Man on Man: The Best Gay Erotica of Simon Sheppard [The Sizzler Editions Best of Library #3]

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This version of the film is three minutes longer than the theatrical cut and clocks in at a minute run time. The Waterboy is a American comedy film directed by Frank Coraci. Sandler produced the movie and co-wrote the script with Tim Herlihy. He also shares similarities in speech and mannerism to Canteen Boy, a recurring character, also portrayed by Adam Sandler, on Saturday Night Live.

Like Bobby, Canteen Boy preferred "purified water, right out of the old canteen", which he always carried with him. Bobby Boucher is a socially inept, stuttering water boy with hidden anger issues due to constant teasing and excessive sheltering by his mother Kathy Bates.

He became the water boy for the University of Louisiana Cougars after being told his father died of dehydration in the Sahara Desert while serving in the Peace Corps. However, the players always torment him and the team's head coach, Red Beaulieu Jerry Reed , eventually fires him for "disrupting" his practices. Bobby Boucher's mother, Kathy Bates tells Bobby of the evils of football and forbids him to play.

Coach Klein shows Bobby his tattoo of Roy Orbison encouraging him to go against his mothers' wishes. After being picked on again by his new team, Coach Klein encourages Bobby to strike back, which leads to him knocking out the teams quarterback. Coach Klein convinces Bobby to go back to school and play for the team, to which he agrees on the grounds that nobody tells his mother.

Bobby quickly becomes one of the most feared linebackers in college football, hitting opposing players with injury-causing force. Bobby's newfound fame also allows him to rekindle a relationship with his childhood friend and crush Vicki Vallencourt Fairuza Balk , who has been in prison multiple times.

Coach Beaulieu reveals that Bobby never finished high school, making him ineligible for college and football. However, Bobby manages to pass his GED exam, despite his mothers objections about him going back to college. She then fakes falling ill to keep Bobby from playing, but eventually admits it after witnessing the residents support for Bobby. Arriving late for the finals, Bobby manages to encourage the losing Mud Dogs to make a comeback. During the final play, Bobby throws a touchdown pass and the Mud Dogs win the finals.

Sometime later, Bobby and Vicki are getting married. On their way out Bobby's father makes an unexpected appearance, having actually left Bobby's pregnant mother for another woman years ago. He tries to convince Bobby to leave school and go to the NFL, hoping to personally profit as his father; but Bobby's mother charges in and tackles him down. Stetson's Carlton Student Union building is featured in the scene where Bobby is told his mother has been hospitalized.

If you look closely, in the background of the practice field scenes, you can see the Armory and some military vehicles. The initial exterior shot of the University of Louisiana stadium was Everbank Field in Jacksonville; the interior of the stadium is actually the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The Citrus Bowl was also the filming location for the climatic Bourbon Bowl game.

The extras in the scene were students at Florida Southern College. The scene was shot in Edge Hall. The Waterboy received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Breaking Away is a American film. A coming of age story, it follows a group of four male teenagers in Bloomington, Indiana, who have recently graduated from high school.

Tesich would go on to script another cycling-themed film, American Flyers, starring Kevin Costner. In June , AFI announced its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1, people from the creative community. Breaking Away was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the sports genre.

Now turning 19 years of age, they all graduated from high school the year before and are not sure what to do next with their lives. They spend much of their time together swimming in an old abandoned water-filled quarry, but also often clash with the more affluent Indiana University students in their hometown, who refer to them habitually as "cutters", a derogatory term stemming from the local Indiana Limestone industry and the stonecutters who worked the quarries. Dave is obsessed with competitive bicycle racing.

His down-to-earth father, Ray Paul Dooley , a former stonecutter who now operates sometimes unethically his own used car business, is puzzled and exasperated by his son's love of Italian music and culture, which Dave associates with cycling. However, his mother Evelyn Barbara Barrie is more understanding. Dave develops a crush on a university student named Katherine Robyn Douglass and masquerades as an Italian exchange student in order to romance her. One evening he serenades "Katerina" outside her sorority house, with Cyril providing guitar accompaniment. When her boyfriend Rob Hart Bochner finds out, he and some of his fraternity brothers beat up Cyril, mistaking him for Dave.

Though Cyril wants no trouble, Mike insists on tracking down Rob and starting a brawl. The University president then-University president Dr. John W. Ryan reprimands the students for their arrogance toward the "cutters" and over their objections invites the latter to participate in the the annual Indiana University Little race. When a professional Italian cycling team comes to town for a racing event, Dave is thrilled to be competing with them.

However, the Italians become irked when Dave is able to keep up with and even speak to them in Italian during the race. One of them jams a bike pump in Dave's wheel, causing him to crash, which leaves him disillusioned and depressed. Dave's friends persuade him to join them in forming the locals' cycling team for the Little Dave's parents provide t-shirts with the name "Cutters" on them.

Dave's father remarks how, when he was a young stonecutter, he was proud to help provide the material to construct the university, yet never felt comfortable being on campus. Dave is so much better than the other competitors, he rides without a break and builds up a large lead, while the other teams have to switch cyclists every few laps. However, he is injured and has to stop.

After some hesitation, Moocher, Cyril and Mike take turns pedaling, but soon their lead evaporates. Finally, Dave has his feet taped to the bike pedals and starts making up lost ground; he overtakes Rob on the last lap and wins. Dave's father is immensely proud of his son's accomplishment, so much so that he takes to riding a bicycle himself.

Having finally decided on a direction in life, Dave later enrolls at the university himself, where he meets a pretty, newly arrived French student.

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Soon, he is extolling the superiority of French cyclists and culture. The Little bicycle race that forms the centerpiece of the plot is a real race held annually at Indiana University. A reenactment of the race was staged for the film in the "old" Memorial Stadium on the IU campus, which was demolished shortly after the filming of the movie.

The team is based on the Phi Kappa Psi Little champions, which featured legendary rider and Italian enthusiast Dave Blase, who provided screenwriter and fellow Phi Kappa Psi team member Steve Tesich the inspiration for the main character in the movie. Blase, together with team manager Bob Stohler, provided the name of this character: Dave Stohler. In the race, Blase rode out of laps and was the victory rider crossing the finish line, much like the main character in the film.

Blase himself appears in the movie as the race announcer. Many of the scenes in the movie were filmed on the Indiana University campus; glimpses of the Indiana Memorial Union are in the background of Dave's ride through campus. Dave Stohler's house in the film is located at the corner of S.

Lincoln St. Dodds St. Other scenes were filmed outside the Delta Delta Delta sorority house E.

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Two other scenes were filmed on W. Madison the old railroad tracks have since been removed. A scene in which Dave runs a red light in front of his father was filmed at the southwest corner of the Monroe County Courthouse, at the intersection of College St. The starting-line scene of the "Cinzano " bicycle race was at the intersection of Indiana State Roads 46 and on the city's eastern edge.

