Review: Originally unveiled in 1992, Blue Day represents one of the most exciting periods in the evolution of British shoegaze heroes Slowdive - their formative years. Comprising the first three EPs, or at least a good chunk of each and the entirety of the seminal Morningrise, it's less of a history lesson and more a reminder of just how well the seven-piece's music has stood the test of time.
There are some notable omissions, it's true. So the Slowdive songs here are missing 'Avalyn II'. And there's no 'Catch The Breeze' or cover of Syd Barrett's 'Golden Hair' included from Holding Our Breath. Still, with the ethereal yet jangly rock of 'She Calls', 'Losing Today''s dark, almost choral atmospherics, and the white noise and discordance of 'Albatross', ain't nobody complaining here.
Review: When it was initially released three decades ago in the summer of 1990, Slowdive's eponymous debut EP was heralded as an instant shoegaze classic: a drowsy, dreamy collection of hazy wall-of-sound, reverb-drenched songs that put the Reading band right at the heart of a growing musical movement. As this 30th anniversary reissue proves, it remains a fine collection of cuts. While lead cut 'Slowdive', a more orthodox fusion of shoegaze, dream-pop and indie-rock, was the one that chimed with listeners at the time, it's the two-part soundscape 'Avalyn' - and in particular the epic 'Avalyn II' - that resonates loudest in the 21st century. The latter track is so good that it's worth buying the EP just to get your hands on it.
Review: This is a seriously high quality collection of dub that takes you on a real adventure. Ijahman's 'Whip That Tarantula' has a wonderful weird and wispy lead motif that trips you out while the snaking horns lead you into mischief. Burning Spear slows things down to crawl with his organic percussion and earthy ridders, and The Viceroys trap you in a wonderful world of echo on the stuttering and swaggering 'The Dub Of Gold.' Of the multiple Black Uhuru tracks included, the last one 'Fire & Brimstone' and might be the best with its stark hits and mischievous moods.
Review: Originally released in 1969, but record three years earlier, this album from the hugely successful and influential Clancy Eccles played a key role in the evolution of the rock steady sound. He was at the spearhead of a new generation of young, talented and dynamic musicians who were keen to push things forwards and make their own distinctive mark on the legendary dub world. His biggest hit was 'Fattie Fattie' in 1969 and it sold at home and over here in the UK. It's a fun, playful dub with a cheeky swagger and mischievous horns. It's just one of the many gems on this classic reissue.
Valeria Szervanszky & Ronald Cavaye - "Le Jardin Feerique" (3:02)
Sufjan Steven - "Visions Of Gideon" (4:09)
Review: You can trust Music On Vinyl to put out the very best soundtracks, from the least likely sources. That Blade Runner soundtrack reissue a few years back was an absolute treat for us, to cite an example, but this edition of the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack is even more leftfield. After all, it's no surprise because the film had an insanely on-point score that never made it onto vinyl format; songs from the likes of John Adams, Giorgio Moroder and Franco Battiato are a wonderful thing to own on wax, within the concept of this remarkable movie, alongside other great tunes from coveted producers like Japan's Ryuichi Sakamoto. All in all, a fine catch.
Review: Is there a more iconic and internationally recognisable hip-hop outfit than Sugarhill Gang? It is now four decades since their self titled debut and this Record Store Day it is being reissued on special 180g gatefold vinyl. For those who only know the band's biggest hits, it might surprise to learn of the depth and range of this record. There are positive, feelgood jams like the funked up 'Rapper's Reprise (Jam Jam)' as well as real singalong soul numbers in the form of 'Bad News Don't Bother Me'. 'Passion Play' is a real jazz-funk fusion of the highest order and of course, the most legendary of them all, 'Rapper's Delight', comes in two different forms.
