review Archive

Album Review: Sonar with David Torn — Tranceportation (Volume 2)

In my April 2018 review of Vortex, the first collaboration between Sonar and guitar master David Torn, I likened the music to ‘80s-period King Crimson at its most accessible, citing Crim’s “The Sheltering Sky” instrumental as a useful reference point. Between then and now I seem to have missed an album by this aggregation, because

Album Review: Iron City Houserockers – Have a Good Time … But Get Out Alive!

There’s a gritty, heartland strain of rock ‘n’ roll that has persisted through the decades. Bruce Springsteen’s best material is an exemplar of the style; shorn of artifice and filigree, it’s about visceral emotions and musical muscle. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes did the same kind of thing, as did the Smithereens, though in

Album Review: Be-Bop Deluxe – Modern Music

Be-Bop Deluxe was one of those bands that didn’t fit neatly into a genre classification. Variously classified as progressive rock, glam rock and art rock, in truth none of those labels sits comfortably upon their body of work. Led by highly regarded guitarist Bill Nelson, the band – which lasted a relatively short six or

Album Review: The Harmed Brothers — Across the Waves

Though it’s billed as rock/Americana, The Harmed Brothers’ fifth album Across the Waves is better described as heartland rock. There’s twang in the music to be sure, but the earnest and soulful presentation of these songs is truer to the rock ‘n’ roll spirit. “Skyline Over” benefits from a tight, concise and memorable melody, and

Album Review: The Tnek Jazz Quintet Plays the Music of Sam Jones

Bassist Sam Jones was an important figure in hard bop and soul jazz of the 1950s and beyond. Alternatively known as “Cannon’s Theme,” his composition “Unit 7” was a showcase number for Adderley’s Quintet. Jones played with Adderley during the latter’s peak period (roughly 1957-’65, and again near the end of Adderley’s time on Earth).

Book Review: The Ballad of Tommy LiPuma

Author: Ben Sidran 274pp Nardis Books One might think that an insider tale such as the biography of a record producer wouldn’t have wide appeal. That thinking goes that unless that producer is one of the most famous – say, Phil Spector or just maybe Sir George Martin – the story would be too centered

DVD Review: Krautrock: Romantic Warriors IV Part 1

The term krautrock may just be one of those labels that is meaningful only to those who exist inside a kind of bubble. The person on the street, so to speak, is unlikely to have ever heard the term, much less to know what it represents. Very loosely defined, krautrock is the rock music that

Album Review: Willie Nile — New York at Night

Way back when Bob Seger finally broke through nationally, much was written about how it took him many years to become an overnight sensation. And he’s merely one example of highly talented artists who toil in obscurity for years. Some – most, actually – never break out. They might earn a measure of critical claim,

Album Review: Lane Thaw — Falling off the Planet

Existing outside the world of rock ‘n’ roll, Lane Thaw’s Falling off the Planet is the kind of record that suggests an alternate timeline, one in which cult artists like Leon Redbone and Randy Newman hit the big time. With a large ensemble that includes violin, viola, marimba, lap steel, banjo, ukulele and flugelhorn alongside

Album Review: Todd Rundgren’s Utopia – Benefit for Moogy Klingman

After the success of his double LPs Something/Anything? (1972) and Todd (1974) as well as the double-album in all but pressing A Wizard/A True Star (1973), Todd Rundgren decided to channel his progressive proclivities into a project separate from his solo work. Utopia was thus born. And while the earliest lineup never recorded, as the