I'm A Man
9. Seductive Barry
10.Sylvia
11.Glory Days
12.The Day After The Revolution


download

Pulp - Freaks

Released : May 1987
Recorded : Input Studio, 21 June–27 June 1986
Genre : Post-punk
Length : 44:13
Label : Fire
Producer : Pulp, Jonathan Kirk

Freaks is so different than It that it nearly sounds like a different band. Granted, that is largely due to the fact that Pulp was a different band, apart from lead vocalist Jarvis Cocker. After the unsuccessful showing of It, the band broke up, leaving Cocker to assemble a new lineup. The most significant new member was Russell Senior, who brought a fascination with art, noise, and neo-gothic overtones to the band. But that change in sound isn't the only reason why Freaks is the darkest record Pulp ever made, or ever will make. Cocker's lyrics are neurotically gloomy and paranoid, obsessed with failures and outcasts. While this would become a signature theme for Pulp's songs, Cocker's outlook on Freaks is oppressively bleak -- he finds no future for the mis-shapes and misfits in his songs. Not only are the songs hopeless, so is the production. The very sound of Freaks is muddy and impenetrable, making it difficult to find the occasional rewarding moment on the album, such as "Master of the Universe," "They Suffocate at Night," or Senior's "Anorexic Beauty."

Tracks

1. Fairground
2. I Want You
3. Being Followed Home
4. Master Of The Universe
5. Life Must Be So Wonderful
6. There's No Emotion
7. Anorexic Beauty
8. The Never-Ending Story
9. Don't You Know
10.They Suffocate At Night


download

Pulp - It

Released : April 1983
Recorded : Input Studio, August 1982, Victoria Studios, December 1982, Southern Studios, 13 January 1983
Genre : Indie pop
Length : 25:32 (37:46 with bonus tracks)
Label : Red Rhino
Producer : Simon Hinkler

It is a gentle, mainly acoustic album that gives very few signs to the musical directions Pulp would later pursue. Lacking any hint of synthesizers or dance music, the album occasionally touches on the majestic, theatrical ballads of Scott Walker, as well as the stark, folky song poems of Leonard Cohen. However, at this stage, Jarvis Cocker is hardly the lyrical equivalent of either songwriter, and his singing is endearingly awkward -- occasionally he misses notes, and he misses the tune every once in a while. Nevertheless, there are tunes throughout the album, whether it's the light opening single "My Lighthouse" or the silly, music hall stomp of "Love Love." It isn't a great album, but it has an effortless, amateurish charm that makes up for the unformed songs and the band's rudimentary musical skills.

Tracks

1. My Lighthouse
2. Wishful Thinking
3. Joking Aside
4. Boats And Trains
5. Blue Girls
6. Love Love
7. In Many Ways


download

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - Rattlesnakes

Released : October 1984
Genre : Indie pop
Length : 35:29
Label : Geffen, Capitol
Producer : Paul Hardiman

