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Out of the Loop
Out of the Loop
Offered by ECM Product Sales
Price: $8.00
20 used & new from $0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars IndyElectroSprites Make Me Want To Groove To This, May 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Out of the Loop (Audio CD)
This is one of the more kitschy electronic bands out there. The production values are not high calibur and the songwriting faills into a less refined level of sophistication. However none of that matters. The music is good and catchy. I Am The World Trade Center (probably one of the most unfortunate band names to ever come out in modern times) is an electronic music act that a bubbly charm you don't really find in electronica. Look past the simplicity of the music and you will experience some creative and pleasant tracks.

I Am The World Trade Center a duo with Dan Geller writing and recording the music and Amy Dykes singing. I believe they got their first gig at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, TX back in 2000. Then they released this freshman album in 2001. Every song is short with a number of really nice tracks. Amy Dykes sings with an almost pixie-meets-indie singing style that at times isn't pitch perfect, but that's part of the charm. Dan Geller tends to use drum loops to good effect with some simple and endearing synth patches. I believe the music was all recorded and produced on a Gateway laptop (too bad Gateway didn't capitalize on this and market their products with the band). It's not studio quality. The music is obviously in a compressed frequency indicative of the limited fidelity of the recording software they used. However this lo-fi tonal quality also lends more charm to the album as opposed to hurting it.

Here is a breakdown of some of the more notable tracks:

Metro (Brooklyn Mix) - This is the song that introduced me to the band, and quite by a happy accident. The Brooklyn Mix has a peppy beat with the synths keeping that momentum up. Combine Amy's singing and I was hooked. This song pretty much defines the band's sound on this album, and it's an addictive little track.

Sounds So Crazy - It's a more somber track that still holds a pretty progressive beat. Lots of delayed bass and counterpoint synths fill out the texture with vox pads playing in the background. It's not the best in the album, but it does offer a tonal change that's rare with this band.

Look Around You - This is probably the best song on the album. It has a pop/psychedelic vibe to it with a stylish electric piano and synths doing good guitar "wah-wah" impersonations and a nice forward motion from the rhythm. When amy sings the chorus "Look Around You" it just completes that pseudo 60's vibe while still holding onto that low-fi indy synth edge.

Inside Your Head - Another trippy track. This time with some Eastern/Indian influences with sitar noises and such. This song also sports singing by Geller. His "garage" sound compliments Dyke's, and again completes that indy vibe. A nice balance of synths and effects complete the song, putting it out as one of the better tracks on the album.

Flute Loops - I absolutely love this track. It's an instrumental that involves... drum loops and flute samples. It's a completely simple song with no structure other than the ongoing groove, however it's super catchy and would make a great soundtrack for a commercial (sorry Gateway.... you missed your chance). Like all the songs on this album it's a quick ditty, and is the shortest song running at a little over two minutes. That makes it short and sweet and keeps you from getting tired of the same loops.

Aurora Borealis - A mellow track with an odd chorus. Still I like it. The drums feel great and the vibraphone samples do a good job of making the song feel relaxed. If they only worked on the chorus some more (which sticks out like a sore thumb) this would be one of the great tracks.

You Don't Even Know Her - Of all the tracks on this album this one is the most musical. The most approachable. It's not perfect. Some of the drum programming is a bit too busy. However as a whole this is a great song with an uplifting feel and lots of that pixie magic I talk about.

September - This became a controversial track due to the 9/11 attacks. Suffice it to say there is absolutely no relation. A super unforunate coincidence. The song itself is one of their weaker tracks. It has a straight disco styled beat, but the basslines and counter synths make the song sound way too busy and dissonant. There isn't any hooks to catch your ear and no real chorus to speak of. I generally pass this one up.

I have no problem admitting Out of the Loop is not for everyone. If you like independent artists that have less polish to their music but all heart AND you are into electronic music this will be a great album to get. There are a few good gems in here worth checking out.


