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My Latest Music Finds Diddl


Been keeping busy seeing some cool shows and have been keeping my eyes out for surprises in the release news. We got a lot of great stuff that came out this Summer and expect some great stocking stuffers to keep coming out before Christmas!


Guano ApesGuano Apes - Walking on a Thin Line
This band just keeps getting better and better. I guess it is not that their music is really better than their last two releases, but there is just a much better consistency. This disc is built into a book, similar to Pink Floyd's Pulse, and is really classy. Opening up with "You Can't Stop Me", their current single, starts out with the ass kicking and runs all the way through to "Sugar Skin." Sandra provides a couple of nice ballads ("Kiss the Dawn" and "Pretty in Scarlett") - with her usual biting edge.
HimHIM - Love Metal
I hate to be pessimistic about these rockers from Finland, but this is something of a step backward for the band that would bring death back into fashion. Trust me on this one - if you don't know HIM, you will shake your hair off to this one, but compared to thier last two CD's, this one is just a bit heavy on the rock and thin on the soul. To thier credit, there are a couple of gems hidden in the rock. "The Funeral of Hearts" and "Sweet Pandemonium" are both a classic goth love songs that fit into Valo's tragic mood perfectly. From the harder stuff, "Circle of Fear" near the end of the disc really grabs me. If you suffer from suicidal tendencies and work on chainsaws by candlelight, I still say that HIM is not your band.
WolfsheimWolfsheim - Casting Shadows
One of those German synth-pop bands that continue to give Depeche Mode a better name from thier influences than their actual releases. The fourth studio release from this pair. You just have to love their single German song here "Kein Zurück" even if you don't know German. Aside from this hit single, "Everyone Who Casts a Shadow" and "Approaching Lightspeed" are just two other examples of great song writing. With a band of two, Wolfsheim is a bit minimal, but also very accessible for all ages and tastes.
Souxsie + the BansheelsSiouxsie & the Banshees - Seven Year Itch
Nothing really new or exciting about this one. A testament to the bands reunion tour of 2001, it covers a range of songs that really weren't that exciting in the first place. Although I would go see them in a heartbeat, they just don't transfer well to disc live. And besides, I just have to hold my ears every time I hear that dreadful "Peek a Boo" song. With only a few exceptional songs, their heyday with Robert Smith on lead guitar was never matched.
Gary NumanGary Numan - Scarred
Just when I thought I was alone, I keep reading that Numan's last studio release, Pure put the ever new man back on the dark music map. If that is true, then the Pure Tour was the show to see! OK, this is where I blush and say I saw it - but this double CD has alot more material than he played for us in Philly. Along with some of his awesome songs from both Pure and Exile, alot of his usual fan faves like "Cars", "Down in the Park" and "Are Friends Electric?" are here too. Although havine more live releases than any singer I know, this one rates a close second with his White Noise release from the mid 80's.
PretendersPretenders - Loose Screw
Here is really one for the blue collar man trying to drag you out to a biker bar after work. This release's biggest surprise is that Chrissy and drummer Martin are still at it and with new material. My favorites here are "Time" and "I Should of" for Chrissy's vocals and "You Know Who Your Friends Are" for the smooth guitar work. If you like the Pretenders and you don't have this yet - WAKE UP. If you are not a fan already, you still won't be after hearing this disc, so look on to the other reviews.
TatuT.A.T.U. - 200 km/hr in the Wrong Lane
A shout and wiggle from the eastern bloc - these two teenage girls are making the news left and right. Originally recorded in 2001, it flopped. For some reason famed producer and ex-Buggle Trevor Horn took them under his wing and suddenly they are making stadium shows in Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic. Their current video "All the Things She Said" flaunts their supposed lesbian image (if there were an Alabama MTV, you can guarantee it would be banned) but the darn song really sticks in your head. Aside from 7 original songs here, you get 4 more in Russian versions, and one remixed. This is bubblegum at it's finest, but sometimes I even have a taste for something light and sugar-coated.
