pop Archive

Book Review: A Voice of the Warm

Every so often, some of my Facebook friends and I engage in a little game. You might call it Dreadful Earworms: we try to outdo each other by rattling off the titles of some of the most annoying, saccharine, maudlin and just downright awful songs. If you’re a boomer (or perhaps even the child of

Michael Franti: National Tour, Local Focus

Michael Franti is well known for many things: The Oakland-born musician is a guitarist, rapper, songwriter and poet. He’s also renowned for his activism and commitment to social change, world peace and environmental issues; his activism and musical pursuits have long been intertwined. The artist combined music and activism yet again when he came to

Album Review: Stereospread — Beautiful Noise

Jumping ahead of critics who might apply their own subjective labels to the band’s music, Asheville-based Stereospread has taken on the task itself, calling the sounds it makes “indietronica.” Launched in 2012 by James Hopkins and Sara Snyder Hopkins, Stereospread is a pop-leaning duo. The pair’s debut recording was a 2015 EP, Come Back Home.

Hundred-word Reviews for August 2019, Part Three (Archival)

Time for a look at ten new albums featuring reissued, compilation and/or archival material. Rock, jazz and beyond. Collect ’em all, kids! Soul Asylum – While You Were Out / Clam Dip & Other Delights Minneapolis’ Soul Asylum labored in relative obscurity for quite awhile before their national breakout. They became a household name with

Hundred-word Reviews for August 2019, Part One

It’s that time again: reviews of new music that passes the rigorous “smash or trash” competition happening periodically at my CD changer. Diplomats of Solid Sound — A Higher Place First off, let’s give credit where it’s due and acknowledge that Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are owed a debt for reintroducing soul to today’s

Can’t Stop Running: Todd Rundgren’s ‘Nearly Human’ at 30

Being a serious fan of Todd Rundgren isn’t always an easy path, but it’s a rewarding one. The wunderkind from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania started his musical career out in relatively conventional fashion – as guitarist for late ’60s proto-powerpop band Nazz – but even before he left that group, the depth and wide-encompassing nature of

Confusion: A Look Back at ‘Identity’ by Zee (Richard Wright and Dave Harris)

Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright was not what one would call a prolific artist. While he composed some superb songs for the Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon‘s “The Great Gig in the Sky” most notable among those – he didn’t churn out a great deal of music. During a period of minimal

Still a Livin’ Thing: Jeff Lynne’s ELO

Serving up some good-timing musical nostalgia that hearkens back to a simpler time, Jeff Lynne’s ELO is currently on a major tour of the U.S. An international phenomenon of the 1970s, Electric Light Orchestra landed fifteen of its singles on the Top 40 charts in the United States. ELO began as a spinoff project of

Make Someone Happy: A Conversation with Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett needs no introduction, so we won’t give him one. Here’s a recent Q&A with the acclaimed singer, now in his 93rd year. In recent years you’ve done highly successful collaborations with Lady Gaga and Diana Krall. If you had the ability to go back in time and work with someone you didn’t get

Love is Here to Stay: The Legacy of Tony Bennett

In the history of popular music, Tony Bennett stands tall. His professional singing career can be said to have started at age 13 when he was a singing waiter in New York City’s Queens borough, but it was only after serving in WWII that he landed a recording contract. Bennett’s recording career has seen him