brian wilson Archive

Album Review: Jem Records Celebrates Brian Wilson

Here we go again. I’ve long held that various-artists tribute albums are by definition uneven. Some acts try to take the songs too far from their essence, stripping the songs of whatever made them special and noteworthy to begin with. Others are too slavish by half, effectively adding nothing to the discussion, making what amounts

Always Finish What You Started: Van Dyke Parks on ‘Orange Crate Art’ (Part 3 of 3)

Continued from Part Two… Parks recalls a visit to a friend in rural Virginia, nearly 2500 miles due East from southern California. “I went past, Galax, where the Old Fiddlers Convention is held,” Parks remembers. “It inspired me to write ‘My Jeanine,’ [set] in a place that doesn’t exist and a time I haven’t forgotten.”

Always Finish What You Started: Van Dyke Parks on ‘Orange Crate Art’ (Part 2 of 3)

Continued from Part One… Parks recalls how the germ of the project came about in or around 1990. “I had a piano exercise, and it was fun for me,” he says. “Because I am a pianist, most of my songs derive from the keyboard.” Seeking a name for the exercise, he came up with “Orange

Always Finish What You Started: Van Dyke Parks on ‘Orange Crate Art’ (Part 1 of 3)

Though he never sought the role – nor does he wear it comfortably – Van Dyke Parks is something of a cult figure in music. An idiosyncratic musical storyteller of all he surveys, remembers and imagines, Parks filters his ideas through a distinctly American sensibility, one that exists resolutely outside of the rock and pop

Brian Wilson: Do It Again

The standard take on Brian Wilson is also the most accurate one. It can be neatly divided into two parts. First part: The man is a genius. There’s simply no denying that Wilson is a force of nature; his command of the recording studio-as-instrument is almost beyond compare, which itself is fascinating in light of

Album Review: Brian Wilson (1988)

If we’re being honest with ourselves, most sympathetic critics grade the post-Beach Boys music of Brian Wilson on a curve. Unquestionably a musical genius, Wilson is responsible for Pet Sounds and the legendary long-thought-lost SMiLE, arguably two of the most revolutionary albums in the history of popular music. The Beatles certainly regarded Pet Sounds as

Best Music of 2016: Concerts

There’s a bit of overlap where my best albums and best concerts of 2016 are concerned. And there are some old favorites, too. John Mayall Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte NC March 11, 2016 It was only around this time that I pivoted to writing as a full-time job (in other words, how I make my living).

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

Brian Wilson: Critics’ Pet

I recently had the opportunity to interview Brian Wilson. I also had the opportunity to write not one but two features based on that conversation (and also based on a lively chat with Domenic Priore). There’s very little overlap between the two features. so if you enjoy one, you’ll likely find the other interesting, too.

Best of 2013: DVDs

Yesterday I did a quick round-up of notable album reissues from 2013. Today it’s DVDs. Click on the titles for a full review (except as noted). Brian Wilson, Songwriter 1969-1982 Those British folks at Sexy Intellectual have only improved since they began their worth series of in-depth critical looks at the bodies of work of