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1. Funeral
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2. Deadwing
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3. Frances the Mute
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4. Haughty Melodic
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5. De-Loused in the Comatorium
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6. Oscillons from the Anti-Sun
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7. Greetings From Michigan: The Great
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8. Agaetis Byrjun
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9. In Absentia
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10. Skittish / Rockity Roll
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11. Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place
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12. Lost and Safe
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13. The Soft Bulletin
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14. ( )
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15. Spiderland
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16. The Complex
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17. Those Who Tell the Truth Shall
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18. Sky Moves Sideways (Dig)
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19. Ambient 1: Music for Airports
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20. Harold Budd & Brian Eno: The

1. Funeral
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Asin: B0002IVN9W
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 188
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Album Description

Montreal's Arcade Fire brings a theatricality, an intensity, an insanity, and a penchant for amazing hooks to their debut full-length. You've never heard such energy, beauty, and emotion from such a young band. Fans of Neutral Milk Hotel, Broken Social Scene, and Roxy Music's first two albums will have a new favorite band. ... Read more


2. Deadwing
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Asin: B0007XT87G
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 198
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Before the Mars Volta made prog-metal fashionable again - with a little help from the Dillinger Escape Plan and My Chemical Romance - Porcupine Tree's 2002 US debut, In Abstentia, had already laid most of the groundwork. For the middle-aged British quartet led by Steven Wilson, '70s rockers like Rush and Yes (with whom the group toured after the album's release) never went out of style but instead left behind grandiose scriptures to be studied for all of eternity. So while tighter and more efficient in spots ("Shallow," "Halo"), Porcupine Tree's Deadwing faithfully keeps the technically proficient epics coming, peaking with multi-tentacled 12-minute "Arriving Somewhere (But Not Here)." --Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (66)

5-0 out of 5 stars Deadwing is really good but In Absentia is great, enjoy both
My 15 year son and I just drove 150 miles to see Porcupine Tree and it was worth every penny and mile. Excellent sound and music in a small venue. With songs from In Absentia, Deadwing, and Stupid Dream, it made for a perfect concert. I'd like to think of Porcupine Tree as a contemporary form of the early Genesis with Peter Gabriel (Trespass or Selling England), with a little mix of King Crimson (Bible Black or Red), while throwing in some very nice Steve Wilson (PT) influence that helps set it apart from the those groups. Production work is solid, the music is moving, and the lyrics mysterious. Only wish they would have played Open Car from DeadWing or Strip the Soul from In Absentia in the concert. But Shallow (DW) and Blackest Eyes (IA) made up for it. Check out their schedule on Ticketmaster and go see this group. You'll be screaming for more encores...........

3-0 out of 5 stars Good News "IT ROCKS!" -Bad News "IT ROCKS"
Well Steven, you've caught a wave to our local AOR grind and crud station. Though a novelty hearing Porcupine Tree trashing Tool, this outing is, indeed, a dead wing - it never gets off the ground. It's a sad day when Adrian Belew has to stand in to carry off the best two guitar solo's on the disc. It never occured to me in my wildest dreams that I'd be giving a PT release the thumbs down. The only redeeming quality is that this may bring (long overdo) attention to a band thats a heck of alot better than you'll hear here. Why one of the truly remarkable guitarists of our time (among other instruments) has been in a retrograde orbit since "Siginify" continues to baffle me. If you want to hear SW in his prime, listen to the classic "Dark Matter." Or better yet, get a hard-to-find issue of "Coma Divine." Now THAT'S a mind blower. My stunning introduction to PT was "In Absentia". It has been played more than any collection I've owned in 30 some odd years. If you're new to PT, don't miss their early stuff. In doing so you'll come to recognize what a truly remarkable band they are. I'll wait hopefully for the next release.

3-0 out of 5 stars PT De Los Average
All-in-all a somewhat boring release by PT.PT is one of my favorite bands and contrary to other reviewers, I don't think it is anything like In Absentia.....in fact, it feels more like some of the more weaker releases from "up the downstairs" or signify" era, but with more up-to-date guitar distortion.Beautiful melody is generally lacking and replaced with dry, brooding jams.Even though I rated it average, I am rating against the 'PT standard'.....so Deadwing is worthy of attention over most music out there.

3-0 out of 5 stars Deadwing or how to leave the best song out of an album
I must say that I'm a bit disappointed with this album. I don't know exactly why I'm disappointed because "Deadwing" is not a big departure from the "In Absentia" sound, which at the same time is not a big departure from the "Lightbulb Sun" sound, and I love both albums. Maybe that's why I don't love "Deadwing", because it doesn't break much new ground like previous albums. Do you remember the jump between "Sky Moves Sideways" and "Signify" ? or the one between "Signify" and "Stupid Dream" ? You won't find this here. The first thing you notice is that the guitar solos are moving further away from the Gilmour sound SW had in the past, which in my opinion, is a good thing. The second thing you notice is that the "heaviness" is more apparent here than "In Absentia". "Shallow" is the main proponent here, people keep saying this song works better in the context of the album, but I think it kills its flow badly. The worst song in my opinion. Before you start drawing conclusions about me, I must say that I have no problems with distortion, right now one of my favorite bands is Isis, but, I don't know, this kind of "american" or Led Zeppelin sounding riffs don't work very well with PT, for example, the hard parts in "Deadwing" or "Mellotron Scratch", and that awful Dream Theater impersonation in the middle of "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" feel out of place and ruin those otherwise cool songs in my opinion. "Halo" is the only song where the hard guitars blend in the song perfectly. The haunting chorus in "Open Car" is another example of great use of distortion, but then, the verse, which sounds similar to "Strip The Soul", one of the weakest songs in "In Absentia", kills the mood of the song. Then, we are left with the mellower songs in the album, Lazarus", "Start Of Something Beautiful" and "Glass Arm Shattering" which, in my opinion, are the best songs in the album. But, they are nowhere near the brilliance of "Half Light", which inexplicably, SW has left out of the album. My CD doesn't have the new "Shesmovedon" so I can only comment from a mp3 file. To put it simply, this new version is a clear case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

I'm reading all these reviews saying "Deadwing is their best" and "Deadwing rulez", and I'm starting to doubt if I'm listening to the same album as those people, because I don't think it's that great, it's only ok, it ranks below "Signify", "Stupid Dream", "Lightbulb Sun" and "In Absentia" in my list. One thing I'm sure is that this album won't gain new fans outside the prog and classic rock circles, Deadwing has all the elements to please the fans of these genres, and to scare people outside them. I, for one, hope SW leaves this "metal" obsession he has now, and moves into a new direction, and please, not a "back to our roots" one.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Consolidation, Not a Stretch
Most Americans heard of Porcupine Tree with the release of 2002's In Absentia, and had a lot of catching up to do.Unapologetically progressive, it was obvious that Steve Wilson's musical collective grew up on Yes and Floyd and Tull and Genesis.Yet this being the new millennium, they were also familiar with Metallica-sized riffs and System of a Down-esoterica.Since prog is the new punk, Porcupine Tree are now seen as harbingers. Deadwing, their tenth (I think) studio release, is a consolidation not a stretch.The heaviest numbers are the most concise, especially the one-two punch of "Shallow" and "Halo".Elsewhere, they jam, particularly well on the opening title track.They're superb at it, they are, but they aren't Zeppelin, and they remind me of a wonderful (and obscure) progressive outfit from the late 70's called Crack the Sky, whom I have to admit I'd rather listen to. ... Read more


3. Frances the Mute
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Asin: B0007GAEW6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 318
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

If one needed further proof of the contemporary revival/reassessment of the ambitiously overwrought sensibilities once so reviled in 70's rock, this aggressively mind-bending second album by The Mars Volta offers it up in spades. Band mainstays Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Baxter-Zavala insist that labels like "prog" don't interest them, and that this is emphatically not a "sequel" to 2003's De-Loused in the Comatorium. What it is was thematically inspired by a stranger's diary allegedly found by late bandmate Jeremy Ward, the basis for an expansive, often amorphous musical head-trip that brews psychedelia, trance, hard-rock and free-jazz into a daunting new whole. The dozen tracks here represent but five "songs" proper, though the band's disdain for conventional track banding inspire it to sound more like a stream-of-consciousness soundscape from Can--or a dark, lyrically inventive, if decidedly troubled corner of their ids. On the "Umbilical Syllables" portion of "Cygnus.." and "The Widow" Bixter-Zavala invokes the wailing,Zeppelin II & III spirit of Robert Plant set against a feverish, swirling melange that's anything but the blues. The vocalist coaxes "L' Via l'Viaquez" en Espanol, while his band indulges its space-mambo conceits with an evocative spirit that recalls Latin Playboys at their most mischievous. It's an album that loops back on itself in a haunting ellipse--and one whose boundless ambition makes Pink Floyd sound like three-chord bar punters by comparison.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (267)

3-0 out of 5 stars What a waste of talent
After having placed De-loused as the best CD so far in the new millenium, I was really looking forward to their new record. And it has been a major dissapointment. I truly believe these guys are much more talented playing rock than playing prog. And in this CD prog dominates the whole thing. The few moments of rock brilliance are scarce and separated. If De-loused had some moments were songs started to go nowhere, here nowhere is the place where songs reside, appearing only for few moments. Omar has proved again he needs a producer with enough courage to cut songs where they have to. They seem to make longs songs just for the sake of it. Led Zeppelin played a song during 30 minutes and you didn't lose yourself. Here is just you are never found. These guys are probably the most talented guys out there right now. But TMV is having the attitude of the teeneger: rebel without a cause. Knowing they could be the greatest band, they burn their own talent. It is a real shame that such bright people don't understand that the most stupid are the ones who believe they are always right.

1-0 out of 5 stars I Want My $$$ Back
I don't get what everyone is raving about. This has to be one of the worst albums I have ever purchased. The only redeeming qualities are track 2 and the fact that you can use the CD as a Frisbee.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unreal, beyond comprehension
This is possibly the most addictive, amazing album I have ever heard. To all those people who complain about the lyrics having no meaning, just take a second to realize that art is a personal thing, even if it is shared with others, meaning is not always something which artists choose to share. This album destroys all pre-concieved notions of what an album should be, what a genre should be. It is beyond description, and probably was meant to be just that. It is literally the best rock album that I know of that has come out since about 1980, and don't try to peg me as a prog fan, this has about as much to do with prog as it does with anything else. It is a melding of all of the musical influences of each member of the band, and as such, it is much more. It is something that must be experienced. If you like top 40 music, just move on. The Widow is the only track that stands a chance of pleasing you, and is easily the weakest track on the album. Seriously folks, this is one of the best rock albums of all time. And I don't say that loosely. I bought this album thinking, well, I'll give it a chance, and within the first couple of minutes it reeled me in. I have listened to it probably 30 times all the way through in the week I have owned it, and I can guarantee that I will listen to it thousands more before I put it on the shelf, if I ever do. One last thought, unless you live nowhere near a "Record Store" you should skip Amazon and go buy it at an INDEPENDENT RECORD STORE. If you live in Alaska or Idaho or something, then go with convenience and buy it from Amazon. They aren't all bad, but they, along with Wal-Mart and Best Buy, are helping destroy small record stores, and so are YOU if you buy from them instead of supporting your local independent store. That said, I like Amazon, but I don't want to lose my local store, so I always try to see if they can get something before I order it from Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars VERY good!
5 stars for the 32 minute song at the end, this album could have been just that song and it would be great. All the other songs are pretty good as well, but number 5 is pure Genius!

