review Archive

Album Review: Jazzville — Blue Skies

Jazz is one of the few musical idioms in which artists can record and/or perform the compositions of others and still gain widespread critical acclaim. The form itself is designed to allow — and perhaps even demand — a fresh and original approach to existing material. Against that backdrop, Blue Skies, the debut release from

Album Review: Geoff Gibbons – Shadow of a Stone

Geoff Gibbons is a Vancouver-based singer-songwriter; this four-song EP is merely the latest in a long string of releases. There’s a contemplative and majestic feel to these songs, with arrangements that put the vocals (and, by extension, the lyrics) right out front. The instrumentation is solid and subtle, but it’s all designed specifically to provide

Album Review: Dave Brubeck — Time In

The opening solo piano strains of “Last Waltz,” the opening track on Dave Brubeck’s 1966 LP Time In are lovely enough. But they suggest that the album is going to be a somewhat staid, fussy and classically-leaning collection of songs. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with that; Brubeck has always been a master of many styles.

Notable Vinyl Releases, Part Three

These quick reviews cover an assorted lot: two compilations, a reissue and a 45rpm single all in needle-hits-groove physical format. Warren Zevon – My Ride’s Here If you only know a few things about Zevon, it’s that he did “Werewolves of London,” that he had a celebrated sardonic sense of humor (imagine a rock-oriented Randy

Notable Vinyl Releases, Part Two

Today’s three are all new, indie releases. David Duchovny – Every Third Thought A confession, right up front: when this album landed on my desk, my first thought was, “Uh-oh. Another vanity project from an actor who maybe played some guitar back in college.” A bit of belated investigation demonstrated that my attitude was wholly

Notable Vinyl Releases, Part One

These three are reissues. Hank Jones – Arigato Jones’ recording career as a jazz pianist began in 1947 and continued until age 91 with the aptly-named Last Recording in 2010. Recipient of numerous accolades (NEA Jazz Masters, ASCAP Jazz Living Legend Award, etc.), Jones was a prolific musician; he released some five dozen albums under

Album Review: R.E.M. — The Best of R.E.M. at the BBC

There was a time – a pretty long time, actually – during which R.E.M. was among the most popular groups on the planet. Without being pretentious or self-important (I’m lookin’ at you, U2), the foursome from Athens, Georgia did things its own way, uncompromisingly. Over the course of the band’s history – 1983 to 2011

Todd Rundgren’s ‘No World Order” at 25

Todd Rundgren has long made a career out of alternatively (and sometimes simultaneously) confounding and delighting his most ardent fans. Resolutely following his muse wherever it takes him, Rundgren is remarkably unbound from commercial considerations; he makes the music he wants to make, how and when he chooses. The result is a body of work

Album Review: Lord Sonny the Unifier — Final Notice!

With a title like “The Starman,” one might expect a song that bears a passing similarity to the music of the original Starman, David Bowie. And in fact that’s not too wide of the mark; the opening track on Final Notice!, the new album from Lord Sonny the Unifier. Lead singer and guitarist Greg Jiritano’s

Album Review: The Fall – I Am Kurious Oranj

The Fall were never most people’s idea of a commercial group. They didn’t have the jangling melodicism of the Smiths, nor the sophisticated funk groove of Gang of Four. But the British postpunk band did have Brix Smith. She was Mark E. Smith’s wife and lead guitarist, and her influence moved the band in its