The old limestone quarry where Dave and his friends swim is on a private property south of Bloomington, at the end of East Empire Mill Road off of old State Road 37 , and is closed to visitors. The used car lot "Campus Cars" was on S. Walnut St. Next door is the local Honda motorcycle franchise seen in the background of the famous "Refund? Judging from the evidence in the scenes, location filming was apparently done in the months of July through September, Former peewee hockey coach Gordon Bombay is a star in the minor leagues and is expected to make it to the NHL soon.

However, after a career-ending knee injury, he returns to Minneapolis. Bombay is then offered a chance to coach a team representing the United States in the Junior Goodwill Games. Team USA consists of many of the old Ducks, in addition to five new players with special talents. The lure of celebrity becomes a distraction to Bombay, who begins to neglect the team in exchange for a luxurious lifestyle. Fortunately, easy victories come over Trinidad and Tobago and Italy in the double-elimination tournament.

During this time, Fulton Reed and Dean Portman gain recognition for their enforcer skills, becoming known as the "Bash Brothers". Backup goaltender Julie asks Bombay for a chance to play, but he tells her to wait, as current goalie Greg Goldberg is on a hot streak. Reality sets in when the team suffers an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Team Iceland, coached by ex-NHL player Wolf "The Dentist" Stansson, who is known for his tough reputation.

Star center Adam Banks manages to score a goal but gets slashed in the wrist moments later. Frustrated, Bombay drives his players even harder, but they begin to suffer, completely exhausted. Eventually, the team's tutor, Michelle McKay, cancels their practice and confronts Bombay, while the players come across a street hockey team who teaches them how to play like "the real Team USA". However, Bombay continues to suffer until one of his mentors, Jan Hans' brother , personally visits him, and reminds him of how he used to love the game.

They play poorly, entering the third period tied, until Bombay shows up and apologizes for his behavior. Inspired by their coach's "return", the players come back to win the game and advance to the next round. The renewed Bombay finally realizes Adam's wrist injury, benching him despite his complaints. To fill the open roster spot, Charlie recruits street hockey player, Russ Tyler, whose unique "knucklepuck" which rotates end over end toward its target as opposed to spinning about its centerline secures USA's victory over Russia who defeated Iceland earlier , advancing USA to the championship game for a rematch against Iceland.

Before the game, Adam's injury is healed and returns to Team USA's locker room, only to find they already have a full roster. Charlie gives up his spot on the roster so Adam can play, cementing his position as the true team captain. Unfortunately, the Ducks take penalties: Ken picks a fight with an Iceland player "stick, gloves, shirt" after scoring the team's first goal, the Bash brothers celebrate this by fighting with the entire Iceland bench and Dwayne lassoes an opposing player, about to check Connie.

Bombay is annoyed because "this isn't a hockey game, it's a circus. After a motivational locker room speech from Bombay and new Duck jerseys from Jan, the team emerges rejuvenated. The Ducks manage to tie the game when Russ outsmarts Team Iceland by disguising himself as Goldberg, so as to prevent himself from being covered and pulling off a successful "knucklepuck".

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The game is forced to go to a five-shot shootout. With a score in favor of the Ducks, Gunner Stahl the tournament's leading scorer is Team Iceland's final shooter. Bombay knows Gunner favors shooting the glove side after a triple deke, and replaces Goldberg with Julie, who has a faster glove. Gunner advances on Julie and fires a hard slapshot.

Although Julie falls to the ice, she slowly turns to look at her glove while the entire stadium and presumably the home audience of millions waits in breathless anticipation. She then opens her glove and drops the puck, signifying the game-winning save. With this, the Ducks triumph over Iceland to win the tournament.

The film concludes with the team returning to Minnesota on a plane and sitting around a campfire singing Queen's "We Are the Champions" as the credits roll. This unctuous barrage of flag-waving, message-mongering, counterfeit morality, which contains the stalest kiddie-team heroics in recent memory, makes the original, innocuous 'Ducks' look like one of the Great Works. The movie follows the history of the sport created by Zucker years earlier of the same name, from its invention by the lead characters as a game they could win against more athletic types, to its development as a nationwide league sport and a target of corporate sponsorship.

This is the only work involving Parker and Stone that was neither written, directed, or produced by them. They arrive uninvited at a party hosted by a former high school classmate of theirs. After finding out that their classmates have grown up and moved on with their lives, Coop and Remer find themselves outside drinking beer and shooting hoops on the driveway basketball court. There, two other former classmates challenge them to a game. The two see that their opponents are very good at basketball, so they say they will only play a new game they picked up "in the hood".

Clearly making this new game up as they go, Coop originally proposes the game Horse, but changes it to basketball with baseball rules: shots made from different locations count as singles, doubles, triples, and home runs, and missed shots count as outs. During the challenger's first shot, Coop "psyches" him out to make him miss; this is another rule made up on the spot.

A "psyche out" can be anything said or done that makes the offense lose their concentration and miss their shot. Six months later, people come from miles around to watch them play the game they created against other neighborhood teams. Ted Denslow Ernest Borgnine shows up to propose creation of the National BASEketball League NBL , with numerous rules in place to prevent the sport from deteriorating as other sports had done: teams cannot switch cities, players cannot be traded, and individuals cannot make money via corporate sponsorship deals.

Five years after creation of the league, the NBL is in full swing with stadiums, teams, fans, and a major championship the Denslow Cup. During the championship, Denslow, who is the owner of the Milwaukee Beers for whom Coop and Remer both play, chokes on a hot dog and dies. The owner of the Dallas Felons, Baxter Cain Robert Vaughn , wants to change the league rules to allow teams to move cities and players to switch teams, but could not accomplish this while Denslow was alive.

Yvette would have been willing to comply had she been given ownership of the team, but Coop refuses to accept any of the proposed changes. Cain and Yvette work together to make sure the Beers will lose the next Denslow Cup and Yvette will win ownership of the team. In a private conversation at Cain's office, Cain tells Remer that Coop has said no to Cain's plans without talking to the other members of the Beers.

Remer then goes to the Beers behind Coop's back and tells the team what he learned from Cain. After Remer and the other members of the Beers confront him, Coop agrees to split all decisionmaking with Remer and the team. The team continues to agree that the rules should not be changed. Coop also seemingly enters into a relationship with Jenna, despite Remer's attempts to get between them.

Cain cuts the funds to Jenna's foundation, forcing Coop and Remer to ask Cain for help. Cain suggests creating a clothing line and sending the proceeds to her foundation. Coop is entirely against it, but Remer, as part team owner, immediately agrees, and becomes so obsessed with his newfound fame that he alienates Coop. After they win the league semifinals, Cain informs Coop and Remer through photos that their clothing line has been produced through child labor in Calcutta.

