dms - reissue reviews

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sunshine
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dms - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine »

8/10
by Tom Perry [Edit this content] ▾ 7 comments 08:36 June 3rd, 2011 Mid Nineties telephone conversation excerpt:


“What's that playing in the background?”


“Dog Man Star.”


“Are you OK? I'm coming over to your house now.”

That isn't to say that I thought it was a depressing record, back then. Instead Dog Man Star was a record that was on my part considered complete, a solid mass of emotion in music form. When I heard someone playing it on the other end of a phone line, there was a tacit understanding that they were feeling melancholic for some reason or other. Far away from the pop hits of Suede's debut, Dog Man Star was about dirty sheets, in rooms with dirty windows, and outside a grey sky. What was worse was that behind those clouds there was a memory of sunshine. As acknowledged by Brett on the interview section of the DVD, Scott Walker's 3 and 4 were touchstones in more ways than one. And with Bernard trying to muster the same kind of emotional intensity as Joy Division in the music, it's no surprise that the album is generally placed alongside Third/Sister Lovers by Big Star as one of the most heartbreaking records of all time.

It was a superb record, but not one without flaws. The mix was very dense indeed, muddy almost, and the legendarily acrimonious departure of Butler left the band to finish off the weakest track with the help of a session guitarist. At the end of Brett's strangely touching sleeve notes, he admits that in hindsight 'The Power' should have been replaced by the glam stomp powerhouse of 'Killing of a Flash Boy' and 'My Dark Star'. But there's no Morrissey-like revisionism here, and the original tracklisting remains. The mastering and mix are slightly different, just fresh enough to sound better, with less murk and more sparkle. It doesn't sound like a modern recording still, but it will please those who wanted a classic album to sound better. It definitely does, with 'Still Life' gaining the most from the process, a little bit of edge added to the guitar here and there, a little extra depth in the strings. It takes a couple of listens to notice, and direct comparison against the original is recommended for the hardcore audiophiles amongst you. So far, so good. At the end of the album proper, four demos show you what awful sound quality is really like. With work in progress lyrics and unfocused musicianship, their tacked on to the first disc inclusion is a mystery that only completists will be able to solve.

The second CD sparingly adds a few more morsels. Destroying the value of your singles collection one reissue at a time, 'This World Needs A Father' and 'Eno's Introducing the Band' from 'The Wild Ones' are finally issued on a Suede album. Both are good if slightly inconsequential tracks. Butler pretends to be Mick Ronson again on the former, and Eno adds Eno-esque space to the mix and little else. It transpires that 'The Power' is still an average number when sung in French, but perhaps the biggest let down of the reissue is the original unedited version of 'The Asphalt World'. Mooted to be a mouthwatering 17 minutes long many years ago, perhaps jokingly, this version clocks in at a mere 11.27. Dreams of Bernard's best unheard solo peter into nothing as it is effectively a studio demo take. That said, there is an interesting alternate lyric that suggests the song might not have been originally written about Anderson and Albarn's tug of love relationship with Justine Frischmann.

On to the DVD, that in reality you'll probably watch only once. The 'Stay Together' video is sensationally dated. With a horrible wibbly post production special effect distorting the frame, saturated colour film band footage intercut with grainy black and white and literal images from the story of the song... it is a film student nightmare. Brett is also rocking a slightly larger than necessary earring that makes him look like an extremely camp pirate. At least it isn't the long version, so you're only losing a couple of minutes of your life that you'll never get get back.

The tour films are much more interesting. With the addition of the original songs soundtracking them, the well made shorts become videos in their own right and are a worthwhile watch. 'Heroine' is notable, heavily influenced by German expressionism, a man making himself up as a woman the directors play about with perspective and silhouette. Themes from the album crop up literally throughout the films, and if you can get past that and the terrible Nineties haircuts sported by the actors, it's fair to say they are the most interesting part of the DVD. Both Paris live sets included are flawed, notable only for Butler's presence onstage and the poor camerawork and sound. Brett and Bernard being interviewed together in the same room won't fill those obsessed with a full band reunion with hope, either. Their body language is wildly different, Bernard crossed up and submissive while Brett leans towards the camera and dominates conversation. The interview fills in a few gaps, especially when Butler talks about the writing process, and opens up, almost apologetically about 'digging holes' and damaging band relationships. But that avenue isn't explored further, and the interplay between the two interviewees is a stilted at best.