5-0 out of 5 stars MUSIC IS SAVED!!
This is the best music that i've heard since Led Zeppelin IV.I believe that this is the classic rock of our time.Every song contributes to the great story of a person looking for his biological parents.If you do not have this album then you probably should start working on that, broseph.But hey don't overlook this one, seriously. ... Read more


4. Haughty Melodic
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Asin: B00080EV7A
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 349
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Amazon.com

Finally, the world is treated to Mike Doughty's first "full-band" album since Soul Coughing disbanded in 1998. Doughty has clearly morphed from hyperactive ironic hipster to a world-class songwriter with lyrics that are funny ("I want to run away and join the office") and self-deprecating but never emo ("All my life I've been slow and senseless/Not struck dumb I'm just dumb that's all"). If you're looking for faults you can always find them, and to be sure some of the playing is overly "pro" and not as funky as M.D. live. The perfect pedal steel touches throughout are actually icing on this cake, and the drummer dude from N.E.R.D.'s metronomic bashing's hardly a bummer. The songs on the album will be familiar to fans who've seen him live, and thanks to Haughty being recorded over a long stretch of time (the songs themselves honed that way too) it has a "greatest hits" feel to it: all killer, no filler. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more


5. De-Loused in the Comatorium
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Asin: B00009V7T2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2092
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (333)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow
When Cedrick and Omar left At The Drive-In at the brink of stardom many people thought they had lost their minds. At the Drive-In had achieved a rare combination of commercial and critical success and several music publications had pegged them as the next Nirvana. Nevertheless Cedrick and Omar knew they could never create the music they desired to create in that setting. After breaking up ATDI they assembled a cast of supermusicians and consolidated under the name The Mars Volta. Their debut album Deloused in the Comatorium attests to the power of their creative vision. A stunning fusion of Post-Hardcore, Prog-Rock, Free-Jazz, Classic Rock, and Salsa; it could be the most revolutionary rock album since Radiohead's Ok Computer. The visceral energy and creative songwriting of ATDI remain, however the standard Post-Hardcore backdrop has been replaced with a style all their own. The emotional and intelligent themes of their past work also remain. The entire album is a tribute the the late Julio Venegas, a close friend of the band who commited suicide in 1996. It is a fictional account of the visions he possibly experienced in a coma following a failed suicide attempt, however the lyrics are often abstract and it is possible to derive your own meaning from them. This is a must-buy for any fan of quality music.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Breath Of Fresh Air
Finally, a cd I don't mind spending my hard earned money on! I can't stop listening to this disc. I have been so bored with all of the "wanna be / sound like that band" crap that I kind of gave up on the music biz. Mars Volta really doesn't bring anything new to the music arena. They've done a great job reinventing prog-rock. They've taken Yes' "Close To The Edge" album and added a harder edge, some latin rhythm flavoring, and a live feel I have not heard on any recording in a while. When I listen to this record, I get the feeling that I'm at their live show. I can't wait to see them tonight (they will be in town tonight). At The Drive In was good. Mars Volta, to me, is better. With the addition of Red Hot Chili Pepper's Flea on bass, this collection of songs is something not to be missed. Flea is excellent on this one. If you're a drummer, like me, you owe it to yourself to check the drummer out. BUY THIS CD!!!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Well...I'm De-Loused
Let me Preface this review by saying this is my favorite CD I own. That being said, It still gets 4 stars, not 5. While the band is enormously talented, the production is over the top. This really shows through in "Cicatriz ESP". The song starts and ends strong, but whats with the 3 or 4 minutes of ambient noise in the middle? I also am a strong believer that, while the lyrics have a cool sound, they are absolutely there as a formality; and no one, including the writer, really understands what phrases like "Exoskeletal junction at raliroad delay" really means. The Vocals are absolutely fantastic. That man has an amazing range. Theres some amazing fast pitched tempo changes such as on "Drunkship of Lanterns". All in all its a fantastic cd if you don't mind a little over-indulgence on the writer and producers part.

5-0 out of 5 stars Effort Appreciated
To quote another review, I appreciate what The Mars Volta is trying to do here. But the fact of the matter is that it's not easy listening.

When I first heard this CD, I thought the people who recommended it to me had gone insane. It sounded awful. But I decided to keep coming back to it every once in a while, as I am a big fan of concept works and I could tell the band had put a lot of thought and effort into the project.

Gradually, I started to like a few of the tracks - Televators, Son Et Lumiere, and Inertiatic ESP. These kept bringing me back, and from there I began to appreciate a few of the others. The only songs I still don't "get" are This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed and Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt.

Anyway. The point here is that while the songs definitely require some adjusting to, the album as a whole is a coherent, focused work. And I like that. Especially when most bands just seem to throw twelve unrelated tracks on a CD and call it an album. That's why I give this album five stars: it's unique, creative, and inspired. And that's a lot more than 90% of the bands around today can say.

3-0 out of 5 stars Emo band discovers Prog
Neil Peart of Rush plugged these guys in the recent Drum! Magazine (along with Porcupine Tree), so I figured I check them out. It's pretty high-energy, sort of spastic music, which sounds like a cross between Elliott, Cave-In, and King Crimson. I expected better drumming, given the recommendation, but it's serviceable. The third song "Roulette Dares" even has a Rush homage at 2:02 minutes (YYZ). The guitar-work is the real strength, but there are so many Robert Fripp-sounding riffs throughout the album that I'm undecided as to whether it's cool or just derivative.

As a whole, the cd is somewhat erratic, the songs don't "build" structurally so much as do the Nirvana loud-soft, fast-slow modulation, but sometimes the music just gels, as in song #10 "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt", which even manages a Corea-esque jazz feel. ... Read more


6. Oscillons from the Anti-Sun
list price: $24.98
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Asin: B0007YMRWS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2664
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

When you're a prolific band that also happens to be mighty friendly to your obsessive compulsive collector fan base, you wind up releasing a lot of singles and EPs with material that's otherwise unavailable on your albums. And here, for the price of a Japanese pressing of the Fluorescences EP on an auction site alone, you get Stereolab's eight Elektra EPs, from 1993's Jenny Ondioline to 2001's Captain Easychord. The "groop"'s collaborative EPs ( Crumb Duck, Uilab) are not included, but there is a DVD with rarely-seen videos and television performances. This box set serves far more than a plug-the-gaps exercise for trainspotters; as with the singles collections Switched-On volumes one, two and three (did we not mention this band is prolific?), it's an intriguing retrospective of the band in their mature years. And unlike those comps, this set often highlights the band's more lengthy, experimental songs. "Les Yper Yper Sound," for instance, John McEntire's distorted, delightfully repetitious reworking of "Yper Sound" from Emperor Tomato Ketchup, is spine-tinglingly awesome.--Mike McGonigal ... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Stereolab-'Oscillons From The Anti-Sun'(Too Pure)3-CD/1 DVD
'Oscillons...' gives fans a real treat,a three audio disc and one DVD box set.Total of 35 songs,of which 28 will be new to most Stereolab followers EXCEPT for those die-hards who put out big $$ to purchase past import releases.Despite it's cheap-o packaging,this box set is very nice to have.Most of the tracks are lesser known singles and B-sides.The DVD is great,with it's live performances,video clips and other visual surprises.Should appeal to fans of Air,Yo La Tengo,Spacemen 3,Mouse On Mars and Tortoise.

5-0 out of 5 stars God Bless Stereolab!
This box set is a welcome addition for the die-hards AND casuals, and it's nice having all of these EP's and singles in one place. I have no idea why others are having such a hard time opening their boxes however; it's really not that hard! And aside from one tiny little split in the corner, my box seems really sturdy and finely made.

The sticker set is a wonderful addition to this box collection, so make sure and get your box set now before it goes into a second pressing and they disappear! The set includes eight (8) 4x4 inch stickers with great art work. Suitable for framing! At just around twenty bucks for 35 tracks and a DVD, you just can't go wrong with this. Even if you've not heard one single lick of a stereolab song and if you're a semi-casual fan of electronic music, try them out!

4-0 out of 5 stars Damn That Packaging
I really do like this latest compilation from Stereolab but I do have to knock a point off for the packaging that the band insists on providing.I thought the last two Switched On compilations were annoying with their flimsy cardboard but this one beats them both (although my copy of S.O. 3 did fall apart about a minute after I got it so I couldn't put the disc in with out it falling out).With "Oscillons...", Stereolab gives us an incredibly difficult to open as well as bulky box with cheap sleeves inside to hold the discs, including the DVD.C'mon, are you so against simple plastic jewel cases?Well, other than the box it comes in, I do indeed recommend this latest compilation from Stereolab even like many other fans, all of the trouble we went through to get those import EPs and singles seem to have lost its shine now that a proper domestic collection is out but at least you had them before a lot of others and thus got the pleasure of hearing some of the band's finer material years before a lot of people did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ketchup in a box!
Ok, I kid - it's actually "catch up" for all those of us who discovered Stereolab later rather than sooner.I'm sure I'm not alone - my first Stereolab CD was 2004's sublime Margarine Eclipse, which prompted me to search for the earlier CDs and EPs.My advice to fellow latecomers: dive into this box set!As other reviewers noted, this is a great collection.

A few thoughts about the DVD included in this set: one of the first things I heard about Stereolab was that they were exceptional in concert, and I was disappointed that I could not find any DVDs of their shows.The DVD in this collection has eight "promos" followed by three live performances from UK television.With the exception of Jenny Ondioline, the promos are not typical music videos.They are more like surrealistic dreamscapes (think Dali, backed by synthesizers, broadcast on early PCs - a hoot) set to music.Next, the first live video is a superb, driving rendition of French Disko, gone a bit trippy with TV special effects (think Austin Powers).And then come two gems from the Later...with Jools Holland show (ca. 1996).For all those of us who were late to the party, here's proof that Stereolab -- in addition to being electronic, cerebral, political, carefully crafted, etc., etc. -- are terrific live.These performances of Cybele's Reverie and Les Yper Sound are a great glimpse of what we missed, including the late, lamented Mary Hansen.We can only hope that there are more live performances in the vault and destined for future DVDs, and look forward to the band's future tours.In the meantime, I highly recommend the videos and three CDs in this box set.

A final note for the old-time Stereolab fans who already own the EPs collected here, but not the Jenny Ondioline promo: there's a moment in that video, when the always serious Laetitia Sadier starts to smile and turns away from the camera and toward Mary, who's smiling back...talk about a perfect moment. As a previous reviewer said, Mary, rest in peace.And long live Stereolab!

5-0 out of 5 stars have to agree with the first 2 reviewers..
...but elaborate a little bit on both. The music on this is beyond cool, I can't say enough about it, so I'll leave it at that.

But... the packaging is *extremely* tough to open - mine's already pocked with fingernail marks from trying to pry it open, and the cardboard box seems to be splitting at some of the outside joints. And I've had it for all of 18 hours. It's not enough really to knock a star off of my review, but it's more than a little irritating.

And yes, like reviewer #2 said, it is a bit frustrating now for me to look over the hundreds of dollars worth of import cd's that have now been rendered obsolete by about $23. Have I had $100's worth of enjoyment over the years that I would have otherwise spent without this music? Well, that's debatable, but I'll say "yes, I have."

The stickers of all the various single covers are very cool - I'm tempted to plaster my guitar case with them, but then they'd get messed up. What's an OC (obsessive completist) to do??? ... Read more


7. Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lakes State
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00009V7TZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 755
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars ~
I don't hand out five stars on a whim. I tend to feel a bit guilty when I do because 99.9% of the albums out there aren't worth five stars. This one is different.

I tend to be fairly critical of indie hype. Usually when I follow up on it the results are disapointing. For instance The Postal Servise, GY!BE, Sigur Ros, and so forth. All albums that recieve critical acclaim and have indie kids pooping thier pants. All really bad albums.

So I did not expect much when I finally decided to give this album a chance. Lo and behold, it blew me away.

Lyrically it revolves around the state of Michigan, which should doom "Greetings From..." to a life as a novelty item. Unexpectly, however, the quality of songwriting and execution makes this a must-have cd.

Stevens can craft moments in music. Moments that live and breathe within the listener. Every note is meticulously places within the whole without sounding forced or trite. He knows how long is long enough and how long is too much.

The album is helped out with the borrowed background singers from The Danielson Famile, who create lovely harmony. Stevens plays just about every instrument under the sun, and mixes it perfectly.

5-0 out of 5 stars The musical genious of our time?
First off, I would like to list some reasons why people would not listen to this album. 1) They never heard of it. Well, blame the pop industry for giving the public crap. 2) It sounds like it's going to be a "folky" album. True, Stevens uses the banjo a good deal (though not half as much as his new album, "Seven Swans"), but when you get to the bottom of the album and finally "understand" it, you come to the realization that it has no true genre. Maybe that's what good music is - music that transcends all genres of its time. 3) It's much too soft and downbeat for my taste. Some people just can't take such mellow music, I understand, but this album is, if anything, uplifting and energizing. Despite a lack of percussion in many of the songs, Stevens manages to fill the silence with a myriad of instruments and beautiful, melodious backup vocals. Surprisingly, most of your attention will probably fall on the lyrics. Intertwined with masterful imagery is a theme of a past life in Michigan. Stevens weaves in fantastic memories that are so personal, they could almost be from your own past. All in all, this album is as close to perfection as I've seen in the 2003 releases, and it will inevitably go down as one of Indie rock's greatest achievements - if "Seven Swans" doesn't top it, which is a true possibility.

4-0 out of 5 stars Musically Great, Lyrically OK
Sufjan Stevens is certainly the most musically inventive songwriter to come around in a while, and the production and arrangments here are breathtaking. He appears to be heavily influenced by the Drag City sound (Smog, Jim O'Rourke, David Grubbs etc.) but not encumbered by his debt to those artists.
Stevens' childish voice gets a bit cloying on some songs though, and the lyrics are just fair. The ones about God are pretty annoying actually, not because they are about God, but because they sound naive.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wish I could give it six stars
I've never written a review for Amazon.com before, and I am proud to make Sufjan Steven's "Greetings.." my first review.

Truly a gifted songwriter who has crafted a beautiful masterpiece about life in not just Michigan, but combining the depression of our failures, with the joy of the belief in God.

Sufjan never apoligizes for his Christianity stance, it's a part of who he is, I admire him for that, and I consider him to be one of the best songwriters today. I enjoyed "Seven Swans" his recent 2004 recent as well, but it is not comparable to this masterpiece.

Few cds I would give a 10 out of 10,
the only four I would would be

Flaming Lips - Soft Bulletin
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Neutral Milk Hotel - Aeroplane Over the Sea
Pixies - Doolittle

I am thinking this cd might be near perfect, and time will evaluate it. For now i'll just go to bed listening to his soothing humble voice

5-0 out of 5 stars amazing
I know this isn't all that helpful, but I am rendered entirely speechless by this album. It's subtle, thoughtful, and sentimental (but not overly so). all I can say is, incredible, remarkable, fantastic, buy it. ... Read more


8. Agaetis Byrjun
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005IC2H
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1206
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Reykjavík-based noise quartet Sigur Rós are the biggest band in their native Iceland, which should say much, much more about the collective insanity of that earthquake-ridden, blizzard-beaten crag of an island than anything to do with Sigur Rós's sound. But in their music, Sigur Rós reflect all the breathtaking glory of the Icelandic wastes--a fairy-tale explosion of unhinged elemental majesty that's finally crystallized here, their debut European release. Poised somewhere between the haunting soundscapes of Labradford and the lilting Celtic falsetto of Enya, Agaetis Byrjun is a truly breathtaking listen. Frontman Jon Por Birgisson sings in a language that Sigur Rós dub "Hopelandic"--an otherworldly mutation of Icelandic, sung in the falsetto cadence of angels; similarly, he plays his guitar with a violin bow, opening the floodgates for brilliant waves of feedback. And while it's the opening "Svefn-G-Englar" that's Sigur Rós' moment to date, there's far more that they have to offer; listen to the pomp and flourish of a full orchestra on "Flugufrelsarinn," or the awe-inspiring near-religious mantra of "Ny Batteri." --Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Reviews (233)

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprised when I found out they were human beings...
After introducing many listeners to their distinct sound by way of the "Vanilla Sky" sountrack album, Icelandic quartet Sigur Rós (pronouned "Seer Rose" with the R's rolled) has built a following interested in expanding their tastes in music and virtually elimintaing insomnia. Agaetis Byrjun (pronounced "Ow-gate-is Beeryune"), the band's third overall album to date, is their masterpiece. It is the ultimate realization of the spectrum of human emotion, and, when accompanied by candles and a good pair of headphones, proves as an adequate cure for sleep deprevation. The band's instrumentation is relatively simple: vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards/synthesizers. The miracle of this is the otherworldly sound channeled through these instruments and into the ears, heart, and soul of the listener.
The album begins with an intro, roughly a minute long, which resembles an underwater choir singing an irresistable refrain, chopped and repeated by the loopwork of keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson. It slowly travels into the now-famous "Svefn-G-Englar"(Sleepwalkers) by way of the repeating ping of a sonar detector and the rumbling of an underwater submarine. The two songs together serve as an exposition to a much grander scheme, but it is here that we are introduced to Sigur Rós' distinctive blend of angelic vocals, channeling bass work, etherreal percussion, and quite possibly the most beautiful guitar feedback ever recorded, by way of guitarist/vocalist Jonsi running a cello bow along the strings. From this, the listener is transported into the stellar "Staralfur" by way of a rapidly drumming heartbeat. From first listen, one is compelled to make a nighttime trip to an open field to gaze at a star-painted sky, revelling in the sheer beauty of life.
Next is the hypnotic "Flugufrelsarinn", brought in by a combination of wind and guitar screeching. The song borderlines erotica, and is as irresistable as it is trance-inducing. Brass hummings bring in "Ny Batteri", a song that is altogether more melancholy in its scope as compared with the rest of the album. It's as if the band is lost in its own emotional maelstrom, struggling to find any signs of light. A peephole is found in the jazz-like "Hjartad Hamast", which sounds like Miles Davis as interpreted by a Martian. The peephole then tears, to become the rejuvenation that is "Vidrar Vel Til Loftarasa". The longest song on the album, it is arguably the most beautiful, shifting through 4 main phrases all in one swift, breathtaking motion.
Now that the rejuvenation has been found, it is time for the youthful abandon that is "Olsen Olsen". The timely, enchanting bass riff guides the listener through a dark forest leading to a meadow, filled with a grand choir encircling a lone flutist. Immediately following is the smile-inducing title track, "Agaetis Byrjun". The guitar intro fades in from nothing, and the divine instrumentation makes the listener think of the same. A flying kite comes to mind in this song. As for "Avalon", the closer, nothing will be disclosed. It serves as a final farewell to the listener, tucking them in goodnight, and letting them rest assured that life is indeed filled with beauty, if they would only allow their ears to hear it.
Simply put, this is one of the most beautiful albums ever made. Sigur Rós is a band not easily dismissed. Agaetis Byrjun is an experience not easily forgotten. Your ears, mind, heart, soul, and eyelids will love you forever.

4-0 out of 5 stars A new favourite of mine
I stumbled into Sigur Ros after someone on a messageboard I frequent was expressing excitement about their then-upcoming third album ( ), which I bought the day it was released stateside. I was duly impressed, but it was after I bought Agaetis Byrjun that the band really sunk it's claws into me.

For an album who's songs stretch up into the the ten minute range, this is a very accessable record. The instrumentals are soothing yet intense, often at the same time (think Kid A-era Radiohead), as this is very much mood music. Pianos interweave with bowed electric guitars, fingerpicked acoustics, moderate percussion, keyboard melodies, etcetera. One song (Olsen Olsen, I believe) even has a somewhat dischordant orchestral bombast.

As far as the vocals, Jonsi has a beautiful falsetto (no one I play this for believes that's a guy at first), and even though I don't understand the lyrics (they are Icelandic after all), I like the tonal quality of them.