De/VisionDe/Vision - Devolution
I have been tauting this German duo for about 3 years, and I have yet to hear from someone stateside that has taken me seriously. De/Vision comes from a group of bands that more or less fell out of the vein of Depeche Mode. De/Vision just does the good stuff more consistently than the masters have been able to do recently. Honestly, Devolution is just a tad on the experimental side for them, but not at all disappointing. Opening track "Sadness" and "A New Dawn" are a couple of the better tracks here but honestly, I can't recall any that stood out as bad. They are about starting out on a tour supporting this disc in April. I will cover that in my music news section after seeing them in Rostock.
SomnambulSomnambul - Somnambul
This pair are from the minimal electropop field. From Chemnitz, Saxony, this is music to enjoy when depressed or melancholy, falling somewhere between the quieter moments of Daniella Dax or the faster stuff from Hex. Highlights from this disc (good luck at finding this obscure one) are "No Way Out" and "Unfinished". I actually got a tip on this one from a Goth magazine I picked up during the Christmas holidays.
WireWire - Read & Burn, Vol 1 & 2
Back from the dead! Those of you favoring the older days from Wire will be happy, especially with the first EP from this set. The second song, "I Don't Understand" is just the best song I have ever heard form the troupe. "Comet" and "1st Fast" are both great songs too. Off of the second of these 20 minute EPs, only the title track "Read & Burn" really stuck to me, although "Spent" was not bad. The foursome literally did what they wanted to do, damned what the public demands - for the fans, good news. Just one big tip - see them live if they drop into your local club.
Peter GabrielPeter Gabriel - Up
Sporting a new, grey goatee, ex-frontman from Genesis is at it again. Some of you may have already caught the video for "The Barry Williams Show", a great satire on the talk show scene. "Growing Up" and "Signal to Noise" are also good songs. Actually, I like the whole CD with only one strong EXCEPT - the opening track, "Darkness" is just too much anti-harmony for me. This sounds more like a piece from the King Crimson direction and just does not fit the CD at all. If you are a PG fan, you already have this one.
The DamnedThe Damned - Grave Disorder
Somehow this 2001 release slipped by me. Although I have to face the fact that the Damned are more of a dependable concert than studio, this one fell back to the classic dark sound that they really can pull off, taking advantage of David Vanian's vocals. Opening track "Democracy?" is a great start, with other great one's like "She" and "Absinthe". The only weak song here was "Song.com", just a bit too tonge-in-cheek play on the internet culture. I gotta say I found the cover art of this one a killer too.
PinkPink - M!sundersood
I thought I needed another jumping around CD to recommend to you. Most of you have already heard from this pink haired wonder or perhaps seen one of her videos. I will just jump right in with the obvious and say "Get the Party Started" is one kick-ass song, with "Don't Let Me Hurt Me" a close second. And in this case, I have to say I really really really hate the title track on this CD. The quality is bad, the song is bad .. the only high point is that it is very short. Her first attempt at fame with Can't Take Me Home had a couple of decent songs, but lacked the oomph to get it rolling.
CranesThe Cranes - Future Songs
Their fifth studio release, after waiting for so long, I am honestly disappointed. I guess they just kicked butt with 1997's release Population Four. In any case, once you survive the opeing track, it is not really that bad. "Submarine" and "Driving in the Sun" bring back memories. If you are not already a fan, I would recommend the above mentioned CD. The haunted, childlike vocals of Ali captured me from the very moment I heard their first single back in '91.
NephilimFields of the Nephilim - Fallen
I guess I should have done my homework before I grabbed this one up. McCoy and the boys have been playing under the name of simply Nephilim for many years now, but I just had to buy this supposed new release from an old gothic standby. As it turns out, the word from the band is that Jungle Records got ahold of old tapes that had been discarded as weak material. Naturally, the Nephilim is not very please with this, but are currently working on a current release. To their credit, Fallen is not that bad. Any fans out there will ignore the whining and buy this anyway - just what Jungle thought I guess.
