Round about the time the piano opens “Changes,” we start wondering what is going on. Prior to this moment (or, perhaps, prior to “The Straightener”), Black Sabbath was the heaviest band in the entire world. There was no band louder or lower than Sabbath. And then we get a piano ballad backed with a fucking mellotron. Who are they? Zeppelin?!?! Read More
I had misgivings about listening to this for the purposes of discussing it on my podcast. I have always thought of Raitt like everyone has, as the female blues singer-guitarist. She is type cast in the eyes of the public, as it were. Read More
1972, Drone, Electroacoustic, Electronic, Electronic Music, Music, Progressive Electronic, and Space Ambient.
Learning that this man is the former drummer of Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel sort of puts your expectations in a certain place and, at least for me, that turns out to the wrong place. Read More
What do you do with an album named after a track called “Back Stabbers” when much of the album is about making the world a better place? I don’t know. Read More
I understand that this record is considered a landmark in the “socially conscious” soul and funk of the early ’70s – it has completely outlasted the film it was ostensibly created for and (I believe) is often held up as Mayfield’s greatest achievement. Read More
1972, Blue-Eyed Soul, Chamber Folk, Folk Jazz, Folk Rock, Jazz Folk, Music, and Singer Songwriter.
When Morrison is on he is like few other performers and songwriters – he creates this seemingly effortless blend of so many things that we never would have expected would go together and he makes it all sound organic, as if his genre-blending was the most normal (and obvious) thing in the world. Read More
I don’t know what to do with vocal groups. Most of my music-listening life I have been more impressed with the ability to play an instrument well than sing well. So when I listen to a record where the vocalists are all credited but the players aren’t really, I already get muddled, regardless of the music I’m listening to. I just don’t understand the obsession with vocals above all other things. Read More
1972, Americana, Art Pop, Cabaret, Cabaret Rock, Music, Show Tunes, and Singer Songwriter.
Ackles has a really idiosyncratic style, combining the confessional storytelling of other songwriters of his era with a huge does of musical theatre, particularly cabaret and American musicals, with borderline novelistic lyrics. It’s a weird amalgam that mostly doesn’t just work but wows. Read More
On their debut, Roxy Music appear to have stumbled upon a unique take on art rock: it’s borderline prog at times but Ferry’s songs and croon are just way too rooted in popular music conventions (whether they subtly overturn them or not) for this to be mistaken as King Crimson or some Canterbury scene band or what have you. Read More
This is the first studio album of Brown’s that wasn’t a compilation that I’ve ever heard and I have no idea what to do with it. This is Brown’s 38th studio album, which is insane. Brown’s output is just insane which is why most of us are just better off with the boxed set of singles. How does one view this record without having listening to at least some of those 37 previous records? how does one view this without a deep knowledge of where funk was in June of 1972. I don’t have the knowledge of the genre (beyond Read More
I don’t love Paul Simon as a songwriter. I have been trying and trying but, aside from a brief period in my early teens when I liked Simon and Garfunkel, I just can’t do it. He doesn’t connect with me like so many other of the great song-writers do. But I admit that this – Paul Simon’s sort of debut, sort of second record – is a varied record and its a strong set of songs for him. The things that I don’t like about it are things that I don’t like about Paul Simon and have nothing to do Read More
1971, 1973, 1976, Garage Rock, Music, Proto Punk, Punk, and Punk Rock.
This sort of compilation of “demos” is an early punk classic that lets the rest of the world know what probably only a few people in Boston and the music industry knew. The mix of straight ahead rock music and the laconic delivery is not quite bratty enough for punk but way more in line with punk than most of the other rock music being made when it was recorded. Listening to it should prompt serious arguments among you and your friends about which punk band was the first punk band. Also, the songs are good and some are classics. Read More
1969, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1984, 2003, Avant Garde, Chamber Music, Film Music, Impressionism, Modern Classical, Modernism, Music, New Music, and Piano music.
This collection is a little confusing in part because of the confusing nature of Rrrrrrr…, which can apparently be performed independently. The disc appears to be a compilation of his piano-based music. Calling “piano music” would be a misnomer, as there are lots of other instruments on a number of the pieces. The pieces from Rrrrrrr… are all over the place in terms of style, starting with ragtime and running the gamut of styles, through pretty traditional to really avant garde stuff (a prepared piano, a “raga”). I like how Kagel turns music on its here but here I have Read More
This adaptation of Fassbinder’s own play is rather radical in its content for a film of its era – the story of an ageing fashion designer who falls in love with another woman. Its all female cast is also rather unique to my knowledge. Fassbinder manages by some miracle (really, his typically inventive camera work) to make the film not feel like a play, despite the fact that all the dialogue takes place inside one room. It’s a rather incredible display of his technique. As with a number of Fassbinder’s films, I find myself so in awe of his ability Read More
I don’t know if this is Jarrett’s first “spontaneously composed” solo piano record, but it sure sounds like it to my ears (even though it’s not live). Putting aside Jarrett’s claims about his process, I’ve always found his solo piano recordings of this type to be rather incredible. He manages to skirt between extremely inventive playing and simple, easy melodies (some that sound piratically new-agey or, in the case of the opening track, that sound stolen from a Christmas Carol). If Jarrett wasn’t so damned talented, this would be a bad thing. But he is such a creative, beautiful player Read More
Having just suffered through some of their late ’70s crap, it’s nice to hear them back in the day when they were still making interesting music. Always over the top, at least this stuff is also provocative. “The Endless Enigma” is almost a classic. It’s too bad the vocal sections are so weak compared to the rest of the composition. And “From the Beginning” is a Lake song I actually don’t hate, so that’s another big positive. On the whole there is a lot to like here with their characteristic unevenness – there seem to me to be very few Read More
Lucia di Lammermoor (1972, 1999) by Gaetano Donizetti, performed by Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes, Chiarov, Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Convent Gardens conducted by Bonynge
So, as with any opera I have never heard before, I am stuck reviewing the opera more than the performance. I have no idea if this is a great performance of this opera, though I suspect it is (after all we have Sutherland and Pavarotti). The opera itself is a little over the top – well it is really over the top. And unlike other operas that are this over the top, I find not all that much of interest here. That being said, it’s hard to ignore, so that is certainly something. And it is less deliberately populist than Read More
1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1988, 2003, Compilation, Funk, Music, R and B, and Soul.
James Brown’s importance can not be understated. He is on The List of the most important musical figures of the twentieth century (along with Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, Miles Davis, Dylan, Duke Ellington, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Frank Zappa and maybe a few others). This compilation of his hit singles gives a very good idea of his progression and how he turned gritty soul and R and B into funk and thus got sampled more than any other band leader ever. The one downside is that this compilation of his hit singles is missing one of his biggest hits. Hard to understand that Read More