review Archive

Album Review: The Smithereens Play Tommy

The Smithereens are well-known rock fans. Their unique, canny take on rock music is informed by everyone from the Four Freshmen (drummer Dennis Diken cites them as a large-looming influence) to Black Sabbath (guitarist Pat DiNizio wrote a tribute of sort to Iommi and Co. on the first ‘Reens LP). And their affection for rock

Album Review: The D.I.’s – Rare Cuts!

Note: the album is included as a bonus CD in the deluxe package of The Gears‘ Rockin’ at Ground Zero (reviewed below), but it deserves its own review. The 2009 Hep Cat release of Rockin’ at Ground Zero includes a bonus CD of cuts entitled, appropriately enough, Rare Cuts! After the demise of The Gears,

Album Review: The Gears – Rockin’ at Ground Zero

Initially I had reservations about even spinning my review copy of Rockin’ at Ground Zero. While I wasn’t familiar with The Gears, I do know enough about the L.A. punk scene of the late 70s and early 80s. And that era of punk doesn’t really do much for me. The L.A. variant seemed musically angrier

DVD Review: Muddy Waters Live at ChicagoFest

Muddy Waters Live at ChicagoFest is a 1981 performance of the master bluesman onstage. The concert — filmed at Chicago’s famous Navy Pier — features Muddy with his band and some Very Special Guests. Chicago takes its blues very seriously, and the packed crowd at Navy Pier is no exception; Muddy enjoys an enthusiastic and

In the Warm Embrace of Ozric Tentacles

One of the most memorable lines in John Landis‘ film The Blues Brothers takes place when the band arrives at a roadhouse. Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) asks the proprietress, “What kind of music do you usually have here?” She comes right back with her reply: “Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western.”

DVD Review: BB King Live in Africa ‘74

Presumably made up from outtakes from the filming of Leon Gast‘s When We Were Kings, B.B. King Live in Africa ’74 is a high-quality document of the master still near the peak of his powers. Filmed in concert in Kinshasa Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo), this beautifully-filmed concert movie features

Turn Me On, Dead Man.

In honor of 09.09.09, the unofficial reboot of The Greatest Band The World Has Ever Known, here are NINE (of course) links to some Beatles-related features on this blog and its sister site  A 2007 interview with Marshall Crenshaw in which MC reminisces about his days as a cast member of the Beatlemania show.

DVD Review: Let Freedom Sing – How Music Inspired the Civil Rights Movement

Let Freedom Sing is a 2009 DVD documentary that surveys the American civil rights struggle. That’s been done before, certainly. But this film puts a unique, refreshing and fascinating spin on the story by setting it against the backdrop of music. The film’s subtitle (How Music Inspired the Civil Rights Movement) says it all. From

DVD Review: Tim DeLaughter – Wee See

Tim DeLaughter is the endlessly creative front man and prime mover of The Polyphonic Spree, the feel-good orchestral-rock ensemble from Dallas TX. DeLaughter excels at a number of things; among these is his ability to achieve multiple and seemingly disparate goals through his chosen media. One example of this — and it’s the most obvious

Album Review: The Fabulous Poodles – Mirror Stars / Think Pink

What would the late 70s Kinks have sounded like had they prominently featured mandolin and violin? The simple answer: The Fabulous Poodles. Fronted by a bespectacled Tony deMeur (though he’s known these days as Ronnie Golden), the FabPoos bubbled under in the late 70s with a clutch of winning songs full of sarcasm, whimsy, hooks,