Uberzone – Ideology (2007)

Nobody does the hybrid of techno and breakbeat better than Uberzone do. This album is a good one. It features a variety of tracks and instrumentation. Let’s dive in and have a listen.

Okay begins our cyber journey into bliss. With robotic voices and a great beat kicking along, it sounds so different to everything else out there it is refreshing. It’s a good introduction to this album. It must be heard to be believed. There are acid sounds here too, a nice touch. The breakdown sounds great here as well.

4 Bit sounds so 1980’s in a good way that it makes one feel nostalgic. The beat kicks in, and what a beat it is! The grinding bassline makes this song greater than your typical EDM piece. Overall, this album so far is a great sonic trip. This tune is enjoyable as well. There are many unique sounds in the music here, a great piece to listen to when the mood strikes. It fades out mysteriously.

The robotic nature of this sort of music returns with Vibrate. It’s a great piece for those who like this sort of music. It’s surprisingly dance able as well, given the genre of music that this is, despite the fact it is clearly for home listening. A great futuristic and robotic sounding track. It has some highly intelligent sounds here, likely mostly original too.

The unusual Satisfaction follows. No, it’s not the hit by Benny Benassi either. It’s just a good tech-breaks style romp. Some great sounds are found here, which are individual, idealistic and creative. An epic and excellent listen, with some great drum sounds in the middle of the track. Acid noises return as well, just for the ride. A nice piece.

Ideology is the title track, and it starts rather slowly. It’s more laidback than the other tracks here, with some unusual theremin like melodies. It seems quite melancholy here, but still is as consistent as the rest of the album. It’s a good, but not great piece when the mood strikes. Sounds a lot like Radiohead in their Kid A or Amnesiac phase, in fact. It ends with a clock ticking.

FUBAR is much more like it. It’s an excellent and catchy driven piece to boot. It is the sort of tune that could be stuck in your head for days. It’s a wonderfully intriguing listen, so put on your headphones and listen to it. It’s rather more progressive than other EDM tunes out there, too.

The next piece, Alphawave, is a great rhythmic piece with some unusually modified vocal samples as well. It has some great drum sounds as well. It’s just a kickass track with some awesome TB-303 sort of sounds to hear as well. This album is very consistent throughout, always a good thing for the listener. It sounds like it was recorded it 3007, not 2007. A great sonic experiment done well.

The next one sounds apocalyptic. Germs sounds freaky and futuristic. It has a basic rhythm, acid sounds and mechanical melodies to entrance you. It is no doubt one of the better ones on this album, and is musically structured very well.

Geisha samples some Geisha talk in Japanese. It’s a lot slower than some of the other tracks on this album, but sounds like a good head trip all the same. It’s brief, but a good listen.

Funny Noise is another robotic creation from Uberzone. It’s a great deal better than the last couple of tracks, but still very consistent overall. It just flows nicely this album. It’s a robotic and musical project intertwined in a great effort. In the middle of this track, we have a great dancefloor piece. Even through headphones at home, this album is a winner. This track is no exception in this regard.

The short Inner Space is a semi-ambient piece that lets you drift into outer space. There’s not much to it, but it is a nice addition to the album.

The next tune, M87, sounds like a sort of Dub like piece. It’s got some laidback beats and psychedelic noises in it. Whoever said that postmodern music was bad? Uberzone make great tunes, and this album is proof of that. This track sounds like a Sonic The Hedgehog video game soundtrack, no joke.

Black Hole has some strummed acoustic guitar and some real life sounding beats. It sounds different, but good all the same. There is a variety of sampled instrumentation here, from pianos to bongos. It breaks down into silence at the end.

Yes speaks for itself. No comments required for an 11 second track.

The extra track Octopus (Bonus Track) is a solid listen itself. It should have been placed on the original album, but fortunately it is found on some releases of the album. We finish our sonic journey, satisfied with the outcome.

This sort of music is regularly overlooked by critics and consumers alike. However, it is clear that perfect techno + perfect breaks = Uberzone. Do yourself a favour and have a listen to this if you haven’t done so already.

8/10

Kid Rock – Cocky (2001)

After the unexpected success of Devil Without A Cause and The History of Rock, Kid Rock at last had made it. He was working very consistently, and delivered this album after those two, showing he had a great musical talent and lyrical trashing to boot.

This is not Devil Without A Cause #2. It is an interesting and wonderful record to say the least, and confirmed Kid Rock’s staying power and sonic ability to rock your life.

We start off with Trucker Anthem, with its super long intro and musical assault. It sounds different to the last two albums, showing the variety that Kid Rock had in his arsenal. It’s a good intro to a killer album.