To a point, Vanilla Sky did for Sigur Ros what Benny & Joon did for the Proclaimers: gave an unknown band stateside a few minutes in the spotlight. Given, Sven-g-Englar (which loosely translates to Sleepwalkers I think), the song on the VS soundtrack, is one you hear people going on about a lot. The standout, in my opinion however, is the title track, Agaetis Byrjun (A Good Beginning). Both are fantastic songs, though, and the rest of the album isn't much behind.

So yes. If you're in the mood for a three minute pop hook, obviously you would do well to look elsewhere. If you're willing to invest a little patience, however, Agaetis Byrjun is a top cut. Let it wash over you and see where it takes you.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'VE FOUND NEAR PERFECTION
Anyone who appreciates beautiful music would love this album. It's not something you listen to when you're drunk in the club, or jamming in your car down the boardwalk on the beach, but its something to listen to and enjoy by yourself. These songs make you think of life, of past relationships, of God, and of the world. The only problem with this is, if you are mainly for lyrics, and you don't speak the language of this band, you will not understand a word, let alone spell a song's name. Do not listen to this album to find meaning in the words. Let the singer's voice and sounds be part of the music instead of focusing on what he is saying. I believe this is an album where you will either REALLY love it or it just won't be for you. If you are strictly into American pop music, hiphop/R&B, metal or hard rock, or close-minded to a certain hardcore sound, this album might not be for you. If you are open-minded to music that isn't just screaming and hardcore riffs, and isn't filled with hot beats with someone yappin about ridin on dubs and 24's, this might catch your ear. This is what music is supposed to be. I'm not saying this is what all music should be. I am saying that all music, whatever genre, should be on this level. If that were possible, the world would be a much more enjoyable place. If you have time to listen to this album, I strongly strongly strongly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
This is my number one desert island CD. Orgasmic and haunting are the best ways I can describe this album. If Iceland has it's own equivalent of the Smithsonian, than a copy of Agaetis Byrjun deserves to be placed in it immediately.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mind bending, influencial recordings
I can only describe this album in few words, since there is so much to describe it with, it's amazing. Absolutely stunning. The violin bow added to the guitar playing is just great. Beautiful, melodic music. A good buy, and a classic to keep in your collection ... Read more


9. In Absentia
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006IU73
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4194
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

After a quarter-century of punk and postmodern excesses, it's always something of a surprise to find young musicians who not only recall a past era's musical indulgences, but also revel in them. This Lava Records debut is the latest fruit of Porcupine Tree mainstay Steven Wilson's obsession with prog, a mania that dates to the late '80s when the "band" was little more than a fantasy, though one with a remarkably imaginative--if entirely fictional--history and bio. But that pipedream eventually became a real "alt prog" cult fave, with these dozen ambitious songs finding a focus that occasionally eluded the band on half-hour soundscapes like its underground hit, "Voyage 34." Tracks like "Gravity Eyelids" have a retro-psychedelic feel that would have done the XTC alter ego Dukes of Stratosphear proud, with Wilson's pure melodic tenor pushing it beyond the merely baroque. But the collection is also a strong statement of another crucial Wilson/Porcupine retro-sensibility: The album has unified musical statement. "Lips of Ashes" and "Prodigal" serve up the sort of impressionistic, harmony-rich musings that Pink Floyd has rarely managed since Wish You Were Here, while "The Creator Has a Master Tape" punctuates the rich harmonies of tracks like "Heart Attack in a Layby" with Crimson-esque metallic thrash and processed vocals. While the band's instrumental prowess sometimes slums its way into the free-form jazz noodling of past efforts, the album remains one of the band's fullest achievements. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (177)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Black the sky, weapons fly..."
I have always heard of the name Porcupine Tree when I started getting into the modern-day progressive rock bands, but I had never heard anything by them and was skeptical whether or not they'd be any good. A few weeks ago, I bought a copy of their latest album IN ABSENTIA and was intrigued by the sound clips. This was some really heavy stuff, yet further info led me to discover that PT were a more mellow prog band on their earlier albums. You would never guess that from the blistering opening track "Blackest Eyes."

What Porcupine Tree have done on IN ABSENTIA is a truly remarkable achievement. By bridging the gap between old-school prog. rock and modern-day progressive metal and throwing in some melodic pop/rock for good measure, they have created a totally unique sound. There are some stunningly beautiful moments on this album, and some of the most intense moments I've ever heard. Yet, it always remains consistent and the album flows incredibly well. How else can you explain that the gorgeous "Heartattack in a Layby" is followed by the dark and punishing "Strip the Soul"?

The album begins with the aforementioned "Blackest Eyes," which expertly combines big, crunchy metal riffs with catchy harmonies and stellar acoustics. The song smoothly segues into "Trains," my personal favorite off the record. This track just might be the greatest pop song ever written. The two solos - one on acoustic guitar and the other on banjo - fit in perfectly, and Steve Wilson's vocals are heartbreaking and emotional, especially when you read the lyrics. After this great one-two punch, the song quality continues.

The excellent "The Sound of Muzak" is a slashing commentary on today's music industry, with clever lyrics and solid drumming. The 8-minute epic "Gravity Eyelids" starts off slowly with some innovative ambient samples and soundscapes that mesh wonderfully with Wilson's dry vocals, and around the 4 minute mark, a seriously heavy riff kicks in and the band rocks out for the remainder of the track until the ambience is repeated again at the end. The complex instrumental "Wedding Nails" is another rocking highlight, sounding like Black Sabbath and King Crimson jamming in the studio together. Nobody seems to have mentioned the beautiful ".3," but I think it's a mesmerizing, hypnotic song that conveys a lot of emotion through it's two lines of lyrics than anything else (one of them is my review title).

Unlike a lot of prog bands, Porcupine Tree's musicianship is used to serve the song rather than merely show off, but they still play great. The drummer Gavin Harrison is an absolute monster, laying down some killer grooves and playing some pretty speedy fills, especially on the industrial-like "The Creator Has a Mastertape." The guitar work is also fantastic. The tone and feel the riffs and solos are absolutely astonishing. The production is also top-notch, courtesy of Wilson as well, who also produced the last three Opeth albums (guess that's what inspired him to have the guitars heavier this time around).

IN ABSENTIA is a solid slab of classic progressive rock and deserves to be in everybody's collection. I don't use the word "masterpiece" very often, but that's what this album is. Once you own it, you'll feel the same way.

5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST album of 2002!!
What can I say about the best album of 2002? Simple-it's the best album of 2002! Porcupine Tree has continued to amaze me with each of their releases. In fact, they are hands down my current favorite band.

"In Absentia" is clearly Porcupine Tree's heaviest album to date. Steven Wilson, after producing extreme metal band Opeth, has obviously brought his love of metal into the PT sound more than ever. From the opening crunching guitars in "Blackest Eyes," to the hard-edged instrumental, "Wedding Nails," this album will please the fans of harder rock while not threatening or discouraging those who like calmer music. The lighter side of PT is still there however, and the spaced out vibe and psychedelic influences have not left the band all together. These more laid back moments, mixed with the heaviness, make for a truly interesting, unique and powerful record.

What else would you expect from Porcupine Tree? Here's a band that has continued to evolve and change-never recording the same album twice. They push the limits and pre-conceived notions of todays rock while creating experimental, yet quite accessible music. This one-time solo project turned into a full-fledged band three records ago and now, this once underground, progressive, rock band has potential for major commercial success as "In Absentia" is Porcupine Tree's major label debut. Once Lava officially releases that all-important first single--watch out! This band's going to explode!

Porcupine Tree is, hands down, one of the most exciting things to happen to rock in years. There aren't enough great things I can say about all aspects of this group. From their early and odd beginning material, to the more accessible albums like "Stupid Dream" and this new record, Porcupine Tree is going to be a huge force to reckon with in 2003. They are simply the best rock band currently making music. This may be a bold statement, but once you discover the Tree for yourself, you'll understand!

3-0 out of 5 stars It's just ok.
I am having a hard time understanding the buzz around this band. This is honestly an average album. NEUROSIS and TOOL have been making the same brand of music for about 15 years now. Porcupine Tree just doesn't stand up to these legendary bands, and in fact, they're boring by comparison. Not dark enough, not tough enough, not raw enough: this is basically standard commercial alternative rock. I wouldn't be surprised to hear any of these tracks released on commercial radio. That's basically what this album is; a collection of slightly above-average radio songs. I guess if you're bored and looking for something new, this album will surely please. But even the MINISTRY are producing better stuff than this right now. "In Abstentia" is an album I own on DVD-audio and I'm glad I do, but it's not as alternative, bizarre, or exciting as you may be hoping for. Check out stuff by the other three bands I mentioned first, or even by Mars Volta or Sigur Ros. Porcupine Tree just isn't on that level, hopefully they will be someday.

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazon,Make it apparent this is a DVD
Amazon you guys DO NOT make it apparent at all this is a DVD you
A.Sell it in your CD area
and B.Do not imply in anyway it is a DVD.
Yes though Steven Wilson=Genius still not what I was looking for since it was a DVD it IS in fact an extraordinary DVD and I love it problem is,I'm travelling and kinda wanted to hear this cd.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good first big-label release
Being a fan of Porcupine Tree for a few years, I was waiting in anticipation for their first release on Lava Records. Up to the official release, I read comments from longtime PT fans about how this was the end because PT signed with a big-label so in their eyes that automatically means they've "sold out". Nice to know bands aren't supposed to have a decent livelihood in order to please their hardcore fans.

Anyway, after giving In Absentia a listen, I was impressed. Did it sound a little more "mainstream" than what they've released in the past? Perhaps, but the result of this big-label release is that new listeners are now intrigued with what the group has produced in the past, and that's the whole point to signing to a bigger label: produce new music and at the same time have the ability to attract a larger audience that an independent label can't do, and in turn gets them curious about what you've previously done.

Anyway, back to the album itself. In Absentia definitely has a harder sound. Steven Wilson has said that he gets unfluenced by everything around him, and death metal was one of them. The harder metal sound is evident in songs like Blackest Eyes, Gravity Eyelids, Wedding Nails, and Strip the Soul. Some elements of what they've done in the past are still evidence such as the track .3, and Mr. Wilson even takes a jab at the music industry itself with the track The Sound of Muzak.

