Mark Smotroff

Mark Smotroff  |  May 24, 2024  |  1 comments

A new 4LP box set compiling the initial four solo album releases by the late, great tastemaking guitarist/vocalist Tom Verlaine, titled Souvenir From a Dream: The Tom Verlaine Albums (1979-1984), celebrates the artist’s initial musical life beyond Television, his highly influential CBGB-era alt-punk band. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if Souvenir is worth adding to your collection. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  May 17, 2024  |  6 comments

Joseph Henry Burnett III is not exactly a household name for most people these days, and that’s a shame. Under his T Bone Burnett sobriquet, he’s turned in a lifetime of work that has placed this legendary musician, composer, and producer in the crosshairs of the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Los Lobos, Robert Plant, and Alison Krauss (to name but a few). He’s also just released a new solo album, The Other Side, that’s one of the best LPs we’ve heard so far this year. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see why both sides of The Other Side belong on your turntable. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  May 10, 2024  |  4 comments

Pearl Jam’s first studio album in four years, Dark Matter, is chock full of the kind of hard-edge songs that made the band great when they first burst onto the rock scene in the early 1990s. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if the Dark Matter LP passes audiophile muster. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  May 04, 2024  |  First Published: May 04, 2024  |  2 comments

Part 2 of our RSD 2024 Short Cuts roundup focuses on a pair of Holy Grail releases for reviewer Mark Smotroff — Gandalf’s self-titled 1969 debut and Parliament’s own 1970 debut, Osmium, the latter of which is now expanded into a 2LP Deluxe Edition. Read on to see if either or both of these RSD offerings are worthwhile additions to your own collection. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Apr 27, 2024  |  First Published: Apr 27, 2024  |  3 comments

We here at AP had pretty fruitful, respective Record Store Day 2024 ventures last Saturday, and we hope you did too! In Part 1 of his RSD 2024 review roundups, Mark Smotroff tackles a pair of excellent multidisc live LP releases from Talking Heads and Fleet Foxes, so read on to see if either/both belong in your own RSD-related collections. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Apr 18, 2024  |  First Published: Apr 18, 2024  |  3 comments

It’s not often you get new titles from three legendary artists of yesteryear like gospel icon Sister Rosetta Tharpe, piano virtuoso Art Tatum, and soul-jazz organ pioneer Brother Jack McDuff all released on the same day. But this year, all three of them are being celebrated on Record Store Day 2024 — this year’s first installment of which happens to fall on this upcoming Saturday, April 20 — with newly unearthed, previously unreleased, multidisc live concert recordings on 180g black vinyl. Read Mark Smotroff’s review of all three of these releases to see which one, or ones, belong on your “must have” RSD 2024 shopping list. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Apr 05, 2024  |  3 comments

The first question we asked ourselves when contemplating the newly unearthed 1953 concert recording of Nat King Cole duly dubbed Live at the Blue Note Chicago — which is earmarked for release on the next upcoming Record Store Day, April 20 — is why would audiophile-leaning vinyl enthusiasts and jazz fans alike want it in their collections? The combination of great performances, of-era sound quality, and pricing topped our requirements list, and, fortunately, Live at the Blue Note Chicago has enough of all three to satisfy our listening/collecting needs — but what about yours? Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if Nat King Cole’s Live at the Blue Note Chicago belongs on your RSD must-have list. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Mar 29, 2024  |  10 comments

In these 21st century times, there is arguably no better person more ideal to helm a 50th Anniversary remix of Deep Purple’s seminal March 1972 hard-rock classic LP Machine Head than Dweezil Zappa, and he’s done just that for the vinyl that’s included in the just-released 50th anniversary Machine Head deluxe box set. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if Dweezil’s new stereo mix makes the mighty Machine Head even better and stronger on vinyl — and, if so, how he was able to achieve such an aurally dynamic feat. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Mar 22, 2024  |  First Published: Mar 22, 2024  |  4 comments

Our first 2024 installment of Review Explosion Short Cuts includes a trio of fine new 1LP releases from the cool Radiohead side project knows as The Smile, the latest, hi-fi-sounding album from indie faves Guided By Voices, and the debut LP from East L.A. “souldies” pioneers Thee Sinseers. Read Mark Smotroff’s combo-platter review to see if any, or all three, of these new LPs belong in your collection. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Mar 15, 2024  |  5 comments

In the circles of soul music fans, Isaac Hayes’ seminal June 1969 LP Hot Buttered Soul is well-known as a landmark recording, an album that helped break down conventions of what a hit soul recording could be. This four-song album originally went gold on the Enterprise label, but Craft Recordings just may have taken Hot Buttered Soul to new aural heights with their recently released AAA Small Batch 180g 1LP edition. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if the Small Batch version of this seminal soul LP belongs in your collection, STAT. . .

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