Definitive Collection
Definitive Collection
Price: $7.99
58 used & new from $2.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds even sweeter the second time around, May 16, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Definitive Collection (Audio CD)
My experience with Blood Sweat & Tears started in my very young years. On Saturdays my dad would break out his BS&T album and play Smiling Phases loud enough to fill the house with those energetic horns and drums. Many, many years later I have developed my own musical tastes that stray away from jazz fusion (or jazz-rock), however there is no denying good music. I still remember fondly those Saturday jams and ended up getting this Definitive Collection for myself. Boy was it well worth the purchase.

Blood Sweat & Tears felt unique in that their kind of fusion was that of jazz, rock, gospel and blues to give some really energized music in a time when the hippy counterculture was taking over the air waves. They have changed it's roster more than a couple of times through what I call their album years (1968-1980) and beyond. This compilation isn't a collection of tracks spanning the total album run of BS&T. It's a best of album, which means almost half of the 11 studio albums are not represented here, and none of the live albums. If you want an archive of their sound over the years this isn't the album for you. However if you are looking for the music that made the band great this is a great collection.

Just about the entire album is focused on the music sung by David Clayton-Thomas. This is by far the best era of the band so no problems there. Only one song is from the Jerry Fisher era (So Long Dixie). What this means is you will be getting that soulful sound from Clayton-Thomas consistently throughout the album. The albums included in this collection are the self titled Blood, Sweat & Tears, Blood, Sweat & Tears 3, Blood, Sweat & Tears 4 (I know... they aren't very creative on the album title front, are they?), New Blood, New City and More Than Ever. The earlier albums from this set seem to get the most coverage with their self titled second album edging out the rest with five tracks. This makes sense because the Blood Sweat and Tears album was their best selling by far.

The albums that have absolutely no representation from their very first album (sung by Al Kooper) Child Is Father to the Man, the Jerry Fisher era albums No Sweat and Mirror Image, and last two albums Brand New Day and Nuclear Blues. Of the albums included New City and New Blood get the least attention.

How do you describe how BS&T sound? In a word: horns! This is one of the few bands that sported a well rounded horn section as regular band members. You can say they are a lot like the band Chicago back in the 70's, but with a heavy mix of soul music and more than a few spurts of straight jazz peppered in. Here's a breakdown of notable tracks for me:

You Made Me So Very Happy - This is likely their most popular song ever. It has a pretty contemporary sound to it that would be familiar in a lounge act as it would the concert stage. Has a bit of a Vegas/Tom Jones vibe to it. Very catchy with 60's/early 70's pop sensibilities.

God Bless The Child - Very laid back, soulfull and bluesy track. The horns give the song an edge reminiscent of the big band blues of yesteryear. A lovely track to mellow out to.

And When I Die - A very gospel sounding track that benefits a lot from David Clayton-Thomas' singing style. The song jumps to different tempos but in a way that makes it interesting and easy to listen to .

Smiling Phases - This is the band at it's finest progressive/jazz/rock self. Fast rolling drums, great horn section, funky rhythms, and a tangent off to some aggresive fusion jazz make this song still my favorite to hear from this band.

Lucretia Mac Evil - This is an aggressive and brassy song with some lyrics about the kind of woman you don't want poisoning the ground around you. This song is more a straight rock/blues sounding piece that I gathered would have gotten the attention of the rock crowd of that time period.

Fire and Rain - BS&T is known for doing covers of popular tunes and jazzing them up with their own interpretation. Fire and Rain is of course the same song James Taylor wrote, but with the signature horns and rhythm section giving more color and texture. It's still a mellow and laid back track, and has enough going for it to make it a nice addition to the collection.

Got To Get You Into My Life - Another cover track. This time of the venerable Beatles tune that also had a cool horn section on the original recording. Given that I feel this one lacks the magic of the Beatles track. Don't get me wrong. You get some good horn/rhythm section and David Clayton-Thomas sings it great. However all the wonderful horn hooks that made the original song great a gone, and in its place is something comparitively bland.

