review Archive

Album Mini-review: Marillion — F.E.A.R.

File next to: Pink Floyd, Blackfield On their 18th studio album – and 14th with frontman Steve Hogarth – UK progressive rock outfit Marillion returns with its first new release since 2012’s Sounds That Can’t Be Made. The 17 tracks that make up the album are clearly designed to be taken as a whole; more

Album Review: C.A. Quintet – A Trip Thru Hell

It’s likely overstatement to assert that there’s never been another album like C.A. Quintet’s spooky psychedelic masterwork A Trip Thru Hell, but it’s fair to say that the hit parade has never featured anything similar. Released in 1969 on a tiny label called Candy Floss, A Trip Thru Hell sold only locally; fewer than 1000

Album Review: John Cage Meets Sun Ra

A musical summit between avant-garde legends John Cage and Sun Ra is the kind of thing that – had it not actually taken place – history might have had to invent. While the idioms within which each of these giants worked were quite different from one another, both men shared a commitment to pushing the

Album Mini-review: KT Tunstall — KIN

File next to: Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple Scottish-born Tunstall is that rarest of artists: she enjoys critical praise while scoring on the commercial side of the equation. Her songs are licensed for use in TV ads, but her cred remains unvarnished. Even a hiatus form the pop music scene – taking time to study film

Album Mini-review: Todd Rundgren — An Evening with Todd Rundgren

File next to: Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, Joe Jackson Rundgren has always been the most restless, resourceful and unpredictable of artists. It was two decades ago that he warned his days of releasing albums were over. That didn’t turn out to be the case. And he’s never made a secret of his general disdain of

Album Mini-review: Cool Ghouls — Animal Races

File next to: Moby Grape, The Byrds, Mystery Lights The name should be your first clue: San Francisco’s Cool Ghouls are unabashed acolytes for rock’s bygone garage-psychedelia era. What sets them apart from similarly retro acts is their well-honed ability to craft earworms: those tunes that stick in the listener’s head like bubblegum on a

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