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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

Jenny Lewis can be coquettish, seductive, aggressive, sweet, warm, nostalgic, empathetic and, yes, acid tongued— though it’s a literal reference on the title tune.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

Is this performance of one of Dvorak’s most popular and oft-recorded piano trios likely the most authoritative or finely played? Not likely, given competition from Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax and Young Uck Kim among the many others by well- established ensembles and/or instrumentalists. This trio does play it very well, however.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

The long running outfit known as Mercury Rev (first album, Yerself Is Steam issued 1991 on the UK Mint Films label and 1992 on U.S. Columbia) didn’t take its name from the liquid element. The first album’s back jacket offers a clue: with or without permission, it reproduces the ‘Stereo 35MM’ logo found on cloth-spined Command Classics LPs and that’s fine with me. “Fine”&#151get it? Fine? It even reproduces the part of the logo that says the recording was on 35MM magnetic tape, but I doubt that album really was. (Hint: those Commands were recorded by the legendary Mercury Records engineer (and mastered by George Piros for that matter).

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

Psychedelic music may have originated as a raw, disorienting art form in the streets of Haight-Ashbury, or in L.A. crash pads, but as with all raw art forms, it was only a matter of time before it got sanitized, commercialized and made non-threatening for middle-brow Top 40 consumption.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

Recorded at L.A.’s famed United Recorders June 6th and 12th 1963 and arranged by Gerald Wilson (Anthony’s dad) for the spare and daring combo of organ, trumpet, tenor sax and drums, this Sarah Vaughan set of mostly familiar standards will confound your expectations with every note.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Mar 01, 2009 0 comments

Calling Ricki Lee Jones’s Pop Pop an “enduring” audiophile classic would be an understatement, though getting a copy on vinyl has been difficult until now.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Mar 01, 2009 0 comments

Listening to this previously unreleased 1971 Royal Albert Hall live performance makes clear that by this time The Byrds were little more than Roger McGuinn’s backing band, but with Clarence White on guitar, Skip Battin on bass and Gene Parsons on drums, what a good backing band!

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Michael Fremer Posted: Mar 01, 2009 0 comments

Can rock’n’roll still be dangerous in the 21st century? Escovedo’s latest says “yes” with conviction. Produced by veteran Tony Visconti (I don’t have to cite credits do I?), this is a tight, hard-hitting package of unadorned guitar-driven rock that opens with a tune that sounds like a Bruce Springsteen demo track recorded at a time when Bruce’s music and his performances raged with authenticity.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Mar 01, 2009 0 comments

Editor's note: this review has caused quite a dust-up, in part because of the sonic description and in part because of this, which you'll find further down in the text:

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