Overall, the album is still far better than much of the bs that comes out of the music world in this day and age. With so much coming just so it's listenable on MTV, it's nice to see that some groups don't fall into that trap. Porcupine Tree releasing material in a bigger label is here to stay, so deal with it. I definitely look forward to their next release. ... Read more


10. Skittish / Rockity Roll
list price: $15.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0006FO8SO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1465
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As the lead singer and songwriting force behind Soul Coughing, M. Doughty combined a slam poetry, ironic sensibility with jam band-ish, arty Downtown grooves. That group was an apex of smart stoner rock. Since the mid ‘90s Doughty has gone it alone, and his first release for ATO combines two self-released solo recordings that flirt with the sublime. Recorded in a single day in 1996, Skittish nicely replicates his solo performances, minus witty banter. "Real Love/ It’s Only Life" collapses a Mary J. Blige song into a Feelies tune, so of course it’s perfect pop. The 2003 EP Rockity Roll is just as stripped-down as Skittish, but electronic drums and keyboards dominate the mix. Mike has become a beautifully mournful, smart-ass singer-songwriter in the vein of Richard Thompson. Doughty’s voice is a tightly controlled, slightly nasal croon that sounds like he learned to sing by listening to trumpet solos off old bebop records.Rejecting the term "folk" for what he does, Doughty prefers his own phrase, "small rock." Surely, it’s more restrained, slower and less flashy than Soul Coughing. It’s also much better. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more


11. Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0000DJYME
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1461
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Opening October 15th nationwide, Friday Night Lights (a Universal picture starring Billy Bob Thornton and Tim McGraw, based on the best-selling book of the same name) features an original score by Temporary Residence top-seller Explosions In The Sky!

The film chronicles the entire 1988 season of a high school football team from Odessa, TX (adjacent to Explosions In The Sky’s hometown of Midland, TX). It focuses on the ongoing financial and emotional struggles of a small town that places all of its hopes on the team's chances at winning the state championship.

The Universal soundtrack – scheduled for release October 5 – includes Explosions In The Sky’s score, as well as a new Faith Hill/Tim McGraw duet and a new track by No Doubt's Gwen Stefani. Universal estimates the soundtrack will top one million copies sold by Christmas 2004. It is expected to debut in Billboard’s Top 10.

"Have You Passed Through This Night," from Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die... is featured in the film's trailer, which began airing in theaters nationwide June 11. The trailer began airing on national television during the Olympic Games. ... Read more

Reviews (47)

4-0 out of 5 stars soundscape
i have not written many reviews - trying to write only to those albums which 'hit' something in me. explosions debut album did the exact same as this one does. from the beginning of the album the listener is subjected to unothadox sounds coming from instruments of the most commonality. the first track - first brath after coma - reminds me a lot of their last album in style. you can't help but move your body to the riffs created. half way into the song you notice that your foot is lifting up and down, your head is shaking side to side, and your hand patting your stomach trying to follow all of the sounds thrown at you. the second track - the only moment we were together - is slower and different than what you'll hear on those who tell the truth...and while it is different, the listener may venture off of the music a little bit. however, when the third track begins - six days at the bottom of the ocean - it continues the slower building trend of the second but which so much more intensity and emotion falling out of the musical movements. what i love about this track is that it constantly builds and builds but never fully peaks. where with almost all of their songs there is a peak, this one keeps you in the building phrase to only stop at a slow lull to start track four. memorial - the title really tells the mood of this song. the most repetitive of their songs, it makes the listener dig through the music to find the changes and stay ingaged and then at the end, is an explosion of sound rewarding the listener for the first seven minutes of the track. the last track - your hand in mine - a beautiful opener. a smile can not help but creap upon my face as i get two and a half minutes in. its blissful sound coming through my headphones. i can't describe it beyond that.
this whole post-rock movement (for the lack of a better word) is growing. people are getting tired of emotionless, poor lyrical music. albums that can 'hit' something in you come few and far between, i recomend this album as a breath of fresh air. it doens't matter if you start with this album or their debut - neither will disappoint.
i would listen to it straight through the first time - soely concentrating on the music with a good pair of headphones and a clear mind.
enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Epic
Explosions in the Sky have created a beautiful piece of art. The music is sweeping and monumental. 5 songs span 43 minutes, and when it ends you'll be wishing for more. Passion and melodies pour from the speakers whether the songs are a bare whisper or a loud roar. And every song contains equal parts whisper and roar.

Every song rises and falls from one end of the spectrum to the other; hushed and soothing one minute and loud and rushing the next. The build ups and let downs of the music are incredible, and the entire album flows oh so smoothly. Each song bleeds into the other, but in a good way. Everything doesn't blend together to sound like one giant song.

This album says so much more without lyrics than most bands say in their lifetimes. Every minute of this album is glorious, I found myslef closing my eyes and just drifting away numerous times. But you won't drift to far because there will always be a wall of guitars and drums to keep you from going to far. Whether you enjoy instrumental music or not, give this a try, you may be surprised.

5-0 out of 5 stars A journey......
ETIS's latest offering "The earth is not a cold dead place" is a magical journey of textural guitars, rolling bass lines, and a drum sound that is reminiscent of a summer storm.....From the opening track "first breath after coma" the sweeping melodies drift across your consciousness, with some exquisite chord voicings the listener is transformed into actually taking that first delicious breath after being in a coma......"Six days at the bottom of the ocean" takes the you on a trip to the ocean floor inside the Russian submarine as the crushing inevitability of the situation "explodes" into complete silence..... "The earth is not a cold dead place" was described in a review as "music that saved my life", I find statements in this ilk patronizing and contemptuous, however, if music can indeed save ones life, and after almost overdosing on some of the gibberish that is recorded today the sublime peregrination that Explosions in the Sky deliver may well be as close as one can get to an adrenaline shot straight to the heart............Worth every penny you have.....

5-0 out of 5 stars Gets Better All The Time...
BUY IT! This is the universal must-have no matter what your taste in music. Real music created by real musicians, not manufactured garbage ripped off from the last great thing to fatten the wallets of all parties involved. Read the reviews, Listen to clips - there up there, click on them and crank it up! Dont take a chance on some other hit-or-miss record purchase. This stuff is unbelievable!

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
Some may call Explosions in the Sky Mogwai-Lite, but this album of 5 songs really places the band alongside their post-rock brothers (with Godspeed as well); tinted with optimism, showering with sparkling guitar, this album won't disappoint those who have come to love post-rock. Although slightly repetitive, this album does far more than the latest efforts from Mogwai and GY!BE do - consistently evoke strong emotions, moving the listener in and out of a range of beauty, melancholy, and everything in-between. I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could. ... Read more


12. Lost and Safe
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007XMKXU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4740
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

After two albums that spread like wildfire solely on word of mouth and self-propagating critical acclaim, this duo from Massachussetts return with their third album.It is even more cohesive and song-based than "Lemon Of Pink." Their core of cello, mandolin, banjo & guitar has been augemented with new instruments and a now overflowing library of found sounds and serendipitously found spoken word passages.First U.S. tour coming soon! ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Language, context and music
This is a somewhat interesting exploration of language, semantics and rhythm.It is more surreal in it's use of deconstructed conversations placed with new and different contexts.Some of it reminds one greatly of Korean Samul-nori music, which relies mostly upon percussion and rhythm that is based upon the Korean language (listen to No. 6, "An Animated Description of Mr. Maps" for a very clear example of such.While some tracks are very ingaging and suggest a different musical line of exploration from much conventional music, there is a problematic sameness in instrumentation that is sometimes very uninteresting due to a lack of musical development. The Books could end up doing very well if they were to invest more time in their musical development of their ideas and instrumentation.Layering samples can only go so far before it is boring.

4-0 out of 5 stars This album did not dissapoint
I enjoyed this more than I did Lemon of Pink, it felt lush and cinematic the way Thought for Food was, but more emphasis on found speech and juxtaposition.The percussion is just mindboggling here, I can't tell if they're banging on trash cans or paint cans or how much of it is sequenced and looped and sampled, it's all so calculated and choreographed yet otherworldly.My one reservation is that they may be turning the found speech into their schtick, they juxtapose random samples from speeches and field recordings and films and it's really hit or miss, sometimes the juxtapositions are blatantly ironic, sometimes they are just aimed at giggles, but when they work best they are surreal and beautiful.Really, no one else is doing this kind of work with sound composition right now.No one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Written on my Face
The sun shone upon the frosted mermen and they destroyed the fringe. Open up our generous portions of marmalade and feed the beast. Denver is hopelessly uninspired when it comes to fountains. New is the new old. Jungles and jungles of disco-inspired nameless cats approach unwanted. You must not arrange the maps to make the hours fade. Each smell is the same as the last but is quickly forgotten. Take up a collection of radios suitable for general listening. It's mighty.

This is the only way i could explain this album. You will know when you HEAR it. A masterwork.

4-0 out of 5 stars wonderful
such a wonderful album. yes slightly different than past albums, but isn't that a good thing? I think his vocals are lovely and while sometimes the sampling can border on overboard....all in all this is a great album.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Books and Text
Although instantly recognizable as The Books, as others have pointed out, their sound is evolving.This CD features the human voice and spoken word against the assemblage of found sounds and music performed by these artists.I found myself moved by the patchwork of little snippets of recorded phrases and voices, representing a whole range of human experiences.Great stuff.Fans won't be disappointed. ... Read more


13. The Soft Bulletin
list price: $11.98
our price: $7.99
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Asin: B00000JC6C
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1741
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 1999

The crazed genius of the Lips comes to full flower on the sonically massive and majestic The Soft Bulletin. Head Lip Wayne Coyne compounds the band's penchant for psychedelic freak-outs with a symphonic extravaganza. The result is nothing short of magnificent, not only the best rock album of the year, but among the best recordings of the decade. In 30 years, your grandkids are going to think you're pretty damned cool for having The Soft Bulletin in your collection. --Tod Nelson ... Read more

Reviews (316)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Dream Menu (within a bulletin)
Just like it's successor, the brilliantly titled "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots", "The Soft Bulletin" has a sound fans of The Flaming Lips will immediately enjoy, but one that is not so accessible with those not so familiar with the group. The Flaming Lips makes albums that reward the listener over time, because of complex, interesting lyrics, and layered, though not convoluted, symphonic soundscapes. What makes this album exceptional, and worth buying is simple really... quality. "The Soft Bulletin" song for song, is one of the most exceptionally crafted albums I've ever listened to.

I've only heard two Flaming Lips albums, this one, and "Yoshimi", and they both strike me like haunting dreams. If you've ever had one of those strange dreams, and woke up finding yourself wanting to go back there, then you know what I'm talking about. The group's song writing is among the most unique in music. Songs like "Race For the Prize" have a sweeping ambition to them, as they deal with the complexities of human longing, and potential. There is one quality that is prevalent throughout all of The Flaming Lips recent work....courage, and the words come straight out at you, as the warm dream tinted melodies surround them.

