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radarmaker

radarmaker

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since 20/07/2000

50

Without You I'm Nothing - Placebo 22/09/2000

The NME's favourite band...

Without You I'm Nothing - Placebo Brian and the boys' second album, dollowing on from their eponymous debut. Whatever has been said about Placebo recently (not all of it unjustified), you can't deny that their albums have been consistently high quality. 'Without You I'm Nothing' is an hour(ish) long record, and the tone rarely rises above melancholy. Make no mistake, this is not a 'happy' album. But it oozes sheer class. The secret track is frankly astonishing, pure distilled menace, and the best song (if song is the right word) on the album. Overall, then, a pretty good record. ...

Three E.P.'s - Beta Band (The) 22/09/2000

Three Steps to Heaven...

Three E.P.'s - Beta Band (The) They may think their debut eponymous album isn't much cop, but this compilation of their three earlier EPs (as you might have guessed) is generally agreed to be pretty much out of the top drawer. Here we see why the originals have been changing hands for prices roughly the same as the national debt of a small country. It starts with 'Dry The Rain,' an eight-or-so minute piece of chilled, narco-rock, which sets the tone for the proceeding tracks. 'Inner Meet Me' is famous for being (allegedly) ripped of by Oasis for 'Go Let It Out'. It seems the Betas are in their element in a low production value, lo-fi situation. This is definitely better than 'The Beta Band,' and one of the best debuts I've ever heard. ...

Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord Is Dead - Do Make Say Think 22/09/2000

Did, made, thought it was quite good.

Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord Is Dead - Do Make Say Think They’re from Canada. They make post-rock. They’re on Constellation Records. They’re not Godspeed You Black Emperor! So, some more icy build-up, noisy drones, eh? Well, don’t take over those crystal citadels just yet, kids, ‘Do May Say Think’ may just have a bit more up their sleeves. For a start, their songs aren’t all thirty minutes long. Their melancholy appears to be politicised, but in what way one is unable to tell. Whether Toronto-based rock counts as music for a cold climate, it’s difficult to tell, but Do May Say Think do in fact add something to their (pretty obscurist) genre. ...

A vs. Monkey Kong - A 22/09/2000

King of the punk-pop jungle...

A vs. Monkey Kong - A They called themselves ‘A’ in order to get to the front of the CD racks in stores, apparently. Which is as good a reason as any, I guess. This is the second album release from A, who are known as being a better live band than they are on record. On the strength of this record, however, I would dispute this. For those who don’t know, A play chirpy punk-pop, mainly concerned with having a good time. I can’t say the record is terribly original, but A certainly know what they’re doing as far as this genre is concerned, ‘I Love Lake Tahoe’ is truly a pop masterpiece, and, in general, ‘A Vs. Monkey Kong’ is a pretty good, straightforward punky pop record. ...

Drawn from Memory - Embrace 12/09/2000

Embrace-ing the future?

Drawn from Memory - Embrace The second album from Bradford/Leeds/Huddersfield (depending on who you ask)'s finest is 11 more slabs of anthemic indie. 'The Good Will Out' reached #1 in the album charts, this didn't do quite as good, which I thought strange given the commercial musical style. The opening trio of 'Love It Takes,' 'You're Not Alone,' and 'Save Me' mean a cracking start. It's a pity the record can't keep it up until the end. While there's nothing explicitly wrong with the record, it does lack originality, and that's its downfall. If only it sounded a little less formulaic, it would receive a higher score from me. ...

Big Bangs and Live Explosions - Bang Tango 12/09/2000

Flaming Fantastic!

Big Bangs and Live Explosions - Bang Tango They've been around SO long, languishing in the psychedelic backwaters, at it were, but with the release of 'The Soft Bulletin,' the whole musical world, (Smash Hits possibly excepted) the immense amount of praise heaped upon it made certain it at least partially crossed over. What can I say? NME album of the year, and their judgement is usually to be trusted. Simply IMMENSE!! There really aren't any words I could use that would do justice to this fantastic record. All I'm gonna say is: BUY THIS NOW!!! YES, NOW!!! ARE YOU STILL HERE? NO, GOOD!!! ...

13 - Blur 12/09/2000

Lucky 13 .... ?

13 - Blur Or 'Graham Coxon's Album #2.' If 'Blur' was a gambit to keep Coxon in the group, '13' is, if anything, more influenced (at least musically if not lyrically) by GC's, er, more metal tendencies. Having said that, however, even through the most oblique noise tendencies, Damon Albarn's ear for a tune saves the day. Of course, this record has been noted for its lyrical content; namely Damon’s breakup with Elastica’s Justine Frischmann. Indeed, much of the album is a bleeding-heart paean to lost love (especially ‘No Distance Left To Run.’) It’s a long album, maybe a little too long, but their class shines through. ...

