review Archive

Album Review: Patrick Grant – Fields Amaze and Other Strange Music

Anything that crosses my desk and making mention of Philip Glass warrants a closer link. But the placid soundscapes of Glass’ work aren’t at all what you’ll find within Fields Amaze. This is a remixed, remastered, re-whatever of Patrick Grant’s 1998 work. Created for percussion and tuned instruments, it’s a varied collection of instrumentals that

Concert Recap: Matthew Sweet at the Visulite Theatre, Charlotte N.C. May 25, 2018

After a couple albums’ worth of searching for his signature style, Nebraska-born Matthew Sweet struck creative and commercial gold with his 1991 album Girlfriend. Sweet’s winning voice and thoughtful lyrics were joined not only by his enduring melodic sense – the man has a knowing way with a sharp melodic hook – but by some

Book Review: Anthony DeCurtis — Lou Reed: A Life

There have been a number of books written about Lou Reed and/or the Velvet Underground. Victor Bockris’ Transformer: The Lou Reed story hit shelves nearly a quarter century ago, at a time when Reed’s creative renaissance hadn’t yet fully flowered. And although Bockris recent published an updated version of his bio, unless he rewrote the

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2018

Time once again for some 100-word reviews. Please note that I receive many albums each day for review consideration; even when allowing for the fact that 80-90% of them don’t make the cut for coverage/review, there are still far too many to cover. What that means in practical terms is twofold: (1) the only way

Album Review: Guadalcanal Diary – At Your Birthday Party

Signed to DB Recs at or near the local label’s commercial high point, Guadalcanal Diary released its debut EP, Watusi Rodeo in 1983. The disc’s catchy yet slightly off-kilter songs (mostly by guitarist Murray Attaway) attracted the attention of Elektra, who soon signed the band. Released in 1984, the Don Dixon-produced Walking in the Shadow

Album Review: John Wesley Harding – Greatest Other People’s Hits

Nearly everything one first learns about John Wesley Harding suggests the man is a smart-aleck. A folky troubadour transplanted long ago from Hastings, England to the U.S., the man born Wesley Stace adopted a stage name taken from one of Bob Dylan’s most celebrated releases. (Some years ago he also released an album that waggishly

Album Review: The Orb — No Sounds Are Out of Bounds

Whether it was an association they originally wished for or not, the Orb were pegged early on as a sort of modern-day answer to Pink Floyd. Though the project (Alex Paterson and collaborators) has always been about more than ambient, dance-oriented space music — hey, they’ve worked extensively with reggae icon Lee” Scratch” Perry —

Album Review: Brother Reverend — The Tables Turn Too Often

I think the publicist – however well-meaning he may be – was having a bit of fun when writing the one-sheet that accompanies promo copies of The Tables Turn Too Often. Sure, it’s useful to provide potential reviewers with some musical signposts, occasionally dropping of names in a RIYL (“promo-speak for “review if you like…”)

Album Review: Iceberg Slim — Reflections

If I told you that a key inspiration for the slice-of-street hip-hop of Ice-T was an earlier recording artist going by the name of Iceberg Slim, you’d likely develop some immediate preconceptions as to what the earlier iceman sounded like. But I’m here to tell you that you’d probably be way off base. Iceberg Slim

Album Review: The Fall — 45 84 89 A Sides

The Fall are one of those groups that somehow largely escaped my notice, until now. I think I first heard a song by the Fall sometime in the late 1980s. All I can recall about the song is that I found it fairly unlistenable, mostly because of what I considered Mark E. Smith’s grating, declamatory