Thursday, 30 August 2018

Tom Zé ‎– Tom Zé (1970)

Style: Bossanova, MPB, Acoustic, Funk, Psychedelic
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mr Bongo, RGE Discos

Tracklist:
A1 .   La Vem A Onda
A2 .   Guindaste A Rigor
A3.   Distancia
A4.   Dulcineia Popular Brasileira
A5 .  Qualquer Bobagem
A6 .  O Riso E A Faca
B1.   Jimmy, Renda-Se
B2.   Me Da, Me Dê, Me Diz
B3.   Passageiro
B4.   Escolinhas De Robô
B5.   Jeitinho Dela
B6.   A Gravata

Credits:
Producer – João Araujo

Tom Zé’s second album — and the second of three self-titled albums in a row — isn’t always as highly regarded as his first, but it shows him more versatile as a vocalist.  There are some funky rock riffs with more bass and guitar, without the heavy organ of his debut.  There are more ornate arrangements, with lush strings and horns.  The songwriting is, perhaps, less dripping with irony, but the irony and starkly earnest shock humor is still present.  There are plenty of excellent compositions here.   
In an interview, Zé described this time and album as fraught with personal crisis: 
“I was in a kind of crisis because I knew at that time that I didn’t want to do the popular music from my first album again. At the same time I didn’t know what to do and at the same time, João, the guy who freed me from my contract . . . was putting pressure on me to work and do more music. To me, it’s a crisis album and I don’t like to listen to it very often.” 
The sorts of crises that he’s referring to weren’t just personal.  This was still a turbulent time in Brazil.  In his memoir Tropical Truth: A Story of Music & Revolution in Brazil (2002), fellow tropicalista Caetano Veloso described the era this way: 
“In 1964, the military took power, motivated by the need to perpetuate those disparities [making Brazil the country with the greatest social and economic disparity in the world] that have proven to be the only way to make the Brazilian economy work (badly, needless to say) and, in the international arena, to defend the free market from the threat of the communist bloc (another American front of the Cold War).  Students were either leftist or they would keep their mouths shut.  Within the family or among one’s circle of friends, there was no possibility of disagreeing with a socialist ideology.  The Right existed only to serve vested or unspeakable interests.  Thus, the rallies ‘With God and for Freedom’ organized by the ‘Catholic ladies’ in support of the military coup appeared to us as the cynical, hypocritical gestures of evil people. *** we saw the coup simply as a decision to halt the redress of the horrible social inequities in Brazil and, simultaneously, to sustain North American supremacy in the hemisphere.” 
When Veloso and Gilberto Gil were jailed in 1969, Tom Zé took over hosting the TV Tupi show Divino, Maravilhoso for a few episodes. 
This album is still about the manifesto of tropicalismo.  There is the famous line Dustin Hoffman delivers in the film The Graduate (1967); when asked what he’s doing, he responds, “Drifting.”  Zé is drifting a bit here, but in the best possible way.  He wonderfully evokes a kind of unsatisfied boredom and uncertainty, matched with curiosity and open-mindedness.  There are very poppy tunes, verging on the commercial (“Passageiro,” “Jeitinho dela”).  And there are ballads (“O riso e a faco,” “Me dá, me dê, me diz”).  But there is more than that too.  “Jymmy Rende-se” has a tight groove.  The lyrics are playful nonsense,  but that kind of sums up the best of what the album as a whole has to offer.  Some of the other upbeat numbers (“Guindaste a rigor,” “Escolinha de robô”) are quite good too. And this isn’t all just variations on conventional pop/rock forms — some of this stuff is dissonant and weird too (“Qualquer bobagem”). 
This might not be Zé’s most highly regarded album, but it’s still up there with his best.  Though it isn’t like he’s ever really made a bad album in a decades-long career.
Syd Fablo / Rock Salted 

Tom Zé ‎– Tom Zé (1968)

Style: MPB
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mr Bongo, Rozenblit

Tracklist:
A1.   São São Paulo
A2.   Curso Intensivo De Boas Maneiras
A3.   Glória
A4.   Namorinho De Portão
A5.   Catecismo, Creme Dental E Eu
A6.   Camelô
B1.   Não Buzine Que Eu Estou Paquerando
B2.   Profissão De Ladrão
B3.   Sem Entrada E Mais Nada
B4.   Parque Industrial
B5.   Quero Sambar Meu Bem
B6.   Sabor De Burrice

Credits:
Producer – João Araújo
Written-By – Tom Zé

His first, and arguably best album from the great Rozenblit catalogue lovingly restored in its original format on limited LP and CD, re-mastered from the original Rozenblit master tapes. 
In 1968 Tom Zé; moved from Salvador Bahia to Sao Paulo where he hung out and wrote with his friends Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. Although initially part of theTropicalia movement, Zé was so independent he was determined to forge his own musical path. He started by recording Grande Liquidacao, a hyperactive pop album backed up by two incredible psychedelic rockbands: Os Brazoes and Os Versateis. 
Tom Zé's material on this album includes traditional Brazilian Tropicalia laced with crazy vocal melodies and samples a multitude of genres from funk to psychedelic rock and bossa nova creating in the process a sort of unheard pop exotica. This is especially apparent on the track “Gloria” with its changing tempos, bubbling instrumentation and off-the-wall harmonies. The pace of the album, considering it was the 60’s, is brutal so Zé takes a break between songs to address the listener before resuming his zigzag trajectory. The album also includes the fantastic “Parque Industrial” which was later recorded by Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso on the Tropicalia: Panis et Circenses album. 
Tom Zé was also arguably the creator of the first sampler. In the mid 1980's David Byrne pulled one of his albums out of the samba section of a Rio de Janeiro record store which led him to bringing Zé to worldwide attention by releasing numerous albums on the Luaka Bop label.
Mr. Bongo

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Arthur Verocai ‎ – Arthur Verocai (1972)

Style: Jazz-Funk, MPB, Psychedelic
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Continental

Tracklist:
01.   Caboclo
02.   Pelas Sombras
03.   Sylvia
04.   Presente Grego
05.   Dedicada A Ela
06.   Seriado
07.   Na Boca Do Sol
08.   Velho Parente
09.   O Mapa
10.   Karina (Domingo No Grajaú)

Credits:
Bass – Luis Alves
Drums – Pascoal Meirelles
Drums, Percussion – Robertinho Silva
Guitar – Arthur Verocai
Percussion – Pedro Sorongo
Piano, Electric Piano – Aloisio Milanez Aguilar
Saxophone, Flute – Oberdan Magalhaes
Tenor Saxophone – Nivaldo Ornelas
Trombone – Serginho Trombone
Trumpet – Paulinho Trompete

