Album Reviews

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Nathan Zeller  |  Sep 30, 2021  |  1 comments
The original McCartney III disappointed. Overall, I felt it was musically and lyrically weak. Fellow analogPlanet reviewers agreed, though those opinions were expressed in private communications and not published on the site. Then, on March 22nd, Paul McCartney announced McCartney III Imagined, where artists including Beck, Dominic Fike, Khruangbin, St. Vincent, Blood Orange, Phoebe Bridgers, EOB, Damon Albarn, Joshua Homme, Anderson .Paak, 3D RDN, and Idris Elba cover or remix original McCartney III tracks. McCartney himself handpicked the selections, taking a second crack at his self-titled trilogy’s third installment, though it seems he’ll require another layer of polish before this record rivals its predecessors. The old saying rings true; the third time’s the charm, and unfortunately McCartney III Imagined is merely the second.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 29, 2021  |  22 comments
The Yardbirds original "Shapes of Things" took the protest song—a surprising departure from the group's blues-based output— as a smartly rendered military march with mild middle eastern undertones. Jeff Beck played on the original but here for his first solo outing he led with a slinky, heavily syncopated version that presaged by a few years Led Zep's heaviest of metal. The song's conclusion, a rhythmic meltdown to a complete stop was something altogether new to rock fans. Needless to say, back in 1968 buyers of this record had minds blown, in part thanks to the great Ken Scott's impeccable engineering skills and of course by much of the world's first exposure to Rod Stewart.

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 26, 2021  |  4 comments
(Vinyl Reports is an AnalogPlanet feature aiming to create a definitive guide to vinyl LPs. Here, we talk about sound quality, LP packaging, music, and the overarching vinyl experience.)

Michael Leser Johnson  |  Sep 24, 2021  |  19 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  |  12 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  |  43 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  |  33 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.

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