• Arcade Fire: Reflektor

    Arcade Fire: Reflektor

    While listening to Arcade Fire’s Reflektor the first time I quickly flashed back to the Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, and there was probably some rationale behind that. Both albums replaced a readily-identifiable sound with ...
  • Mack Avenue Records

    Mack Avenue Records

    These days it’s tough to create and sustain a jazz label that has any real impact. One challenge is that, as guitarist Marc Ribot has pointed out, jazz artists suffer a great deal more than ...
  • 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 ...

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