One of the finest debuts of the '80s, and possibly the defining album of the whole U.K. indie jangle scene that also included Prefab Sprout, Aztec Camera, and dozens of other bands, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions' Rattlesnakes is a college rock masterpiece of smart, ironic lyrics and sympathetic folk-rock-based melodies. The Glasgow-based band (Lloyd Cole on guitar and vocals, Neil Clark on lead guitar, Blair Cowan on keyboards, Lawrence Donegan on bass, and Stephen Irvine on drums) has a level of interplay remarkable in a group that had been playing for less than two years, and for all the attention given to Cole's hyper-literate lyrics, the album's finest moments are things like the slinky interludes between the wry verses on the Renata Adler-inspired "Speedboat" and Clark's glorious extended solo at the end of the album's finest song, "Forest Fire." Originally released in the U.S. by Geffen but reissued on CD as part of Capitol's acquisition of the Commotions in 1988 (with the original cover, which had been changed for the Geffen release), Rattlesnakes consists of ten perfect, or close to it, pop songs in just a hair under 36 minutes. Kicking off with the group's first U.K. single, the impossibly wordy, stream-of-consciousness "Perfect Skin," the album is basically a series of verbal snapshots of love gone wrong among the overeducated and underemployed. Cole's low-pitched and surprisingly soulful -- for a philosophy student from the University of Glasgow, anyway -- voice flits between earnestness, compassion, and arch derision ("Must you tell me all your secrets when it's hard enough to love you knowing nothing?"), while his lyrics sketch incisive character studies filled with smart and funny one-liners, near-obsessive name-dropping, and references to enough novels and movies for a semester-long pop culture class. The title track, for example, is based on a key image from Joan Didion's stark Hollywood novel Play It as It Lays, and its chorus compares the song's heroine to Eva Marie Saint's character in the film On the Waterfront. In less skilled hands, this would all be unbearably pretentious, but Cole's sly sense of humor and self-mocking wit keep things on the right side of ambitious. The German CD of Rattlesnakes (Polydor 823 683) will be of interest to North American Commotions fans. The disc not only contains the original versions of three songs Geffen had Ric Ocasek remix for the U.S. release (which are also on the Capitol reissue); it also features a unique version of "Forest Fire" with the guitar solo coda extended by nearly 40 seconds and four B-sides from British singles of the period: "Sweetness," the wry Warhol superstars portrait "Andy's Babies," "The Sea and the Sand," and the phenomenal "You Will Never Be No Good." In any incarnation, Rattlesnakes is a classic.

Tracks

1. Perfect Skin
2. Speedboat
3. Rattlesnakes
4. Down On Mission Street
5. Forest Fire
6. Charlotte Street
7. 2CV
8. Four Flights
9. Patience
10.Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?


downloads

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Danzig - Danzig III: How The Gods Kill

Released : July 14, 1992
Recorded : 1991 - 1992
Genre : Heavy metal, blues rock, gothic metal, doom metal
Length : 49:12
Label : Def American Recordings
Producer : Glenn Danzig, Rick Rubin

Featuring disturbing cover art from H.R. Giger, Danzig's third album continues to expand the band's musical range; rather than pounding away at simple blues riffs, the atmospheric title track (yet another rewrite of "Twist of Cain," this time at a slower tempo) and the haunting ballad "Sistinas" attempt to match their music with the darkness of Glenn Danzig's lyrics, resulting in two of the album's high points. Danzig's vocals are more subtle in places, and John Christ's guitar work continues to improve. Arguably the definitive Danzig album.

Tracks

1. Godless
2. Anything
3. Bodies
4. How The Gods Kill
5. Dirty Black Summer
6. Left Hand Black
7. Heart Of The Devil
8. Sistinas
9. Do You Wear The Mark
10.When The Dying Calls


download


Danzig - Danzig II - Lucifuge

Released : June 26, 1990
Recorded : 1989-90
Genre : Heavy metal, blues rock, hard rock
Length : 49:26
Label : Def American Recordings
Producer : Rick Rubin

Danzig's second release is also their most diversified. They explore their blues roots with a couple of boogies, a slow shuffle, and a slide number, throwing in a '50s-reminiscent ballad in waltz time for good measure. Glenn Danzig's theatrical vocals don't prevent these numbers from working surprisingly well (except when he attempts a Mississippi Delta accent on "Killer Wolf"), demonstrating his talents and range of expression as a vocalist. The simple, somewhat standard blues-metal riffs of their debut are here ("Snakes of Christ" is a flat-out rewrite of Danzig's "Twist of Cain"), but not as plentiful, making the record more interesting and listenable. "Her Black Wings" ranks with the band's best songs.

Tracks

1. Long Way Back From Hell
2. Snakes Of Christ
3. Killer Wolf
4. Tired Of Being Alive
5. I'm The One
6. Her Black Wings
7. Devil's Plaything
8. 777
9. Blood And Tears
10.Girl
11.Pain In The World


download

Danzig - Danzig

Released : August, 1988
Recorded : 1987-1988 at Atlantic Recording Studios and Chung King Metal in New York City
Genre : Heavy metal, blues-rock
Length : 40:57
Label : Def American, Warner Bros.
Producer : Rick Rubin

Danzig debuts with a record of simple, pounding, bluesy metal featuring lead singer Glenn Danzig's trademark Elvis-meets-Jim Morrison bellow and outlandishly dark, evil lyrics. There isn't a great deal of musical variety or complexity here, but the band powers its way through such signature tunes as "Twist of Cain," "Am I Demon," and the (future) hit "Mother" with a primal energy. Plus, Danzig's tongue-in-cheek posturing as the ultimate unholier-than-thou heavy metal frontman gives the record a definite appeal, even if one is not inclined to view his theatrics as dangerous or threatening.

