Tag: album reviews

GFS Record Club: Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – White Teeth, Black Thoughts

GFS Record Club: Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – White Teeth, Black Thoughts

Music
I largely stopped doing music reviews on this site for two reasons -- one, I find that the process of reviewing an album takes a lot of the joy out of just listening to it, and reviewing music doesn't quite fit in with the shifting focus of this site. I make an exception for that today because I got a wonderful surprise and I want to share it with you. You may remember the heady days of the late '90s Swing Revival, when mainstream music became fun once again (even if just for a few years). You may also remember one of the acts from that revival that rose to prominence during the time -- Eugene, Oregon's own Cherry Poppin' Daddies. Their 1997 album Zoot Suit Riot was not only a surprise hit that year, but became one of my favorite releases of the genre. The Daddies strayed from th
Sunday Jazz: Let’s Talk About the PolCat Album

Sunday Jazz: Let’s Talk About the PolCat Album

Music, Sunday Jazz
I see at least half a dozen PR emails a day concerning albums and projects I have little interest in. So it figures that I missed the February release of PolCat, the debut album from a project featuring Chris Poland, one of my all-time favorite guitarists. The name, I'm certain, comes from Poland and tenor saxophonist Frank Catalano, who make up half of this astoundingly talented quartet. How I stumbled upon this album is not important -- I'm just glad I did. It's one of the freshest, most enjoyable releases of any genre I've heard this year, and hopefully points the way to more output from this group. I haven't heard much of anything from Catalano prior to this album, but his sax playing is agile and tuneful. Likewise, the rhythm section of bassist Sean O’Bryan Smith and drummer
Albums From the First Half of 2012 That Are Good

Albums From the First Half of 2012 That Are Good

Music
As I've mentioned previously in this here blog space, I've largely gotten out of the album review game. Unless a record really moves or I have something I really need to say, I'm gonna just wait to the customary year-end period to share my thoughts. But if you're impatient, you can always subscribe to my in-progress Spotify playlist. That said, here's a rundown of some records released in 2012 that I've been digging on, either a little or a lot (along with song clips where appropriate). The Beach Boys, That's Why God Made the Radio Django Django, Django Django Air, Le voyage dans la lune Ryan Shaw, Real Love Prong, Carved Into Stone Rush, Clockwork Angels Storm Corrosion, Storm Corrosion Jack White, Blunderbuss Imperial State Electric, Pop War Lambchop, Mr. M The Ex...
The Beach Boys Are Why God Made the Radio

The Beach Boys Are Why God Made the Radio

Music
I can hardly wrap my mind around the fact that it's 2012 and I'm listening to a new Beach Boys album. And by "Beach Boys" I don't mean Mike Love and whatever people he isn't suing at the moment, but THE BEACH BOYS. With Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Mike, Bruce Johnston, and -- for good measure -- David Marks! Let that sink in for a minute. But the real shocker? That's Why God Made the Radio is no feeble cash-in, my friends. This is a legitimately good album, easily the best the group has released since I was in nursery school. Granted, they haven't really been setting the bar very high over the last 30-plus years, but you get the idea. I think most hardcore fans would've been happy with the long-awaited SMiLE box set, but then they had to go and top that by pulling off the most improbable
Track By Track: Field Music — Plumb

Track By Track: Field Music — Plumb

Music
Because I dread the thought of writing yet another album review where I spend hundreds of words trying to frame an album in the proper context, or where I try to find yet another way to write about chord progressions, I’m just going to take it one song at a time and share my first impressions. So here we go with the fourth studio album from Field Music, Plumb. I'm still really digging the new Van Halen album, so this is a pretty significant gear shift. But as loyal readers should know, Field Music is easily my favorite "modern" band out there, so I'm gonna make it happen. This is a good time to be a Field Music fan, as the Brewis brothers have kept a pretty busy schedule since their 2005 debut album was released. Unfortunately it seems as if the group will not be coming to America to
Track By Track: Van Halen — A Different Kind of Truth

Track By Track: Van Halen — A Different Kind of Truth

Music
Because I dread the thought of writing yet another album review where I spend hundreds of words trying to frame an album in the proper context, or where I try to find yet another way to write about chord progressions, I’m just going to take it one song at a time and share my first impressions. So here we go with the long-awaited Van Halen album, A Different Kind of Truth. Let's do some level setting here before I get into this album. I have developed a belated appreciation for the Sammy Hagar era of Van Halen, but I am first and foremost a fan of the original lineup. Those first six albums are immortal. I've been a David Lee Roth fan for years, and like all of his solo albums. I make no apologies for this. I was inclined to like A Different Kind of Truth, and not assume it would
Track By Track: Coldplay — Mylo Xyloto

Track By Track: Coldplay — Mylo Xyloto

Music
Because I dread the thought of writing yet another album review where I spend hundreds of words trying to frame an album in the proper context, or where I try to find yet another way to write about chord progressions, I'm just going to take it one song at a time and share my first impressions. So here we go with Coldplay's fifth and newest album, Mylo Xyloto. "Mylo Xyloto" -- Like most instrumental passages fewer than 60 seconds long, it's nice but not really essential. Next. "Hurts Like Heaven" -- Ooh, peppy! I like the directness and dance-ability of this, even though I am in fact a shitty dancer. This is easily more immediate than anything on the Viva La Vida album (which is not to say better, mind you). Nice vocal melodies from Chris "Mr. Paltrow" Martin. "Paradise" -- This ha
Album review: So Percussion — It Is Time

Album review: So Percussion — It Is Time

Music
As the father of a nearly 18-month-old son, I have become all too aware how quickly time passes us by. I know that's hardly an original observation, but it's a truth that I internalize more and more every day. It is this truth -- as well as the age-old fantasy that we might change time itself -- that led Steve Mackey to compose the five pieces that make up It Is Time, performed by a quartet of experimental musicians calling themselves So Percussion. As an expression of Mackey's inspiration, It Is Time is exquisite. The album's five compositions blend seamlessly into one another, and despite the emphasis on different percussion instruments in each there is a tangible unity of vision on display. The record's centerpiece is the third song, "Marimba." It's the sonic equivalent of Salvador D...
Album review mini-roundup: Anthrax, Ladytron, and The New Mastersounds

Album review mini-roundup: Anthrax, Ladytron, and The New Mastersounds

Music
Anthrax, Worship Music (Megaforce Records) -- No disrespect to John Bush, but Anthrax only sounds like Anthrax to me with Joey Belladonna behind the mic. Interestingly enough, his first album with Anthrax in more than 20 years is a much more modern-sounding album than I expected. While parts of Worship Music -- tracks like "Earth on Hell" -- are right out of the Persistence of Time era, others ("Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" and "I'm Alive") sound more the like modern, radio-friendly hard rock found on more recent discs. Belladonna was in a tough spot here, as he and Scott Ian publicly admitted that Worship Music was largely complete when he was brought in. So he was basically singing over songs that were written with former singer Dan Nelson in mind. To his credit, Belladonna sounds at hom...