review Archive

Shot in the Dark: Utopia’s ‘Adventures in Utopia’ at at 40

Utopia – or Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, as it was originally and would years later again be known – started out as one thing and became another. In its original form, Utopia was a progressive rock band modeled on a foundation similar to that of acts like Yes and Mahavishnu Orchestra. And while those two groups

From the Archives: Review of Yes in Concert, Feb. 3, 2017

The following is an edited reprise of a Facebook post of mine from February 2017, three years ago this week. — bk Thoughts on last night’s YES concert in Cherokee NC… I’ve seen YES twice before, or three times depending on how you count. The first was the “90125” tour, which was remarkable for the

Album Review: The Velvert Turner Group

Jimi Hendrix’s influence on music is incalculable. He affected the course of music not only as a fiery, innovative guitarist but also in his groundbreaking use of the recording studio-as-instrument. But for all of his influence – he was really only in the spotlight for a few years – most of the impression he made

Hundred-word Reviews for January 2020

Every so often – pretty often, in fact – I find a stack of CDs has accumulated on my desk. They’ve made the cut as albums deemed worthy of sharing with my readers. In the space of just one hundred words, I endeavor to convey what’s noteworthy or even special about these releases. Each of

Album Review: LLGLDNBKS — ‘self-titled album’

In 1988, R.E.M. released an album titled Eponymous. The compilation – a survey of the band’s years on IRS Records, released after the band had decamped for Warner Brothers – bore a title that served as a gentle poke-in-the-ribs of sorts to music journalists. It has long been common practice for writers covering music releases

Album Review: Marshall Crenshaw — Miracle of Science

Marshall Crenshaw’s experience in the world of major labels had come and gone by the time he made his sixth studio album, Miracle of Science. After the brilliant one-two punch of his 1982 debut album and the following year’s Field Day, the singer-guitarist’s albums would never again gain serious traction on the charts. And after

Album Review: Bill Bruford’s Earthworks — Heavenly Bodies: The Expanded Collection

Bill Bruford is a hero in the world of progressive rock. Though it’s something of an oversimplification, the short story on him is that he found drumming for Yes not challenging enough, so at the peak of that group’s popularity, he left to join King Crimson. Either way, before and after he made that move,

Don’t Ever Change: The Beatles’ ‘Live at the BBC’ at 25

The Beatles’ final album, Let it Be, was released in May 1970. With the exception of the 1977 LP The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl and two same-named but different records titled Rarities in 1978, there would be no release of previously-unheard Beatles music until the middle of the 1990s. That wasn’t the plan.

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