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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 01, 2008 0 comments

In the nervous, jumpy, wiry world of guitar-driven late ‘70’s-early ‘80’s post-rock intellectual punk, popularized by bands like Gang of Four, Buzzcocks, early XTC and (more broodingly) Wire, Mission of Burma was America’s premier practitioners. They probably accrued more legend than record sales, though.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 01, 2008 0 comments

>(Editor's note: back in 1985, with the release of Richard Thompson's Across A Crowded Room and Linda Thompson's One Clear Moment, the two were in Los Angeles at the same time and I got to interview them, both on the same day.

The assignment brought back still-raw memories of the legendary June, 1982 Roxy appearances by Richard and Linda Thompson in support of their final collaboration, the masterpiece Shoot Out the Lights, recently reissued on 180g vinyl by 4 Men With Beards.

Everyone knew the couple had broken up and this would be the last chance to see them live. To add personal insult to musical injury, I called my ex-girlfriend who'd left me four months earlier, and with whom I was still in love, and asked her if she'd like to attend the show. She said yes, and so there we were sitting once again across from each other as we'd done so many times at concerts and clubs for the previous four plus years. Whatever was going on in our heads (or at least mine) played out that evening on stage. Here's the piece written in the aftermath of the two interviewsM.F.)

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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 01, 2008 0 comments

Legendary photographer Jim Marshall recently said that of all the magazine spreads that have used his images over the years, the one appearing in The Tracking Angle issue 13 was one of a “handful” of the finest ever.

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Roger Hahn Posted: Aug 01, 2008 0 comments

What’s not to love about Goin’ Home, the all-star tribute to New Orleans’ own Antoine “Fats” Domino, sweet-voiced and rhythmically inspired proponent of the Crescent City’s great R&B tradition?

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Roger Hahn Posted: Aug 01, 2008 0 comments

The Motorcycle Crash.

The famous motorcycle accident in 1966 that disabled a rising music starthen mired in a now long-forgotten controversy of folk-versus-popsetting the stage for an extended period of seclusion and retreat. It’s an episode that continues to intrigue tellers of the star’s story (a recent article in American Heritage magazine, for example, can’t help introducing it as “The Bob Dylan Motorcycle-Crash Mystery”).

And for many chroniclers, it remains the central event in the Legend of Bob Dylan, the before-and-after moment, the durable frame for the-young-and-the-old, the-rise-and-the-fall, the Icarus-inflected storyline of the-burning-meteor-and-the-fallen-angel cautionary tale.

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Roger Hahn Posted: Aug 01, 2008 0 comments
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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2008 0 comments
The German company AQVOX Audio Devices has produced an innovative moving-coil/moving-magnet solid-state phono preamplifier, the Phono 2Ci, that's as intriguing for its technology and performance as it is for its relatively low price: $1400. The zero-feedback, op-amp–free circuit uses a compact switch-mode power supply that's built into the chassis and features conventional voltage gain for moving-magnet cartridges via its RCA jacks, and current gain for moving-coil cartridges through the balanced XLR inputs. Rear-panel switches select between RCA or XLR inputs and offer a convenient ground lift. Either the single-ended or the balanced outputs can be used with either input. Unfortunately, the tight spacing of the RCA input and output jacks, which are mounted on the circuit board, will somewhat limit your choice of cables: Pairs of thick-barreled plugs will have difficulty fitting.
Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 15, 2008 2 comments
It's now been eight years since a Rega P3 turntable passed through my listening room. While the new P3-24 superficially resembles the P3 (and virtually every other Rega 'table), the company has made some significant changes, including upgrading to the high-quality, low-voltage (24V), electronically adjusted motor used in the more expensive P5, P7, and P9. As in those models, an electronic circuit trims the phase angle of the P3-24's motor coils, thus substantially reducing motor vibrations. In 1998, during a factory tour, a Rega engineer demonstrated the circuit's effectiveness to me. As he adjusted the circuit board's pot, vibrations from the motor dramatically decreased, until it was difficult to tell if the motor was spinning or not. Back then, this "hand-trimmed" motor technology was available only in the P9. The P3-24 uses a less sophisticated version of the same basic idea.
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Nick Katsafanas Posted: Jun 01, 2008 0 comments
Ryan Adams is a song-writing machine. With over 206 tracks recorded, the 33-year-old singer/songwriter has amassed a deep and thorough song library. In 2007, he released two albums, an LP and an EP. His 2007 LP, Easy Tiger , received rave reviews and debuted at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. While Easy Tiger was recorded during a time when Adams was going through Valium therapy to beat his heroin addiction, the EP Follow The Lights was written during a rare time of sobriety. Adams’ clear (er) mind state really shows.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Jun 01, 2008 0 comments

On the opener, “Dragonfly Pie,” Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks want to lay a heavy trip on you, man. Dualing fuzz toned and wah-wah’d guitars, Mitch Mitchell (or Ed Cassidy)-like skin pounding (by Janet Weiss late of Sleater-Kinney), a plodding rhythm and a lysergic vibe produce an acid flashback swirl. Until the chorus, that is, where it becomes positively skip- on-stone jaunty.

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