rawk Archive

Deliciousness: Frank Zappa’s ‘Hot Rats’ at 50

By the time of the release of Hot Rats, his second solo album, Frank Zappa was well established as an important force in pushing the boundaries of pop music. Not that much of what Zappa was doing could reasonably be termed “pop,” but his work flirted with the fringes of the pop world. The debut

Musoscribe’s Best of 2019: Reissue/archival Releases

2019 was another great year for reissue and archival releases. A few stood out as especially noteworthy; those are listed and briefly described) below. More details (my reviews, interviews … that sort of thing) can be found by clicking the links below each. The Black Watch – 31 Years of Obscurity I wasn’t familiar John

Boxed Set Review: Land of 1000 Dances

Though there were certainly earlier examples, the era of the lavish boxed set began a few decades back; it more or less coincided with the CD era. And it persisted well into the 21st century. In the last few years, it seems to have trailed off, though superb exceptions to that rule continue to pop

Hit Dogs: Serious Rock, Leavened with Humor

In the mid-1980s, Frank Zappa released an album with a question for a title: Does Humor Belong in Music? While much of the guitarist-bandleader-composer’s music was quite serious, his humor-focused material occupied a significant place in his body of work. Asheville rock trio Hit Dogs has a similar collective philosophy: while they’re certainly not a

Album Review: The Black Tones — Cobain & Cornbread

Ice-T (among many others) has long made the point that African Americans’ role in the creation of rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. While I agree, I suspect that in part the reason for that is that comparatively few people of color work in the rock idiom. I recall vividly just how

Album Review: Rachid Taha — Je Suis Africain

Are you familiar with a musical genre called Chaâbi? Me neither. Put simply (and reductively), it’s North African folk music, sort of a cousin to another style, raï. One of the foremost artists to combine that style with rock was Rachid Taha; the Algerian musician released more than a dozen albums under his own name,

Album Review: Daystar — The Complete Recordings

It’s always tricky choosing a band name. I once had a group called the Buzztones; we played obscure ’60s garage-psych. But one day we discovered there was another Buzztones, and they were a Christian rock [sic] group. Ugh. So we changed our name to The Echoes of Tyme (side note: that name’s available now if

Neil Young is Here to Stay: the ‘Rusty’ Year of 1979

As the 1970s wound toward a close, Neil Young placed himself in a curious position. By that point he had been in the public eye as a musician for more than a decade; he first came to wide attention as a member of Buffalo Springfield, then as an on-again-off-again collaborator with David Crosby, Stephen Stills

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2019, #3

Here’s the final installment of the year (and the decade!) of my quick, condensed album reviews. Ten titles, 100 words each. Seven are new releases; the remaining three are archival and/or reissue releases. There are some SERIOUS gems in here. Sweet Lizzy Project – Technicolor When most people think of Cuban music, their thoughts turn

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2019, #2

With the end of 2019 on the horizon, I figure now’s as good a time as any to bring things up to date with another batch of quick reviews. In this edition: all new music, ten titles. Blues, powerpop, jazz and more. All worth your time. Maybe even a Great Gift Idea™. Happy holidays! Coco