Allegretto For A Lady/Allegretto Per Signora (2:25)
Belinda May (2:51)
Dream Inside A Dream/In Un Sogno Il Sogno (3:16)
Poetry Of A Woman/Poesia Di Una Donna (5:02)
Fashion (N 2)/La Moda (N 2) (2:25)
Like When It Rains Outside/Come Quando Fuori Piove (2:42)
A Bit Of An Acid Irony/Un Po Di Ironia Acida (4:15)
Listen Let's Make Love/Scusi Facciamo L'amore? (The Big One) (2:25)
Fashion (N 3 )/La Moda (N 3) (2:46)
The Alibi/L'alibi (Shake N 2) (1:53)
Slalom (Un Cafe Sulla Banchina) (2:47)
The Doll/La Bambola (2:12)
To Lydia/A Lidia (4:19)
The Alibi/L'alibi (Shake N 3) (2:15)
Slalom (Una Sera In Albergo) (2:27)
Steal To Your Next/Ruba Al Prossimo Tuo (Seq 9) (2:14)
Definitive Turning Point/Svolta Drammatica (4:32)
Little Cat Lady/La Donna Gattina (#2) (2:46)
Review: The recent passing of one of the 20th century's greatest cinematic composers, Ennio Morricone, had many scurrying to streaming services to check out the best of his vast catalogue of work. Those who did will attest that his work touched on numerous themes, genres and styles. This compilation provides a more focussed retrospective of the late Italian composer's work. It concentrates purely on cinematic themes and incidental pieces - most from the 1960s and '70s - that could be loosely termed "lounge music". In reality, the assembled material is a mixture of smooth jazz, easy listening and tongue-in-cheek, library style kitsch. There's nothing quite as stirring as some of his more acclaimed works for movies like The Mission, but the music is certainly cheeky, cheery and highly entertaining.
Review: Reissues go one of two ways. Well, OK, maybe three. You're either left blown away by how fresh something sounds, reminded of a special moment in music history and how good an example a record is of that time capsule, or walk away wondering why you thought it was necessary to play, let alone buy, from this particular archive. As you'd hope, listening back to Slow Dive's seminal 'Just For A Day' fits into the second of those conclusions. Yes, soaring rock that seems to foster our dreams and fantasies in walls of power shoegaze does feel like a recollection rather than where we're at today. But my goodness do the epic arrangements and woozy artistry in the songcraft still sound as awesome, grandiose and yet personal as ever. One for the books, for sure.
Review: Sevdaliza comes back with a seance album that capitalises on the critical reception of her first, exploring notions of good and evil through complex songwriting and enigmatic lyrics. Her stylised vocals are front and centre of each tune, with sombre chords and aching piano a consistent accompaniment throughout. She explores many shades of night and packs in plenty of very real emotion, despite the delicate nature of many songs. The gothic synths and post-trip hop beats are a fine vehicle for her musical messages, making this another vital record.
Desde La Oscuridad (Coming Out Of The Dark) (Spanish version) (4:04)
Review: Original American diva Gloria Estefan turned out concept album 'Into The Light' in 1991, informed by the emotions she felt after a near-death experience during the 'Get On Your Feet' tour, confronting dark feelings and bouncing back from disaster. It worked, and the album saw plenty of commercial success, selling almost two million units and spawning huge singles like "Sex In The 90s." As ever, the sound is big, lung busting pop with Latin elements, an underlying funk and hints of house, as well as some big rock lullabies.
Review: For this year's delayed Record Store Day, Music on Vinyl are offering up a limited edition gatefold version of Jimmy Urine (Mindless Self Indulgence ) and Serj Tankian (System Of A Down)'s twisted electronic soundscape Fuktronic. It is a soundtrack to a high energy British gangster film with crashing big beats, turbo charged electronica and edgy experimental that immediately evokes tense scenes of confrontation. There are various snippets from the film interspersed along the way, including vocal exchanges and found sounds, all of which only add to the escapist experience of listening to it from front to back.
Review: Music On Vinyl are our new best friends. With a wide range of music being reissued as of late, Yello's 1987 One Second is just spoiling us. Never being fully acclaimed when it was originally released, this is one album which really spans the full circle in terms of artistic ideas sonic experimentations. While being tagged primarily as a pop work, it's really more of a lesson in synth manipulations and nutty beat-making. "The Rhythm Divine" has to be out top track but do check the whole thing, it's magnificent...