Tracks

1. Twist Of Cain
2. Not Of This World
3. She Rides
4. Soul On Fire
5. Am I Demon
6. Mother
7. Possession
8. End Of Time
9. The Hunter
10.Evil Thing


download

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mission, The - Masque

Released : January 1992, February 2008 (re-issue)
Genre : Gothic rock
Length : 51:36
Label : Mercury
Producer : Mark Saunders / The Mission

It's not just that the Mission changed their sound, it's that they changed it numerous times on one album. For bands in the goth-pop genre, 1992 was kind of the breaking point: in England, shoegazer and baggy had changed everything, and in the U.S., Nirvana and grunge added a whole new barrier to Brits trying to break into the States. Some acts like All About Eve tried shoegazer, and to a certain degree, it worked, while others would embrace their Englishness full-on or would turn to America and turn up the angst. The Mission, for some strange reason, went for a little bit of everything. "Never Again," the opener on Masque, sounds like the Mission really trying to go big-league '90s U2-Achtung Baby style, but ending up a bit more like a dance remix of themselves than a multi-styled stadium filler. "You Make Me Breathe" sounds like Cure-with-sax adult contemporary, and "She Conjures Me Wings" and "Who Will Love Me Tomorrow?" are reminiscent of the Wonder Stuff, those Carved in Sand tour openers who had made a big impact on the U.K. charts in 1991. Some of it ("Spider and the Fly," "Shades of Green," and "Even You May Shine") is classic Mission and definitely worth hearing, and "Like a Child Again" is a rather killer pop melody à la "Hands Across the Ocean" from Grains of Sand. It's admirable that Wayne Hussey wanted to broaden the sound of his band, but that's just not his specialty. He was always at his best when he was dramatic, over the top, and overwrought without a thought or concern as to what anyone thought. On Masque, the Mission suddenly sound like a band with an identity crisis (and given the sudden departure of guitarist Simon Hinkler on the U.S. leg of the Deliverance tour, this is no real surprise). If it seems odd that the focus is on the leader and not the band, well, this was originally meant to be Hussey's first solo outing, and given the lack of response the album engendered, it may well have been a better idea to release it as just that -- because this doesn't sound like the Mission, but rather like a band trying to find its direction.

Tracks

1. Never Again
2. Shades Of Green (Part II)
3. Even You May Shine
4. Trail Of Scarlet
5. Spider And The Fly
6. She Conjures Me Wings
7. Sticks And Stones
8. Like A Child Again
9. Who Will Love Me Tomorrow?
10.You Make Me Breathe
11.From One Jesus To Another
12.Until There's Another Sunrise


download

Mission, The - Carved In Sand

Released : February 1990, February 2008 (re-issue)
Recorded : May-August 1989
Genre : Gothic rock
Length : 46:57
Label : Phonogram/Mercury
Producer : Tim Palmer

