24 March 2007

Tommy Cooper

Cooper made an art form of getting magic tricks wrong. He is considered by many to be one of the most inventive and funny British comedians since Charlie Chaplin. However, despite his purported inability to perform conjuring tricks, he was in reality an accomplished magician and member of The Magic Circle. Famed for his red fez, he had a host of catchphrases such as "Just like that!", "Spoon, jar, jar, spoon!!" and "Whisky, sample, sample, whisky, sample...". He would also say things like, "I must say you've been a wonderful audience" or "Have we got time for more?" immediately after he walked on stage.[1] Tommy Cooper took up show business on Christmas Eve, 1947 after seven years in the British Army, and rapidly became a top-liner in variety with his turn as the conjuror whose tricks never succeeded. However, it is probably his television work that catapulted him to national recognition. After his debut on the BBC talent show New To You in March 1948, he soon started starring in his own shows, and was popular with audiences for four decades, most notably through his work with Thames Television from 1968 to 1980.
Cooper was a renowned heavy drinker and smoker, and experienced a decline in health during the late 1970s, suffering a
heart attack in 1977 while in Rome, where he was performing a show. However, just three months later he was back on television in Night Out at the London Casino. By 1980, though, his drinking meant that Thames Television would not give him another starring series, and Cooper's Half Hour was his last. He did continue to guest on other television shows, however, and worked with Eric Sykes on two Thames productions in 1982: The Eric Sykes 1990 Show and It's Your Move.

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20 March 2007

The Breeders - Last Splash

The Breeders are an American rock band, formed in 1977 as a folk rock duo featuring twin sisters Kim and Kelley Deal of Dayton, Ohio which played country covers at truck stops and bars and dissipated in the early 80's, only to be revived as a side project in 1988 for Kim who by then was playing bass for Pixies and Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses. After those original bands became less active, The Breeders became more important to both artists. A tape recording of their original demos with drummer Mickey Bones and violinist Carrie Bradley was sent to Ivo Watts-Russell, who immediately signed the band to his 4AD Records label in 1989. Their debut album, Pod, was recorded by Steve Albini in Edinburgh, and was released on 4AD in 1990. Deal's influence is obvious, but bassist Josephine Wiggs and Slint drummer Britt Walford (credited here as Shannon Doughton) add to the ensemble sound.
By the release of four-song
EP Safari in 1992, Deal was done with Pixies and had enlisted her twin sister Kelley to play guitar for the Breeders. Donelly exited the band to form Belly, and drummer Jim MacPherson joined in time for Last Splash in 1993. The album spawned the hit "Cannonball." Cannonball hit #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts, and the album "Last Splash" was certified Platinum thereafter. The band opened for Alternative Rock monsters Nirvana in their 1993-1994 In Utero tour, it was the last Nirvana tour, singer Kurt Cobain died in early 1994.
In 1995, Kelley Deal was involved in a drug bust, so sister Kim formed the side project
The Amps with MacPherson, bassist Luis Lerma (member of Dayton, OH band The Tasties) and guitarist Nate Farley, who later joined Guided by Voices. The Amps released the album Pacer in October 1995. Following drug rehab, Kelley started the Kelley Deal 6000 and also formed the unlikely Last Hard Men with Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, ex-The Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, and Jimmy Flemion of The Frogs.
Rumors of Kim Deal reuniting with the original band continued to circulate in the 90s, although the only material to surface was a cover of "Collage," recorded for
The Mod Squad soundtrack in 1999. The Deal sisters recruited new personnel to play several live shows in 2001, and returned to the studio with guitarist Richard Presley, bass player Mando Lopez and drummer Jose Medeles to record the third Breeders studio album Title TK with Steve Albini.
The Breeders were also recruited, in early 2002, to perform in an episode of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They were approached by the production staff, after they had been performing the show's theme, originally written by Nerf Herder, as a regular part of their concert set. The episode is entitled Him, and aired November 5, 2002.
The Breeders contributed the track "Wicked Little Town: Hedwig Version" to the 2003 Hedwig and the Angry Inch tribute album, "Wig in a Box".
In 2004,
Warner Music Group announced plans to drop the Breeders from their label following low album sales of Title TK. The decision came with Warner's plans to drop several other artists as well.
As of May, 2006, Deal is working on new material with The Breeders with plans to release an EP late in the year and a full length album in early 2007. The working lineup at this point includes Kim and Kelley Deal, Jose Medeles and Carrie Bradley. It was reported on Jose Medeles' blog that the band will be working with Steve Albini on a number of songs on the upcoming album.
The Breeders remain a pivotal force in the alternative rock women movement and are revered by their peers. In 2006 French indie-rocker
Julie Peel honored The Breeders by covering "Divine Hammer" on a limited edition 7" Blue Vinyl Split released exclusively by American Laundromat Records. The Flaming Lips have also covered "Divine Hammer" on tour, and the list goes on.

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14 March 2007

Steve Coogan - Live 'n' Lewd

Stephen "Steve" John Coogan (born 14 October 1965) is an English actor, impressionist, and comedian. His best known character is Alan Partridge, the grotesque sports reporter-turned-television chat show host-turned-regional radio presenter who featured in several television series, such as The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge and I'm Alan Partridge.

