Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Vinyl

Sonny Clark's 1958 Blue Note release "Cool Struttin'" (BLP-1588) is rightly a Blue Note classic that epitomizes the label's musical heritage and ethos. The mono original is among the most sought after, collectible and costly original Blue Notes—an original went for almost $4500 on Discogs— (but I think the sonic signature forced upon it—dynamic compression and low bass attenuation with mid-bass boost —so it would track the inexpensive... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

For many pioneers of electronic pop music, the 1990s presented an identity struggle beyond the usual midlife crisis. Synths and drum machines were now widely accessible and ubiquitous: your $4000 synth isn’t so special anymore, your $5000 sequencer that constantly broke down on stage is a relic of the distant past, and any Detroit techno producer, Manchester acid house enthusiast, or some smiling dude from Cornwall could render your entire career obsolete. Past... Read More

And so it starts again with a ballad. One that Damon Albarn started 20 years ago as, literally, “Half A Song,” finished at the urge of bodyguard Darren ‘Smoggy’ Evans and now the opening track on The Ballad Of Darren, Blur’s first album in eight years. Albarn has written many ballads, probably a few too many: about love, about sadness, about England. Yet “The Ballad” stands out in how defeated it is, especially as the opener for such an anticipated record. It signals... Read More

I know more about Klaus Barbie the war criminal than I do about Barbie the doll—or Barbie the movie—but having spent a few months pondering the meaning of the songs on Amy Ray's recent, politically tinged, geographically existential, lushly arranged solo album I was fascinated to find that Greta Gerwig's new "Barbie" movie uses in a crucial scene The Indigo Girls' classic "Closer to Fine" from their eponymous 1989 debut album. The... Read More

genre Folk Americana format Vinyl

Imitation is - as you may have heard - the sincerest form of flattery. In the music world, however, it’s a slippery slope: the listener crosses his or her finger when a composer or performer attempts to pay homage to another style or genre hoping that the final result is a well-done and tasteful tribute. It’s not as though Andrew Gold needed to imitate anyone, but out of his love of 1960s psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll he devised a fictitious band (The Fraternal Order of... Read More

genre Rock Psychedelic Rock format Vinyl

In March 1957, Sonny Rollins was 26 and one of the hot young tenor saxophone players (matched only by his friend John Coltrane) when he went out to L.A. with the Max Roach quartet and, one night, in his off hours, stepped into a warehouse that doubled as a studio for Contemporary Records and laid down the tracks of Way Out West. (I mean “off hours” literally; the only time he and his bandmates could get together, in between club gigs and other recording sessions, was... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Many classic albums are lauded as “singular” and “groundbreaking,” but after a while don’t really sound like it, because everyone afterwards did it, or we realize that someone lesser-known did it six months earlier. Yet 52 years later, Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On remains as singular and confounding as ever; nothing remotely like it existed before, and nothing since has done exactly what it does. It remains impenetrable and unique: while its elements have scattered throughout popular and underground music since, Sly Stone's early 1970s work operates in a manner that’s impossible to plagiarize because exactly what makes it work is much harder to pinpoint.

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A perfect black and white frozen New York City cover for an album released February of 1974 when winters there were still really cold and "pretzles" (sic) were 15 cents. The master tape images in the fold out containing Donald Fagen's notes show that the mixes were finalized on February 5th, lacquers cut at The Mastering Lab on the 6th and the record released for sale on the 20th. That's a pretty fast turnaround! Speaking of fast, compared to the... Read More

genre Rock Art Rock format Vinyl

Here's Tracking Angle's exclusive look and listen to Intervention's upcoming limited to 2500 copies Frampton@50 3 LP box set cut from analog tape by Chris Bellman and sounding like it! Intervention worked with Peter Frampton to get this box to look and sound the way he wanted it and the results are what every great reissue should look and sound like. The box rights a musical wrong.

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genre Rock format Vinyl

This review was brought to the attention of the producer Jason Jones who insists, and I believe him, that this record and "Dixie Chicken" as well, were cut by Bernie Grundman using the original master tapes. A number of readers asked why I didn't first check with people involved. A few times in the past I was assured what I was hearing was AAA even though it sounded otherwise and later I found out I'd been correct and had been handed a line. Here Jones says he can provide documentation that it was cut from tape so I'll take his word for it and issue here a "mea culpa". I was wrong and I apologize. However, I will still write reviews based on what I hear and I'm happy to be corrected and issue a mea culpa later, if only because I've previously been burned. So, Jason, my apologies and I've revised the review below but not to "cover my tracks".

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genre Rock format Vinyl

People are hardly self-sustaining. Everyday life neglects and misaligns our spirit. Periodically, everyone must seek a spiritual tune up. Some read, some paint. Others meditate, chasing the unrivalled clarity silence offers. Most reading these words prefer music. Though not all artists create equal music. Many albums, while fun, are just that; lighthearted pleasure. Compelling music reorients its recipient. Of course, lighthearted pleasure isn’t especially compelling. Susanne Sundfør’s Blómi is. The Norwegian artist’s sixth studio album checks all boxes. It’s creative, inquisitive, and intricate, incorporating multiple cultures. Chiefly, Blómi certainly spiritually revitalises its listener.

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In 2023, Serge Gainsbourg is possibly more controversial than he’s been since his 1991 death from a second heart attack at age 62. The upcoming museum opening of the artist’s Paris home, at 5 bis rue de Verneuil, sparked more than a few debates: can we still listen to the album about pedophilia made by a 42-year-old man with appearances by his 24-year-old girlfriend? Is it alright that he made a song with his then-12-year-old daughter about incest? Does anyone even... Read More

For what may have felt like a death knell for the godfathers of metal, vocalist Ronnie James Dio was a saving grace for Black Sabbath when in 1979 original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne made his exit. Dio brought forth some fresh approaches to the Sabbath mold, adding fantasy-based lyrics and more intricate vocal melodies. This allowed the band to write in a new direction and evolve further. The first offering of Black Sabbath Mark II, 1980’s Heaven and Hell, broke the slump... Read More

genre Rock Metal format Vinyl

Where to start here? They still can't spell the late Doug Sax's name correctly so let's start there. It's not "Sachs". They made a mistach on the original, understood. If they repeated it to preserve the jacket's "authenticity", then why add the additional credits? But more to the point, why take a wonderful, magical recording, with depth, space, transparency, transient purity, shimmer, delicacy, three-dimensionality and... Read More

genre Rock Acoustic format Vinyl

When I opened the package that contained this album, I rolled my eyes and said, “Just what the world needs, another audiophile reissue of Waltz for Debby.” But on a few seconds’ reflection, I dropped my cynicism. The previous reissues, on vinyl anyway, were either out-of-print or available only as part of an enormous, expensive 11-album boxed set, so, yes, this is at least one of the things we can welcome to the world with joy. Waltz is the best album in Bill Evans’... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

After dominating the UK music scene in 2021 with her epic, bombastic LP “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert”, Little Simz (real name Simbi Ajikawo) wasted no time in returning with another magnificent expression of her partnership with producer Inflo. While her latest LP “No Thank You” was released on streaming services in December 2022, the physical formats, including a range of vinyl variants, finally surfaced in mid-June 2023.Before turning to the exceptional Little... Read More