November 2012 Archives

Review: Aeon - Aeons Black

Uncompromising death metal.
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Blistering and desolate, Aeons Black is icy Swedish death metal at its most adamant. The fourth full-length recording by Aeon, the follow-up to Path of Fire comes with more of the blasphemy and hatred fans have come to expect from this quintet. The band formed in 1999, coming out of the ashes of a group called Defaced Creation. Vocalist Tommy Dahlström, guitarist Zeb Nilsson and drummer Arttu Malkki were the early members, while some line-up changes eventually led to the arrival of guitarist Daniel Dlimi and bassist Marcus Edvardsson. As technically proficient as these cats are, the most striking element

CD Review: Lindsey Buckingham - 'One Man Show'

This all-acoustic live album serves as a master class in performing and songwriting.
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"I'm not a young man, but I'm a child in my soul," Lindsey Buckingham sings in "Not Too Late."  Indeed, this lyric perfectly summarizes his multifaceted career, one that has experienced fascinating twists and turns.  His guitar playing skills, highly personal songwriting, sometimes eccentric arrangements, and his emotional voice have added up to a sound that is uniquely Lindsey Buckingham, both with and without Fleetwood Mac.  Time has found him downscaling production, letting his words and voice convey his complex themes.  At the same time, his playing and singing have never sounded stronger, evoking the same rage and passion as

DeepSoul: Little Anthony and the Imperials - "Hurt So Bad"

Experiecing heartbreak never sounded so good as in this 1965 hit.
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Emerging out of the doo-wop 50s, Little Anthony and the Imperials transformed into first-class performers, with lead singer Anthony crooning some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking tunes that emerged from the 1960s. One particular track, "Hurt So Bad," still elicits tears due to Anthony's heartfelt and emotional performance. Born in Brooklyn in 1940, Jerome Anthony Gourdine grew up singing in various doo-wop groups, but his tenure with the Chesters proved fateful. Formed with friends Clarence Collins (baritone), Ernest Wright, Jr. (tenor), Tracy Lord (tenor), and Nat Rogers (bass), the group recorded one single before singing with small label End

Guster Announces Live Acoustic Album, 2013 Acoustic Tour Dates

Pre-order the limited edition CD now or wait for the digital download...
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Tis the season for good news, kids. Thanks to a headsup from BlindedBySound contributor Stephanie, I became aware our friends Guster are releasing a 16-track acoustic live album in early January. A limited number of CDs will be pressed and it will be available digitally to the universe forever on after (okay, I haven't verified forever on aftter but go with me on this). The 16-tracks were taken from the band's acoustic tour which found the band traveling with a small string section. The tracklisting is pretty heavy on the Easy Wonderful album but there are several goodies from throughout

David Gogo – Christmas With The Blues

Holiday music hot enough to light a few yuletide (and other) fires …
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Canada’s David Gogo – he’s from Vancouver Island, one of the more isolated (and least urban) of the vast nation’s urban areas – is primarily known as a prodigiously talented blues rocker. This being a collection that celebrates a time of good cheer – or not, given this is, after all, Christmas With The Blues – Gogo here eschews his usual aggressive attack for a lean, clean take on some holiday surprises, with a handful of originals to help make his Christmas parcel distinct from the rest. That’s not to say Gogo’s lost his bite – there’s still a

Two-Fer Tuesday Returns: Ian Britt Version

Ian Britt is my new Neil Finn this week
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I fell in love with Ian Britt's work after hearing "Shape of Us" on the TV show Parenthood. It spoke to me and followed me home (I'll talk to anyone and anything and, yes, usually invite strange noises in). With that, our musical kindred spirit-ness began. I'm addicted to "Shape of Us". ADDICTED. Much as I am to the frosted sugar cookies from Lofthouse (if you've not tried one, do so now. We'll wait. And you'll totally get what the world already knows: Lofthouse cookies = sweet soul crack in the best way possible). Oh yes. Back to Ian Britt.
It is a scientific fact that there have been more love songs written than any other type of tune.  Since time immemorial we humans have penned our feelings in verse and crooned our tenderest of emotions to those our for whom our hearts beat.  Second only to the love song is the the song of loss, heartache and the break-up.  For it seems as often as we give out our love it is returned to us unopened, broken, or destroyed.  I'm the type of person who tends to toss the syrupy love songs into the bin, but I collect sad

Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas [Remastered and Expanded Edition] CD Review

A Christmas essential is even better...
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When the holiday season rolls around, I look forward to watching my two favorite programs, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I give Rudolph a slight nod as a TV show, but for music, there is none better than the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. Although I did not realize it when I was a kid, A Charlie Brown Christmas also served as my introduction to jazz. Although the soundtrack is quite naturally relegated to the “Christmas music” genre, it really is a marvelous jazz album. Vince Guaraldi had a long and successful

