Michael Fremer  |  Mar 03, 2005  |  0 comments

This famous 1957 “Living Stereo” three-track recording (originally LSC-2201, issued in 1958) was among the first series of bargain-priced BMG SACD's issued last year. A second set has recently been released. By focusing on the “audiophile community,” doubling up the content (two full LP's worth) and selling them for 12 bucks, BMG hit all the right notes, and apparently these are selling well-in the context of what that means in today's shrunken record biz.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 03, 2005  |  0 comments

When MCA's UNI division originally issued this album in 1970, it became an immediate hit. Though it was Elton's second album (Empty Skies came first), but was issued later in the United States), it was his first produced by Gus Dudgeon and arranged by the brilliant Paul Buckmaster.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 02, 2005  |  0 comments

Lennon's primal scream of a first solo album was, in addition to being a personal catharsis caught on tape, a grow up call to a generation of Beatles fans.

Andy Goldenberg  |  Mar 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Well it took almost a decade but it was worth it! Whether the highly successful Pixies reunion was the catalyst or not, American Music Club (AMC) consisting of Mark Eitzel on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Vudi (Mark Pankler) on lead guitar, Danny Pearson on bass have come up with a set of songs that easily measure up with and perhaps surpass anything in their illustrious canon.

 |  Mar 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Sigur Rós's 1997 debut, recently issued in America, has the group exploring a dense, dark and forbidding subterranean, underwater cave, from which sharp icy tentacles protrude and hellish rumblings shake the firmament.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 01, 2005  |  0 comments

The cover art, a Rasta remake of Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home painted by Eric White, hits all the right notes and promises a good time. Bob's rolling a number, pout-faced into the camera, a bottle of Red-Stripe's on the mantle along with a portrait of the other Bob, and the LP's splayed out on the couch are the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, Bob Marley Live and Desmond Dekker and the Aces's Israelites, containing the hit single which was the first ska/reggae tune heard by most Americans, along with Peter Tosh's Wanted and one additional LP I don't know. There are images of Haile Sellasie on magazine covers, and even a Wailers poster from Wolf and Rissmiller's Country Club a Reseda, CA night spot.

Matthew Greenwald  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

“Canvas the town and brush the backdrop…”

Brian was already smoking pot by late 1964, and his first efforts combining reefer and music were promising: most of the songs on side two of The Beach Boys Today, particularly “Please Let Me Wander”, showed Brian expanding on the beautiful, innocent vulnerability which began with “Surfer Girl”. His arranging skills in particular were growing into something completely different by this time, and culminated with the burnished spiritual gauze of Pet Sounds. Brian later revealed that the gleaming introduction to “California Girls” was composed following his maiden L.S.D. voyage. But, Brian Wilson, a man of delicate psyche to begin with, was probably not someone who should have taken large amounts of psychedelics. But along with this, speed - especially a compound called Desputol (sic) - was becoming more and more prevalent in Brian's world. The result was a man with many of the casebook symptoms of abusing the drug, the biggest and most obvious being overwhelming paranoia. Brian began talking about Murry bugging his house, Phil Spector (and his 'mind gangsters') attempting to freak Brian out via director John Frankenheimer's film “Seconds”. Brian's mind must have been like a spooky house of mirrors at the time. Van Dyke later commented, “If you go to the dark side of the moon, you're lucky that you don't get burned up on re-entry…”

Matthew Greenwald  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

“The album became a legend. Songs and beautiful musical fragments would emerge over the years, but Smile was to have been a whole musical direction, and the individual songs, taken from their natural surroundings, were deprived of what could have been a stunning collective emotional effort. The work had started with “Good Vibrations” and it had expanded with the help of a friend (Van Dyke Parks) Brian met on Cielo Drive. Now, a year later (1967), Smile was still a dream. Too much pressure. Too many drugs. Too much anticipation. Too little support. It was the end of an era.” - Byron Preiss (“The Beach Boys”/1979)

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  0 comments

LP mastering engineer Don Grossinger brought over two LP editions of Smile last week, test pressings from RTI used for the domestic Rhino release and a set from Pallas in Germany for the European market. Grossinger cut identical lacquers for both.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  1 comments

I was wrong. These four Frankenstein monsters created by Capitol in 1964 out of parts stripped from various UK originals sound fantastic and yes, revisiting them after decades of neglect and dismissal opened a floodgate of intense memories-for me my freshman year at Cornell- of my roommate at University Halls #3, of a dorm band fronted by a kid names Ozzie Ahlers, and their big hit “Master the Bate,” and especially where and when I bought each of these albums, and how I reacted upon hearing them. When I heard the fake stereo version of “I Feel Fine” for the first time in 3 plus decades I flashed on the first time I ever heard the song: on WKBW, Buffalo, which was a clear channel we could pick up on the AM radio at night in Ithaca. I remember who I was with when the song aired, what he was wearing and even how the dorm air smelled. Hearing these songs strung together in this order creates a totally different vibe than the one you get listening to the UK originals: more muscular, and justd plain more American. That's both the problem and the pleasure, however.