This is one album that I wont give an abridged song by song synopsis to, because it's one of those albums that functions better when listed to, and experienced in it's entirety. The Flaming Lips represents a very small minority of groups that have been making music ten years or more, they actually get better with time. I would recommend this album, and other albums by this group, to anyone looking to build an interesting, dynamic music collection. The cover alone is worth the consideration.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lovely Music, Shame About The Vocals
Progressive Rock, then. Huge orchestral sounds, experimental song structures, waves of emotion and long, drawn-out instrumental passages. The indie kids who spent so long laughing at this stuff have for some reason taken it over since the mid-90's, with every year yielding a *classic album* (see Radiohead, Spiritualized, Grandaddy, Mercury Rev...and of course The Flaming Lips).

"The Soft Bulletin" is pure Yes. People who say it sounds like nothing else ought to just bop on down to "The Yes Album", which contains similar vocal harmonies, adventurous use of piano, and an identical guitar style. But this is no bad thing AT ALL. On a musical level, "The Soft Bulletin" is faultless. It contains the most moving string arrangements, the most interesting chord changes, and the most adventurous everything-including-the-kitchen-sink production values I've heard in a long, long while.

My only problem (which is the same gripe I have with Mercury Rev a lot of the time) is the awful, lazy, weak, grating vocal lines. Take the song "Suddenly Everything Has Changed". Surely I can't be the only person frustrated by the complete disparity between voice and music? The instrumental sections are beautiful, heart-rending and nothing short of breathtaking. Then the singer's annoying Neil Young-isms tear through the beauty in the most infuriatingly fey, indie way...singing about vegetables from the grocery store, no less.

If you're into these sorts of vocals, "The Soft Bulletin" will change your life. If you have yet to be converted to the American-indie obsession with tuneless Neil Young impersonations, it won't. But I have given this album four stars for the music alone, which is absolutely legendary.

I really think it's a matter of taste. Personally, I think if these songs were played on acoustic guitar nobody would like them. And to rely on production just to make your songs good... I don't know, smacks a bit of dishonesty to me.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Flaming Lips Best.. well maybe...
The Flaming Lips have made an interesting career of changing it up on each album. If you listened to "Clouds Taste Metallic" (their album before this one) than listen to "Yoshimi" (their album after this one) you wouldn't know it was the same band. "The Soft Bulletin" isn't their most ambitious work (that would be Zaireeka) and it's not the most drastic change from their original works (that would be Yoshimi), but it was simply the next step that connects the growth of the band from "Clouds" to "Yoshimi."

So why is it their best? It's not the most ambitious, the most different, the most rocking or anything like that. Instead each track is a treasure in it's own way. The songs aren't very tied together but instead present a different sound with every new endeavor. From the happy go lucky love on "Buggin'" to the almost, dare I say, dance feel you get from the drums on "What is the Light." "Suddenly Everything Has Changed" presents a transformation of fast to slow over and over again. Even the two "remixes" present quite different sounds from the "unremixed" versions of the same songs. Rather than being "remixed" it seems to me the Lips just couldn't decide which version was better and decided to present them both. Each track is incredible in its own way. And while you could argue "Yoshimi" is a better album based on how the fact that each Lips album seems to be better than the next, "The Soft Bulletin" presents the Lips in a way that is familiar to all of their other works but still very different, and comes out, at least to me, as their best work to date.

2-0 out of 5 stars Wayne Coyne is Annoying...
or that's what one would gather from listening to this album. Really, Coyne can be a truly outstanding and remarkable frontman or he can be absolutely awful as shown in the Soft Bulletin. Now the Lips have some great works, such as Yoshimi and Transmissions From The Satellite Heart but this isn't one of them. All of the indie kids seem to love this album though, but from what I gather they just jumped on the Flaming Lips bandwagon a little too late and ended up loving the next album they made which happened to be this. Coyne essentially tears away all of the grinding, loud guitars from the earlier albums and all that is left is adult alternative, contemporary music that people in their fifties will love, merely for the fact that the music sounds pleasant enough. Coyne's never really had all that great of a voice to begin with but he's at his worst here. He's damn near unbearable in A Spoonful Weigh's A Ton. The whole album just sounds hollow, and the production values aren't anything to revel at, which is remarkable considering the Lips were aiming for a bombastic sound. There is some good stuff on here though including Buggin', Suddenly Everything Has Changed, and The Spiderbite Song. I'm really quite frustrated from the acclaim that this album gets when in reality their earlier albums are much more worty of it...

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums of the 90s
The Soft Bulletin is certainly one of the Flaming Lips best works. The soundscape on this album is incredibly vibrant, and detailed. It's clear that they know their way around a recording studio, but they never force recording tricks. They show a lot of restraint, every orchestra swell, or drum flourish flows and feels like it should be there.
Conceptually the album is tight. They take on some real issues here. Stuff that anyone can relate to, the songs are about human nature, death, love, and eternal struggle. The album kicks off with "Race for the Prize", an upbeat number about two scientists making the ultimate sacrifice to come up with The Cure. It's slightly silly, and playful on the surface, but its ultimately about 2 guys willing to die to save some lives. There's many songs that dwell on this subject. The second song "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" alternates between an extremely sweet orchestra section, and a deep funky bass section. "The Gash"(my personal favorite) is a real freak out, with incredibly layered vocals of all different pitches singing again about the eternal struggle that scientists have, and how you have to march on no matter what, all over an offbeat piano riff, with an orchestra and electronic whirring. This song represents the band the best, it is silly and incredibly eccentric but still charming and meaningful.
Other songs go into more about mortality such as "Suddenly Everything has Changed" about how during everyday events your mind drifts to morbid thoughts or on "Waitin' for a Superman" where singer and chief songwriter Wayne Coyne deals with the burden of his father's death.
People complaining that this album means nothing and its about drummers who lost their arms, superman, headwounds, mosquito bites quite frankly missed the point. The songwriting here is meaningful, and poignant. Every song has a deeper meaning, but not so deep that you can't find it.
The Soft Bulletin is a great album that delivers on all levels. People looking for sheer joyful noise will find it, people looking for something with deep lyrics will find it, people looking distinct, catchy and great melodies will find them on every song. The album stands as a great pop album, and an extremely deep, artistic thinkpiece. It is definitely one of the best albums of the 90s and one of my favorites of all time. I think anyone that gives it a little time will find that every song is a gem. The Soft Bulletin is top-notch ... Read more


14. ( )
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006LLNU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2452
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Are Iceland’s Sigur Rós the saviors of 21st-century rock or true heirs to the silk-robed-and-platform-booted, pompous progressive rock of the '70s? On their third album (first for a major label), they are a little bit of both. The group continues to mix the most interesting aspects of U2 (the anthem), Low (the maximalist slow-mo thing), Radiohead (the utter lack of irony in the quest to make meaningful art for stadium crowds), and My Bloody Valentine (guitar as texture), while not sounding like anyone else on this planet. The average song length on the eight untitled tracks is eight minutes, with cascades of moaning, bowed guitars colliding with low-end keyboards while the lovely, alien-registered vocals of singer Jónsi float on top. Dynamics are employed spectacularly, but half of the album is spooky soundtrack music that never really goes anywhere. However, the actual songs on Two Sausages Kissing (or whatever you want to call it)--the third, sixth, eighth, and especially fourth tracks--are mind-blowers, spectacularly worth the price of admission. If they just stopped trying to reinvent the wheel all the time, Sigur Rós could really be a band for the ages. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more

Reviews (262)

5-0 out of 5 stars a uniquely distinct experience of a record
It's not exactly an easy task to describe Icelandic band Sigur Ros' latest record. For one, it doesn't have a title, other than "( )." "( )" also has no linear notes whatsoever, giving us no song names, or any references to the musicians, engineers and psychiatrists who appear on it. What's more, the lyrics, which are written half in English and half in Icelandic, are sung mostly in an echo-drenched falsetto that makes Jeremy Enigk sound like Paul McCartney.

Then again, no one ever understood Michael Stipe or Kurt Cobain. And the Beatles did the same sort of disappearing act on the White Album. And while we're at it, Bjork's from Iceland as well. And every review of this band ever written will mention that.

What's left is an odd and uniquely distinct experience of a record. Imagine the condensed images of a Stanley Kubrick film put to music that's mostly whispered and played at half-speed. Picture My Bloody Valentine or Sonic Youth daydreaming away on thousands of crates of cough syrup.

Pianos give way to walls of guitars, strings, and drums that occasionally lift the pulse above a trickle. Occasionally. But Sigur Ros don't work in speed or pop hooks. They work in pure aural texture. They move sideways, and they swell, not into catchy choruses, but into orchestral static and ghostly buzzing. This isn't a record for fans of mainstream pop music. In fact, it may not be a record for listening to at all, but rather it's something to play during science fiction movie credits, or in the background of an opium den.

Oddly enough, this isn't exactly a bad thing. Sigur Ros may just be the first band in a long time to sound so different, so confounding, and so beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sigur Ros...A Gift From God
I remember about 2 months ago when I typed in "Sigur Ros" in a alltheweb.com search engine and downloaded the song called, "Untitled 4." I was literaly blown away. This album changed my life. I just sat in my room and listened to it at least 6 times in a row as I lied in my bed and cried my eyes out. The hauntingly, gorgeous music just rips through your emotional barrier, making you vunerable for change and reflection, such as a small child. You can be free again. Just don't be afraid to take an emotional voyage.

I am still in a state of shock from hearing this album. For god's sake, just support the greatest musicians alive and buy this album. If you like Radiohead, Godspeed You! Black Emporer, Bjork, or Pink Floyd, this progressive style of beautiful music will just fill you with the most tranquil feeling of sensational, perpetual bliss, just every single note tearing through your heart as you remember all the sad things that have happened to you throughout your entire life. How could something so beautiful be so sad? That is mystery of the band itself: Sigur Ros. What every these musical prodigies are making next, it is going to change my life. I just know it.

