May 22, 2017

The Doors - Morrison Hotel (1970)

*This is a remastered version that was released in 1988. The first 2 C.D. reissues were released in 1984 & 1986.

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Blues Rock, Psychedelic Rock
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© 1970-1988 Elektra Records
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
The Doors returned to crunching, straightforward hard rock on Morrison Hotel, an album that, despite yielding no major hit singles, returned them to critical favor with hip listeners. An increasingly bluesy flavor began to color the songwriting and arrangements, especially on the party'n'booze anthem "Roadhouse Blues." Airy mysticism was still present on "Waiting for the Sun," "Queen of the Highway," and "Indian Summer"; "Ship of Fools" and "Land Ho!" struck effective balances between the hard rock arrangements and the narrative reach of the lyrics. "Peace Frog" was the most political and controversial track, documenting the domestic unrest of late-'60s America before unexpectedly segueing into the restful ballad "Blue Sunday." "The Spy," by contrast, was a slow blues that pointed to the direction that would fully blossom on L.A. Woman.

The Doors - The Soft Parade (1969)

*Second reissue on C.D. This version is a remastered release. The first C.D. reissue was released in 1989.

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Classic Rock
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© 1969-1991 Elektra Records
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
The weakest studio album recorded with Jim Morrison in the group, partially because their experiments with brass and strings on about half the tracks weren't entirely successful. More to the point, though, this was their weakest set of material, low lights including filler like "Do It" and "Runnin' Blue," a strange bluegrass-soul blend that was a small hit. On the other hand, about half the record is quite good, especially the huge hit "Touch Me" (their most successful integration of orchestration), the vicious hard rock riffs of "Wild Child," the overlooked "Shaman's Blues," and the lengthy title track, a multi-part suite that was one of the band's best attempts to mix rock with poetry. "Tell All the People" and "Wishful Sinful," both penned by Robbie Krieger, were uncharacteristically wistful tunes that became small hits but were not all that good, and not sung very convincingly by Morrison.

The Doors - L.A. Woman (1971)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Classic Rock
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© 1971-1988 Elektra Records
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
The final album with Jim Morrison in the lineup is by far their most blues-oriented, and the singer's poetic ardor is undiminished, though his voice sounds increasingly worn and craggy on some numbers. Actually, some of the straight blues items sound kind of turgid, but that's more than made up for by several cuts that rate among their finest and most disturbing work. The seven-minute title track was a car-cruising classic that celebrated both the glamour and seediness of Los Angeles; the other long cut, the brooding, jazzy "Riders on the Storm," was the group at its most melodic and ominous. It and the far bouncier "Love Her Madly" were hit singles, and "The Changeling" and "L'America" count as some of their better little-heeded album tracks. An uneven but worthy finale from the original quartet.

Fight - A Small Deadly Space (1995)

*A picture of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Heavy Metal
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© 1995 Epic Records
AllMusic Review by Gary Hill
The final album from Rob Halford's first post-Judas Priest band, Fight, A Small Deadly Space is definitely a strong one. The main course for the meal that Halford and the rest of the band (Brian Tilse, Jay Jay, Mark Chaussee, and Scott Travis) have served up is heavy metal. There is no real surprise there. However, there are actually quite a few moments that show off more progressive influences. You just have to give a cursory listen to "In a World of My Own Making" to spot them. The disc found Halford seeming like he was making a solid effort to not reproduce his Judas Priest sound. Indeed, the disc showed a Rob Halford who was staying more to the lower end of the register rather than screaming out in a Priest-ish display of vocal pyrotechnics. Overall, this is a great album, and certainly a nice bookend for the group's brief career.

