compilation Archive

Album Review: Jem Records Celebrates John Lennon

Today would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday. Cover versions that stick very close to the original version have their place: witness the appeal of tribute bands. But beyond the hey-I-can-do-it angle, they’re more an exercise for the artist than a rewarding experience for the listener. Much better are reinventions, musical excursions whereby an artist

Album Review: Various Artists — Double Whammy!

Nuggets did it first, and Nuggets did it best: the early ‘70s 2LP compilation curated by Lenny Kaye brought together a widely disparate collection of underappreciated songs from the ‘60s, applying a label to those songs that somehow made sense, even if The Amboy Dukes’ “Journey to the Center of the Mind” had nothing in

Album Review: Bill Kirchen – The Proper Years

What to make of possible hyperbole? When I read that Bill Kirchen is known as “The Titan of the Telecaster,” I wasn’t at all sure what to think. At first I thought I was wholly unfamiliar with his work. A cursory big of digging reminded me that he was a longtime member of Commander Cody

Album Review: ‘Rolling Stone: Life and Death of Brian Jones’ Soundtrack

There are at least three categories of film soundtrack albums. One is a collection of songs, scores, cues and the like, often by a single composer/artist, music created expressly for a film or television show. Another is what my esteemed colleague Derrick Bang (author of the new two-volume book series on Crime and Spy Jazz)

Album Review: The Limits – Songs About Girls

Reunions are a common occurrence in rock music. 1960s garage rock band The Limits never achieved any notability outside their hometown, but a new group bearing that name came out in ‘79. With a sound that drew from garage rock, pub rock, new wave and hard rock, the new band wouldn’t really have much musical

Album Review: The Limits – Garage Nuggets ‘65-’68

It’s nice when an important figure in music says nice things about your music. Even if that person is something of a cult figure like Alex Chilton, it counts. And apparently Chilton (Box Tops, Big Star) thought highly of the music made by an Allentown, Pennsylvania garage rock band called The Limits. Like so many

Album Review: Jimmy Sweeney — Without You

Another in the (happily and) seemingly endless stream of unearthed gems, Jimmy Sweeney’s Without You is a collection of songs by a singer who was all but unknown. His claim to fame lies in a story – possibly apocryphal but leaning toward being true – about a demo he sent to Sam Phillips. That disc

Album Review: Nat Turner Rebellion – Laugh to Keep From Crying

I’ve written of similar observations before; here I am doing it once again. It amazes me to no end that so many years after the fact, never-before-heard recordings surface, and the quality of the music is remarkable. So it is with Nat Turner Rebellion’s Laugh to Keep From Crying. Recorded in various sessions between 1969

Album Review: Miles Davis – Music From and Inspired by ‘Birth of the Cool’

There’s a trend in recent years: when releasing a film’s companion audio, the CD is sometimes branded as “Music From and Inspired By…” That gives to compiler of the audio document a freer hand to include material that is conceptually relevant even if it didn’t feature in the film itself. Such releases can’t strictly be

Album Review: Game Theory — Across the Barrier of Sound

One of the larger projects that Omnivore Recordings has undertaken in recent years is the Game Theory catalog. The alternative rock band (there are other labels that might apply, but the group’s work is eclectic enough that none fits perfectly) led by Scott Miller released five albums and a pair of EPs during its time