Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Apr 06, 2017  |  6 comments
Over the past decade or so vinyl-loving jazz enthusiasts have been treated to a series of previously unreleased but significant recordings discovered under beds, in closets and in the vaults of European radio stations. Some were never before heard. Others were bootlegged from radio broadcasts

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 16, 2017  |  18 comments
When The Crickets' "That'll Be the Day" exploded on the radio in 1957 and the absolutely geeky looking 21 year old Buddy Holly and group appeared December 1st on The Ed Sullivan Show, a generation of kids were moved the way the next one was by The Beatles. You didn't have to look like Elvis. Anyone could be a rock'n'roll star. In fact, "That'll Be the Day" was the first demo cut by The Quarrymen, the skiffle group that eventually morphed into The Beatles.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 14, 2017  |  6 comments
You’ve probably seen or at least heard about Damien Chazelle’s musical “La La Land”, about a musician (Ryan Gosling) whose less than fully expressed mission was to “save jazz”. He brings his turntable and retro-record collection to Los Angeles where he lives in a crummy apartment and makes ends meet by playing in a piano bar.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 09, 2017  |  4 comments
It doesn't slight to this well-produced, thoroughly engaging record to write that singer/songwriter/pianist/raconteur Judith Owen is best experienced live in concert.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 26, 2017  |  44 comments
Pictured are three percussion records you should own—especially if you feel like banging your head against the wall. One is an "oldie" Living Stereo novelty that's back in print, one was originally released in 1984 thanks to a grant from The National Endowment For the Arts (today an endangered species) reissued in the 1990s and one is a current release.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 24, 2017  |  4 comments
We think of "field recordings" as vital ancient musical history, primitively captured. These "field recordings" dating from the 1990s were recorded using a pair of Bruel & Kjaer 4165 microphones and B&K power supply, Cello preamp, Apogee 1000 ADC and a Nagra D digital recorder given by Mark Levinson (the man) to producer Timothy Duffy .

Tristram Lozaw  |  Dec 21, 2016  |  4 comments
We make a seasonal exception to our vinyl-only review policy and publish Tristram Lozaw's review of the double Grammy Nominated (Best Historical Album and Best Album Notes) three CD plus harcover book set Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 11, 2016  |  3 comments
Producer/annotator Jay Landers has pulled from Capitol's rich vaults some of the label's best Christmas music that the label has issued as a double LP set complete with excellent liner notes (they are back.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 11, 2016  |  3 comments
According to the liner notes for this record that's guaranteed to knock you out in a good way, both musically and sonically, the aggregate known as "The CO-OP" began as an "ad-hoc" backing band for the Swedish singer-songwriter Malin Johansson, A/KA Blue Utopia. The more you search online for information about Ms. Johansson or Blue Utopia, the less you'll find, not that it really matters.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 10, 2016  |  7 comments
Angel Olsen's third album reminds me of Elvis Costello's first even though she's mostly vulnerable whereas Costello was angry and snarly. The similarity is in how both make fresh older rock conventions like power cords and '50s era rhythms.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 20, 2016  |  21 comments
By now you know the drill: The Electric Recording Company finds a collectible and music-worthy title to reissue and does its fanatical-attention-to-details thing, both in the mastering from the original tape on a lovingly restored all-tube cutting system to a meticulously produced record sleeve and jacket that are in most ways difficult to distinguish from the original as described in previous ERC reviews.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 01, 2016  |  6 comments
This fascinating Record Store Day release last spring probably got lost in a crowd of LPs so you may have missed it. I did. it was recently sent to me for review by Northern Spy Records (NSPY).
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 26, 2016  |  0 comments
Jay Fisher, in his mid-forties is Apple Rabbits. He writes and arranges, sings, plays guitar, bass, piano, keyboards and percussion. He also likes to experiment with electronica. The strings and flutes on this record are real though, and very convincingly recorded .

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 26, 2016  |  5 comments
The late Allen Touissant preferred working in the background for most of his long career. He got his start playing piano in the 1950’s, when his Dr. Longhair-influence rollicking style caught the ear of Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino’s producer.

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