Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Vinyl

Within the musical landscape of the 70s, the Ramones came out of the woodwork like a brutal attack. Their style of downstroked three-barre-chord songs about sniffing glue, sedation and lobotomies was the antithesis of the overproduced pop and self indulgence prevalent at the time. The band’s first several albums released from 1976 to 1978 (Ramones, Leave Home, Rocket to Russia and Road to Ruin) are, as far as I know, the punk rock bible that every future punk band... Read More

genre Rock Punk format Vinyl

Don’t let the blues get you down. In fact, sometimes, a good blues session can be an uplifting experience, perhaps even cathartic, if you like. The blues aren’t played to make us feel bad, on the contrary, they exist to remind us that we’re not alone with our troubles, and while we may not find the answers we need, sometimes misery loves company and that companionship can be very valuable especially when it comes in the form of a well-pressed piece of vinyl.Such is... Read More

genre Blues format Vinyl

In 1961, John Lee Hooker recorded "Burnin’", an album accompanied by an early version of Motown's legendary Funk Brothers band for Vee Jay Records in one session, probably four hours in length. Vee Jay was an independent label based in Chicago, owned by an African American married couple, Vivian Carter and James Bracken, which had achieved considerable success selling R&B, blues, gospel, and jazz records to Black audiences. Hooker had been recording... Read More

genre Blues format Vinyl

Olivia Jean is a jack of all trades. When a demo of Olivia Jean’s material found its way into Jack White’s hands in 2009, she relocated to Nashville and joined Third Man Records’ (founded by White) stable of artists. After carving her way as a session musician for the likes of Wanda Jackson and Karen Elson, in 2010 Olivia became the lead vocalist/guitarist/primary songwriter of the all-female garage goth band The Black Belles. The material that didn’t quite fit the... Read More

genre Rock format Vinyl

Back in 2014 when I was an undergraduate student at the Manhattan School of Music, I remember the Jazz department in a perpetual uproar over the release of the film Whiplash. It seems every Jazz musician I knew had something to say about that movie, from praise to condemnation, from astonishment at what it got right, to a laundry list of everything it got wrong (it didn’t help that supposedly the fictional “Schaefer Conservatory” was based on our own institution).... Read More

Why saxophonist Harold Vick's Blue Note debut as bandleader was also his last, isn't clear. It certainly couldn't have been because the session was a musical disappointment. Far from it! Maybe it's because the date produced an album closer to the hard charging warm up for an r&b review than what Blue Note was typically releasing in 1963. Vick had played with all here but trumpeter Blue Mitchell and all had played in or skirted the r&b... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Two new LPs from Yarlung Records offer great sound and even greater performances.

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genre Classical Acoustic format Vinyl

Live albums aren’t always my preferred format. Sure, there are certain tracks that I’ve grown accustomed to hearing performed in the live vein, but I’m not often excited about the prospect of an album “captured” in a live setting, or of a particularly excellent live recording. I’m primarily interested in music that’s created in the studio; that’s what I consider the recording artist's ultimate canvas. However, Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo is one of my... Read More

genre Jazz Jazz-Funk format Vinyl

ECM is arguably the most influential jazz label since the heydays of Blue Note and Impulse!. The German label recently announced Luminessence, its first ever audiophile vinyl reissue series. The two first releases, reviewed here, are Kenny Wheeler's Gnu High and Nana Vasconcelos' Saudades.

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genre Jazz Acoustic format Vinyl

Ducks aren't an endangered species but in 2023 feedback drenched, electric guitar driven 4/4 rock music so popular in the 1970s seems to be just about over, Jack White and a few others notwithstanding. While Crazy Horse is Neil Young's best known live collaborator, the Ducks prove they are equally worthy on this adrenaline producing 3 LP live set recorded summer, 1977, Santa Cruz, California—and the sound recorded by Tim Mulligan is remarkably hi-fi... Read More

genre Rock Grunge format Vinyl

Zev Feldman's Jazz Detective label lived up to its name with the discovery of two previously unreleased and unheard since their first airing in 1979 on Dutch Radio, Chet Baker performances, released for RSD 2023 as a double LP set. Unlike many newly discovered recordings, this one's excellent sound matches the quality of the music.

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genre Jazz Cool Jazz format Vinyl