• Flaming Lips: Embryonic

    Flaming Lips: Embryonic

    With 1999’s The Soft Bulletin The Flaming Lips evolved from indie rockers with a cult following into a major band. The equally impressive follow-up Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots again delivered expertly crafted neo-psychedelic pop ...
  • Jeff Beck: Emotion & Commotion

    Jeff Beck: Emotion & Commotion

    Jeff Beck is on a roll. His appearance at the 2007 Crossroads Festival turned heads, 2008’s "Live at Ronnie Scott’s" went platinum, and this year included tour dates with Eric Clapton. His new release is ...
  • Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street

    Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street

    Exile on Main Street was conceived and recorded when distractions and self-destruction ran rampant for the Rolling Stones. While they trudged ahead on endless recording sessions and added tracks held over from previous sessions, what ...
  • Frank Sinatra: New York

    Frank Sinatra: New York

    Frank Sinatra: New York collects previously unreleased live performances in historic NYC locations; the DVD, for example, features an entire Carnegie Hall concert. During the 45-year time span that these recordings encompass Sinatra remained a ...
  • Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust

    Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust

    There’s a groove that Los Lobos keeps finding on Tin Can Trust that’s kind of slow and that seems like the ultimate cruising music, perfect to listen to if you’re driving down a street as ...
  • The Black Keys: Brothers

    The Black Keys: Brothers

    The first time I heard The Black Keys they opened for Sleater-Kinney. For a fan of raw and dirty electric blues they were an immediate delight, playing with an urgency that reminded me of early ...
  • Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day

    Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day

    I never loved Zep’s singles (plus they’re overplayed): the Druid strain didn’t interest me, the earlier stuff was better, Plant’s vocal gymnastics got old, and who wants live recordings that amount to greatest hits facsimiles? ...
  • Neil Young: Le Noise

    Neil Young: Le Noise

    Neil Young has long had a talent for writing lyrics that are elusive yet compelling. Although many of the lines in “Tell Me Why” from After the Gold Rush elude me, that doesn’t make it ...
  • Marc Ribot: Silent Movies

    Marc Ribot: Silent Movies

    Except for a few unobtrusive overdubs, Silent Movies is a solo jazz guitar record that casts a quiet but powerful spell. The tempos are slow, the playing sparse, the mood somber. The “compulsory distortion, rude ...
  • Chet Baker Quartet: 1 & 2

    Chet Baker Quartet: 1 & 2

    Although recorded within two weeks of each other, Chet Baker Quartet 1 and 2 are quite different records. Because pianist Dick Twardzik was calling the tunes, 1 consisted of Bob Zieff compositions that shared a ...
  • Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos

    Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos

    During Steely Dan’s first go-round—the period from Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972) to Gaucho (1980)—I remained dubious about the increasingly popular and steadily shrinking band. To me their reluctance to tour symbolized a growing distance ...
  • Bob Dylan: Tempest

    Bob Dylan: Tempest

    When Bob Dylan retreated to Woodstock in 1967 and began writing and recording songs with The Band, those oft- bootlegged sessions soon became the stuff of legend. The new material had deep roots and was ...
  • Imaginary Road Studios

    Imaginary Road Studios

    Fully appreciating what an anomaly the Windham Hill music label really was requires some honest musical history. Think back to the 1980s, when the California-based label achieved enormous popularity. Was there ever a decade when ...
  • Over the Rhine: The Long Surrender

    Over the Rhine: The Long Surrender

    The truism that bands lose their creative spark after a few records doesn’t apply to Over the Rhine. In fact, twenty years into OTR’s recording career The Long Surrender actually ups the ante, with Grammy- ...

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