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Monday, 25 November 2013



Songs Their Everly Taught Them.

When it comes to the biggest male and female singer/songwriters in modern music of the moment it doesn't get much bigger than this new perfect partnership. The dynamic duo of Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones is the latest strange but sublime setup in music in a Jay-Z and Linkin Park mash-up age. Even this year cult hip-hop band The Roots backed a Liverpool rock and roll legend not part of the fab four as Elvis Costello released 'Wake Up Ghost' with Jimmy Fallon's house band. Billie Joe turned him and his band into modern day geniuses as 'American Idiot' took the 'Dookie' stoner rockers Green Day to a whole new world of an audience and even on Broadway as they set the stage for themselves from being one of the biggest bands in the world. While those looking for a female singer/songwriter chasing the legendary leading men likes of  icon Bruce Springsteen and modern marvel Ben Harper, need look no further than Miss Jones. After the jazzy, easy-listening and top selling classic starter albums of 'Come Away With Me', 'Feels Like Home' and 'Not Too Late', Norah went deeper and darker for 'The Fall' and the perfect piece of the electric, eclectic 'Little Broken Hearts'. She even provided a backing soundtrack for Danger Mouse and Daniele Lupi's soaring 'Rome' score with White Stripe, Raconteur and Dead Weather setter Jack White. Last year saw the ever hard-working, underrated leading lady recorded 'For The Good Times' with her Willie Nelson inspired country outfit The Little Willies. Now she's going a little bit country with her rock and roll man for 'Foreverly'.

When it comes to country duos, it doesn't get much bigger than the family bond of The Everly Brothers. The steel strong rock and roll singers moved in perfect harmony and their Hall Of Fame baritone and tenor style influenced The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and even the greatest rock and roll influences of all time The Beatles. They've clearly inspired this generations greats too, as Billie Joe and Norah team up for their own inspired interpretation of the classic album 'Songs Our Daddy Taught Us', step by step, melody by melody, track by track. The second stellar album from the unit was exactly what it said on the jewel case. A selection of songs the boys learnt from father Everly and now the next generations is having their go on these hand me downs hoping to keep this classic album going forever for Everly. An album of songs so well wrote, taught, sang and passed on that Rolling Stone called it something so 'rootsy' that the king himself Elvis Presley wouldn't have "the nerve to do it". So ahead of it's time and now so lamented with now's nostalgic love, these traditional songs aren't given a modern face-lift, but instead a today tweak to show this watered down modern mainstream searching for real music, just how genuinely great it was in the good old days. Even if some see a covers album as easy work, you'd be hard-pressed to find any musicians putting in the recording grind to keep great rock and roll music with the roots of their country alive than Jones and Armstrong. Even if not everyone will lend their ears, check out the lyric video of the lead single 'Long Time Gone' to see just how classic these countrymen are. "You cheated me and left me lonely/I tried to be your very own/There'll be a day you'll want me only/But when I leave, I'll be a long time gone", when it comes to the blues of break up songs, nothing is more brutal and beautiful in bold brushstrokes than this. As this new country couple play homage in harmony to the original duo, this song and it's lyrics are brought to life with as much subtle vibrancy as the original.

Such is life for the rest of the album too and the sublime, sophomore single, 'Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine', a song that has been covered many times and is so legendary in it's old testament to traditional lore that it will never grow old and grey, just rocked and rolled. With the energetic entrance to this set of the 'Roving Gambler', Jones and Joe prove that all bets are paid off with a first roll that hits the deck, ready for you iPod dock to rock. The electric 'Lightening Express' sees the maturing voice of Billie meet the smoldering Norah for a smooth and smokey journey across the right side of the tracks. One that blooms into funeral flowers with the dark murder-ballad 'Down In The Willow Garden', where Jones truly takes the apple. The one-time sweet singer is seriously sultry too and can cover anything from Dolly Parton's classic 'Jolene' (with her own friend Jack White like conviction (it doesn't get bolder than this guys singing and owning a girls song)) to her own revenge classic 'Miriam'. Even Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have laid planted roots here and as Jones sings along "for I did murder that dear little girl", you know this is one woman you don't want to mess with. The Cinderella of real popular music fits perfectly with her American icon partner on 'Whose Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet', where the pair prove that it's the traditional songs that carry the best meaning and their the ones that today can make it so much more. It's Billie Joe's recruiting of a female voice, and that voice being Norah's that gives these brothers records the new creative interpretation with a dynamic kick it deserves. You can't beat the classics and the good ole days keep rolling on the timeless 'Oh So Man Years', before the country strong 'Barbra Allen' is given new personification by this pair. This folk song originating from Great Britain concerns a young man dying at his bedside for the love of this muse. Although he loses her and life, Billie Joe has found his musical muse and perfect instrumental partner in Miss Jones.

