Pretty much exactly what it says it is – a combination of the two releases, the Bloodied But Unbowed compilation and the War On 45 EP, on one compact disc. The remastering job is fine, the cover art is all reproduced, and there are even complete lyrics, with one or two exceptions. Anyone wanting to give these guys a listen should start right here.
While this set of Shostakovich's Fourth through Ninth symphonies is billed as his "War" symphonies, these six works could be more aptly identified as his "Terror and War" symphonies. After all, the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth were composed in the years before the "Great Patriotic War" during the period called the "Great Terror," that period of Soviet history in which Stalin attempted to liquidate everyone he ever remotely suspected of having an unkind thought about him. Still, these six symphonies do form a cogent group of works that describe with extremely painful exactitude the horror of living through one of the most horrific decades in twentieth century history, qualities that Russian conductor Valery Gergiev captures with excruciating effectiveness.
Laconic California indie minstrel M. Ward's fifth offering is a thrift shop photo album filled with histories that may or may not have been, dust bowl carnival rides, and slices of sunlit Western Americana so thick that you need a broom to sweep up the bits that fall off of the knife. Ward makes records that sound like he just wandered in off the street with a few friends and hit the record button, but what would feel lazy and unfocused in less confident hands comes off like a tutorial in old-school songwriting and performance that hearkens back to the days of Hank Williams and Leadbelly if they had had access to a modern-day studio.
This extremely short-lived band released two studio albums in their active period. This debut of theirs is probably the more famous of the two records but it's still a quite forgotten album as well. The Rainbow Press plays a nice mix of psych rock and pop psychedelia with some baroque influences here and there…