tags: fight, a small deadly space, 1995

Living Colour - Vivid (1988)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hard Rock, Funk Metal
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© 1988 Epic/CBS Records
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato
In 1988, few heavy metal bands were comprised of all black members, and fewer had the talent or know-how to inject different musical forms into their hard rock sound (funk, punk, alternative, jazz, soul, rap) -- but N.Y.C.'s Living Colour proved to be an exception. Unlike nearly all of the era's metal bands, the group's music has held up over time, thanks to its originality and execution. Living Colour leader/guitarist Vernon Reid spent years honing his six-string chops, and was one of the most respected guitarists in New York's underground scene. He couldn't have done a better job selecting members for his new rock band -- singer Corey Glover, bassist Muzz Skillings, and drummer Will Calhoun -- as their now-classic debut, Vivid, proves. Though the album was released in mid-1988, it picked up steam slowly, exploding at the year's end with the hit single/MTV anthem "Cult of Personality," which merged an instantly recognizable Reid guitar riff and lyrics that explored the dark side of world leaders past and present (and remains LC's best-known song). The album was also incredibly consistent, as proven by the rocker "Middle Man" (which contains lyrics from a note penned by Glover, in which he pondered suicide), the funky, anti-racist "Funny Vibe," the touching "Open Letter (To a Landlord)," plus the Caribbean rock of "Glamour Boys." Add to it an inspired reading of Talking Heads' "Memories Can't Wait," the Zeppelin-esque "Desperate People," and two complex love songs ("I Want to Know" and "Broken Hearts"), and you have one of the finest hard rock albums of the '80s -- and for that matter, all time.

May 20, 2017

Group Home - Livin' Proof (1995)

*A picture of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 1995 Payday/FFRR Records
AllMusic Review by M.F. DiBella
The debut album from tried-and-true members of the Gang Starr Foundation, Lil' Dap and Melachi the Nutcracker, illustrates the benefits of loyalty in the rap game. After paying their dues and appearing on prior Gang Starr projects such as Daily Operation and Hard to Earn, they earned the right to record their own LP, proudly waving the Gang Starr flag. As a registered battalion under the command of executive producers Guru and DJ Premier (founders of Gang Starr), the talented duo reaped the benefits of membership. The virtuoso DJ Premier provides a rugged and rich musical canvas for the gravel-throated lisp of Lil' Dap and the straight-razor sharp flow of Melachi. Both MCs pull no punches; their lyrics and deliveries are clear, concise, and to the point. While their lyrical content is profound in its simplicity, Group Home is never simple. Livin' Proof exemplifies the harsh realities of coming up in the concrete jungle and in the rap industry. Tracks like "Suspended in Time," "Serious Rap Shit," and the title cut portray the perilous struggle that faces every MC trying to rhyme and reason his way out of his constrictions. Track after track Premier astounds with his unpredictable drum sequences embellished by entrancing hints of piano, strings and horns that seem to dance in and out of the compositions. The results are nothing short of rhythmic masterpieces. Many cuts are preceded or interrupted by short instrumental interludes that leave the listener longing for more. Livin' Proof should not be reduced to a pure showcase for Premier; however, the deadpan lyrics of Lil' Dap and Melachi rise to the level of their maestro to create a fairly fantastic debut.

A Lighter Shade of Brown - Layin' In The Cut (1994)

*A picture of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop, Chicano Rap
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© 1994 Mercury Records
Review by L.A. Times.com
Further doing its bit to put Latino rap on the map, Lighter Shade of Brown is back with a sharply attitudinal album that's as commercially accessible as "Sunday Afternoon," the duo's 1990 debut hit single.
Perhaps too lightweight for some, LSOB makes no apologies for being slightly less than hard-core--and light in this case still doesn't stand for white bread. The full spectrum of West Coast rap, ranging from the gangsta lean of Snoop Doggy Dogg to the razor-tongued feminine perspective of Yo Yo, has some room for the barrio-based, bangin' rhymes of LSOB. Regional considerations aside, the pair wryly notes on one track: It's not where ya from . . . it's where ya at. Robert Guttierez and Bobby Ramirez sample a taste of everyone from Marvin Gaye and Cameo to Malcolm McLaren to arrive at their own beat-laden tableau.
The most serious they get is on "I Like It" and "Things Ain't the Same," funk-flavored tracks that report on life in the age of drive-bys and Smith-and-Wesson logic. It's just another day in rap's ever-expanding neighborhood, and LSOB has one of the best-informed voices on the block.

 tags: a lighter shade of brown, lighter shade of brown,

Various Artists - Sugar Hill: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1993)

