Blur – Midlife: A Beginner’s Guide to Blur (CD)

It’s easy to forget just how long Blur has been around. Thanks to the handy timeline tucked inside the liner notes of the anthology Midlife: A Beginner’s Guide to Blur, you realize that they started before the EU was officially established, before the Soviet Union broke up and just one month after the Internet was opened to the public. The 25 tracks that make up the release – a collection of greatest hits and fan favorites – serve as a great reminder of just how influential this Brit Pop band has been. Continue reading “Blur – Midlife: A Beginner’s Guide to Blur (CD)”

The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses 20th Anniversary (2CD/1 DVD Deluxe Edition)

You’d be forgiven for taking the Stone Roses for granted a bit. They only had one remarkable album (their self-titled debut) and it was released in 1989, at the beginning of alternative rock’s heyday, forcing them to compete with everyone from Depeche Mode to Nirvana. But thanks to Legacy Records, the Manchester-based band gets another shot. Because of the infectious, if a bit mopey single “I Wanna to Be Adored,” the band is technically classified as a one-hit wonder in the U.S. (can you name another Stone Roses song?), but as the 20th anniversary offering proves, the band certainly deserves a second listen. The band blended strong hooks and dance beats, along with psychedelic and often jangly guitars putting them at the forefront of the “Madchester Sound” that also carried with it peers like the Happy Mondays, Charlatans UK and the Inspirational Carpets. Continue reading “The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses 20th Anniversary (2CD/1 DVD Deluxe Edition)”

Smile Smile – Blue Roses (CD)

Despite only having two members, the folk-inspired indie pop duo Smile Smile – comprised of Ryan Hamilton and Jencey Hirunrusme – manage to make some fairly expansive songs on their debut. Blue Roses, originally released in 2006 and re-released this summer, is remarkable in its simplicity. Continue reading “Smile Smile – Blue Roses (CD)”

Wolfenstein (Xbox 360)

Wolfenstein was one of the first video games that I remember playing for the computer that was any bit fun (so, titles like the Oregon Trail are exempt). It is not surprising that I was eagerly anticipating the next release in the line, this 2009 release by Activision. The title is based off the same software that both Doom 3 and Quake 4 were couched in, ensuring some form of context to be had through the three lines. In the single-player version of Wolfenstein, players will get the chance to again play as B.J. Blazkowicz, whom has been with the series since 1981’s Castle Wolfenstein. Continue reading “Wolfenstein (Xbox 360)”

Buffalo Trace Whiskey (90 Proof)

We here at NeuFutur have had the chance of going through a number of different whiskies over the course of the time that we have had the alcohol review section active. Buffalo Trace is the newest of this spirit sent over, and what will immediately hit potential purchasers is the more classic, cowboy-themed feel to the bottle. The rich copper color of the spirit offsets the beige of the label and accents, while the black top will elicit comparisons to a 10 gallon hat. Continue reading “Buffalo Trace Whiskey (90 Proof)”

Various Artists – New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets (CD)

On first blush, it would appear that the architect of the new Love and Rockets tribute album was just pulling random names out of hat. How else do you explain one hit wonders Better Than Ezra, alongside more indie-minded artists like The Dandy Warhol’s, Frances Black and up-and-comers War Tapes? Continue reading “Various Artists – New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets (CD)”

Doug Gillard – Call From Restricted (CD)

As sometime guitarist for Dayton’s favorite sons Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard’s post-break-up solo work, Doug Gillard delivered album after album of satisfying jangly lo-fi pop. On Call From Restricted, his own latest solo effort, Gillard delivers more the of that familiar jangly guitar pop, but with impressively accessible vocals. Continue reading “Doug Gillard – Call From Restricted (CD)”

Seven Mile Beach by Tom Gilling (Book)

Australian novelist Tom Gilling may not be that well known outside of his native Australia, but if his latest book is any indication he surely should be. The surprisingly funny mystery/thriller Seven Mile Beach is far more interesting than any of the last few Grisham and Patterson tomes lining the book shelves. Continue reading “Seven Mile Beach by Tom Gilling (Book)”

The Hooters – Both Sides Live (CD)

A live album by a band that’s been missing from radio for a good two decades is usually a bad sign. A gimmicky half acoustic, half plugged in record is even more ominous. But Philadelphia’s once-favorite sons have managed to pull of the difficult, putting out a nostalgia record that is just as good, if not better than anything they have done before.

The first disc was recorded live in 2007 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, the second was a surprise acoustic show recorded four months later in front of a much smaller studio audience. Both sides capture a band with renewed energy and show how remarkably well songs like “Satellite” and “Karla with a K” have stood up over the past couple of decades. It’s also easy to forget just how many great songs the band had. The Hooters (unfortunately named in retrospect) ran from the late 80’s to mid 90’s, reuniting in 2001. They even released a solid, though mostly unnoticed album in 2007 (“Time Stand Still”). But this double album should be proof enough that the band deserves our attention once more. With some varied arrangements and a slightly matured sound, “Both Sides” is a rare occurrence: a snapshot of a band that is just now hitting its stride, nearly 25 years after getting started.

Top tracks: “Day By Day” (acoustic), “Where the Wind May Blow” and “Karla with a K” (both versions)

Rating: 8.7 out of 10

The Hooters – Both Sides/CDs/2009/26 tracks/Self-Released/www.hootersmusic.com