Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Various Artists - Coolsville! Hits & Rarities From the Golden Age of Pop Instrumentals (Fantastic Voyage) review
Where did the instrumental go? Once a staple on radio and a hit with consumers, the wordless pop song is sadly a thing of the past. Fantastic Voyage has assembled Coolsville! - a great, two-disc collection of these mostly-forgotten classics.
Fanny - Fanny (Real Gone Music) review Back when the Go Go’s and Bangles were both still in grade school, this California quartet blazed a trail for all female rockers to come.
The first all-girl band to be signed to a major label, Fanny released this debut album back in 1971 (now remastered by the folks at Real Gone Music). It seems completely ridiculous now - especially with so many talented women ruling the charts - but these girls had a lot of trouble being taken seriously. Girls were supposed to stand there and look pretty - not rock, especially as hard as these girls did.
Otis Redding - Lonely & Blue - The Deepest Soul (Volt / Concord) review Finally, an Otis Redding album worthy of his legend
Otis Redding is one of the greatest soul singers of all time. Yet, where is the proof? Almost every other great soul artist has at least one classic album that you can point to. Think Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On. Think James Browns’ Live at the Apollo. Think Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music. Think Sam Cooke’s Night Beat. The problem is, Redding passed away before he could make that quintessential record.
Blue Cactus Choir - ...Once in a Bluegrass Moon (Porgy) review A sprawling, yet warm and inviting album that transports you to many different places - some exotic, some comical, but all extremely enjoyable
Blue Cactus Choir is a collaboration between two Southern California songwriters - Marty Atkinson and Katy Boyd, each bringing their own flavor to this new project. Their debut album is called ...Once in a Bluegrass Moon, an earthy blend of country, folk, and 70’s soft rock, complete with impeccable harmonies and excellent musicianship. But, what really elevates these songs is the songwriting.
Shelby Lynne - Revelation Road - Deluxe Edition (Everso) review
Typically, by the time an artist writes, records, and then begins to promote an album, they’re already well on their way to their next project. But, Revelation Road isn’t a typical record for Shelby Lynne: it’s a deeply personal affair, where she tackled many of her demons of the past head on. We compared it to both John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and McCartney’s debut in our initial review back in 2011 - Lennon in its catharsis, McCartney in its stone-cold individuality - she played all the instruments herself.
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours - 35th anniversary Deluxe Edition (Warner Bros) review A closer look inside one of the biggest-selling albums of all-time.
We love conflict. It’s why reality TV shows are everywhere now. Sure, the music on the original Rumours album is great - but what struck a nerve with the public in 1977, and continues today, was the story behind the music - that the two couples within the band were breaking up, yet the band stayed together. The three songwriters were putting down on paper what was actually happening between them. These aren’t just songs, they’re windows into their crumbling relationships.
Juliet & the Lonesome Romeos - No Regrets (Tree O Records) review On the front cover of her band’s debut album, No Regrets (preview on amazon), Juliet Simmons Dinallo is leaning against a vintage gasoline pump, clad in a cowboy hat and denim jacket - signals of the no-frills rock & country blend that lies inside. And, that’s probably the most satisfying thing about the record - it straddles the line between the two genres, leaning one way or another, depending on what the song needs.
Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell & Angels (Experience Hendrix / Sony) review The fact that Hendrix sounds fresh today, just shows how far ahead of his time he was back then.
People, Hell & Angels (view this album on amazon.com) is an entire album of unreleased Jimi Hendrix music. I know what you’re thinking - “this must be bottom of the barrel stuff, right”? Unbelievably, the answer is no. In fact, most of what’s included here is revelatory and can stand proudly up against his finest work. There have been so many other Hendrix archival releases, so how can this be?
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