'Rockin' Alone (In An Old Rockin' Chair)' will swing back and forth and remain as classic and American as buckwheat for ages and ages to come and sit and listen. As will the bond of 'I'm Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail' a true love bar to fist strong love song that the 'Foreverly' duo bails out with good behavior and a warrant of inspired instrumentation and velvet smooth vocals that lay over these bars. The state of the iconic 'Kentucky' really is an album favorite and as of right now and poignantly perfect track for this writer. Over feathered drums the pair harmonize with the beautiful landscape, singing "Kentucky/you are the dearest land outside of heaven to me" which couldn't speak higher for the sincere and country strong state. Keeping this album charging forward like a glorious, galloping horse, this powered ballad laments and lasts everywhere from classic Corbin to loving Lexington. Finally singing "Kentucky, I will be coming soon", this town and my love that resides there need to hear just how much this all means right now. The pair evoke even more with the albums goodnight in 'Put My Little Shoe Away' with another ode to the old. A time where song names and styles where simple but the themes and meanings delved deeper into the roots of these country classics. Roots that made these brothers and also highwaymen like Nelson and Johnny Cash so legendary. They'd all be so proud of these two American icons of the modern age that have earned their country spurs with their clicking collaboration. It all started with a sing-a-long meet-up at a Stevie Wonder concert and now this gig shows just how much more soul they have. Isn't it "loverly". For Everly, forever more, 'Forveverly' will remain just like those songs from the brothers father, in everyone's hearts and minds, thanks to those of Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong. These traditional songs will go on forever and Everly. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Relentless Ben.


GET UP! That's the name of Ben Harper's latest album and collaboration with blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, but maybe it's time for everyone to wake up to one of the worlds best singer/songwriters. When it comes to the Johnny Cash like legends of American recordings and leading music men icons it would be hard to see past the legendary worn jeans of every man entertainer Bruce Springsteen and the spokesman of the people for the best part of a century, Bob Dylan and his legacy. Still with a songbook as prolific as the number of acts he's associated with, the man with more groups than benefit concerts is our generations true American singer/songwriter for the people. Currently on an earth turning acoustic tour the man that strummed alongside Jack Johnson and Eddie Vedder for some pearl jams is showing the deepest depths of his character and craft. Still, the man who can rock and roll out the slow numbers is still somewhat criminally underrated in this modern mainstream market, even though there is a cult following loyal to his underground legend.

Maybe it's because of just how dynamic and diverse he is. Some people say a jack of all trades is an expert in nothing, but in this case that couldn't be further from the truth that is Ben. Sometimes when someone works so hard and so much and does it all so well, people fail to acknowledge exactly that after awhile. They get used to how good something or someone is and take it for granted. Still, that isn't going to stop Harper from working on his art and music. He has his own opinion too, once telling an interviewer that in this iTunes cherry-picking age someone looking him up and looking for some hard rock may find an acoustic number or vice versa and be disappointed depending on their desire. Such is this mans range and dedication like the electric Dylan or acoustic Bruce. Such is the fire and ice sides of a man who can go from joy to pain in many a song or expressed emotion. The same man who wrote 'When She Believes' can also sing 'I Don't Believe A Word You Say' and this is why the multi-instrumentalist crazily has won Grammy's for both best 'pop performance' and 'gospel album'. The eclectic, epic, energetic output is matched by no one in the industry today and tomorrow he'll get back to work once again. From his lap steel guitar to his slide one, this stand up guy has broke boundaries and broadened continents from a seated playing position. The humanitarian activist with an amazing live set has so much to add to the listography of his already classic career. From folk, to blues, to soul, to funk, to reggae, to jam rock and even neo-folk. It all started in Californian for the middle-named Chase, Cherokee and African-American ancestry and Jewish upbringing that made it's way to the worlds stage in 1992 with some 'Pleasure & Pain'.