I Love you More Than Ever - There is a mistake on the track list that Amazon shows. They show the song I Love you More Than You Know, which is VERY different from the actual track. That track was made in 1968 and is much more a blues/rock song with that 60's Santanna sound. The actual track is the one recorded in 1976 and is in essence a ballad. At first I wasn't into this song, but that was before I got to hear the chorus. After that I was hooked. Very inspiring and soulful.

If you are a fan of bands like Chicago or Earth Wind and Fire you should really consider getting this Definitive Collection. The music is remastered and sounds awesome. If you are already a fan and do not have maybe two of the BS&T self titled albums or the More Than Ever album the current price point on this collection make it a good buy. If you like progressive rock and dig horn sections definitely pick this one up.


Tomy The Good Dinosaur Dino Walker Arlo
Tomy The Good Dinosaur Dino Walker Arlo
Offered by Seeyasales!
Price: $20.26
6 used & new from $14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the fasted walking dinosaur toy I have seen., May 4, 2016
My son got two toys on his birthday that were from the Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur. The large Poppa Henry figure and this walking Arlo toy. Like all of the other Tomy toys of this movie franchise the detail on the figure is good. This toy's claim to fame is that it walks on its own. And boy does it! Hit the easy to reach and press button and Arlo moves in a pretty brisk fashion for a toy like this. It's a refreshing change from many of the slow, lurching dinosuar toys out there that move. His does a lot of wobbling when moving, which I'm assuming is the nature of the design. His feet are wider at the base than you may notice from the movie, but that keeps the toy from falling over when walking at that accellerated pace.

Arlo is obviously battery operated, which means no winding up to do. So far the battery has been going strong, but to be honest my son hasn't really made him walk for an extended period of time. So I really have no idea how long the battery lasts as of yet, or if his walking slows as the battery gets low. I can say after months the batteries have gone on strong and the toy is moving as fast as it did when we unboxed it.

Because this is a moving toy there are limitations. As an action figure it doesn't really have much articulation for play beyond having him walk. You can move legs as long as it's following the mechanical motion path it does when walking without much fear of damaging the motor. The head can be moved a bit up and down, but it's mostly there to bob to and fore when walking. That's about it. I would say this toy is best suited for kids who love the movie (or dinosaurs in general) and also enjoy moving toys. His walk is entertaining.


TOMY The Good Dinosaur Poppa Henry Figure, X-Large
TOMY The Good Dinosaur Poppa Henry Figure, X-Large
Offered by STL PRO, Inc.
Price: $17.99
19 used & new from $12.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly detailed and fun to boot, May 4, 2016
This is a surprisingly detailed toy. It's Poppa Henry from the Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur. This figure it pretty tall at about 11 inches at full height. As far as dinosuar figures are concerned it also delivers. He is supposed to be an apatosaurus, but when I see him I think brontosaurus (although paleontologists could easily elaborate the differences... especially the different eras they lived in). All four legs are posable as well as the neck, tail and head. The legs don't have a full range of motion, but that makes sense for the type of dinosaur he is. The neck has a full up and down range of motion. The tail just rotates around so not much to do there. However the head is where all the fun is.

Granted you get the standard left/right turning motion on Poppa Henry's head, but you also get to articular his lower jaw. When you open that jaw you get a nicely detailed mouth with teeth, tongue and everything in good detail. The jaw opens and closes smooth and easy without feeling loose. This jaw/mouth movement has brought the most entertainment with my son. I would move the toy's mouth like Henry was talking and thanks to all the inner details it looks great when he does. My son would keep giving me the toy and want me to make him talk. I don't think I have ever seen him have this much fun with any other dinosaur toy.

If your kid likes dinosaurs this is a really nifty toy to have that gives the giants a gentle cartoon-like look without sacrificing some good anatomy details. It feels like the toy will last a good while as well.