If the public learns about it, the team and Jenna's foundation will be ruined. Cain threatens to show the photos to the public unless Coop and Remer lose or skip the Denslow Cup game. Jenna learns about the child labor scandal and breaks it off with Coop. Coop blames Remer for the mess and they have a falling out, and Coop decides to go to Calcutta to resolve the situation. Coop replaces all the child workers in the factory with adult workers and makes it back just as the fifth annual Denslow Cup begins. The Beers start with an abysmal performance, failing to make one hit in six innings. At the seventh-inning stretch, the Beers are down 16—0.

After a moving speech from Squeak, Coop and Remer reconcile their differences and Yvette breaks off her alliance with Cain. Coop, Remer, and Squeak finally get back into the game and start scoring. Coop misses, but successfully completes the conversion, which is considered a home run for the win and the Denslow Cup. He meets Reggie Jackson after the game, who wishes him luck in the next season.

Reference to the numerous local beer breweries and the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team; the fans wear beer mug "foam heads" and perform "the chug" similar to the "tomahawk chop" used by the Florida State Seminoles and Atlanta Braves. Their mascot is a walking keg of beer who can use his "tap" to urinate. Huge muscle types who are probably ex-convicts a reference to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, a team on which numerous players had legal problems in the mids. The team has cheerleaders dressed in black leather dominatrix outfits. The players appear to be Cuban drug dealers.

Note the chainsaw wielding man on the back of their jersey reminiscent of Scarface. One of the players ran away because Coop was wearing a DEA jacket with the logo facing him. The players are Italian-American stereotypes one of their failed psych-outs was "Your mother's a terrible cook" ; their cheerleaders all have perms and also perform some Italian hand gestures. Features Greg Grunberg, of subsequent Heroes fame.

The players wear white and pastel pink uniforms, and have the only all-male cheerleader squad in the league. The word "Ferries" is meant to be a play on "fairies", a slang term sometimes used to refer to male homosexuals. Reference to the location where a UFO supposedly crashed and the surrounding conspiracies; the team has an alien mascot, an arena shaped to look like a flying saucer, and an "Anal Probe Night" promotion. Their cheerleaders perform on stripper poles.

Rednecks, their home field includes a giant recreation of the Alamo Mission. The cheerleaders all wear Davy Crockett hats and revealing attire. When the league began to spin out of control, it was supposedly inundated with expansion teams. During the scene describing the extremely complex playoff system complete with "a blind-choice round robin" and "the two-man sack race held on consecutive Sundays" , references were made to teams in Boston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Charlotte, Oakland, Toronto, Tampa, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Denver.

No nicknames or mascots were given for these. Some teams on the bracket behind Kenny Mayne and Dan Patrick can also be made out if a viewer looks closely, adding even more cities, not all of which make sense. BASEketball was released to mixed reviews, earning 41 percent approval from 49 critics on review-aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes and garnering a score of 38 out of from 18 critics on Metacritic.

The band also appears as the live entertainment at the home stadium of the Milwaukee Beers, playing "Take on Me" and several of their other songs. Rounders is a film about the underground world of high-stakes poker. Directed by John Dahl and starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, the movie follows two friends who need to quickly earn enough cash playing poker to pay off a large debt. The term "rounder" refers to a person travelling around from city to city seeking high stakes cash games. The movie opened to mixed reviews and made only a modest amount of money.

However, with the growing popularity of Texas hold 'em and other poker games, Rounders has become a cult hit. Shaken, Mike decides to concentrate on law school, while promising his girlfriend and fellow law student Jo Gretchen Mol to not play the game anymore.

Mentor and fellow rounder Knish John Turturro offers him a part-time job driving a delivery truck to make ends meet. Time passes, and Mike is true to his promise. He does not play cards, and focuses on school and work until his childhood friend Lester 'Worm' Murphy Edward Norton is released from prison. Worm is also a card player, who owes an outstanding debt accumulated before his incarceration. At Worm's influence, Mike is soon rounding again, which interferes with his studies and hurts his relationship with Jo, who eventually leaves him.

When Worm is given a five day deadline to pay off his debt, Mike joins him in a furious race to earn the money by playing in several card games in and around New York City. After this incident, Worm decides to leave the city, and advises Mike to do the same. Infuriated, Mike cuts ties with Worm once and for all. In a race against time to pay off Worm's debt, Mike gets his shot at redemption as he puts his life on the line against the man who had forced him out of the game.

Rounders began filming in December and was set mostly in New York, with the notable exceptions being that the law school scenes were filmed at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey and the State Trooper poker game and parking lot scenes which were taped at B. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and wrote: "Rounders sometimes has a noir look but it never has a noir feel, because it's not about losers or at least it doesn't admit it is.

It's essentially a sports picture, in which the talented hero wins, loses, faces disaster, and then is paired off one last time against the champ". In her review for the New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote: "Though John Dahl's Rounders finally adds up to less than meets the eye, what does meet the eye and ear is mischievously entertaining". USA Today gave the film three out of four stars and wrote, "The card playing is well-staged, and even those who don't know a Texas hold-'em "the Cadillac of poker" from a Texas hoedown will get a vicarious charge out of the action".

Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Norton, cast in what might have once been the Sean Penn role hideous shirts, screw-you attitude , gives Worm a shifty, amphetamine soul and a pleasing alacrity Norton's performance never really goes anywhere, but that's okay, since the story is just an excuse to lead the characters from one poker table to the next".

Peter Travers, in his review for Rolling Stone said of John Malkovich's performance: "Of course, no one could guess the extent to which Malkovich is now capable of chewing scenery. He surpasses even his eyeballrolling as Cyrus the Virus in Con Air. Munching Oreo cookies, splashing the pot with chips a poker no-no and speaking with a Russian accent that defies deciphering "Ho-kay, Meester sum of a beech" , Malkovich soars so far over the top, he's passing Pluto".

We might believe he can play cards, but we don't believe he needs to do it, in the way, say, that the year-old Mozart needed to write symphonies. He's not consumed with genius. He's a nice guy with a skill". In his review for the Globe and Mail, Liam Lacey wrote, "The main problem with Rounders is that the movie never quite knows what it is about: What is the moral ante?

Despite an unremarkable theatrical release, Rounders has a following, particularly among poker enthusiasts. In an interesting chicken or the egg situation, some speculate the film is directly responsible for the recent increase in the popularity of Texas hold 'em, while others believe that the substantial increase in the popularity of poker has nothing to do with the movie, but that same increase does have everything to do with the come-lately increase in the popularity of the film, so many years after its theatrical release.

There are pro poker players today who credit the movie for getting them into the game. Pro player Vanessa Rousso has said of the movie's influence, "There have been lots of movies that have included poker, but only Rounders really captures the energy and tension in the game. And that's why it stands as the best poker movie ever made. Coach Carter is a American film directed by Thomas Carter. It is based on a true story, in which Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter made headlines in for benching his MVP and undefeated team due to poor academic results.

Ken Carter takes the job as coach of the Richmond Oilers basketball team at his old school Richmond High School, having been on the team himself and earned unbeaten records. Taking over from Coach White, Carter learns the team members are rude and disrespectful. He gives the team individual contracts, instructing them to attend all of their classes and maintain a grade average of 2. Carter also asks the school staff for progress reports on the players' attendance. However, three players including Timo Cruz refuse to follow the contract and quits the team.