On the whole, the reissue is a historical time capsule, padded with endless ephemera. It doesn't detract too much from the core work , arguably the greatest British album of the Nineties. But a little more quality control would have gone a long way to making this album an essential purchase for people who don't sleep with a Suede poster in their bedroom



http://drownedinsound.com/releases/1626 ... ws/4142810

sunshine
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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine »

suede 8.4 / dms 8.9

There is music on these albums. Obviously. The reason I'm saying that up front is that discussion of the first two Suede albums is invariably framed in a discussion of the bigger picture, both in terms of what was happening in British rock in the early 1990s and in terms of the discord within the band, particularly during 1994. There are good reasons for this. Suede were at the center of the conversation that gave us the Britpop narrative that so dominated the UK in the mid-90s. They were the band on the cover of the issue of Select that invented Britpop as a concept, they were massively hyped before they even released anything, and their debut album was the fastest-selling in British history. They were ignored in the United States and ridiculously had to change their name in this country to the London Suede after a lawsuit by an obscure lounge singer.

This stuff is all important to understanding who Suede were-- the music they made, especially on their first three albums, is tied closely to their story as a band-- but I really want to make sure that as I make my way through that story, the music doesn't slip to the side of the conversation. Stories and meta-cultural narratives aside, the music is what we have to listen to now, and there is a lot of great music spread over these elaborate reissues. The whole band, including once-estranged original guitarist Bernard Butler, was involved in putting together these packages, each of them a 2xCD/DVD featuring the original album, demos, unreleased outtakes, every contemporary B-side (plus one non-album A-side), music videos, interviews and live performances. The band's entire output, with the notable exception of three early unreleased tracks, "Be My God", "Art", and "Wonderful Sometimes", is now available on five very well-done reissues that include all of the original artwork for both the albums and the singles. They have curated their past well.

Consider the arena this band was entering when it debuted in May, 1992 with "The Drowners". The British rock world was dominated by two waning trends, shoegaze and Madchester, both of which emphasized sound and vibe over personality and pomp. And here Suede were, with a very bold, direct, and sexually charged song that had the swagger of glam rock and was focused on the voice of Brett Anderson, who was powerful and distinctive. Anderson's vocals had a little of Bowie and a little of Morrissey, but there was a lot more there than a simple swirling of influences. Here was a guy who could sing frankly about drug abuse and rough sex without plasticizing it or stylizing it-- actions had consequences in the world he created, and wild nights had mornings after, but he was careful not to tell you the moral of the story.

It wouldn't always be like that, but during the brief years Butler was still in the band, Anderson was at his best as both lyricist and vocalist. The band had a good rhythm section, too. Bassist Mat Osman is a subtle force in the band, playing melodic lines that keep the songs light on their feet, even when Simon Gilbert's drumming locks in on a stomping and otherwise heavy beat. When they matched up with Butler's guitar, they were nearly as charismatic as a trio as the guy who was singing for them. "The Drowners"-- which for all the early hype around the band (they were on the cover of Melody Maker a month before its release under the headline "The Best New Band in Britain") only charted at #49-- has a destructive energy to it that I can understand hearing as a clarion call in the musical climate of Britain in the early 90s. The opening drum stomp, soon joined by Butler's crunching, metallic riff, seems to announce the band as something different and exciting. It drips with sex before Anderson even opens his mouth.

"The Drowners" is joined by three other excellent singles on the band's self-titled debut. "Metal Mickey" was the band's only song to chart in the U.S. top 10, and it is one of their best-- Butler didn't play much conventional rhythm guitar, and this song is a good early example of how his shifting lead style complemented Anderson's vocal melodies. The singles reinforced the idea that Suede were a breath of fresh air, and even though they are fairly basic rock, the band still didn't sound quite like any of their contemporaries. And there are the album tracks as well, which showed them to be a band with considerable range. The interplay between Anderson's vocal and Butler's lead guitar on "Sleeping Pills" is like some sort of dance, and the band makes a convincing modern murder ballad on "She's Not Dead". And Mat Osman's bass does as much to drive the quieter songs as Butler's guitar.

Between albums, the band released a non-album single, "Stay Together", that signaled a shift in direction. By this point, Britpop was a real thing, at least as far as the UK music press was concerned, and Suede were being lumped in with Oasis, Blur, Cast, and a host of other bands that were being championed as the saviors of British rock. This horrified Anderson, who felt his band had very little to do with the laddish groups he was being mentioned in the same breath with, and it strengthened his resolve to move the band further away from conventional rock. Butler's relationship with the rest of the group was deteriorating; on the band's messy American tour in late 1993, he sometimes left the stage mid-gig, having a member of the Cranberries, who were opening, fill in for him. Anderson sequestered himself to write, and the songs he came up with were much darker and more introverted than anything on their mostly demonstrative debut.