Despicable Me Minion The Game of Life Game
Despicable Me Minion The Game of Life Game
Price: $14.90
60 used & new from $11.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising fun even if it veers widely away from the original Game of Life, April 26, 2016
So if you've been reading the other reviews then you should already know this is not a reimaged version of the Game of Life. The only things this game has that resembles The Game of Life is the spinning wheel and "careers", but aside from being slightly misleading by calling this game Life it does stand up on its own as an enjoyable family game accessible to younger audencies.

The Game of Life is what I would call a rail game. You have a single direction to go and it's all about how fast you get to the end. For Despicable Me Minion Life game there is no set trail. A player can move in all sorts of directions. That's part of the charm of the game. A playing piece can hit an intersection, you spin the piece and go the direction you end up. Some cards make you reverse course as well. You can have a player traverse the entire board while another is "stuck" in part of it, and both players have an equal chance of winning.

The objective of the game is to get five bunches of bananas, which isn't hard to do. You can gain bananas through action cards, or special places on the board that either give you bananas or let you play a mini game for them. You can also buy bananas using Banana Bucks that you earn throughout the game. Bananas can be stolen from other players of you can simply lose bananas based on an action card or a board space. This means banana bunches can change hands quickly and just when you think someone is winning another player can jump in the lead fast. The games are quick and last maybe a half hour on average so this makes for a nice family game to break out when everybody is bored.

The playing pieces are the minions from the first Despicable Me movie who went to the large shopping center disguised as a family. I suppose this could be another connection to the Game of Life as the players are portrayed by minions dressed like mom, dad, daughter and baby. The playing pieces have a bit of a hollow base that can be put on board pieces that allow them to spin. You also get plastic banana bunches that have a nice look and feel to them. Cardboard counters are provided for one of the mini-games as well. From there you have two sets of cards: the career cards and action cards. Both cards reference the first two Despicable Me movies with career cards having a less direct reference. The action cards will reference specific details you will remember from the films like stealing a shrink ray or getting turned into a purple monster.

So the game is fun, especially for fans of the movies. However it's not all great. The spin wheel isn't secure and will fly off its base if not spun right (my son actually got a kick out of making the wheel fly out of allignment so it may be a plus for some people). The design of the spin parts for the playing pieces isn't perfect either. Allin all game is pretty cheaply made when you compare with how The Game of Life was made long ago. Still if you compare it to the current level of quality the Game of Life is at this is actually a better build with slightly thicker plastic parts.

This is a really fun game that will give any Despicable Me or Minions fan a fun time. Personally I wouldn't purchase it at the current price though. This game was an absolute steal at the $4 we bought it for locally, however if you can find it for around $10 or less I think you will get your money's worth.


Matchbox Skybusters Missions Stealth Launch Die Cast Aircraft Vehicle (Black)
Matchbox Skybusters Missions Stealth Launch Die Cast Aircraft Vehicle (Black)
Offered by Balloon shop
Price: $5.98
4 used & new from $5.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice design, February 29, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Matchbox doesn't just make toy cars. They also make die cast toy planes. The Sky Busters series is a crazy mix of not only some notable plane designs and concepts from real life they also have a lot of cool plane designs are are totally off left field. In essence the Sky Buster series is doing what Hotwheels has done with cars by making planes have a fun and varied selection for kids to enjoy. This particular plane is one of my favorites.

While I got this one for my son after he picked it out at the toy store I have to admit I have a strong affinity for this design. It's forward swept wings and sleek profile give this jet a sci-fi edge to it. The cockpit area seems to be it's own pod attached to the rest of the plane. The twin scramjets have a sleek look to them, and you also get armaments on the wings. The plane is almost completely die cast metal. I think the under part of the wing (or parts of it like where the missiles are) are made of a sturdy plastic. It's a really cool design well worth getting for any kid into high octane fighter jets.


