Current Album Reviews

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

Tinsley Ellis - Tough LoveTinsley Ellis - Tough Love (Heartfixer Music) review

A near-perfect, enjoyably diverse, blues album

 

Visit this album's page on Amazon.com

In a genre littered with color-by-numbers knock-offs, Georgia guitarist Tinsley Ellis has not only just released the best blues album of 2015, Tough Love may very well be the finest album of his long career.

 

The Unforgiven (Real Gone Music)The Unforgiven - The Unforgiven (Real Gone Music) review

Hard rock meets spaghetti westerns - only in the Eighties!

 

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The Unforgiven’s debut arrived in 1986, amid an unprecedented record company bidding war.  The concept was certainly an intriguing one - take LA rock and infuse it with spaghetti western and surf music.  The band boasted FOUR guitar players, and donned long dusters and cowboy hats, creating an MTV-ready image.  All the elements were in place for this band to be huge.  Yet, after all the hype, the album completely tanked.  Almost 30 years later, Real Gone Music has made this curious album available again.

Now That's What I Call Music 53Now That’s What I Call Music 53 (Sony Music / Universal) review

Get through the cold Winter blah’s with the hottest hits of today

 

See the Amazon.com entry for this release

The latest in this quarterly hit collection series, Now That’s What I Call Music 53, kicks off with the Prince-inspired, retro R&B of “Uptown Funk,” a transatlantic collaboration between Brit producer Mark Ronson and US old school soulman Bruno Mars.  This killer track is reason enough to grab the disc, yet there are plenty more surprises here too.

Now That's What I Call MoviesVarious Artists - Now That’s What I Call Movies (Sony Legacy) review

An Ipod Shuffle through Tinsel Town's biggest tunes

 

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Bruno Mars sharing the same disc with Van Morrison?  How about Pharrell Williams and the Beach Boys?  Anna Kendrick and Queen?  The hugely successful Now series, known for compiling the latest hits, turns its attention to film soundtracks for Now That’s What I Call Movies, and the result is a collection that just about anyone will enjoy.

Jellyfish - Bellybutton - Deluxe Edition

Jellyfish - Spilt Milk - Deluxe Edition

Jellyfish remasters (Omnivore Recordings)

 

Bellybutton and Spilt Milk View these albums on Amazon.com

I recently did an interview with original Jellyfish guitarist Jason Falkner, who posed the question:

 

“What if Jellyfish had dressed more like Guns n’ Roses”?

 

Axl, Slash & Co. looked like they just crawled of the gutter, while Jellyfish wore costumes straight out of Saturday morning cartoons.  The former had immense success, while the latter…well, the problem was, the goofy hats and colorful shirts confused a lot of listeners - were Jellyfish a novelty act?  All those nostalgic references - were they to be taken seriously?

Josh Hoyer & the Shadowboxers - Living By the MinuteJosh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers -  Living By the Minute (Silver Street) review

Nebraska got soul!

 

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The home of Spam and Kool Aid might seem like a strange place for a great soul band, but Nebraska is where Josh Hoyer & the Shadowboxers call home - and they’ve just put out a fantastic new album, Living By the Minute.  What makes this record refreshing is that they’re not aping a classic style; they’re playing soul music, but it doesn’t sound like it was recorded at Stax or Hi Records, it just sounds real.

Simon & Garfunkel - Complete Albums CollectionSimon & Garfunkel - The Complete Albums Collection (Columbia / Legacy) review

Everything this talented, but volatile duo ever recorded - and then some

 

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Simon & Garfunkel only released five studio albums. Yet, their work has been compiled many times.  The Complete Albums Collection isn’t even their first box set (there were at least two before it), but it is, by far, the most comprehensive, and the best.

Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies - Legacy EditionKinks - Muswell Hillbillies {Legacy Edition} (RCA / Legacy) review

For a band that made a slew of great albums, this record is one of their all-time best, made even better with the inclusion of bonus tracks and a live DVD.

 

View this album on amazon.com

The thing that makes the Kinks’ catalog so enjoyable is that they never repeated themselves.  After “Lola” became a worldwide smash in 1970, Ray Davies certainly could’ve knocked off another catchy, gender-bending pop song, but he didn’t.  Instead, he chose to explore the urban struggles of the British working class, something he had certainly done before in songs like “Dead End Street.”  But, with Muswell Hillbillies, he immersed those lyrics in American roots music - blues, country & Dixieland, and came up with one of the most enduring albums of their entire oeuvre.

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