Forever follows and is a statement of self purpose by Kid Rock. It sounds so loud, heavy and bluesy that it pales some of his previous work in comparison in this regard. It’s a catchy piece and worth listening to. It also mentions his musical influences in the chorus, which is fascinating.

The follow up is Lay It On Me. It’s a down and dirty tune by Kid Rock about, you-know-what. It’s got a soulful chorus though. Not bad, especially considering the content. There’s a cool piano led outro too.

Cocky is the album’s title track, and has Kid Rock dissing just about everyone over his success. “They say I’m cocky/And I say what?!/It ain’t bragging motherfucker if you back it up.” Sums it up, really. But it’s super catchy, despite the lyrics being how they are.

The following song, What I Learned Out On The Road is a strange tale of travels and pursuits on tour and in general. It’s a good reflective piece on life doing music each night. It’s a well done piece. By this part of the album, we can hear a much wider variety of influences in Kid Rock’s music than ever before, which is a good thing.

I’m Wrong, But You Ain’t Right is an aggressive, metal like piece that has Kid Rock pointing the finger at virtually everyone who attacks him, or giving them the finger. It’s a weaker song, but still very good anyway. The guitar solo breakdown is awesome.

The next song, Lonely Road Of Faith, is so much like a Led Zeppelin piece but it’s about a different sort of topic than what Led Zeppelin would cover. Still, it’s a nice ballad to boot and makes a change from the other songs on the album. It ends with beautiful piano, and sounds mint.

You Never Met A Motherfucker Quite Like Me talks about Kid Rock’s self-importance, yet again. It has some interesting arrangements and instrumentation and the chorus is so uplifting that it’s brilliant. At least Kid Rock has a sense of humour and doesn’t take himself too seriously, as we can hear here.

One of Kid Rock’s best songs, Picture, talks about heartaches involved with romance. It features Sheryl Crow and not for the last time, either. It’s a good piece, and a rare deep and meaningful from Kid Rock. A beautiful piece indeed, only ruined by a horrendous guitar solo in the middle. Fortunately, the rest of the song is great.

I’m A Dog is perhaps referring to Kid Rock’s attitude as he goes out into the world. Note that Kid Rock is very self obsessed. This song continues that trend, but although it is a weaker song, it kicks ass.

The next song, Midnight Train To Memphis is a tale of distress in relationships. It is rather slow to start with, but quickly changes into a rocker. Still, it’s not the best Kid Rock song ever, but it’s an okay listen.

Baby Come Home is a lot better, with a catchy slide guitar riff. It’s so cool, a perfect mixture of blues and country, which is a rare thing despite rock and roll beginning from that fusion. It’s a cool story about chasing a girl and trying to find her in the world. There’s a banjo in there, too.

The last main track on the album, Drunk In The Morning is a multi sectioned piece. It begins as a slow lament, before bursting into a loud and heavy rocker that is just fantastic. It just has the attitude that everyone should feel in their lives. It follows a quiet-loud dynamic, similar to what Nirvana would do.

WCSR is terrible. It is a supposed bonus track which, despite featuring Snoop Dogg and  mentioning an interesting story with Bill Clinton (regardless of whether it is true or not), it is awful. Should not have been put on the record. Avoid this one.

So, at this point, Cocky is a good record, not a great one. It didn’t sell as many copies as Devil Without A Cause. It’s rather patchy at times, but it definitely rocks in many different ways. To own this is a joy though. Kid Rock is still making great music today, unlike many older rock artists. It’s solid enough. The album cover showed that Kid Rock was definitely cocky. What a legend.

8/10

Oasis – Heathen Chemistry (2002)

Before we begin, this album is very ordinary. In fact, it’s terrible.

Oasis was in a creative rut at the time. Noel Gallagher had some bad moments on the previous two albums and was totally uninspired musically as a result. The songwriting duties, therefore, were divided now amongst the other group members. Liam Gallagher, once deemed a great singer of his generation, was unable to sing properly after years of damaging his voice doing his slouching and hands-behind-the-back pose onstage. The new guys on bass and second guitar Andy Bell and Gem Archer contributed little of worth. And the once mighty and powerful drummer Alan White had lost interest in drumming for Oasis completely. He now couldn’t even keep time.

This was a sad state of affairs for Oasis. The ageing rock group still could not get their act together. Sony even threatened to drop them after the poor commercial performance of Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants. Prompted by this, Oasis went back to the studio and released this awful rubbish in 2002. It changed nothing and added more problems to the fan base of Oasis, who by this point, had stopped listening anyway to their newer work.

Still, it has a few good moments, but not great ones in general.