What more can you expect but inspiration from a man that saw Bob Marley play when he was 9? When his collaboration with Tom Freund (look for another one soon) came into peoples limited-edition playlists, it was clear this artist was here to stay. Virgin records where so impressed they gave him a lifetime deal...and what a deal it's turned out to be. Two years later we where 'Welcome To The Cruel World' with classics like the beautiful 'Waiting On An Angel' and the bold Martin Luther King Jr/Rodney King race protest 'Like A King'. He even collaborated with prolific poet Maya Angelou for the inspired 'I'll Rise'. Between the fire of having a big heart for love and the ice of a soul with something truly to say, Harper showed both sides of the gun, the Elgin Baylor (fire) and Jerry West (ice) of this Laker fans work that would make for his career and legacy. It didn't stop a year later when he brought his backing band 'The Innocent Criminals' along for the punch of 'Fight For Your Mind'. The album that inspired a college radio revolution is still a Harper hallmark today. 'By My Side' is the truest testament and 'Another Lonely Day' has had a live face-riff-lift recently, while the continuing protests of 'Excuse Me Mr.' still resonate today. From the opening 'Oppression' to the fire of 'Burn One Down' and shine of 'Gold To Me', in one album Harper gave as many classic track as some songwriters have today in their whole discography. The worldwide talent continued to go platinum overseas in Australia and France with 'The Will To Live' album (including the spiritual 'I Want To Be Ready' and 'Jah Work' and the grand 'Fighter' film ready 'Glory & Consequence') and 'Burn To Shine' and it's fun 'Steal My Kisses' single that even got a hip Pharrell, Neptunes remix for its beat-boxing hop. 'Alone', 'The Woman In You', 'Beloved One', 'Suzie Blue' and 'Please Bleed', gave even more classics to the catalog that still last for set-lists and playlists.

The million man mover almost went literally diamond with his next one, as his coming of mainstream age album 'Diamonds On The Inside' went platinum to the tune of six times around the world. His first album of the new millennium marked a new beginning of brave beauty with the likes of 'When She Believes' and the heaven sent 'Amen Omen'. Adding more strings to his bands bow with his own two hands. That and the albums title-track where and remain huge while 'Brown Eyed Blues' and 'Blessed To Be A Witness' continued his specialist skill-set in his diverse range. As Ben sings "I have heard the wisest of wisdom/And I have dined in palaces and kingdoms/But nothing is as beautiful/As when she believes" it's clear he's not forgotten who he is, where he's from or who he's doing it for. A year later he reached out to others in his spiritual quest however, as he aligned with the legendary Blind Boys Of Alabama for 'There Will Be A Light' a grand, Grammy making gospel album that inspired and influenced and could even lift the heaviest of hearts. From the '11th Commandment' to a 'Satisfied Mind', Ben saw the light with his boys from Alabama and with more classics like 'Well, Well, Well' and 'Where I Could Go' coming alive on the concert album (that you can add to the set-list of classic, release live pieces) let's hope this collaboration one day makes it to church on time again. In the shadow of the light, Ben reunited with his 'Innocent Criminals' two years later for a defining double album which is truly his best.

'Both Sides Of The Gun' yet again gave both sides of this mans coin but afforded much more than that in the darkest depths and boldest beauty of this mans most personal work. The opening tracks of this album really play perfectly back-to-back. Beginning with the moving violins of the most beautiful song 'Morning Yearning' (which is so pure and poetic, the lyrics are on this writers wall next to Springsteen's equally string beautiful 'Secret Garden') to the wonderful ballad 'Waiting For You', bordered by 'Picture In A Frame'. The 'White' and 'Black' titled sides of this album show both sides of the singers musical personality perfectly. The sweet 'Never Leave Lonely Alone' was matched with the strong 'Engraved Invitation', like 'More Than Sorry' and 'Get It Like You Like It' and so forth. Real highlights came from the instrumental break of 'Sweet Nothing Serenade' into the yearnings of 'Reason To Mourn' on 'White', or the bold, call to inspiration arms of 'Better Way' to kick off 'Guns' 'Black' disc and many a political campaign. The man who screamed how he believed in a better way, showed it with this powerfully proven album. The child of The Beatles even had a little help from his friends as late, legendary Australian actor Heath Ledger brought an equally beautiful, classically arty video to his homeland for 'Morning Yearning'. The ever gracious Harper, returned Heath's favor by writing an equally beautiful lullaby for Ledger's daughter in the heavenly 'Happy Everafter In Your Eyes'. As Ben sings "Couldn't leave you to go to heaven/I carry you in my smile", today these words are as heartbreaking as they are moving.

