pop Archive

Album Mini-review: David Bowie — Blackstar

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

Neil Finn: Goin’ His Own Way

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.

Hundred-word Reviews January 2016: Compilations

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

Album Mini-review: Terry Adams — Talk Thelonious

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

Album Mini-review: Dweezil Zappa — Via Zammata’

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.

Album Mini-review: DM3 — West of Anywhere

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,

Album Mini-review: Motobunny — Motobunny

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,

DVD Review: Drop In 1963-1965

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

Album Review: William Duke — The Dark Beautiful Sun

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

Album Review: Tall Dwarfs — Weeville

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