Mr. Bongo has released its definitive reissue of Arthur Verocai’s self-titled debut album. Mastered in 2012 from the original Continental master tapes and supervised by Arthur himself, the reissue arrives in the original replica gatefold artwork. 
Released in 1972 in the context of repressive Brazilian military dictatorship, the 29-minute masterpiece joins the dots between Bossa nova, samba, jazz, MPB, psychedelics and funk. The LP has been sampled by the likes of MF Doom, Ludacris & Common, Little Brother, Jneiro Jarel aka Dr Who Dat?, Dibiase and Action Bronson, amongst others. 
Original pressings are a thing of lore on the secondary market (selling for upwards of £2,000). “For a very long time, we have been trying to re-issue this record; a true and complete album masterpiece in every sense of the word, considered by many people to be one of the greatest ever made, regardless of genre,” says the label. 
Last month, Mr. Bongo celebrated the Brazilian legend with a “global record collection” pop-up in association with Rappcats. The Vinyl Factory also hosted Mr Bongo on the Klipschorn sound system at Brilliant Corners in London as part of our on-going VF Sessions series.
 Amar Ediriwira / The Vinyl Factory

The Durutti Column ‎– Without Mercy (1984) (Reissue 1998)

Style: Abstract, Ambiet
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Factory once, London Records

Tracklist:
01.   Without Mercy 1
02.   Without Mercy 2
Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
03.   Goodbye
04.   The Room
05.   A Little Mercy
06.   Silence
07.   E.E. 4:37
08.   Hello(w)
Related Works
09.   All That Love And Maths Can Do
10.   The Sea Wall

Credits:
Guitar, Written-By – Vini Reilly
Percussion – Bruce Mitchell
Saxophone – Mervyn Fletcher
Trombone – Richard Henry
Trumpet – Tim Kellett
Violin – Blaine Reininger
Producer – Vini Reilly

Marking a further progression in the overall Durutti sound, Without Mercy both an expanded lineup and sense of what could be done with Reilly's compositions. Consisting of a two-part full-album instrumental piece, Without Mercy integrates the slight hints of classical orchestration and accompaniment from Another Setting more fully via a slew of additional players. Besides the indefatigable Mitchell on percussion and Reilly on guitar, bass, and keyboards, performers on everything from viola to cor anglais and trumpet flesh out Without Mercy's sound to newly striking heights. Reilly's work on piano sets the initial mood for the song, a sound by now as intrinsic to Durutti's approach as his guitar work, capturing both tender beauty and deep melancholy just so. Manaugh Fleming's oboe and Tim Kellet's trumpet start to step in as well as Reilly's guitar, adding in here and there as needed while the track unfolds further to another typically brilliant Reilly guitar solo. From such a striking start, the song continues to unfold over the album's full length. It's very self-consciously romantic (track and album are in fact named for Keats' noted poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci), but the combination of new and old instruments, plus the continuation of the unique Durutti sheen and shine in the recording quality, results in quietly touching heights. Blaine Reininger's viola and violin and Caroline Lavelle's cello add even more classical atmosphere, while the restraint they exercise as well as all the other performers prevent things from becoming a bloated prog-rock monstrosity. Then again, the funky horns and beats about eight minutes into the second part don't hurt either. Even at its busiest, reflection and subdued but not inactive performing are the key, with clear echoes of Erik Satie's work at many points, while Reilly is almost always, either via keyboards or his guitar, front and center. The 1998 reissue matches a slightly earlier CD version with the inclusion of the Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say EP. Also appearing are two separate, very stripped-down pieces recorded around the same time, one of which, the wonderful "All That Love and Maths Can Do," features violist John Metcalfe in his first recorded effort with Durutti.
Ned Raggett / AllMusic

The Durutti Column ‎– Another Setting (1983) (Reissue 1998)

Style: Abstract, Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Factory

Tracklist:
01.   Prayer
02.   Response
03.   Bordeaux
04.   For A Western
05.   The Beggar
06.   Francesca
07.   Smile In The Crowd
08.   You've Heard It Before
09.   Dream Of A Child
10.   Second Family
11.   Spent Time
Amigos Em Portugal
12.   Amigos Em Portugal
13.   Menina Ao Pe Duma Piscina
14.   Lisboa
15.   Sara E Tristana
16.   Estoril A Noite
Dedications For Jaqueline
17.   Favourite Descending Intervals
18.   To End With

Credits:
Cor Anglais – Maunagh Fleming
Percussion – Bruce Mitchell
Trumpet – Simon Topping
Producer – Chris Nagle
Producer, Performer, Written-By – Vini Reilly

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Public Image Ltd. ‎– Album (1985)

Style: Post-Punk, Avantgarde
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Elektra/Asylum Records ‎

Tracklist:
1.   FFF
2.   Rise
3.   Fishing
4.   Round
5.   Bags
6.   Home
7.   Ease

Credits:
Mastered By – HW
Producer – Bill Laswell, John Lydon

Monumental exercício de hard-rock tal como veio ao mundo, por quem o trouxe ao mundo (Ginger Baker) e por aqueles que agora lhe abrem uma janela (Laswell e Sakamoto). Ao mesmo tempo, todos juntos fornecem o cimento de que a arte de Lydon há muito carecia. O seu melhor disco desde «Flowers & Romance». 
Ricardo Saló / Blitz (1986)

Public Image Ltd. ‎– The Flowers Of Romance (1981)

Style: Post-Punk, Avantgarde
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Warner Bros. Records, Virgin, Columbia

Tracklist:
1.   Four Enclosed Walls
2.   Track 8
3.   Phenagen
4.   Flowers Of Romance
5.   Under The House
6.   Hymie's Him
7.   Banging The Door
8.   Go Back
9.   Francis Massacre

Credits:
Drums – Martin Atkins
Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer, Percussion – Keith Levene
Vocals, Violin, Saxophone, Percussion – John Lydon
Written-By – Wobble, Walker, Lydon, Levene, Atkins, P.I.L.