By all accounts, the recording sessions for Dog Man Star, the band's masterpiece, were fraught with tension, and Butler often recorded separately, ultimately leaving the band before the album was completed. Whether that tension helped or hurt the album is debatable, but what's not in dispute is that the album is the band's very best work, completely transcending the Britpop wave they'd supposedly helped launch. In many ways, it's more like an album that might have been released in the 70s than in the 90s, and not just because of its heavy glam riffs and towering vocals. It does everything to its extreme, is unafraid of excess or bombast, and is well-structured to play as a cohesive work. From its eerily throbbing, weightless opener, "Introducing the Band", to the orchestral overload of its sweeping closer, "Still Life", there's not a moment on the album that doesn't feel in danger of breaking down, flying apart, or disappearing entirely.

It's a thrilling record. I can't think of anything that's been released since that has quite the same balance of elements. It was enormously risky, but the risk paid off with big returns. Where Butler did play, he played his most inspired parts. "New Generation", "We Are the Pigs", "Heroine", and "This Hollywood Life" thrash and churn; "The Asphalt World" caps its slow burn with a wild and lengthy instrumental coda; and "The Wild Ones" might be Suede's best single, its sweeping orchestration, vocals, and guitar parts coming together in fragile but perfect balance. The quieter songs are stunning. "Daddy's Speeding" ends in a torrent of static and sampled engine noises that sounds like the earth tearing open, and "The 2 of Us" is simply gorgeous, a devastatingly sad song that doesn't feel forced or morose.

The reissue appends full-length versions of "The Wild Ones" and "The Asphalt World" that are significantly longer, and they're worth hearing, as are most of the other outtakes. The demos that fill out the first discs after the albums are marginally interesting, but the essential inclusion on these sets is the B-sides, all of them, from every single the band released through early 1994 (some recorded after Butler left are on the Coming Up reissue). Suede made B-sides that a lot of bands would die to release as lead singles-- their Sci-Fi Lullabies compilation, now redundant, has long been considered an essential part of their discography, and for good reason. Here, you get the elastic snap of "Whipsnade", the stomp of "Killing of a Flash Boy", the breezy swagger of "Modern Boys", the majesty of "My Dark Star", the crystalline sadness of "The Living Dead", and the shimmer of "To the Birds" right alongside the albums, and they alone make these sets worth the price. Anderson even makes alternate tracklists in his liner notes for each album, which often swap out weaker album tracks for B-sides, and I can't really argue with any of his substitutions (dropping "The Power" for "My Dark Star" and "Black or Blue" for "The Living Dead" might have been the only way to make Dog Man Star better).

The DVDs are full of good stuff-- Suede comes with all of its charmingly dated music videos, and Dog Man Star has the concert projections for the band's 1994 tour, though that album's videos are oddly absent. Each set has two live performances-- and strangely, all but one appear to have been shot by audience members rather than professionally, though the sound is acceptable. They were a very good live band, but honestly, as with most bonus DVDs, these are likely to be watched a few times and shelved. It's not bad to have this stuff available, though. More importantly, the band's discography has been consolidated, and their first two albums feel more complete with the contemporary B-sides in tow. Suede were an important band, pivotal to what the 90s came to sound like in Britain, even if they distanced themselves from it. But Suede were also a great band, and these records still sound vital all these years later.

— Joe Tangari, June 7, 2011


http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/154 ... e-edition/

disco bunny
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Re: dms - reissue reviews

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sunshine
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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine »

:D

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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by mark »

Thry give ratings out of '6'???!!!... :O how strange!!!... :O

sunshine
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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine »

yeah, we had that for a while in Spain too... but went back to the 'normal' 10!

disco bunny
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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by disco bunny »

ah and sorry, it was for the debut :oops:

well they have 6 bottles and this was was 6 full bottles then. :wink:

sunshine
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Post by sunshine »

:lol:

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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by Javvier »

Although I enter the forum very rarely I had to enter today as I have received the DMS deluxe edition and found an incredible 7:17 minutes Wild Ones Version, which is astonishing, there's is this piece of 2 minutes of glam dreamy guitar mess like in Stay together or modern boys. FANTASTIC

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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by Javvier »

how is it possible that they had left this marvelous thing so many years in the closet?

sunshine
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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine »

and the other things we will never hear...

mark
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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by mark »

I agree - the full length version of Wild Ones has got me hooked!!!!... And I like the haunted weird distorted vocals in the extended version of Asphalt World - the bit about "It's leading you on", "it's leading you on"!!!... demos are cool too... CU has been despatched so i'm hopeful for the weekend!!!...

sunshine
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Post by sunshine »

mine too!

