Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  1 comments

In this post-modern, post-rock age of bratty musical cynicism, along comes this Montreal-based outfit projecting meter-pinning 70's style sincerity and passion.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  1 comments


If the point of this record is to transport the listener back in time to an intimate late-1800's musical recital in some well-to-do mid-westerner's or southerner's living room parlor, perhaps overlooking the Mississippi River, then it is a complete success. Even if it has some other purpose and I'm totally wrong, the record is a winner.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Recorded in May, 1981 but not issued until Getz's passing a decade later in 1991, this live recording at San Francisco's Keystone Korner is a “volume 2” to the previously issued The Dolphin (Concord CCD 4158).

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  0 comments

When Quantegy, the last analog tape manufacturer, went into bankruptcy late last year, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy was quoted in a Wall Street Journal story saying something to the effect that the tape upon which his albums are recorded may become worth more than the recordings themselves and that the tape may have to be recycled so the group could continue recording.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  0 comments

“Any chimp can play human for a day/and use his opposable thumbs to iron his uniform/and run for office on election day/and fancy himself a real decision maker/then deploy more troops than salt in a shaker,” Jenny Lewis sings with a droll lilt on “It's a Hit,” this album's catchy opener. Hmm. I wonder who she's singing about?

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  0 comments

This mostly fabulous sounding 10 LP set cut almost exclusively from original analog master tapes puts into focus a so-called “in between” period for Miles: between the end of the Kind of Blue era and the beginning of the Miles/Shorter/Hancock/Carter/Williams quintet era chronicled on Mosaic's The Complete Studio Recordings of The Miles Davis Quintet 1965-1968 (Mosaic MQ 10-177).

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  0 comments

The nearly extinct art of the direct to disc recording got a small boost recently with two produced by Acoustic Sounds' (www.acousticsounds.com) Chad Kassem at his Salina, Kansas Blue Heaven Studios.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  1 comments

Despite being an agnostic with an outright hostility towards religion, this double Grammy winning gospel/rock set by Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama masterfully recorded at Capitol's historic Studio B Hollywood Studio has spent more time on my turntable and iPod than most of what's been released lately.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 01, 2005  |  0 comments

If any Byrds music deserves to be heard stripped of its vocals, it's the exploratory jazz and raga influenced instrumental tracks produced for the Fifth Dimension sessions. Having fallen under the influence of Ravi Shankar and John Coltrane, the band spent long nights in the studio jamming, finally producing its epic “Eight Miles High” along with the rest of the album, some of which was not quite as accomplished.

Michael Fremer  |  May 27, 2005  |  0 comments

The veteran Irish singer Mary Black is probably better known among American audiophiles than among the general music-loving populace because her recordings are exquisite sounding, audiophiles tend to dig chick singers, and for some reason Black has never received major radio airplay.

Andy Goldenberg  |  May 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Richard Buckner has one of the most instantly recognizable voices in Rock music today. A plaintive wail that expresses sadness better than anyone save perhaps Mark Eitzel, Buckner's latest (and sixth overall) album, and first for progressive independent-label Merge Records, features a nice mix of his traditional acoustic laments as well as some bold electric guitar-laden rockers. Recorded at Wavelab Studios in Tucson as well as Tophat Studios in Austin Texas, Dents & Shells contains fascinating insights into the breakdown of relationships and the regeneration of the human spirit following such events. Buckner has recently gone through a divorce so it is not a stretch to read into these tunes from an autobiographical perspective.

Michael Fremer  |  May 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Petra Haden, the very talented daughter of bassist Charlie Haden, and former member of That Dog has released an a cappella version of The Who Sells Out that is charming, entertaining, ingenious and loads of fun.

Michael Fremer  |  May 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Even if you generally find Jones's voice too nasal, too cat-like, too small, too thin, too whiney and especially too nasal, her cool, slinky and smartly laid-back vibe on this impeccably arranged and played double LP set will surely win you over.

Michael Fremer  |  May 01, 2005  |  0 comments

I've seen literally hundreds of copies of this 1959 Weavers release, but until this reissue, I've never seen a stereo copy. Didn't even know it existed in a black label “Stereolab” edition.

Michael Fremer  |  May 01, 2005  |  0 comments

"Keep Your Jesus Out of My Face,” is a bumper sticker I'm contemplating having printed so I can stick it on my car's rear end, and tell people who are offended where they can stick it. That's just how I feel about religion, and Jesus, and Yahweh, and Zeus and Poseidon, and Mary, and the rest of the endless myths that hobble and delude mankind into thinking the latest iteration is the truth, the way, the best, my way, or the highway, or whatever. More evil has been committed in the name of religion than any other institution invented by mankind and nothing you're going to tell me is going to turn me around.

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