pop Archive

Album Review: Jean Jacques Perrey — Moog Indigo

Perhaps Jean Jacques Perrey shouldn’t be thought of in the same context as Jean-Michel Jarre, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and other early pioneers of the synthesizer-as-musical-instrument. His work wasn’t as edgy and experimental as that of those other guys. But here’s the thing: a half-century on, spinning a Perrey album is far more likely to bring a

Saturday Bonus Post: Short-form Roundup

Now and then I receive an EP or even a single for potential review. In general those don’t make the cut, as I prefer to write about full-length albums that provide a fuller picture of an artist’s work. But when a short-form release rises to the level of something special, I’m happy to cover it.

He’d Only Just Begun: Paul Williams and The Holy Mackerel (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … From a very early age, Williams had been greatly influenced by the Great American Songbook. He recalls that even as a child in Omaha, Nebraska, “I was this little 11- and 12-year old kid singing Gershwin, Cole Porter and the like.” Gordon Jenkins’ 1946 album Manhattan Tower was Williams’ favorite

He’d Only Just Begun: Paul Williams and The Holy Mackerel (Part 1)

(Note: an edited version of this feature appeared previously in print in Goldmine Magazine.) In 1970, songwriter Paul Williams was catapulted to the top of the pop music world. Two of his songs – co-written with Roger Nichols – became major hit singles: the Carpenters scored with “We’ve Only Just Begun” (a #2 hit), and

A Johnny Mathis Playlist

To preview a Johnny Mathis concert, my editor at Salt Lake City Paper recently asked me to compile a playlist of the vocalist’s lesser-known tracks. This I did. The piece as it ran was edited for space, but some good stuff got cut. Here’s the entire essay. — bk Johnny Mathis has been a staggeringly

Album Review: The Moon and You — Endless Maria

With Endless Maria, Asheville NC duo The Moon and You proves that you can indeed have it both ways: this new collection of songs hits the sweet spot between bouncy pop and something more substantial. The disc is the duo’s third release, following a 2013 debut EP (The Ocean’s Lonely Daughter) and 2016’s full-length A

The Zombies: A Half-century ‘Odessey’

During 1967’s so-called Summer of Love, the Zombies began recording what would be their defining work, the critically-acclaimed album Odessey and Oracle [sic]. But on its release, the record performed disappointingly on the charts in America as well as in the band’s native England. “When we recorded it, there was no commercial success with this

Capsule Reviews for May 2017, Part Two

The Lancashire Hustlers – Adventures (Steep Hill Music) This London duo – Brent Thorley and Ian Pakes – has clearly come of age on a steady diet of Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles, Electric Light Orchestra, Arthur-era Kinks, Small Faces circa Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake and other fine influences. But there’s a pleasing DIY sensibility that

Capsule Reviews for May 2017, Part One

Thank You, Friends (Concord Bicycle Music) I remember a time when seemingly nobody knew about Big Star; happily for me, that was about the time I found “new old stock” vinyl copies of #1 Record and Radio City in a local record store. I was immediately hooked. As is its character, Big Star’s Third album

Points of Intersection: The Regina Spektor Interview

Note: parts of the following story appeared originally in separate features written for the Colorado Springs Independent and Stomp & Stammer. — bk On her seven studio albums – from 11:11, her 2001 debut through her latest, Remember Us to Life, Regina Spektor has made a name for herself as a consummate composer of piano-based