Monthly Archive:: September 2011

A Conversation with The Grip Weeds’ Kurt Reil

Though they prefer to think of themselves as creators of a classic-style rock’n’roll, to most ears, The Grip Weeds are carriers of a powerpop tradition. And while that alone should be enough to bring them fame, the sheer quality of their music should earn them fortune. As it is, while they maintain a successful career,

CD Review: The Modulators – Tomorrow’s Coming

There’s a particular sonic quality peculiar to the first half of the 1980s. If you were a local or regional band on a limited budget, and you went into a studio, there was a certain sound you got. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I know that sound well. The band I

CD Review: CIRCA: – And So On

I’ve long been a fan of Pete Frame’s rock family trees. Frame has a way of untangling the knotty threads of who-played-with-whom and presenting the information in a distinctive visual format. But even the redoubtable Frame would have a tough time keeping up with the members of Yes (don’t even get me started on King

CD Review: Frank Sinatra & Count Basie – The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings

Hell, I don’t know how many Frank Sinatra albums there have been. Not counting compilations — and there have been scores of those – Sinatra’s voice graced something like sixty long players. His style developed, refined, improved (and then solidified toward the end of a long and illustrious career); highlights are many, and any given

CD Review: Trummor & Orgel – Out of Bounds

The Hammond organ occupies an important place in music. Beyond its use in gospel music, the instrument has long been established as the centerpiece in soul, blues, jam band and rock music. Its exponents are legion: Jimmy Smith, Felix Cavaliere and Gregg Allman are but three very different yet important players closely linked with the

Concert Review: Los Lonely Boys

I’m told that Los Lonely Boys had a Top 40 hit in 2004 with a song called “Heaven.” I listen to a lot of music, but Top 40 radio hasn’t been on my radar screen in some years. So I missed it; never heard the song, in fact, until recently. I had heard of the

CD Review: Vegas With Randolph – Above the Blue

Comparisons to Fountains of Wayne are inevitable: strong melodies, well-thought-out vocal harmonies, middling tempos, clever lyrics, high-octane guitars. That’s the recipe on Above the Blue from Washington DC-based Vegas With Randolph. But VWR have their own distinct style; that the New Jersey band comes to mind when hearing their music says more about what passes

CD Review: Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Chicken

It’s easy to dismiss the work of Rufus Thomas (the world’s oldest teenager™) as the work of a novelty artist. Too easy, in fact. And it does a disservice to some great music. But Rufus didn’t exactly help matters by recording and releasing songs that all but forbade you to take him seriously. Anybody who

CD Review: The Dramatics – Whatcha See is Whatcha Get

Though Stax/Volt was (and will remain) closely linked with its hometown of Memphis, not everything that came out on the legendary label was Memphis-based. Some of it wasn’t even recorded on McLemore Avenue. Some artists worked out of Muscle Shoals AL, and some were from even farther afield. The Dramatics, for example, were from Detroit.

CD Review: The V-Roys – Sooner or Later

I don’t go much for country-rock, especially when it’s outfitted in the all-hat-no-cattle trappings of modern Nashville. But when it’s an authentic distillation of the best of the two genres, I can dig it. And I can dig the V-Roys. Sure, I missed them on their original go-round, in the late 90s when they released