Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Vinyl

As someone who’d missed the early psycho-garage days and didn’t care all that much for the “Jelly” song, I was fully unprepared for the full force of what the Flaming Lips had become when they touched down in Athens, Georgia in September of 2000. Sure, the LSD helped, but long before we were inside of its fluorescent metallic grip, it was clear that the Category-5 euphoria of their live show could not be denied. Let’s remember that at the time, they were performing as... Read More

After a failed Netflix deal to put Gorillaz cartoon band members into a full length film, Damon Albarn and illustrator Jamie Hewlett regroup under a slick pop banner to deliver album number eight with the help of mega-producer Greg Kurstin.

Read More

Upon reaching a certain age, it’s inevitable to ponder the impending end of the run, to embrace - as Warren Zevon once wryly observed - the importance of enjoying every sandwich. Unfortunately, these thoughts aren’t reserved only for card-carrying members of the octogenarian or nonagenarian membership club. The reality is that this experience of life is something that humans of all ages should appreciate, explore and enjoy. After all, one never knows how long a life... Read More

genre Rock Britpop format Vinyl

No one knows why this Andrew Hill album recorded October 11th 1968 wasn’t released until 1980 as part of a Michael Cuscuna produced series. “Tone Poet” Joe Harley doesn’t know, nor, he told me, does Cuscuna. Harley posits a few possible reasons, none of which have anything to do with the music here, which in 1968 clearly was release-worthy. The vinyl revival/resurgence whatever you wish to call it has been a boon to artists like the late composer/performer/academic... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Recorded during the same 2011 and 2012 Zipper Hall, Los Angeles sessions that produced the remarkable percussion record “Smoke & Mirrors” (Yarlung 17255-195V), “Earth & Wood” is another sonic spectacular recorded directly to tape using a single AKG C24 stereo microphone (with Elliot Midwood mic amplification). The one-mike recording technique required “just so” placement of both it and the seven member Smoke and Mirrors Percussion Ensemble that performed the... Read More

Rather than writing the usual written review of this extensive, well-produced and brilliantly curated set, I chose a video review to better show the box and associated records. The set includes a double LP containing the Painted From Memory collaboration spread to 3 sides. Side 4 contains selected songs from the never fully realized Bacharach/Costello musical Taken From Life performed by various artists including Cassandra Wilson and Bill Frisell, Audra Mae and of... Read More

genre Pop Pop Rock format Vinyl

In commemoration of Van Morrison's new album Moving On Skiffle, we revisit a past era of Van mediocrity via our archive review of 1996's How Long Has This Been Going On?

Read More

genre Jazz Big Band format Vinyl

This recently re-pressed set of Nathan Davis live in Paris recordings should help create a new following for this somewhat overlooked American multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator who turned down a Blue Note contract and an offer to join Art Blakey's group, remaining in Paris during the turbulent 1960s.

Read More

genre Jazz Modal Jazz Post-Bop format Vinyl

I got invited to a record launch party for Christian McBride's new album "Christian McBride's New Jawn Prime" held at Oswald Mills Audio's Brooklyn loft. "Conversations...." had been sitting unplayed for far too long so I figured I'd give it a spin to prep for the launch.McBride listening to his new album played back on the OMA K3 turntableI'm not sure if he'd ever heard any of his recordings reproduced on a system... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Gil Scott-Heron’s Pieces Of A Man shouldn’t be relevant anymore. That is, it shouldn’t have to be relevant anymore, but it unfortunately still is. Since its 1971 release, its themes of racism, poverty, addiction, and the slight hope for a better future have retained a visceral urgency; partly because of Scott-Heron’s brilliant lyrics and powerful performances, and also because over 50 years later, the issues he wrote about continually worsen.Released on producer Bob... Read More

Recorded in 1966 and released in January of 1967 The Doors' debut album, powered by the edited single "Light My Fire" reached #2 on the Billboard charts, while the single was the "summer of love"'s #1 hit. If you were alive then you heard the single that summer wherever you went—blaring from jukeboxes and car radios. When you bought the album you heard a long extended "Light My Fire" that for many listeners was as uncomfortably... Read More

It’s been over a month since drummer and pop songwriter extraordinaire Yukihiro Takahashi passed away at age 70, though acknowledging it still feels weird. It wasn’t unexpected—he was treated for brain tumors, and related pneumonia caught him in the end—but for 50 years, Takahashi never really slowed down and always seemed focus on what was next. Between his solo material, his work in Yellow Magic Orchestra and Sketch Show, other gigs like the Sadistic Mika Band, or... Read More

genre Pop Electropop Synthpop format Vinyl

How do you know a reissue is a sonic success? There's no checklist but I've been playing an original pressing since it was first released and occasionally the Mobile Fidelity Anadisc 200 reissue, so when the stylus dropped onto "Jamming" (I always first play side 2) I wasn't expecting any major surprises.The opening drum flourish indicated a new level of transparency and clarity, which was nice to hear but the percussive jingle after Marley... Read More

genre World Reggae format Vinyl

Often it's a cry for attention or money when a veteran jazz artist releases a Christmas album or one of Beatles covers. Brad Mehldau's latest, an album of the latter with Bowie's meloncholic "Life on Mars" serving as a sort of denouement (or encore, as this is a live album recorded at the Philharmonie de Paris), is neither of those. Mehldau, 52, has been covering rock music without apology almost from the beginning of his recording career. His... Read More

genre Other format Vinyl

Fast on the approach to 70, where do we find Robyn Hitchcock these days? For a start…lyrically opening his parlour door to “The Shuffle Man” – the spirit of disorder inhabits the kickoff track to his latest album. “He's sort of the cheeky face of Destiny really,” Hitchcock explained over the line from London. “Certainly in times like 2020.”Which is when the ethos of Shufflemania – his 22nd long player, partially came together. The turmoil of lockdown, as it turns... Read More

genre Rock Psychedelic Rock format Vinyl

It has become customary for many film music old-schoolers like myself to lament the current propensity for the “Zimmerization” of movie scores: ie., the devolving of a film’s soundtrack into endless drum-circles and synthesized loops, harmonic stasis, motivic repetition, all of which have become the hallmarks of Hans Zimmer’s work of the last 20 years or so.Obviously this is a vast over-simplification, and not entirely fair to Zimmer himself, but his protégés and... Read More