review Archive

Album Review: Michael Roach — Tryin’ Times

The album opens with a loping, country-blues feel, with just a single guitar. But like a curtain slowly being drawn back to reveal the musicians onstage, the arrangement builds, adding instrumentation and vocal until the net effect is a full band. By the second verse of the title track – a cover of Donny Hathway’s

Album Review: Big Dave McLean — Pocket Full of Nothin’

All of the ingredients required for a successful contemporary blues album are present on Pocket Full of Nothin’, the seventh album from Canadian-born singer-guitarist Big Dave McLean. There are plenty of soulful, beefy horns. There’s a tasty rhythm section. The Wurlitzer electric piano and organ textures hit just the right note. And McLean’s a fine

Album Review: Early Day Miners — Placer Found

When I think of shoegaze, I tend to conjure up thoughts of gauzy, heavily layered music with a somnabulant, faraway vibe. But of course the subgenre has more variety than that. Case in point is the debut album from Bloomington, Indiana’s Early Day Miners, 2000’s Placer Found. The album strikes an intimate vibe not wholly

Album Review: The Bye Bye Blackbirds — Boxer at Rest

It’s been nearly three years since the release of The Bye Bye Blackbirds’ previous album, Take Out the Poison (see below for a link to my review of that record). The reasons for that extended quiet period have much to do with the tone of the new record. Guitarist Lenny Gill experienced serious health problems,

Album Review: Smoke Fairies — Darkness Brings the Wonders Home

The influence of American blues forms upon the music of Led Zeppelin is widely acknowledged; though they took it in a heavier direction that sometimes tended to exaggerate its more, shall we say, macho tendencies, Zep undoubtedly helped open a generation’s ears to the style. But it’s unfairly reductive to label the band as merely

Album Review: Norman — Buzz and Fade

Had it not been for Don Valentine personally contacting me to inquire if I was familiar with it, the existence of Norman’s Buzz and Fade might have slipped completely by me, escaping my notice. So a hearty, heartfelt thanks to the man at I Don’t Hear a Single for hipping me to a superb release.

Album Review: Eamon Ra — Meat Bones Chemicals Electricity

The album title telegraphs that Eamon Ra is something of an eccentric artist. That the LP comes packed with a magazine-sized lyric/comic book only serves to reinforce that impression. And then when one digs into the music itself (as one most assuredly should), the discovery is that this character belongs in that rarefied place wherein

Album Review: Anders Manga — Andromeda

Modern recording technology being what it is, in 2020 it’s no longer remarkable to find an album created by one person that still sounds like the work of a complete band. But it’s far from a given, and remains refreshing to encounter. Anders Manga is an Asheville-based artist working in the idiom of darkwave, but

Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends at 50

Scattered among the history of pop and rock music are the occasional oddities: albums made by those whose circumstances or talents in a particular area might not quite have suited them for the task of making an album, but who still somehow managed to do so. French millionaire playboy Philippe DeBarge did so in the

Take Some Old Songs and Make Them Newer: The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ at 50

In light of the fact that they’re the most popular rock act in the history of music, the Beatles’ catalog is more than a bit confusing. Though CD-era reissues were part of a concerted effort to realign and untangle things, the original release schedule of Beatles albums in the ’60s (and very early 1970s) is