Sort By:  Post Date TitlePublish Date
Malachi Lui  |  Mar 24, 2022  |  52 comments
Mere months after his patience-testing yet rewarding opus Donda, Kanye West is back with its lazily titled sequel, Donda 2. Don’t expect to find it on streaming platforms or in record stores, however. The artist now legally known as Ye instead independently released it exclusively on the $200 Stem Player, a proprietary, Yeezy Tech- and Kano-developed device that allows users tactile interaction with his last three albums (more about that later). Most of Donda 2’s media coverage centers around the Stem Player situation, how everyone thinks Kanye is “crazy” to so highly value his art by making everyone pay $200 for it. Yet, Donda 2 itself doesn’t cost $200; it’s a free download accessible only via the $200 Stem Player, meaning he doesn’t technically have to pay anyone royalties or sample clearances. Kanye would tell you he’s winning, except it’s his own game designed to eliminate any threat of competition. (Either way, Billboard ruled the album ineligible to chart. Kanye’s decision to keep Donda 2 off streaming is immensely respectable, though I wish he also put out a more convenient $20 CD or tape.)

Malachi Lui  |  Feb 28, 2022  |  7 comments
(Review Explosion, curated by contributing editor Malachi Lui, is AnalogPlanet’s guide to notable recent releases and reissues. It focuses on the previous few months’ new releases for which we don’t have time or energy to cover more extensively.)

Joseph W. Washek  |  Feb 28, 2022  |  6 comments
Billy Byers (1927-1996) was an excellent jazz trombonist that today is probably best known for his all over the horn, hard-swinging solo on the title track of Frank Zappa’s The Grand Wazoo album. Although he was awarded a long solo by Zappa, a famously exacting taskmaster, and played in the bands of the no less demanding Buddy Rich and Benny Goodman, recorded as a sideman on many jazz dates and made two albums as a featured soloist, Byers after the late 1950s, mainly worked as an arranger, not as a player. Probably the choice of the rigors and travails of the life of a touring jazz musician or the frequent tedium of studio work had little appeal and he made a long and successful career for himself, writing arrangements for hundreds of jazz recordings, movies and television shows. Discogs lists three hundred and forty-one “Writing & Arrangement” credits for Byers.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 19, 2022  |  6 comments
Pushkin co-founder Malcolm Gladwell and his friend Bruce Headlam, co-founder of music podcast Broken Record (under the Pushkin umbrella, in which they share hosting with Rick Rubin), team up to converse with and attempt to “explain” Paul Simon’s genius in “Miracle and Wonder”, a lengthy, impeccably produced multi-chapter audio biography they rightly call a “book”.

Joseph W. Washek  |  Jan 24, 2022  |  17 comments
John Hartford (1937-2001) wrote “Gentle On My Mind” which won four Grammys, was chosen by BMI as the #16 Song Of The Century, was in 1990, the fourth most played song in the history of radio, has been covered by dozens, including Elvis, Sinatra and REM and by 2017 had been downloaded 250,00+ times. He was a regular on The Smothers Brothers, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and the Johnny Cash TV shows. Between 1967 and 1970, he recorded seven albums for RCA which are an uncategorizable mixture of folk, rock, country, bluegrass, easy listening, psychedelic-folk and just plain oddness. If that wasn’t enough, he got hip credentialled by playing on The Byrds’ Sweetheart of The Rodeo LP.
Michael Fremer  |  Jan 10, 2022  |  14 comments
Rudy Van Gelder turned his parents’ cozy Hackensack, N.J. living room into a recording studio in which was produced, recorded and mastered some of Blue Note and Prestige’s most iconic and sought-after records, or so the legend goes.

Willie Luncheonette  |  Jan 08, 2022  |  31 comments
Punk rock is a subgenre of rock and roll with roots in garage rock, but it's generally faster and more aggressive than garage. Punk was a rebellion against the hippie culture's idealism and appearance. The flower children’s righteous idea of making the world a better place was met with the stark reality of the punks' world in disarray. New York, the birthplace of punk, was almost bankrupt in the early 70's and when the Sex Pistols appeared in England, unemployment was severe with well over a million people out of work. Crime and drugs were rampant in NYC; parks were littered with used syringes. England incurred inflation, oil shortages and strikes. So bell bottoms were out, replaced by tight pants and those beautiful long locks were gone, replaced by hair cut short, and even cut off as skinhead culture emerged.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 08, 2022  |  5 comments
Okay, this is "off topic" but a very cool compact about 1/2 pound gimbal for smart phones costing $239 was offered for review (I will buy it) so I said "why not"? It’s pocket sized, relatively flat, feature packed and includes useful software for iOS and Android.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 06, 2022  |  47 comments
Dry dusting records before play is critical for both stylus and record longevity. New records come out of the jacket dusty because they are pressed in relatively dusty environments and in some cases spend a great deal of time stacked on spindles before being packed.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 01, 2022  |  7 comments
Any relationship between these parody capsules and real world songs is strictly intentional.

Mark Dawes  |  Dec 31, 2021  |  5 comments
These five excellent vinyl releases from 2021 include a five LP box set and a double LP, so you really get TEN albums for the price of five! If that doesn’t make you want to read on, I give up—come on, I’m killing myself here! You’re driving me out of business! But seriously folks, on the topic of money—I buy all my own records, so please be assured that none of these are promo copies and these recommendations are my personal choices from the crop of 2021.

Malachi Lui  |  Dec 28, 2021  |  6 comments
Unfortunately, we didn’t review in real time every important 2021 release; thankfully, there’s still time to catch up on essential missed albums, EPs, and singles. This is the second of two 2021 Catch-Up Explosions (read the first one here), featuring in alphabetical order 12 more releases.

Malachi Lui  |  Dec 22, 2021  |  7 comments
Despite our best efforts, we unfortunately didn’t review in real time every consequential 2021 release; thankfully, there’s still time to catch up on important missed albums, EPs, and singles. Our two 2021 Catch-Up Explosions (of which this is the first) differ somewhat from typical Review Explosions: some of these reviews are shorter than usual, and this time we won’t include sound quality scores (though rest assured, those will remain a site fixture). We won’t be able to cover every worthwhile 2021 release, though it’s possible to provide a reasonably comprehensive roundup of the year in music. The reviews are listed alphabetically, not by merit. Let’s begin!

Nathan Zeller  |  Dec 22, 2021  |  8 comments
“Imagine building or improving your home stereo system in a way that makes your music come alive—like the performers are right in front of you—even on a budget. It’s easier than you think.” - PS Audio

Malachi Lui  |  Dec 19, 2021  |  3 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, this time in a shorter format than usual.)