Ben had one more swansong with 'The Innocent Criminals' in his 'Lifeline' which saw a 'Paris, Sunrise', being recorded and toured in France. As fluent as he was in the language, he was in making simply another perfect album. Rehearsed during sound checks and recorded in analogue this 7 day made album was anything but a weak affair with the strong single 'Fight Outta You' and the vibrancy of the 'In The Colors' portrait. 'Needed You Tonight', 'Heart Of Matters' and the title-track struck more chords but this would be the last track and album to date for the hero and his criminals who really should do one last job together...again and again. Two years later Harper cranked up the amp for rock outfit Relentless7 who debuted on the 'Black' tones of 'Serve Your Soul' off 'Both Sides Of The Gun'. Here on a solo collabo and tour which should really garner more, the collective shimmered and shined over instant classics like 'Up To You Now' and 'Lay There And Hate Me'. Exposing some 'White' worthy acoustic purity in the harmonizing 'Faithfully Remain', haunting 'Skin Thin' and harrowing 'The Word Suicide,' before inspiring everyone with the truly uplifting 'Fly One Time' and it's courage knows no boundaries video that would be perfect for a Red Bull commercial. The 'White Lies For Dark Times' was as creatively vivid and deep as it's title and as colorful and as Summer vibrant as its artwork. As Ben sang, you had to live his life to get 'Boots Like These' and boy did the man who's recently adapted to wearing stetsons truly earn his hard rock spurs. Further collaborations came in a 'Fistful Of Mercy' with Joseph Arthur and George Harrison's son Dhani in a skate-park in Santa Monica that led to the amazing 'As I Call You Down' album and it's title track, band-name track and the genuinely undeniable 'In Vain Or True'. Fans who miss acts like Relentless7 will be pleased to know that this acoustic big-three will be releasing more Fistfuls Of Mercy with their own three hands soon.

After all these acts Ben went solo again for 'Give Till' It's Gone' with a little help from his Beatle friend Ringo. Whom he returned the favor backing his album like he did with a Dixie Chick (producing Natalie Maines new L.P.) for even more collaborations. Relentless7 logged some studio time however and what resulted was one of Ben's best albums across the board possibly only rivaled by his last solo set 'Both Sides' or 'Diamonds'. Following the live debut of the emotive 'Feel Love' and the literal 'Rock N Roll Is Free' download, Harper harked on with the bold cry of 'Don't Give Up On Me Now' and the deep desperation of 'Pray That Our Love Sees The Dawn'. Writing from the heart this tattooed warrior inked more of his real reputation with the delightfully defiant 'I Will Not Be Broken' and the cranked up 'Dirty Little Lover' and it's grimier conclusion 'Do It For You, Do It For Us', that finalized an instrumental album of fire over ice inspired writing and playing. The 'By My Side' greatest hits of ballads retrospective and the nice new track 'Crazy, Amazing' followed, but if anyone thought this collection was Ben's way of saying he was done or at least a little dusted was wrong. Rightfully so Harper returned this year to 'Get Up' on another collaboration with blues man Musselwhite. He and Charlie slipped and slid over classic iron strong strings with tracks like another classically titled break of 'I Lost Another Lover (You Found Another Friend)' and the western draw of 'I Ride At Dawn'. It's the pleading , blues treading of 'We Can't End This Way' and the "There's a man on the corner/Begging for help/There's a man that walks past him/And he's drowning in wealth/Who doesn't understand/How disappointment destroys the soul" insightful, introspective lyrics that may just be one of Ben's best songs in not just years but his career. Now what's next for the man who is going it alone yet again for an amazing acoustic tour around the world? Well anything from the guy that's covered everything from Marvin Gaye's 'Sexual Healing' to Michael Hutchence's 'Never Tear Us Apart' with INXS and 'Strawberry Fields' with his own forever making twist. Or how about another duet album this time with his mother on mothers day with 'My Childhood Home'? Sounds perfect right? Collaborating with saint and criminals and with the potential to reunite them all, what could possibly stop the hardest working man in music still on a quest for relevance respect for his just cause?

Not fire...not ice.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013



Declaring Marshall Law.

