Dean Martin Encore of Golden Hits collects 20 tracks recorded during the singer's tenure with the Capitol label in the '50s. Included are the original versions of "That's Amore," "I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine," and "Memories Are Made of This." Since numerous Dean Martin collections from both his Capitol and Reprise years are easily available, pass on this single disc compilation from Germany.
On his third solo outing -- and his second with his backing band Great Southern -- Allman Brothers lead guitarist Dickey Betts moves back into the deep-fried Southern boogie that the Brothers are (in)famous for and serves it up with just a smidgen of country and comes out with another winner.
Once again the mood is laid back and greasy with the guitars taking center stage in a funky, spunky mix that concentrates as much on the backbeat as it does on the swinging Southern boogie blues. Hence Betts digs deep into New Orleans as a source of inspiration on tracks like "Good Time Feeling," "Dealin' With the Devil," and "Back on the Road Again." Again relying heavily on the harmonica stylings of Topper Price for color and nuance, Betts uses this cue as a way of bringing the entire band into the proceedings this time out. While it's true that his guitar is the centerpiece of the album, Great Southern is present more as a unit than as Betts' backing band. On the title track, a ballad that offers a ghostly narrative of the end of the Civil war, Betts also uses Bob Dylan's backing choir of Bonnie Bramlet, Clydie King, and Shirley Mathews for added emotional impact as well as a string section. While the string section could have been dispensed with, it doesn't hurt too much as the integrity of the song is so focused and sharp it's a minor nuisance. Production on this set is a bit muddier than on the Great Southern album that preceded it, and this is a good thing. There is more immediacy in the band's presence on the record than the studio's. Given that this was issued in 1978, when the bottom was about to drop out of rock & roll in favor of things like new wave and rap, this album holds up surprisingly well over two decades later. The shuffle and roll that was then Betts' trademark is refreshingly untouched by the production or musical excesses of the time. There is no attempt to be "relevant" or "cutting edge." But there is no retro feel on this disc either; it sounds consistent with a man's vision who's always considered himself right on time and still does. Loud, tough, and funky, Atlanta's Burning Down is a winner.
With guitarist Andrew Neufeld still acting as Scott Wade’s replacement, Comeback Kid’s fourth album is another steady assault of screaming hardcore. Symptoms + Cures finds the Canadian punk-metal troupe focusing on brute force and hits the ground running in a quick, spirited rock-out session. The album is polished and pure, but a touch heavier than prior outings, with Neufeld’s raspy vocals howling like a turbine engine as the rest of the band (Hiebert, Hjelmberg, Keil, and Profetta) blaze furiously through 11 songs. Along with occasional gang yells, spit-filled vocal cameos include A Wilhelm Scream’s Nuno Pereira (“The Concept Stays”), Cancer Bats ’ Liam Cormier (“Balance”), and Architects’ Sam Carter (“Pull Back the Reins”). Even with the variety, the album doesn’t change gear or break stride: it’s continually harsh and urgent, with the occasional melody thrown in for good measure.
Here we have the very first Coil oil change.
The engine in question would be the pop culture of the early '80s and how performances such as this, basically an extended duet for percussion and electronics, were perceived as inspirational and cutting edge. The moody trance this piece immediately evokes and clings to like a life raft was, to the newly exposed, something of a real alternative to drowning in a wave of groovy rock bands with packaged presentations and looks. Removed from any such sociological discussion and placed in comparison with the entire history of electronic music, percussion music, avant-garde improvisation, or any other related field of activity, this EP retains a surprising charm. An obvious hurdle to leap would be the "duh" factor -- the title track is as much about banging on gongs as destroying angels, although these are actions that could be connected.
Anyone who has ever spent time making noise on a gong will have done everything on this record.
The contrasts arising instantly from the instrument's built-in dynamic range are the main motivating factor in how the music develops, rather than any creative invention of the performers. The performance requirements of bringing these dynamics into play on a gong also require very little skill of any kind, meaning that most of the praise that can be directed at this recording has to do with the concentration displayed, both intense and impressive. The B-side of the recording is blank, creating an instant and quick composition entitled "Absolute Elsewhere" that might just be the more successful conception of the two. At least the person who said "I don't have time to listen to this stuff anymore" about the first side wouldn't be able to make the same comment!