Isis – Temporal

IPC140 ISIS cover 150x150 Isis   TemporalWe’re now over two years since Isis has broken up, and they’ve released this compilation which serves as a nice coda to their catalog. After releasing two disappointing albums (to me at least) they finished up on a very high note with 2009′s Wavering Radiant. This three-disc set compiles some odds and ends they had. It’s probably something that’s for the more diehard fans, but I really enjoy it and would recommend it.

The first disc is comprised of demos. Most of them aren’t all that different from the album versions. A little rougher but pretty good sound quality. Some have low or no vocals at all. The final track is the 17 minute Grey Divide. I’m not sure where it’s from but the liner notes say recorded in 2001 so maybe it’s from the Oceanic sessions or extended jam somewhere. Either way, ideas from it were used on Oceanic.

The second disc has some really cool gems on it. First off are the Godflesh and Black Sabbath covers from the ultra-rare Sawblade EP from 1999. They are also the only pre-Oceanic tracks in the set. There are also a couple remixes and a short new song (the title track). To me the album’s highlights are Way Through Woven Branches and Pliable Foe, the two tracks from their split EP with the Melvins, both Wavering Radiant outtakes.

The third disc is a DVD of their official videos. Not really my thing, but they look cool if you’re into videos. Again, this collection is not essential, but really cool for the longtime fans.

 

Fantomas – The Director’s Cut Live: A New Year’s Revolution

Over ten years after Fantomas released their Director’s Cut album featuring covers of film and television themes, they release a DVD and mp3 album (available separately) of a live version recorded (it doesn’t specify, but I think it was) New Year’s Eve 2008/’09.

I’ll start with the album: It’s OK. Not too different from the original. Maybe some parts are extended. I’d probably only recommend it for completists.  It does also have an encore of Simply Beautiful. The other difference is that the drums are played by Dale Crover and not Dave Lombardo. But they’re played similarly enough though.

But the DVD is where it’s at. I’m generally not into concert DVDs. This one’s OK. It at least has multiple camera angles and looks good. There are also some goofy things in there that I don’t want to ruin, but enhances the experience greatly.

The real reason that you NEED this DVD is the commentary which is provided by America’s Funnyman Neil Hamburger. Which, by itself, was awesome enough when I found that out. But when I selected the feature a couple nights back, I was delighted to find that it’s not just an audio commentary. There’s video of Neil watching the video while the concert plays in the bottom corner. It elevates an awesome feature to totally amazing.

Leonard Cohen – Live In London

cohenlive 150x150 Leonard Cohen – Live In London At 74 years old, Leonard Cohen is still one of the best songwriters and performers of our time. Live In London is a beautiful two-disc set and separate DVD of Cohen’s performance at London’s O2 Arena in July of last year. The set is a career-spanning set that includes a lot of Cohen’s classic material and is a perfect companion to The Essential Leonard Cohen released a few years back.

Though the concert was in the O2 Arena, which holds about 20,000 people, this feels like such an intimate show. I will have to admit that I am not as well in tune with Leonard’s back catalog as with some of the other artists from his era. So, this was a treat on many levels. The album and the DVD have mirror tracklisting so you are not missing out any tracks if you just grab one. But, after hearing the album or watching this DVD this will need to be in your collection.

Leonard has such a cool and slick vibe to him. He still has that same low tone that drips out cool. He does a few bits of banter during the tracks which are rather fun. Leonard does not disappoint and does include some of his signature tracks such as “Everybody Knows” “Bird On The Wire” and “Suzanne.” The version of Suzanne was especially a compelling and emotional moment of the set.

“Hallelujah” is easily Cohen’s most recognizable song and his version here is easily one of the best I have ever seen. “Democracy”shows off Cohen giving one of his strongest vocals.

Cohen does not tour that often and that is another reason to pick up this amazing collection. I have already watched it about four times since I got it.

Soulwax – Part of The Weekend Never Dies

partoftheweekend 150x150 Soulwax   Part of The Weekend Never Dies The documentary is a fascinating look at the people behind Soulwax, Nite Verisons, 2 Many Djs or any of their other names they go bye. The documentary follows their new concept of touring called “Radio Soulwax” which, sees them play as Soulwax and DJ under their 2 Many Djs name as well as other people join in for the fun. It was also great to hear interview with all the other acts they had as well because you never get to hear much from these artists. James Murphy, Tiga, and Nancy Whang provide a lot of interview that really showcase the personalities of these guys. Tiga’s few clips were great because the guy seemed so revved up and excited it was wonderful. But, I think what he said about Soulwax was dead on “they were godfathers.”

The footage from the live shows were so amazing. The angry and the power in the live sets can really be seen. After one of the shows there is a great clip of a guy licking a young ladies leg which was just a hilarious. After awhile, it was hard to imagine how hard this must have been for Soulwax. They were performing live and DJ’ing each night after awhile that has go to take a toll on you. You can see at times during the film that they just looked very tired and broken down. Another, great little tidbit was the story behind the brilliant track “NY Excuse.” I had no idea after all this time that James Murphy worked on the track.

“Part Of The Weekend Never Dies” is a great look at some of the pioneers of this new moment. Soulwax were a big part of it but it also seems that everyone is friend and they are all close. If you don’t already have “Any Minute Now” seriously go out and grab a copy along with this as this some life altering stuff right here.

By John Siwicki