Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Vinyl

What are woo doing this Record Store Day? There’s always something to please almost everyone each year. One of my shopping strategies is to try to find something unique, containing music that hasn’t been heard before; I appreciate when an artist - or, their team - waits for this special annual shopping moment to drop some music that the world hasn’t yet heard; it makes it an event. This year, the record release that falls on that side of my barometer is Bernie... Read More

genre Funk format Vinyl

André 3000, one of the greatest rappers of all time, picks up the flute and makes his first solo effort in 17 years with an intriguing triple album of rap-free, mostly improvised ambient music.

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genre Experimental Ambient format Vinyl

How can an album filled with songs about drug dealers, users, losers, the jilted, and of course the age-gapped creep famously exclaiming, "Hey nineteen, that's 'Retha Franklin" be so sparkly-enticing and such a party listen? Partly it's the twisted fun Becker and Fagan have with their cast of characters delivering mellifluous lines like, "The Cuervo Gold, the fine Colombian, make tonight a wonderful thing," seemingly disconnected... Read More

genre Rock format Vinyl

Charles Lloyd is a wonder: 85 years old, still near the top of his game, his tone on tenor sax and flute clear and strong, not at all averse to risk-taking—in fact, keen to leap into new routes and approaches. Rather than hiring bandmates well suited to merely comping behind his solos, as some old masters do, Lloyd recruits the best musicians he can, to ensure a flow of adventure in the interplay. This has been true ever since his first major album as a leader, Dream... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

If you were even mildly curious, there’s a fair chance you caved and gave yourself a preview of The Cure’s last swing across North America once the YouTube clips started to appear. Those of us who did, got an advance listen to “Alone” - the epic, and gloriously mopey opener that should be included on their long-promised (and last?) studio album. But if the tour felt like something of a stop gap move because of the record’s delay, then what can be said now about Paris,... Read More

genre Rock Post-Punk format Vinyl

Seattle was the epicenter of the grunge movement. Just as the genre peaked in the early 1990s with bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains dominating the scene, a band from a state further south would shake up the roost. Hailing from San Diego and originally named Mighty Joe Young, Stone Temple Pilots encapsulated the spirit of 1970s hard rock with hints of the relative alternative rock scene. The buzz from their 1990 demo and massive following... Read More

According to Ashley Kahn's outstanding annotation for this Rhino High Fidelity release, a few days before stepping into Phil Ramone's A&R studios to record Olé—his final session for Atlantic Records— John Coltrane had been at RVG's in Englewood Cliffs, NJ recording his first Africa/Brass session for Impulse! Kahn writes that the relatively new A&R was handling "overflow" for Atlantic, which is fortunate. It meant that Olé would be both... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Ella backed by a small jazz combo was an unusual musical setting for Ella in the studio, which makes this album recorded and released in 1961 a catalog standout. Pianist Lou Levy leads the quartet that also features guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Joe Mondragon and on drums Stan Levey. Clap Hands...is also highly regarded for its excellent sonics, recorded somewhere in Los Angeles. Since producer and Verve founder Norman Granz was also Ella's long time manager and... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

When Norman Granz organized and produced in 1980 The Trumpet Summit Meets The Oscar Peterson Big 4 (Pablo 2312-114), Peterson was fifty five years old, Ray Brown was fifty two, Bobby Durham was forty three, Joe Pass was fifty one, Dizzy Gillespie was the "elder statesman" at sixty three and Freddie Hubbard was the youngster at forty two. By today's age standards none of them were "old", but jazz at that point—at least the kind of jazz these... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

The past few decades have brought an array of New Order compilation albums, yet 1987’s Substance, the original New Order singles compilation, still reigns supreme. In a time when “greatest hits” releases are mostly obsolete, there are several reasons for this. One is that New Order were (are?) primarily a singles band who released their best work as five- to eight-minute 12” singles. Older fans’ nostalgia for Substance is also a factor, but most importantly, Substance... Read More

Maria Schneider is the preeminent big-band composer and leader of our time. She’s been at it for a little over 30 years, recorded nine albums in that span, and this, her 10th, Decades—a lavishly packaged, limited-edition three-LP boxed set, on the Artist Share label—is a celebration, a sort of best-of anthology tracing her evolution. It also marks the first time any of her work has been pressed on vinyl, in this case 180-gram vinyl, the lacquers cut by Chris Bellman... Read More

genre Jazz Big Band format Vinyl

In the mid-2000s, Kaiser Chiefs finally exploded onto the post-punk revival scene. After a failed attempt in the music business as Parva, they scrapped everything to forge ahead with a new musical voyage. In a musical climate dominated by American groups like The Strokes and The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs provided a strong British influence, borrowing elements from Britpop and 70s punk rock. The group’s ability to craft stadium anthems, such as “I Predict A Riot” and the... Read More

genre Funk Indie Pop format Vinyl

“Ambient is the space, the afterglow left when the centre has collapsed. It’s in the amorphous, beatless oscillations of post-rock, the multiple releases of abstract electronica which criss-cross the twenty-first-century skies like fading vapour trails. It implies an absence of subject.”David Stubbs, “Mars by 1980, The Story Of Electronic Music”, Faber & Faber, 2018, p304 Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) is an English electronic producer who does not necessarily make... Read More

Not since Veronica Swift's This Bitter Earth (Mack Avenue MAC1177LP) has a record cover been so at odds with what's in the grooves as this filled with funky covers Groove Note title from Vanessa Fernandez. Think of it this way: there are eleven tunes here from Childish Gambino, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Barry White, Maurice White and a few others and the mostly celebratory funk is in the air (with a mellow stop over in Bill Withers territory), produced by a... Read More

genre R&B/Soul format Vinyl

So much of interest to write about this EP and its vinyl reissue. Back in 1995, Tracking Angle magazine writer Carl E. Baugher wrote that the Alice In Chains 1995 reunion album eponymous release (the one with the three legged dog on the cover) "..combines the range and creativity of Jar Of Flies with the slam and drama of Dirt. He also described Alice in Chains as "... the heaviest of the hard n’ heavy bands out of Seattle."I took Carl's advice and... Read More

genre Rock Grunge format Vinyl

Why didn’t “The House That ‘Trane Built” release this Alice Coltrane record when it was originally recorded in Carnegie Hall February21st, 1971? It couldn’t have been because the musicians accompanying her weren’t worthy: Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Jimmy Garrison, Cecil McBee, Ed Blackwell, Clifford Jarvis and two lesser knowns. It wasn’t because it was poorly recorded. The engineer was David Jones, best known for recording the two classic Bill Evans Trio’s... Read More

genre Jazz Avant-Garde Jazz format Vinyl