mark
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Re: dms - reissue reviews

Post by mark »

Shall we listen to it together sun???!!!.. Invite me round to your flat/house and we can have a suedey weekend!!!... :shock: :D 8) :P :mrgreen:

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Re: dms - reissue reviews

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:D

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/ju ... sue-review

4/5

Suede: Dog Man Star - reviewSuede's second album is still truly extraordinary – who would dare make it today, asks Alexis Petridis
4

Alexis Petridis guardian.co.uk, Thursday 9 June 2011 15.29 BST Article history
'It belongs to a sub-species of rock album that seems to have become extinct' … Dog Man Star by Suede. Photograph: Gered Mankowitz/Redferns
We seem to be in the teeth of a Suede revival: their reunion has been greeted with widespread delight, and last week the NME referred to them as "the hip reference everyone's trying to drop". Even so, listening to their second album – newly reissued, like all Suede's albums, in a three-disc special edition – you're struck by the sense of it being an artefact from another, lost era. That's not because it sounds of its time. Indeed, it's hard to think of an album that sounds less in step with 1994 – the year the Britpop movement Suede helped kickstart finally codified into earthy, prosaic guitar rock – than Dog Man Star. It's because it belongs to a sub-species of rock album that seems to have become extinct: the demented, doomed, destructive folly, the recording of which tears bands apart (it was recorded at the point when Suede's meteoric early success had curdled relations between frontman Brett Anderson and guitarist Bernard Butler so much they collaborated on songs by post) but makes for great reading in heritage rock magazines a few decades on. Dog Man Star wobbles unsteadily along a high wire that separates greatness from utter ridiculousness, clearly under the influence of some appalling combination of drugs. Looking on, occasionally through your fingers, it's hard not to be impressed by the sheer degree of ambition that got it up there in the first place. Or at least the sheer degree of passive aggression.

As you listen, you often find yourself picturing Butler deliberately coming up with music that displayed his considerable skills but was almost impossible for Anderson to turn into workable songs, only for the singer to not only pull it off, but also to ratchet up the music's sense of overloaded hysteria through his lyrics. Within 30 seconds of the album beginning, someone's stabbing a cerebellum with a curious quill, which if nothing else, lets you know what you're in for lyrically: "I'm 18 and I need my heroine"; "I know a girl she walks the arse-felt world"; "she-rocker hear the audience scream for the death of a king, but a hand-job is all that the butchery brings" and so on.

The results are fetid and claustrophobic – even the sparsest songs feel weirdly airless – compounded by the bizarre, muffled production, one of the factors that led to Butler's departure three months before Dog Man Star's release. At its most straightforward, it simply took the crunching glam rock blueprint of Suede's debut album and turned everything from the guitars to Anderson's vocal mannerisms up to full blast: the singles We Are the Pigs and New Generation; The Asphalt World, a stately nine-minute exploration of ecstasy-driven infidelity that keeps fading and surging, not unlike the drug itself. At its weirdest, as on the grinding, monotonal, wilfully offputting opener Introducing the Band, it doesn't really sound like anything else at all: only Anderson's estuarine vowels identify it as the work of the band who'd made The Drowners and Metal Mickey.

But its main currency is ballads, which range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Into the latter category fall Black Or Blue and The 2 of Us, which have the hint of showtunes about them, not in the sense of the usual rock appropriation of Weillesque oompah or Cole Porter's lyrical flash, but in the sense that they actually sound like something from the score of Cats: Suede, a band who packaged their debut album in a sleeve featuring two naked lesbians in wheelchairs kissing, were never afraid of trying a bit too hard. But when Dog Man Star's ballads are good, they're amazing, not least The Wild Ones and Still Life, the latter extravagantly larded with orchestration and timpani. On the one hand, it's just more preposterous showboating, a suitably overblown finale to an overblown album. On the other, it's a genuinely beautiful song, and there's something incredibly touching about the way all the pomp and circumstance turns the lyric's bored suburban housewife – a subject traditionally fit for nothing more in rock than pity or satire – into a strangely heroic figure.

And yet, 17 years on, the most striking thing about Dog Man Star isn't really the music. Anyone coming to it for the first time would do well to remember the position Suede were in when they released it: the biggest new band in Britain, catapulted from pub-circuit obscurity to the Mercurys and Brit Awards with a speed that's now par for the course, but at the time seemed almost laughably brisk. As you listen, it's worth asking yourself if any band at the same stage of their career today would have the bravery, the chutzpah, to attempt something like this? Given the band currently in the most analogous position to Suede's is Mumford & Sons, the answer seems fairly obvious.

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