Guess who's back? Yep, that's right. Remember back in 2002 when Jay-Z excused us miss on the sequel to his classic hip-hop, landmark album 'The Blueprint' and told us that "only dudes movin' units-Em, Pimp Juice and us"? Well more than a decade later this last month has seen the release of Nelly ('M.O') and now Eminem's latest albums to go along with the hip-hop crowning year of Jay-Z's mega 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' album. With a sublime sequel to his own classic series that birthed the new millennium, Eminem returns to the center stage of the rap arena with 'The Marshall Mathers LP 2', which joins the likes of the 'Blueprint', Raekwon's 'Only Built For Cuban Linx', the latest '20/20' Timberlake experiences and all those Lil' Wayne sets, to go along with all those Marvel movie-world franchises in the sequel album ranks of superiority. A far cry from those trending, failing artists who try and reestablish a buzz by tacking '2' on the end of the title of their defining album name, this generations college favorite returns with more Grand Theft Auto music for the 'V' generation. Proving just like his renegade partner Jay, that for all the Kendrick's and Wiz's out there he is still atop the throne with Kanye's 'Watch The' partner. Returning to his critically defining album, a genre that loves the classics carries on traditions with a hallmark black and white resonating cover (to go along with a cool, alternative Avengers comic book special for the superhero fan). The house may be boarded up, but Marshall's still in it, inviting us to see that the real Slim Shady still stands up and resides here today.

It only seems like yesterday that the hauntingly incredible, note scribe of 'Stan' and the anthem of a generation 'The Way I Am' joined 'The Real Slim Shady' of monumentally huge singles and album tracks like the rightfully scathing 'Who Knew' and the wrongfully harrowing 'Kim' and more 'I'm Back' and 'Drug Ballad' classics that made this rappers shock value bang louder than a Timbaland beat. Then again it doesn't seem like more than three years ago that Shady had an album out (Apart from his other 'Hell' sequel with Bad Meets Evil partner and Slaughterhouse member Royce da 5'9") with the real, redemptive 'Recovery' from the raucous but critically raped 'Relapse'. Today after all the years of 50 Cent's and peroxide Mathers is back to Marshall hip-hop once again with the Batman to his Robin and lifetime production partner Dr. Dre. The 'Detox' and maturation of a man chasing his mentor in middle-age may be on hold, but under the influence once again our clean rapper with the dirtiest of lyrics, awakes from his 99 problems and gets the 100% backing of the man who knows all about white rappers from the Beastie Boys to Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Legend Rick Rubin joins the good Doctors cash investment in the executive producers chair of Eminem's latest round of American recordings. You can hear it in the bold and latest brutal single 'Berzerk' that the most 'out there' rapper has returned from 8 Mile Road. The Detroit Piston let's everyone have it with his substance abuse...even ex-Los Angeles Laker and Clipper Lamar Odom. The anti-baller has returned to rule rap like the unlikely king they could never behead.

The video game single 'Survival' continues the 'Call Of Duty' for a man who is battling his way through the watered and bogged down trenches of modern, mainstream music. Sounding like his fellow bleached rebel P!nk collaboration off his last, solo set Eminem won't back down, even if he is commercially viable enough to feature on a Tom Cruise trailer, Mathers will let anyone have it in his mission impossible to impress beyond the b.s. Taking it back to the roots of his career and the essence of rapping, 'Rap God' re-wakes cult fans and re-writes critics doubt with his supersonic 97 words in 15 seconds that feature a lyrical dexterity of 6.5, Twista jealous, Guinness book words a second. Lines like "Uh, sma lamaa duma lama you assuming I'm a human/What I gotta do to get it through to you I'm superhuman/Innovative and I'm made of rubber/so that anything you say is ricocheting off of me and it'll glue to you/I'm devastating, more than ever demonstrating", further his onslaught on those he leaves naught. If you want another single from this beast than how about 'The Monster' featuring Rihanna? The queen of R&B pop and every years best album and single, collaborates with Em for the fourth time marking arguably the greatest, albeit strangest duet duo around today. After loving the way each other lies for a classic and it's underrated, better sequel, the pair have returned the favor on each others albums. After Ri, Ri's 'Numb' comes this awoken animal from a man that turned Dido collaborations into Elton John ones. You shouldn't be surprised that this mans doing anything, except for playing career Russian roulette with more bullets than stuff that clicks.

