Songlines Across New Zealand
  CD Reviews R,S,T
Collapse Into Now
Here is a band who have been around the sun many times (musically speaking) over the 30 years they have been active. Now they present to us their 15th studio album entitled Collapse Into Now. This album features guest appearances by Pattie Smith and Pearl Jams own Eddie Vedder.
Overall the songs on this album have a depth and soul about them it is hard to say my picks for this album but stand out tracks are Discoverer, Uberlin,Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter my favourite moment of this album is how it comes full circle with the track Blue which ends with a reprise of Discoverer. 
This album is a testament to a great band and I look forward to what they have in store for us in the years to come.

Unplugged 1991/2001 Sessions
It may have been the end of R.E.M as we knew them  3 years ago but they still love their fans enough to cater to them from the archives once and a while 
This is also the second time they have released something for Record Store Day If they are not careful we might start expecting something every RSD, This album was originally released on RSD as a 4 vinyl set. This is the bands first official Acoustic release in their career
This release includes 11 unaired tracks from the unplugged sessions along with the tracks that were aired
This is the only band to headline the mtv unplugged sessions twice first in 1991 then a decade later in 2001
Now all that needs to come out to compliment this set is a dvd of both shows
The two acoustic sets capture the band at two very different points in their career. The harmonies between the band members are fantastic the only issue I have with this release is the banter was edited (there is some great banter for ITEOTWAWKI where Stipe says "and this was a request of MTV and Mike Mills jokingly replies with Oh those guys again and stipe continues saying And we had to get the word on the computer and im not sure they're right) other than that this is a great release.

REM automatic Box set 25th anniversary

The year was 1992 Singer Paul Simon was the first major artist to tour South Africa after the end of the cultural boycott 1992 was also the year of essential albums the list includes Eric Clapton's Unplugged,The Chills Softbomb, B52s Good Stuff but to me the most essential album from that time  has to be REM’s Automatic For The People.
It is always great when a band delves into their archive of hidden gems from recording sessions gone by this release includes a live show,unfinished/unreleased tracks in regards to demos which is like peeking behind a curtain or finding out how a magic trick is done some of the demo gems include C to D Slide 13 (man on the moon) and Michaels Organ (Everybody Hurts)
 They can come off sounding raw naked and  vulnerable you can hear the growth of the song from demo to the end result  some of the demos and unfinished songs on this release i feel are what could have been classics but it is understandably hard to pick just 12 or so songs for an album and it is only fitting they make it on an anniversary release even if not a completed track  classic, not bad , could have been.
In the end the band may no longer be recording but when these releases come out with unreleased tracks in a way it is like getting new songs from the band
Now these 25th anniversary re issues are pretty much a sure thing but what isn’t a sure thing is what is included as the bonuses when this was announced I was sure that one of the discs would b the automatic box set that had covers,instrumentals B sides and vocal tracks but turns

R.E.M Monster 25th Anniversary
1994 the year Justin bieber was born, the year we lost Kurt Cobain the year debut albums definitely maybe by Oasis and the self titled Weezer album hit, the year Limp biscuit,snow patrol and placebo formed, the year Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, the year that notable releases such as Dookie by Greenday, The Lion king soundtrack, Nirvana's MTV Unplugged and Pearl Jam's Vitalogy hit shelves
And the Biggest hit singles that sat high in the charts were streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen, all for one Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart and cotton eyed joe by Rednex.
But one most notable release for 1994 was REM's monster album which has now had the 25th anniversary release treatment. The ultimate box set consists of 5cds and a blu-ray CD1 consists of the original album remastered, CD2 consists of demos (with some surprises like a track called Black Sky 4-14 which turns up on a later album under the name of until the day is done) CD3 consists of the album remixed by Scott Litt putting a new mixing in and doing a take 2 on the original mix (overall they sound very crisp) CD4 and 5 consist of live in Chicago during the 95 Monster tour (which has the first ever outings of content from Out of time and Automatic) and finally the Blu Ray consists of the music videos,Road Movie concert, 5.1 Surround Sound and Hi-Resolution Audio of the album. Overall a great little collect to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a Monster album.

R.E.M New Adventures In Hi Fi 25th Anniversary

1996 the year Lorde and Tom Holland was born, the year we lost Ella Fitzgerald  the year debut albums from the Backstreet Boys and Remy Zero hit the shelves,  the year Linkin Park and Sum 41 formed, the year Tim Mcgraw married Faith Hill, the year that notable releases such as Born on a pirate ship by The Barenaked Ladies, Anthology 2 by The Beatles and Justus by The Monkees were released. And the Biggest hit singles that sat high in the charts were Wonderwall by Oasis, 1979 byt The Smashing Pumpkins, Everyday is a winding road by Sheryl Crow and E-Bow the Letter by R.E.M. But one most notable release for 1996 was REM's New Adventures In Hi Fi album which has now had the 25th anniversary release treatment The album spawned the singles E-Bow the Letter (which was a top hit of 96), Bittersweet Me Electrolite and  How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us. This deluxe release contains 3 disc 1st disc newly remaster of the album 2nd disc contains b sides from the single releases and an alternate version of leave which was Originally recorded for the A Life Less Ordinary soundtrack the 3rd disc is a blu ray with the music videos a documentary and a 1 hour projection film

