Have you ever listened to an album that is so charming that you just can’t bear it? I have. The fine folks at Numero Group have added to their considerable catalogue of genius compilations with Afterschool Special: The 123s of Kid Soul. Think: bubblegum pop + funk = sheer delight. Think: the Jackson 5. Think: infectious beats, voices so sweet you just want to curl into a ball and giggle, and true love. It’s hard for me to be objective; it’s so darling.
Some pregnant women nest by painting walls, decluttering, pasting photos in albums. Amanda Shires wrote an album. My Piece Of Land was written and recorded as a way of dealing with her pre-motherhood anxiety when she was pregnant and unable to travel. The result is introspective, incredibly honest, and furiously lovely.
It would be hard not to like St. Paul and the Broken Bones. You can call them what you like, soul revival or neo-soul or just soul, but the end result is the same: a band that makes bracingly soulful music that feels both classic and modern. Lead singer Paul Janeway vocally brings to mind the greats (Otis Redding in particular) and adds his own particular twist, with his testifying vocals (as you may recall, Janeway studied to be a preacher, and it certainly shows in his voice).
We truly live in an age of miracles. You can stroll down to the record store and pick up A Message From The Meters: The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Brothers Singles 1968-1977, and then you will hold in your hot little hands, a collection of ALL of the Meters’s singles, with B-sides. And you will be given a fantastic entry point to the best funk band of all time (Oh yes, I will die on that hill because it is a true fact). You could even download it digitally, if that’s your jam, and then you’ll at least have it. But the point is, you need this album.
By E.A. Henson
The first season of the darkly funny and hyper-violent Preacher TV series recently wrapped up and DC/Vertigo Comics has, coincidentally, just published the first volume of Absolute Preacher. If you’re a new fan of the show or an old fan of the comic this hefty tome is definitely something worthy of your attention.
By Tyler Hodg
Wisconsin may get bitterly cold, but Farewell Milwaukee’s music is nothing but warm. Their fourth studio effort, simply titled FM, wraps around you like a heavy blanket, comforting you with familiar folk-rock sounds that are reminiscent of artists like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. The album may not be the most original collection of music, but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t have a lasting effect. (more…)
It’s been a good year for Oliver Reed fans. Though the actor passed away in 1999, there have been several recent reissues of his work on Blu-Ray. First, there was Ken Russell’s The Great Composers box set from the BFI, which includes the rarely-seen but significant Reed performance in The Debussy Film. Then there was Hired To Kill, which Arrow Video reissued on May 17. And then, there’s Venom, reissued May 31 from Blue Underground.
I should make it clear that those last two movies are not exactly examples of Oliver Reed at his finest.
Cherry Red Records has done it again. This time, their triumph comes in the form of Close to the Noise Floor, a four-disc set which gives music junkies a taste of the “quiet electronic revolution that took place across the UK in the late 1970s and early 1980s.” The contents are staggeringly impressive and endlessly fascinating, with each disc flawlessly sequenced and boasting its own unique essence.
Though largely without commercial success at the time, Silverhead were influential by metal and hair metal, besides also being a well-loved glam rock band. Singer Michael Des Barres is a cult figure in music and acting, having combined a fairly successful career in both, and Nigel Harrison of Blondie also started his career in Silverhead.
This series of releases by Cherry Red includes the entire Silverhead discography: the two released albums, Silverhead and 16 and Savaged, some single mixes, live tracks, and B-sides. The series is rounded out by a live album, Live at the Rainbow, London 1973.
By Tyler Hodg
Cass McCombs is the type of songwriter that most of his peers probably wished they were; his latest work, Mangy Love, is a dulcet-toned, yet impactful album worthy of envy. The California musician is able to accomplish the near-impossible feat of composing tracks that are smooth, subdued, and buoyant at the same time. The line between compelling and uninspired is often thin and full of soft jams, but McCombs makes the distance seem like an eternity—and he’s undoubtedly on the more entertaining side.