The saga that led up to the recording of Public Image Ltd’s third studio album, 1981’s The Flowers of Romance, was as lurid as a telenovela. It was hailed as a defiant tour de force, a pivotal forerunner of techno and industrial music, one that set the bar for post-punk, and all of “uneasy listening” to come. Making the record was an exercise in alienation, more painful than getting and removing the same tattoo in one afternoon. 
The sickly-sweet irony of The Flowers of Romance hid a time bomb. In its thunderous, distorted drums, hear PiL tick towards their own explosion. If you feel at odds with the world, know there’s a better way, but no one will listen to you—put The Flowers of Romance on repeat. It may not soothe your soul, but it will make you feel you’re not alone in your angst or your need to keep going. 
Incidentally, Public Image Ltd were actually an incorporated company. This professionalism was a big fuck-off to punk’s chaos that had camouflaged how lead singer John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten, the former lead singer of the Sex Pistols) was being ripped off by the Pistols’ manager, Malcolm McLaren, financially and emotionally. PiL was to be a fresh concept, one based on trust, non-hierarchical, primed to supply the 360-degree needs of a music industry adjusting to videos and CDs. 
Along with Lydon, PiL’s Directors included Dave Crowe, one of his old North London mates; the anguished, gaunt guitarist Keith Levene, who had helped start the Clash; and, in a brilliant stroke of Lydon’s, sparky Jeannette Lee as a non-specific band member. Witty and level-headed, Lee was the glue, the friendly face, responsible for just about everything except actually writing and playing, and even then, her savvy imprint was palpable. The petite heartthrob had previously run Acme Attractions, a progressive style and culture stall/salon in King’s Road, Chelsea’s Antiquarius market with her then-boyfriend, filmmaker Don Letts. She thought of re-purposing the name, The Flowers of Romance; Lydon had suggested it for a short-lived band of Sid Vicious, future Slits members Palmolive and Viviane Albertine. Lee would quit the band in 1982, while PiL goes on, still compelling today; but her tenure is immortalized on the LP cover. A red flower between her teeth à la Carmen, she appears to be about to bash the photographer with a blunt object—actually the pestle from then Vivienne Westwood stylist, Yvonne Gold’s kitchen. The hectic glamour that the über-stylish Lee projected stopped PiL from being perceived as all grumpy white boys—and never forget that even a pestle can hurt. Today, Lee is one of the music industry’s most powerful women, as co-owner of Rough Trade Records. 
For two weeks in the fall of 1980, these hardcore Londoners were off to the exotic Oxfordshire countryside. The stately neo-Elizabethan 17th-century home that Virgin’s Richard Branson had converted into an unusually grand studio was a readymade stage for breakdown/breakthroughs both artistic and mystic; it came complete with a ghost, whose visitations were yet another good reason to put off recording. The cast of this musical mystery experience included myself for some days; drummer Martin Atkins, younger, less tormented than Lydon and Levene, his bouncing presence let some air in; and a slight charmer nicknamed Shooz, aka the late guitarist Steve New. Years later, Shooz said he had been hiding from his transvestism; but then he shared Levene’s career-stunting fondness for smack, contributing to the general tension. 
The waking hours, which mostly happened at night, were a tug-of-war between everyone’s chosen stimulants or deadeners. In those times, cocaine was non-existent and weed had not yet been genetically modified into its current monster testosterone THC; so we can blame the paranoia on the speed. Among other things. Lydon was well known for being paranoid; but then, sometimes they are out to get you, as life had shown him. That uncomfortable knowledge crawls through every bar of The Flowers of Romance. Has any other LP been dragged from its makers so slowly? The album is a breech delivery that needed forceps to scream its way into the world, those indentations on the skull, that bruising—you can hear it all. 
Lydon’s Pistols experience was always tainted by the contempt of coulda-been father figure McLaren. Naturally, Lydon had been impressed at first with the worldly older man’s naughty charisma. Convinced that he had not only assembled the group, (which, in fairness, he had), McLaren also thought he had invented Lydon’s creativity. Wrong answer! Actually, McLaren had lucked out but did not appreciate Lydon, who was a true untapped performer and poet with his own concept of sound. This dismissiveness had caused Lydon to retrench and seek to surround himself with those he knew and trusted, in the new, equitable PiL model. 
The old Pistols construct had become its own sort of prison, one which Sid Vicious had not escaped alive. The loss of Sid, known as Beverley when he befriended Lydon at college, could never really heal. And now, another key figure was also missing— banished, in fact: amiable bass player Jah Wobble, another longtime friend, whom Lydon had talked into learning to play because he wanted him around. Who knows what was in Wobble’s mind, but he felt entitled to use some PiL tapes for his own recordings, without discussion. Off with his head! 
There was a garrison mentality. You were pro-PiL or not. If punk meant a tabula rasa, a clean slate, Lydon now found it necessary to re-make the slate. Without Wobble, a solution had to be found, and the fewer people that were let into the besieged inner decision-making core, the better. 
Frankly, I benefited from their creative scramble. As a rock scribe, I had often covered Lydon, but having been an original Flying Lizard, the early ’80s experimental new-wavers, I was now invited to use PiL “down time.” (In the hours when the studio was not in use, I recorded my own indie 45, “Launderette/Private Armies,” which Lydon and Levene co-produced with me.) Did Lydon already suspect that the studio would often lie idle? 
Lydon and I had first bonded over a shared passion for reggae bass. Bob Marley called the rickety liaison between the music of two oppressed tribes, black youth and white punks, the Punky Reggae Party. With the Rastas’ numbering of corrupt, controlling capitalist systems as Babylon, and Jamaican dub remixes shattering predictable reality, reggae was our religion. 
Back then, I was a music journalist, often covering reggae. My interviews with artists like Big Youth and Dennis Brown sometimes happened at Lydon’s terrace house in Fulham’s Gunter Grove, where dub pumped through giant speakers and the session never stopped, a playground run on vampire hours. Apart from work, and even then, people mostly stirred when day bled into night. I doubt any of us had ever had that much space to cavort in before. For a while, we took over the asylum. 
Hence my presence at The Manor. We lived in a topsy-turvy twilight zone. Rather than milking every precious moment of studio time, there was a lot of sulking and/or deep thinking going on with everyone alone in their bedrooms. Result being, for me anyway, that the glorious moment when I laid down my vocals for “Private Armies,” (on which both Levene and Shooz play,) was somewhat marred by the engineers’ annoyance. Having waited for hours—days?—for PiL, they were underwhelmed at Lydon thrusting me upon them. (It all worked out OK in the end!) 
But bit by bit, The Flowers of Romance’s confrontational, epic tracks assembled, despite it all. A musician would wander in, play a riff, amble off, and another would show up, add another dimension to the fragment and so on. Lydon had reams of notes and could scribble down and deliver a new song fast, if the track moved him. Thus, the nine songs were assembled, a bit like a big communal jigsaw left out in the living-room. But two weeks at The Manor only produced one finished track: the ambient instrumental, “Hymie’s Him.” The rest of the rhythms were taken back to the city and molded at Virgin’s Townhouse Studios, in a somewhat more disciplined fashion. 
Yet even while PiL members were brooding alone in their rooms at The Manor, subconscious work had been done, wrestling with a metaphysical question: when your entire aesthetic has been rooted in bass culture, how to even make sound without it? Those still newfangled synthesizers were part of the answer when the album was completed. Levene almost invented the jagged, jangly post-punk guitar sound. Now he was testing digitized music, with his cumbersome Prophet synthesizer. When it came to music, Levene was fervent, obsessive. The key to The Flowers of Romance lies in his anguished cry, so loud I could hear it in the early hours in my bedroom next door, “I only want to make music like no-one has ever heard before! Or I can’t be fucked.” 
Of course, that epic ambition has always meant tempting the gods, and Greek-wise, Levene—who left the band in 1983—was Sisyphus, doomed to keep pushing, not a boulder up a mountain, but a guitar or synthesizer’s sound, till the new is no longer novel and the cycle starts again. 
Doom and how to deal with it is the message of The Flowers of Romance, which unsettles from the start: an itchy insect sound is swatted down with a harsh swipe of one drum, making the listener the mosquito, followed by Lydon’s startling muezzin-like wail. Disillusion and rejection infuse the title track, caught in this exquisite banality: “I sent you flowers/You wanted chocolates instead.” Attraction keeps tussling with repulsion, especially at women’s bodies in the primal scream of “Track 8.” Repulsion wins on “Go Back,” when PiL tackles the Babylon system that tries to make us all trot down one narrow track forever, led by debt and doubt :”Left/Right/Left/Right/Don’t look back/Take second best/Number one, protect self-interest/Here every day is a Monday…” 
But the overall effect is not rage or despair. The music is on the attack. This was PiL fighting for existence, collective back against the wall. No wonder they felt almost paralyzed. How to top yourself, if your first band had become a global, culture-busting sensation; your own band’s first two studio albums—1978’s Public Image: First Issue and 1979’s Metal Box—were hailed as game-changers, crashing through the primitivism of punk to deepen the template for post-punk’s angular experimentation. Then the live official bootleg album from 1980, Paris Au Printemps, album got a severe backlashing from the press. PiL had to get its groove back. 
The Flowers of Romance spat at their critics with intensity and twisted clarity. In “Phenagen,” Lydon stubbornly intones, “Empty promises help to forget/No more, no more/Repair the damages you made/Amen, amen, amen, amen.” He massacres the Mass as only a Catholic can, and the record’s pain might be a form of expiation, cathartic confession of damage done. 
It’s an album that itches in its skin, restless for oblivion. Rather like punk’s perverse mode of communication—insult your best mates the most—Lydon’s lyrics at first appear misanthropic, certainly suspicious of other humanoids. But a doubly perverse flash of humanism nonetheless illuminates the work. To mess with our heads, Lydon offers us just enough light. 
The remorseless “Banging the Door” shows this duality. It starts out curmudgeonly: “What do you want? You’re irritating, go away/It’s not my fault that you’re lonely.” Then Lydon bracingly concludes, “Why worry now? You’re not dead yet/You’ve got a whole lifetime to correct it/You’re wasting, admiring hating…” 
The track reads more autobiographical than the rest. Against the world, PiL and cohorts would often ignore people pounding. With no security cameras or minders, they were wary. Lydon had often been beaten up in the street. More than once, he came home to find his apartment ransacked by the police Special Branch. He was a subversive rabble-rouser with Irish roots; IRA bombs were a regular menace; perhaps inevitably, some people and authorities projected their racism and/or security fears onto Lydon’s anti-leadership. 
But for those that were there, “Banging the Door” will always be associated with the tempestuous early courtship between Lydon and his wife, the striking blonde German scene-maker, Nora Forster, mother of the late Ari Up, singer of the Slits. In retrospect, Lydon, who was quite a shy guy, might not have wanted to be seen as slushy in front of our fiercely cynical, free-thinking coterie. After all, “This Is Not a Love Song,” would be one of the band’s biggest hits two years later, in 1983. Yet the barbed bouquet of their stormy young relationship has lasted for almost half a century. 
Which is a metaphor for the continued meaning of The Flowers of Romance today, for the mood of survival despite betrayal that it has bequeathed us. Come to that, it captures where we find ourselves now: all lurching through dark Babylon towards an uncertain future. But there is some light ahead, if we keep banging away.
Vivien Goldman / Pitchfork