World Beaters - EC8OR 11/09/2000

EC8OR - World Beaters, Indeed

World Beaters - EC8OR This is an album from one of Digital Hardcore Recordings' (the label formed by Atari Teenage Riot) less well-known groups, EC8OR. EC8OR (pronounced ec-ay-tor) are Patric C (recently released a solo album) and Gina V. Like most DHR albums, 'World Beaters' is, in the main, a coruscating barrage of noise. However, where this records differs from the DHR norm is, they know how to utilise dynamics. Hence, 'Dirt' is a trawl through Death-In-Vegas-esqe disquiet, opener 'Mean' is ROCK! in most senses of the word. Well worth your attention, if you can track it down. ...

JJ72 - JJ72 08/09/2000

JJ72 - JJ72

JJ72 - JJ72 The 'New Radiohead,' again, obviously, except from Ireland. And young. Very, very young. Most of JJ72 freely admit to knowing virtually nothing about music, but, either way, they sure know how to pen a tune. They've just enjoyed chart success with their single 'Oxygen,' essentially, a lush, orchestral love song, and much of the album continues in the same vein. The focus, of course, has been vocalist Mark Greaney's soaring vocals, which is truly outstanding on this record. To be honest, it's probably this which prompts Radiohead comparisons, the music tends to veer between Placebo-esque angst and Coldplay's songcraft. ...

Everything Picture - Ultrasound 08/09/2000

Everything, oh yes.

Everything Picture - Ultrasound 'Everything Picture' is the first and only album from the now-defunct Ultrasound. As the name might suggest, this truly is a massive record, both in terms of size (it's a >100 minute double album) and in terms of ambition. They throw just about everything into the mix, and come out of it rather well, actually. With as much ambition as this, something's gonna stick, and, in this case, most of the ideas realise themselves coherently. Single release ‘I’ll Show You Mine’ is a good example, sweeping orchestrality and extreme fragility coexisting perfectly. ...

It's All True - Bellatrix 08/09/2000

Cool as Iceland

It's All True - Bellatrix The debut album proper from Icelanders Bellatrix, but they have actually been around a while. Whereas a lot of their Scandinavian contemporaries tend to create music of the esoteric persuasion (cf: Sigur Ros,) Bellatrix simply make indie-pop of the highest order. The length of time Bellatrix have been together means they have honed their tunesmith skills to perfection. 'It's All True' begins with three records that have been released as singles, namely 'Sweet Surrender,' 'The Girl With The Sparkling Eyes,' and the recently released 'Jediwannabe.' However, the strength of the record is such that any of the songs could have been used. ...

Six - Mansun 08/09/2000

Mansun deliver again

Six - Mansun The album 'Six' is Mansun's second album, following on from 'Attack Of The Grey Lantern,' which reached No.1. This is definitely a more experimental album, with the more esoteric elements given full freedom to wreak havoc. Opener 'Six' sets the scene, a mammoth 8 minute-plus half-rock, half-prog onslaught, with more ideas then most artists' whole albums. The rest of the record proceeds in roughly the same manner, the ideas just keep flowing. The most remarkable achievement of 'Six' is that the album rarely congeals into a mess. With this many ideas, it's some achievement. ...

Guerilla - Super Furry Animals 07/09/2000

Declare war on pop music!

Guerilla - Super Furry Animals The welsh wizards have come good again. Following their 1997 classic ‘Radiator’, Gruff and the boys came up with ‘Guerilla,’ a statement of intent in these pop-infested times. Really, these guys have mastered the idea by now. Each of their four albums have been great releases, this is no different. Including a secret track at the BEGINNING, ‘Guerrilla’ contains 14 tracks, and lasts over an hour. It’s endlessly inventive, ‘Northern Lites’’s warped calypso giving way to the rocking ‘Night Vision,’ and the blatantly crazed ‘Wherever I Lay My Phone’. Really, they can do no wrong. ...

Sincere - M.J. Cole 07/09/2000

The 'kinda boring' face of UK garage

Sincere - M.J. Cole As the ‘UK garage’ explosion continues unabated, this is possibly the first major actual album release. MJ Cole had a Top 10 hit with ‘Crazy Love,’ and title track ‘Sincere’ went Top 20. This is the 16-track album. MJ Cole has an advantage, in that he’s a classically trained musician. This means that his tracks seem more ‘complete’ than that of many of his contemporaries. However, there is a downside. Essentially, the album is massively over-produced. It’s far too slinky, and hence is little more than aural wallpaper. It’s just not enough. ...

This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours - Manic Street Preachers 07/09/2000

I don't really wanna know anymore

This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours - Manic Street Preachers This is the first Manics album to have no input from missing Richey Edwards. This effort shows how important he was to their creative process. Without him, ‘This Is My Truth…’ is a pale imitation of their former glory. As the remaining band members enter middle age, their ire seems to have dissipated somewhat. As a result, this album lacks the fire that made their previous albums special. Only ‘Nobody Loved You,’ ironically about Richey, retains some sense of power. Without Richey, it appears, they’re simply not angry enough. It’s a shame. ...
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