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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page

Neil Young
Le Noise (Reprise)

Neil YoungEvery Neil Young album of the past decade has had its moments of wonder (eg. ‘Bandit’ on 2003’s Greendale, ‘Ordinary People’ on 2007’s Chrome Dreams II), but in all honesty, Old Father Grunge hasn’t released an entirely consistent album since 1994’s Sleeps With Angels. Anyone who has drifted away should tune back in pronto, however, as a new association with producer Daniel Lanois has yielded a powerfully atmospheric solo guitar/voice collection. Scorched-earth electric opener ‘Walk With Me’ establishes the general ambience, whilst the gorgeous ‘Love & War’ revisits an ominous acoustic mood last heard to full effect on 1989’s Freedom.
David Davies

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Neil Young
Dreamin’ Man: Archives Performance Series #12 (Reprise)

Neil YoungDoes Neil Young ever sleep? The veteran Canadian singer/songwriter was never likely to be mistaken for The Blue Nile in the productivity stakes, but even by his standards 2009 has been an astonishingly busy year: a world tour, a new studio album, a massive boxed set and now this archive acoustic recording from 1992. Comprising pared-back solo versions of all the songs from that year’s excellent Harvest Moon LP, it’s consistently fine, but you do have to question Young’s priorities when several of his existing albums – most obviously 1973’s fiery cult classic Time Fades Away - remain unavailable on CD.
David Davies

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Neil Young
Fork In The Road (Reprise)

Neil YoungWith Dylan regularly lauded for what, to these ears at least, sound like pretty lacklustre affairs these days it’s good to know there’s always a new Neil Young album on the horizon as the idiotically prolific old rocker keeps cranking ‘em out, with the production values of a reel to reel set up in a garage and subject matter that’s as immediate as he can turn his projects around – this time it’s eco-friendly motoring. OK some of this won’t be making its way into any greatest hits sets in a few years but as always there’s moments to love (‘Light A Candle’ is a lovely alt-country effort), and doubtless more to come.
Ray Harper

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Neil Young
Chrome Dreams II (Reprise)

Neil Young Pre-publicity for this swift follow-up to 2006’s Living With War has inevitably centred on the very belated inclusion of ‘Ordinary People’, an 18-minute epic originally cut in the late ‘80s and left to languish in Young’s well-stocked archives ever since. Finally available to hear for the first time outside of infrequent live airings, it proves to be a swaggering, horn-encrusted gem anchored to one of those simple but instantly memorable riffs in which Young has always specialised. The other nine tunes are less impressive, although ‘Boxcar’ has a certain discreet beauty and ‘No Hidden Path’ yields inspired instrumental passages.
David Davies

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Neil Young
Live At Massey Hall 1971 (Reprise)

Neil YoungThe next in the increasingly mouth-watering ‘archive performance series’, as with the previous Live At Fillmore East... release, nicely packaged in card with a second DVD disc filled with grainy concert footage, archive pictures, film, radio and TV interviews and plenty more for dedicated fans to uncover, but it’s the performance that really matters here and it’s an absolute treasure trove featuring Young in a stark solo performance playing a homecoming show to a very vocal and enthusiastic Canadian crowd and previewing yet to be released classics from Harvest like ‘Heart Of Gold’, ‘Old Man’ and ‘Needle And The Damage Done’.


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Yes
Essentially Yes (Eagle Rock Records)

YesNow into their seventeenth line-up (the only survivor from day one being bassist Chris Squire) - although to be fair the 2006 version is a return to the 72-74 & 76-79 ‘classic’ line-up of Howe, White, Anderson, Wakeman and Squire. This five CD collection gathers together the three most recent studio albums (Open Your Eyes, The Ladder and Magnification), plus the 1994 album Talk and a newly released live concert from 2003 recorded in Montreux featuring the above mentioned ‘classic’ line-up in fine old form and is, in consequence, the real reason for picking this up, aside from being a VFM way of acquiring the four other titles.


