Even with their 40 year legacy of releasing records, nothing can convince me to care about the Steve Miller Band. While I respect the ability to solo virtually the entire 30 some-odd minutes of Bingo!, it doesn't make it good.
Blues rock sounds great when played by people with pain and anguish and a point - not lighthearted songs that focus more on jamming than emotions. I just wish there was something interesting about this record.
EDITOR'S NOTE: let's face it, steve miller has always been trailblazing. his sound is great in the car. the guitarist/singer deftly sidestepped the flashier excesses of shopworn psychedelia and concentrated on clean rockers and supple blues. the cat has become famous with masses by creating steady, effortless rock & roll.
This is the result of growing up in a world where bad music is accessible to everyone. It was inevitable that someone would try to graft the worst parts of country to the worst of indie rock, and my only regret is that I was around to see it.
Malea McGuiness makes my entire body cringe, taking the cheese of country style and the digital effects that made U2 one of the most unbearable bands of our time. I hope we can all learn from other's mistakes.
Somewhere between salsa and psychedelic rock lies folk hero Carlos Santana. Acclaimed as the first Latino rocker, his 30+ record catalog shows the growth of the musician who continues to today to pull the masterbatory moves that Steve Miller Band does, but makes them sound great. The Essential Santana collects his hits and lesser known's on two discs, a must have for any fan or interested cohort.
EDITOR'S NOTE: after 4 decades of extraordinary music, carlos santana has always reached his height with his afro-cuban sound. formed in san francisco in 1967 santana and his band has fed our appetite for long, open-air jams with an athletic mixture of his blazing guitar and frenetic percussion. his novelty lay in employing the jam style for latin music. the man is an instantly recognizable musician with long fluid lead lines. one of a kind.
While Shelby Lynne's popularity is fading pretty quickly, her music is only on the rise. While most in the country field venture into the pop realm and end up akin to stadium country, Tears, Lies & Alibis sounds more like a Dolly Parton-does-Fionna Apple cover album. Intensely fun, emotional, and genuinely original, this is for both pop and country lovers alike.
EDITOR'S NOTE: these great days shelby lynne has never experienced a creative difficulty in her life. she sings like a real person with wildly expressive capabilities instead of a country mannequin hynotized by technique. lynne sounds like no one except herself, a woman with a tragic past, alabama roots, a voice that exposes real beauty and woundedness and strength.
So if you have a hard time keeping your focus through the two and a half minute intros and insane tangents that Sparks has commandeered as their persona, Hot Chip may be perfect for you: melodramatic electronic pop music with campy-yet-catchy lyrical progressions; a dance party waiting to happen.
I would like this a lot more if they didn't claim the title "post-grunge". Sure, there are elements of sloppy rock that seeps through every now and then, but Bright Nights Dark Days is mostly just a continuation of the legacy that alternative rock bands left from the early 2000's: boring riffs, boring melodies, and a sound that is everything but interesting. There are no distinguishing features about this band.
Various Artists "Motown Around The World: The Classic Singles DOUBLE CD," Hip-O-Select/Motown/Universal
There is nothing that could make my day better than listening to Motown. Honest. Motown Around The World: The Classic Singles is a real treat: two discs loaded with classic Motown hits sung for non-English ears, including Spanish, French, and Italian.
All the songs are identical to their originals, giving that eerie feeling of hearing a beloved masterpiece shift gear. But don't you fret: "You Keep Me Hangin' On," in Italian feels just as it should, complete with the emotion that made the song the hit that it was and still is. Highly recommended for everyone.
EDITOR'S NOTE: for those who loved his lead vocals with the drifters his solo career is a case of an extraordinary artist that made mediocre music spectacular. his high, quavering tenor was a most expressive instrument, and his control of vocal dynamics revealed a singer with a deep sensitivity. and like sam cooke, he knew how to keep his fans totally satisfied.
Disco-inspired rock/pop from Ian Llyod. Disco always brings an element of cheese where ever it is, but Lloyds style of dreamy pop only makes it feel that much more wholesome. With undeniable influences from Paul Simon, the album retains what is possible for pop music in the twenty-first century.
EDITOR'S NOTE: MARK IS THE ONLY ARTIST I KNOW WHO WOULD HAVE THE NERVE AND THE SKILL TO SING SONGS THAT WERE ORIGINALLY CLASSICS FOR ARTISTS LIKE WILLIE NELSON, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, WAYLAND JENNINGS, ETC. THE MAN IS A REAL HONKY-TONKER WHO PARLAYED A SOLID GROUNDING IN CLASSIC COUNTRY INTO CHART-TOPPING STARDOM. THAT HE'S BEEN DROPPED BY MAJOR LABELS SHOWS YOU WHERE OUR PROFIT-ORIENTED SYSTEM IS FUCKED UP. THE MAN HAS ALWAYS HAD A TRUE TEXAS VOICE THAT CONTAINS BOTH THE KNACK FOR HUMOR AND THE DEPTH FOR HEARTACHE. I'LL DRINK TO YOU TONIGHT.