Julie London ‎– Julie London Sings Latin In A Satin Mood (1963)

Style: Style: Easy Listening, Vocal
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Liberty, Analogue Productions, WaxTime

Tracklist:
A1.   Frenesi
A2.   Be Mine Tonight
A3.   Yours
A4.   Besame Mucho
A5.   Adios
A6.   Sway
B1.   Perfidia
B2.   Come Closer To Me
B3.   Amor
B4.   Magic Is The Moonlight
B5.   You Belong To My Heart
B6.   Vaya Con Dios

Exotic and Latin albums were big deals in the 1950s and early '60s, and singers as diverse as Dean Martin, Lena Horne, and Peggy Lee were recording with castanets and bongo drums. Peggy Lee was so successful at the style that she cut two albums of light pseudo-Latin jazz in 1960. Like Peggy Lee, Julie London combined a restrained vocal approach with jazz phrasing and a cool attitude with icy sex appeal. But while London had Lee's stripped-down musical approach, she just didn't share her unrelenting rhythmic vocal drive or her innate feeling for exotic rhythms. It doesn't help that London is paired with arranger Ernie Freeman, who was usually better at crafting Nashville and soft rock style charts than Latin jazz arrangements. This isn't a bad album -- London sounds casual and confident throughout -- but it is a rather bland one, and isn't blandness what these types of exotica albums are supposed to be fighting against? Latin in a Satin Mood ends up sounding exactly like what it was intended to be -- an aid to put a little vanilla Latin sparkle in suburban American bedrooms. If you want your London in the Latin style, then try her excellent Getz/Gilberto-style tribute to Cole Porter, All Through the Night. Julie London's affinity for West Coast jazz and her melancholy emotional pull were much better suited to bossa nova than to Caribbean Latin music.
Nick Dedina / AllMusic