*A picture of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B, Funk
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© 1993 Fox Records Inc.
AllMusic Review by Craig Lytle
As some soundtracks are one-dimensional in the choice of material, this one has about half a dozen exceptions. While primarily comprising credible hip-hop numbers like "Hit the Boomz," "Khadijah," "Play My Funk" and "Money," several obvious exceptions are "Gonna Love You Right" by After 7, "Miles Blowin" by Chaka Khan, and two numbers by trumpeter Terence Blanchard. The only two singles to place on the Billboard R&B charts were "Gonna Love You Right" and "Play My Funk." The former is a spicy ballad with a tenacious lyrical content. It peaked at #15 after 20 weeks. The latter, produced by Dwayne Wiggins of Tony! Toni! Toné!, introduces female rapper Simplé E on this swinging, jazzy number offset by her fluent lyrical flow. The single had a run of 15 weeks on the charts, peaking at #55. Afro-plane puts a different twist on rap and hip-hop. Donning popular '70s attire from the Afro hairstyles to the bell-bottom pants, their music could be labeled easy-listening rap, resembling the likes of PM Dawn.

tags: sugar hill soundtrack, various artists, sugar hill ost,

Foxy Brown - Ill Na Na (1996)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Pop Rap, Mafioso Rap
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© 1996 Def Jam Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
After appearing as a guest on a number of albums, most notably LL Cool J, Foxy Brown finally delivered her debut album, Ill Na Na, in late 1996. On her cameos, the teenage rapper rhapsodized about her three obsessions -- fashion, sex, and the mafia -- and all three dominate the discourse on Ill Na Na. Taken on their own terms, any of those lyrics could get rather tedious, but Foxy Brown has a sexy, assured delivery that makes her superficial preoccupations seductive. Furthermore, the album benefits greatly from the production efforts of the TrackMasterz, who give the music a sleek, contemporary edge that makes even the weaker tracks quite listenable. Foxy Brown is also assisted by cameos by Mobb Deep's Havoc, Jay-Z, Method Man, and Kid Capri, among others, which gives the album star power, but it doesn't necessarily need it -- she has enough charisma to steal the show.

Disturbed - Asylum (Limited Edition) (2010)

*Contains 2 bonus live tracks.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal
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© 2010 Reprise Records
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger
Disturbed's fifth long-player opens with an uncharacteristic instrumental, a bleak …And Justice for All-era Metallica-inspired dirge that shoots out the lights and sets the stage for the blistering title cut. That brief detour from the formula will likely draw in some of the band’s detractors, but Asylum is hardly a rewiring of the band’s sound. What Disturbed has always excelled at is machine-like execution of carefully plotted brutality, and the thirteen tracks that occupy Asylum are textbook examples of the Chicago-based outfit’s mastery of commercially viable, yet still cool enough for the fringe, modern metal. The foundation may be set, but between David Draiman's clear and concise, powerhouse vocals, which carry melodies (specifically on the choruses) that ricochet around convention like a pinball, and guitarist Dan Donegan's tasteful, occasionally beautiful guitar work, Disturbed gets to have it both ways. That the band can tackle the Holocaust (“Never Again”), global warming ("Another Way to Die”), lycanthropy (“The Animal”), and miscarriage (“My Child”) with the same amount of intensity that they bring to a cover of U2's “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (not so cleverly disguised as “ISHFWILF”), is admirable, but what really sets Disturbed apart from other 21st century metal acts is their ability to consistently repackage and resell their sound in a way that avoids redundancy.

