GAINES - Greatest Hits (EMI)
America’s biggest recording artist Garth
Brooks lets his alter ego fly with this pre-soundtrack to the movie The Lamb
in which he portrays the popstar Chris Gaines. An interesting concept with a collection
of good tracks produced by Don Was. (There’s even a Chris Gaines website!). Garth’s
lost a lot of weight and his wardrobe and hair make-over is wonderful, the songs
also reflecting more of a groove, giving the country boy a more hip image and
sound, even if it’s just for a while. I was waiting to hear Garth really rip loose,
but it doesn’t exactly happen. With over 50 artists contributing, it’s one big
affair. Looking forward to seeing the movie.
4 / C
GATHERING - Night Birds (Century Media)
You don't dance to this, because
it's not up tempo enough. You don't sing along with it, since it'll be a stretch
to match this lady's lovely voice. You don't exactly headbang to it as it's not
that heavy. So what the hell do you do with this ?? You listen to it. You sit
down, relax and let the sound wash over you; the contrast of long chorded, heavy
guitars and an angelic, beautiful voice gelling marvellously to create a soothing,
yet anxious atmosphere. Here the lyrics don't matter. What is of importance is
the powerful passion conveyed via sound waves. These are the type of songs (depending
on your state of mind at the time of listening) that can lean either way - it
can serve as an uplifting, inspiring flight or a deeply dark cry of emotional
torture embodying grief and loss. Whichever way you might swing, the essence will
be absorbed. The Gathering (no, it's not the old SA band who did Perfect
Souls) can actually cater for a wide audience. Whether you're into Metal,
Gothic or vocal genres, they're all represented here and blend tightly. This music
is rising slowly but surely and demands urgent attention. So, buy it !
5 / A
- Turn it On Again, The Hits (EMI / Virgin)
For anyone who likes Genesis,
but never got around to purchasing any of their releases, this is the one to get.
It has Invisible Touch, Mama, I Can’t Dance, Abacab, No Son Of Mine, Land Of
Confusion, Jesus He Knows Me and ten more tracks. In addition there’s a 1999
version of The Carpet Crawlers. Not your average pop-rock band, their distinctive
sound with Phil Collins’s voice is an ‘80’s memory that’s not a bad one at all.
4 / B
HOUSE BEATS (Ghetto Ruff / EMI)
Ghetto sounds, Kwaito bumping and House beats
are surprisingly mixed here with bravado and success by Kyllex. 7 lively
party tracks (plus instrumental re-mixes of 3 of the numbers) pump out a fair
amount of energy. It doesn’t really drift away from the norm or come up with revelation
to the norm or any innovative or mind-blowing surprises (besides of course the
mixing of these styles that all boil down to one thing: getting down). A mix of
the Yizo Yizo TV theme song also gets a re-working.
- Motion Picture Soundtrack (Universal)
The epic stature of this soundtrack
equals that of Ridley Scott’s grand scale film. Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard created
one passionate and emotion spiked cocktail of orchestral waves, crests and planes.
Running through the gamut of feelings from power and victory to loss and sorrow,
no lyrics are necessary to convey the highly charged through every string, horn,
cymbal and every other instrument utilized by the Lyndhurst Orchestra. But, the
ever uplifting (and at times ominous) choir can never go wrong, while the vocal
rendition of Lisa Gerrard is obviously done for the TV exposure via music video.
It is still a highly atmospheric piece with a marvelous mood (in the vein of Dead
Can Dance & Cocteau Twins) - very moving (without finger popping beats),
adding to the soundtrack as a whole, blending seamlessly.
- Liquid Skin (Virgin / EMI)
These lads take the college rock thing
to the next level. That is if there was another level for that genre to go; if
so, I’d like it to sound like this. Still, this sounds far too experimental for
such a basic, boring labeling. So, forget what I said. But then, if I say Lenny
Kravitz has one hell of a bizarre belly button, you can’t help but to think
of it, can you? Huh? Anyway, a kind of post grungy, anything goes (yet restrained)
bouncing of sound is what Gomez gives its listener. An acoustic ghost drifts
through the songs but they do rock out on many occasions with anything from a
lonesome cello to distortion taking a bow. The other day I spoke to Michelle from
Fetish about music in general and wondered why they don’t use hand clapping
in songs anymore (Hare Krishnas excluded). She said no-one uses it anymore because
it’s crap. I disagree, though. On Las Vegas Dealer, Gomez does the
hand clap thing, two days after my conversation…cool. The final track, Devil
Will Ride, they couldn't get the running time to stop at 6:66, so they settled
for 6:56. With quite a retro feel to it, they do however have a rather interesting
and distinct sound. Well worth checking out if you’re bored with your run of the
mill pop & roll.
3 / B
After their world class pop hit, Starlight lit up our radio SA stations
, Grannysmith finally got their record deal sorted out and released their
debut album. The choice of opening track was not a bad one, what with the strings
and all, lovely guitars and smooth, but determined vocals. Yep, Starlight
is also present and is definitely the highlight of this album. Grannysmith’s
predominantly emotion driven songs seem quite personal and relationship based,
without it falling into the soppy (& sloppy) love song trap. With Just Jinger
trying their luck abroad, Grannysmith makes the best substitute for those
into near adult contemporary, local pop / acoustic rock. Although the trio thanks
their friend and saviour, Jesus Christ in the liner notes, this is hardly a gospel
album. I must add, I absolutely love the glossy paper of the CD sleeve - it has
that great smell and texture of the gatefold imported vinyl records we bought
from Ragtime records in the '80s…Usually the songs on an album invoke some
kind of reminiscence in stead of its printing! You can find something good in
the strangest places.