REM Up 1998 original release 2023 anniversary release
1998 The year actors Peyton List and Tanner Buchanan of the Cobra Kai tv series were  born along with Shawn Mendes, the year we lost Frank Sinatra, linda mccartney and Sonny Bono, the year debut albums  by Destiny Child, Train and NSYNC  hit on top of that Bic Rungas debut EP Drive was released, the year S Club 7, Sugababes and NZ Bands  8 Foot Sativa, The D4, The Brunettes formed, the year that notable releases such as Stunt by barenaked ladies with the big break out hit in America (worldwide) One Week, pilgrim by Eric Clapton,  Feeling Strangely Fine by Semisonic, Dizzy Up The Girls Goo Goo Dolls.
Big charting songs of the year were  Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls, Closing Time by Semisonic ,I don't want to miss a thing by Aerosmith, You’re Still The one by Shania Twain and the biggest charting single of the year My heart will go on by Celine Dion 
But one most notable release for 1998 was R.E.M’s UP which contained the singles Daysleeper, Lotus, At My Most Beautiful and Suspicion this release is  the 25th anniversary release treatment which contains 3 discs Disc 1 remastered  Album Disc 2 Party Of Five Recording Disc 3 which includes the music videos  This Way Up (press kit) 4. Uptake (performance) the one slight disappointment over this release is the lack of Demo’s/Bsides that previous releases have given us but overall this is a nice release.

Spork Sporky Pee

This four track ep has a great energy and enthusiasm about it these guys are great musical experimenters going by this ep just throwing musical ingrediants into the mix stirring and seeing how it turns out (which in my opinion fantastic) My favourite tracks on this release are Doctor Jenkum and Mister Heigh and Deep Water, the other interesting highlight on this release is a cover (well more like a mashup of covers) While my Glory Box Gently Weeps (cover of while my guitar gently weeps meets glory box by portishead) Overall if you ever come across any thing by these guys I suggest grabbing it

 Heat of the battle

In 2010 Stan Bush released the fantastic album Dream The Dream as 2011 dawns on us he has released a new song that does not appear on the album entitled Heat Of The Battle. Stan is known mainly by fans of Transformers for writing/performing the anthem for the animated film called the touch but now this new song could take the title of a Stan bush anthem away from the touch.
This song also comes across as an inspirational song saying don’t give up believe in yourself and do your best.
All in all it is always great to hear new stuff from Stan aswell as revisit old favourites he truly has the touch I look forward to future releases.

The Ultimate

Stan (the man ) Bush has done it again and presented to his listeners/fans another fantastic energised album.
This is Stans 12th studio album The first single from this album came to us back at the end of 2010 start of 2011  entitled Heat Of The Battle, the next track we heard was The Touch Power Mix which we got to hear in 2012, in 2013 Stan presented to us a cover of John Farnhams Thunder In Your Heart (great cover) and now on the eve of the album the next single from the album is Unstoppable (it has a great patriotic feel to it).
This is a great album with so much energy behind the lyrics and music it gives off an optimistic anthemic energy. With each album Stan reaches new heights the lyrics contained in the songs are Motivational, inspirational and contain a melodical lyrical kick.
If you love melodic rock you are truly going to love this album it is an Ultimate addition to your Stan Bush collection.

The Corrs White Light

Just when we thought that Andrea and Sharon releasing solo projects must have meant borrowed Heaven was the last hurrah of the family band dynamic The Corrs first surprise us by playing a concert for bbc radio in hyde park then announcing their first group album in 10 years. The group channels their emotions (almost seems like this album was a cathartic experience for the band) nicely into the songs which can be heard in the first single Bring On The Night which happens to be one of my picks for this album along with the song Ellis Island that also has a nice irish feel to it. The sound of this album is up-to-date and contemporary combining traditional irish folk music with modern pop rock, but not overproduced or overly trendy,with amazing vocal and melodic harmonies and is still recognizably the Corrs. It is great to have the amazing harmonies of The Corrs back on the Radio what can I do but recomend this album.

Toni Gibson
Echo My Soul

Here we have Toni’s debut album Echo My Soul. This singer songwriter is from Wellington and has recently been signed to record label EMI her sound has been compared to Haley Westenra but in my opinion she has a richer sound than Haley. my 2 favourite  tracks from it so far are track her Evanescence cover of My Immortal and her version of  The Music Of The Night.
Overall I highly recommend this album if you love classical music/ Haley Westenra.To find out more check out  

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