'Twin Blast' Matchbox on a Mission Skybusters Series, Red, White & Blue by Matchbox
'Twin Blast' Matchbox on a Mission Skybusters Series, Red, White & Blue by Matchbox
Offered by Vitapippi
Price: $85.23
2 used & new from $85.23

3.0 out of 5 stars Way overpriced., February 29, 2016
This is essentially the exact plane from the Clint Eastwood spy movie Firefox! Of course there are slight design differences. The wings have different edges and the the frame isn't an exact replica. However if you ever wanted Firefox in toy form this is it. Forget models that can't handle any serious play. This is a fully die cast plane with no plastic parts. It's great to see a movie icon come to life like this, but the price on this particular one is way off the ballpark. You can get the EXACT same plane with the same color scheme and decals for a LOT less. While it's getting harder to find this jet at the stores this isn't a collector's item. The closest thing you will get to that is an orange and black variant that was made for Matchbox's 60's anniversary, and even that one isn't hitting more than $8 at the time of this review. Even if you love this toy steer clear of buying it at the $30+ price tag I see on it right now.


TWIN BLAST * MATCHBOX 60TH ANNIVERSARY * Die-Cast 2013 MBX Sky Busters Series Airplane
TWIN BLAST * MATCHBOX 60TH ANNIVERSARY * Die-Cast 2013 MBX Sky Busters Series Airplane
Offered by toybliss
Price: $7.99
6 used & new from $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Clint Eastwood's Firefox now in a die cast toy, February 29, 2016
Yes! This is essentially the exact plane from the Clint Eastwood spy movie Firefox! Of course there are slight design differences. The wings have different edges and the the frame isn't an exact replica. However if you ever wanted Firefox in toy form this is it! Forget models that can't handle any serious play. This is a fully die cast plane with no plastic parts.I saw this and knew I had to get it for my son.... okay I had to get it for ME, but he does get to keep it in his room. I love seeing this plane every time I come to his room, and when he's not looking I will grab is and admire/play with the jet in a limited fashion. They also make an all American red, white and blue version that has some different and cooler decals/detailing on it. As cool as that one looks I don't regret getting this one. Plus this one is an anniversary edition. I don't expect it to be super collectible, but the prices are going on up for this one just a tad. Either way Firefox is now available to the masses. Rejoice!


2011 Matchbox Sky Busters MBX Undercover Stealth Launch Orange & Purple Lightning Special Variant
2011 Matchbox Sky Busters MBX Undercover Stealth Launch Orange & Purple Lightning Special Variant
Offered by Free your mind
Price: $7.99
8 used & new from $1.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Super cool design., February 29, 2016
Matchbox doesn't just make toy cars. They also make die cast toy planes. The Sky Busters series is a crazy mix of not only some notable plane designs and concepts from real life they also have a lot of cool plane designs are are totally off left field. In essence the Sky Buster series is doing what Hotwheels has done with cars by making planes have a fun and varied selection for kids to enjoy. This particular plane is one of my favorites.

While I got this one for my son after he picked it out at the toy store I have to admit I have a strong affinity for this design. It's forward swept wings and sleek profile give this jet a sci-fi edge to it. The cockpit area seems to be it's own pod attached to the rest of the plane. The twin scramjets have a sleek look to them, and you also get armaments on the wings. The plane is almost completely die cast metal. I think the under part of the wing (or parts of it like where the missiles are) are made of a sturdy plastic. It's a really cool design well worth getting for any kid into high octane fighter jets.


'Twin Blast' Matchbox on a Mission Skybusters Series, Red, White & Blue
'Twin Blast' Matchbox on a Mission Skybusters Series, Red, White & Blue
Offered by ToKaLand
Price: $6.99
3 used & new from $5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Remember the movie Firefox?, February 29, 2016
Yes! This is essentially the exact plane from the Clint Eastwood spy movie Firefox! Of course there are slight design differences. The wings have different edges and the the frame isn't an exact replica. However if you ever wanted Firefox in toy form this is it! Forget models that can't handle any serious play. This is a fully die cast plane with no plastic parts.I saw this and knew I had to get it for my son.... okay I had to get it for ME, but he does get to keep it in his room. We actually got a variant color that sports orange and black, but this color design is pretty cool and makes me wonder if I had preferred this over the one I have. No matter. Either way Firefox is now available to the masses.


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