Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Vinyl

It makes sense that in 2010 Tom Petty would want to go back to basics. What does a rockstar do when he’s attained the heights that a wistful bedroom troubadour could only dream of? It was time for Tom and the Heartbreakers to tune up the expensive vintage instruments, make some noise in their famed Los Angeles rehearsal studio, “The Clubhouse” and capture the no-frills results. It was a return to their roots, an experiment to make sure the magical mojo was still... Read More

genre Rock Blues Rock format Vinyl

In 1957, Robert "Mack" McCormick began working as a cab driver in Houston, Texas. He was twenty-seven, and to that point, his life had been one of debilitating depression, rootlessness, dissatisfaction, and failure. He and his mother had moved twenty times before he was sixteen. Listening to jazz and big band broadcasts was the joy of his drab and lonely life. At fifteen, he hitchhiked to New Orleans to meet Orin Blackstone, who was compiling Index To Jazz,... Read More

genre Blues format Vinyl

From its late '60's beginnings to today, progressive rock has always had cult status. Musical boundary pushing lengthy arrangements replete with elements of jazz and classical provide challenges for mainstream audiences. Therefore, a prog rock band's desire for commercial appeal then and now is often at odds with its creations and with the execs at the labels to which they are signed.

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genre Rock Progressive Rock format Vinyl

In his liner notes for the new Vinyl Me, Please reissue of Iggy and The Stooges’ 1973 album Raw Power, Andy O’Connor says it’s “not a record for audiophiles.” Then why give this record a sumptuously packaged all-analog reissue?Because despite the somewhat rough recording quality, few records are as historically important as Raw Power. It’s not even the best Stooges record, but it’s inarguably their most influential. Forget proto-punk; Raw Power was the first punk... Read More

Martin Scorsese's 2008 film Shine A Light concert film documented a 2006 Rolling Stones Beacon Theater engagement, but Jack White's "Loving Cup" performance with Mick Jagger almost stole the show. White appeared to be having the rock'n'roll time of his life, hardly able to contain his pleasure in an almost "I can't believe I'm here doing this! Growing up, it's what I dreamed about one day doing." Maybe that's... Read More

Chasing the Dragon returns with another superbly recorded classical music "warhorse" performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, U.K., this outing conducted by the orchestra's current musical director Anthony Inglis, with Leader Katerina Nazarova playing a Del Gesu violin valued, the annotation says, at 7 million pounds. The venue for this "Scheherazade" was Henry Wood Hall, an unused church turned into an orchestral rehearsal and recording... Read More

genre Classical format Tape Vinyl

Pharoah Sanders’ 1977 album Pharoah is one of beauty and contentment, of family and love. You could even call it relaxed, a term unfit for his other 60s and 70s classics. The story behind it, however, is one of bitterness and disappointment—a complete contrast to the record’s majestic sound.The saxophonist, who’d not entered the studio for at least three years, found himself and his band in a large, concrete room with minimal adornment and a rather primitive recording... Read More

genre Jazz Rock Gospel format Vinyl

Update! 10/8/2023 My inbox was filled with "first press" info. That's one of the great things about doing these videos and reviews. You learn stuff. So, I learn that supposedly the "first pressing" I have with date of 8-13-71 is an "east coast" pressing and doesn't sound nearly as good as one with a "W1" in the lead out groove and no date. So I search my storage space and I have one. I play it. It is much better... Read More

genre Rock format Vinyl

Binging Ornette Coleman’s discography, from his early Contemporary recordings to his historic Atlantic period then the Blue Note releases and beyond, is a truly enriching experience. One hears how his sound developed over his first decade of recordings, how certain musicians fit in his groups, how he started exploring other instruments beside his usual alto sax. Last year, Blue Note’s Tone Poet series released Round Trip, a 6LP box set containing his mid-late 1960s... Read More

genre Jazz Avant-Garde Jazz format Vinyl

While hip-hop and boy bands dominated the musical climate of the millennium, The Donnas rekindled the aesthetics of old-fashioned rock and roll. Vocalist Brett Anderson, guitarist Allison Robertson, bassist Maya Ford, and drummer Torry Castellano joined forces in 1993 and formed the punk band Ragady Anne, later rechristened as The Electrocutes. Two years later, The Donnas emerged as an avenue for the girls to embrace a garage rock sound that didn’t deter from their hardcore origins. To distinguish this outfit, each member took on the “Donna” moniker followed by the first initial of their last names (Brett = Donna A et al). Upon the release of their self-titled debut album and a brief tour of Japan in 1997, The Donnas signed with Lookout Records, and this was during their senior year of high school! In hindsight, The Donnas became the vehicle destined to take off to stratospheric heights.

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1992…the beginning of SoundScan and the year that CD sales reached well over 400 million. And while a huge chunk of that went to 300 people who got production credits on “The Bodyguard” soundtrack, The Wedding Present launched a 12-month campaign to release a new single every month that affirmed David Gedge’s love of 7” vinyl. The band’s singer/songwriter then watched as the entire run sold out and they’d wind up equaling Elvis’ record for the most hits in a calendar year.

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genre Rock Indie Pop Post-Punk format Vinyl

Courtney Barnett has for a decade now been a leading female figure in indie music. Hailing from the city of Melbourne, her artistry knits together a witty stream-of-consciousness lyrical approach paired with the musical edge of 90s grunge to make a sound that’s very much her own. Barnett’s first two full-length efforts, 2015’s Sometimes I Sit, and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit and 2018’s Tell Me How You Really Feel, have a raucous bite to them. The softer singer-songwriter sensibilities appeared on 2019’s Things Take Time, Take Time. Some of the other exciting detours from her mainline output were a collaboration album with Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice, and a live album documenting her appearance on MTV Unplugged.

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genre Soundtracks Ambient format Vinyl

Since forming in 2003 the Avant-garde improvisational jazz trio Zen Widow has produced three albums for the Italian objet-a label. This is their fourth. Label founder Gianni Gebbia is the group's Bb soprano saxophonist. Matthew Goodheart plays piano as well as something called a transducer actuated gong. The percussionist who has a great deal to say on this record is Garth Powell. Yes, that Garth Powell, which is why upon hearing about this record I quipped... Read More

genre Other Avant-Garde format Vinyl

Aaron Diehl & the Knights’ Zodiac Suite may be the most important album of the year, but because “important” is such a wearying word, implying obligation and cryptic boredom, I should quickly add that it’s also an album of joy, swing, and surprise.It is the first complete, professional recording of Mary Lou Williams’ orchestral-jazz composition of that title, and therein lies a story.Williams, who died in 1981 at the age of 71, was a pianist and composer who... Read More

genre Jazz Big Band format Vinyl

There will be some Tracking Angle readers for whom Aphex Twin needs no introduction; and others will prefer not just an introduction, but a lengthy and detailed explanation. Explaining Aphex Twin is a very difficult notion. Genres are not sufficient to define his music, but electronic production is central to his modus operandi. If you enjoy the kind of splattering, gritty breakbeat riot represented by “Come To Daddy”, then you will know him well already. If you have... Read More

genre Electronic Electronic format Vinyl

It could be a violent musical shock for a young jazz enthusiast in the early 1960s to discover 1957's "brilliant corners" after being introduced to Thelonious Monk on one of his later Columbia albums like 1963's "Criss-Cross". I speak from personal experience.I'd bought Criss-Cross when it was first released. It was my first Monk album. I knew nothing about Monk but I liked his name. I thought it and Monk were pretty wild. The record... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl