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Jailbird
Jailbird
Price: $8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive step-up concept, October 19, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Jailbird (MP3 Music)
Jailbird is the album I have been waiting for Exit Clov to create. This album surprised me, because although I knew they had the talent, I did not know if they had the tenacity to produce a full-length, consistent album. I find it incredibly satisfying to have my doubts proven completely wrong, as the results are outstanding!

Jailbird is an enticing listen from start to finish, with haunting strings and a powerful layering of sounds. You can definitely hear the influences of Floyd and many other classic Prog greats in their composition and mixing, and yet the sound is their own, very unique and addicting, and built on top of their talented vocalists, excellent guitar/strings and layered bass/percussion/synth.

Every song in this album builds to the climax Army is the Beat, and when you're there it feels like a religious experience. This is exactly the step-up Exit Clov needed in their albums: a concept album should be as much about how it makes you *feel* as the depth of the lyrics, and in this Jailbird succeeds grandly.


Lasko 1820 Performance 18-Inch Adjustable Oscillating Pedestal Fan
Lasko 1820 Performance 18-Inch Adjustable Oscillating Pedestal Fan
Price: $42.99
33 used & new from $35.46

3.0 out of 5 stars Moves a lot of air - Makes a lot of noise, August 31, 2012
I bought this product because the store was out of the Lasko 16" pedestal models (very quiet), and this 1820 model 18" fan seemed a step below their "Cyclone" super-powerful model 1825, so I expected the same level of noise as the 16".

This did not happen. The low setting of the fan is audible from across the room, and rotates at an exceptionally high rate (for low)! The sound is also not smooth - there is bearing whine coming out the back of the fan, and there's also excessive noise from vibration because the plastic fan blades are not well-balanced.

Running the fan at higher speeds still doesn't drown-out most of these annoying sounds - it's just LOUDER. I can't believe that a fan not marked "Cyclone" on the packaging has such high speeds and noise, and I dock them two stars for the poor fan blade quality and motor whine.


Memento Mori
Memento Mori
Price: $8.98
5 used & new from $8.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark album that's surprisingly good, August 24, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Memento Mori (Audio CD)
I didn't know what to make of Memento Mori. I was expecting to get smart, up-beat jam-band pop, and instead I was greeted with a somber, introspective sound. It was hard to grasp, but after a few plays I became attached to this new, more sober vision of Exit Clov.

I can't say I was surprised to learn that the father of the lead singers died in 2007 - that not only explains the delay of the album, but shows the true inspiration for this creation. There are songs that are straight tributes like "Death is a Song," while other songs are records of personal exploration. The album ends with death and self-realization, and I find that a great note to end on because things can only go up from there.

Although there are some songs that are lacking, the album is surprisingly cohesive. The only thing that really hurts Memento Mori is the dearth of more complex drum work and guitar (a staple of earlier Exit Clov albums). That's the reason I only gave it 4 stars.


SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8 GB MP3 Player (Black)
SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8 GB MP3 Player (Black)
Price: $49.95
69 used & new from $36.99

155 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently small, infinitely expandable, September 24, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been very pleased with this small wonder, it is about 1/2 the size of your average portable mp3/video player with an LCD screen, but the OLED screen on the Clip+ is still very readable and easily navigable. I've paired my player with a 16GB MicroSDHC card, giving me enough room for my entire mp3 collection in a player the size of a matchbook.

The player itself is very lightweight, but feels very firm gripped in your hand, and the buttons have a very solid feel when pressed. The clip is non-removable, but probably not a breakage concern like the previous Clip.

Some technical observations:

The Clip+ plays back OGG Vorbis tracks completely gapless. It does not play back mp3 files encoded with LAME gapless (but the gap is extremely small).

The off-pitch playback issues of the original Clip (songs used to play at the wrong speed) are fixed in the Clip+.

Battery life is around the advertised 15 hours. It's not amazing (it trades battery life to have the screen and the slot), but it does last a week of casual listening.

Sound quality is outstanding, better than I ever expected from such an inexpensive player.

FLICKER WARNING: the OLED screen is crisp, but due to how the technology works, the screen must be refreshed like a CRT. Thus, if the refresh rate is too slow, flicker is visible (to those who are sensitive). The refresh rate of the Clip+ screen is very low, and people sensitive to it (including myself) can see flicker.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2015 5:25 AM PDT


Forty Signs of Rain
Forty Signs of Rain
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
111 used & new from $0.01

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad KSR! You let red tape and meandering scientific dialog drown your characters!, September 4, 2009
KSR is a man who writes about characters. It doesn't really matter that most of what he writes is sci-fi - with his powerful renditions of people, he can write virtually anything and make it endearing.