Julie London ‎– Time For Love - The Best Of Julie London (1991)

Style: Easy Listening
Format: CD
Label:  Rhino Entertainment Company ‎Tracklist

Tracklist:
01.   Cry Me A River
02.   In The Middle Of A Kiss
03.   You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
04.   No Moon At All
05.   June In January
06.   Round Midnight
07.   In The Still Of The Night
08.   My Heart Belongs To Daddy
09.   Invitation To The Blues
10.   Easy Street
11.   Go Slow
12.   The Thrill Is Gone
13.   I Surrender, Dear
14.   Two Sleepy People
15.   A Cottage For Sale
16.   Daddy
17.   Gone With The Wind
18.   I'm In The Mood For Love

A collection of dusky, atmospheric mood music released as a CD in 1990, Time for Love serves as a superb overview of the jazz-pop songstress in her prime. Seductive and personal interpretations of "No Moon at All," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," "Cry Me a River" (a major hit for her), and other classics beautifully demonstrate that, like June Christy and Helen Merrill, London realizes just how effective subtlety can be. While the big band accompaniment on some sides (including a soul-baring version of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight") is nothing to complain about, London is best served by intimate, minimalist small groups -- some boasting only Barney Kessel's guitar and Ray Leatherwood's bass.
Alex Henderson / AllMusic

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Psychic TV ‎– Mouth Of The Night (1985)

Style: Tribal, Industrial, Psychedelic Rock, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.

Tracklist:
A1.   Dawn
A2.   Ordeal Of Innocence
A3.   The Wedding
A4.   Rebis
A5.   Separation And Undressing
B1.   Discopravity
B2.   The Immune Zone
B3.   Climax

Credits:
Music By – Psychic TV
Vocals – Akiko Hada, Paula P-Orridge
Producer – Genesis P-Orridge, HOH
Performer – Alex Fergusson, Genesis P-Orridge, Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, Monte Cazazza, Roc Sandford

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Fat Freddy's Drop ‎– Blackbird (2013)

Style: Dub, Soul-Jazz, Neo Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: The Drop

Tracklist:
1.   Blackbird
2.   Russia
3.   Clean The House
4.   Silver And Gold
5.   Bones
6.   Soldier
7.   Never Moving
8.   Mother Mother
9.   Bohannon


Credits: Dallas Tamaira ("Joe Dukie") – vocals, guitar Chris Faiumu ("DJ Fitchie") – percussion, production Toby Laing ("Tony Chang") – trumpet Tehimana Kerr ("Jetlag Johnson") – guitar Iain Gordon ("Dobie Blaze") – keyboards Joe Lindsay ("Hopepa") – trombone, tuba Scott Towers ("Chopper Reedz") – saxophone


Fat Freddy’s Drop don’t rush things with this only their third full length album in 14 years (excluding a pair of live albums). That steady approach is also one of the defining aspects of their sound and their propensity for slowly evolving electronic, soul, dub and funk workouts that equally nurture listener’s limbs and ears. Blackbird is without doubt their most cohesive and rewarding work to date. 
The general mood of Blackbird is a darker one. On the surface all the elements of what makes them so unique are present and utilised but they’ve managed to economise the ebb and flow of the new songs and create a sprawling yet finely tuned record. Opener Blackbird uses its near 10 minutes to blend funk inflected soul with a swinging dub bass line and reverb drenched horn section, sounding very similar to compatriots The Black Seeds and taking them closer to the dance floor than they have for a while. They also approach a pop format in the first official single Clean the House which captures a pulsing, vaguely Motown groove allowing the other instruments, in particular the guitar, to paint some wonderful melodic stabs and phrasings. Bones lightens the album considerably with its breezy Spearhead-ish vibe and feels comparatively inconsequential before the squelchy electronica of Soldier heads back to darker dub territory. The last three tracks all exceed seven minutes with Never Moving in particular mixing up a swirling electro-funk quick-step that finds them stretching out further into EDM. 
Blackbird is a defining example of rhythm-based musical cross pollination that sounds perfectly natural in the hands of Fat Freddy’s Drop; furthering their exploration of structure, nuance and sonic texture with glorious futuristic results.
 Chris Familton / Doubtful Sounds

The Slits ‎– Cut (1979)

Style: New Wave, Dub, Punk
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Island Rcords

Tracklist:
A1.   Instant Hit
A2.   So Tough
A3.   Spend, Spend, Spend
A4.   Shoplifting
A5.   FM
B1.   Newtown
B2.   Ping Pong Affair
B3.   Love Und Romance
B4.   Typical Girls
B5.   Adventures Close To Home

Credits:
Drums – Budgie
Liner Notes – Mark Paytress
Music By– Palmolive, The Slits
Producer – Dennis Bovel
Written-By – Arianne Forster, Paloma Romero, Tessa Politt, Viviane Albertine

Known to the legions of John Peel's listeners as a regular session act who had created an amusingly chaotic punk noise, The Slits are a great example of a band who, having taken a while to actually get a record deal, became something far greater. Cut, their debut, is a startlingly complex and compelling hybrid of punk, dub and pop that thirty years on sounds as fresh and contemporary as ever. So how did the band go from throwaway scenesters to post-punk icons? 
The answers are twofold: Drummer and producer. Originally an all-female crew with Ari Up, Palmolive, Tessa Pollitt and Viv Albertine all springing from the mid-'70s Ladbroke Grove squat clique, by 1977 they'd supportd the Clash on their White Riot tour but lost their drummer Palmolive to the Raincoats. Drafting in former Spitfire Boy, Budgie (he of later Siouxsie and the Banshees fame) they then took their time finding a producer for their debut. Unusually they chose eminent dubmeister Dennis Bovell, who took their feminist radicalism and laissez faire approach and bolted it tto a deeper, spacier reggae vibe. Suddenly Ari Up's vocal resemblance to Larry the Lamb became a charming layer in the chiming rhythmically complex gumbo that they'd now found as their sound. Budgie's spritzy hi-hat and metronomic capabilities allowed the band to spread out and get playful. 
The lyrics are a mutant mix of faux Jamaican jive and 'couldn't-give-a-toss' West Londonisms. On ''Shoplifting'' Ari warns of the approach of the 'Babylon' while then urging us to 'do a runner!'. Consumerism gets another bashing in ''Spend Spend Spend'' while the feminist backlash to punk's boys club ethics came to the fore in ''So Tough'' (about John Lydon and Sid Vicious) and ''Instant Hit'' (about Keith Levene). The album's peak comes with the hilarious ''Typical Girls''. Shifting time signatures with aplomb, it features a lovely tune disguising a bitter attack on sexual stereotypes. 
The whole album straddles the fine line between amateurism and avant garde. Along with its confrontational cover depicting the band as mud-caked amazons it was to prove a template for the true outpourings of post-punk like The Pop Group and the aforementioned Raincoats. At last women really were to be taken seriously…
Chris Jones  / BBC Review

