compilation Archive

Album Mini-review: Various Artists — Friends and Frenemies

File next to: Sloan, Matthew Sweet Based in the redwoods of Northern California, Allen Clapp‘s Mystery Lawn Music has in recent years become a trademark of pop music quality. Originally formed as a vehicle to self-release 20/20 – perhaps the best album by his group the Orange Peels – Clapp’s label has become a collective

Album Mini-review: Game Theory – The Big Shot Chronicles

File next to: The Three O’Clock, Guided by Voices Scott Miller‘s quirky Game Theory was one of 1980s college rock’s (the precursor to alternative/indie rock) most criminally overlooked groups. But Miller and his changing lineups didn’t exactly make things easy for fans: while Game Theory’s jangle quotient was consistently high, Miller’s songs often displayed a

Album Review: Big Star — Complete Third

The third album from Big Star is the most difficult in the Memphis group’s slim catalog of 1970s releases, and quite unlike its predecessors. The band’s debut – 1972’s #1 Record – is full of gems in an off-kilter power pop vein. Thanks in no small part to distribution problems at Ardent Records’ parent label

A Holiday Treat for Musoscribe Readers

‘Tis the season for … a bonus weekend post. I almost never post features or reviews on a Saturday, but these two titles warrant the exception. Plus, if I wait until I have an open weekday, you won’t read about this until late February 2017. Some people simply detest holiday music. I grew up in

NRBQ: the Unity of Man (and of former members), Part 2

Continued from Part One … From NRBQ‘s start, jazz pianist Thelonious Monk was a hero to Terry Adams and his band mates. “The music of Thelonious had a big impact on me when I was a teenager,” he says. “I took a lot in, and heard him live many times, and needed to give it

NRBQ: the Unity of Man (and of former members), Part 1

Longtime critics’ darlings NRBQ has kept the music going in one form or another since before recording and releasing its self-titled debut album in 1969. While sales figures of NRBQ’s more than 30 albums haven’t made the group a household name, the Q’s rich blend of American musical forms – rock, jazz, blues, rockabilly and

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 4 of 10

Happy Thanksgiving. Here are five more quick reviews. Today it’s all jazz. John Surman et. al. – Morning Glory If your tastes extend toward free and modal jazz – think Ornette Coleman, for example – then a new reissue of this 1973 live album may be just the thing for you. Alternating between high-flying musical

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 3 of 10

Five more quick reviews of archival/reissue material. Three of today’s five are from Grammy-award winning label Omnivore Recordings. One of these days I’ll write liner notes for one of their fine releases; I just know it. Meantime, I’ll review the ones that I dig (which, as it happens, is nearly all of ’em). The Beach

John Mayall: “Live in 1967” and Live in 2016

Though he doesn’t actively encourage the label, John Mayall has for many years now been known as “the godfather of the British blues boom.” He’s revered in blues and rock circles both for his impressive body of work and for his prescient ability to hire some of the best musicians for his various bands. Now

Album Mini-review: The Archies — Sugar, Sugar: The Complete Albums Collection

File next to: Bay City Rollers, 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Jackson 5 After his experience with The Monkees, pop impresario Don Kirshner made the calculated decision that his next project would be one in which the artists couldn’t rebel. Thus was born The Archies, a cartoon group that only existed on television. Well, that’s not