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Michael Fremer Posted: Mar 01, 2008 0 comments

This is a weird, squooshy, watery record. The music is soft and squooshy, the lyrics are soft and squooshy. Songwriter Art Halperin’s voice is particularly squooshy, the background musicians play softly and squooshily, and even the veteran recording and mastering engineer Barry Diament has captured it squooshily in real stereo in a pleasingly reverberant church using a pair of carefully placed microphones.

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Roger Hahn Posted: Mar 01, 2008 0 comments

Having been drowned to within an inch of its life, New Orleans, source of great musical innovations and revivals, birthplace of early jazz and classic rock, purveyor of fundamental funk, and mother of idiosyncratic geniuses beyond number, is still in the process of washing off the mud and putting the pieces back together again.

Posted: Mar 01, 2008 0 comments

There’s an air of unreality about issuing a 7 CD set honoring the 50th Anniversary of The GRAMMY Awards. For one thing, the GRAMMYs award commercial, not artistic merit, though occasionally the two intersect. But more importantly, in an age of iTunes, where you can grab the tunes you want for a buck a piece, there’s something outdated and inefficient about packaging and marketing 16 tunes per category on a CD. What if you only like a few of them? Why be forced to buy all of them? Guess what? You’re not. NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and Shout! Factory decided to issue these 7 discs anyway.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Feb 01, 2008 0 comments

This set, recorded a few weeks shy of fifty years of when I’m writing this stars a 51 year old Hawkins leading a well- recorded session date featuring J.J. Johnson, Hank Jones, Ocar Pettiford, Jo Jones, Barry Galbraith (guitar) and Idrees Sulieman. I had no idea who Barry Galbraith was until I read the liner notes, so I’ve listed his instrument in case you’re unfamiliar as well. Perhaps I’m just showing my ignorance. If you don’t know the others and what they play, you’re showing yours, though trumpeter Idrees Sulieman is not exactly a household name now and wasn’t even one in 1957.

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Brent Raynor Posted: Feb 01, 2008 0 comments

Remember when music was fun? Like when you were in high school trying to get a band together so you could rock-out while pretending to be your favorite group, and maybe get a date or two out of it? For many of us that was long ago, but for Born Ruffians it was last week, and their debut EP is brimming with a cheeky exuberance that seems only to inhabit those still in teendom.

Here’s hoping they enjoy it, because being able to get away with completely copping every hook and every look from your favorite bands can only last so long and get you so far before people start calling you this decades Stone Temple Pilots. Not that that hasn’t already started to happen to Born Ruffians, who seem to be creating quite a backlash in certain circles. Give ‘em a Google and you’ll soon see a whole lot of words like “pretentious”, “contrived”, “derivative”, and “unoriginal” popping up. Best of all is that they’re saying it like it’s a bad thing.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Feb 01, 2008 0 comments

Bacharach and David walked a fine line between brilliance and kitsch during their collaborations with Dionne Warwick, creating for her a musical persona that was the original “desperate housewife,” though of a much more helpless and vulnerable variety.

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Wesley Norman Posted: Feb 01, 2008 0 comments

Take Coheed and Cambria vocals (only far more harsh and severe), some of At the Drive-In’s experimental noise, and a bit of Rancid’s edgy speed and you’ll get an idea of what the Blood Brothers sound like.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Feb 01, 2008 0 comments

The acclaimed violinist Salvatore Accardo commissioned arranger Francesco Fiore to re-imagine his dear friend Astor Piazzolla’s “Adios Nonino,” for, violin, piano and orchestra. Not a bandoneon can be heard on this lush, extraordinarily moving tribute to the great tango composer’s father, whose middle name was “Nonino.”

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Michael Fremer Posted: Feb 01, 2008 0 comments

Whether the release of this album or Dylan's "plugging in" at Newport in 1965 enraged fans more is debatable, but whichever way you see it, everyone agrees that this record was reviled when first released back in the Spring of 1969.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Feb 01, 2008 0 comments

Sonny Rollins sparring with Freddie Hubbard (title tune only) backed by the reunited Coltrane drum’n’bass section of Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison sounds like an enticing lineup for this May, 1966 session at Van Gelder’s and it is!

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