pop Archive

Album Review: Various Artists – The Dutch Woodstock (CD+DVD)

I’m a hardcore Pink Floyd fanatic. Yeah, one of those lot who insists that the stuff they did before The Dark Side of the Moon is filled with untold riches. The sort who (allegedly) has over 200 lossless audio documents of Floyd concerts, some dating back to the Syd Barrett era (though you can’t hear

Album Review: Big Star – Nothing Can Hurt Me

On paper, it reads like textbook case in how not to succeed, how not to make a mark in musical history: release your debut on a label rife with distribution problems; have one of your two main songwriters leave before the second album is done; record a gauzy, downbeat and decidedly noncommercial third album with

Hundred Word Reviews: Vinyl Roundup for May 2013

Here’s another installment in my occasional series of capsule reviews; this time ’round I’m focusing on vinyl releases. My self-imposed limit for this particular exercise is 100 words on each album. Hoff Ensemble – Quiet Winter Night It’s subtitled “An acoustic jazz project,” so don’t look for any Fender Rhodes or vibraphone. In fact, to

Album Review: Donovan’s Brain – Turned Up Later

There’s a kind of powerpop that steers well clear of the candy-ass end of the spectrum, yet manages to avoid macho, posturing cockrock-iness. That sweet spot is where Donovan’s Brain lives. Just when you think every good riff has been used, here they come with a menacing bass line figure around which they build the

Album Review: Greg Lake — Songs of a Lifetime

It’s been about a year since I made the trip to Durham NC to see Greg Lake in concert. In the run-up to that performance, I interviewed Greg, and while in the course of our wide-ranging discussion we spoke a bit about the tour, he wished to keep the details mostly under wraps. I knew

The Orange Peels’ Adventures in Modern Recording (and Marketing, and Manufacturing, and…) Part Two

Continued from Part One… “And,” Clapp summarizes, “That’s what we’ve done ever since. We’re not going to become indebted to a label. If they want to help us out, and they’re offering something of value, we’ll partner with them.” And for the project that would become Sun Moon, the band decided to wade into the

The Orange Peels’ Adventures in Modern Recording (and Marketing, and Manufacturing, and…) Part One

The Orange Peels have been releasing albums for sixteen years; Sun Moon is their fifth album. On all of their earlier albums, the cover art incorporated the color orange. Yet Sun Moon‘s cover art is much more overtly dark-hued. That’s consistent with the subtle change in the music on the new record as well: many

Album Review: Various Artists — Drink a Toast to Innocence

As far back as the 1980s, the great philosopher Huey Lewis proclaimed that it’s “hip to be square.” Good thing, that, because like many of my rock’n’roll fan contemporaries, I got my musical start buying albums (cassettes, really) by some of the soft-sounds purveyors of the early 70s: The Carpenters, Sonny and Cher, Jim Croce

Album Review: Jim Ruiz Set – Mount Curve Avenue

Mystery Lawn Music has become associated with a particular kind of music; in broadest terms, it’s highly tuneful, melodic sunshine-y pop. (Look for a feature/interview featuring Allen Clapp, of the label’s flagship group The Orange Peels, coming soon.) But from their earliest days, they’ve cast a wider net than that, bringing in artists outside the

Album Review: Barbara & Ernie – Prelude To…

I truly admire the people at Real Gone Music. They continue to unearth music from ages ago that is in some cases long-cherished. In other cases it’s long-forgotten but worthwhile. And in yet other cases, the music never got much of a hearing to begin with; you can’t forget what you never knew. And it’s