Nonetheless, Carter coaches the team well and allow them to win their first victory whilst playing properly. Carter's son Damien joins the team, after quitting the private school St. Francis to play for his father. Teammate Kenyon Stone struggles to come to terms with his girlfriend Kyra being pregnant and eventually splits up with her, unsure if he could juggle basketball, college and being a parent. Their relationship is explored over the course of the film. Cruz attempts to rejoin the basketball team after watching them at their last game, but Carter refuses to let him back in.

Cruz has to do suicides and pushups to earn Carter's approval, aided by his teammates, eventually succeeding and is allowed back on the team. Carter continues to educate the teammates, teaching them respect for other players. The team eventually won a holiday season basketball tournament, and are invited to a suburb mansion by a fan to party. Carter finds out, crashing the party with the mansion's owners. The enraged Carter returns to his office and finds the progress reports reveal the teammates have been skipping classes.

Carter initiates a lockdown on the gym, forbidding the team from playing until they improve their grades, angering the locals and is verbally and physically abused by numerous people. Cruz quits the team again, hanging out with his drug-dealing cousin Remmy, only to witness his cousin get gunned down and dies. Cruz goes to Carter in tears and is allowed back on the team. The school board eventually confronts Carter, who justifies his actions, explaining he wants to give his team the opportunity and option for further education so they do not resort to crime.

The board, save Principal Garrison and the chairwoman, vote to end the lockout, much to Carter's regret. Carter quits his job, but finds the team studying in the gym, unwilling to play basketball. Cruz reveals to Carter his deepest fear, which Carter asked for repeatedly in the film, is being unable to fulfill his true potential, by quoting Marianne Williamson.

Eventually the team improve their grade and are allowed to play basketball again. Kenyon reunites with Kyra, learning she had an abortion. The team play in the high school playoffs, learning their first opponent is St. The team ultimately loses, but are proud with what they have achieved. The ending reveals six of the players including Damien, Cruz and Kenyon all went to college. Critics gave Jackson considerable praise for what they believed to be his strongest performance to date.

The movie debuted at 1 on the U. The film features the song "Hope" by Twista and Faith Evans as the main song off the film's soundtrack. An extensive list of songs is featured on the soundtrack which differs from the soundtrack recording. Jeff Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who is referred to and also refers to himself as "The Dude". After a case of mistaken identity, The Dude is introduced to a millionaire also named Jeffrey Lebowski. When the millionaire Lebowski's trophy wife is later kidnapped, he commissions The Dude to deliver the ransom to secure her release.

The original score was composed by Carter Burwell, a longtime collaborator of the Coen Brothers. The Big Lebowski was a disappointment at the U. Reviews have trended towards the positive over time, and the film has become a cult favorite, noted for its idiosyncratic characters, dream sequences, unconventional dialogue, and eclectic soundtrack. Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski returns home only to be roughed up by two thugs claiming to be collecting money that Lebowski's wife owes a man named Jackie Treehorn. After beating him and urinating on his rug, they realize they are looking for a different person with the same name, and they leave.

At the instigation of his friend and bowling teammate Walter Sobchak Goodman , The Dude decides to seek compensation for the rug from the other Jeffrey Lebowski. The next day, the titular "Big" Lebowski, a wheelchair-bound millionaire, refuses The Dude's request. The Dude meets Bunny Lebowski Reid , the Big Lebowski's nymphomaniac trophy wife, while leaving the premises with a rug taken from the mansion.

He asks The Dude to act as a courier for the million-dollar ransom because The Dude will be able to confirm whether or not the kidnappers were the same thugs. Later, a different set of thugs enter The Dude's apartment, knock him unconscious, and steal his new rug. When Bunny's kidnappers call to arrange the ransom exchange, Walter tries to convince The Dude to keep the money and give the kidnappers a "ringer" suitcase filled with his dirty underwear.

The kidnappers escape with the ringer, and The Dude and Walter are left with the million-dollar ransom. Later that night, The Dude's car is stolen, along with the briefcase filled with money. The Dude receives a message from the Big Lebowski's daughter, Maude, who admits to hiring the criminals who knocked him unconscious.

The Dude visits her at her art studio, and she reveals that Bunny is a porn starlet working for Jackie Treehorn. She agrees with The Dude's suspicion that Bunny kidnapped herself and asks The Dude to recover the ransom, as it was illegally withdrawn by her father. The Big Lebowski angrily confronts The Dude over his failure to hand over the money, and hands The Dude an envelope sent to him by the kidnappers which contains a severed toe, presumably Bunny's. The Dude later receives a message that his car has been found. Mid-message, three German nihilists invade the Dude's apartment, identifying themselves as the kidnappers.

They interrogate and threaten him for the ransom money. The Dude returns to Maude's studio, where she identifies the German nihilists as Bunny's friends. The Dude picks up his car from the police, and he and Walter track down the supposed thief, a teenager named Larry Sellers. Their confrontation with Larry is unsuccessful, and the Dude and Walter leave without getting any money or information. Jackie Treehorn's thugs return to The Dude's apartment to bring him to Treehorn's beach house in Malibu. Treehorn inquires about the whereabouts of Bunny, and the money, offering him a cut of any funds recovered.

Treehorn then drugs The Dude's drink and The Dude passes out. The police chief physically assaults The Dude and warns him not to return to Malibu. After a cab ride home, The Dude is greeted by Maude Lebowski, who seduces him. During post-coital conversation with Maude, The Dude learns that she hopes to conceive a child with him but wants him to have no hand in the child's upbringing.

He also finds out that, despite appearances, her father has no money of his own. Maude's late mother was the rich one, and she left her money exclusively to the family charity. In a flash, The Dude unravels the whole scheme: when the Big Lebowski heard that Bunny was kidnapped, he used it as a pretense for an embezzlement scheme, in which he withdrew the ransom money from the family charity.

He kept it for himself, gave an empty briefcase to The Dude who would be the fall guy on whom he pinned the theft , and was content to let the kidnappers kill Bunny. Meanwhile, it is now clear that the kidnapping was itself a ruse: while Bunny took an unannounced trip, the nihilists her friends alleged a kidnapping in order to get money from her husband. They confront the Big Lebowski with their version of the events. The affair apparently over, The Dude and his bowling teammates are once again confronted by the nihilists, who have set the Dude's car on fire.

They once again demand the million dollars. After telling the nihilists what they knew, the nihilists demand all the money in their pockets. Walter responds by biting one nihilist's ear off, throwing a bowling ball at another's ribs, and knocking the final nihilist unconscious with their portable radio. However, in the aftermath, Donny has a heart attack and dies. Walter and The Dude go to a cliff overlooking a beach to scatter Donny's ashes.