The other shots on this album hit their mark, like their deer in headlights targets. The two part 'Bad Guy' opener is the new 'Criminal' and starts at a heart-beat pace only to rip into a chainsaw roaring and cutting finale. The Zombies, awoken 'Time Of The Season' sublime sampling, 'Rhyme Or Reason' adds more to this matter and yin, yang debate as our conflicted rapper literally channels Yoda in these wars of stars and shows us all sides of the two-face coin does he. Answering critics with no question the man who wrote about how he wanted to play the Riddler does anything but contradict himself. Riddle me this, riddle me that who's afraid of the big white rabbit? A rapper who runs and shows he's 'So Much Better' with every legendary track that ass to his 'Legacy'. The cultural phenomenon enlists an internet one to prove he's really an 'Asshole', as Skylar Gray of Diddy Dirty Money 'Coming Home' fame, returns from her previous collaboration with Em and Dr. Dre on 'Detox's' awaiting 'I Need A Doctor' to add another heart-paddle resuscitating chorus with her perfect pitched prescription. The out of this mind raps of 'Brainless' and it's "Fast forward some years later, a teenager this is a fun, sweet/I just got jumped twice in one week, it's complete/It's usually once a month, this is some feat I've accomplished/They've stomped me into the mud, gee for what reason, you stumped me/But how do you get the shit beat out of you/Beat down and be upbeat, when you don't have no-thing/No valid shot at life, chance to make it or succeed, cause you're doomed" lyrics that are a life testament to outcast or down-trodden youth really add to the mindful, socially underrated conscious lyrics of a man that goes from satire to straight forward scolds against all that is wrong with a world that continues to show it's middle finger to the enthusiasm of youth. More lessons are learned on the life explored in 'Stronger Than I Was' and the country riffs of Bad Meets Evils Em's 'So Far...' shows when it comes to old souls and the ways of the world this ones surely familiar of these parts. Even Facebook isn't safe on this cut from an album that's going to chop down any other Twitter trends, hash-tag 'MMLP2'.

Today's top hip-hop star in terms of popularity, Kendrick Lamar joins his label-mate for the Aftermath of Game's and Bishop Lamont's for another Dre favorite in 'Love Game'. The distinct voice of Kendrick makes for some real rhymes and a Californian cool chorus. This good kid certainly has come far from his 'Maad City'. Before night falls 'Headlights' illuminates a singled-out, creative collabo with Nate Ruess of 'fun.' fame, before the 'Evil Twin' ends this rehoused effort like Ken Kaniff skits. More 'Ghosts' are explored on the 'Don't Front' 'Call Of Duty' bonus before this Mathers LP house gets deluxe like an annex. Echoing the Marilyn Manson remix and 'Kids' bonus of the first album, tracks like the beautiful 'Baby', dark 'Desperation' and the wonderfully woes of 'Wicked Ways' help make this separate disc worthy of your extra dollars and sense in a repeatable and quotable album and a half full of legendary, legacy making lyrics. Still, it's the the repeat worthy 'Groundhog Day' and the Sia searing 'Beautiful Pain' that make these bittersweet pills good enough to be swallowed on the first take of this second Marshall album. Now all we need is a trilogy encore or a sequel to the debuting 'Slim Shady LP' (like 'Encore' to 'The Eminem Show' or 'Recovery' to 'Relapse' and its 'Refill') to carry on this Eminem show as Marshall Mathers and his identifying LP have the sequel they deserve. Nostalgia has a welcome home where our man in the white tee once sat outside without risk of foreclosure. If our legend was debuting with this 'Marshall Mathers LP' he'd be paying the mortgage with this album. Slim may be the blonde bomber alter-ego, but Marshall Mathers is the official government name of everyone's favorite rapper that bends race and genre all in one rocked rhyme. In the scope, this is as honestly raw and genuinely real as it gets for your after math, after Mathers listen. After all the years and records this eight wonder is signature like his real name and no gimmicks once again. True to himself but like you've never seen him before, Marshall's home. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 4 November 2013



The Greatest Gamble.

When it comes to this modern, mainstream music game of kings and jokers, there is one band that still holds all the cards for Rock N Roll. One band that still drives to the heartland of real America and away from the neon glare of the casinos and down to the real Las Vegas, in the Nuclear bomb testing, serene night deserts of old Nevada. One band smoking all the aces with roll after roll of new classic singing and songwriting that would make the boss of rock Bruce proud. One band to inspire the incredible new Vegas boys 'Imagine Dragons', breathing even more fire into the dream world of hopeful escapism and forever lasting themes of love and life. You can hear it sung along by the girls in the passenger seat of their boyfriends classic muscle car on the way to the best wedding chapel. You can hear it tuned into the dials on that old stereo. You can hear it on the airwaves of each radio station that still has it's salt in the right pot and music box. You can hear it in the four horsemen who continue to drive the engine of real songs about real emotion and true love. One band that's still alive in a dying industry...'The Killers'.