The Hindu Times begins this recording, and it sounds terrible. Ironically, it is one of the better songs on the record and made it to #1 on the UK singles charts. Liam sounds awful here, with his voice showing considerable age. Nice try though.

Force Of Nature is even worse. It is sung by Noel Gallagher but lacks any magic or listening desire to the album. The chorus is awful, as Noel rants in a wannabe country way about his stash of weed being smoked. Unbelievable.

The following piece is okay. Hung In A Bad Place is a straightforward rock song which sounds good but lacks energy. Liam sneers through this piece, but one can’t help but wish for him to fix his singing voice.  It’s okay nonetheless.

After that, quite a good song arrives for listening on the album. Stop Crying Your Heart Out is a far better effort by the group, and is really touching. Liam Gallagher gives it his best here, but the drums are mixed out. Noel obviously lacked faith in Alan White’s drumming skills at the time.

Songbird is not really good, despite the fact it is short. In fact, the length is all that is really good about it. Liam Gallagher wrote this one about his then-girlfriend but it’s a forgettable Oasis piece.

Little By Little is actually really quite good. Noel sings this one, and there are some amazing lyrics such as “True perfection has to be imperfect. I know that sounds foolish, but it’s true.” It is a good listen amongst all the other mainly poor tracks.

The instrumental A Quick Peep is rather forgettable. Nothing is great about this, despite the fact it features a 1960s organ keyboard sort of sound. Worth skipping, it’s not good.

Next up we have (Probably) All In The Mind, a really ordinary piece. They probably were high recording this one. It’s so dull. Not exactly a great statement to make.

She Is Love is a pathetic excuse for a song. It’s soppy, boring and lacks anything really interesting about it. Why Noel did not make good music on this album is a mystery to everyone involved. It’s about his current wife.

Born On A Different Cloud is lame. Liam steals some lyrics from John Lennon and tries to sound wise as a person. It’s not a good idea for him, he is anything but wise as a person. It’s just pretentious drivel and goes over six minutes. Not necessary here.

The album finishes off with the short and okay Better Man. That is if you made it this far along. Like Hung In A Bad Place, it sounds similar and lacks energy. We then endure silence for nearly half an hour, before launching into the low grade instrumental The Cage. That’s not worth your time, either.

This album generated very little interest in what Oasis were doing at the time. Obviously, the band recognised it was a poor effort as well, and lifted their game for Don’t Believe The Truth. The sad fact is that this album is actually worse than the worst moments of Be Here Now and Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants. Noel Gallagher shouldn’t be proud of this, it’s Oasis’s worst album by far.

4/10

Oasis – Stop The Clocks (2006)

This album marked the beginning of the end of Oasis. Although certain events had occurred since the band formed in 1991 that hindered musical and personal progress in the band, it really started here with their first retrospective compilation. Oasis needed to put this compilation out due to the end of their contract with Sony, so Noel Gallagher obliged and made his own mix of Oasis songs, almost completely disregarding everybody else’s advice. This pointed out that he was unwilling to listen to other people’s advice in general with Oasis’s music, and instead wanted to do his own thing. The new democracy style input in Oasis during the 2000s obviously wasn’t a big issue to the group.

The compilation here is actually really good though. It focuses heavily on the songs from Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? eras with a few additions from other eras. Notably, Noel refused to put any Be Here Now numbers onto the compilation and used the “length” excuse as usual. Which is the only weak point about the compilation, it misses out that era totally which still had some good songs on it. It doesn’t have any songs from Dig Out Your Soul either as that album was not released until 2009.

Strangely enough, there was another compilation a few years after this one, once the band had broken up for good. But it seems to be better than most Oasis albums around, so it is definitely worth checking out. Notably, it is a great compilation for more thinking than dancing sort of Oasis mood. Looking through the compilation, it’s easy to see more single tracks on the double-disc album than anything else. It’s a good way to go about an album if you want to make a compilation that sounds good.

Interestingly enough, the album art was done by The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album artist Peter Blake. It’s also the name of an unreleased Oasis song, which Noel eventually released on his first solo album. Strangely ironic indeed.

After this release, the band made the awful Dig Out Your Soul before calling it quits in the unfortunate incident between Noel and Liam Gallagher. This is a great compilation though, perfect for that thinking mood when you need some Oasis.

9/10

Kid Rock – The History Of Rock (2000)

Kid Rock was on a roll. After the release of his third album Devil Without A Cause, he finally broke into the mainstream and never looked back. Or at least we thought so. He decided to rework some of his older songs, as he now had the time and money to do so. It was a good move.

This album is mostly reworked songs he has done before, but the reworked pieces here are brilliant. There are some new songs as well to sink our teeth into, so let’s observe what Kid Rock has on offer here.