Die HappyDie Happy - Beautiful Morning
After seeing this great band from Ulm, Germany, I rushed out and bought their two CD's. This is their current release, and includes the current hit "Goodbye." I really liked "Paralyzed", "Not That Kind of Girl" and "Cry for More." Although a German band, you won't find a word of German text here (a shame, but more sellable). Fans of Republica, Garbage or early No Doubt will become instant fans. Both of their releases fall a bit on the harder rock side of the fence, but there are plenty of pop elements that make them very accessible.
Die HappyDie Happy - Supersonic Speed
Released in late 2000, the debut from Die Happy found an instant cult following in Germany. Although a bit on the raw side compared to their latest release, this is a solid collection of great songs. From the first song, "If" on to the radio hits "Go For It" and the title track, you will be bouncing around the room. Songstress Marta really likes to switch from ballad to scream within some of her songs with great effect, like "Violent Dreams." I am not sure how much luck you will have finding them on the standard CD shelf, but they are available on both the US and German Amazon sites.
No DoubtNo Doubt - Rock Steady
The latest release from this borderline rock and hip-hop band may have drifted a bit too far in the hip-hop direction on this release, but I thought it was rather good anyway. Solid greats are "Hella Good", "Don't Let Me Down" and the killer "Platinum Blonde Life." "Hey Baby" and "Start the Fire" are examples of the hip-hop style that they have strengthened. All in all, I think I liked their last release, Return to Saturn a bit better.
RedsThe Reds - Cry Tomorrow
The first couple of tracks on this remake of their independently released CD of the same name were actually encouraging. That slowly ended, and the release actually gets tiresome. Being a huge fan for thier first three releases The Reds, Stronger Silence and Fatal Slide it was both exciting to see that the duet that was the center of the band were still at it as well as sad that they could not carry a full CD of good material. I guess that the city of Philadelphia is just not giving them enough positive influence.
CurveCurve - Gift
This may well be the last we will hear from Toni and Dean. It seems that Gift is made up of various unreleased songs. Heck, even the packaging looks like an afterthought to get something out the door to meet some imaginery deadline: you don't even see the song list until you open the packaging. But despite this, the artistry of the band came out good. "Hell Above Water" and "Gift" are great tracks. In fact, all of them were pretty good until I got to the last couple, "Polaroid" and "Bleeding Heart." These were not only badly mixed, but they were obviously not released for a good reason - everyone has an off day. If you are a big fan like me, you will probably only be able to get this by mail-order, but it is a must.
MissionThe Mission - Aura
Hey, here I thought it was just a fluke that the Mission opened up for HIM last month, but it seems that Wayne and the gang have actually been busy in the studio too. This was GREAT! Every once in a while one of the greats from the gothic roots actually does come up like the pheonix. After 3 rather disappointing releases in a row, the band stepped out in 1993. After various live reformation, the original group pulled it back. "Evangeline" gets the fire started, followed by "In Denial" .. I was sooo happy to have the classic sound back. I am not sure I would call this their best, but only because God's Own Medicine is just too good to be beat. If you were a fan at the close of the 80's, you won't be disappointed with this purchase.
OzzyOzzy Osbourne - Down to Earth
I have to say that the Ozz-man took a step back with this one. His last release, Ozzmosis landed quickly in my all-time top 20 list, but this one just can't follow that jem. I won't slam this one too bad, because if I take it away from his past work, it is not all that bad. I really liked his beginning song "It Gets Me Through" and farther down, "Dreamer" was one of his nicer ballads. The fault of this album is simply too much gearing towards the death-metal crowd, something that Ozz never really needs to do. Do yourself a favor, if you don't have them yet, go get a used copy of No More Tears or Ozzmosis instead.
HimGarbage - Beautiful Garbage
A bit popier release from Shirley Manson's second major band. Although you may have already seen the video for "Androgyny", it is hardly the best song here. I liked "Til the Day I Die", the haunting "Cup of Coffee", the poppy "Cherry Lips" and "Breaking up the Girl" much more. Actually, I can't honestly say there are any songs I don't like, but "Can't Cry These Tears" and "Drive You Home" seem to rehash songs that I didn't like when Debbi Harry and Blondie played similar songs back on "Eat to the Beat."


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