pop Archive

Album Review: Ray Charles — Genius: The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection

The word Genius is thrown around far too cavalierly. At this writing, Michael Jackson (the self-proclaimed King of Pop) has been dead only a few days, and tributes everywhere call the onetime child star a genius. Oh yeah? I recently sat through Martin Bashir’s 2003 documentary Living With Michael Jackson (an icky title in light

Preview: My Talk With Howard / My Dinner With Jimi

This evening I had the honor and pleasure to speak at great length with Howard Kaylan. Known to some as “Eddie” (as in, Flo and Eddie), vocalist for FZ’s Mothers, known to many others as the lead singer for the Turtles, Howard is also the screenwriter of a lovely new film — just out on

Album Review: Various Artists — Malt shop Memories

I’ve made a similar point before, but it’s worth saying again: in general Time-Life musical retrospectives haven’t got a long history of credibility. In general they’ve been viewed as cash-ins, as attempts at capitalizing on the fleeting resurgence in popularity of a particular genre, subgenre or craze. So it was against that backdrop that I

Album Reviews: Rascals / Young Rascals Reissues (2007)

Young Rascals: The Young Rascals (Collectors’ Choice) Collections (Collectors’ Choice) Groovin’ (Collectors’ Choice) Rascals: Once Upon a Dream (Collectors’ Choice) Freedom Suite (Collectors’ Choice) See (Collectors’ Choice) Search and Nearness (Collectors’ Choice) The (Young) Rascals released nine albums during their career (1966-1972). All but the last two were on Atlantic, and have now been licensed

Album Review: The Pretty Things — S.F. Sorrow

The 1968 album S.F. Sorrow by The Pretty Things is an exemplar of a band, pushed to the wall, rising to the occasion and producing a classic. Prior to this, the Pretties were thought of as more-Stones-than-the-Stones, with their raw, r&b-based rock. S.F. Sorrow would change all that. The loose narrative is based on a

Album Review: R. Stevie Moore — Meet The

R Stevie Moore is one odd dude. I can’t say whether he’s the sort that listeners would wish to “have a beer with”, but his music is worthwhile for the adventurous. There’s a whole sub-subgenre of music that sometimes goes by the sobriquet of “incredibly strange music.” (I’m not sure of this, but I think

Album Review: Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool: 30th Anniversary Edition

Nick Lowe had a growing (if still somewhat underground) reputation in 1979. As a producer — mostly for Stiff Records — he had worked the boards on stunning a number of high-profile and successful albums, including ones for Graham Parker, The Damned and Elvis Costello. Lowe had already made a name for himself as bassist

Album Reviews: Toy Matinee — s/t and 3rd Matinee — Meanwhile

Toy Matinee was a short-lived pop-prog/art-pop group that released a single eponymous album in 1990. With a sound halfway between Mr. Mister and Jellyfish, Toy Matinee balanced the former’s chart-oriented arrangements with the ambitious approach of the latter. The album kicks off with “Last Plane Out,” a topical (Gulf War I) tune featuring busy instrumentation

Album Review: Air — Moon Safari 10th Anniversary Edition

At the very tail-end of the 20th century, Air — the duo of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel — released their debut, Moon Safari. Their blend of dance, exotica, rock and atmospheric(!) arrangements was innovative in ’98, and sounds every bit as fresh today, on this, the Moon Safari 10th Anniversary Edition. Moon Safari isn’t

Album Review: Wensday — Torch Rock™

Picking up Torch Rock™, one would expect an outing not dissimilar to late 70s/early 80s efforts by Karla DeVito and Ellen Foley; there’s a mock-operatic approach to the proceedings, much like the sort of music Jim Steinman composed for Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell. And the master of ceremonies here is the estimable Dick