5-0 out of 5 stars ( )
please stop reading the reviews and buy this album. words cannot do it justice--as the members of sigur rós recognized also. you need to hear this work of art for yourself. every single track on this album is just everything more than astonishing. i love every single track. i love the keyboards in track one. i love the singing in track two. jonsi your voice is fn breathtaking. i love the keyboards and melodies in track three. i love track four, hands down. i love the eerieness of track five, oh man i love how he sings. i love the ending of track six. beauty. track seven is just...just close your eyes and listen. you will know. and track eight. what to say about track eight? track eight is fn awesome. all of these tracks are amazing. i am not singling any of them out for a standout or any of them for a track of lesser beauty. amazing album. honestly. get this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Walking in a Winter Wonderland
This album reminds me of walking in the blistering cold in the snow. This Icelandic band creates soundscapes that are cold and sterile, yet can bring a tear to your eye. The guitarist likes to use a bow, creating long notes in these slow ballads. Most songs start off soft and slowly build to a huge crescendo. the first 4 tracks are more focused and accessible, the last four are noisier, and rely less on normal melodies. The vocals are in hoplandic i.e. gibberish, but really it is the singer trying to use his voice as any other instrument. Just the sound and inflection are what are important. I think this is the band's best album to date, but all 3 are fantastic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable
This album is simply amazing. Powerful and overwhelming. A fantastic trip. ... Read more


15. Spiderland
list price: $13.98
our price: $13.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000019HU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7669
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Although this Kentucky combo had a short lifespan, its influence has been extraordinary, presaging the underground "math-rock" revolution and spawning spinoffs such as Tortoise and Gastr Del Sol. But don't go thinking that the foursome is a mere footnote: The bracingly dense, dizzyingly complex songs that vein this, their second full-length release, perfectly capture the smarter face of early-'90s thug-rock. Yes, Slint's sound is descended from punk, but its members--particularly guitarist Brian McMahan--never subscribed to the "keep it simple, stupid" philosophy. Spiderland is so rife with breakneck tempo changes, off-kilter chord progressions, and bizarro-world themes, you'd be hard-pressed to go a listen without discovering something new. --David Sprague ... Read more

Reviews (71)

4-0 out of 5 stars "He wished he was drunk..."
There is simply no other band in rock music that sounds anything like these guys. "Spiderland" is a study in loud/soft dynamics and obtuse lyricism. Some highlights from this record are the opener "Breadcrumb Trail" which starts off quiet and builds to an amazing, heavy chorus. "Washer" is simply beautiful, probably one of my favorite songs of all time. "Good Morning, Captain" (my first exposure to Slint, courtesy of the "Kids" soundtrack) tells a bizarro story of a sea captain washed up on a shore somewhere. In a way, this track can be seen as a miniature version of the entire album. It starts off very slow and soft, with the singer muttering some cryptic lyrics, and gradually works up to a crashing, ear-bludgeoning crescendo, with the guy screaming, "I miss you!" To me this record is the perfect soundtrack for those days when you are feeling especially alone and unloved. It's not relentlessly gloomy though, just honest and emotional. I only hesitated to give it five stars, because in my opinion, with only six songs, the album is simply too short to be considered "perfect." Buy this. Go ahead. You won't regret it, I promise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Math rock, post-rock, whatever. This is simply amazing.
Wow. I can't emphazise enough how good Slint's Spiderland actually is. I know that sounds like overblown fanboy gushing, and it probably is, but hear me out. Released in 1992, Spiderland was forgotten amidst the waves of Seattle grunge, and that's too bad, for this is an incredibly unique work.

This Louisville, Kentucky quartet was once a hardcore punk outfit, though you would never realize it by listening to this album. The guitars are spidery, the tempos slow and methodical, and the vocalist recites muted spoken word in the darkened recesses. The arrangements are somewhat spare and repetitious on first listen, yet there is an underlying mathematical structure to them. Overall, the sound is distant, dark, and vaguely unsettling. This album conveys the sound of an overcast and windy autumn night, the leaves rustling in the trees, the fog rolling in. Delicate and meloncholy, yet shadowy and intense at the same time.

Spiderland rewards a patient listener. The songs are extended somewhat, hovering in between five to almost nine minutes. The chiming guitars of the opener Breadcrumb Trail begin the journey, followed by the wonderfully creepy Nosferatu Man, probably the most intense track on the album. Don, Aman is a slow piece full of whispered lyrics and strummed guitars that ominously build and build, until a wave of distortion breaks through as if to signify something dramatic and terrible has happened. Washer, the longest track, is a downbeat and poignant song full of yearning and emotionally naked lyrics. This is not "emo"--this is way more powerful and moving than any whinery that the likes of Conor Oberst can muster up. "Wash yourself in your tears, and build your church on the strength of your faith.."

For Dinner.. is an instrumental. While it is not the strongest track on the album, it serves as a breather for the finale Good Morning, Captain, one of the most emotionally intense pieces of music I've ever heard. The way the singer whispers toward the end, "I'm trying to find my way home..I'm sorry, and I miss you," followed by a dramatic crescendo and his cries of "I miss you!"--it leaves a pit in my stomach. Every time. Sounds cliche, I know, but it must be heard to be believed.

Although later post-rock bands such as Tortoise, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, and Explosions In The Sky have attempted to replicate the power of this album, nothing can beat the original. Spiderland is pure emotion set to music, and one of the most powerful records of the '90s. Calling it "essential" is an understatement.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy Spiderland Now.
I don't actually have this album. A friend of mine does own it, and I have listened to it several times through. I am actually planning on buying it within the next few months.

I really love Slint. The lyrical art on this album is one of my favorites (particularly "Nosferatu Man"). They are very poetic.

I actually heard about Slint when I first saw The Shins music video for "New Slang," in which The Shins pay homage to all of their inspirations by posing for their album covers. I figured that if they inspired The Shins as did Squirrel Bait, Dave Matthews, The Replacements, The Minutemen, Husker Du, et al, I would check them out.

I'm glad I did.

5-0 out of 5 stars I thought it was friendly...Real Scary-Like
Chilling Lyrics. For the first week I owned it, I couldn't listen to Good Morning, Captain in the dark. I like to keep my reviews short and simple, so I can tell you, with all honesty to but this album, even if you get creeped easily. You can stand it. It'll haunt you to sleep...

5-0 out of 5 stars "Spiderland rewards a patient listener."
A reviewer below said that, and I don't think truer words could be said about this album.

Back in 1991, I was writing for a fanzine. I'd become friends with one of the other writers, and he was the one who generally got first pick of the many pre-release copies that were sent in for review. Whenever I went over to his place he'd turn me on to whatever he thought was worth our time. One day he said "OK, this record is AMAZING, you really need to hear this." He put Spiderland on and the first song, Breadcrumb Trail, began playing. After a few measures I became restless and made him skip to the next song. Then the next. As he turned the record over to side 2, I asked something like "So is that all they do?" He sighed and said "Eh, you don't get it." And he was right, I didn't. Back in those days I was listening to noisy, scary stuff like the Melvins, Jesus Lizard, Helmet, etc. This music was so incredibly subdued and low key, it simply did not compute for me. But it did for my friend, and it seemed like any time I went over to his place for the next few weeks, he was always listening to Spiderland.

A few weeks or maybe months later, I was browsing around in a record shop. The clerk was playing something on the stereo. It was very familiar and pleasing to my ears, but I couldn't figure out what it was. I had to ask him to find out that it was, of course, Spiderland. It had taken some time, but it had finally managed to worm its way into my head and into my heart. That was when I bought my own copy. It's been somewhere in my All Time Top 5 ever since. ... Read more


16. The Complex
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008OWZD
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 959
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Take equal measures of Gallagher and Kraftwerk, mix in a 15-year supply of blue body paint and shake with a double-shot of modern marketing savvy and you might have something akin to Blue Man Group. This ambitious second album by New York performance artists cum entrepreneurs Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton, and Chris Wink expands their central artistic contradiction--mainstreaming the alternative--with a propulsive cocktail of rhythm, irony, self-invented instrumentation, and bona fide song structures that feature turns from guest stars Dave Matthews (the music hall dirge "Sing Along") and Tracy Bonham ("Up to the Roof," and with Rob Swift, "Shadows Pt.2"). The conceit is vaguely reminiscent of the Tubes' tongue-in-cheek ode to '80s corporate rock, "The Completion Backwards Principle," right down to being so convincing the irony often melts away. Fans of their live performances will appreciate its wall-to-wall rhythmic thrust and quirky textures, while aficionados and newcomers alike should welcome its surprising, seductive melodies and mature songwriting. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (65)

5-0 out of 5 stars blue mans complex
Above:(8/10)A good instrementel to start off the album.
Time to start:(10/10)a fun song that teaches you 4 of the basic movements you use at a rock concert(well 3 out of 4). Great backround music!!!
Sing along:(9/10)the first single off the cd.A soft and dark song that is easy to get stuck in your head. After a few times you hear this song you will sing along. Plus Dave Matthews sings!!!.
Up to the roof:(9/10)The first of two songs sung by Tracy Bonham. The lyrics have nothing to do with anything but her voice goes perfect with the music so it sounds really good.
Your attention:(8/10)Another great Instramentel.
Persona:(8 and a half/10)A very soft song that is easy to listen to. Josh Haden sings.
Piano smasher:(6/10) an ok instramentel but nothing special.
White rabbit:(8/10)A very good song by Esthero. And it is sort of about alice in wonderland.
The current:(10/10)easily the best song on the cd.An awesome heavy meatel song that is sung by Gavin Rossdale.
Shadows part 2: (4/10)The worst song on the album. A half effort by Tracy Bonham and Rob Swift. Great backround music though.
What is rock:(10/10) The secound best song of the cd. An awesome punk rock song that is sung by Arone Dyer & Peter Moore.
The complex:(10/10) Another great song sung by Peter Moore. Its alot softer then what is rock but still an awesome song.
I feel love: (9/10) A great song that almost sounds like a hard rock modonna song. Sung by Venus Hum.
Exhibit 13: (4/10) Not a very good instramentel.
Bonus track:(7/10) A great instramentel to end the album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Big rock sound from the men in Blue
Until recently, all I knew about the Blue Man Group was based on their series of odd commercials for Intel. I didn't know anything about their music. "The Complex" blew me away.

This is a rock album, make no mistake. BMG's debut album, "Audio," is more true to their live show that's played in venues like The Luxor in Las Vegas, and is primarily a showcase for the BMG's trademark percussion.

"The Complex" couples BMG's percussion and homemade instruments to a traditional song format, with soaring guitars, a pounding rhythm section, and a big percussive sound.

Along for the ride are guest vocalists such as Tracy Bonham, Dave Matthews, Annette Stream of Venus Hum, and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale.

Lyrically, the songs of "The Complex" explore themes of alienation and the dis-connect from society that is so common to the cubicle-dweller society that is the norm of corporate America. There are a few cover tunes here, with the best being a rocking cover of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," sung by Venus Hum's Annette Stream. It's a brilliant rendition, full of soaring guitars, amazing percussion (the synthesizer sound at the beginning of the song is actually PVC tubing, an instrument the Blue Man Group call 'The Tubulum') and energy.

The album concludes with the haunting instrumental "Exhibit 13." If you've seen "The Complex" tour DVD or have gone to BMG's web site, you'll know that "Exhibit 13" is about the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and some random pieces of paper that blew into a nearby neighborhood.

About "The Complex" tour DVD...buy it! It's amazing to watch everyone involved in creating the show, and to see and hear the Blue Man Group's various homemade instruments.

5-0 out of 5 stars Innovation at its best
Blue Man Group uses the innovation of their stage show along with traditional hard rock ideas to create something new. Many compare Blue Man Group with Kraftwerk in the seventies, but I think that even more than that BMG is bringing the spirit of innovation back to music. Today when all music is analyzed as a combination of influences it is important to remember that new things can happen. BMG comes to the music scene from the stage show, moving from a multi-sensory environment to a purely audio one. As a result I can't imagine listening to The Complex without knowing how they make the sounds, and many of the sounds resemble movements. For example one Blue Man swings a whip like piece of plastic to create a wooshing sound that seems like it should move the air. As a result BMG is something new, not just rehashed from a previous time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blue Man Group - The Complex Exhilarating
After attending a performance by the Blue Man group in person, I was sold on finding this style of music and enjoying the experience at home. The CD mixes many of the show's music and some new innovations with vocal artists. The music has a magnificant beat, rhythum and allure that is great listening.
I thoroughally enjoy the experience and recommend The Complex for any fan of music.

3-0 out of 5 stars It's a DVD
I'm a huge fan of the Blue Man Group, saw them in Vegas and New York. So you can understand how pissed off I was when I got this CD from Amazon.com and found out it's not a CD, but a DVD, which means I won't be cruisin' down the highway blasting these tunes. Far as I'm concerned, DVD format is for movies, great music should be strictly sports car convertible friendly CD.

--J ... Read more


17. Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005Q6OS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2833
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

If you do a Web search on the phrase "explosions in the sky," what you're likely to come up with are Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, fireballs, space debris. And a band from Austin, Texas. The sophomore effort from this band of emo-style prog-rockers, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever was released on September 10, 2001--and the cover art features the prescient words, "This plane will crash tomorrow." Intense, instrumental music infused with fatalistic affect, this is a requiem for a planet. Expressionist, it recalls a simmering Texas landscape placid for days, suddenly punctuated by a punishing electrical storm. Playing like a symphony in six movements, the album is composed entirely of bass, guitar, and drums. A moody but gorgeous album infused with youthful sincerity, it is cinematic in scope with soothing soundscapes of atmospheric, ambient, and shimmering chimes interspersed with crashing interludes of heavy metal-style guitar explosions and drums with intricate time signatures. File under post-rock . . . or modern composition. --Jillian Steinberger ... Read more

Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent post-rock release
While the post-rock genre has been stretched thin and wide by the efforts of Mogwai, Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Sigur Ros, it takes a little band from Austin Texas to put out a release that reminds post-rock what it needs: the maximum effort from the band and the bands' instruments, not the arrangements outside it. Only a four piece, the band greatly enlarges their music through their extreme sense of dynamics.

Addicted to crescendos and increadible build-ups, the band puts together an instrumental album that one cannot forget on the first listen. To the cataclysmic roar of "Greet Death" to the enchanting melodies and syncapation of "The Moon is Down", the band manages to engage the listener in emotional and mental highs and lows, lifting the spirits and then throwing them down to the ground in a barrage of music.

However great this album is, I simply cannot compare it to their live show. The CD doesn't do them justice. During a performance in a tiny club in Nashville, they were the loudest band I had ever heard and quite possibly the only that left me breathless and transfigured on the music and the artists throught the entire set. To get a glimpse of how good their live show is, buy the record. To simply appreciate post-rock... buy the record.

5-0 out of 5 stars top notch post-rock
I can't say enough good things about this band. While Godspeed et al tend to rock out for 15-20 minutes (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), EITS keep the songs to a shorter length, with these songs clocking in just under 50 minutes for 6 songs. The idea of this band is one favored by many other Austin, TX bands, namely Trail of Dead. This is the soft-loud-soft approach to their music. While Trail of Dead features amazing lyrics, they too also achieve the soundscapes EITS have, along with the awesome, most unique drumming I've ever heard. All the songs start off with ambient, soft textured segments, only to explode when you least expect it, turning into a hard rocking, two guitar intertwined, amazing drum lined jam all at once. These jams are my personal favorite, as they reach guitar territory I have never thought existed. Overall, just an awesome album, even if you can never find it in a store. Get it now! (and their new one on Nov. 4)

4-0 out of 5 stars this album moves me:
When I'm walking the more scenic tree lined avenues in my area I'm always listening to this band. Songs like 'your hand in mine' or the 'moon is down' (featured in the film all the real girls) push my mind into the most warm and ephianic moments of recent past. Or they will even make me completely forget time and the worry around me and have me focus on things that make this world splendid. Pick up any of their albums and play them with headphones on.

4-0 out of 5 stars great band, good buy
this is a great album.....one song has some speaking throughout it which i find a bit annoying and distracting, but it is only one song, therefore the intensity and perfection of the rest of the album make you forget about the spoken word part being so bad.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Album!
This album is one of my favorites, and blows me away at times. The intricacies within the music are amazing, and the slow cresendo is very suspenseful. I'm a fan of Godspeed You Black Emperor as well, and these bands are very similar, but with one difference that makes EITS much better. EITS has shorter songs. While it takes 20 minutes to get to the climax of a Godspeed song (which isn't bad at all if you have the time), EITS songs are about 6 minutes, making them better for listening to, and more interesting, as the songs vary more in style, and you are taken to the proverbial climax of the song a bit more quickly. ... Read more


18. Sky Moves Sideways (Dig)
list price: $17.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002CU4Y8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9338
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars ptree s.m.s. -- essential extacy enhanced
"the sky moves sideways" is absolutely essential (6 stars!) early ptree. this remaster contains the s.m.s. titles from the original uk release (the us release was different -- it dropped "prepare yourself" and added "stars die"), plus this has "stars die" and a slightly longer version of "moonloop" (both were on the uk ep)....so already it has enough to warrant buying it....but wait! there's more -- this also has a 34 minute alternate version of the title cut.

110 minutes of aural gratification.

why are you still reading this? you should be ordering this disc!! ... Read more


19. Ambient 1: Music for Airports
list price: $16.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0002PZVH0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5448
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Amazon.com essential recording

Eno's theory of the "discreet music" he called ambient was far from the modern chill-out room: the idea was that it should function at very low volumes, unobtrusively coloring the atmosphere of a room. Evolving by tiny gradations, the long pieces of Music For Airports (the first in a series of albums that followed the statement of purpose Discreet Music) defy close attention, but then they're not meant to be listened to consciously; they're meant to serve as a counterpoint to the frantic arcs of travel, or rather to be imagined in that setting. --Douglas Wolk ... Read more


20. Harold Budd & Brian Eno: The Pearl
list price: $11.99
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000003S2V
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8363
Average Customer Review: 4.84 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This sublime, tranquil recording features 11 haunting ambient tone poems for treated piano. They are crafted from simple chords, arpeggios, or melodies that are frequently trailed by delicate electronic whispers to produce dreamy results. Even though Budd and Eno chose to compose and record in a minimalist style, their gorgeous, moody music evokes so much more, for the reverberating spaces between the notes are just as important as the notes themselves. In an interesting experiment, both "Against the Sky" and "An Echo of Night" explore the same melancholic musical theme in different settings--the former is a sparse piano piece with gentle electronic treatments, the latter is a murky synth work set against a nocturnal outdoor backdrop. (Budd later explored the theme again as the ethereal elegy "Olancha Farewell" on his 1986 solo album, Lovely Thunder.)Beautifully understated, the slow-motion ballet of The Pearl is a piece of striking ambient impressionism that was highly original in its day, well before the myriads of New Age imitators its composers spawned, and it remains fresh and vital two decades later. --Bryan Reesman ... Read more

Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars Harold Budd, Part 2
This album and the preceding one, "Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror", really have to be taken together in the same listen. They both feature the same sparse piano melodies over a treated Eno-scape. These two albums are my favorites for relaxation, reading, painting - you name it, they're great for it. That's why it's called "Ambient" music - it is made to fit in with almost any atmosphere, blending with, as Erik Satie once said, "The sounds of the knives and forks at dinner".
My favorite time to listen to these records is in a rainstorm, especially with distant thunder in the background. The rain sounds seem to bring out subtleties in the music that can't be heard otherwise.
So if you like Eno's "Ambient 1" or "Discreet Music" or Steve Roach's "Structures from Silence", this is the album for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sonic wallpaper
As with Eno and Budd's best ambient work (together and apart), The Pearl is a wash of atmospheres and colors that blends with its surroundings. Music for talking, reading, sleeping, working, meditating or just about anything else, it's as simple and minimalist as it can get yet never sounds weak or disposable.

This time, the basis is simply piano with some "treated" effects. That's it. The Pearl doesn't have quite the variety of sounds & positive tone of Apollo, the relaxing haziness of Ambient 1, or the pure soundscapes of Ambient 4. The mood is occasionally sad, but mostly just.. peaceful. The song titles give the impression of the melodies themselves; ethereal, barely there, as fleeting and beautiful as a sunbeam or a bright fish in a stream. Lovely and subdued. If you enjoy music that fills the room and wraps you in a quiet ambience, well.. you should probably have this album already. If you're only curious to start, I'll just suggest that The Pearl and Eno's Music for Airports are two of the finest to begin with.

5-0 out of 5 stars Aptly named The Pearl-- Pure and luminous
I love Brian Eno and Harold Budd's music. The drifting effect of ambient music is soothing yet interesting to the ear and it really does create an atmosphere in the space in which you are playing it.

The Pearl is mostly "treated piano" (gosh, as a lifelong player, I sometimes shudder at what they do to my favorite instrument, but it sounds divine.) Even though there is less of the electronic spacey effect, these pieces create an incredible sense of mood and emotion. "Late October" really has the feel of the regret of late autumn, when cold winter is on the way and only a ghost of happy times in summer and a glorious fall remain in a russet-colored landscape. "An Echo of Night" is mysterious and dreamy.

Though the Ambient 1-4 were my favorite albums by Eno and Budd, Pearl is pushing its way right up there for "most listened-to." If you are a fan, I'd say this is one that you have to have. I just love it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredibly sublime experience that brings deep serenity
Never before have I owned a CD such as this one that each time I listen to it I become blissed out.
Harold and Brian are both geniuses.
I only have about 4 of Harold's CD's but his gifted piano compositions affect me like no other...
I thoroughly recommend this music to take you into those places within yourself that are characteristic of the most serene and tranquil states ever imaginable.
Harold, you're brilliant.

5-0 out of 5 stars perfect
this is a perfectly gorgeous record. all the others here say it better than I could. ... Read more


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