In some quarters, Blackstar has been characterized as a “jazz” album. That’s not accurate: though instrumentation closely associated with jazz (most notably saxophone) is employed throughout the album’s seven tracks, the uses to which those instruments are put are decidedly not jazz. Distorted electric guitar crops up fairly often as well – most prominently on
Two Australia/New Zealand-based giants of heartfelt and intelligent pop music – Paul Kelly (a solo artist and longtime leader of The Messengers) and Neil Finn (member of Split Enz, founder of Crowded House, solo artist, and collaborator with select other artists) – teamed up in 2013 for a short run of concert dates in Australia.
This week-long run of quick reviews wraps up today with looks at five excellent compilation albums. King Curtis – The Complete Atco Singles Real Gone Music swings for the fences with this, a three-CD set that collects all of the saxophonist’s 64 a- and b-sides released on the Atlantic subsidiary (plus two unreleased tracks). Randy
File next to: NRBQ, Professor Longhair, Joe Jackson Though he’s rightly revered now, for much of his career jazz pianist Thelonious Monk was considered the maker of some dissonant, even sloppy music. Even today his music is more difficult than, say, anything from the Bill Evans catalog. But longtime Monk acolyte Terry Adams – who
File next to: Frank Zappa, Primus, Tenacious D Today, Dweezil Zappa might sound like a chip off the old block, but it wasn’t always so. On his first release – 1982’s single “Crunchy Water” b/w “My Mother is a Space Cadet” – he sounded like a reasonably talented kid who owned some Van Halen records.
File Next to: Shoes, Cheap Trick, Raspberries If you were American and into power pop, the 1990s was a decade filled with riches. You could blissfully ignore all that dreadful hair metal and the wooly, flannel-shirted grunge scene, and instead enjoy the high-octane, hook-filled pleasures of music from Jellyfish, Redd Kross, Matthew Sweet, Michael Penn,
File next to: The Bangles, Amboy Dukes, Joan Jett It’s quite a tightrope walk to create music that rocks hard – really hard – yet maintains a strong, hooky, singalong kind of vibe. Motobunny manages it; fronted by two women and with a three-man backline, the group combines the sneering energy of Detroit rock (Stooges,
It’s a well-established part of 20th century pop culture history: the world – or at the very least North America – changed irrevocably in February 1964 when The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan‘s television program. But the Beatles didn’t simply materialize out of nowhere to become a cultural phenomenon. And no, I’m not even talking
There’s always room for an album of fine music in a Tom Petty-meets-Brian Wilson vein. What, you say? Well, William Duke‘s latest, The Dark Beautiful Sun – even the title sounds like a Brian Wilson idea turned on its head – nicely veers between the chiming, good-timing feel of Petty (and even Traveling Wilburys) and
As I discussed in yesterday’s review of Chris Knox‘s Seizure, famed New Zealand independent label Flying Nun has released that title and Tall Dwarfs‘ Weeville on vinyl LP. Some might argue that mentioning Knox and Tall Dwarfs is a distinction without a difference; Tall Dwarfs is, after all, Knox plus musical co-conspirator Alec Bathgate. But