rawk Archive

Concert Recap: Matthew Sweet at the Visulite Theatre, Charlotte N.C. May 25, 2018

After a couple albums’ worth of searching for his signature style, Nebraska-born Matthew Sweet struck creative and commercial gold with his 1991 album Girlfriend. Sweet’s winning voice and thoughtful lyrics were joined not only by his enduring melodic sense – the man has a knowing way with a sharp melodic hook – but by some

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2018

Time once again for some 100-word reviews. Please note that I receive many albums each day for review consideration; even when allowing for the fact that 80-90% of them don’t make the cut for coverage/review, there are still far too many to cover. What that means in practical terms is twofold: (1) the only way

Album Review: Guadalcanal Diary – At Your Birthday Party

Signed to DB Recs at or near the local label’s commercial high point, Guadalcanal Diary released its debut EP, Watusi Rodeo in 1983. The disc’s catchy yet slightly off-kilter songs (mostly by guitarist Murray Attaway) attracted the attention of Elektra, who soon signed the band. Released in 1984, the Don Dixon-produced Walking in the Shadow

Album Review: John Wesley Harding – Greatest Other People’s Hits

Nearly everything one first learns about John Wesley Harding suggests the man is a smart-aleck. A folky troubadour transplanted long ago from Hastings, England to the U.S., the man born Wesley Stace adopted a stage name taken from one of Bob Dylan’s most celebrated releases. (Some years ago he also released an album that waggishly

EP Review: Deb Montgomery — All the Water

A moody, contemplative vibe is on display within the title track of Pacific Northwest folk rocker Deb Montgomery’s latest EP, All the Water. There’s a gothic storytelling feel to the song, and the instrumentation builds as the song unfolds. Starting out quietly and with sparse accompaniment, Montgomery builds the arrangement with more instruments, punctuated by

Album Review: Redd Kross — Third Eye

Redd Kross’ Third Eye was released mid-September 1990. Notwithstanding the pop singles charts (then topped by a Latin dance pop ditty called “If Wishes Came True”), the rock scene was dominated then by acts like Jane’s Addiction, Gene Loves Jezebel and the ubiquitous and gruesome “Joey” from Concrete Blonde. Into that relatively dour and joyless

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part Four)

Continued from Part Three… Redux ’92: Live in Japan (1993) Six years after disbanding, Utopia surprised most onlookers by regrouping for a run of concerts in Japan. The shows were well-received, and a live recording was released on compact disc and video the following year. “I look at that video,” Sulton says, “and I think,

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two… Utopia (1982) Meanwhile, Rundgren, Wilcox and Powell had continued without Sulton, adding bassist Doug Howard as they began work on a new album for Network Records. The new-wave flavored Utopia featured some of the band’s strongest songwriting to date. “It was a very collaborative period,” says Wilcox. Once Sulton came back

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… Ra (1977) The most durable Utopia lineup now in place, the band made a concerted effort toward internal democracy. Or at least as much of a democracy as possible when the group included Rundgren, a star with his own separate record contract. “It was as democratic as any marriage is democratic,”

Utopia’s Adventures Continue (Part One)

In 2018, one of the unlikeliest reunions in rock history became a reality. Todd Rundgren’s Utopia – or at least three-fourths of its 1980s lineup – came back together for a two-month tour, one that would survey the band’s musical journey from a groundbreaking progressive ensemble to a more conventional (yet distinctive) melodic rock band.