November 2014 Archives

DVD Review: The Rolling Stones - From The Vault: L.A. Forum (Live in 1975)

The Stones archive series continues with this official bootleg of L.A. 1975.
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1975 was a pivotal year for The Rolling Stones. Longtime lead guitarist, Mick Taylor, had left the group after the release of their most recent album, It's Only Rock 'N' Roll, putting the group in a bind for their upcoming tour. Enter Faces guitarist, Ronnie Wood, a friend of the band's and a contributor (albeit billed as inspired by, instead of a songwriting credit) to the song "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)." The band took to their Tour of the Americas, so called because it had intended to make stops in Central and South America. Those

CD Review: Status Quo - Aquostic (Stripped Bare)

Veteran UK rockers release their first-ever all-acoustic album.
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After nearly 50 years as one of the UK's top hard rock acts and the triumphant reunion of the Frantic Four lineup in 2013 and 2014, Status Quo have little, if anything, to prove. In spite of these facts, the band continues to push the envelope musically and has released its first-ever all acoustic album, Aquostic (Stripped Bare), with a cover photo shot by Bryan Adams no less. Aquostic finds the band reworking classic Quo songs as well as some deeper album cuts. The new arrangements include strings and accordions and focus on the band's strong vocal harmonies, presenting a

Book Review: The Prog Rock FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Rock's Most Progressive Music by Will Romano

The Prog Rock FAQ is very much recommended for those who just cannot get enough of the stuff.
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I love progressive rock, and always have. Yes were the band who lured me away from the Top 40 hits and into more adventurous musical areas. Fragile, Close to the Edge, and The Yes Album are all-time favorites, as well as later works such as Relayer, Going for the One, and Tormato. The big gaping hole in that Yes-ography is Tales From Topographic Oceans, which is either the greatest prog album of all time, or the worst. I bring all of this up because I had high expectations for The Prog Rock FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Rock's

LP Review: Bill Evans - The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961

The final recordings of this classic lineup of Bill Evans' trio, presented in a lavish vinyl box set.
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In June 1961, fans unknowingly watched Bill Evans and his trio, which consisted of Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums, make Jazz history with their performance at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village, New York City. Though Evans has rightly since become a giant in the jazz world, he wasn't very well known at this point, despite having already played with Miles Davis and, as a result, the shows were sparsely attended. The performances would provide material for two of Evans' best-loved albums, Sunday At The Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby, and they would prove to

CD Review: Drifting in Silence - Desire

Drifting in Silence embody everything implied in the idea of post-ambient music.
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As is often the case in electronic music, the name Drifting in Silence refers not to a band, but to an individual who does everything himself. His name is Derrick Stembridge, and he is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who has just latest a nine-song album titled Desire. Stembridge calls his music "post-ambient," which is just about the perfect term for this recording. Somehow Drifting in Silence manage to update the ambient genre while retaining the vintage "chill out" vibe of the early Nineties. Besides stand-alone recordings, Drifting in Silence have also worked on videogame soundtracks, such as Ninjatown. There is

DeepSoul: Sugarhill Gang - "Rapper's Delight" (A Tribute to Big Bank Hank)

DeepSoul remembers Big Bank Hank, founding member of rap's first successful group.
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1970s and 1980s kids, finish the lyric: Well so far you've heard my voice But I brought two friends along And next on the mike... Anyone who grew up in the early days of hip hop will have no trouble recalling the next lines: "And next on the mike is my man Hank / C'mon, Hank, sing that song." These lyrics represent just a portion of the landmark single "Rapper's Delight," largely credited with being the first mainstream rap hit. The song propelled the Sugarhill Gang to instant fame, and its trio subsequently became hip hop pioneers. Sadly, a beloved

Book Review: Who Killed Mister Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction by David J

Who Killed Mister Moonlight? is the one-of-a-kind memoir of Bauhaus bassist David J.
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In many ways, Bauhaus were the ultimate goth band, and as such they have always been clouded in mystery. The classic Bauhaus lineup of Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins, and David J ran from 1978 - 1983, in which time they released four albums. Unfortunately, their existence was pretty much a secret in the United States, and a lot of American fans did not even discover them until after they had broken up. David J has lifted the veil on Bauhaus with his new memoir Who Killed Mister Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction, and it is as fascinating

