Album Review: Los Lobos – Tin Can Trust

Chances are, if you only know one thing about Los Lobos, it’s that they’re a band of Mexican American heritage. If that’s all you know, 2010 is a great time to correct that situation. The band’s latest album Tin Can Trust is a consistently engaging listen. The record — their 14th studio effort — has

Album Review: The Orange Peels – 2020

“Happy listening.” That was the message handwritten on a post-it from The Orange Peels‘ Allen Clapp. Owing to a slight mix-up in messaging, I ended up receiving a copy of the group’s new album 2020 directly from the band. In any event, Clapp’s sentiment couldn’t be more apt; in fact that two-word phrase is a

Album Review: “The Laughing Dogs / Meet Their Makers”

Generally accepted to have as its genesis the mid-60s singles by The Who (for example “I Can See for Miles”), powerpop has enjoyed a few brief moments in the limelight. The early 70s saw the triumvirate of powerpop groups: Badfinger (Northern England/Wales), Big Star (Memphis) and the Raspberries (Cleveland). The first and third of these

Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends at 50

Scattered among the history of pop and rock music are the occasional oddities: albums made by those whose circumstances or talents in a particular area might not quite have suited them for the task of making an album, but who still somehow managed to do so. French millionaire playboy Philippe DeBarge did so in the

Album Review: Cary Grace – ‘Lady of Turquoise’

Cary Grace has carved out a fascinating niche in the world of music. Though she got her start in the Nashville singer-songwriter community (she even had Vince Gill play on one of her early albums!), her chosen musical idiom couldn’t be farther from all that. An American expat currently living in the UK, Grace has

(My) Best of the Decade

Like many critics and serious followers of music, from time to time I compile my own “personal bests” lists. Almost exactly a decade ago today – this blog’s been around a long time – I wrote an entry called “Musoscribe’s Best of the Naughties.” Looking back at that list, I see albums that today I’d

A Look Back at Pink Floyd’s ‘More’ Soundtrack (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… A very brief instrumental, the unimaginatively named “Party Sequence” features Nick Mason on several overdubbed bongo drums, with wife Lindy trilling along on penny whistle. Side Two of the original More album opens in grand fashion with “Main Theme.” The gong would become an integral component of Pink Floyd’s live set

Can’t Stop Running: Todd Rundgren’s ‘Nearly Human’ at 30

Being a serious fan of Todd Rundgren isn’t always an easy path, but it’s a rewarding one. The wunderkind from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania started his musical career out in relatively conventional fashion – as guitarist for late ’60s proto-powerpop band Nazz – but even before he left that group, the depth and wide-encompassing nature of

Richard Wright’s ‘Wet Dream’ at 40

(An edited version of this essay appeared previously on Rock and Roll Globe.) In the wake of the success of The Dark Side of the Moon, everything changed for Pink Floyd. As I chronicle in my book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon, the London-by-way-of-Cambridge, England band developed

John Lydon Tells It As It Is (Part One)

Crawling from the wreckage that was the Sex Pistols, vocalist Johnny Rotten reverted to his given name and put together a new group, Public Image Limited. PiL drew from dub reggae and disco, filtered through sheets of dissonance and Lydon’s trademark vocals. Through fits and starts, the band released a string of albums and unlikely