Friday, 24 August 2018

Das Ding ‎– H.S.T.A. (2009)

Style: New Wave, Electro, Minimal
Format: Vinyl
Label: Minimal Wave

Tracklist:
A1.   Reassurance Ritual
A2.   H.S.T.A.
A3.   Inter Caetera
A4.   Take Me Away
B1.   A Dark Place
B2.   Triffid Farm
B3.   Kindheitsmuster
B4.   Makimono

Credits:
Lyrics By, Music By – D. Bosten

Notes:
The record features lovingly remastered tracks, and is pressed on 180 gram vinyl with a printed inner sleeve featuring Danny Bosten's drawings.

Das Ding is Danny Bosten, who was active in the early 1980s releasing his music and friends’ music via his own cassette label called Tear Apart Tapes. While studying graphic design in art school, he designed all the tape covers himself. Meanwhile, he recorded his own music as Das Ding. Powerful dark electro, some tracks are quite addictive and danceable while others are more for at home listening enjoyment. 
1981, the south of Holland: When his brother’s band decided to take a break, Danny Bosten asked if he might borrow some of their equipment. Some friends contributed synthesizers and soon, Bosten’s bedroom had become a small recording studio. Danny learned to work the machines and began recording. The results were more than passable and he decided to produce a few cassettes to sell and trade. Watching television one evening, the 1953 classic sci-fi movie ‘The Thing From Another World’ came by on a German channel, and Danny had found a name for his project: ‘Das Ding (aus einer Anderen Welt)!’ from 1951. 
At the time, it seemed that everyone was making music, or noises of some sort. This scene seemed to warrant the establishment of a full-blown cassette-label, and so Bosten, together with Johan de Koeyer, who was operating as ‘Les Yeux Interdits’, set up ‘Tear Apart Tapes’. Their first release was a split C-20 cassette featuring ‘Das Ding’ and ‘Les Yeux Interdits’, and Danny, who was studying graphic design at the time, designed the artwork, cassette-sleeves and illustrations himself. 
Those were the days of mail-art and tape-trades, and the mailman was soon delivering stacks of stuff- tapes, records, xeroxed fanzines and weird objects of every kind each morning. A friend arranged the release of another Das Ding tape on the Dutch STUM label, the Update Materials Foundation from Laren, to be called ‘Highly Sophisticated Technological Achievement’, or ‘HSTA’, as it was thereafter known. Over the next years, Danny made more tapes and played some gigs, in various incarnations. At the time, limited by the era’s technology, Das Ding’s music was difficult to perform, and every song had to be programmed before it could be played. With time, Danny’s interests shifted- as did popular taste- toward increasingly guitar-oriented new wave. A new project, ‘The Cherry Orchard’, became his primary musical focus, and after moving to Amsterdam, Danny spent many years producing pirate-radio shows, mixing homemade industrial music with media soundscapes. 
In 2007, 433rpm, of the exhaustive music blog ‘No Longer Forgotten Music’, posted some of his old Das Ding tapes, and Veronica Vasicka- who runs the New York based ‘Minimal Wave’ label and specializes in reissues of 80s synth-wave- contacted Danny, now living in Rotterdam, to propose the release of a Das Ding album. Old tapes were uncovered, and Minimal Wave released a remastered version of ‘HSTA’ and other tracks, in 2010. A wave of renewed interest followed the record’s release and soon people were in touch to propose live shows. Twenty years later, and after some deliberation, Das Ding was reincarnated under its old moniker but now with a revised line-up and a working set-up that reflected inevitable technological change. Suddenly, Das Ding was a ‘Dutch electro-pioneer’ and the apparent pinnacle of ‘Minimal Wave’.
Mininal Wave

Das Ding ‎– Highly Sophisticated Technological Achievement (1982)

Style: New Wave, Electro, Minimal
Format: Cass.
Label: Minimal Wave

Tracklist:
Dark Side
A1.   Oradour Sur Glane
A2.   Sad But True
A3.   Parental Malpractice
Bright Side
B1.   H.S.T.A.
B2.   Jazz
B3.   Reassurance Ritual

Credits:
Lyrics By, Music By – D. Bosten

Notes:
Met dank aan: Tonny, Inie, Rienk, Johan...
Originally released in 1982

Das Ding is Danny Bosten, who was active in the early 1980s releasing his music and friends’ music via his own cassette label called Tear Apart Tapes. While studying graphic design in art school, he designed all the tape covers himself. Meanwhile, he recorded his own music as Das Ding. Powerful dark electro, some tracks are quite addictive and danceable while others are more for at home listening enjoyment. 
1981, the south of Holland: When his brother’s band decided to take a break, Danny Bosten asked if he might borrow some of their equipment. Some friends contributed synthesizers and soon, Bosten’s bedroom had become a small recording studio. Danny learned to work the machines and began recording. The results were more than passable and he decided to produce a few cassettes to sell and trade. Watching television one evening, the 1953 classic sci-fi movie ‘The Thing From Another World’ came by on a German channel, and Danny had found a name for his project: ‘Das Ding (aus einer Anderen Welt)!’ from 1951. 
At the time, it seemed that everyone was making music, or noises of some sort. This scene seemed to warrant the establishment of a full-blown cassette-label, and so Bosten, together with Johan de Koeyer, who was operating as ‘Les Yeux Interdits’, set up ‘Tear Apart Tapes’. Their first release was a split C-20 cassette featuring ‘Das Ding’ and ‘Les Yeux Interdits’, and Danny, who was studying graphic design at the time, designed the artwork, cassette-sleeves and illustrations himself. 
Those were the days of mail-art and tape-trades, and the mailman was soon delivering stacks of stuff- tapes, records, xeroxed fanzines and weird objects of every kind each morning. A friend arranged the release of another Das Ding tape on the Dutch STUM label, the Update Materials Foundation from Laren, to be called ‘Highly Sophisticated Technological Achievement’, or ‘HSTA’, as it was thereafter known. Over the next years, Danny made more tapes and played some gigs, in various incarnations. At the time, limited by the era’s technology, Das Ding’s music was difficult to perform, and every song had to be programmed before it could be played. With time, Danny’s interests shifted- as did popular taste- toward increasingly guitar-oriented new wave. A new project, ‘The Cherry Orchard’, became his primary musical focus, and after moving to Amsterdam, Danny spent many years producing pirate-radio shows, mixing homemade industrial music with media soundscapes. 
In 2007, 433rpm, of the exhaustive music blog ‘No Longer Forgotten Music’, posted some of his old Das Ding tapes, and Veronica Vasicka- who runs the New York based ‘Minimal Wave’ label and specializes in reissues of 80s synth-wave- contacted Danny, now living in Rotterdam, to propose the release of a Das Ding album. Old tapes were uncovered, and Minimal Wave released a remastered version of ‘HSTA’ and other tracks, in 2010. A wave of renewed interest followed the record’s release and soon people were in touch to propose live shows. Twenty years later, and after some deliberation, Das Ding was reincarnated under its old moniker but now with a revised line-up and a working set-up that reflected inevitable technological change. Suddenly, Das Ding was a ‘Dutch electro-pioneer’ and the apparent pinnacle of ‘Minimal Wave’.
Mininal Wave

Ronald Shannon Jackson ‎– Red Warrior (1990)

Style: Jazz-Rock, Avantgarde
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Axiom

Tracklist:
1.   Ashes
2.   Red Warrior
3.   Gate To Heaven
4.   In Every Face
5.   Elders
6.   What's Not Said

Credits:
Bass – Conrad Mathieu, Ramon Pooser
Drums – Ronald Shannon Jackson
Guitar – Jack DeSalvo, Jef Lee Johnson, Stevie Salas
Written By – Ronald Shannon Jackson
Producer – Bill Laswell, Ronald Shannon Jackson
Recorded By – Jason Corsaro, Robert Musso

Forsaking the keyboard and saxophone lineups of many of his Decoding Society bands, composer/drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson uses a three-guitar and two-bass group on Red Warrior, creating a dense musical backdrop for his inspired arrangements. The "stripped down" band configuration is reflected in the loose, jam session feel of the record, which, unlike the earlier, more sonically varied album Decode Yourself, includes a good number of blues-based tracks ("Ashes," "Gates to Heaven," and "In Every Face"). This is not to say Red Warrior is a straightforward record, by any means. As is Jackson's inclination, the mix is expanded with plenty of jazz improvisation, weaves of effects-riddled guitar lines, complex head statements, and, of course, the drummer's pan-stylistic rhythmic support. The album also contains a variety of material, including the "Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Dr. John," New Orleans shuffle blues "Red Warrior" and the sprawling, free-form "Elders." Excellent contributions are made by the entire band, which includes guitarists Jef Lee Johnson, Steve Salas, and Jack DeSalvo and bassists Ramon Pooser and Conrad Mathieu. Red Warrior is just one of several, very impressive releases to be put out in the last two decades by Jackson, who, like contemporary composer Henry Threadgill, has unforgivably been overlooked and unsung all these years.
 Stephen Cook / AllMusic

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Van Morrison ‎– No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986)

Style: Folk Rock, Acoustic
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Mercury Records

Tracklist:
01.   Got To Go Back
02.   Oh The Warm Feeling
03.   Foreign Window
04.   A Town Called Paradise
05.   In The Garden
06.   Tir Na Nog
07.   Here Comes The Knight
08.   Thanks For The Information
09.   One Irish Rover
10.   Ivory Tower

Credits:
Backing Vocals – Bianca Thornton, Jeanie Tracy, June Boyce, Rosie Hunter
Bass – David Hayes
Cor Anglai, Oboe – Kate St. John
Drums – Baba Trunde
Lead Guitar – Chris Michie
Lead Guitar – John Platania
Piano, Synthesizer – Jeff Labes
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Richie Buckley
Trumpet – Martin Drover
Producer, Written-By – Van Morrison

Released in 1986, Van Morrison’s No Guru, No Method, No Teacher appeared at a time when he and many of his contemporaries were struggling with relevance and changing production values. 
Rock ‘n’ rollers had no map in which to guide their muse, and the era was filled with hits, misses and a search for musical identity. Morrison stayed consistent to his musical vision with No Guru, No Method, No Teacher, emerging with an earthy, soil-scented collection of organic songs. Images of rain, rolling hills, abandoned roads and thematic explorations of faith, love and art develop the foundation of No Guru, No Method, No Teacher. 
Critics lauded a return to form that honestly really never had left Morrison. Regardless, they were correct in appraising the record as magical and highly invested in. No Guru, No Method, No Teacher contains a misty mystery and permeating sense of regret throughout, but also an encompassing sense of redemption by the album’s conclusion. With a gracefulness that only he can conjure, Morrison doesn’t shock with vocal gymnastics, but soothes with gritty replies and whispered inquiries. 
The instrumentation acts as an ornate antique frame for the vivid lyrical watercolors created, while The production stays close to home — happily staying away from the artificial drums and keyboard sonics of the era. It feels warm, only adding a cavernous theater echo to Morrison’s throat on some of the tracks. The rich sylvan acoustic guitars, forest piano and breezy nature of woodwinds and strings blended with Morrison’s voice of the earth equate to, in my opinion, the most intimate record since 1974’s Veedon Fleece. 
No Guru, No Method, No Teacher opens on the willowy acoustic groove of “Got to Go Back,” swaying like a baby in the arms of its mother. Morrison’s lyrical recitation is smooth and low, a call and response with the female backing vocalists. The song introduces the meditative theme of the record where the songs pour out of the grooves, flowing and rolling musical water, rushing and blending into one another. 
“Oh the Warm Feeling” begins with a comforting breathy horn and transparent percussion that quietly rattles under a plush blue bass. Summer ocean sun and salty air caress the narrator, the song’s balmy ambiance soaking into the skin. The song moves quickly in spite of its slow tempo, anticipation and hopefulness driving the invisible rhythm. This track is a terribly underrated song in the Morrison catalog and one of the finest on the record. 
The mysterious and ethnic “Foreign Window” follows, containing a harmonica that sounds suspiciously like one Mr. Dylan. While not credited to Bob Dylan on the record, this possibility makes sense as Dylan and Morrison would perform breathtaking acoustic versions of this song and “One Irish Rover” for a Van Morrison documentary. (Stream it!: “One Irish Rover,’ with Bob Dylan.) The song moves with the scent of lilac, developed with the imagery of a thousand classic memories that come into focus when a fleeting glimpse is caught of a foreign window framed above the suffering street below. Big imposing horns invest the song with a hopefulness that cuts through the enigmatic instrumentation. 
The next track, “A Town Called Paradise” skips on a stilted drum beat and hill climbing bass guitar. Containing the verdant mystery of Morrison’s best work, the song illicits a pastoral escape from the trappings of wise guys, thieves and crookedness of the world. Hearty saxophone and doo wop backing vocals drive the dynamic groove that rolls, gaining momentum, hiding around corners and curves, appearing at the crest of a ridge, increasing speed. The song is the first of the record where Morrison gets gritty, his voice rising with the music, his words appearing from behind a smoky veil.

The first side of the album concludes with a vintage Morrison concert standard, and arguably the crowning achievement of the recording. “In the Garden” begins with precipitous piano, appearing through the mild steam after a summer afternoon rain. This song is one of Morrison’s finest moments, and possibly his greatest composition of the 1980s. 
The deep tincture of religion, love and companionship blends with the essential and sensual appraisal of nature through Morrison’s reading. Morrison runs the vocal gamut, his voice ranging from holy hollers to revealing whispers that pull you in close. The title of No Guru, No Method, No Teacher is drawn from the lyrical content of this epic track, as well. Morrison has said it’s his statement of purpose, as he subscribes to no particular method in his thinking or his faith. 
The second side of the album begins with “Tir Na Nog,” a track that shares a similarity through natural imagery with the side one closer. The concluding narrative of side one and beginning tale of side two make this record essential listening. “Tir Na Nog” brings to the surface deeper elements of reincarnation, spirituality and destiny. The instrumental journey is round as a wagon wheel and braided like aged vines, a Celtic mantra in which Morrison’s individualistic phrasing is weaved. Detailed strings reflect Morrison’s voice, slicing through the humid instrumentation with dexterity and clean lines. 
“Here Comes the Knight” is the token soul number of the recording, as Morrison digs in with Renaissance hyperbole around a straight 4/4 drum beat. The most straight-forward song of the album, “Knight” features an arrangement that allows Morrison to just sing it. It’s yet another Van Morrison song that a listener can put on the turntable and completely control the vibe and ambiance of a room with. 
“Thanks for the Information” is kinetically electric when contrasted with the previous compositions on No Guru, No Method, No Teacher. The song is a bluesy strut, based around stabbing red-warning siren guitars. A sly and sarcastic commentary on self improvement, self confidence and the ongoing battles with other people as well as yourself. “Information” is powered by slick horns that butter up the gritty rhythm track and glorious gospel chorus lines. 
“One Irish Rover” plays as an aged folk ballad regardless of its electric keyboard opening, and acts as a poignant anthem for Morrison and his history. Containing one of his most endearing melodies, the song plays like a self-penned testament to Morrison’s history as a tale teller. The song is one of the better known and appreciated tracks off of this album, and a song that has become inseparable from its author. A delicate china-cup acoustic holds the fragile vocal lines in a bed of cotton, safe and warm. The song would have been a fitting closer for No Guru, No Method, No Teacher, but Morrison must have wanted to exit on a rocking note. 
“Ivory Tower” was one of this album’s singles, charting just outside the Top 20 and concluding the collection on a rock ‘n’ roll note. The song sits in contrast to the previous songs, being less about meditation and contemplation and more about the realities Morrison faces in his life. Lyrically, Morrison is asking for a realization about how real life issues conflict with the aforementioned spiritual themes of the record. Typically amazing vocals and restrained but rocking instrumentation close out the collection. 
No Guru, No Method, No Teacher arrived in an era where music sometimes took a backseat to the flashiness and neon sensibilities. Van Morrison, however, has always stayed on course with his artistic direction. With this record, he created one of his most long-lasting pieces of work. The introspective themes combined with a subjective analysis equate to a project that not only expands on Morrison’s own thoughts and dreams but exposes themes that the listener can easily relate to and meditate on. 
Considering this album in the context of a discography as extensive and varied as Morrison’s is a tall order. In my opinion, the record can nestle comfortably in any era of Morrison’s artistic output whether it be the 1960s or the first decades of the new millennium.
Stephen Lewis / Something Else!

Cousteau ‎– Cousteau (2000)

Style: Pop Rock, Ballad
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Palm Pictures, Naïve, Global Warming

Tracklist:
01.   Your Day Will Come
02.   The Last Good Day Of The Year
03.   Mesmer
04.   Jump In The River
05.  How Will I Know
06.   (Shades Of) Ruinous Blue
07.   You My Lunar Queen
08.   She Don't Hear Your Prayer
09.   One Good Reason
10.   Wish You Were Her
11.   Of This Goodbye

Credits:
Bass, Violin, Vocals – Joe Peet
Drums, Flute, Percussion – Dan Church
Electric Guitar, Vocals, Artwork By, Design – Robin Brown
Percussion – Will Le Strange
Vocals, Percussion, Artwork By, Design – Liam McKahey
Vocals, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Horn, Composed By – Davey Ray Moor
Producer, Arranged By, Mixed By, Engineer – Cousteau

Cousteau's debut full-length is almost a victory of style over substance. Unfortunately, many of the songs and arrangements fall a bit flat. The late-'60s work of Scott Walker is clearly the biggest influence of the band. While Davey Ray Moor and compatriots do get the atmosphere right, some of the songs simply flutter apart before they get going. It's not that the songs aren't good; it's more that they are a tad too obvious in their charms. "(Shades Of) Ruinous Blue," for example, displays the chamber pop joys of Walker, but the chorus comes too soon and too often to provide much of a payoff. Certain songs do take flight and provide great entertainment, in particular "The Last Good Day of the Year and "One Good Reason." "One Good Reason" even sounds like it was crafted back in the early days of Scott Walker's career; that was probably the intention when the song's sonics were manufactured in the studio. There's really not much reason to pay attention to this album if a listener hasn't already completed their Scott Walker collection. Even then, there's a multitude of artists, including Tindersticks and the Divine Comedy who use Walker as a point of departure, rather than a blueprint. In the current world of pop/rock, it takes more than mimicry of one's peers and influences to make a compelling album. Still, this self-titled album is a promising debut from Cousteau; it suggests that the band, with better arrangements and more original songs, might be capable of scaling greater heights.
Tim DiGravina / AllMusic