Somewhere between death-metal and dark d-beat lies Early Graves: San Francisco's response to the resurgence in pissed off hardcore. Thick as the Gulf of Mexico about now and as mean as nails, Goner combines elements of Cursed and His Hero Is Gone with the intellect of super-group United Nations, while still holding onto the Metal Blade sensibilities of crystal-clear recordings and auditory assault on listeners. Drop the new Between The Buried and Me and pick this up.
EDITOR'S NOTE: FOR A LONG TIME, THE SCORPIONS WERE VERY POPULAR IN EUROPE AND UNKNOWN IN THE USA BECAUSE THEIR LABEL WOULD FORK OVER THE BUCKS FOR A SERIOUS TOUR. WHEN THAT CHANGED, THEY ROARED FORTH WITH A FULLY FINISHED SOUND, HONED AND POLISHED BY THE BAND AND ITS LONG TIME PRODUCER. THEIR SOUND WAS SLICK, MIXING CRUNCH AND MELODY IN A RECIPE FOR THE RAGING ROCKERS THAT THEY STILL ARE.
Bad hipster rock from Los Angeles' Carney. Cashing in on the psych-rock explosion of the last few years, the band is nothing short of a straightforward publicity stunt: playing music that is focused towards getting big without any attempt at writing anything good.
EDITOR'S NOTE: SINGER-SONGWRITER JIM LAUDERDALE HELPED LAY OUT THE BLUEPRINT FOR THE AMERICANA MOVEMENT EARNING HIGH CRITICAL MARKS FOR ECLECTIC SERIES OF ALBUMS THAT SPANNED HARD COUNTRY, SLICK POP, ROOTSY ROCK AND ROLL, BLUES, FOLK, R&B AND BLUEGRASS. HE WAS ALSO RECORDED BY SUPERSTARS LIKE GEORGE STRAIT, VINCE GILL AND GEORGE JONES AMONG MANY OTHERS. COMMERCIALLY, THE MAN HAS TOO MUCH INTEGRITY FOR HIS OWN GOOD, BUT CRITICALLY, LAUDERDALE IS AS INTERESTING AND HEARTFELT AS IT GETS.
EDITOR'S NOTE: YOURS TRUELY FIRST MET HER IN THE 1980S, WHEN HER FIRST ALBUM CAME OUT. I'VE NEVER STOPPED DANCING TO THE GREAT MUSIC MELISSA HAS PLAYED. SHE IS A TRUE HARD-ROCK IDOL SUITED TO A BIG, BLUESY VOICE, BUT ALSO A SUBJECT - SEXUAL DESIRE - TO WHICH EVERYONE CAN RELATE. SHE HAS NEVER LOST ANY OF HER BITE.
This band is defined as "guilty pleasure". If for nothing else than the vocal style, Rocket Summer screams of soul-less indie rock that signifies Hot Topic culture: catchy but edgy, whining almost as much as singing. But even with that, Stephen Avary's solo project is infectiously catchy and poppy. The song writing is unbeatable, refined to a T, and, even with little in terms of substance, the album is undeniably enjoyable.
EDITOR'S NOTE: WELCH'S SONGS SPRAWL OUT LIKE GREAT, OPEN FLATLANDS, MAKING ELEMENTS OF FOLK, COUNTRY AND ROCK IN A CAPTIVATING WAY. WELCH HIMSELF- -HALF SINGING, HALF SPEAKING SONGS--COMES OFF AS A CROSS BETWEEN A RENEGADE STORY TELLER AND A HEARTLAND ROMANTIC.
Released before his death, The Telling Takes Me Home is a mash up of albums El Capitan and All Used Up, leaving out the filler for only Phillips most impactful tracks. The most powerful folk voice from within my lifetime, Phillips combines his anarchist legacy with the modern incarnation of folk, arguably surviving as a contemporary Pete Seeger. Included on here are "The Telling Takes Me Home," "Johnny Thurman," "Rock Me To Sleep," and "Yuba City".
