“After 15 albums, i’ve taken all of my thoughts about the history of racial injustice and created a musical interpretation for modern times,” says trance blues artist Otis Taylor. His latest, Fantasizing About Being Black is shattering and thought-provoking. By looking backwards, Otis Taylor has made an album that is unfortunately still prescient.
The latest Son Volt album, Notes Of Blue, may just be precisely the album that will put your anxious brain at ease. It’s inspired by Nick Drake, but it’s also inspired by Mississippi Fred McDowell and Skip James. While the influences of the latter are more easily evident, Son Volt’s leader Jay Farrar says he was “aiming for where blues and folk and country converge.” He’s certainly hit his mark.
By Tim Murr
Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mick Harvey will likely be best known as Nick Cave’s longtime collaborator, from their first 1band The Boys Next Door, to the Birthday Party, to Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. Harvey worked with Cave for 36 years, but he’s also had a distinguished solo career in his own right with Crime And The City Solution, The Wallbangers, and under his own name. It seems whatever Harvey has touched has been at the very least a fascinating addition to the annals of rock and roll.
Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough have written songs, recorded, and toured together for years, but with their album Mockingbird Soul, they are putting both their names on the collaboration. And Mockingbird Soul is a true partnership, one that is evident in their instinctive harmonies, their quietly literary lyrics, and the grace of their musicianship. It’s a beauty of an album.
By Tyler Hodg
If ELO, ABBA, and the Rolling Stones had a baby, it would be Foxygen, but don’t believe that they are any sort of rip-off. The duo’s latest effort, Hang, is a symphonic powerhouse that not only borrows from music of yesteryear, but also delivers a sense of authenticity and originality that only comes around so often. With a 40-piece orchestra accompanying all eight (typically) upbeat tracks, Foxygen has released one of the most fearless and valiant records in recent times. (more…)
Every music journalist struggles to find a voice. Years of struggle writing endless music reviews and a writer still may not find it. However, when I read quality music reviews written by a seasoned professional, that voice can project right off the screen and as clear as if they were sitting in front of me, I can hear that voice.
Couple that achievement with actual writing skill and the act of reading a truly well crafted, eloquent review becomes a kind of… salvation.
I have scoured the internet for the clearest, most unique voices of them all and come up with my TOP TEN Most Eloquent Lines from Music Blog Album Reviews 2016.
In the pantheon of great guitarists, there are ones that come easily to mind: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Jeff Beck, B.B. King. I’d add the Buckaroos’ Don Rich to that list. His style is immediately recognizable, and without his sonic experimentation, Buck Owens’s catalog would lack a certain verve. While Owens was always happy to dip a toe in the rock side, Don Rich’s playing upped the ante. His fuzzed-out guitar work on “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass?” is as fresh and timely as anything recorded in 1969, and viscerally satisfying. This is pretty remarkable for someone who was hired to play fiddle.
Do you lament the lack of surf/Christmas music on your playlist? Are your instrumental Christmas albums just a little too staid? Did you know the Ventures put out a Christmas album in 1965? Did you know that it was called The Ventures’ Christmas Album and that Real Gone Records is reissuing it on CD? Did you also know that it is enormously, utterly fun?
Real Gone Music is here to save Christmas from oversinging, too-shiny production, and weird warbles with their reissues of classic Christmas albums. One of these? Ray Conniff and the Ray Conniff Singers’ The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings. Collecting best-selling choral albums We Wish You A Merry Christmas (1962) and Here We Come A-Caroling (1965), The Complete Columbia Recordings has all of the classic Christmas songs you could possibly need, done with inspired choral arrangements and a tremendous amount of charm. It’s a retro trip back to the days of silver Christmas trees and really big record player cabinets, and it’s utterly enjoyable.
By Emily Carney
The biography supplied with this reissue of John Cale’s 1992 stripped-down live album, recorded at various venues, states: “Fragments gives us Cale at his most melodic and moving, a mellowed and certainly a soberer man in a Yamamoto jacket and a lopsided haircut running through a selection of his prettiest songs.” While there’s no doubt that Cale was soberer at that time (having cleaned up his act following the birth of his daughter in 1985), this reviewer will disagree slightly with the bio, only in that not all of the songs on this offering are prettier. It’s also possible that Cale has never truly sonically mellowed out.