Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 7 of 10

Farewell Milwaukee – FM Style: heartland jangle-rock Jangling guitars, good-timin’ harmonica, well-worn chord changes … those are the key ingredients in the musical recipe for this album. Familar echoes of John Mellencamp, R.E.M., Gin Blossoms are found throughout the thirteen tracks. But there’s more at work, too: “Figure You out” has a nice southern soul

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 6 of 10

All through last week, I plowed through my to-be-reviewed CD shelf, covering 50 discs (45 CDs, 5 DVDs) in five days. All of the music was reissues, compilations and/or archival releases. This week the march toward a clean shelf continues, with the focus now on new (as in, released in 2016) CDs. Off we go!

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 5 of 10

Today I take a look at five DVDs, all of which should be of interest to aficionados of 1960s pop culture, and all available only from The Video Beat. National Bandstand & Dig We Must (DVD) These two programs were broadcast on Australian TV in November 1965 ( the 48-minute National Bandstand, subtitled “The New

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 4 of 10

Happy Thanksgiving. Here are five more quick reviews. Today it’s all jazz. John Surman et. al. – Morning Glory If your tastes extend toward free and modal jazz – think Ornette Coleman, for example – then a new reissue of this 1973 live album may be just the thing for you. Alternating between high-flying musical

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 3 of 10

Five more quick reviews of archival/reissue material. Three of today’s five are from Grammy-award winning label Omnivore Recordings. One of these days I’ll write liner notes for one of their fine releases; I just know it. Meantime, I’ll review the ones that I dig (which, as it happens, is nearly all of ’em). The Beach

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 2 of 10

Rolf Trostel – Inselmusik When we think back to synthesizer-based innovators circa 1980, names like Gary Numan pop right up. But German musicians had been exploring the possibilities of synths – and more specifically, synth-based (as opposed to synth-accented) music – for quite awhile by then. Rolf Trossel’s instrumental explorations – using the then-revolutionary PPG

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 1 of 10

Time to clear out the backlog before the year’s end. Here’s the first installment; lots of great titles here. Consider doing your holiday shopping, and note that I’ve provided purchasing links (when available) to Amazon. As it happens, these five are all from Real Gone Music, one of my favorite reissue/archival labels. Fanny – Mother’s

Outside Now: A Conversation with Dweezil Zappa, Part 2

Continued from Part One … While Dweezil Zappa‘s tour will include a few tracks from Via Zammata, most of each show will center around performances of Frank’s challenging material. And Dweezil’s band follows the late Zappa’s onstage approach of building improvisation into the songs. “That’s one of the unique things about Frank’s music,” Dweezil observes.

Outside Now: A Conversation with Dweezil Zappa, Part 1

Last month I interviewed Dweezil Zappa; I wrote three features based upon that interview: one each for papers in Chicago, Richmond and Pittsburgh. But even with that, a great deal of our conversation remained unpublished. Today and tomorrow I present this feature, which combines those three and adds additional content from our interview – bk.

Blue October: Not so Blue Anymore

Texas-based Blue October enjoyed a half dozen or so charting singles in the first decade of the 21st century; their angst-filled songs struck a chord with listeners who – though weaned on a steady diet of “emo” – wanted something that rocked more. But toward the end of that decade, leader Justin Furstenfeld spiraled into