Blu-ray Review: Eric Clapton - Planes, Trains and Eric

A look at the guitarist's recent Far East tour.
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Eric Clapton has been hinting about scaling down his touring for some time. At age 69, he's not into the travel and wear and tear required for major tours anymore. It's not like he has anything left to prove at this stage, anyhow. One wish he had though, was that when he turned 70 and really started to scale down his live shows, was to play Japan and the Far East again, areas that have proven a mutual love fest for Clapton and his fans alike. In early 2014, Clapton did just that, documenting the tour, including his 200th show

CD Review: Big Star - Live in Memphis

An unearthed reunion show from the Memphis power pop giants.
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In 1993, original Big Star members, Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, were asked to perform at a one-off concert at the University of Missouri's Springfest. They rounded out the lineup with The Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow and Big Star, the Memphis power pop band who never lived up to their name sales wise, but who influenced countless bands, was reborn. A live album was recorded from the event and the band played a short tour. It was an offer from Mike Glenn to play the New Daisy in Memphis -- a homecoming gig -- that really enticed the

CD Review: Paul McCartney - Wings At The Speed Of Sound

The pinnacle of Wings' mid-1970s popularity, remastered and reissued.
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After the major success of Venus And Mars and the accompanying 1975 tour, Paul McCartney and Wings cranked out a sister album the following year. The record was Wings At The Speed Of Sound and it spawned two major hits in "Let 'Em In" and "Silly Love Songs," continuing the roll the band had been on and leading into their first, and only, U.S. tour. This was to prove the high point of Wings' popularity. The album has been remastered as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection and is available in a number of formats, including a double LP,

CD Review: Paul McCartney - Venus And Mars Special Edition

A rerelease of the album that began Wings' most popular period.
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The year 1975 saw the release of Paul McCartney and Wings' fourth album, Venus And Mars, and marked arguably, the beginning of their most popular phase as a band. New members Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English had replaced Henry McCullough and Denny Seiwell on guitar and drums respectively and became permanent, important fixtures of the band in the studio and on stage. This album and its follow-up, Wings At The Speed Of Sound, provided much of the material for the hugely successful world tour the band was soon to undertake, which spawned the triple-live album Wings Over America. The album

SDBlu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones -- From the Vault: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981

The Stones' classic 1981 pay-per-view concert, available on SDBlu-ray for the first time.
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The Rolling Stones were flying high in 1981. Touring in support of the critically acclaimed Tattoo You, the band's tour took in a then record $50 million. While on tour, the band simulcast a Hampton, VA, concert to many major rock stations across the country and made the show available on pay per view -- a first for any concert. That show has been restored, with remixed audio by Bob Clearmountain, who supervised the Stones' audio archive releases, and is available on SDBlu-ray for the first time as The Rolling Stones -- From the Vault: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981.

Blu-ray Review: Genesis - Three Sides Live

First-ever Blu-ray release of the band's 1981 tour film.
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1981 was a transitional year for Genesis. It was a year that found them straddling the line between the more experimental music of the Peter Gabriel and earlier Phil Collins years and the more pop-oriented music to come. Nowhere was this more evident than on their album Abacab, which featured lengthy prog rock tracks such as "Dodo/Lurker" and "Me & Sarah Jane," as well as pop songs such as "No Reply At All" and "Man On The Corner." While on tour for Abacab, the band recorded a live album, Three Sides Live and a corresponding video of the same name.

DeepSoul Salutes Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis: Chaka Khan and Mary J. Blige - "Disrespectful"

Our salute to the production team concludes with a track recalling the Time's earliest funk sound.
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DeepSoul's salute to the production team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis concludes with a song featuring two figures: a legendary diva and another well on her way to achieving that status. "Disrespectful," a fast and furious duet between Chaka Khan and Mary J. Blige, proves that the duo could adapt to different styles. Indeed, the track recalls Khan's 1970s funk while modernizing it through Blige's presence and judiciously used breakbeats. In 2007, Khan had not released a studio album in a decade (her last being the Prince-produced Come 2 My House), thus Funk This was a welcome return to