Morrissey – Kill Uncle


Artist: Morrissey

Genre: Rock
Title: Kill Uncle
Released: 1991
Label: Sire
Format: CD
Musicians: Morrissey – vocals, Mark E. Nevin – guitar, Mark Bedford – bass guitar
Andrew Paresi – percussion, drums, Seamus Beaghen – keyboards, Steven Heart – keyboards, Nawazish Ali Khan – violin, John Deacon – bass guitar (tracks 2, 4 and 8)
Linder Sterling – background vocals
Producer: Alan Winstanley and Clive Langer

Kill Uncle is the second solo studio album by English singer Morrissey. It is generally considered Morrissey’s most unconventional album, probably due to its mature torch song (“There Is a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends”) aspects combined with quirky music and lyrics that range from ironic and tongue-in-cheek to some of his more introspective.

Kill Uncle was recorded when Morrissey was in a transitional phase. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Uncle

1. “Our Frank” – On “Our Frank”, Morrissey’s lyrics describe “frank and open, deep conversations” that get him nowhere and leave him disheartened.The song features some uncharacteristic production for the singer, with Morrissey’s voice being overdubbed and echoed. The bass line is also interesting.
2. “Asian Rut” – I find this track as one of the worst on the CD. The music itself is disturbing, but it must be pointed out that it was supposed to be. I first thought that it was a quasi racist song, but I found out that while the song does indeed deal with racism, it is actually against racism. It turns out “Asian Rut” is a tale about the murder of an Asian by three English boys in which Morrissey’s vocals are backed only by strings and bass, plus sound effects, lending an eerie quality to the somber narrative. The song continues the tradition of Morrissey examining English racism from a unique angle. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Uncle
3. “Sing Your Life” – This is one of the better songs on the CD with a subtle rockabilly flavor. The strings from the first two tracks are present in the song as well, and they rise and fall in a fashion similar to “Our Frank”. The song has Morrissey instructing the listener on how to make a song, as he sings, “Walk right up to the microphone and name all the things you love, all the things you loathe.” Ironically enough, a rockabilly version of the song also exists, recorded live at KROQ in Los Angeles.
4. “Mute Witness” – “Mute Witness”, the fourth track, features piano backing composed by Clive Langer. The song is a somewhat farcical tale of an attempt to get information out of a witness who cannot speak at a trial.
5. “King Leer” – The upright acoustic  bass carries this song, which is kind of a silly song with its use of puns.
6. “Found Found Found” Langer – “Found Found Found”, another Langer track, is the only heavy song on the album. I’m all about heavier songs, but this one is not all that good in my opinion especially when you add over-compressed dirty bass.
7. “Driving Your Girlfriend Home” – In this ballad, Morrissey tells of how he’s driving the girlfriend of one of his friend’s home. He reveals that she asks him, “‘How did I end up so deeply involved in the very existence I planned on avoiding?'” and that “She’s laughing to stop herself crying.” These outpourings are interspersed with driving instructions, and Morrissey tells us, “I can’t tell her” what he feels about her and that the ride concludes with them “shaking hands goodnight so politely.” In a surprise twist of fate, I can realistically relate to this song. Too bad the music is somewhat annoying and strange in my opinion.
8. “The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye” – This often cited as Morrissey’s most misunderstood song ever recorded. I find this song to sound like a track to a horror film about evil clowns (clowns are evil anyway). It turns out that the lyrics are describing the “pain because of the strain of smiling” and the dichotomy between one’s public image and private personality. The music consists of a carnival-like synthesizer and features sound effects like that of a door slamming and a camera lens snapping, along with piano accompaniment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Uncle
9. “(I’m) The End of the Family Line” – This song sounds like the same structure as the previous one and just as depressing. The singer rues that he will never have children, an insult into the “fifteen generations … of mine” that produced him.
10. “There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends” – This is just a terrible sounding song in my opinion.
11. “Tony the Pony” – This song is only on the US version of the album. While it is more upbeat, it is equally stupid.

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Jethro Tull – Roots To Branches

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Artist: Jethro Tull
Genere: Progressive rock, Rock, Folk-rock
Title: Roots To Branches
Released:1995
Label:EMI records
Format: CD
Musicians:Ian Anderson – vocals, concert flute, bamboo flute, acoustic guitar
Martin Barre – electric guitars, Andrew Giddings – keyboards, Doane Perry – drums and percussion, Dave Pegg – bass guitar, Steve Bailey – bass guitar
Producer: Ian Anderson
Engineer: Ian Anderson
Mastering: Chris Blair

Roots to Branches is the 19th studio album by the British band Jethro Tull released in September 1995. It carries characteristics of Tull’s classic 1970s art-rock and folk-rock roots alongside jazz and Arabic and Far Eastern influences. All songs were written by Ian Anderson and recorded at his home studio. In January 2007, a remastered edition of the album was released, but I’m not going to bother with it unless it’s on vinyl. The sound on this CD is not that bad, but it is Jethro Tull and usually I have found JT CDs to be severely lacking in sound quality.