In 1990, the Mission were primed for the big BIG time, at least in the United Kingdom. Children had been a hit, they were being followed drink for drink and quote for quote in all the music papers, and their next move was being followed with (at least in some circles) bated breath. Given that the Mission had no real trouble doing what they wanted in the face of critical backlash and generally getting a hard time from writers and detractors, it was a bit of a surprise that Wayne Hussey asked his fan club members (also known as the Eskimos) to come in and listen to tapes of the new record and help the band knock out a track listing. Taking that into consideration, it's a bit of a surprise that some tracks made Carved in Sand, but that's a later topic. The leadoff single, "Butterfly on a Wheel," a somewhat schmaltzy ballad (its title a nod to a headline after the bust/release of Jagger and Richards in the late '60s), was a hit, and it looked like the album was going to be the Mission's coronation. And to a certain extent, it was. The band would headline Glastonbury and get even more press attention, and Carved in Sand would become the band's best-selling effort. But Carved in Sand is a bit of an odd creature. Where previous releases were (mostly) lyrically centered on fantasy imagery and gothy romance and sex, Carved in Sand (occasionally) takes on more topical themes. The opener, "Amelia," is a frank -- and somewhat off-putting -- song against child molestation, and that fades into the musically strong "Into the Blue," which is an environmental lament of sorts. But topical is not really Wayne Hussey's lyrical forte, so when "Butterfly" comes in at track three, it's a bit of a relief. The big barnstormer on Carved in Sand, "Deliverance," may just be one of their best songs: dynamic stadium-ready singalong stuff that is punchy, rollicking, and over the top -- just the way a big Mission song ought to be. It's the second half of the album where the questions about fans picking the track listing comes into play, however. "Grapes of Wrath," a misguided ballad about working the land, is pretty and gentle, but it may be the weakest song the Mission ever put to tape. Sure, Hussey has had more than his share of maudlin moments, but this takes the cake. Did the fans pick this track, and if so, why? The "follow-up" of sorts, Grains of Sand, which collected the moments not picked for Carved, had plenty of tracks that would have sufficed nicely in place of this poorly chosen song. Thankfully, it's over fairly quickly, and the album wraps up nicely, albeit rather soon. While Children felt long and epic, Carved in Sand feels epic, but lacks the length. Unfortunately, tracks could have been added that wouldn't have taken away the punch and power of "Deliverance," "Belief," or "Hungry as the Hunter" and would have given the album an even bigger feel. And yet, Carved in Sand still contained some of the strongest moments the Mission ever had.

Tracks

1. Amelia
2. Into The Blue
3. Butterfly On A Wheel
4. Sea Of Love
5. Deliverance
6. Grapes Of Wrath
7. Belief
8. Paradise (Will Shine Like The Moon)
9. Hungry As The Hunter
10.Lovely


download

The Mission UK - The First Chapter

Released : January 1987
Genre : Gothic rock
Length : 44:47
Label : Mercury

Mission fans should be thankful. Most bands that come up to the majors the hard way (i.e., on an indie label, releasing singles only) usually ignore their previous output once the big corporate label is buying the drinks. For the Mission, whose reputation was built on those early singles, it was a necessity to make them easy for fans to get their hands on. Polygram was more than willing to saturate the U.K. market with Mission releases, and what better way than to repackage old singles from a minor label and release the collection right after a successful debut? So, on the one hand it feels a bit like cashing in, but on the other The First Chapter is a pretty good collection, more consistent than God's Own Medicine, and containing some of the Mission's better moments. Some may nitpick that the compilation is not set up in a chronological order, but the decision to set up the album in an almost rocker/moody track/rocker pattern keeps the overall project from getting into ruts. The first two singles, "Serpents Kiss" and "Garden of Delight" are the standouts, obviously, but their covers of "Like a Hurricane" (Neil Young), "Wishing Well" (Free), and "Dancing Barefoot" (Patti Smith) are surprisingly solid, proving that the band was interested in taking the rather limited scope of goth rock to more interesting places than just drum machines and moody crooning. The slower, moodier tracks ("Wake [RSV]," "Naked and Savage") feel more like interludes that run a bit long, and the Mission's take on the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" could have been left behind. An arguably better introduction to the Mission than God's Own Medicine (and not just because this is their initial output), The First Chapter is a sure fan favorite, as well as an interesting piece of history of an oft-forgotten era of English rock.

Tracks

1. Tomorrow Never Knows (Edited Version)
2. Over The Hills And Far Away
3. Naked And Savage
4. Serpent's Kiss
5. Wake (RSV)
6. Like A Hurricane
7. Garden Of Delight (Extended Version)
8. Wishing Well
9. Dancing Barefoot
10.The Crystal Ocean (Extended)


download