Monthly Archive:: November 2009

Album Review: The Twilight Hours – Stereo Night

Things could have gone so differently. In the early 90s, rock music found itself at the latest in a long series of crossroads. There wasn’t much of lasting value happening in high-profile rock music, but as is often the case, a couple of interesting strains were bubbling under. At the time I was living in

Album Review: Pugwash – Giddy

It’s a bit like being a kid again, coming into the living room on Christmas morning. That’s as apt as any a metaphor for the initial listen to Giddy, a best-of compilation by the best Irish group since The Boomtown Rats. By most accounts, Thomas Walsh simply hates the term Beatlesque. And ELO-esque or XTC-esque

DVD Review: John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band Live in Toronto ‘69

In 1988 the D.A. Pennebaker-directed Sweet Toronto concert film was released. Its appearance at that late date — the concert had taken place nearly twenty years earlier — was itself somewhat odd. The market being what it is, many opportunities to release the film to significant publicity had come and gone. John Lennon, the primary

Concert Review: thenewno2 at The Fillmore, Charlotte NC 11/03/2009

As the old cliché goes, sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In 2007 Dhani Harrison debuted his new band (originally to be called beatson ), thenewno2. While the group took their name from the villain in Patrick McGoohan‘s groundbreaking late-sixties TV miniseries The Prisoner, there’s not much else backward-looking about thenewno2. The

Album Review: Lost & Found: Real R’n’B & Soul

Thank goodness for crate-diggers. Were it not for the efforts of hardcore music fans — and ones possessing some considerable influence — many examples of wonderful and under-the-radar music would have been lost to the mists of time. In a manner not at all far-removed from that of legendary folklorist/ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax — he of

Album Review: Putumayo Presents Jazz Around the World

Putumayo’s top-selling India surveyed pop styles of that country. This, their other high-profile release of 2009, is Jazz Around the World. The sleeve describes it as “original songs and standards performed by musicians from Cuba to Cameroon.” Chantal Chamberland starts things off in slightly familiar territory: the French Canadian chanteuse sings “La Mer” accompanied by

Interview: Gentle Giant on Barrett, bootlegs, Badfinger, Back catalog and the biz

The career of Gentle Giant spanned the whole of the 1970s, and their modest commercial fortunes closely paralleled that of their chosen (or assigned) genre. Beginning with their self-titled debut album in 1970 and running through their eleventh studio album (1980’s Civilian) the group charted a singular musical path. While they went their separate ways

Album Review: Jets Overhead – No Nations

Jets Overhead‘s No Nations answers the rhetorical question: what would Coldplay sound like with an additional female vocalist and a rock sensibility? That’s an oversimplification, of course. Hypnotic beats and a heavier bottom end are key components of the Jets Overhead sound. Classic keyboards of the 1970s are used extensively on the album: Rhodes, Wurlitzer

What do you get when you cross the Yardbirds with German prog?

In or around 1980 I went into my friendly local record shop and purchased a new, shrink-wrapped 2LP set called Shapes of Things. It was a compilation of Yardbirds radio broadcasts and whatnot, on the Canada-based Bomb label. One of those semi-legit releases, I think. I got home and played it, and it was fine.

Album Review: Jason Yates (self titled)

The first three notes on Jason Yates‘ new self-titled album sound like the opening of Squeeze‘s “Black Coffee in Bed”. But that’s not at all the direction in which Yates goes. On this keyboard-led album Jason Yates covers territory that will be pleasantly familiar to fans of The Band, Randy Newman, Van Morrison and other