Let's go bowling. Bridges had heard or was told by the Coen brothers that they had written a screenplay for him. The Dude is mostly inspired by Jeff Dowd, a member of the anti-war radical group the Seattle Liberation Front The Dude tells Maude Lebowski during the film that he was one of the Seattle Seven, who were members of the SLF , and a friend of the Coen brothers, Pete Exline, a Vietnam War veteran, who actually found a twelve-year old's homework in his stolen car. Walter places the rules of bowling second in reverence only to the rules of his religion, Judaism, as evidenced by his strict stance against "rolling" on Shabbos.

His first three MCA albums were casually great, but subsequent sets pandered to the times with occasionally great songs but inconsistent albums. This new set is no exception. Time is the "great leveller" and it has wreaked some havoc on Daltrey's vocal skills. Oh, there's still power aplenty. But the phrasings are slurred, slightly off-key or without any reach or sustaining.

I really hate to berate this album, but when the backing "girl singers" get mixed a tad louder than our front-boy, something's not altogether quite right. Musically there isn't much to hook me in for any subsequent listens. The production work is just that: "work". The rest of can just "let go the coat". One of the original Brit punk bands returns with this rather enjoyable release. Elements of "goth" imagery and "space rock" structures abound, all within an infinitely tuneful and "popish" sort of way. David Vanian still leads and sings, his voice undiminished by time maybe the result of some Dorian Gray pact?

In a just society, songs like "We're So Nice" and "Daily Liar" would effortlessly trouble the top of the charts. Sadly, them days are gone. But this album is a keeper regardless of how "ancient" it may sound. Ray Davies' notion of America, while he was the leader of 60s pop icons The Kinks, seemed relegated to stereotypes: King Kong, Superman, holidays in Waikiki. Here, amidst the "acoustic" underlining made possible by members of The Jayhawks, Davies seems content to trot out "Rock And Roll Cowboys", driving along Rodeo Drive, "Silent Movie" stars and on the title track , traveling across that "home on the range where the buffalo roam" on God's favored highway we can only imagine it's Route These "story-songs", some culled from the book of the same name published in , don't really reach you at first.

Indeed, they almost sound forced, studied, deliberate. Even the words seem shoehorned into their melodies. The Jayhawks try, admirably it should be added, to slow down long enough to allow Ray to keep up. And his voice, not immune to the savageries of time, sounds a little tired, a little stressed out, "fagged out" as we used to say in the past. But over repeated plays, phrases like "today, I'm a bullshit millionaire" start to take on a third-person stance not unlike Randy Newman's more acerbic moments.

So, for the first half of this release, we're a little sad and depressed. But, contradictorily, not totally bummed out. So chalk this one up as a noble experiment that sorta grows on you with time. Will it bowdlerize your vision or notion of what YOU think America is? Not likely. But Ray's notions still make for decent entertainment.

That said, I miss brother Dave's counterbalancing. First new release of worth writing home about courtesy this awesome "indie" rock band fronted by the idiosyncratic Colin Meloy. Doesn't stray too far off the mark from their previous releases personal fave, 2K6's "The Crane Wife". It's "folk" without the hootenanny aspect, alternative without the sound collage burps, country without the twang, rock without the trappings of ego and overplay. In short, we have highly individualistic songs steeped in either A visual acumen or B personal observation, sometimes both.

Even Meloy's pronounced pronunciations elongated vowels his specialty relish and tickle the ear. A fine start to Year 15 indeed! For the sake of full disclosure, please find two reviews below. The first is for the hard core fan. The second for the rest of humanity. Chose based on YOUR own feelings Gillan rules, others drool! Airey fills it all in n-i-c-e but oh Gawd, I miss Jon Lord!

Morse is on fiya! Crank it uuuuup! Smoke on the icefield! Long live Rawk 'N' Rawll! Still, not as bad as initially feared but no picnic in the park either. The rest is decent, even pleasant. Like a look back through a high school yearbook or perusing a grainy old concert video. Subtitled "A Folksinger's Songbook Vol. These tropes are served without garnish, focusing on austere performances that take in slide guitar, flute and fife, piano and organ, basic percussion, a little bottleneck, some mandolin and a lot of acoustic tones.

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On board are guests Mavis Staples, Jason Isbell and others. But it's Luther's show. So much so, that one often goes back to the lyric sheet seeking writing credits for someone OTHER than the multi-talented artiste. I have an infinite respect for those who can recreate the past without going sterile or reverential.

Dickinson does that all the way through this release: you seem to feel as if you've heard these simple verities before. There isn't a single song here I wouldn't repeat play over and over. But there are some that weave their way into ye ol' cerebral cortex and just won't The production is up close and almost claustrophobic in a great way! There's is much to champion here and I, for one, plan on returning to this deep and refreshing well often. Dodgy's masterpiece "Free Peace Suite" is still one of my all-time faves thanks to its spirited Britpop guitars'n'beats trax and its intense lyrical acumen.

The group released only a handful of albums between and with "Stand Up" being their most recent effort. And an effort is must have been, an exertion to be precise. Gone is the power pop, replaced here by sentimentally-driven acoustic and pedal steel guitars over mundane wordplay that reveals no bon mots, no atmospheric side-trips cf "One Of Those Rivers" from "FPS" , no "oomph". In short, this disc, despite its sunny cover disposition, is a crestfallen attempt to "get back" to something with no clear plan as to wot that "something" is or ought to be.

It's pleasant, yes. But it's far from pleasing. It's laconic, definitely. But it's also a little,,,heck, a LOT I kept waiting for the drums to ratchet things up, for the guitars to scythe and slice, for the vocals to soar effortlessly the way they did, oh so long ago. But them days are long gone. Especially for this dodgy bunch a former Britpopsters. On only the rarest of occasions do the words "rock" and "opera" belong together.

Thinking of those rock operas that succeeded "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Hair", "Rock Of Ages" , one was still left leaning proceedings toward the "opera" side. On the other end of the scale, we have the "concept album". This type of "event" is less direct. So much easier to write songs around a "loose" storyline and have the audience fill in the gravitas cf. Now, here come Dream Theater and "The Astonishing". Let's be certain of one thing right off the bat: this ISN'T a satire of either a "rock opera" or a "concept album" might've made the thing better had it been. I'd just as soon call this "rock concept opera doohicky" a "metal musical".

The story goes something like this: future society which has reverted to feudalism as its main political ethos punishes "free radicals" and "creative people". The hero falls in love, his wife dies at the hands of the regime, he finally knows what his calling is to be, he rises up, taking with him an army of rebels to fight the status quo.

Everyone goes home and the musicians' union is happy so many of its members actually got paid for their services. Of course, I exaggerate. The music is all over the map too: disjointed sound effects, metal fugues, overblown "I need to find out who I am" ballads, anthemic "statement" songs. Listeners are left asea regarding the storyline but there is just enough narrative structure to dismantle the listener's ability to "make up their own tale".

