review Archive

Book Review: Rip it Up: The Specialty Records Story

BMG Publishing launched a series of books, the RPM Series, a few years ago. Superficially similar in scope to the 33-1/3 series, these volumes are designed to chronicle the history of some of music’s most important record labels. Gillian Gaar’s World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story is among the best, as it traces the

Album Review: Empire Strikes Brass — Brassterpiece Theatre

Some creative projects are the result of a carefully thought-out plan. Others happen through a special combination of good fortune and the participants’ openness to whatever develops. The latter is the case for Asheville’s Empire Strikes Brass. The group came together in 2012 for what was planned as a one-off event. Founder and saxophonist Paul

Album Review: Cary Grace – ‘Lady of Turquoise’

Cary Grace has carved out a fascinating niche in the world of music. Though she got her start in the Nashville singer-songwriter community (she even had Vince Gill play on one of her early albums!), her chosen musical idiom couldn’t be farther from all that. An American expat currently living in the UK, Grace has

Deliciousness: Frank Zappa’s ‘Hot Rats’ at 50

By the time of the release of Hot Rats, his second solo album, Frank Zappa was well established as an important force in pushing the boundaries of pop music. Not that much of what Zappa was doing could reasonably be termed “pop,” but his work flirted with the fringes of the pop world. The debut

Album Review: Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters — Christmas on a Greyhound Bus

When an artist releases an album (or EP) of holiday music, it need not be designed to fulfill an obligation to a label. It also needn’t be a placeholder while a creatively spent artist treads water, waiting for the muse to return. And it doesn’t have to be a schmaltzy, pandering and overly sentimental collection

Musoscribe’s Best of 2019: Reissue/archival Releases

2019 was another great year for reissue and archival releases. A few stood out as especially noteworthy; those are listed and briefly described) below. More details (my reviews, interviews … that sort of thing) can be found by clicking the links below each. The Black Watch – 31 Years of Obscurity I wasn’t familiar John

Boxed Set Review: Land of 1000 Dances

Though there were certainly earlier examples, the era of the lavish boxed set began a few decades back; it more or less coincided with the CD era. And it persisted well into the 21st century. In the last few years, it seems to have trailed off, though superb exceptions to that rule continue to pop

Album Review: The Black Tones — Cobain & Cornbread

Ice-T (among many others) has long made the point that African Americans’ role in the creation of rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. While I agree, I suspect that in part the reason for that is that comparatively few people of color work in the rock idiom. I recall vividly just how

Album Review: Curt Boettcher & Friends — Looking for the Sun

Those who take the trouble to dig deep into pop culture know that there exist around the margins an untold number of worthy artists who never got their due. Said artists might have engendered a cult following, or they may have gone largely unnoticed until long after their prime (an in some cases their entire

Album Review: Daystar — The Complete Recordings

It’s always tricky choosing a band name. I once had a group called the Buzztones; we played obscure ’60s garage-psych. But one day we discovered there was another Buzztones, and they were a Christian rock [sic] group. Ugh. So we changed our name to The Echoes of Tyme (side note: that name’s available now if