Thursday, January 26, 2023

Review: Vinyl Edition of The Animals' 'Retrospective'

Last spring ABKCO reissued The Animals' first four U.S. LPs with excellent mono sound, and the excellence of most of those albums rebutted any notion that The Animals were never much of an album group. As essential as those LPs are for British blues fanatics, The Animals were mostly a singles group who did their best work when slathering some Newcastle grit and growl over Tin Pan Alley tunes. One of their very best single sides, Atkins and D'Errico's "It's My Life", was not on a proper LP, so the first release of the 2004 compilation Retrospective would be a crucial compliment to those four proper LPs if "It's My Life" was its only track. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Review: 'Pink Floyd and The Dark Side of the Moon: 50 Years'

If one album is deserving of an entire book honoring its fiftieth anniversary, that album might as well be The Dark Side of the Moon. With it, Pink Floyd redefined the LP as something that could be cinematic yet personal, flaunted the state of recording art, and shifted more units than those guys who wrote the Bible. Unlike much of Floyd's post-Syd Barrett work, The Dark Side of the Moon also manages to be arty without being insufferably boring, so why not celebrate the damn thing by giving it a spin while reading Martin Popoff's Pink Floyd and The Dark Side of the Moon: 50 Years?

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Review: 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen' Blu-ray

Terry Gilliam found the perfect vehicle for his peculiar brand of weirdness and silliness, as well as his 17th-century-engravings aesthetic, when he decided to adapt Rudy Raspe's Baron Munchausen's Narrative of His Marvelous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. The time period and oddness of Munchausen's fish stories were right up Gilliam's alley and perfect for providing some shape for his fancies. 

Friday, December 16, 2022

Review: 'The Jam 1982'

Just five years after releasing their decidedly punk debut, The Jam did what all the best punk survivors did: they experimented, diversified, and found a sound of their own. For the restless Paul Weller, this meant his band had reached a plateau he didn't want to rest on. Shortly after completing what would be The Jam's sixth and final album, The Gift, Weller told bandmates Bruce Foxton and Rick Butler that he was breaking up the act at the height of their popularity. There would be one more tour, and that would be that. Weller would emotionally detach throughout the last of The Jam's obligations, Foxton would quietly seethe, and Rick Buckler would accept his fate gracefully despite its uncertainty.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Review: 'Glam! When Superstars ROCKed the World, 1970-74'

As the sixties came to an end, psychedelic Sgt. Pepper's silks and ruffles gave way to denim and unkempt tresses. The ragtag Band was the most influential group, and even the ever-flamboyant Hendrix dressed down in jeans and floppy fringe. Guitar solos nattered on for hours, and drum solos tumbled along for weeks. Without a doubt, rock and roll had lost its pizazz. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Review: Blossom Toes' 'We Are Ever So Clean' Vinyl Reissue

Blossom Toes began as a trio of apprentices at a scientific (not musical) instrument company, which will seem oddly logical when you listen to their first album. We Are Ever So Clean doesn't sound played; it sounds wired, more the product of mad scientists than a band. Of that original trio, only guitarist Alan Kensley played an instrument. Brian Godding had to figure out how to mess with a guitar a bit and Brian Belshaw learned to pluck a bass well enough that the guys could start gigging (and ultimately back the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson and Chuck Berry!). 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Review: 'Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination'

From this past October 4 through May the 4th of 2023, The Science Museum in London is running an exhibition called Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination. Those who might cry "blasphemy!" at the idea of a serious science museum paying tribute to a world of made-up monoliths and wookiees hasn't been paying very close attention to sci-fi for the past two-hundred years. Ever since Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, the genre has been raising serious questions about the role science plays in our lives, using fantastical scenarios as a means to discuss touchy topics, and inspiring the next generation of astrophysicists, paleontologists, and biologists. 

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