Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Vinyl

The Miles Davis Sextet was in San Francisco and had off the night of June 25th, 1962. Wes Montgomery was in town and with the rhythm section of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb, plus tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, played to a full house at Tsubo in Berkeley, California.The great recording engineer Wally Heider set up his gear in a storeroom behind the club, which, thanks to newspaper articles and word-of-mouth, overflowed with fans anxious to witness the... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

The first time I saw a Jacques Tati film, an arthouse cinema showing of 1949's Jour de fête back in the early 2000s, I had the gut feeling that something was wrong. This was the 1995 restoration with its slightly washed-out colors, but that wasn’t it. No, it was how the film sounded...

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genre Soundtracks format Vinyl

First released in 2013 on CD and limited edition 45rpm "bundle" (with multiple festive goodies), Quality Street has been reissued in 2023 on festive red vinyl and includes a bonus 45rpm single ("Let It Snow"/"Winter Wonderland") with Lowe backed by Los Straightjackets. This one's limited too, to 1000 copies, 300 copies of which include a Nick Lowe 526 piece jigsaw puzzle box set. Oops! the limited edition red vinyl with goodies is... Read More

genre Other format Vinyl

It’s that time of the year again. The holidays take so long to arrive and then disappear far too quickly. Most music lovers have a complicated relationship with the sounds of the season. While some folks can’t wait for their local radio stations to switch over to an all holiday music format, others - myself included - find ourselves thoroughly exhausted by those relentless playlists come December 26th. It’s not that there’s a problem with holiday music because there... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Within the world of true artists, Syd Barrett was a national treasure. His inventive guitar work and whimsical wordplay elevated Pink Floyd’s direction away from their embryonic Stones-esque R&B roots. The sole Floyd album under Barrett’s leadership, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, resides in good company with Sgt. Pepper and others for being one of the defining albums of the Summer of Love. Non-album singles like “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play” demonstrated... Read More

“Say hello to Caelan Cardello,” Rufus Reid, whose voice sounds about as deep as his upright bass, announces midway through the first side of this album. Hello, Caelan! And congratulations!This wonderful LP, the first that Cardello has recorded, arrived a few months ago and has been in regular rotation, as the saying goes, on my TechDas Air Force Zero. Hand-delivered to me in Washington, DC by Michael Fremer--the proprietor of this website, veteran audio reviewer and... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

We are all products of the times in which we live, to one degree or another, though some people transcend time. Listening to John Prine's 1971 debut album makes clear that he was at that time a product of it. If you want to understand the "zeitgeist of that time using music as your guide, this album is a good a place to start. Prine opens with an obvious song about weed but younger listeners might not get the Hoffman reference. "Spanish Pipedream"... Read More

Producer Nesuhi Ertegun suggested to Charles Mingus that he record a blues album. Obviously not a "my woman done up and left me" kind of "woe is me" blues album, but rather one that plied the dark, turbulent but often joyful waters in which Mingus navigated.In one interview with Ertegun Mingus said, “What I’m trying to play is very difficult, because I’m trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason why it’s difficult — it’s not difficult to... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Backed by the all-star rhythm section of drummer Johnathan Blake, bassist Joe Martin and veteran pianist Kenny Barron, saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh steps up to the microphone and puts to analog tape his finest, most fully realized recorded musical performances. The quartet meshes as if it's been touring all year.The album title and title track as well as the cover and rear photos telegraph that what you'll be hearing is strictly "old school" straight... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

It's few and far between for a song by an unknown artist with no label distribution to premiere on television. When “Jar of Hearts” premiered on "So You Think You Can Dance" in June 2010, the stars aligned for Christina Perri. The Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter penned the song amidst a breakup with a former flame, longing to piece together what was no longer salvageable. Its hook-heavy arrangement and universal lyrical sentiment struck a chord in... Read More

genre Pop Singer-Songwriter format Vinyl

And here we have it: the most pathetic vinyl reissue of the year. It’s not the worst, but it’s the most pathetic because of how great it almost was. Like the recent Swordfishtrombones reissue, this edition of Tom Waits’ excellent 1992 album Bone Machine subjects an excellent remaster to a painfully mediocre lacquer cut. It really makes you wonder if anyone’s actually listening to these test pressings, or considering the vinyl market’s long-term viability.Earlier this... Read More

Many a western themed orchestral work ("western" as in cowboys), as well as probably some "eat beef" television commercial music keyed off of Antonín Dvořák's bold Symphony No. 9 (originally called Symphony No. 5 but not getting into that here). The Czech composer began writing it shortly after arriving in New York City on September 26th, 1892, but the set's annotator Alexander Moore makes clear that while the symphony is from the new... Read More

genre Classical format Vinyl

Don't mean to be a buzz kill but "Greatest Hits" compilations, though seemingly extremely attractive, always promise more than they actually deliver. Almost like assembled favorite scenes from a movie that can't begin to satisfy as does the actual movie, songs taken out of the historical context of the albums on which they originally appeared add up to less, not more, no matter how skillfully they are assembled—even if the recording artist is The... Read More

Grunge was the leading musical movement by the turn of the 1990s; its successor emerged from the Bay Area punk scene. Green Day became a household name around 1991 with a sound merging the intensity of hardcore punk with melodic power pop twists. Local label Lookout Records released their first two albums 39/Smooth and Kerplunk, the latter becoming the label’s best-selling release. Independent, limited distribution labels didn't typically sell out of initial 10,000 copy pressings in one day. Green Day started to outgrow its reach; a bidding war arose amongst major labels wanting to sign the band. Free meals, trips to Disneyland, and A&R reps tattooing the band’s name on their ass wasn’t enough to entice them. Producer Rob Cavallo devoured the band's demo and understood the group better than anyone; Green Day signed with Warner/Reprise in 1993. Frowned upon in the eyes of the punk establishment is the idea of "selling out." In Green Day’s eyes, it was merely an exercise in seeing how far they could take their artistry to a larger demographic. Signing with a major label helped the band bridge the gap between the DIY aesthetics of punk and the mainstream.

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genre Rock Punk Pop Punk format Vinyl