This album was much derived from the visit Ian Anderson made to India. The style of the album could be called as the Indian Songs from the Wood.
About Roots to Branches, Ian Anderson said: “I see Roots To Branches as the 90s version of Stand Up, because it has a lot of the things that I feel represented the key elements of Jethro Tull: there’s lots of flute, lots of riffy guitars and quite a broad palette of influences, from the blues and classical to the Eastern motifs that were apparent on Stand Up “. On the other hand, Anderson also added that “the only thing about it that lets me down is that I made it sound a little too Seventies. I deliberately made the album sound like it was in the context of a live performance, rather than have it sound too ‘studio.’ But looking back on it, I think it should have been a bit more varied”.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roots_to_Branches

This album also has more of a prog rock bend to it while also having what I feel is an other worldly sound. In my opinion, this is not only one of the best albums  I’ve ever heard from Jethro Tull, but it makes it to my top 20 list of best albums overall. Listening to this album is like reading a really good book you just can’t put down, you want to keep reading to see what happens.

1. “Roots to Branches” = Obviously the title track. This is one of my favorites on the album, it has a slight Mediterranean feel to it underneath. I also like all the changes it goes through.

2. “Rare and Precious Chain” = This track has an interesting feel to it, it’s like hard rock meets world music.

3. “Out of the Noise” = This track is just a good rock-jazz song that the band is seasoned at doing.

4. “This Free Will” = Track number four and we have not let up or fallen yet! This album just doesn’t stop. This track has a middle-Eastern flavor with a mid-east flute called a Ney in the background. The tune also has a slight Deep Purple flavor I think.

5. “Valley” = This tune opens with a flute solo and acoustic guitar for the first verse, then the keyboards, drums, etc. join in. This is a great Tull song.

6. “Dangerous Veils” = This is an incredible song, it has a rather sophisticated style and the drumming is stupendous. This is a must listen.

7. “Beside Myself” = This song starts with an acoustic guitar solo and goes into a more sophisticated style like the song before. Another great one from Tull.

8. “Wounded, Old and Treacherous” = This is more art-rock/jazz. The song has a strong jazz foundation while the verses are spoken word. This is very different from the rest of the album and yes, it’s good. Interestingly enough the ending is more in the rock style.

9. “At Last, Forever” = This song once again provides that great acoustic Jethro Tull sound for the first verse and as the rest of the band joins in it still keeps that signature Tull sound.

10. “Stuck in the August Rain” = I thought this one might be just a standard “nothing to write home about” type song, but it’s pretty ok. If I had to have a least favorite on this album, this song is the only one that might qualify.

11. “Another Harry’s Bar” = Listen close and you will hear a slight Mark Knopfler style to this closing tune.

MUSIC:5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars “all the way”!
SOUND:5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars

Roots To Branches = https://youtu.be/V0h1Lmy4nt0

 

Venus Hum – Hummingbirds

Artist: Venus Hum
Genre: Electronica
Title: Hummingbirds
Released: 2002
Label: Mono Fi
Format: CD
Musicians: Kip Kubin – Computers & Electronics, Tony Miracle – Computers & Electronics, Annette Strean – Vocals

Venus Hum is an electronic pop music group from Nashville, Tennessee, consisting of vocalist Annette Strean and multi-instrumentalists Kip Kubin and Tony Miracle. Miracle has a rare heart condition which results in perpetually hearing his own heartbeat in his ears. This condition is known as “venous hum”, from which the group’s name is derived.
Their first full-length album, titled Venus Hum, was released in 2001. Big Beautiful Sky was released two years later. Also in 2003, Venus Hum toured with and opened for Blue Man Group, with Annette providing vocals on “I Feel Love”. (Editor’s note = This is a must see).
After their collaboration with J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost, Mission: Impossible III), and their subsequent creation of the EP Songs for Superheroes, it was uncertain whether Venus Hum would release any new material. Annette had developed painful vocal fold nodules and needed a speech pathologist to relearn her singing ability. Kip diversified, furthering his interest in filmmaking, becoming a director of music videos, electronic press kits and special features. Tony traveled, living in Los Angeles and Cincinnati and releasing an experimental solo album under the moniker “Satellite City”.
After a two-year hiatus, the group reorganized and released a new album, The Colors In The Wheel on July 25, 2006 under the Mono-Fi Records label, which they described as “unconventional, three-dimensional and completely five-sensual” featuring an edgier sound than their previous work.
In the second half of 2008, the band returned to the studio to work on material for a new album, culminating in the October 6th, 2009 release of Mechanics & Mathematics.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_Hum

Hummingbirds is an EP they released in 2002

  1. “Hummingbirds” – Obviously the title track. I like the general feel of this track, but there seem to be some sound issues such as clipping distortion
  2. Alice – There is a bit less going on here, but the vocals are more showcased.
  3. “Run Annie Run” – This track is more dance sounding, but not real dynamic and not the best use of Annette’s voice.
  4. “Illumine” – In this track electronics meets a bit of new age.

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Here’s a video of I Feel Love: (I know it is not on this album, but….