vinyl Archive

Gonna Raise Hell: Cheap Trick’s ‘Dream Police’ at 40

Though they had released three excellent albums to date, in 1978 Cheap Trick was still laboring in relative obscurity. The Rockford, Illinois band’s releases – 1977’s self-titled debut, In Color from later that same year and 1978’s Heaven Tonight – had each sold better than the last, but none cracked the top 40 album charts.

For Example: A Look Back at ‘The Nice’ at 50

It’s unfortunate that when the Nice come up in conversation today, they’re too quickly summed up as “the band that Keith Emerson was in before ELP.” That’s a true enough description, but it has the effect of dismissing the contributions of the band’s other members, and overlooking the power of the group as a whole.

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Fun: the Men and the Journey of RPWL

German keyboardist/vocalist Yogi Lang first encountered guitarist Karlheinz “Kalle” Wallner in 1988 when the latter was playing in a band called Incubus. Eventually renamed Violet District, the group released its sole album, Terminal Breath in 1992, with Lang producing. Based 40 km north of Munich in Freising, that group met with only modest success, disbanding

Single Review: The Embryos — Singles Club Volume 2

I was already predisposed toward liking this 45 before I heard it; The Embryos’ Open the Kimono (reviewed a few months back) is an instantly likable collection of chiming, catchy pop-rock. “Popular Character” has shades of Raspberries, Pilot and Matthew Sweet. So yeah, it falls loosely into the popwerpop subcategory. But if that’s not your

Ian McDonald: From Prog to Arena Rock to Alt-country, All in Style

Most people will know the name Ian McDonald from his work with King Crimson and Foreigner. But his body of work extends well beyond pioneering progressive rock and ’70s arena rock. His current project is, in fact, a far cry from both of those styles. A superb multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, McDonald lends his talents to

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2019, Part 2

More capsule reviews! New music! Vinyl titles are noted with the designation (LP). Fastball – The Help Machine If you’re a certain age, you remember “The Way.” If you were especially sharp in those days, you might know the even better “You’re an Ocean.” Fastball’s approach struck me as a kind of American answer to

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2019, Part 1

Once again, it’s time for a passel of quick reviews. Twenty in all – ten today, as many tomorrow. All deserve a listen. Titles on vinyl are noted as such (LP). Waiting for Henry – The Gospel of Moby Grape As a serious fan of the star-crossed band name-checked in the title, I had to

Album Review: Jack Oblivian & the Dream Killers — Lost Weekend

Among the audiophile set, the term “lo-fi” is cause to run for the hills. Having grown up on a steady diet of 1960s garage rock, I have no such qualms. Hell, I even dig “Green Fuz.” And with that in mind, I welcome Lost Weekend, an LP from Jack Oblivian & the Dream Killers that

Album Review: Bark — Terminal Everything

As a rule, I look askance at guitar-and-drum duos; for my money, Dex and Crow did it well enough back in the Flat Duo Jets days that I don’t really need anybody else to do it. But when the artists involved are Tim Lee and Susan Bauer Lee, attention must be paid. The former was

The Drive to 1981 Begins: A Look Back at Robert Fripp’s Masterful ‘Exposure’ (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … Fans of King Crimson’s Red receive a wonderful treat with “Breathless.” Though the specific players on each track aren’t noted, the song – very much a cousin to Red‘s title track – features a very progressive Narada Michael Walden on the drum kit, and Tony Levin (of future Crimsons) on