Record Reviews
for the
Musically Enlightened

Keith Hobba is a music addict. His CD collection rivals the stock of many record stores and his knowledge spans decades of facts, details, and trivia. Make no doubt about it: music is his life.

Constantly listening to new and different music, Keith has eclectic tastes that run from the mainstream to the truly bizarre. He is someone considered by many to be a true authority on what is worth listening to in music today. Only a miniscule portion is represented here, but believe that all of it is worth hearing if not owning.

Got a guestion of Keith? Got a group he should hear? All comments will be forwarded to him if you leave a note.

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"Hello, my little music disciples... this here is a test of your tastes... your musical tastes, that is... I KNOW AND SEE ALL!!!"

Recommendations - Latest Review - Past Reviews

REVIEW #3

the TEA PARTY

TRANSMISSION

Aug. 18th, 1997 (U.S.)
Chrysalis/EMI Records

transmission cover 12 july, 1997
  1. Temptation
  2. Army Ants
  3. Psychopomp
  4. Gyroscope
  5. Alarum
  6. Release
  7. Transmission
  8. Babylon
  9. Pulse
  10. Emerald
  11. Aftermath

Rating: Essential

Click on Transmission to hear a RealAudio sample!

"Transmission" is the Tea Party's third album and certainly does not disappoint. Not a group to stay idle, this album is an evolution from the Eastern influences on The Edges Of Twilight. It can best be described by me as a cyberpunk experience with some serious leaning toward good old '70s space rock like Hawkwind and Amon Duul II. The tone of the album is extremely dark and very heavy. This is what rock music in the '90s should sound like kiddies. Forget utter shit like Industrial Angst-Machine Trent Reznor and the other trash that pollutes our musical landscape. This is the real thing.

The album plays out like a conceptual piece and conveys a feeling of intense emotional pain. At times the songs sound like a confession, at other times condemnation. The topic of loss of control is central to the songs. Temptation propels at a pounding pace starting off with a short guitar piece that bridges the gap between this album and "Edges" and them the drums kick in. The lyrics deal with the temptation of man by forces he can't control. Gyroscope deals with coming to grips with yourself and the frightening implications of doing so. Alarum finds us searching for the answers but finding only that the answers are not what you hoped. Transmission, the album's centerpiece, concerns the ultimate loss of control. Loss of faith. Searching for salvation and finding nothing. Jeff Martin sings "tell me what I feel because I'm dying to understand" and then screams "Sending Transmission" in such a way that the pain of what he is singing about is so honest and real that it pierces your soul. This is how music should be, personal and revealing. Leaning over and taking you into its confidence.

All in all this is a fantastic album. All of their work is very passionate and this is no exception. If I could only have one album to listen to for the year it wold be this one. Great music, great lyrics. It does not get any better than this.

(ed. note: Ok, some of you veterans may notice that vitamin K here tends to bag on good old Trent Reznor a bit...I just want to say that K was into NIN way before most of the alterna-teens turned it into a fashion statement. He's justifiably suffering from massive over-exposure to TR, but he still owns a bunch of his stough. But I'm sure he'd LOVE to debate you about why Reznor is NOT the king of industry that everyone claims he is... if you tag him here, he might just tell you where you can stick your fist.)

REVIEW #2

DAVID BOWIE

Earthling

1997
Virgin Records

earthling cover-21march97
  1. Little Wonder
  2. Looking For Satellites
  3. Battle For Britain (The Letter)
  4. Seven Years In Tibet
  5. Dead Man Walking
  6. Telling Lies
  7. The Last Thing You Should Do
  8. I'm Afraid Of Americans
  9. Law (Earthlings On Fire)

Rating: Essential

A new Bowie album is generally cause for celebration and this one's no exception. EARTHLING can be described by some people as the by-product of Bowie's tour with Nine Inch Nails, but I don't feel that this is entirely the case. Granted there are some trappings on this album that will make the NIN crowd think that in some way Trent Reznor has rubbed off on our dear Mr. Bowie. At the same time, however, let's remember that Bowie did all of this first way back in the 70's. Anyone remember Scary Monsters (Super Creeps)?

There are some vintage Bowie cuts here, and aforementioned "Battle For Britain" is one of the strongest songs. The guitar work of Reeves Gabrels, along with the lyrics, lifts the listener to soaring heights during the chorus. Mike Garson's disjointed piano recalls the old ALADDIN SANE days. "Looking For Satellites" starts with the mantra-like chanting of 'Nowhere, Shampoo, TV, Come Back, Boy Zone, Simtai, Showdown, Can't Stop' and unfolds into a groove that Marc Bolan would have been proud of. "Seven Years In Tibet" also opens with a great groove and then breaks into a heavy metal riff-o-rama during the chorus.