EDITOR'S NOTE: the true and extraordinary member of the anarchist i.w.w. (international workers of the world) the late entertaining, fun singer-songwriter. if you would catch him on the right night, as in most nights, he's talk about how the owners of wealth exploited those of us who depend on our weekly check to get by. he was a well-known and popular performer on the folk and concert world. you can't see him anymore, so you must buy his albums.
Another collection of some of the best blues out there today. 15 tracks of soul and emotion, combining some of the most impressive musicians of our day with one of the most impactful genres when played right. And trust me, this is played right. With names like Rory Gallagher, John Lee Hooker, Paul Jones, and Harvey Mandel, how could you go wrong?
EDITOR'S NOTE: WIDESPREAD PANIC IS ONE OF THE FINEST LIVE JAM BANDS AROUND. SINCE ITS RAW BEGINNINGS DURING THE EARLY 1980S, THE GROUP HAS TOURED INCESSANTLY GATHERING ONE OF THE MOST DEVOTED FAN BASES OF ANY BAND AROUND.
Dreamy country from Zoe Muth and backing band. While not anything original, this self-titled debut manages to refine their straightforward nature to perfection, concocting something between Americana and classic folk.
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band rests in that strange cross-over scene between punk and folk tunes. As a fixture of the Van's Warped Tour as the resident jug band, Big Damn Band takes the energy that the festival is known for, but incorporates it into the legacy that delta blues and folk traditions have left lingering in the post-amplified age.
The Wages, their 2010 release, pronounces the band more as a blues band than ever: lead lines that could just as easily be coming off a Muddy Waters album, a stripped down percussion session, and the type of collective vocal melodies that breathe 'soul'. For both punks and blues-lovers alike.
Endless crooning is what you'll get from Dana Cooper's The Conjurer, a mix of indie and singer/songwriter folk. While certainly not bad, most of the songs blend together into one extended emotion: melodrama and the blues.
Primarily acoustic guitar and vocals (accented occasionally with percussion and a few accompaniments), Cooper's formula for songwriting works in making auditorily pleasing melodies. The Conjurer is by no means original, but for a folk record pumped full of angst, it ain't half bad, either.
EDITOR'S NOTE: singer/songwriter robert earl keen has a tremendous following outside of his home state of texas. he is best known for his beer-friendly live shows and remarkable anthems and the white-trash yuletide classic "merry christmas from the family" . closer attention reveals a writer with a novelist's eye for character and narrative detail and a sharp ear for catchy melodies.
At 93, Pinetop Perkins is still releasing phenomenal records. Bob Dylan is 69 and can't even claim half of that. Joined At The Hip lets Perkins go as wild as he's capable of with the help of Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith, Muddy Waters' harmonica/percussionist.
Nothing on here is going to be a surprise to anyone: just amazing blues. Almost to the point of minimalism, Joined At The Hip takes the best that both are capable of, and makes something of a quintessential blues record.
EDITOR'S NOTE: when muddy waters bought perkins up to chicago the man's rolling mastery of the ivories began to assume outsized propostions. born in the delta, pinetop has given almost 80 years to the world of the blues. he goes back to the 70's with willie '"bid eyes" smith. and the team has only gained skill as their friendship has grown.
A Place to Bury Strangers follows in the tradition of bands like Jesus and the Mary Chain, and even My Bloody Valentine. While not really shoegaze and certainly not the same style of goth-rock that Jesus and the Mary Chain perfected, the band does blend the elements of minimalist dark rock with heavily affected everything to create a mix of noise and garage rock.
I Want It All Back sounds like a blues version of Margaritaville. Goofy, campy, and some sort of blues/reggae bastard offspring, Coco Montoya has made something that I am having a hard time swallowing. Songs are predictable, straightforward, and sound more like they are written for the sake of writing an album. Not recommended.
While the track "Curtains" sounds like the introduction to a shoegaze record, So Runs The World Away is Josh Ritter at perfection: memorable pop tracks with Americana influence that positions him somewhere between Bright Eyes and the later end of Dylan.
Playing on the dynamics as any good musician should, Ritter has a knack for building emotion through the album and really making the listener want to know what happens next. Impecable from the beginning to end, So Runs The World Away is for the romantic in all of us.
EDITOR'S NOTE: ONLY AFTER RELOCATING TO BROOKLYN DID COMMON BEGIN HIS MOST ARTISTICALLY FERTILE PERIOD. THE ANTI-GANGSTA RAPPER HAS A MONUMENTAL PROFILE THESE DAYS. HE'S DOCUMENTED HIP-HOP'S CREATIVE DECLINE BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, HE HAS CREATED A HYPNOTIC TURN INTO THE NEW HIP-HOP DIRECTION OF TODAY OF REALITY.