review Archive

Album Review: IZZ – The Darkened Room

How accurate would it be to categorize New York-based IZZ as a progressive rock group? To paraphrase a former U.S. president, it depends what your definition of IZZ is. The six-member IZZ does exhibit some of the trappings of progressive rock: a suite-like approach to song structure and album flow; impressionistic lyrics. But their musical

Album Review: The Dukes of Stratosphear – The Complete and Utter Dukes

There’s a proud — if not properly appreciated — tradition in rock and pop music: recording under a pseudonym. As far back as 1965 the Four Seasons released a cover of Bob Dylan‘s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” under the moniker The Wonder Who. Dylan himself cut a few tracks in 1963 as Blind Boy

Album Review: The Chesterfield Kings – Live Onstage…If You Want It

Graham Gouldman — yeah, the guy who wrote “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul” and other hits for the Yardbirds, and was one of the original members of 10cc — may be positioned to pick up some loose change. More on that forthwith. You don’t title your album Live Onstage…If You Want It and

Holiday Music: Christmas in Memphis

Way back in ancient history (well, late 2002) a bunch of friends and musicians dubbed themselves Husky Team and got together for a quick, one-off project: recording a bunch of holiday classics with a twist. What they did and who they are make this a worthwhile departure from the normal let-it-snow Christmas collections that come

Album Review: The Twilight Hours – Stereo Night

Things could have gone so differently. In the early 90s, rock music found itself at the latest in a long series of crossroads. There wasn’t much of lasting value happening in high-profile rock music, but as is often the case, a couple of interesting strains were bubbling under. At the time I was living in

Album Review: Pugwash – Giddy

It’s a bit like being a kid again, coming into the living room on Christmas morning. That’s as apt as any a metaphor for the initial listen to Giddy, a best-of compilation by the best Irish group since The Boomtown Rats. By most accounts, Thomas Walsh simply hates the term Beatlesque. And ELO-esque or XTC-esque

DVD Review: John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band Live in Toronto ‘69

In 1988 the D.A. Pennebaker-directed Sweet Toronto concert film was released. Its appearance at that late date — the concert had taken place nearly twenty years earlier — was itself somewhat odd. The market being what it is, many opportunities to release the film to significant publicity had come and gone. John Lennon, the primary

Concert Review: thenewno2 at The Fillmore, Charlotte NC 11/03/2009

As the old cliché goes, sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In 2007 Dhani Harrison debuted his new band (originally to be called beatson ), thenewno2. While the group took their name from the villain in Patrick McGoohan‘s groundbreaking late-sixties TV miniseries The Prisoner, there’s not much else backward-looking about thenewno2. The

Album Review: Lost & Found: Real R’n’B & Soul

Thank goodness for crate-diggers. Were it not for the efforts of hardcore music fans — and ones possessing some considerable influence — many examples of wonderful and under-the-radar music would have been lost to the mists of time. In a manner not at all far-removed from that of legendary folklorist/ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax — he of

Album Review: Putumayo Presents Jazz Around the World

Putumayo’s top-selling India surveyed pop styles of that country. This, their other high-profile release of 2009, is Jazz Around the World. The sleeve describes it as “original songs and standards performed by musicians from Cuba to Cameroon.” Chantal Chamberland starts things off in slightly familiar territory: the French Canadian chanteuse sings “La Mer” accompanied by