Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Jun 16, 2015  |  38 comments
The fourth Kinks album was the first on which Ray Davies removes his hard rock shell. It’s clear in retrospect that many artists from the ‘60s rock era were rocking only because that’s what the times demanded.

Michael Fremer  |  May 04, 2015  |  10 comments
The Wichita and Lawrence, Kansas-based Wrong Kata Trio has been playing together since 2010, though the three have been performing in the area for fifteen years.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 14, 2015  |  11 comments
E.C.’s tenth studio record, released in 1986, is among his finest musically and sonically, which explains why it wasn’t well received on the pop charts. It only went to #39.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 12, 2015  |  26 comments
Analogue Productions has just released Tea For the Tillerman on a double 45rpm 200g, numbered, limited to 3500 copies edition, mastered by George Marino. What? Didn't he pass away a few years ago? Yes. The double 45s were cut when the tape was available "just in case". And it's "in case" time. Especially since AP's license on the title is about to expire, so it's also "get it while you can" time, "in case" you really like this record.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 05, 2015  |  8 comments
On Storytone Neil Young wears his heart on his sleeve and splattered on his windshield, serving it up both straight and backed by orchestral and big band arrangements. All of the performances are recorded live, with no overdubs.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 01, 2015  |  6 comments
Squishy, sticky, elastic beats, some so slow and off-kilter that they threaten to fall apart, ghostly falsetto harmonies, cavernous empty spaces between the rhythmic wah-wah pulses and a distant, almost other-worldly sonic perspective announce D’Angelo’s singular sinewy yet gentle vision.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 30, 2015  |  7 comments
Back in the late 1990s Speakers Corner released the 180 gram LP Oscar Peterson The Lost Tapes (MPS 529-096-1) featuring ten tracks recorded between 1965 and 1968 in the Black Forest villa of MPS Records owner and recording engineer Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 20, 2015  |  68 comments
Only one of them had actually ridden a surfboard. They weren’t hot rodders or drag racers and by the time the group formed in 1961 lead vocalist Mike Love was already 20 years old and arguably more a man than a “boy”. Al Jardine was 19 as was Brian Wilson. Brothers Dennis and Carl were, respectively, 17 and 15, so they qualified as “boys”.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 06, 2015  |  61 comments
Born out of desperation (hence the name), with the release of its eponymous debut album containing "Sultans of Swing", Dire Straits was an instant commercial success. Cynics at the time said the tune made Dylan safe for average folks. The album was eventually certified double platinum.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 25, 2015  |  37 comments
If you think audio reviewers can be grouchy, search opinions of this performance of Mahler's 9th Symphony, his final complete work before passing away at age 51.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 22, 2015  |  6 comments
What can these two tow headed little brothers pictured on the cover know about Big Bill Broonzy? Obviously plenty as you'll hear on this inspired collaboration—the Alvin brothers' first together in almost thirty years.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 21, 2015  |  7 comments
The further you get in time from this story the more focused, three-dimensional and confounding it becomes. How deep do you want to dig and how far down have you already dug?

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 05, 2015  |  53 comments
Though Bob Dylan pays tribute here to Frank Sinatra who recorded for Columbia, Capitol and Reprise (which he founded), the record label is a Blue Note facsimile. The cover art also draws from a Blue Note: a blue tinted variant of Freddie Hubbard’s album Hub Tones (BST-ST84115). The back cover is a photo of a tuxedoed Dylan perusing with a masked woman an unidentifiable Sun 45rpm single.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 28, 2015  |  19 comments
You could produce a jazz record today using ProTools at 192/24 or lower resolution, create a CD master, have it manufactured and then release it. To get in on the “vinyl resurgence”, you could use that 16 bit/44.1k master to cut lacquers and press records at a commercial pressing plant. It’s done all too often, I’m sure.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 23, 2015  |  27 comments
While this much-loved Blue Note lists Adderley as the group leader, this pick-up session—recorded in 1958, just before Kind of Blue—sounds, for the most part, as if Miles Davis is in control and was labeled as an Adderley session due to contractual issues.

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