There is a short Intro which plays a track Kid Rock made way back in the 1980s, along with a deep voiceover summarising why we are here.

The first track leads us onto the single and tune named American Bad Ass. This heavily samples Metallica’s Sad But True and is a great rock song by Kid Rock. It shows off his selfish lyrical style and bent, but is just fantastic to listen to. An awesome rock/metal song with wicked guitar solos.

Prodigal Son is Kid Rock’s rework of the original. The original was fun, but this version is much better and shows Kid Rock excelling at singing and interesting guitar work. It’s a good one to listen to.

Paid is next and is a semi-disco funky track. It’s pretty direct “I’ll be in the house getting paid like Trump”. Mint, it sounds unusual and awesome simultaneously.

The follow up is Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp. The rework here is far better than the original, getting fellow rapper and midget Joe C to do the main reworked part of the song. Fantastic and fun. Joe C was part of the Twisted Brown Trucker band that Kid Rock assembled for musical purposes.

The strange and punky Dark And Grey follow, which is a rather weak track. Still, it has some selfishly loveable lyrics in it. It is quite short, so not too overwhelming.

3 Sheets To The Wind (What’s My Name) is a great song which has a crowd chanting Kid Rock’s name. It’s a decent call and response song. It’s not hugely different from the original, however.

Abortion is a terrible song, even for Kid Rock. Ironically, it was a new release at the time as well. Kid Rock could do much better than this song, and it should have been removed from the recording.

The ode to younger days is here in I Wanna Go Back. It’s a great rework of the original that sounds punchy and reflective on Kid Rock spending time on his music when younger. It’s an awesome piece.

‘Ya Keep On is a fantastic rework of the original and breathes life into the song itself. The backing singers sound truly wonderful here and add depth and emotion to this song.

Fuck That is a trashy song but with a catchy chorus. It’s a typical Kid Rock song, with some diverse musical influences in it, however.

The rework of Fuck You Blind is so much better than the original, that it turns crap into lyrical gold. It’s a sleazy, funky piece which demands heavy listening. It’s a great song. It has the most explicit lyrics in it, which adds value to the song.

The Yardbirds direct rip off Born 2 B A Hick is fun but so obviously unoriginal that maybe The Yardbirds could sue Kid Rock for this song. Who knows? But it’s a short song prior to the final piece on the album.

The last song is a rework of the highly controversial My Oedipus Complex which is a multi-faceted rant about Kid Rock being overparented by his father. It’s intense listening if you are up to it. It sounds like a million dollars compared to the original. The album is silent for a while after this song finishes before the deep voiceover through the album stating the main Kid Rock ending the lesson.

So after studying Kid Rock, we learn our lessons of the greatest songs by Kid Rock. Although Devil Without A Cause sold more and broke Kid Rock into the mainstream, this is the one to have. It’s a very good listen indeed. Kid Rock afterwards went gradually more and more country in his music and began ranting on about supporting Donald Trump. This album, on the other hand, is far more important than that. It’s a great listen.

8/10

Coldplay – Parachutes (2000)

Some might say that Coldplay killed rock music. That is a highly negative and incorrect assumption. In fact, Coldplay kept guitar driven music alive throughout the 2000s and did a very good job of doing so, with nobody special keeping the rock and roll flame burning afterward. This release, coming out during the dawn of the new millennium, set English music onto a new trajectory.

This album is more than the hybrid Oasis/Radiohead style the band professes to offer. It made singer Chris Martin and the rest of the band pop/rock superstars, which they still are to this day. Their first two albums, in particular, were amazing, and this is the first of those two.

Don’t Panic with its strummed acoustic intro gives vague reassurance to the meaning of existence. It’s a very short song being just over two minutes and introduces the band’s sound. Indeed, we are halfway between Oasis and Radiohead for the most part, but the songs are original in any case/

Shiver follows which tells a lover not to do so in the cold of the night. It’s a good pop song, and we can already sense the quality of the album by this point. It’s really nice sounding music.

The follow up is the James Bond 007 inspired Spies. It shows the paranoia, panic, and imagination of a particular spy trying to survive. It’s an unusual twist on an unusual concept.

After that, we have Sparks with its melancholy sound and fantastic guitar parts. Chris Martin, although not the world’s greatest singer by any means, sings this song nicely.

Yellow is a great hit single and is a love letter to not just a potential lover, but the world as well. “Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and everything you do. And it was all yellow.” Great lyrics.

Trouble is about being stuck in a bad situation. It refers to a spider’s web and being stuck in that. Boy, these guys could write great songs! At least better than any of their contemporaries of the time.

