vinyl Archive

EP Review: DB Edmunds — Life’s Wild Ride

Standing in contrast to the prevailing alternarock grunge of the 1990s was a comparatively tiny coterie of artists who valued melody along with rock’s power. Bands like Greenberry Woods, Sugar, Material Issue and Ben Folds Five and solo artists like Michael Penn and Matthew Sweet may not have sounded at all like each other, but

Album review: Azymuth – Telecommunication

It may be difficult to imagine such a thing today, some five decades after the fact, but in the early 1970s, jazz/funk/fusion was more than a blip on the commercial landscape of the music industry. Though jazz would – sadly, and in short order – soon morph into the dreaded “smooth jazz” of artists like

Album Review: Tamar Berk — The Restless Dreams of Youth

Way back in the heyday of rock and pop, artists who scored a record deal were required to churn out a new collection of songs every few months. That furious pace of output separated the wheat from the chaff; not everyone was prolific. Some were up to the task, and we remember their names today.

Album Review: Ellen Starski — Sara’s Half Finished Love Affair

Tuneful, heartfelt and impeccably arranged singer-songwriter fare is the stock in trade of Ellen Starski. On the Nashville artist’s latest release, Sara’s Half-Finished Love Affair, she presents a varied set of songs. Rising above the singer-with-an-acoustic milieu, Starski draws deftly from glitchy 90s’ alt rock (Suzanne Vega’s 99.9F° seems a useful reference point), Americana (the

Randall Bramblett: Lucky That Way

The music business has a built-in tendency to categorize artists: they’re a rocker, a country act, a jazz cat, a rapper or something else. And in those relatively rare instances when an artist ventures even slightly outside of his or her appointed lane, they earn the crossover-artist tag. Yet there do exist a few extra-special

Album Review: Dopapod – s/t

Interactivity is what you make it. And for their latest album, Dopapod has devised a way for listeners to immerse themselves even more deeply into the band’s unique world. The vinyl pressing of the Boston group’s self-titled (and seventh) studio album features a board game. “Building a Time Machine” uses the gatefold’s inner sleeve as

Album Review: Bill Evans – You Must Believe in Spring

Bill Evans was a prolific as he was gifted. In the course of his short life, Evans released more than 50 albums, and contributed his piano talents to at least as many releases by other artists. He died in September 1980, and shortly after his passing, a new album appeared. Recorded in 1977, You Must

Album Review: Teeth of England — Serrated Cuts

Dave Sinclair is a North Carolina musician, but he’s teamed up with Memphis players as Teeth of England. With a band that includes Bluff City mainstay Jack Oblivian on drums, Serrated Cuts is ten tracks of rough-and-ready rock’n’roll. If your tastes run toward early r’n’r crossed with an aesthetic familiar to fans of Like Flies

Album Review: Louis Armstrong — The Nightclubs

A new compilation from Dot Time Records brings together an assortment of live performances by Luis Armstrong. Dating from the first half of the 1950s, these nine tracks (seven more on the CD version not reviewed here) document Satchmo playing with small ensembles in New York City and San Francisco clubs. The playing is spirited,

Album Review: Times Beach — Step in Time

The creatively fertile arts community in the Bay Area – centered for a time around the San Francisco Arts Institute – informed the music scene. As I wrote about in my latest book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, many of the region’s punk and new wave bands came out