vinyl Archive

Album Review: Early Day Miners — Placer Found

When I think of shoegaze, I tend to conjure up thoughts of gauzy, heavily layered music with a somnabulant, faraway vibe. But of course the subgenre has more variety than that. Case in point is the debut album from Bloomington, Indiana’s Early Day Miners, 2000’s Placer Found. The album strikes an intimate vibe not wholly

Album Review: The Bye Bye Blackbirds — Boxer at Rest

It’s been nearly three years since the release of The Bye Bye Blackbirds’ previous album, Take Out the Poison (see below for a link to my review of that record). The reasons for that extended quiet period have much to do with the tone of the new record. Guitarist Lenny Gill experienced serious health problems,

Album Review: Smoke Fairies — Darkness Brings the Wonders Home

The influence of American blues forms upon the music of Led Zeppelin is widely acknowledged; though they took it in a heavier direction that sometimes tended to exaggerate its more, shall we say, macho tendencies, Zep undoubtedly helped open a generation’s ears to the style. But it’s unfairly reductive to label the band as merely

Album Review: Eamon Ra — Meat Bones Chemicals Electricity

The album title telegraphs that Eamon Ra is something of an eccentric artist. That the LP comes packed with a magazine-sized lyric/comic book only serves to reinforce that impression. And then when one digs into the music itself (as one most assuredly should), the discovery is that this character belongs in that rarefied place wherein

Take Some Old Songs and Make Them Newer: The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ at 50

In light of the fact that they’re the most popular rock act in the history of music, the Beatles’ catalog is more than a bit confusing. Though CD-era reissues were part of a concerted effort to realign and untangle things, the original release schedule of Beatles albums in the ’60s (and very early 1970s) is

Album Review: Louis Armstrong and His All Stars — Live in 1956

Though he had certainly been massively popular before, in the middle 1950s jazz trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong was near the top of his game. In 1947 he broke up his big band and formed a new group, the All Stars made up primarily of former leaders of other bands. Louis Armstrong and His All

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

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

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