As far as Bowie albums go, this is an improvement over OUTSIDE simply because there is no filler here at all. OUTSIDE could have been fantastic with the trimming of a few songs and the spoken word segueways. EARTHLING avoids this and just gives a solid piece of work. Let's hope for the best from the next volume of the Nathan Adler Hyper Diary 2. CONTAMINATION.

(ed. note: For those of you who don't know, Bowie is in the process of creating a trilogy of albums based on a theme. Earthling interrupted this trilogy due to Bowie's wish to record an album with his live band from the Outside Tour. If you've not checked out Outside, you ought to do so. It is inferior (decreasingly so every time I listen to it) to only one Bowie album in my opinion, and that is the aforementioned classic Scary Monsters (Super Creeps). For those of you don't know, Scary Monsters is one of the most universally highly regarded rock albums ever.)

REVIEW #1

THE CHURCH

Magician Among The Spirits

1996
Deep Karma/White
(Domestic Austrailian Import)

churchcover
  1. Welcome
  2. Comedown
  3. Ritz
  4. Grandiose
  5. Ladyboy
  6. It Could Be Anyone
  7. The Further Adventures Of The Time Being
  8. Romany Caravan
  9. Magician Among The Spirits
  10. Afterimage

Rating: Essential

"Singing 'bout the old times, Sepia and faded Magician Among The Spirits, the past has been invaded"

from "Magician Among The Spirits" (as if you couldn't figure that out)

The best album of 1996.

They are back...with a vengance. MATS will bring you to a level of musical enlightenment that only a handfull of albums can get you to. The atmosphere on this release is amazing! And the songs...

Comedown (4:35)
This song has it all. Great lyrics. Phil Spector-esque production. And the killer Chorus. Should have been a hit. If anyone would have played it.

It Could Be Anyone (8:45)
A musical trip. At times recalls Pink Floyd "One Of These Days" Droning bass line taking you places your parents never could. Check out the psychedelic chaos at the end of this song in headphones. You'll be glad you did.

Romany Caravan [inst.] (4:05)
One of THE CHURCH's great instrumentals. The delicate guitar work is beautiful. Brings to mind gypsys crossing the desert.

Magician Among The Spirits (14:08)
This is it. THE song. If you like "Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys" by TRAFFIC you will love this song. The tempo: slow, plodding. The lyrics: bizarre. A journey into the realms of beyond. The texture is incredible. The song keeps building a musical mosiac until it's climax, a dense soundscape with swirling guitars and Swedish lyrics. Not for fans of MTV alternatrash. Listen and learn children. This is what it's all about.

All in all just a fantastic album. Best listened to driving around dark back roads at night, in the middle of summer with the windows down.

Recommendations List

BOINGO-Boingo (1994)

Giant Records

In my opinion the best album from a fantastic band. This is a perfect balance between Danny Elfman's dark film scores and the Incredible creature that was Oingo Boingo. Check out "Change", the 16 minute opus on the album. Just put on your headphones and experience just what I'm talking about.
WARNING: Not for the musically close-minded. Bush fans need not apply.

(ed. note: I totally concur with Hobba here... Boingo is a group I've been far too lazy in representing on my page. This album really did throw me for a loop. A must have.)


THE TEA PARTY-The Edges Of Twilight (1995)

Chrysalis/EMI Records

Ever wonder what Led Zeppelin with Jim Morrison on Vocals and strong acid sound like? Buy this and find out. The music on this album resonates with power and emotion that makes me compare "Turn The Lamp Down Low" to "Nobody's Fault But Mine". The Page-esque guitar, Bonzo drumming and the eastern influences make make "Fire In The Head" sound like it could have opened side 2 of Physical Graffiti instead of "Houses Of The Holy". I know I'm making a lot of comparisons to ZEPPELIN. So what. The music and the group are MIGHTY!


AMON DUUL II-Wolf City

United Artists (1972) Repertoire Records {German} (1996)

Progressive masterpiece from undoubted German masters of the genre. This groups Dark Side Of The Moon. Space rock seeped in German roots and the Eastern groove. A must for all of the musically enlightend. Best tracks, "Wie Der Wind Am Ende Einer Strabe", its starts with a pulsing tone echoing to relams of nothingness and ends with one of the most incredible swirling colors of sound I've ever heard, and "Sleepwalkers Timeless Bridge". Great little jam with Tablas to boot. The lyrics, whatever they are, are presented beautifully and are strangly affecting. And finally use of the best instrument in the world, the MELLOTRON!


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discerning listeners since 12 July, 1997!