The shortest track on the album, the title track Parachutes is a low fi recording of Chris Martin singing and picking acoustic guitar away, whilst reminding his lover he will always be there for them. Quite romantic.

The outer space influenced High Speed is just thrilling to hear. It has strummed acoustic guitars, space noises, and a super trippy outro. It’s one of the most underrated Coldplay songs you will hear. Nice job on the sound and mix here boys.

We Never Change pines for the simple life and things that stay the same, which is difficult in these internet and technologically driven times. It’s a great concept in a song, sounds so subtle and nicely done.

Everything’s Not Lost comes next and it finishes the album nicely, with reoccurring slide guitar and keyboard patches. It also has the hidden track Life Is For Living after some silence, and it’s also worth listening to, unlike most hidden tracks.

Coldplay went mega after the release of this recording, and we had A Rush Of Blood To The Head afterward. It’s a simple and fantastic album and has influenced legions of musicians all around the world to this day. If you like melancholy niceties and an original twist on music, try this album as it is likely you will enjoy it, for that reason. It’s a unique listen.

8/10

Oasis – Don’t Believe The Truth (2005)

After the terrible Heathen Chemistry, which was basically polished rubbish, Oasis needed to release good music once again. The once glorious and powerful drummer Alan White left, with Ringo Starr’s son Zac Starkey filling in the role for the time being.

At first, things did not go well recording this album. The group seemed to revisit the experimental nature of Be Here Now and Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants by enlisting the Death In Vegas producer duo to begin the album. It did not work out well, Noel Gallagher knew that the effort could have been better. Instead, he requested Dave Sardy to do the job for the group and began reworking the songs on this album entirely.

The result here is better than anything the group recorded post (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? in terms of overall quality of the songs. It has a concise, punchy sound and the group sounds so far more ahead of their contemporaries for the first time in years. It’s not perfect, sure. But it is good music by Oasis once again.

Turn Up The Sun sets the scene, “I carry a madness, wherever I go. Over the border – and back to the snow.” Liam Gallagher’s voice has not aged very well and that is audible here. But his delivery is fantastic on this song, sneering away in a Definitely Maybe way. A good start to the album.

Mucky Fingers is Noel Gallagher’s take on classic rock. It is a name reminiscent of The Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers and is an almost direct rip-off from The Velvet Underground’s I’m Waiting For My Man. But it’s passable, not laughable. The harmonica part is amazing sounding.

The next song was a hit from the album. Lyla talks about a girl on a melodic and rather excellent pop piece. Zak Starkey does some superb drum rolls here, particularly in comparison to Alan White’s lackluster performance on Heathen Chemistry. It’s a very good pop song.

There are plenty of love songs on this album. Love Like A Bomb is the most direct, and although Liam sounds like he has developed throat cancer, it is mindblowing. That’s how good this piece is. It is easily stuck inside one’s head for days. Good effort.

The Importance Of Being Idle is a great Noel Gallagher effort, telling the tale of oneself being lazy. It’s an interesting subject matter for the listener to endure and is just so well done here. It sounds like Noel meeting a stomp-style romp. A very nice song.

The Meaning Of Soul once again deals with love based themes and goes for a very short time frame. This is years away from the long song fetishism of Be Here Now, it just fits in nicely with the rest of the recording. A great fast paced song.

The next song, Guess God Thinks I’m Abel deals directly with biblical themes and talks about deep and meaningful love by Liam. This is one of the most serious Oasis songs ever made, although they made plenty of serious songs. It has a semi Chemical Brothers like outro but is just a good song once again.

Modern-day grumbles are here with Noel Gallagher’s Part Of The Queue are here. It’s a weaker song, but even then it’s still okay listening.

Keep The Dream Alive is an epic song, but really lifts you up emotionally into the chorus when it arrives. As an epic song, it’s not long like Be Here Now, nor depressing like Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, nor garbage like Heathen Chemistry. It just fits the bill nicely.

A Bell Will Ring is an optimistic piece written by second guitarist Gem Archer. In fact, although it’s not really overly memorable, it is so very positive it will lift you up into the song as it blasts.

The last song, Let There Be Love is really very good. The Gallagher brothers sing together alternating between different lead vocal roles and it’s a nice piece to close the album.

So, there you have it. Oasis were back at this point and once again, made a decent album for us to enjoy. It really is a shame that the group couldn’t hold it together after 2009, but at least they left this awesome album to enjoy. Don’t Believe The Truth, it’s better than you think it would be. Fans of this album should chase out the studio interviews on YouTube that the group did for this album, a brilliant idea to show the effort behind this, their best later career album.

8/10