4 / B
DAY - Warning:
The crown princes of American pop-punk are back with
another album of sugar sprinkled rebellion. With a few years behind them, new
families and no doubt comfy bank accounts, one would come to expect them to settle
down a little. They do however still retain the same energy that had the world
sit up and listen with Dookie, but those memorable songs seem to be getting
thin. Whether they’ve paved the path for the likes of Blink 182 to carry
the torch we’ll have to wait and see.
3 / B
- Fink (Morbid Records)
The best SA band does it again. No holds barred,
no prisoners, no fucking bullshit! This album kicks from start to finish with
no less that 21 tracks of total intensity. And, no, it's not just a "noise" like
your parents used to say (and perhaps still do!). Not only is this album heavy
as a ten ton truck, it is also laden with countless catchy, groovy riffs, a booming
bass and hammering drums that hardly ever come up for air. But, it must be said,
it doesn't mean they don't leave room for experimentation into the electronic
realm. This album impressed me more than the last Blood Duster album I
heard (Straight Outta Northcote); if you know what I mean, then you do.
This is more than mere Grindcore - this is a fine SA accomplishment we can all
be proud of. Many people will feel drained after going through this album - and
so you should!
5 / A
- sixtimesnine (Happy Hamster Records)
South Africa never really offered
up many gods. Loads of martyrs, yes. Besides Chris Barnard the only other "gods"
are politicians on either side of the fence with a history of atrocities, hands-on
or not. Oh, and a few sports bores. Well, here I can comfortably state that Groinchurn
are the SA Gods of Grind. Fast, furious, pounding, growling...and dare I say it...groovy.
Yes my friends, not many people dare to enter these unchartered waters and crawl
out unscathed. Fine, anyone can make a noise, but to make such a memorable, cool
racket with such catchy riffs and brutal vocals is an art unto itself, not a fluke.
Many dissolved grind-core bands have made attempts, but few have persisted like
the Groinchurn boys who by no means lose sight of their sense of humour
- I remember a few years back when we (V.O.D) did some gigs with them around
Gauteng - their Bon Jovi parody had me in stitches. But this CD is by not
one comedy blast from start to finish. They grasp the concept of subtlety and
the importance of giving the listener time to take a breath...however short. For
instance, you'll find a hypnotic electronic churner filled with little bits of
stuff. Their outspoken subject matter might be a tad in-your-face for some people,
but if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. One bit of criticism
I do have is that the CD is over far too quickly.
6 / A
The SA Grindmasters are back! With a consistency equaling
their precise and well-crafted groove filled mayhem, the tenacious trio once again
fails to disappoint. Lyrically issues are still attacked, while it also has a
more personal slant than before. Musically the riffs and beats are relentless
as always, but illustrating a more crossed-over, almost more accessible flavour.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still heavy as fuck. They still haven’t lost their sense
of humour and once again there are some cool movie soundbytes peppered throughout
(and listen out for the famous reversed chourus of Queen’s Another One
Bites The Dust). Well composed, produced & packaged, they are still one of
the best products to come from this country - it’s just such a pity it won’t get
the local recognition it deserves. The interest is growing extensively abroad
and rightly so. Groinchurn still kicks most foreign equivalents’ collective
asses and you’ll all be sorry when they head over there for good, not supporting
it when you had the chance. Get out there and buy…now! (And while you're at it,
pick up their thundering first two releases, Sixtimesnine and Fink
- or else…).
[Unfortunately the band called it a day after attempting a foreign
relocation - damn!]
5 / A
POINTE BLANK - Rolprent Klankbaan
John Cusak (wat ook tans in Con
Air verskyn) se nuwe rolprent plaas hom in die skoene van 'n sluip moordenaar.
Dis nou wel 'n ernstige saak, maar hierdie komedie het 'n lekker klankbaan wat
hom met 'n goeie ritme laat vloei. Van die kunstenaars wat op die domineerende
80's CD veskyn is Ska helde The Specials, wat hulle ding doen sonder enige
verskonings. Op dieselfde vlak is die legendariese manne van The Clash
wat twee opwindende snitte het. Faith No More se oplewering is een wat
nie te veel mense ken nie, aangesien dit van een van hulle vroee albums af kom,
met hulle ou sanger. Daar is Jimmy Nash en ook Violent Femmes wat
hulle uniek gegeurde rock uitstuur. Hierdie interessante versameling kunstenaars
is verfrissend, al is dit meestal ouer liedjies.
4 / A
- You Said
The recent winners of the Stellenbosch leg of the '98 Oppi Koppi
competition (sending them there to compete against another 6 regional winners)
brought out this self-produced effort not too long ago. With mixed influences,
what seem to filter through are sounds and attitudes of rock music from a decade
or so back. The lyrics won't change your life but if you want straight rock that
doesn't jump at you, this'll do just fine. The mild pace meanders along with a
few bursts of energy arriving in time. Oh, yes and ever present hidden track.
Without following current trends, Grunt seem to be doing what they enjoy
to their increasing fans' delight. Many have described it as retro-cock rock,
but you be the judge.
3 / C