I certainly CAN'T fault the production or the performances. And, no surprise here, the group's Roadrunner albums all hinted towards them releasing something this massively annoying all along. Now, it's here. Dream Theater may be master musicians. But story-tellers, they are not. Gone is Dylan the myth-maker. Instead, here's Dylan the po-faced Sinatra acolyte, warbling as far as his voice CAN be said to warble his way through 3 not 1, not All accompanied by post-aged 85 jazz sidemen not too pooped to pop yet once more. Revering the past is one thing. Serving it up whole glomm as if time stopped before the clock hit Jan 1, is something else entirely.

In this day of severe climate change, a drain on the planet's natural resources. Legend has it that the original songs were set and ready for release when at the last minute, Dylan rerecorded half of them with different musicians. The originals languished in "the vault" for decades with fans wondering how it would have all sounded if Dylan had released those takes instead of the ones we ended up getting. Wonder no more.

As with "The Alternative Moondance" from Van Morrison, it's a challenge for us to hear alternates of songs we know and love so well. Here, the overall effect is simple: Dylan, his guitar, occasional bass. That's it. No band. Hearing this release, one could see why Dylan became reticent. It ended up being a "safe" sounding set. It was Bobby D falling back on himself and going for what he knew best.

He was being comfortable in a prearranged box. In some cases, the words were sung in third-person mode, thereby making Dyland a narrator of someone else's life and not his own, as is often the case on the final version. Thus, one can admire the guts it took for him to scupper it all and "do something else" with these magnificent songs. Of making them resonate and ring in a far more personal light. The results spoke for themselves then. So, applause for this set: it demystifies the legend, showing that he belabored hard over his craft and image.

No matter the result, these versions deserve to be heard.

PRÉVOYANCE

Reaching For The Moon. But now that fans and their creativity, content, and consumption are something for media companies to understand, PR people to focus on, social media to thrive on, and news organizations to report about, what happens to the "traditional" fan community and the fanboys and fangirls that create their culture and content? PRG Status and Commentary Paradigm Research Group has now been advocating for sixteen years to bring forward the truth regarding an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race. Benny Carter. S3 E27 "Open and Close in One". Exopolitics United States Network www. Let's see, what was the name of that scientist who wrote the book Rare Earth a while back, the one the debunkers liked so much?

Heck, even a casual listener or a Dylan newbie can start "from here" if need be. While Steve Earle sticks to his guns, rebel-style, outlaw-flushed, his magic is boundless. The moment he tries to "go mainstream" something happens. A balloon deflates, puppies yelp, kids won't eat their cake. I don't know what it is, but anytime Earle adds a pedal steel guitar to his work, the universe opens up more black holes.

This latest album finds Earle paying tribute to the late, great Guy Clark. And, you figure, if anyone gets Clark's "outlaw", "non-Nashville" sensibilities it'd be Earle, no? While he had the best intentions, a pesky pedal steel player thought he'd bum-rush his way across timeless tracks ike "Rita Ballou", "Desperadoes Waiting For A Train" and "Heartbroke" throwing our Steve akilter.

For execution, however, a paltry 5. Alabama-born East is that all too rare commodity in an actual singer-songwriter with a passion for rock, blues and soul. At a time when sticking a label on something means zero chance of anyone discovering how truly great this album is, there's a real danger of it going unnoticed or, worse yet, being mislabelled as "country". And that would be a crime. The horn charts are loud and raucous, the singing gravel-ridden and tattered.

The guitars rock, the drums kick, and - on "Somebody Pick Up My Pieces" - an old-fashioned Moog synthesizer wails along ike it's Their production work on albums like this shunts aside "labels" and genres to embrace groove, emotion, soul. And now, they've done it again with this heartfelt, passionate, downright soulful album think Nathaniel Rateliff's superb Stax debut from for reference. Sincerely, I hope this guy doesn't end up "going country" coz his label tells him that's the only way he'll sell records.

He's talented enough and down-home honest just fine on his own, without twang and drawl. Over the course of two and a half decades, Elbow has grown from indie popsters to almost-Radiohead like indie darlings. The boon of critics who relish their experimental leanings while bemoaning that, unlike Radiohead, they don't quite go far enough far enough into what, they never say.

So, while one is tempted to call them Radiohead-lite, one would be wrong.

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Also wrong would be to limit their classification as progressive-pop. To be certain, Guy Garvey and crew adopt the mannerisms of prog: its tendency to wander off in quest of alternate time signatures, its devotion to opaque lyricism, its will to attempt uneasy tonalities, whether they be through found-sound or clattering percussion. But they don't meander off the highway and get stuck in a ditch of dissonance. There is a brevity of expansion at work here that's almost a contradiction in and of itself.

The arrangements DO go off on tangents that we DO wish would be expanded upon yet, oddly, are thankful when they don't do so. The words betray a narrative, though what that entirely is, we aren't quite sure and, again, this ambiguity works to the group's advantage. Choirs enter and depart, occasional string charts impact the melodies, Garvey dons his best Peter Gabriel imitation to full effect all over the place as example, assay "Trust The Sun".

And still, this album is its own beast, unfolding just the way it should, never taking itself anything less than serious and diaphanous. And it all works. It's all engaging. By lovers of a great song played with a will to push boundaries just a little bit more, rather than tip their canoe all the way into the drink This is an album to linger over.

One to get lost in, one to cherish for decades to come. And the deep, deep, dive into its sonorities will be worth the effort every time. A poll winner time and time again, Australian-born Emmanuel is considered one of the finest "finger-picking" styled acoustic guitarists on the planet. Comfortable in a wide array of styles, from classical to folk, jazz to blues, rock to country and all the way to world music and soul, Emmanuel's latest album yields cherished moments recorded openly yet intimately, showcasing his awesome skills.

This all acoustic solo album is pure gold throughout thanks to sprightly moments. Naming one song over another does no justice to this set as every one of the 14 cuts on hand rewards replay. It's great "first-thing-in-the-morning" music or as backgrounding to a summer night porch sit-in sipping a cold mint julep. It's certainly NOT dozy or blah. It's an incredible set that underlines a talented performer's skills in full bloom.

The last Engineers album to date is also a superb modern-day progressive rock album. If you're planning to jump off he bandwagon here because I used the "nasty" words "progressive rock" This is infinitely easy-to-listen-to prog. It contains virtually no extended solos. Yet the keyboards are kinetic and crystalline, the drums synthetic yet not frigid. Vocalist Mark Peters is on the right side of "twee" and the songs themselves are minute symphonies filled with exploratory revelations. On the programme: 10 songs, all of which resonated with this "old prog" guy who also happens to like some techno and ambient stuff as well.

Left to lesser mortals, it might've ended up as an embarrassment, or, worse yet, as some sort of spoof. Yet this release is surprisingly durable and assured, its stance both defiant and muscular. Well played. The return of the "girl on a motorcycle", and the world is a better place for it. True rock survivor, victim of hype, substance abuse and - in some cases - poor direction choices, here's Marianne's brilliant return to form. Such was the shadow cast by MF's megacomeback effort "Broken English" that subsequent sets, many of which were stellar, failed to capture the buying public's fancy.

