Author Archive

Free Planet Radio: Music from Alpha to Delta

For 17 years now, instrumental trio Free Planet Radio has been making its compelling brand of world music, suffusing jazz and pop forms with elements drawn from musical traditions around the globe. On its latest album, Stillness, the Asheville-based group takes a slightly different approach, crafting an album of contemplative, near-ambient compositions. Free Planet Radio

Album Review: John Mayall — Nobody Told Me

In the 1960s when a wider audience of white listeners embarked upon a belated discovery of the blues, it was thanks in no small part to the championing of the blues form by British musicians. The Rolling Stones, the Animals and the Yardbirds all made a point of acknowledging their African-American musical forbears. But the

Purple Image: Funk-Psych Lost and Found, Part Two

Continued from Part One… First setting up in Adams’s basement, the new group began work. To insulate the sound and avoid annoying the neighbors, Adams says, “I put out an edict that each member bring a mattress. We had eight mattresses on the walls and windows.” They worked collaboratively to develop a full arrangement of

Purple Image: Funk-Psych Lost and Found, Part One

The late 1960s and early ‘70s provided inspiration for young musicians around the globe. In the wake of the success of bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones – and literally hundreds of others – the idea that one could make one’s own original music and bring it to a receptive audience took hold nearly

EP Reviews: Two from the Koko Mojo Label

Larry Williams – Short Fat Fanny EP Today, the name Larry Williams is largely known once removed, as the American rhythm and blues artist who wrote and recorded songs that would be revived by the Beatles, the Who and others. Their covers are now more well-known than Williams’ originals, but it’s worth going back to

Tellico: Courage for the Times

Formed in 2015 by three members of popular bluegrass band Dehlia Low, Tellico didn’t set out to be political. And while the group’s second and newest album, Woven Waters, isn’t exactly a musical-political treatise, its songs are informed by the division and unrest that characterize American life near the end of the 21st century’s second

EP Review: Damon Mitchell – Elise

Bright, intelligent pop is the métier of Damon Mitchell. Fans of Owsley, Jellyfish, Ben Folds and similar purveyors of pure pop will find much to like in these six tunes. “Heist” sports some falsetto vocals that recall the best qualities of early Beach Boys, with a good bit of quirk added. The wonderfully melancholy “Just

Single Review: Y. Dan Rubenstein – “Don’t Break What You Cannot Fix”

An alluring Latin jazz feel provides the foundation of Rubenstein’s “Don’t Break What You Cannot Fix.” intricate guitar lines flit in and out of the arrangement, but as alluring as the music is, the Bay Area singer would have listeners focus on his lyrics. The song is a spoken-sung conversation between two lovers, but it’s

Single Review: Les Techno – “Guilty Pleasure”

NYC post-punk artist Les Techno aims for a dance pop vibe on “Guilty Pleasure.” Don’t be scared off by that description. There’s a gritty feel to the song that places it in a kind of male-version-of-Blondie category. Nicely treated guitars and stuttering percussion has a vaguely late ‘70s feel, miles away form what passes for

EP Review: Patrick Ames – All I Do is Bleed

“I Want You” opens with a slightly mysterious-sounding acoustic guitar strum, quickly setting a mood. That mood s quickly shattered when Ames starts singing; his rush of words sounds more like a nightclub-era Woody Allen routine than a singer-songwriter. His lyrics are interesting enough, but ending each phrase with a whiny “aaaahhhh” seems an odd