vinyl Archive

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: 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: Rachid Taha — Je Suis Africain

Are you familiar with a musical genre called Chaâbi? Me neither. Put simply (and reductively), it’s North African folk music, sort of a cousin to another style, raï. One of the foremost artists to combine that style with rock was Rachid Taha; the Algerian musician released more than a dozen albums under his own name,

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

Neil Young is Here to Stay: the ‘Rusty’ Year of 1979

As the 1970s wound toward a close, Neil Young placed himself in a curious position. By that point he had been in the public eye as a musician for more than a decade; he first came to wide attention as a member of Buffalo Springfield, then as an on-again-off-again collaborator with David Crosby, Stephen Stills

Hunger for the Dreams: ‘The Allman Brothers Band’ at 50

When the eponymous debut album by The Allman Brothers Band appeared on record store shelves in November 1969, record buyers may have thought they were discovering a new group. To be fair, they were, but the group’s members were already seasoned veterans of the music scene. Founded by brothers Duane (guitar) and Gregg (keyboards) Allman,

Weird of Scotland: Jack Bruce’s ‘Songs for a Tailor’ at 50

Sixties supergroup Cream had at least five things that made it special: guitarist Eric Clapton, drummer Ginger Baker and bassist-vocalist Jack Bruce were the three most obvious assets. But producer Felix Pappalardi and Bruce’s lyricist Pete Brown deserve major credit as well. For all of Cream’s excesses onstage – seemingly endless guitar soloing and “Toad”

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