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Steve Coogan 1994

James Hunter - People Gonna Talk

Van Morrison calls James Hunter 'the best voice and best-kept secret in British R&B and soul.' And the Colchester native and former busker does, indeed, sound like a one-man blue-eyed revival on his US debut, People Gonna Talk. He navigates 14 self-penned ska (the title track), soul-blues ("Kick It Around"), and primal funk ("No Smoke Without Fire") tunes with panache. Hunter's voice unerringly carves out graceful melodies and soars into falsetto at whim over his horn-sparked band as he digs through his vast bag of traditional, stinging blues'n'soul licks on electric guitar. But... there's something missing. Although the disc was cut live in the studio, it lacks the vibrant energy of his stage performances. And Hunter borrows so extensively from his influences that he sounds like he's covering Bobby Bland, Howard Tate, James Brown, and the Studio One roster rather than traveling his own path. Nevertheless, as Morrison intimates, Hunter's estimable singing and playing will please fans of classic R&B and soul.

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People Gonna Talk

12 March 2007

Dodgy - Homegrown

Dodgy were an English pop trio, originally composed of Birmingham's Nigel Clark (vocals and bass) and Mathew Priest (drums), along with Londoner Andy Miller (guitar). Clark left the band in 1998. Priest and Miller continued the band as a five piece joined by the vocalist David Bassey; keyboardist Chris Hallam, and bass player Nick Abnett. This new version of the group would record one album, Real Estate, released in 2001, which signalled the end of the band shortly afterwards. This album was funded with help from the fans.
The band's
debut album, produced by The Lightning Seeds' Ian Broudie, demonstrated a comprehensive grasp of classic British pop influences. In many ways the album pre-dated the Brit-pop sound that would come to dominate the English scene with the arrival of Oasis.
There is an active
My Space for the band allegedly run by original members.

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10 March 2007

Ride - Carnival of Light

"Moonlight Medicine" (Gardener)
"1000 Miles" (Gardener)
"From Time to Time" (Gardener/Queralt)
"Natural Grace" (Colbert)
"Only Now" (Gardener/Rieley)
"Birdman" (Bell)
"Crown of Creation" (Bell)
"How Does It Feel to Feel?" (Phillips/Garner)
"Endless Road" (Bell)
"Magical Spring" (Bell)
"Rolling Thunder" (Bell)
"I Don't Know Where It Comes From" (Bell)

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Carnival of Light

Ride - Going Blank Again

Ride was a British shoegazing band. The band formed in 1988 in Oxford, England, and officially broke up in 1996. During that time they received much critical acclaim, and although this never translated into the chart and financial success that they aimed for, for a short while it seemed that the band could prove themselves as defying the fate that befell lesser 'shoegazer' bands. Since then, the band members have gone on to other projects, most notably Andy Bell who became the bass player for Oasis. Since 2001, the band has been semi-active and has released a number of compilation and live recordings, as well as a limited pressing EP with new material.

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Going Blank Again

07 March 2007

Madder Rose- Panic on

Madder Rose was a New York City-based Alternative rock band who recorded in the 1990s. The band was fronted by Mary Lorson, who shared songwriting duties with guitarist Billy Coté. Their name comes from the herb-based paint, rose madder. Several of their songs, including "Panic On" and "Car Song", were featured in John Peel's end-of-ear roundup, the Festive Fifty. The band released three albums on Atlantic Records, and one on quasi-independent label Thirsty Ear, before breaking up in 1999.

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Panic On

KT Tunstall - Tracks In July

Tracks In July (2000)
This was KT's demo album and was never commercially released. The only track to have been released from this album in its original form is "Little Favours", on the "Under The Weather" 7" vinyl. "Gone To The Dogs" and "Change" were re-recorded for the Acoustic Extravaganza album.
This album was recorded acoustically by KT herself, and features only KT on her acoustic guitar.
There are many fakes of this album for sale on eBay, yet some copies are in fact originals which have been known to sell for at least £150.
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Dracula: Bram Stoker's Dracula (BBC Radio Collection) [Audiobook]

The story begins with Jonathan Harker, a newly qualified English lawyer, being invited to Count Dracula's crumbling, remote castle (situated in the Carpathian Mountains on the border of Transylvania and Moldavia) to provide legal support for a real estate transaction on behalf of Harker's employer in London. At first seduced by the count's gracious manner, he soon discovers he has become a prisoner and begins to see disquieting facets of the count's daily life. Searching for a way out of the castle one night, he falls under the spell of three wanton female vampires, the Brides of Dracula but is saved at the last minute by the Count, who wants to retain Harker as a friend to teach him about London, where the Count plans to travel among the "teeming millions". Harker barely escapes from the castle with his life.
Not long afterward, a
Russian ship runs aground during a fierce tempest, on the shores of Whitby, a coastal town in northern England. All passengers and crew are dead. A huge dog or wolf is seen running from the ship, which contains nothing but boxes of dirt from Transylvania: Count Dracula, in his animal form, has arrived in England...
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