Iced Earth - Plagues of Babylon (2014)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal
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© 2014 Century Media
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney
Although the band might have been breaking in new singer Stu Block on its last album, 2011's Dystopia, Iced Earth's 11th studio album, Plagues of Babylon, finds the band returning as a tighter unit whose members know how to play to each other's strengths with a more collaborative effort. Where the previous album primarily featured music written by founding member Jon Schaffer with lyrics by Block, Plagues of Babylon shows the beginnings of a burgeoning partnership between the two, as well as writing contributions from guitarist Troy Seele, with the trio oftentimes sharing the writing duties on both sides of the fence in some combination or other. The collaboration is one that pays dividends for the band, which delivers an album that manages to sound appropriately epic without feeling aimless. Thanks to his time in Into Eternity (a group that can string riffs together with the best of them), Block is no stranger to songs that evolve and shift, and songs that he and Schaffer worked on together, like the ripping Western epic "Peacemaker," move with purpose. With the songs always moving toward something new and different, Plagues of Babylon never feels like it's dragging its heels -- a boon, given its running time of just over an hour. Instead, the album showcases a new creative partnership that should excite longtime Iced Earth fans (who are also treated to more entries in the ongoing Something Wicked story line), as the heavy metal journeymen head into their third decade of rocking.

May 19, 2017

Disturbed - Immortalized (Deluxe Edition) (2015)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Alternative Metal
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© 2015 Reprise Records
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger
The sixth studio long player from the Windy City-based outfit, Immortalized finds Disturbed bolting down the house they finished building on 2010's Asylum, offering up a 13-track slab of vintage mid- to late-2000s heavy rock piled high with bottom-heavy riffs, piston-like percussion, and big modern rock radio-ready choruses filled with randomly generated declarations of defiance. To say that the old "if it's broke don't fix it" idiom looms large over the proceedings is a bit of an understatement, but Disturbed's particular brand of 21st century hard rock has brought in enough platinum over the years to warrant a bit of metathesiophobia, and their myriad post-hiatus projects ultimately failed to yield the same dividends. With that noted, the listener's likelihood of deriving any kind of enjoyment from the album is directly related to their amore for previous outings, and Immortalized has more than its share of vintage Disturbed goodies, like the soaring first single "The Vengeful One," the stadium-ready "Who Taught You How to Hate," and the nervy Muse-lite title track. The band's shamelessly melodramatic reading of Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence," which effectively utilizes the pared-down piano and vocal treatment that helped Gary Jules resurrect Tears for Fears' "Mad World," and the anthemic and refreshingly upbeat mid-album gem "The Light," impress with their unabashed theatricality and strong vocal turns from David Draiman. And as per usual, Don Donegan's stellar guitar work is the glue that keeps the whole affair from disappearing into the populist ether. However, a five-year break between albums should lend itself to a bit of growth, even for a band as everyman as Disturbed, but there's just not much here to keep the group's detractors from bringing out their pitchforks, and over time, staying the course may leave fewer and fewer townsfolk to protect them.

702 - No Doubt (1996) ☠

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: R&B
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☠: Selected by Sentinel
© 1996 BIV Ten Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
702's debut album has a couple of fine moments -- most notably the single "Steelo" -- but their fusion of street-oriented rap and urban soul doesn't quite gel over the course of the album.

tags: 702, 1996,

May 18, 2017

Divinyls - Divinyls (1990) ☠

Country: Australia
Language: English
Genre: Pop Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1990 Virgin Records
Review by 

May 17, 2017

DJ Quik - Quik Is The Name (1991)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Gangsta Rap
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© 1991 Profile Records
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
The release of DJ Quik's debut album, Quik Is the Name, in 1991 begged the question: does rap really need yet another gangsta rapper? Indeed, by that time, rap had become saturated with numerous soundalike gangsta rappers -- most of whom weren't even a fraction as interesting as such pioneers of the style as Ice-T, N.W.A, and Schoolly D. Nonetheless, rapper/producer Quik turned out to be more noteworthy than most of the gangsta rappers who debuted that year. Lyrically, the former gang member (who grew up in the same L.A. ghetto as N.W.A, Compton) doesn't provide any major insights. His sex/malt liquor/gang-banging imagery was hardly groundbreaking in 1991. But his hooks, beats, and grooves (many of which owe a debt to '70s soul and funk) are likeable enough.

DJ Quik - Way 2 Fonky (1992)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Gangsta Rap
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© 1992 Profile Records
AllMusic Review by Ron Wynn
DJ Quik proved his mettle with "Jus Lyke Compton," a definitive bit of regional touting that proclaimed West Coast rap the style-setter and all others followers. Whether or not you bought the line, you were hooked by the rap. Nothing else on the disc matched this single's intensity and wit, but it helped him earn a second straight gold LP.

