rawk Archive

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

Album Review: Bask — III

For a small city, Asheville is home to musicians representing a staggering array of musical styles. In an era that many see as post-album, post-rock and post-all other manner of things that make music special, it’s surprising that there’s a small but solid heavy rock scene in and around the city. A vivid testament to

The Church: Further, Deeper, Infinity

This essay appeared previously in NewCity. The Church debuted with Of Skin and Heart (known worldwide as The Church) in 1981. The Australian foursome never fit neatly into the then-thriving new wave movement; while guitarist Marty Willson-Piper’s jangling guitars bore some sonic connection with the American West Coast’s so-called “Paisley Underground” movement, the band’s moody,

Hunger for the Dreams: ‘The Allman Brothers Band’ at 50

When the eponymous debut album by The Allman Brothers Band appeared on record store shelves in November 1969, record buyers may have thought they were discovering a new group. To be fair, they were, but the group’s members were already seasoned veterans of the music scene. Founded by brothers Duane (guitar) and Gregg (keyboards) Allman,