Mark Smotroff

Mark Smotroff  |  Nov 21, 2023  |  1 comments

If it’s the holidays and we’re talking holiday-centric vinyl, then we should also be talking about Vince Guaraldi and his indelible work for the Peanuts animation franchise. To kick off the holiday season right, LMFP is serving up the first ever vinyl edition of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in celebration of the TV special’s 50th anniversary. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if the new 180g 1LP edition of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving should be cued up alongside your turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and/or whatever else is on your festive table. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Nov 15, 2023  |  First Published: Nov 15, 2023  |  4 comments

Our latest Review Explosion Short Cuts serving tackles a trio of fine new LP sets thematically connected by a common love of British rock of the 1960s and ’70s. Included herein are an archival 2LP live set from The Flaming Lips circa 2003, a recent 1LP studio offering from the ever-prolific Guided By Voices, and the first official solo sojourn LP from acclaimed Irish singer/songwriter/producer Thomas Walsh. Read on to glean Mark Smotroff’s take on these wonderful LP sides that are collectively chock full of melody and imagination. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Nov 10, 2023  |  First Published: Nov 10, 2023  |  45 comments

In retrospect, Tom Waits’ trajectory from singer/song writer to down-beaten jazz-fueled street person scowling at the piano in the 1970s made perfect sense. But when he came out of the gate in the early 1980s, his transformation was almost as dramatic as David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust reinvention. Five new of-era 180g 1LP reissues from Island/UMe — namely, 1983’s Swordfishtrombones, 1985’s Rain Dogs, 1987’s Franks Wild Years, 1992’s Bone Machine, and 1993’s The Black Rider — all seek to remind us of just how fertile this period was in Waits’ overall canon. Read Mark Smotroff’s Short Cuts combo review to see if any or all of these new wonderful Waits reissues belong in your collection. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Nov 02, 2023  |  First Published: Nov 02, 2023  |  2 comments

ECM has just expanded their vinyl reissue campaign under the new Luminessence banner, a series that purports to have accessed analog masters for these new 180g 1LP editions. Read Mark Smotroff’s Short Cuts combo review of four key Luminessence titles — from Naná Vasconcelos, Kenny Wheeler, Gary Burton, and Old and New Dreams — to see if any or all of them belong in your collection. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Oct 24, 2023  |  15 comments

The Rolling Stones have just released their first studio album of all-new material in 18 years, Hackney Diamonds. Naturally, it begs the question: Will Hackney Diamonds ultimately become a classic Stones album? We don’t know that answer for sure just yet, but read Mark Smotroff’s review to find out if the 180g 1LP vinyl edition of Hackney Diamonds and/or its litany of variants are worthy of many a repeat spin. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Oct 21, 2023  |  First Published: Oct 21, 2023  |  2 comments

Created with direct input from label founder Marshall Chess, VMP’s The Story of Cadet Records almost entirely AAA 180g 8LP super deluxe box set is a welcome addition to the analog fold. The eight albums offered herein — including rare titles from the likes of Muddy Waters, Etta James, and Ramsey Lewis — are a healthy cross-section snapshot of the expansive sounds Cadet was pursuing as the mid-1960s exploded both socially and musically. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see why The Story of Cadet Records is worth the investment. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Oct 17, 2023  |  4 comments

David Bowie’s October 1973 covers album, Pin Ups, was actually somewhat of a placeholder, made with the intention to fulfill contractual requirements for his then-label, RCA Records — but it actually became a smash hit. To celebrate the album’s 50th anniversary, Parlophone is releasing a 180g 1LP half-speed-mastered edition on October 20. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see if the new Parlophone Pin Ups is a worthy addition to your LP listening queue. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Oct 11, 2023  |  20 comments

The new Geffen/UMe 1LP edition of Steely Dan’s seminal September 1977 album, Aja, sounds pretty darn good, all things considered, given that it bears a key difference from the other entries in this reissue series to date. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see what that difference is, and if this new edition of Aja is right for you either way. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Oct 03, 2023  |  17 comments

It looks like the old Who’s Next. It feels like the old Who’s Next. But the new 180g 1LP half-speed-mastered 50th anniversary edition of The Who’s seminal August 1971 masterpiece Who’s Next sounds arguably bigger and better than any commonly available version of the original mix of Who’s Next that we’ve heard to date on vinyl. Read Mark Smotroff’s review to see why this new Abbey Road half-speed-mastered, Plangent Processes-restored 180g 1LP Who’s Next belongs on your turntable, pronto. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Sep 29, 2023  |  First Published: Sep 29, 2023  |  0 comments

Our seventh Short Cuts installment of Review Explosion is all about Pharoah Sanders — namely, the rare 1977 spiritual jazz album Pharoah that’s now a part of a new 2LP Luaka Bop box set that also includes a separate Harvest Time Live 1977 LP, plus a look at the fine 180g 1LP Third Man-Pressed Verve by Request reissue of 1972’s Black Unity. Read on to get Mark Smotroff’s take on both of these quite worthwhile reissues. . .

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