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Yo La Tengo
I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador)

Yo La TengoTheir 13th album, and it seems the self imposed restrictions of low key 2003 effort Summer Sun have been resolutely binned in favour of the mentalist genre hopping of many fans favourite Tengo effort I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. So we have everything from Velvet-esque drones through guitar wig-outs, beautiful ballads, jazz, pop and Latin American. In truth the mad careering around is occasionally tiring, but is also exactly why Yo La Tengo are such an important band, combining a complete lack of commercial nous with an obvious fans-eye view of music, if only all bands were this genuinely in love with what they do.


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James Yorkston
The Year Of The Leopard (Domino)

James Yorkston Folk music in the UK (Oh, OK, make that Britain) has been long ignored by ‘hip young things’, derided as chunky jumper wearing, finger in the ear ningly nongly nonsense. Folk (actually make that nu-folk) is however now no longer a term of ridicule thanks largely to the likes of the Fence Collective, from whose ranks James Yorkston (alongside King Creosote and KT Tunstell) has emerged touting the sort of sounds which will delight both fans of UK folk and fans of US lo-fi troubadours like Bonnie Prince Billy and Smog. Warm, thoughtful and with occasional brushes of gently ululating electronica ‘...Leopard’ is an understated little gem.


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Neil Young
Living With War (Reprise)

Neil YoungNeil Young once likened his constant to-ing and fro-ing between gentle acoustic reverie and ferocious electric outbursts to the coming up and going down of the sun. Accordingly, he has plugged back in after the becalmed Prairie Wind, delivering an unambiguous ‘fuck you’ to George W. Bush in the process. Although hardly classic Neil Young, Living With War nonetheless finds the great man admirably undeterred by the prospect of seeing his records smouldering in the cities of Texas, and it will be a hard-hearted listener (or possibly Donald Rumsfeld) who resists a cheer during the anthemic ‘Let’s Impeach the President’.


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Neil Young
Prairie Wind (Reprise)

Neil YoungLabelled in some parts of the press as Neil’s ‘post-aneurysm record’,Prairie Wind is a return to the great man’s acoustic, country-tinged incarnation. As you might expect from a man who is a) turning 60 in November, and b) has just suffered a life-threatening experience, these carefully-turned songs are heavy with reflections on love, friendship and the ageing process. Unlike some recent efforts, Prairie Wind is big on melody and features warm, engaged contributions from old accomplices like Spooner Oldham and Chad Rosas. Watch out, too, for Jonathan Demme’s forthcoming performance film of these songs


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****************************************************************** The Young Gods
XXY : Twenty Years 1985-2005 (PIAS)

Young Gods Swiss sturm und drang merchants The Young Gods have always ploughed a very particular furrow, entirely removed from fashions and fads, just as happy to throw hardcore fans a curveball by recording Kurt Weill tributes, Gary Glitter covers and ambient electronic soundscapes as the head in a blender industrial judder found on their better know work like TV Sky. Now, twenty years into an increasingly fascinating career, we have this twenty track round-up (more if you get the expanded version) of the story-so-far, so those of you searching for an entry point into this, actually rather varied, back catalogue have now got it


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Yo La Tengo
Prisoners Of Love (Matador)

Yo La TengoSubtitled ‘A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003' (eep!) this career-spanning 26 songs 2CD collection admirably collects the bands various, and varied, recordings from their first single right up to latter-day favourites. From day one Ira Kaplan (guitars, vocals and keyboards) and Georgia Hubley (drums, vocals) - James McNew (bass) joined the fray in the early 90s – have proved to be one of the finest, if not exactly most money spinning, experimental outfits around, mixing everything from Velvet-esque drone rock to damnably sweet pop, often to wondrous effect. One for novices and completists alike


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Neil Young
Greatest Hits (Warner Brothers)

Neil Young Bit of a theme running through this months releases (doubtless with the xmas market in mind), but, like the Talking Heads album, this really is a superb collection with not one single duff track amongst the sixteen included. Of course you could easily delve into Young’s back catalogue, double that amount, and still come up clutching a cherry every time, but as an overview of the mans career this is pretty much spot on, from the proto grunge of Cinnamon Girl through the beautiful quavering Heart Of Gold and onto Fahrenheit 911’s bookend Rockin’ In The Free World this just oozes class.

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