Album Review: Alice Cooper – Muscle of Love (SACD)

Dedicated fans of 1970s rock know that Alice Cooper means two different things: there’s the vocalist born Vincent Furnier, and there’s the group he fronted from the late 1960s (when they were known as The Spiders) through 1973. Though post-’73 albums were released bearing the name Alice Cooper, those (with the exception of 1974’s Greatest

Album Mini-review: The Junior League — “Also Rans”

File Next to: Sloan, The dB’s, Minus 5 Indie label Kool Kat Musik has carved out a solid (if exceedingly tiny) niche as a purveyor of power pop, that oft-maligned subgenre of music which features sharp hooks, strong melodies, and – say its detractors – a slavish lack of originality. But even listeners who aren’t

Album Mini-review: Endless Tapes — Brilliant Waves

File next to: Brian Eno, Lunatic Soul, *Low-era David Bowie Considering the pedigree of the better-known half of this duo, one might expect Brilliant Waves to lean in a muscular and “proggy” direction.” Bassist Colin Edwin is renowned for his work on twenty Porcupine Tree albums, plus many other projects that showcase a harder, musically

Album Mini-review: Homme — Homme

File Next to: KT Tunstall, The Roches, Radiohead With electric guitars (run through a Leslie speaker cabinet and other assorted effects) and close yet vocal-acrobatic harmonies, the experimental yet inviting sonic approach of this Chicago duo suggests an otherworldly combination of Nirvana and The Roches. Just when you think they’re going to be some kind

Album Review: Todd Rundgren & Utopia — Disco Jets

Todd Rundgren has long been known for being, as the expression goes, ahead of the curve. His experiments, forays, and even innovations in computer and video technology are well-documented. The same holds true for his pioneering work with artist-to-peer networks, the too-ahead-of-its-time PatroNet service of the mid 1990s. And of course Rundgren has always been

Album Review: Craig Leon et. al. — Bach to Moog

During a press conference held amidst the April 2014 Moogfest – the last time that festival would be held in Asheville, NC, home of Moog Music and the adopted hometown of the late Dr. R.A. (Bob) Moog – Moog personnel and famed musician/composer Keith Emerson unveiled a new build of Emerson’s classic “beast,” the modular

Album Review: The Scenics — In the Summer

In early 2013 I reviewed Dead Man Walks Down Bayview, a then-new album from Toronto-based band The Scenics. In that review, I made clear both my nearly nonexistent knowledge of the Toronto punk scene of the 1970s (or any era, for that matter) as well as my appreciation for the music on the contemporary album.

Album Mini-review: The Turnback — Are We There Yet?

File Next to: Greenberry Woods, Foo Fighters, Green Day Big, roaring guitars that recalls Foo Fighters as much as Cheap Trick are the calling card of the supremely melodic sophomore release from this New York City-based trio. Highly charged close harmonies are supported by muscular, no-frills backing that is catchy without making any obvious concessions

Album Mini-review: David Bowie — Blackstar

In some quarters, Blackstar has been characterized as a “jazz” album. That’s not accurate: though instrumentation closely associated with jazz (most notably saxophone) is employed throughout the album’s seven tracks, the uses to which those instruments are put are decidedly not jazz. Distorted electric guitar crops up fairly often as well – most prominently on

Album Mini-review: The Roaring 420s – You Can’t Get Out Alive

File next to: Elephant Stone, Allah-Las, Fuzztones For The Roaring 420s, everything old is new again. Across the twelve songs on *You Can’t Get Out Alive – their second full-length – this Dresden, Germany based quintet crafts original songs that bear more than a whiff (or a toke if you like) of late 1960s psychedelia.