Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Vinyl

In September 1968, The Doors embarked on a European tour, performing two sets per night (twelve shows total) over fourteen days across five countries. Things were off to a solid start with two consecutive nights at London’s legendary Roundhouse, followed by a stop in Frankfurt. Matters got hairy in Amsterdam when Jim Morrison went on a drug binge and was hospitalized, leaving the group to carry the shows out as a trio. Morrison recouped well enough for Copenhagen two... Read More

genre Rock Psychedelic Rock format Vinyl

In October 1957, Sonny Rollins was booked for a two month gig at New York City jazz club, The Village Vanguard. Though widely regarded as the most innovative and important saxophonist in jazz, Rollins was, in his own words, "so disillusioned with myself that I was afraid to hear myself." At the Vanguard, he was leading his own band for the first time and searching for a way to play jazz that was freer and more expressive than the bebop style of harmonic... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

For a quick musical pick me up you can't beat War. The group was born during Vietnam war time and now with this release and others, has another lease on jazz-funk life during more war time. Has there ever been a time without it? The story behind the group is at least as interesting as the music is invigorating, so much fun and on top of it all, super-well recorded.If you're of a certain age you remember these catchy as crabs cowbell infected tunes blaring... Read More

genre Funk Jazz-Funk format Vinyl

Anton Bruckner’s (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major, premiered in 1881, is the composer’s most popular “early” symphony, with numbers 7, 8, and the incomplete 9 being the usual headline works. It was also his first major success as a composer, before which Bruckner's renown was mostly as an organist and counterpoint instructor. Bruckner dedicated this work to Austro-Hungarian royal, Prince Konstantin, who was a major financier of cultural life in Vienna... Read More

genre Classical format Vinyl

Even for Tom Waits, The Black Rider is eccentric if not downright weird. He was already making odd records, but at least Bone Machine or Swordfishtrombones have identifiable rhythmic structures and some coherent melodies. Here, you’ve got intentionally grating train whistles and William S. Burroughs guiding you through what sounds like an early 20th century rendering of hell. More than any other Waits album, The Black Rider must be heard as a full record to even make sense; otherwise, it sounds like some raving lunatic is about to attack you.

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Collaborations by Aerosmith/Run DMC and Anthrax/Public Enemy bridged the gap between rock and rap. By the early 2000s, Linkin Park became the poster boys of the nu-metal movement. The muscle of Chester Bennington’s passionate vocals and Brad Delson’s crunchy guitar riffs juxtaposed Mike Shinoda’s rapping and Joe Hahn’s sampling/scratching, with bassist Dave Farrell and drummer Rob Bourdon gluing it all together. To say this fusion was a mild success is an... Read More

As part of its 60th anniversary celebration, Nonesuch Records is reissuing several of its albums on vinyl for the first time, among them one of the greatest recordings by the Kronos Quartet, which happens to be marking its 50th year as an ensemble.The album is Black Angels, the label’s 6th Kronos album, released in 1990 and still among the most jarring and important in the entire Nonesuch catalogue and in the Kronos discography.Nonesuch and Kronos made a perfect... Read More

genre Classical format Vinyl

Social scientists will likely spend years analyzing Taylor Swift’s retained meteoric success, but the primary cause seems very simple: pure narcissism. Swift’s music is almost entirely about her, from her perspective only; in both her music and her public presence, those around her (lovers, friends, enemies) are secondary to her and how she feels, their proximity or distance meant to prove something favorable about her. In the age of main character syndrome, Swift’s... Read More

Jazz is to New York as port is to Portugal or coal is to Newcastle, yet there are great musicians who live elsewhere, many of them obscure in the metropole because they live elsewhere, and that’s a shame for us all. Kahil El’Zabar is one of those great musicians, a composer and percussionist who dwells mainly in Chicago, except when he travels through Europe, where he’s better known than he is in New York, even though he and his main band, the Ethnic Heritage... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

What are woo doing this Record Store Day? There’s always something to please almost everyone each year. One of my shopping strategies is to try to find something unique, containing music that hasn’t been heard before; I appreciate when an artist - or, their team - waits for this special annual shopping moment to drop some music that the world hasn’t yet heard; it makes it an event. This year, the record release that falls on that side of my barometer is Bernie... Read More

genre Funk format Vinyl

André 3000, one of the greatest rappers of all time, picks up the flute and makes his first solo effort in 17 years with an intriguing triple album of rap-free, mostly improvised ambient music.

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genre Experimental Ambient format Vinyl

How can an album filled with songs about drug dealers, users, losers, the jilted, and of course the age-gapped creep famously exclaiming, "Hey nineteen, that's 'Retha Franklin" be so sparkly-enticing and such a party listen? Partly it's the twisted fun Becker and Fagan have with their cast of characters delivering mellifluous lines like, "The Cuervo Gold, the fine Colombian, make tonight a wonderful thing," seemingly disconnected... Read More

genre Rock format Vinyl

Charles Lloyd is a wonder: 85 years old, still near the top of his game, his tone on tenor sax and flute clear and strong, not at all averse to risk-taking—in fact, keen to leap into new routes and approaches. Rather than hiring bandmates well suited to merely comping behind his solos, as some old masters do, Lloyd recruits the best musicians he can, to ensure a flow of adventure in the interplay. This has been true ever since his first major album as a leader, Dream... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

If you were even mildly curious, there’s a fair chance you caved and gave yourself a preview of The Cure’s last swing across North America once the YouTube clips started to appear. Those of us who did, got an advance listen to “Alone” - the epic, and gloriously mopey opener that should be included on their long-promised (and last?) studio album. But if the tour felt like something of a stop gap move because of the record’s delay, then what can be said now about Paris,... Read More

genre Rock Post-Punk format Vinyl

Seattle was the epicenter of the grunge movement. Just as the genre peaked in the early 1990s with bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains dominating the scene, a band from a state further south would shake up the roost. Hailing from San Diego and originally named Mighty Joe Young, Stone Temple Pilots encapsulated the spirit of 1970s hard rock with hints of the relative alternative rock scene. The buzz from their 1990 demo and massive following... Read More

According to Ashley Kahn's outstanding annotation for this Rhino High Fidelity release, a few days before stepping into Phil Ramone's A&R studios to record Olé—his final session for Atlantic Records— John Coltrane had been at RVG's in Englewood Cliffs, NJ recording his first Africa/Brass session for Impulse! Kahn writes that the relatively new A&R was handling "overflow" for Atlantic, which is fortunate. It meant that Olé would be both... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl