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iamasadlittleboy

iamasadlittleboy

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Ok I dont usually check my guestbook on here, so if someone needs to ask my anything at all, could they please e-mail me, penypicker@gmail.com TY :-)

Reviews written

since 20/06/2006

386

Secretions - Garfunkel and Oates 16/10/2015

Garfunkel and Oates show how great raunchy comedy music can be!

Secretions - Garfunkel and Oates Comedy music, at it's very core, is a gimmick genre. It's not necessarily about musical ability but about comedy and occasionally it provides little more than cheap laughs rather than a well thought out and creatively intelligent listen. Every so often however we get comedy music that is both hilarious and smart. That description fits the grandfather of the genre, Tom Lehrer, perfectly. Lehrer was wonderfully smart, hilariously funny and often rather informative. Whilst Lehrer's time and come and gone, that doesn't mean comedy music has resorted to just being the cheap laughs. In fact we currently have a pair of females who have managed to become the spiritual successors of Lehrer with hilarious tracks and incredibly smart, and well thought out lyrics. The one difference perhaps has been that they've amped up the raunchiness to the point where almost every song is explicit, yet they don't resort to getting cheap laughs just from the contest of the tracks. Those two girls are Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, or Garfunkel and Oates to give them their stage names. The two talented musicians took their names from Art Garfunkel, of Simon and Garfunkel fame, and John Oates, of Hall and Oates fame, and although they are named after the “second bananas” of their respective rock and roll pairings they have managed to carve out a brilliant niche for themselves, since forming in 2007. In fact their popularity and humour has seen their songs being featured in popular TV shows like ...

You Wanna See Something Really Scary - Hayseed Dixie 11/10/2015

An uninspired effort from the Hayseed Dixie boys

You Wanna See Something Really Scary - Hayseed Dixie Over the past few days I've been dipping my toes back into the bluegrass-cover band Hayseed Dixie and came across one of their EP's “You Wanna See Something Really Scary?”. The EP features 5 tracks and was released back in 2006, as their 6th release in total, and their third under the “Cooking Vinyl” label. The EP begins with a cover of the classic Halloween gimmick song "Monster Mash". The track, which has been a staple at this time of year, is actually one of the weakest covers I've heard from Hayseed Dixie. The song has been given the bluegrass make over but it doesn't really work here and song is ends up falling flat, perhaps the result of too many gimmicks in one place. For those who like Hayseed Dixie the track might be "bearable" but in fairness it's pushing it and it really is one of my least favourite covers by the group. The only other cover on this EP is "Bad Moon Rising", by "Creedence Clearwater Revival". I've got to admit I had to go an listen to the original before reviewing the album as off the top of my head I couldn't recall the song but within just a few seconds I recognised the track. Strangely this is one of the few Hayseed Dixie covers where the original track sounds almost a folk-y and in many ways that takes the shine off the cover, which isn't awful but certainly doesn't stand out as one I'll be listening to again in a hurry. The third track on this disk is the first original track and is called “Didn't Wake up This Morning”. This is possibly the ...

Huawei Honor 6+ 4G 32 GB 03/10/2015

A very honorable device!

Huawei Honor 6+ 4G 32 GB Earlier this year my phone contract came up for renewal. For the previous few year I'd been using the top tier Samsung's, the S2, S3 and S4 and had fancied myself the S6 or the S6 Edge which both appeared to have the top range Samsung features I liked. Unfortunately however it seemed that Samsung had began to give themselves the Apple pricing structure and what were once affordable top range phone had become unaffordable top range phones. The search for a replacement began. It was during this search that I found out 3, my network, were selling the “Honor 6+” a phone I knew little about but was well priced and, on paper at least, it offered a lot for a less price tag. The design was similar to an Apple device however there was a strange double camera lens on the back. On the whole it looked appealing, smart and serious. Having played with a few others in 3, and having the nice sales lady give me the patter about the Sony that she had and the LG that her colleague had, I decided to go with the “Honor 6+”, the price and expandable memory being the deciding points. When I got home I had a few short term problems, including one with one of the features that actually makes the phone stand out. The phone is one of the few in the UK which allows for two different SIM cards, both of which are region free allowing you to make the most of things like O2 moments whilst also having your own network, which for me was 3. Originally I put in both my old SIM and the new SIM and for the ...

Immortalized - Disturbed 10/09/2015

This won't leave Disturbed Immortalized, but will please fans

Immortalized - Disturbed In the past I've flirted in and out with the metal genre though on the whole I've found myself drifting away from it rather quickly. There is however one metal band who have stuck around with me for a few years. That are American group Disturbed who formed back in the mid 1990's and have been highly successful in both their American homeland and internationally. Their success has seen them break out from just being “another metal band” to actually being a band regularly featured in other media, such as video games, TV, movies and used at professional sports events, notably professional wrestling. In 2011, after more than 15 years as a unit, the band went on a hiatus as the members got involved in other projects. That hiatus ended earlier this year when the band got back together to release their 6th studio album, “Immortalized”. It was their first since 2010's “Asylum” and ended their biggest break between studio albums of new content. Despite the hiatus the bands fanbase remained loyal and upon the release of “Immortalized”, back in August, the album went straight to #1 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 98,000 copies in the first week alone. It also reached the top 10 in other key markets including Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Germany and Finland. The regular release, which I'll be reviewing here, features 13 tracks in total though, via various other releases, there are a total of 18 tracks released for the album with with 3 of hose appearing on the Deluxe edition ...

Still Alive After Amateur Transplants - Suman Biswas 09/09/2015

Suman Biswas is still alive!

Still Alive After Amateur Transplants - Suman Biswas Back in the mid 00's there was a comedy band called "Amateur Transplants". Whilst I suspect many will have heard of them, plenty won't have considering they were more of a cult band than anything that really broke into the mainstream, despite the viral success of “London Underground”, a parody of “Going Underground” by the Jam. “Amateur Transplants” were two friends, and doctors, who recorded parodies, often with a medical theme, of popular songs. The songs were funny and the music, whilst sometimes offensive, were often hilarious. Sadly the group split leaving the two performers to go their own way. One of those was Suman Biswas who released a solo album in 2013, "Still Alive after Amateur Transplants". The album was Biswas's first as a solo artist and continued what he had done with Amateur Transplants with parodies based on pop songs. Unlike some parody artists, for example Weird Al, Biswas's solo album didn't feature full variation of songs and as a result the album lists more than 30 songs, all on one disk. Some of those tracks are less than a minute long and act as a short laugh rather than any sort of serious music context. As a result I won't be looking at all songs though have picked some of the highlights to include in this review. The album is just Biswas singing and playing the guitar to accompany his singing. There is very little variation from that however there is, wonderfully, the lyrical changes of songs we're all familiar with, which automatically ...

Hot Piece of Grass - Hayseed Dixie 09/07/2015

Well that's a very hot piece of grass Hayseed, very hot!

Hot Piece of Grass - Hayseed Dixie As a huge fan of cover songs I was advised to give a good listen to bluegrass band Hayseed Dixie, a band who were founded in 2001 and first made their name covering AC/DC songs in a bluegrass =, or hillybilly, manner. The gimmick may have seemed a silly one and one bound to fail quickly but instead it's become a huge success story with the band realising numerous albums ranging from the covers, which are their bread and butter, to albums of completely original content. One of those cover albums was “Hot Piece of Grass”, a 2005 release and the 5th album from the band. It was released with at least 2 different versions, one features a cover of “Whole Lotta Rosie” by AC/DC with another lacks “Whole Lotta Rosie” but instead features “Roses”, by Outkast, and “Rocking in the Free World” by Neil Young. Whilst the band were named after, and made much of their early fan base, by covering AC/DC this album, in the version I'm covering, doesn't actually have any AC/DC covers and instead ranges from classic rock artists, such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Neil Young, to contemporary artists such as Franz Ferdinand, Outkast and Green Day. It's a great range of artists all given the Hayseed Dixie treatment and not a single track doesn't feel completely fresh and new, despite them all being covers. The album kicks off with a classic as the band cover “Black Dog” (Led Zeppelin) and immediately you can hear that the band were in fine form turning the hard rock song song into a full ...

Silverball - Barenaked Ladies 08/07/2015

Keep your clothes on ladies!

Silverball - Barenaked Ladies I was recently going through the list of "latest releases" on the google play music app and came across the latest album from Canadian alt-rock band "Barenaked Ladies" a band I generally enjoy listening too with their inoffensive, and often catchy, soft rock. The album in question was the 2015 release "Silverball" and given that I've enjoyed them in the past I suspected that I would really enjoy this one too. Sadly however I was left feeling relatively disappointed by the band who are, of course, best known for "The Big Bang Theme Song". The album begins on a bit of a high with the very enjoyable “Get Back Up” a solid start to the album with decent lyrics, a catchy beat and a few lines that appealed to me on a personal level, including “I'm not the second coming of Muhammad Ali/but can I get a WOOT for the boxing imagery” which put an immediate smile on my face. The song, whilst nothing original, it relatively catching and an enjoyable enough start to the album with out managing to set the world on fire. The second track “Here Before” is similar in many ways to the music I've come to expect from Barenaked Ladies. It's catchy, simple and enjoyable soft rock. Sadly though it sort of stands to it's title of “Here before”, it sounds like a lot of their previous tracks and whilst that's fine, it does seem to lack a little bit of imagination. As with the album's opening track there isn't anything wrong with it, but it is very much a track that plays it safe and falls into the ...

Modern Times Rock'N'Roll - Tomoyasu Hotei 17/04/2015

Hotei covers some of Rock's greatest tracks

Modern Times Rock'N'Roll - Tomoyasu Hotei A few days ago I reviewed Tomoyasu Hotei's “Electric Samurai” and gave it a less than positive review. In fact I was incredibly disappointed by much of the album which was essential instrumental after instrumental. On the whole that album left me knowing that Hotei was talented but that there was so much more for him to do. Thankfully however I knew he had done more, a lot more, and another release of his proved it. That release was his 2009 release “Modern Times Rock'n'Roll”. The album is a cover album of western rock music that sees Hotei going through the annals of western rock and giving the songs his own little touch. Before I get on to the album I'll just try and quickly explain who Hotei is. He is one of the god father's of Japanese rock music and first came to the attention of music fans in Japan in the early 1980's. His fame rose quickly due to his accomplished musicianship which saw him being able to play guitar, bass, drums and keyboard. In recent years however he has become synonymous with the electric guitar and his now well known track “Battle without Honour or Humanity”, AKA “The Kill Bill Theme tune”. More recently he has been living in London working on new a new album, “New Beginnings” which was released late last year and featured the legendary Iggy Pop. Anyway, back to this album. This kicks off the way it means to go on and begins with a cover of the Steppenwolf classic “Born to be Wild”. From the first riff of the album you know you're in for a ...

Electric Samurai (The Noble Savage) - Tomoyasu Hotei 15/04/2015

The electric samurai doesn't quite strike the right notes

Electric Samurai (The Noble Savage) - Tomoyasu Hotei Tomoyasu Hotei is probably not a name you're familiar with. Like many musician from Asia he's not quite managed to become a star over here and in fact at one point he was living in London so that he could do low profile gigs. Whether you recognise his name or note the odds are you have heard his music. He's one of those artists who managed to have one of his tracks become something special and reach a huge audience far outside of what he would ever have imagined. The track in question is "Battle Without Honor or Humanity". It was a track made massively famous for it's use in Quentin Tarantino's “Kill Bill” film and has since been used in everything from “Transformers” to “Team America”, from “My Name is Earl” to “Dancing With The Stars”, from Chris Moyle's radio show to “Gran Tourismo” video games, from X-Factor USA to MMA. It's fair to say the track has outshone Hotei in many ways and millions of people who have heard the track won't have any of it's origin. Despite that Hotei himself has certainly made a lot of money from it's royalties and seems very proud of it, such much so that it's the centre piece to his 2004 album “Electric Samurai”, an electric lead album of mostly instrumental pieces Many of the tracks from the album are taken from work Hotei did for a couple of films. The first was “Samurai Fiction”, a movie that was released 1998 and saw Hotei getting his first acting role, the other was "New Battles Without Honor and Humanity", which was released in 2000. It ...

Box Emotions - Superfly 12/04/2015

Keep the emotions boxed Superfly!

Box Emotions - Superfly Over the last few years I've been working with a Japanese friend on website and he's happily introduced me to a variety of Japanese musicians whilst being happy to let me borrow a number of his CD's. Among those CD's was "Box Emotions" by Japanese Rock artist Superfly. Originally formed as a band in the 00's Superfly has been whittled down to just singer/songwriter Shiho Ochi, whilst former member KÅichi Tabo still helps with lyrics and as a composer. Since becoming a solo act Superfly has gone from strength to strength becoming one of the most popular female solo artists in the country. The album was released in 2009 and was Superfly's second album coming a year after the self titled "Superfly" album. The debut album had seen the band getting rave reviews and managed to peak at #1 on the Japanese Weekly charts whilst selling more than 400,000 copies on a 42 week Chart run. The debut had seen Superfly connect with the public in a way that few Japanese solo artists had managed and the album was the first #1 debut album for a female in the country in since 1999. Like Superfly's debut album this one also went to #1 on the Oricon weekly charts whilst selling more than 529,000 copies, and amazingly came #9 in the Yearly Albums chart. In terms of success it was more successful than the debut album and continued to show the growing fan base of the group which has made her a staple of the charts. The album begins with the catch “Alright” a high paced pop-rock track that was ...

Force - Superfly 04/04/2015

Superfly is a force to be reckoned with!

Force - Superfly Recently I was asked to do a profile of Japanese boxer Hinata Maruta for a website my friend owns. As part of my research I found all sorts of random facts about Mr Maruta, a 17 year old fighter. Amongst those facts were that he was a big fan of music from CN Blue, a Korean band, and Superfly. Being an inquisitive type of person I decided to give both artists a listen and immediately fell in love with Superfly. For those who are unaware, like I suspect most are, Superfly is a Japanese rock act that was founded in the 00's. Originally the a act consisted of female singer Shiho Ochi and Koichi Tabo though now it's effectively al the work of Ms Ochi who has essentially worked as a solo artist under the name “Superfly” since 2007. The first album of Superfly's that I gave a listen to was “Force”. It was an album released in 2012 and an album the band recognise as their 4th studio album, though it's actually their 5th album to reach #1 on the Japanese Oricon chart along with 3 previous studio albums and a compilation album of covers. In total the album sold more than 119,000 copies on it's first week and went on to almost double that whilst still in the Oricon charts. That saw it being recognised as a platinum selling album by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The album begins with the title track, “Force” which immediately caught my attention for it's brilliant opening riff that grabs you by the throat and demands that you listen to it. Unfortunately for some fans ...

(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves - Hawksley Workman 29/08/2014

Striptease for me baby

(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves - Hawksley Workman A few years ago I went through a period of listening to various "unknown artists", one of which was a Canadian named Hawksley Workman. At the time his second album, "(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves" had just been released in Canada and I immediately fell in love with two of the albums tracks. From then on I dipped in and out of his music due to how hard it was to get a hold of it. Thankfully with the age of digital music and numerous streaming services I've been able to dip back into Mr Workman's music and been able to enjoy more than just a handful of songs that I had originally been limited to. This mean I was finally able to hear a full album rather than just songs. Knowing I like some songs from "(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves" I began to get back into Hawksley by listening to this album and immediately fell back in love with the songs I had loved years ago. The first of those was "Striptease" a fun and sexually playful song lyrically but a catchy pop-rock song musically. It's not one you'll find yourself singing along with but you will certainly find yourself enjoying if you like light radio friend rock, even if they lyrics aren't quite radio friendly (they aren't explicit however). The second of the songs I had loved was the slightly more explicit "Jealous of Your Cigarette". It doesn't quite break the line of "explicit content" but it rounds the line close and makes clear allusions to something not particularly wholesome. The edgy content ...

