review Archive

Album Mini-review: The Archies — Sugar, Sugar: The Complete Albums Collection

File next to: Bay City Rollers, 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Jackson 5 After his experience with The Monkees, pop impresario Don Kirshner made the calculated decision that his next project would be one in which the artists couldn’t rebel. Thus was born The Archies, a cartoon group that only existed on television. Well, that’s not

Album Mini-review: Starling Electric — Electric Company

File next to: Pete Yorn, Bob Pollard, Bob Mould In 2008, Michigan’s Starling Electric released Clouded Staircase, one of the best albums of that decade, and one that almost nobody heard. The original songs combined the best qualities of Guided by Voices‘ Anglophile rock with vocal and arrangement prowess that encouraged positive comparisons with Brian

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2016, Part 5

My week-long barrage of brief reviews wraps up with these last five. Look for more soon. Professor Longhair – Live in Chicago In 1976, New Orleans legend Professor Longhair played at the University of Chicago Folk Festival. This high-quality recording documents that show, and the acoustic piano is captured wonderfully. The nuances of Longhair’s work

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2016, Part 4

Five more quick ones. All these albums bear further investigation. Wild Man Fischer – An Evening with Wild Man Fischer Conventional wisdom holds that while Gail Zappa was alive, she prevented reissues of many albums originally released on Frank’s Bizarre/Straight labels. Whether that’s true or not, Gail’s gone now and we finally have a legit

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2016, Part 3

Cutting a swath through the pile of CDs in my inbox, here I present five more quick reviews. Maynard Ferguson – Complete High Voltage The 1980s aren’t generally thought of as a fertile period in the jazz idiom. Fusion had had its moment, and what most people though of jazz in the 80s was a

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2016, Part 2

Five more quick reviews, presented in random order. The Bangles – Ladies and Gentlemen … the Bangles! This Los Angeles group never got the serious recognition they deserved. Chalk it up to the marketing approach of the time, but the focus was more on their undeniable good looks than their top-notch playing and writing skills.

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2016, Part 1

This week, I’m publishing 25 album reviews, each a tidy 100 words. In no particular order. Asia – Phoenix For most listeners, Asia was a one-and-done proposition; their self-titled 1982 debut was a huge hit that spawned three Top 10 hit singles. True, their second and third albums charted and had singles, too, but nobody

Album Mini-review: Anderson-Stolt — Invention of Knowledge

File next to: Yes, Flower Kings, Spock’s Beard Swedish multi-instrumentalist Reine Stolt made a name for himself with Flower Kings, a successful attempt at bringing the 1970s classic progressive rock aesthetic into modern times. The inimitable Jon Anderson was the voice of prog heroes Yes from their 1969 beginning until his departure in 2004. While

Album Mini-review: Waiting for Henry — Town Called Patience

File next to: Jayhawks, Wilco, Gin Blossoms Inside the college rock movement of the 1980s, there was a kind of proto-alt-country vibe that informed later groups like Wilco and Old 97s. There are echoes of that scene in the warm and friendly country-rock of Town Called Patience. Sharp hooks and memorable lead guitar lines provide

Album Review: David Brookings and the Average Lookings – s/t

Power pop is a musical genre for true believers, artists and listeners alike. Relentlessly upbeat – even when the subject matter is melancholy – power pop charges ahead, determinedly uninterested in bowing in the direction of the latest current and transitory musical fashions. Sales figures aside, a lot of great music has come out of