DJ Quik - Safe + Sound (1995)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: G-Funk, Gangsta Rap
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© 1995 Profile Records
AllMusic Review by John Bush
Caught up with extolling his sexiness and success with women, DJ Quik raps about little else on his third album. The lyrics are funny though, and his G-funk grooves do help things.

May 16, 2017

The Doors - Waiting For The Sun (1989 Remastered Release)

*Second reissue on C.D. This version is a remastered version of the first 1985 C.D. release.

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Classic Rock
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© 1968-1989 Elektra Records
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
The Doors' 1967 albums had raised expectations so high that their third effort was greeted as a major disappointment. With a few exceptions, the material was much mellower, and while this yielded some fine melodic ballad rock in "Love Street," "Wintertime Love," "Summer's Almost Gone," and "Yes, the River Knows," there was no denying that the songwriting was not as impressive as it had been on the first two records. On the other hand, there were first-rate tunes such as the spooky "The Unknown Soldier," with antiwar lyrics as uncompromisingly forceful as anything the band did, and the compulsively riff-driven "Hello, I Love You," which nonetheless bore an uncomfortably close resemblance to the Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night." The flamenco guitar of "Spanish Caravan," the all-out weirdness of "Not to Touch the Earth" (which was a snippet of a legendary abandoned opus, "The Celebration of the Lizard"), and the menacing closer "Five to One" were also interesting. In fact, time's been fairly kind to the record, which is quite enjoyable and diverse, just not as powerful a full-length statement as the group's best albums.

The Doors - The Doors (1967) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Classic Rock
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1967-1988 Elektra Records
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
A tremendous debut album, and indeed one of the best first-time outings in rock history, introducing the band's fusion of rock, blues, classical, jazz, and poetry with a knock-out punch. The lean, spidery guitar and organ riffs interweave with a hypnotic menace, providing a seductive backdrop for Jim Morrison's captivating vocals and probing prose. "Light My Fire" was the cut that topped the charts and established the group as stars, but most of the rest of the album is just as impressive, including some of their best songs: the propulsive "Break on Through" (their first single), the beguiling Oriental mystery of "The Crystal Ship," the mysterious "End of the Night," "Take It as It Comes" (one of several tunes besides "Light My Fire" that also had hit potential), and the stomping rock of "Soul Kitchen" and "Twentieth Century Fox." The 11-minute Oedipal drama "The End" was the group at its most daring and, some would contend, overambitious. It was nonetheless a haunting cap to an album whose nonstop melodicism and dynamic tension would never be equaled by the group again, let alone bettered.

P. Diddy & The Bad Boy Family - We Invented The Remix (2002)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B
Style: Pop Rap
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© 2002 Bad Boy Records
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs isn't your standard remixer. He doesn't just alter the beats of his songs; he re-writes his songs -- new beats, new vocalists, new lyrics, new everything. Of course, Combs doesn't actually do this himself. Rather, he outsources the work to his roster of producers (the Hit Men) and some of the biggest names in urban music. So, even if you question Combs' artistry, it's difficult to question his hitmaking ability. Money doesn't seem to be an issue for Combs. He wants to make hit songs, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to do so, whether that means bringing in superstars like Usher or hiring sure-fire producers like Irv Gotti. And he indeed offers many songs on We Invented the Remix that are chart-topping quality, in particular the two versions of "I Need a Girl" and the Ashanti/Notorious B.I.G. duet "Unfoolish." In fact, in many ways, We Invented the Remix is better than Combs' previous album, The Saga Continues. Most every song here was -- or became -- a hit, and the abundance of guests spare you We Invented the Remix's weakest characteristic, Combs himself. He seems much more reserved here than he had on The Saga Continues, and since this album is of a modest length at only 12 songs, there isn't much space for filler. As a result, We Invented the Remix confirms Combs' return to the top of the urban music world after a few years of struggle.

tags: puff daddy, p diddy, diddy, p. diddy,