Listen, carefully if you haven't turned off your radio by now. There's still some great music when it comes to the right frequency. You've heard the song, you've seen the video. The one with those two Hollywood kids on the moped driving around the perfect directorial look of a night in sin city. Where our two, star-crossed lovers are trying to lay their own Romeo and Juliet scene. A song and clip that will capture Capulets and Montagues alike. 'Shot At The Night', may just be one of The Killers greatest fires at a best hit. With lead-singer and modern day icon Brandon Flowers singing from the window of a hotel room in Springsteen leathers and stance, the kid from Flamingo has the whole electric city reflected beneath him, like his incredible solo set (of the same name as his hometown) that deserves it's recognition here. Still, this song is more than just our leading man, it's for his band and this 'Direct Hits' offering of The Killers is more than just a package deal. Just like this lead song and the other new neon song 'Just Another Girl' -just as atmospheric-these are more than just tracks tacked on to a label demanding release. Sure, these guys may have just come off their best artillery of songs in the rebirth of 'Battle Born' and it's redemptive tour, but these guys with more hits than even they could count are still going strong and ready to rock any boulevard or arena. With it's target cover, that ups the stepped up stakes of all their classic logo album artwork, this band are back and hitting the blue and white with a bulls-eye and their bullet to the evening. In this game of chance, this is their casino royale.

'Shot At The Night' which has an 80's 'Drive' soundtrack feel, puts the keys in the ignition and sets it all off, before we get into the real grand studio tour of an album that Flowers says is "like a great way to clean everything up and move onto the next thing". In full bloom, the cream of the crop of classics is really hit out the park swing, by swing, deal by deal. Just like the bands new stadium ready live tour, you just have to let the good times and great records flow in all it's recent memories nostalgia and soundtrack of youth. From the shine of 'Mr. Brightside' and the word of mouth, mega-hit 'Somebody Told Me' and the happy-go-lucky days of 'Smile Like You Mean It' to 'All The Things That I've Done' that wraps up the bands bold and beautiful beginnings in a 'Hot Fuss' straight flush. A triple threat from 'Sams Town' explores the sophomore road traveled and traversed for the love of your life hit 'When You Where Young' to downtown, Tokyo, Japan for the storied 'Read My Mind'. 'For Reasons Unknown' bookends the first half of the bands career before the new 'Day & Age' of purple, 80's Bowie inspirations come into play for the second half of this audio set. 'Human' remains one of the band biggest, out of this world hits, and 'Spaceman' is also major like Ground control to Tom for all you extra-terrestrials. 'A Dustland Fairytale' also keeps this bands weapons on, before arguably the bands greatest and most underrated era comes into play. Following the solo, formidable foray of Flowers 'Flamingo', the latest and greatest 'Battle Born' of last year re-woke a wrote off band and flipped the script to a more mature, but still 'young love hopeful' one.

From the epic 'Runaways' that was born somewhere on E Street, to the explosive 'Miss Atomic Bomb' that gives more redemptive riffs to the memories of clouds of nuclear smoke in the desert distance. You may as well get your Geiger counters back out and line-up to be read for the ash that will still fall decades later for a band that will survive through any fallout. The real find of a former love lost in 'The Way It Was' really shows today just how strong the band of past capturing and future emoting is in the present. The epic, yearning "darling" harmonies show this singer and his band are still about the love and flowers that make real songs that will last more than just diluted dedications for the mainstream. With some original demos, Calvin Harris remixes and another 'Battle Born' number (the hauntingly beautiful and tranquil 'Be Still') for your bonus this band who have been blessed with it all are bestowing it upon everyone. Sure huge hits 'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine' and 'Here With Me' shouldn't have made the cutting room floor but we cant always have it all.  Just like Flowers sings in the single "look at my reflection in the mirror/underneath the power of the light/give me a shot at the night", and in this reflective electronic playlist ready, classic collection we can see a band that will shine on for the brighter side of decades of days and ages. Battle born and redemption ready for the next roll of the Vegas dice that will continue down the American highway. TIM DAVID HARVEY.