Monthly Archive:: September 2012

Two Obscure Albums You Need to Hear

The illustrious (and print-only) London-based Shindig! Magazine ought to be as famous as Mojo and Uncut. It’s not; not yet. As it happens, I write occasionally for Shindig! Several years ago the mag ran a short version of my long piece on legendary no-hit wonders Green Fuz. In 2010 my full-length feature on The Remains

Album Review: Vince Guaraldi – The Very Best of Vince Guaraldi

The music of Vince Guaraldi could well be described as “jazz for people who don’t like jazz.” And even knowing what little I do about Guaraldi the man, I strongly suspect that he’d be pleased with that description. He was a hipster-looking pianist who created arguably the most accessible body of work in the jazz

Album Review: Booker T & the MG’s – Green Onions

Author Rob Bowman knows his stuff. More specifically, he knows his Stax. As one of a very short list of scholars on the subject of the legendary influential (and troubled) Memphis-based record label, Bowman wrote what may be the definitive work on Stax, Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records, first published in 1997. It’s

Album Review: Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe – Live at the NEC

There’s an old joke – admittedly not a rip-roaringly hilarious one – about band names sounding like law firms: Crosby, Stills, Nash and (sometimes) Young was the first to be the butt of comments about too many egos for one band (or band name). The tortuously convoluted history of Yes resulted in a late 80s

Album Review: Jefferson Starship – Tales From the Mothership

Where to start with this one? There’s so much I could say about the sprawling 4CD set Tales From the Mothership. But let’s start with a bit of history to contextualize things. Tales From the Mothership is credited to Jefferson Starship. Note that’s not Jefferson Airplane, the group that gave us the hit versions of

Fantasy Festival: Yep Roc 15

I’m not a fan of professional team spectator sports; that kind of thing has never held any fascination for me. But I sort of understand why others like it, I guess. I also (thank goodness) don’t work in a cube-farm office – got that out of my system back in the mid 90s – so

Album Review: The Poster Boy – Melody

One of the many fascinating discoveries one finds when diving into the sprawling 4CD set Nuggets, Vol. 2: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond is in the “beyond” part. Everybody knows what British pop music of that sounds like (even though it’s a wonderfully varied lot), but it’s the selections from the other

Album Review: 20/20 — 20/20 / Look Out!

Unless you were deeply immersed in the powerpop/new wave scene of the late 1970s and (very) early 1980s, you probably didn’t know about 20/20 during their initial heyday. (I wasn’t, and I didn’t. But I know people who were and who did. That counts, right?) This was the era of skinny ties, good haircuts, and

Album Review: Lannie Flowers – New Songs, Old Stories

Lannie Flowers‘ vocal style is occasionally reminiscent of John Lennon, and the slide guitar fills he often employs are from the George Harrison school. The Dallas/Fort Worth guitarist is the composer of preternaturally strong, hook-laden pop songs that have equal parts muscle and melody. If there’s a single criticism of his work, it’s that he

Album Review: Ruby Free – Introducing Ruby Free

I wasn’t at all sure what to expect when I received a press release along with a review copy of Introducing Ruby Free. I knew Rick Hromadka as the leader of Maple Mars, an intelligent, compelling and ambitious group with a sound that leans toward the progressive end of powerpop. But the sepia-tinted color photographs