Current Album Reviews

Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.

Humble Pie - Performance: Rockin' the Fillmore - The Complete RecordingsHumble Pie - Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore - The Complete Recordings (Omnivore) review

 

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The new remastering job makes you feel like your in the audience at the fabled venue

Humble Pie gave us one of the truly great live albums in Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore.  Originally a two-record set, it was cobbled together from a series of four shows over two nights the band played in May of 1971.  Now, Omnivore Recordings has just issued The Complete Concerts, a four-disc set featuring all four concerts in their entirety recorded at the legendary concert hall.

 

Van Morrison - Moondance - Deluxe EditionVan Morrison - Moondance - Deluxe Edition  (Warner Brothers) review A magical album gets gloriously remastered with a treasure-trove of unreleased goodies

Rarely is an album so universally loved like Moondance.  Critics have long praised it as the peak of Van Morrison’s legendary career.  Yet, millions of people have made it a part of their collection for its romantic undertones.  Deeply spiritual, yet grounded organically, Moondance has a timeless quality shared by few albums of any generation.  Ironically, the only thing this iconic record hasn’t received is a proper remastering treatment - that is, until now.  Warner Brothers has just issued Moondance - Deluxe Edition, featuring the original album, plus four extra discs of bonus material, featuring rehearsals, alternate takes, and even unreleased tracks.

Tommy Keene - Excitement at Your FeetTommy Keene - Excitement at Your Feet - The Tommy Keene Covers Album (Second Motion) review

If you’re a fan of Tommy Keene, you’re probably also an avid music lover.  Which means you’ll have lots of fun tracing the roots of his first-ever covers album

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Tommy Keene is not a household name.  In a fair and just world, his brand of radio-ready rockin’ pop should be part of the classic rock lexicon, getting spins between stalwarts like Bad Company and Foreigner...or at least R.E.M. and U2.  Alas, life isn’t fair, and Keene’s career never reached the ear of the general public.  But, he still has a loyal fanbase, and he plays right to them for his first-ever all-covers album, Excitement at Your Feet

Boogie Chillen - by Various ArtistsVarious Artists - Boogie Chillen - Early Mods’ First-Choice Vinyl (Fantastic Voyage) review A bulletproof playlist of early rock, soul, doo wop, & blues, summing up the favorites of the Mod generation.

 

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The Mod culture was something most Americans missed in the 1960’s.  But in Britain, it was a way of life for many youth.  The scooter-riding, pill-popping, snappy dressing kids championed American soul and blues from the previous decade - music that we had already tossed aside here in the States, in favor of rock imported from the UK.

Beach Boys - Made in California box setBeach Boys - Made in California (box set review) (Capitol / UME) A lovingly-assembled, 6-disc anthology of “America’s band” - made for the iPod, with 60 previously-unreleased tracks

 

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No other band has better captured the American spirit quite like the Beach Boys.  How a teenage group of brothers & friends from working-class families, who could scarcely play their instruments, managed to place a song on the national charts, starting a musical career that’s been going strong for five decades now, is truly the stuff of legends.  Made in California tells that story better than any other Beach Boys’ compilation, because it digs deeper, unearthing lost gems alongside bona fide hits, key album tracks and live cuts.  It tells the complete story - the dizzying highs, the frustrating lows.  And with the recent success of their reunion tour and fantastic new album, it puts a storybook ending on their tremendous career.

Sammy Hagar and FriendsSammy Hagar - Sammy Hagar & Friends (Frontiers) review The Red Rocker throws a party - and invites all his buddies

 

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In Sammy Hagar’s post-Van Halen career, he’s been able to follow his muse wherever it leads him.  Sometimes it’s with his solo band the Wabos, sometimes it’s with his supergroup Chickenfoot, and oftentimes it’s with whomever happens to stop by his Cabo Wabo restaurant in San Lucas, Mexico.  In that time, he’s had a chance to make some new friends, and get re-acquainted with old ones.  Sammy Hagar & Friends connects all of this together in his first-ever collaboration album.

Tony Bennett - Live at the SaharaTony Bennett - Live at the Sahara: Las Vegas, 1964 (RPM/Columbia Legacy) review A sizzling, early-peak performance live set from the legendary vocalist

There was something about Vegas in the Sixties.  Not everyone made it there.  But, if you did, it usually meant your career was on the rise.  There was a looseness that performers enjoyed.  Far out of the watchful eye of the snobby New York press, they could relax a little.  Certainly Frank Sinatra knew this (read our review of his Best of Vegas).

Keiko Matsui - Soul QuestKeiko Matsui - Soul Quest (Shanachie) review

 

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Keiko Matsui is one of the most lyrical pianists in contemporary jazz; her piano lines have a very hummable quality, which elevates it above typical mood music.  Plus, there’s enough technical prowess among her fellow musicians to keep the die hard aficionados happy as well.

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