For 35 years she's been judged by that vitriolic, venom-filled "new wave" set a five star release throughout, BTW. Has she transcended its power? Let's find out Primo, her voice: is still just as croaky and "smoke-filled" as ever, betraying almost no wear due to the inexorable march of time. Secondo, the material: the eleven tracks on offer all reward first and subsequent listens thanks to tasteful backing in some cases featuring assorted members of Nick Cave's Bad Seeds and first-rate song choices. Tertio, the overall tone of the album: is one of magic, mayhem and mystery.

I know, that's hyperbole, but there's no other way to describe it. And on moments like the Steve Earle co-write title-track, it's no overstatement. Faithfull has always been a remarkable performer. This set sits her atop the "Rock Royalty" pinnacle once again, Superb. In a sense, it's a typical, almost quintessential early 21st century dance track. The second is exemplified by frisky "teen-pop" beats delivered in whispy fashion by guest-singers like Dido on "One Step Too Far". The entire affair flows impeccably, especially on the biggie hits "We Come 1" and the previously mentioned "One Step Too Far", both sizable UK chart contenders at the time.

There's nothing even remotely close to it in the US and today, almost 20 years later, the album still resonates with passion, honesty, emotion and adventure.

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Even if you aren't an "electropop" fan, there is much to admire here if you enjoy your grooves both sweaty, and introspective. Religion, or at least one's religiousness, is a deeply personal matter. Some of us opt to worship in churches or halls, others within the confines of their very souls. Bill Fay, a British singer-songwriter, is a deeply religious man. Some would even say he is a deeply "troubled" religious man. Over the course of just a handful of albums released between and our modern era, his songs have traversed philosophical, spiritual and often metaphysical terrain.

His is a world-view accentuated by Jesus and the cross, not as items of worship, but as avatars for thought and introspection. You'll NOT come across his albums in Christian book stores. And, you certainly don't need to be a so-called "Christian" to get his music and lyrics. Life Is People marked Fay's return to the recording scene after an absence of almost 40 years away, his prodigal reappearance the result of suggestions made by label owner Joshua Henry who was exposed to Fay's first two very-early seventies albums by his father.

Listening to this set again today, I could hear the frailty of Fay's voice, the deep thought of his lyrics, the tug between the quotidian and the ethereal think Leonard Cohen only tarter , Moments like "The Healing Day" touch the listener deeply, their words suggesting respite once "the day is done". It might all sound just a tad morose for a cloudy, wintry Monday. But it was the right tonic: a "look heavenward" made poignant thanks to the real gravitas of Fay's beliefs and ideology.

All amid no-fuss rock instrumentation and accentuated strings. If you enjoy Nick Drake, then definitely try Fay. Also recommended: his debut, now available through Esoteric Records. On aurait bel-et-bien le droit de lui demander "Pourquoi as-tu attendu si longtemps de sortir un nouvel album, Serge? Mais non, les mots naviguent les arnaques personnelles modernes: Twitter et Facebook, par exemple. Si, comme moi, vous vous souvenez avec une larme nostalgique les bons vieux jours de "Pour un instant" et "Comme un fou", vous ne trouverez rien d'embarrassant sur ce superbe album.

Critics were quick to compare them to The Rolling Stones at the time of albums like 12 X 5 seeing as how both bands recorded "dirty" rock songs with clipped beats and thundering bass lines. The latest release their previous one, Rock Juice, was released 24 years ago! Not one bit. In fact, the whole thang sounds like it mighta crawled out of a time machine.

And that's exactly why we love it so. The band features Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson with assorted help on drums and bass ex-Tubes drummer Prairie Prince sits in on a few numbers here. The production work is clean maybe a trifle "anemic", but that's nothing a notch up on the bass knob can't fix. The songs sound like covers, but they ain't except for "Don't Talk To Strangers". Fans will applaud this superb return to form loudly. Those hellbent on diggin' good old-fashioned rock, can step right up. There is nothing simple about The Flaming Lips.

Though they may have started out as "slightly more than your average punksters" at the start of the s, they evolved quickly and superbly into master musicians and composers, always with a keen ear for sound. Leader Wayne Coyne is a multi-angled performer and painter and this new album is tied to an art exhibit showcasing his works. As you'd imagine, there's a diurnal nature to the songs and the art: the pastels and bright neon colours of a make believe world laced with an undercurrent of eeriness and darkness.

Like fellow "pocket symphonsists" Mercury Rev, the focus is on composition and adventure. No sound too ill-fitting, no phrase too twisted, no vocal too phantasmagorical. Leastways that's what I got from listening to the disc. I quite enjoy the sheer adventure and scope of this release but it ain't for the faint of heart.

Coyne and co-Lip Steven Drozd adore the deepest bass resonances and the highest processed vocals, sometimes all on the same song. The Clash's Mick Jones provides the narrative story-telling and Or, it could be I'm running low on my meds once more. If you love to be challenged by your pop music, step right up. If her debut from the incredible "Lungs" album showcased a pop singer with a penchant for "baroque folk" styled heart-on-sleeve minstrelsy, then her follow-up was an even bolder step forward.

Thanks to attention-grabbing songs like "Dog Days Are Over" and "Kiss With A Fist", the debut proudly signalled the arrival of a grand singer, one unafraid of wrapping her velvet "lungs" around a melody and making it soar. On "Ceremonials", Flo flexes even greater vocal muscles. Any hesitancy present on that first outing had evaporated completely for her second release. All eleven of the album's tracks showcase a more mature singer, one unafraid of the difficult turn or the strategic accent.

Also gone were the "rock-folk" trappings of the debut. Lyrically, it's all very introverted, heart-on-sleeve stuff; the equal of the debut's deeply emotive stance. Yet in juxtaposition, the music erupts forth, externalizing feelings into grandiloquent gestures and postures that would seem ludicrous in the hands of a less gifted singer. One also has to applaud the album's brisk pacing. The last few tracks don't so much wind things down as they de-intensify the mood but not the feeling , especially on "All This And Heaven Too".

One where the band is in service of the singer and the singer herself, is in unswerving service of her muse. Her albums always hover perilously close to that territory I define as "Tweeland" see its mayor and president, Sarah McLachlan. Yet I'm always amazed at how she emerges from her albums unscathed.

They sound elegant, constructed, yet intrinsically organic. No more complex than piano, bass, drums, choirs and sometimes a string section, the main attention is always on the headliner. I'd like to think she thought about all these lush songs for quite awhile before they hatched. Yet, upon listening always a recommended way to enjoy music , I get the feeling it all comes off naturally and ready-made. And, you'll be pleased to know, it's a trick she pulls off admirably on every one of her studio albums.

It's a mystery to me: why is progressive rock making a big comeback NOW? And, indeed, that appears to be the case thanks to wholly enjoyable and inventive releases like this brand new FM album. Sadly, violinist Nash The Slash isn't with us to celebrate. You don't need a guitarist on this journey and you won't want one either the violins do all the dirty work! For me, however, this is wonderfully executed, intrinsically performed progressive rock of the ultimate kind. Wildly inventive yet totally accesssible. Ignoring dumb-ass genre-hating fantasy lyrics for ones with actual emotional depth and a wide-eyed positivism that's all too rare in this day and age.

Nine stellar tracks, not a single one making you press the "next" button on the changer. But the whole disc stayed put for three listens in a row and my jaw's still agape. A few short weeks ago I savaged the new Transatlantic album for its failure to break old prog-rock habits. Thankfully, FM's "Transformation" does just that with tons of passion, intelligence and heart. With the U. And who's better to give us some than Foghat The very solution to the world's woes, methinks!

Had read many fine reviews of said disappointment. Or, what Joe Jackson would sound like strung out on downers. Sorry gentlemen. Nick: love your books, stick to that. Ben: Ben, Ben, Ben. What can I say? I've ignored you since "Brick" was THE buzztoon of With this set, I can hear why A remastered reissue of Framp's Atlantic Records album, "When All The Pieces Fit" used then-current studio technology to create a solid, engaging, totally "rad" rock album that was going out of favour by the end of that decade. So, to some degree, this one does sound a little retro.

But, reading the liner notes, one finds out that PF tried to create his songs in an organic manner despite using MIDI computer software and the dreaded Fairlight synth. Utilising the technology as base, Frampton then added the individual instrumental voices in the studio using more traditional means. The end result, almost 30 years later!! The eighties were a good time for Frampton, signing with WEA freed him up to go back to what he liked doing best. Unpressured by needing a "big hit", his two Atlantic albums the other one is 's "Premonition ", also reissued on Omnivore and just as rewarding!

Framp's guitar skills were burnished to a sharp, acidic finish the way I love his playing! It's always great when you rediscover an album by a fave artist you hadn't heard in a long time. If you love PF, then reacquaint yourself with everything that's great about him on this reissue and on "Premonition", too!

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Thanks Omnivore! Like all good brother acts in rock the Davies brothers, the Everlys, etc. Such was the case with Britpop megastars Oasis, fractured by the spats and spits of Liam and brother Noel Gallagher as the s ended. Since, both have soldiered on as either solo acts or as members of "other" bands like - in Liam's case - Beady Eye. So, from the singer half of the once-mighty team, here's Liam's first "official" solo album. And, in all honesty, it's a good one.

Musically, there ain't all that much difference between this album and Oasis' storied output. No one does instrumental cartwheels per se. Still, the "anonymous" nature of the backing musicians I certainly didn't bother myself with reading their names in the booklet only reinforces Liam's vocal chops and that's the key thing to enjoy here, innit? If you're a fan: a worthy addition to the canon. If not, you may still wish to investigate as it's very "grown up" and broody in its own way. And that's good enough for me to listen to again and again. For me, Rory Gallagher is IT! My Guitar God.

I've always enjoyed his albums and his playing is clean yet potent, icy yet never frigid. His is an honest-to-goodness "personal" performance style that wins me over time and again. Billed as a collection of alternate takes and unreleased goodies, the single CD contains 15 stellar performances, all sonically exceptional a 3 CD set and 2 LP on blue vinyl collection are also available.

Clearly, these were meant to be demos or muffed takes. Yet even there, Rory's style shines through, giving these tracks raw appeal and true grit. They DO have a burnished, finished appeal to them. And what a joy it is to have acoustic performances thrown in as well! Check out "Leaving Town Blues" to see what I mean. I'm sure Rory would have been tickled pink at seeing a release of his on the mighty Chess label.

And, I daresay, it's as apt a title to cover this man's amazing career as you could find: he was, indeed, the Blues. In the case of this one, as generated by Elbow's oft-enigmatic frontman Guy Garvey, they beckon close scrutiny to the singer's work with his band. Sonically it's still pretty much the same terrain the listener is navigating: oblique words, dissonant melodies, meticulous arrangements, vocals both clipped and indignant or fluid and careening.

Brass and harp accents appear throughout. The lead single "Angela's Eyes" boasts an ugly Moog synth solo that works totally within the song's context. Yet we remained unwilling to click forward to the next song, adamant that our listening experience is a fresh alternative to what's usual and trite. I was reminded of albums from Van Der Graaf Generator's Pete Hammill: intensely personal, forged amid music that mirrored emotion, or heralded departure.

It's to Garvey's credit that, more often than not, he succeeds here. Sometimes, mood is everything. In pop music, the same is true. Yes, you can go for your usual three and a half minute pop songs that don't mean much o' nothing. Or, conversely, you can opt for a 25 minute "song cycle" with multiple layers and time signature changes.

But sometimes, mood dominates, permeating every aspect of a record with burnished intensity.

Like on this superlative album by an all-too-little known performer. Louisiana-born Gauthier came to pop later in life, releasing indie albums in her thirties. A decade ago, critics were quick to praise her deeply introspective songs, her stark musical backgrounds allowing her to be filed in the "Americana" section in stores , her intensely personal lyrics. And, ten years later, this album still strikes listeners deeply.

On "Last Of The Hobo Kings" she recalls the way outliers rode the rails rebelliously whereas now railroad yards are fenced with concrete walls and razor wire. The album's closer "Thanksgiving" is perhaps the moodiest track in her entire recorded opus, its images of family visiting prisoners at Thanksgiving painted by a stark portrait of grandmas being frisked at entry before sharing all-too-brief moments with incarcerated loved ones. Gauthier sings and plucks her acoustic throughout, her voice hovering between fragmented surrender and soaring despair.

It'd be easy to say that if you enjoy Lucinda Williams, for instance, you won't find much to hate here. But there's more to Gauthier than comparisons and pigeonholes. An initial listen will unravel resonant lyrics. A second listen simple yet lissome performances. A third, that voice. Then, at some point thereafter, you'll marvel at the deep mood of the entire affair. And therein lay the wonders of a truly great album.

First, let's get a platitude out of the way: They say the Devil has the best tunes. That may be so, but I don't give a crap if the songs are about Jesus, Allah, Satan, Nixon or a chicken. A song is a song. It either yanks my chain or it makes me hit "next" on the play button. So I'll have no lip about how these guys are "satanists" or how the lyrics worship demonic possession. Theater is theater. KISS rocked our world as kids and people accused them of drinking goat blood before they slipped on their pointy, platform Klingon boots to stomp across the stage.

If a vocalist wants to wear a black papal uniform and call himself "Papa Emeritus III", that's OK by me so long as he doesn't sing like he's had a sore throat since 52 AD. B'sides, you have to read the lyric sheet when you listen, something I try hard NOT to do while I'm driving. Thereby allowing me to focus on the music.