review Archive

Album Review: Julian Lennon – The Secret Value of Daydreaming

NOTE: In 2009 Noble Rot reissued three of Julian Lennon‘s albums. They didn’t reissue the Valotte debut, nor did the put out a new release of Photograph Smile, Julian’s 1999 album (and arguably the finest work he’s produced). Instead, this new label — in keeping with its reputation for unearthing underappreciated albums from the 80s

Blast from the Past: Julian Lennon – Valotte

Note: In October 2009 Noble Rot reissued the second, third and fourth albums by Julian Lennon. While the first and fifth did not see re-release, it made sense to this writer to provide context by reviewing all five in chronological order. When Julian Lennon released Valotte in 1984, a lot of people were surprised. This

Album Review: The Mary Onettes – Islands

On their self-titled 2007 US debut, Sweden’s Mary Onettes put forth a modern take on the sounds of Liverpool’s Echo and the Bunnymen and Australian group the Church. Well, actually, not all that modern. Their original songs channeled the vibe of those and other groups who enjoyed a heyday in the 1980s. The lavishly packaged

Album Review: Tiny Tim – I’ve Never Seen a Straight Banana

Forget whatever you think you know about Tiny Tim. His cartoonish persona distracted from the fact that he was in fact a great musical archivist, a preserver of some of America’s lost music. “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” is the beginning and end of most listeners’ musical knowledge of the man born Herbert Khaury, but there’s

Concert Review: Charlotte Pop Fest, Day 3

After the semi-disaster of Night #2 (I had missed Night #1 altogether) of the 2009 Charlotte Pop Fest, I was left wondering how things would go. Event impresario James Deem had come out onstage part-way through the Friday set to announce to the crowd (well, not a crowd; more like a gathering) that due to

Album Review: Blindfold – Faking Dreams

Icelandic quartet Blindfold offer up a subdued, dreamy mix on Faking Dreams, their first release. The opening track (“Falleg Depuro”, whatever that means) has an appealing verse structure, but waiting for the chorus that never comes is a little unsatisfying. Once conventional expectations are discarded, the album can be enjoyed for what it is. “Sad

Album Review: A Camp (self-titled)

Nina Persson is possessed of a voice that’s at once icy and removed, emotive and sensual. As vocalist for the Cardigans, her pipes floated over their gimmicky-but-good arrangements. But A Camp is a different matter altogether. There’s still that dichotomy, causing tension and resolution on every track. The group’s second album Colonia was released to

Album Review: Lost in the Trees – All Alone in an Empty House

I absolutely love vinyl. And I’m no audiophile; my hearing is quite damaged from thirty-plus years of playing in bands (and seeing the Who in 1980). I dearly value the warmth of the vinyl; that digital stuff is harsh on my ears (man). And I don’t mind the crackle of dirt and dust in the

Album Review: The Pineapple Thief – 3000 Days

Maybe it’s something in the British water. Or, more likely, in their wonderfully full-bodied just-below-room-temperature beer. It must be said: this is pretty derivative stuff. The Pineapple Thief sounds like nothing so much as Porcupine Tree with Steven Wilson replaced by Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke (vocals) and Jonny Greenwood (guitar). OK, perhaps that’s a bit unfair.

Album/DVD Review: Blackfield – Live in New York City

Live in New York City is the first live offering from Blackfield, the collaborative effort between England’s Steven Wilson and Israeli Aviv Geffen. With two albums in their back catalogue (2005’s self-titled album and 2007’s Blackfield II) the time was right to release this concert album, recorded around the time of Blackfield II‘s release. The