Horns and Halos - Michael Monroe 27/08/2014

Horns and Halos aren't very inspiring I'm afraid

Horns and Halos - Michael Monroe Whilst recently listening to the excellent L'arc-en-ciel "Tribute" album (not to be confused with the frankly awful "Vivid Covers") I heard a track by a man called Michael Monroe. His track was a cover of "Heaven's Drive" one of my favourite L'arc-en-ciel tracks and he had miraculously turned the song into his own with an amazing re-imagining of the track. Genuinely it gave the original track some competition. Originally I had assumed that Monroe was an American singer that had worked with some famous band. It wasn't until I actually looked into him that I found his "name" was misleading and his real name was Matti Antero Kristian Fagerholm. With a name like that it may come as no surprise to learn that he's not an American, in fact he's a Finnish singer from Helsinki. Were it not for me actually looking him up I'd have been convinced he was an American. The sound of his voice was very much that of an America rock singer, his visual style was that of a glam rocker with long blonde hair and his name, well that was deliberately Americanised. Like many of those glam artists Monroe has been around for years, in fact his first foray into music came in the late 1970's with "Hanoi Rocks". Since then he has been in various bands and side projects whilst also later releasing his own work. Monroe's most recent release was "Horns and Halos". Released in 2013 it was his 9th solo album and went straight to #1 in the Finnish Album charts. Although Monroe is Finnish his singing is ...

Diabolos - Gackt 26/08/2014

Japanese star isn't diabolical!

Diabolos - Gackt When you talk about Japanese superstars few can really rival Gackt. He has had numerous smash hits, featured in films, had massive sales in albums and become a genuine megastar with crossover appeal not just nationally but also internationally having appeared in things such as an Indonesian TV shows and various videos games. You may not have heard of him but but in Japan this guy is huge. Born in 1973 Gackt has been involved in the music scene since 1994 though really made his name at the turn of the millennium when he made the decision to go solo, a decision that has helped him rise to his current status as one of the kings of Japanese entertainment. In 2005 Gackt released his 6th full length studio album, "Diabolos", which sold in excess of 100,000 copies in it's chart run, which lasted 9 weeks. The album, in 2007, was then re-released internationally with it's release being in several European countries as the internet helped Gackt's popularity outside of his homeland. Not only did the album do well in terms of sales and chart position, reaching #4 but it was also accompanied by a monster tour of 36 concerts, including a massive sell out at the Tokyo Dome on New Year's Eve which was attended by more than 42,000 people. It also featured Gackt's first solo concert in Korea and helped boost his public profile notably, even though he wasn't particularly small at the time. The album begins with an instrumental piece "Misty". At 2 minutes 19 seconds it's a short piece ...

Still Alive (Special Edition) - Big Bang 26/08/2014

This album is "Fantastic Baby"

Still Alive (Special Edition) - Big Bang If you were to look at me right now you'd imagine I was one of those people who was still into the grunge movement from the 1990's. I have long hair, ripped jeans and a general "I don't give a flying monkeys how I look" attitude. What my general appearance fails to show is just how eclectic my music taste is and it ranges from the likes of the Seattle grunge scene of Nirvana and Pearl Jam all the way over the vibrant and crazy pop scene in Seoul. One of the biggest artists current in Korea, in fact in the world right name, is Big Bang. They are often viewed as the Asian answer to One Direction and, like One Direction, their concerts sell out in impressive fashion where ever they travel on the planet, their albums sell insane numbers, their air play is huge and they are generally regarded as superstars in the Asian music markets both in their native Korea and in Japan. In 2012 Big Bang released "Alive" and soon followed it up with a special edition version of the album titled "Still Alive". It was, to say the least, a major international success charting highly on the iTunes charts in both Canada and the US and was followed up by a world tour that saw the band performing in 25 cities across 16 countries. The album opens with the title track, "Still Alive", a fast, up-tempo track that combines rap and pop perfectly into a track that captivates you almost immediately. This isn't a track that tries to lure you into listening to the album but instead grabs you by the hand and ...
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