Everyone always goes back to Red Mars to make comparisons with this work, and I don't blame them - by the end of just the first book in the Mars series, you have DOZENS of characters you care about, all completely fleshed-out and unique. Then you look to a completely different piece, like The Years of Rice and Salt - here too, there are dozens of characters to get absorbed in over the course of the book's alternate history. In both cases, he uses a large number of unique, interesting characters, because having too few characters, or characters who are all alike, would make an epic book boring. The people are what make KSR novels tick, and in his best writing they always stand above the plot and the setting.

With Forty Signs of Rain, the character development is fickle by-comparison. In the entire book, we are introduced to so few in-depth, I can count them on two hands. And I don't really get attached to these people, because they're all basically the same disillusioned 30/40-something professionals forced to fight the system they know they can't win against. They lack the insane determination of the First Hundred, or the unique and mysterious veil of historic ruling classes that never were in The Years of Rice and Salt. They're just Real People, and that's why they fail to grab your attention.

It doesn't help that the depth KSR goes to in detailing bureaucracy and scientific terminology takes things way too far. For those who already know about the horrors of red tape (that includes most of the readers of a book like this), the details of it over page-after-page are redundant and boring. And the technical explanations are some of the most detailed ever included in a KSR book, sometimes derailing the plot for half a chapter or more. Both of these aspects tend to overwhelm the already tenuous grasp we have on the small cast of characters we don't really care about.

The science is hard. The politics are real. And I'm bored.


Shall Noise Upon
Shall Noise Upon
14 used & new from $4.48

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as their previous works, October 14, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Shall Noise Upon (Audio CD)
I'd been a fan of Apollo Sunshine since I saw them in concert in 2004, and spent the entire week listening to "Katonah." Yes, it was messy, but it was also inspired, and incredibly catchy. Their self-titled follow-up was a remarkable step-up from "Katonah," and I was expecting great things from "Shall Noise Upon."

Unfortunately, "Shall Noise Upon" left me wanting. I was so unhappy with the music, that I almost stopped listening to it after just one round. I forced myself to listen a few more times, just to make sure, but my mind wasn't changed.

Sure, there are a few gems: "666" is an excellent romp, Happiness is a surreal masterpiece, and Money is a classic throwback. But the rest of the album feels like it doesn't fit: some tracks are static and boring, because they never develop. Other tracks are annoying right from start to finish because they have far too many filter effects obscuring the actual music ("The Funky Chamberlain" and "Brotherhood of Death" are particularly bad).

In the end, the album feels like more of a mess than "Katonah," and without the inspired feel.


Sennheiser MX 760-B High Performance Basswind In-Ear Stereo Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Sennheiser MX 760-B High Performance Basswind In-Ear Stereo Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars These earbuds don't know what they want to be, April 29, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought these without explicitly checking how long they were sans extension cord, and it turned out they were too short to use with anything except players strapped to my arm or hooked around my neck. I had planned to use them with my DS, but the cable is too short, and that's just held at arm's length!

The extension cord is surprisingly bulky and hangs heavily from your ears, so it is not a good idea for pocket music players. This really kills the value, because they're much heavier than I was expecting with the extension cord attached, and I like my earbuds to be lightweight.

The audio quality was excellent, but unless you are buying them strictly for a neck or arm-clipped player, you're wasting your money. If you want the same impressive audio quality of these earbuds without the annoying extension cord, I highly recommend the MX660 series. If they really want to improve this product, I'd add another 6 inches to the unextended cord so you have more choice in what you can use it with.


Sennheiser MX 660 Black Earbuds with Volume Control and Cable Winder (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Sennheiser MX 660 Black Earbuds with Volume Control and Cable Winder (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good earbuds, better than the MX500 they replace, April 29, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are a decent replacement for my old MX500 earbuds, with much better bass and a little better high-end. They are a little pricey, but I think they are worth it, especially since I like how Senn earbuds conform with my ears.

They get only four stars from me because of the annoying (but essential) pads that you have to install yourself, and the fact that they don't give you any spares. I actually ripped one of the pads while installing them, and had to shop around to find a fitting replacement. I didn't mind doing this with my old MX500s, because they were much easier to install, but this could really be improved.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2008 7:47 AM PDT


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