Album Reviews

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Michael Leser Johnson  |  Sep 24, 2021  |  0 comments
Those browsing the classical vinyl reissues on various audiophile websites may have encountered a few peculiar releases from a Korean label known as Analogphonic. The small label has been pumping out limited reissues of vintage classical recordings since 2012. The records are mastered by various engineers in Europe or North America but are always AAA and pressed at Pallas records in Germany.

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 21, 2021  |  5 comments
This month, AnalogPlanet launches The Rear View Mirror, an ongoing series extensively reviewing notable albums from the past. Entries, which will be posted at least once a month, are limited to one album per artist per year. And what better way to launch it than with a 50th anniversary review of Yoko Ono’s Fly?

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 18, 2021  |  38 comments
Time and time again, Kanye West succeeds in the unexpected. With each album, he overcomes struggles regarding celebrity, ego, family, mental health, and religion, moving forward yet never fully conquering his demons. He married and had four kids with Hollywood socialite/tabloid fixture Kim Kardashian, though still maintained his unfiltered authenticity. A consistently provocative—off-putting, some might say—figure who lives at pop culture’s core, he encapsulates human nature’s duality and contradiction. Kanye West is a rough-edged perfectionist, a master of spectacle, and even if you hate him, the center of attention.

Joseph W. Washek  |  Sep 14, 2021  |  5 comments
In December 1965, Sam Charters (1929-2015) went to Chicago to record Blues musicians who were playing in the clubs of the Black neighborhoods on the south and west sides. Charters, a white man, had written "The Country Blues" published in 1959. It was the first book about rural blues and while it contained many factual inaccuracies, it was entertaining romantic storytelling and helped foster the interest of young White folk fans in acoustic Blues. The glaring failing of "The Country Blues" was Charters’ insistence that “real blues” was dead, that Lightnin’ Hopkins was the last living blues singer (!), that postwar electric Blues was diluted, crude, loud, monotonous and that, “The blues have almost been pushed out of the picture and the singers who have survived at all have had to change their style until they sound enough like rock and roll performers to pass with the teenage audience.” Opinionated, though he may have been, Charters remained open minded and observant and within a few years, realized that the music being played in the small bars in the Black neighborhoods of Chicago was an urban, modernized version of the rural southern blues he admired so much and served the same social purpose for its audience. 

Nathan Zeller  |  Sep 14, 2021  |  1 comments
Picture a circus brimming with color, excitement, and unrestrained wackiness. Weld that mental image to your favorite funk performance, whether it’s a distant memory or one of the Internet’s many treasures. The result should be invigorating, intoxicating, and most importantly, a spot-on Vulfpeck depiction.

Evan Toth  |  Sep 14, 2021  |  1 comments
The Enigmatic Foe’s new album The Original Plan (S/R) offers up contemporary rock and roll in the vein of Real Estate with other jangle pop influences, including distant echoes of primordial U2 with some mid-80s leanings via occasional electronic drums and synth-pop production. Tight, yet airy, the band creates a satisfactory wall of sound - mostly via the shimmering guitars of Josh Dooley (Map, Fine China) and Jared Colinger. Colinger - writer, guitarist and vocalist of the group - explains the topical nature of his tunes, “Sometimes we go to great lengths to be miserable and stay miserable. I once heard a story about a musician who purposely created strife with their spouse to have song fodder. I certainly thrive on creating songs out of misery. Anything else outside that topic seems a novelty.” Colinger, however, camouflages these sorrows with chipper, sparkly production and plenty of guitar chime. Frank Lenz’s (Headphones, Richard Swift) drumming provides a tight, propulsive groove to the whole affair.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 02, 2021  |  31 comments
Joni Mitchell first came to the attention of some folk music enthusiasts from the three songs heard on Tom Rush’s 1968 release The Circle Game (Elektra 74018). Rush covers “Tin Angel”, “Urge For Going” and of course “The Circle Game.” Rush also covers on the album songs from Jackson Browne and James Taylor before they too became well known.

Mark Dawes  |  Aug 31, 2021  |  5 comments
Mungo’s Hi Fi is Glasgow’s biggest reggae sound system and named after the city’s patron saint. You may not be expecting such a thing in the rainswept streets of Scotland’s biggest city, but since 2001 Mungo’s Hi Fi has been producing reggae music, putting out over 90 releases on its own Scotch Bonnet record label, building a sound system and running numerous club nights. They have collaborated with some of reggae’s biggest vocalists, including Sugar Minott and Cornell Campbell, as well as current voices such as Soom T, Eva Lazarus, and Charlie P. This latest release from September 2020 brings to the mic Italian vocalist and songwriter Marina P.

Malachi Lui  |  Aug 31, 2021  |  5 comments
In February 1991, seminal space rock band Spacemen 3 released their long-delayed swan song, Recurring. During its long recording process, the group’s core members J. Spaceman (Jason Pierce) and Sonic Boom (Peter Kember) constantly fought; instead of composing together, Kember and Pierce had their own stylistically different LP sides. Pierce finished his side (side 2 on the original vinyl) relatively quickly. Kember, meanwhile, for months endlessly toiled away at his mixes until the group’s manager Gerald Palmer confiscated the tapes.

Michael Fremer, Malachi Lui  |  Aug 29, 2021  |  6 comments
This July, Billie Eilish released her highly anticipated second LP, Happier Than Ever. After some contention as to who would review this release, AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer and contributing editor Malachi Lui agreed to both comment on it. Below is their conversation about the record.

Simon Guile  |  Aug 18, 2021  |  14 comments
With a career spanning more than six decades, Herbie Hancock is one of the most treasured names in jazz. From his early days with Blue Note, to his last release (2010’s The Imagine Project), there are more than a few of his impressive 46 albums that people consider to be favourites. My personal favourite however, is the fusion classic, 1973’s Headhunters.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 09, 2021  |  81 comments
When George Harrison, the youngest Beatle, passed away November 30th, 2001 at age 58, Allan Kozinn’s front page New York Times obituary referred to him as “the quiet Beatle”, which during the group’s touring years, is what the self-effacing youngest member of group was often called.

Malachi Lui  |  Jul 24, 2021  |  13 comments
Glaring errors in music criticism, whether out of ignorance, misunderstanding, rushed deadlines, personal happenings, or whatever else, are at some point in the fields unfortunately commonplace; at some point in the field, you’re bound to make mistakes. When revisiting my past reviews, I balked at my original review of The 1975’s 2020 double LP art pop extravaganza Notes On A Conditional Form. Back then, I called it “frontman Matty Healy’s overblown vanity project [...] a miserably scattered, fake deep musical torture session.” How did that happen? Before dissecting my oversight, however, I’ll provide extended context and a much-needed reassessment.

Nicholas Coleman  |  Jul 15, 2021  |  3 comments
Zappa ’88: The Last U.S. Show contains mostly unreleased material capturing Frank’s full Nassau Coliseum Long Island, NY performance plus additional tracks from MD and RI shows. The ’88 band, a well-oiled machine intended to be Frank’s Fox television show “house band”, included some of the finest musicians that had ever worked with him. Naturally, Frank was to have complete show control including guest selection. He intended to choose people with wildly different backgrounds and viewpoints, but at the last minute, Fox pulled the plug.

Nathan Zeller  |  Jul 09, 2021  |  6 comments
You’ve no doubt heard of Jon Batiste in conversation and song, for he’s currently an integral piece of the complex puzzle that is today’s version of musical entertainment and of being a musical entertainer. Being bandleader of Stay human, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s house band provides a steady gig and the financial stability that allows him to flourish and more easily express himself.

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