compilation Archive

Album Review: Jim Basnight and The Moberlys – Seattle – New York – Los Angeles

Describing something as underrated is sometimes little more than a lazy way of approaching an artist’s work. But it can have useful meaning. In the case of The Moberlys, the group could well be described that way. But the label doesn’t quite get to the heart of the matter: how can you be underrated if

Album Review: Lennie Tristano — The Duos Sessions

Strictly speaking, jazz is uncommercial music. Not that the artists eschew the possibility of commercial success; it’s simply that jazz is a specialist genre. From the perspective of sales revenues, it’s among the least popular forms of music. Of course that has precisely nothing to do with its quality. And even within the genre, there

Album Review: Mumps — Rock & Roll This, Rock & Roll That

American pop culture consumers of a certain age (aka television viewers) will recall An American Family, a groundbreaking PBS documentary series that first aired in 1973. Setting aside the fact that the program is to blame for the subsequent rise of “reality” (sic and ugh) television, it was nonetheless important in many ways. One of

Album Review: Various Artists — Big Stir Singles: The Tenth Wave

And the hits just keep comin’, as they say. It’s too easy to label Big Stir as a power pop label. And in fact doing so is (a) too limiting and (b) unfair to the range and eclecticism that characterizes the label’s music. This ongoing (never-ending?) series of releases showcases an impressive stylistic variety. This

Album Review: Various Artists — Big Stir Singles: The Ninth Wave

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but when I encounter an album that includes liner notes, I tend to read before I listen. Or, at least I’ll start to read as I pop the disc into the player (or if I’m lucky, I’ll drop the needle into the groove.) And that’s the approach I took

Album Review: Jem Records Celebrates Brian Wilson

Here we go again. I’ve long held that various-artists tribute albums are by definition uneven. Some acts try to take the songs too far from their essence, stripping the songs of whatever made them special and noteworthy to begin with. Others are too slavish by half, effectively adding nothing to the discussion, making what amounts

Album Review: Peggy Lee — Something Wonderful

A casual listener might only be able to name “Fever” – and possibly “Is That All There Is” – but Peggy Lee scored a lengthy run of hit singles. The primary arc of her career ran from the early ‘40s (when she was the singer in Benny Goodman’s big band) through 1974, when she hit

Album Review: Jimmie Vaughan – The Pleasure’s All Mine

Among the wider population, Jimmie Vaughan is known as the older brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan, as the founding guitarist in the Fabulous Thunderbirds and for his work with that group during its most high-profile period. But blues aficionados have long appreciated the Texas-born musician for the music he has made under his own name

Album Review: Pylon — Pylon Box

With great and due respect to R.E.M. – and, to a lesser extent, the B-52’s – there was a lot more significant musical activity going on in and around Athens, Georgia in the 1980s. For those who weren’t there, a 1987 documentary film, Athens, GA: Inside/Out offered a glimpse into the college town’s musical riches.

Boxed Set Review: Iggy and the Stooges – From KO to Chaos

In music fan and critical circles, the concept of “blues police” comes up in conversation from time to time. Simply put, blues police is a pejorative term applied to self-anointed arbiters of What Is And Is Not Blues™. These auto-deputized lawgivers would have us believe that, say, Ana Popovic isn’t blues because she didn’t grow