Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Rock

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

Years ago, a lawyer friend said to me half seriously that the Federal Trade Commission should adopt a “Truth In Rock Band Labelling Act,” the main provision of which would be that a nationally touring “icon” band could not advertise themselves as “The XYZ Icon Band” unless more than half of the original members including the lead singer and primary songwriter(s) were still in the band. If such a regulation had been enacted, the Rolling Stones would now be the... Read More

genre Rock format Vinyl

1977 was a turbulent year for Pink Floyd. With bassist/primary songwriter Roger Waters asserting more of a dictatorship role, the band slowly drifted from being a collaborative unit. The rise of punk rock made Pink Floyd and many of their progressive rock contemporaries to be considered “dinosaurs.” In turn, the murky production value and Orwellian political themes explored on their then-new album, Animals, was their response to the shifting musical climate. The connection between Pink Floyd and their audience was lost during their In The Flesh tour from the same year. Rather than enjoying the band’s spectacle of flying pigs and inflatables, the raucous audiences were more concerned with setting off fireworks and riding hallucinogenic highs. This tension culminated with the infamous final show of the tour at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, where Waters angrily spat at a member of the audience.

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“Of all the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest because not only is it the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do.”David Bowie made this closing statement at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 3rd, 1973. After spending ten years joining various groups, having to change his name to avoid confusion with The Monkees’ Davy Jones, penning novelty records, and straying from the “one-hit-wonder” stigma of “Space... Read More

genre Rock Glam Rock format Vinyl

Only covering the sound here and the news is not good for a few reasons. First, the sound is bass-heavy, generally "thick" and unpleasant and the perspective is flat. If you bought the UHQR or have an original pressing and don't want to spend $150, you are all set. The 192/24 Qobuz stream sourced from Bernie Grundman's digital file produced using the same tape he used to cut UHQR lacquers sounds far superior in every way to this vinyl edition. The... Read More

genre Rock Jazz Fusion format Vinyl

London – November 2, 2023 – As announced last Thursday, October 26, the last Beatles song, “Now And Then” is out today worldwide. Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe are pleased to share details and updated premiere plans for the song’s evocative new music video, which Peter Jackson has directed in his first foray into music video production. The “Now And Then” music video will premiere worldwide tomorrow (Friday, November 3) at 1pm GMT / 9am EDT / 6am PDT on The Beatles’... Read More

genre Rock format Vinyl

When I visited Paul Gold's Salt Mastering recently, I asked him why he named his facility "Salt Mastering" and he replied that mastering should be like using salt to season food: you shouldn't taste the salt, it should be used judiciously, only to bring out the intrinsic flavors of the ingredients.Bernie Grundman's original Aja mastering certainly lived up to that mastering definition, which is why it's considered a great sounding... Read More

genre Rock Jazz Fusion format Vinyl

The tape box pictured in the notes tells the tale in tiny hand written letters: "original master was 1/4". In other words the source for this UHQR reissue was a 1/2" Dolby A copy of the master, which became the 2 track Dolby Master. When you hear the record you won't care about from where it came, you'll just know it's the best sounding Aja you've ever heard and it's not close. For one thing, "Deacon Blues" takes up an... Read More

genre Rock Jazz Fusion format Vinyl

By the time the 1980s rolled around in Japan, rock music had gone through numerous cycles of boom and bust, starting with Beatles-inspired pop in the 1960s (aka “Group Sounds”), to Hendrix-tinged blues covers, to the Japanese language folk rock movement active in the mid 70s. The youth of Japan, now beginning to feel the downstream effects of the postwar economic miracle were clamoring for a new creative artistic movement to supplant the faded glory of globalized... Read More

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

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