Album Reviews

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Mark Dawes  |  Oct 24, 2021  |  6 comments
DJ Format (aka Matt Ford) is a hiphop DJ and producer from Brighton, England. DJ Shadow (aka Josh Davis) is a hiphop DJ and producer from Sacramento, California. Brighton and Sacramento; not the first urban centers you think of in relation to groundbreaking hiphop production. Format and Shadow, however, are at either end of a 25 year continuum of atmospheric instrumental beats. DJ Shadow’s 1996 debut Endtroducing….. which got a half-speed remastered 25th anniversary edition last month, was composed completely from samples, a methodology shared with DJ Format’s latest LP from 2021 Devil’s Workshop.

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.)

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. 

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 02, 2021  |  32 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.

Joseph W. Washek  |  Mar 18, 2021  |  18 comments
On December 9, 2010 at about 11:30 pm, I was standing in front of Johnny D’s, a now defunct and demolished Somerville, Massachusetts club, alone with Bert Jansch who about an hour earlier had finished an hour plus set. It was cold, in the twenties and sleet was becoming snow. Bert was holding his guitar, uncased, by the neck in his right hand.

Malachi Lui  |  Oct 02, 2020  |  29 comments
(Review Explosion is a recurring AnalogPlanet feature covering recent releases for which we either don’t have sufficient time to fully explore, or that are not worthy of it. Curated by AnalogPlanet contributing editor Malachi Lui, Review Explosion focuses on the previous few months’ new releases.)

Malachi Lui  |  Aug 31, 2020  |  19 comments
This year for Record Store Day, I joined the Music Millennium line at 5:40 AM. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, they let 10 customers inside the store at once, and enforced social distancing in line. When the sun rose around 6:00, owner Terry Currier handed out tickets corresponding to our spots in line, with specific time slots to arrive back later and shop. I left and arrived back at 8:15, ultimately going over my expected budget and buying 10 records. I’m still processing the Bowie, Tyler, Clipping, and Ron Carter releases (another RSD-themed Review Explosion of those coming soon), but below are reviews of my other pickups (I also bought a copy of Angel Olsen’s latest album Whole New Mess for a general Vinyl Review Explosion).

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 27, 2019  |  0 comments
Newvelle’s Season Five Box is ready, but sorry, we’re behind so here’s coverage of Season Four’s box just in time for the subscription-based label’s Black Friday Record Store Day “open box” specials.

First the specials: eleven individual albums from the label’s first four years, including two from Season Four’s box, will be available exclusively from Wednesday, November 27th to Monday December 2nd, on the Newvelle website. There are albums from familiar names like the late Don Friedman and Ben Allison and others as well including from season four, Billy Lester’s From Scratch and Kenny Werner’s Church on Mars.

In addition, the label is offering during this Wednesday-Monday Black Friday RSD promotion, free shipping when you purchase the full Season Four box set.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 23, 2019  |  21 comments
Memphis based "garage rocker" Jack (Yarber) Oblivian, formerly with Johnny Vomit & the Dry Heaves among other groups, recently released this adrenalin charge on Black&Wyatt Records and someone (I don't know who) sent it my way thinking I might like it even though the sound is, let's say "primitive" (no top, not much bottom, just some stuff in the middle) in a good way (some recorded to 4 track M.C.I.) but all of it purposefully squashed in a way that sort of reminded me of Don Van Vliet ("Sweet Thang"), but maybe that's because in some ways the performances did too, though it's far more punk-rocky and less bluesy.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 13, 2019  |  54 comments
AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer is not a classical music authority. If you didn't know that before watching this frantic, somewhat shallow video, you will after!

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 10, 2018  |  42 comments
Beginning in the late ‘70s, continuing throughout the 1980s and once in 1994 Wilson Audio Specialties founder Dave Wilson released a series of records that he co-produced with wife Sheryl Lee, many of which he also engineered. They were minimally miked—often a spaced pair of Schoeps was all—and mastered by an all-star lineup of disc cutters including Bruce Leek (who also shared engineering credit on some), Stan Ricker and Doug Sax (Google if any of the names are unfamiliar). The tape machine for all but the very early organ record Recital (Wilson W-278) was an Ultramaster™ by John Curl, a highly modified Studer 1/2" deck running at 30 IPS.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 26, 2017  |  11 comments
Don Was, community organizer. Who would have thought? There's long been a Blue Note "community" but it's a loose knit, worldwide group of like-minded label enthusiasts that have kept the Blue Note flame glowing. The fans remained true even as the company changed hands, lost artistic focus, engaged in self-exploitation and occasionally tried to re-invent itself into something it was not.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 26, 2017  |  43 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  |  Nov 30, 2016  |  18 comments
The second David Bowie box set covers but two years—1974-1976—but for David Bowie that timespan leaped across a few musical universes.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 27, 2016  |  12 comments
The subscription-based, vinyl-only record label Newvelle Records is an audacious project on many levels—a “closed loop” system wherein jazz enthusiasts pay an annual “membership fee” of $425 (includes shipping) and receive six Newvelle-produced records—all performed by mostly familiar “world class” artists— over the course of the year.

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