Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Rock

Let's go directly to the sound because to wring something new from the music, especially to this audience, is a time waster. Play a half-dozen editions of Crosby, Stills & Nash and you'll hear six wildly different sonic presentations. Which is "correct"? There's no "artists intent" on this one, there are just different takes depending upon who's doing the mastering and pressing—and even then there are wild variations.... Read More

genre Rock Acoustic Folk Rock format Vinyl

Transitioning from the ‘70s to the ‘80s wasn’t easy for Ozzy Osbourne. The Birmingham-born vocalist found himself without a band when the members of Black Sabbath ousted him due to his heightened substance issues. Stuck in a drug-and-booze haze for three months at a Los Angeles hotel, salvation came in the form of his manager and future wife, Sharon Arden, who encouraged Osbourne to pursue a solo career. The impact of his first two solo albums, Blizzard of Ozz and... Read More

genre Rock Metal format Vinyl

Everyone reading this site has by now probably heard about Rhino High Fidelity’s controversial reissue of Television’s landmark 1977 debut Marquee Moon. This latest edition sounds good but nothing like the original, which raises the question: what's the difference between good and bad mastering? And who's responsible?

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Is it a "conflict of interest" to review a record mastered by a Tracking Angle writer? I could care less. This is mastering engineer Dave McNair's second pass on Kiko, Los Lobos' best selling (other than the La Bamba soundtrack) and arguable best album. Though recorded analog and mixed to 2 inch 30IPS tape, It was originally released domestically on CD only in 1992 during vinyl's sunset fade. It got a digitally sourced European release that... Read More

genre Rock format Vinyl

Sub-genres aside, Green Day can be considered one of the elder statesmen of punk. The Bay Area punk rockers have been in the game for 35 years and are marginally responsible for bringing the DIY aesthetics of punk into the mainstream forefront. Albums like Dookie, Insomniac, and Nimrod established Green Day’s unique sound of power chords, melodic vocals, and fast tempos. Instead of the group growing with only its core audience, they crossed a musical threshold with... Read More

genre Rock Punk format Vinyl

Alright, Las Vegas, let’s lose our money and lose our minds!On September 20, 2003, The White Stripes took hold of Sin City and rocked it into oblivion. The Detroit garage rock duo blitzed through a setlist of familiar favorites, such as “Hotel Yorba” and “Fell in Love With A Girl.” Their then-new album, Elephant, took precedence with blistering renditions of “The Hardest Button to Button” and “Black Math.” The show caught its breath once drummer Meg White stepped away... Read More

By 1973, things were starting to come together for Genesis. The classic lineup of vocalist Peter Gabriel, guitarist Steve Hackett, bassist Mike Rutherford, keyboardist Tony Banks, and drummer Phil Collins embarked on a string of albums, 1971’s Nursery Cryme and 1972’s Foxtrot, that would go down to define the ethos of progressive rock. These albums exemplify Genesis’ liberating drive to incorporate European classical elements into multi-segment compositions with... Read More

genre Rock Progressive Rock format Vinyl

The turn of the millennium was a promising time for The Donnas. Churning out an album a year, consecutive tours and placements in film soundtracks established a respectable platform for the Palo Alto female rockers fresh out of high school. The steady productivity, both on and off the road, allowed the girls to evolve. The female Ramones stylings of their self-titled debut and the sleazier glam rock sound of American Teenage Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine are almost total... Read More

genre Rock Hard Rock Punk format Vinyl

Do you find the idea of an unknown, songwriting multi-instrumentalist who was at one time a compelling artist yet who never truly found their lane appealing? If you answered in the affirmative, then it won’t require much arm twisting to have you explore ORG Music’s recent reissue of Tommy Court’s self-titled - one and only album - The Happy Dragon Band. The rare 1978 private pressing (only 200 albums were originally issued) has been reissued on vinyl for Record Store... Read More

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

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

November 28th, 2023

Beach Boys Blossom Anew With "Sunflower" Beach Boys return

By: John French

The Beach Boys returned at the start of a new decade with a surpising burst of stunning creativity. Original release August 31 1970. I love this album. Looking back now I think I know why. It all had to do with timing.

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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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