Album Reviews

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Malachi Lui  |  Nov 06, 2018  |  30 comments
Over the past 70 years, the world has been treated to Christmas songs recorded by Bing Crosby, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Nat “King” Cole, and many others. These classics evoke the wonderful feelings of the holiday season among listeners of all ages. Happy Xmas is Eric Clapton’s attempt to create his own seasonal classic. With a “slight blues tinge” to holiday favorites, he falls painfully short with an amazingly boring, emotionless, and by-the-numbers album.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 02, 2018  |  13 comments
1974's Blood on the Tracks (Columbia PC 33235) was for many at the time a "Bob Dylan's back" album. He was back on Columbia Records after leaving for David Geffen's Asylum for a pair of not particularly well-received at the time albums backed by The Band. But more importantly Dylan was back in the more familiar role as folk-poet and story teller—though spinning more deeply felt tales from various points of view that many observers wrongly thought were personal chronicles.

Malachi Lui  |  Oct 31, 2018  |  17 comments
“Why another Axis: Bold As Love?” That’s what I asked myself before buying this SACD. After all, mono and stereo AAA LPs have been in print for several years, and were obviously made for audiophiles. For digital listeners, the most recent CD edition mastered by the late George Marino at Sterling Sound isn’t bad. How much better can this album sound?

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 23, 2018  |  29 comments
If you want to quickly know if you’re going to like Giles Martin’s The Beatles remixes start with “Long, Long, Long”. If you don’t like that one, you’re probably not going to like the rest, but for me, that remix in particular is far superior to the one on the two original “Top Loader” U.K. pressings I have: more transparent and more spacious, with a holographic George front, center and three-dimensional as he’s not presented on the original.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 20, 2018  |  10 comments
If you do a "Gene Clark" search on this website you'll find plenty to read and to listen to—including an AnalogPlanet Radio show dedicated to the late musician and former member of The Byrds. Please also read here the many record, book and documentary reviews covering Gene Clark's life and recorded output.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 18, 2018  |  0 comments
In an era where virtuosity is seemingly shunned, here comes 32 year old Welsh-born finger picking, multi-instrumentalist Gwenifer Raymond who, listening to this album, you’d swear must have been born on the Appalachian trail somewhere south of the Mason Dixon line.

Malachi Lui  |  Oct 14, 2018  |  9 comments
“If there’s one thing that ties the two EPs together, it’s that all the songs are about moving,” wrote Brooklyn-based indie rock band The Dig in a recent press statement. Over the course of their move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, they wrote and recorded the songs that would make up two new EPs, Moonlight Baby and Afternoon With Caroline. After dropping tracks from these releases throughout the year, the latter has finally been released in full and both EPs have been paired for a new vinyl release courtesy of Roll Call Records.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 10, 2018  |  16 comments
It's difficult to believe that British born cellist Jacqueline Du Pré was but 20 years old on August 19th, 1965 when she delivered this recorded performance in famed Kingsway Hall with Sir John Barbirolli conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 09, 2018  |  9 comments
Gillian Welch's fourth album originally released in 2003 on CD-only finally gets an AAA release, cut by Stephen Marcussen on the Ortofon VMS-80 cutting system Welch and partner Dave Rawlings bought and restored. Now that's progress!

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 07, 2018  |  2 comments
The National’s Boxer remains a great album eleven years after its release. With its basic, slightly Joy Division-esque stadium-filling musical arrangements and lyrical themes, two of which are relationships and aging, many of the songs remain fresh-sounding.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 22, 2018  |  24 comments
Startling when first released in 1968, The Band's debut continues to evoke mystery, grandeur and an abundance of musical depth that few rock records achieved then or now.

Books have probably been written about the album and certainly have been about the outfit known as The Band, the members of which though mostly unknown to buyers lured by a Bob Dylan cover (literally and musically), were touring and recording veterans—not that experience alone can explain what the group achieved here.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 20, 2018  |  14 comments
The faded Crown (or Coronet) Records cover art, the borrowed “360 Sound” “Stereo” arrows in the top strip where “Ruen Brothers” replaces “Stereo” and the retro attitudinal looks on the faces of the two brothers, one wearing string tie, one not, hint at what’s in the grooves of this audacious Rick Rubin produced debut of the brothers RUpert and hENry Stansall also known as the Ruen Brothers. They are not poseurs. They are serious. They are on a “wake up” mission that’s been developing for four years.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 16, 2018  |  19 comments
Humungous conflict of interest alert! I wrote this compilation’s liner notes and created the 22 song track order. Chad Kassem selected the female artists and the individual tracks sourced from albums he’d previously licensed and released on vinyl, SACD and high resolution download (maybe even R2R tape).

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 13, 2018  |  2 comments
The first unknowable is the correct speed at which to play this oddly accessible 100% improvised double LP set of 13 spontaneous collaborations between saxophonist Dave Liebman and a pair of eclectic percussionists, Adam Rudolph and Tatsuya Nakatani. There's nothing written on the gatefold jacket or labels indicating speed, but I'm pretty sure its 45rpm!

Malachi Lui  |  Aug 10, 2018  |  21 comments
(Mr. Lui's new Rega P3 has yet arrive following the family's west coast move so he was allowed to review the deluxe CD edition—Ed.)

One of the events covered most by the music press in the last few months has been that a “lost” John Coltrane album has been found and finally released. The original session tape vanished when Impulse moved from New York City to Los Angeles, the label having dumped many tapes of unreleased material in the process. The music was thought to be lost forever, but the family of Trane’s first wife, Naima, found the “take home” session copy in 2004. The story of its discovery is sure to captivate many fans, making it the perfect marketing tool for this new archival release.

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