Blu-ray Review: Hungarian Rhapsody - Queen Live in Budapest Deluxe Edition

Queen's legendary show behind the Iron Curtain makes its Blu-ray debut.
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In 1986, Queen mounted their most ambitious tour yet, a stadium outing for their latest release, A Kind Of Magic. It would prove to be the band’s final tour with their charismatic front man, Freddie Mercury. One of the most memorable stops on the tour — and arguably of the band’s career — came on July 27, 1986, when Queen played Budapest, Hungary. Though there was no money to be made at this gig, it was more important than that. Queen became the first western act to play a stadium show behind the old Iron Curtain, which, for the members of

Blu-ray Review - The Doors: Live At The Bowl '68

Legendary concert film available in its entirety for the first time
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The Doors’ live performances have become something of legend over the years. Few bands blended poetry, theater, blues, psychedelia and unpredictability quite like the Doors and their live shows took their songs to places not possible on the studio recordings. One of their finest performances was on July 5, 1968, at the Hollywood Bowl. Fortunately for fans, the cameras were rolling and the show was filmed. Technical problems during the concert prevented the inclusion of three tracks in the original VHS version of the show, but modern technology has enabled those tracks to be presented for the first time in

Blu-ray Review: Peter Gabriel - Classic Albums: So

A look back at this landmark album.
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Peter Gabriel’s fifth solo album, So, was the first to have a title (His fourth album was titled Security by the record label in the U.S.). It was also his most successful, spawning numerous radio hits, including “Sledgehammer,” “Big Time” and “In Your Eyes,” among others. So is the latest entry in the Classic Albums series, taking its rightful place among other great critical and commercial successes. Like other albums showcased in the series, Classic Albums: So combines interviews with the principal players as well as music critics. Rolling Stone’s David Fricke comments that Gabriel wasn’t a household name until

Willie Buck - Cell Phone Man

There’s a reason why the classics endure …
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Great art endures. There’s a reason people still listen to Beethoven and Bach, and time is proving that the classic sound of Chicago blues is a potent and lasting artistic force as well. Willie Buck’s been cranking out unpretentious, meat-and-potatoes Chicago blues since arriving in the Windy City in ’53. To say he’s a Muddy Waters disciple is an understatement – Muddy’s songs have always formed much of his repertoire, and Buck’s originals borrow heavily. Many of his mannerisms are uncannily like Muddy’s, and while his voice isn’t quite as commanding, his phrasing is often remarkably similar. But the sheer

Jay Ungar / Molly Mason – A Fiddler’s Holiday with the Jay Ungar & Molly Mason Family Band

An Americana take on Christmas that's both spectacle and warmly intimate
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No one does spectacle quite like the Americans. Who else would take simple fiddle tunes, the kind of stuff that seems most at home barefoot on the back porch, and surround ‘em with so many musicians it takes an entire page to list them all? And yet it works –A Fiddler’s Holiday is both exquisitely tasteful and extravagantly lavish, and deeply moving despite some rather obvious tugging on the heartstrings. Jay Ungar gained fame when his “Ashoken Farewell,” a bittersweet fiddle instrumental that sounds exactly like homesickness feels, became the recurrent theme music on Ken Burns’ PBS Series on the

Hit Parade: Rihanna - Diamonds

America, you're better than this!
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Oh America. You used to be so beautiful. Then, you made Maroon 5's "One More Night" the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 for NINE weeks straight. What man would want you now? In the (admittedly short) time I have been writing these Hit Parade articles, "One More Night" is far and away the worst song I've had to listen to, an irredeemable piece of garbage of which I have nothing positive to say. Now, on this Thanksgiving week (in America, who cares about Canada) I am giving thanks for a new song atop the charts. That would
Quicksilver Messenger Service were one of the great bands of the Haight-Ashbury scene. Due to a variety of unfortunate incidents, they are all but forgotten these days, at least in comparison to bands such as The Grateful Dead, Santana, and Jefferson Airplane. I doubt that the recent Quicksilver Messenger Service: Anthology Box 1966-1970 will remedy the situation, but it sure is a cool set. The Anthology is a three-CD, single-DVD collection, with a scarf and a badge, all housed in a very sturdy box. The packaging alone is worth noting, because once again, Cleopatra have done an outstanding job. Then

Blu-ray Review: FCA! 35 Tour: An Evening with Peter Frampton

Do you feel like we do? If so, this Blu-ray is for you.
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Presented by Eagle Rock Entertainment, FCA! 35 Tour: An Evening with Peter Frampton includes footage from the icon’s 2011-2012 world tour in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the legendary Frampton Comes Alive! record. The release is available in a two-DVD set and on Blu-ray, while a three CD set entitled The Best of FCA! 35 Tour is also out. This review is for the Blu-ray release. Directed and produced by Pierre and Francois Lamoureux, FCA! 35 Tour features footage from two shows from February of 2012. Material from a New York gig at the Beacon Theatre is combined with

DeepSoul: Earth, Wind, & Fire - "Gratitude"

It's Thanksgiving in America, but anyone can be thankful for this celebratory tune.
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It's Thanksgiving in America, that yearly holiday where we sit down with family and friends, enjoy a bountiful meal, and give thanks. What better way to celebrate than to play "Gratitude," a hidden Earth, Wind, & Fire track from their 1975 live album of the same name. Featuring Verdine White's funky bassline, a healthy dose of horns, and vocal interplay between singers Maurice White and Philip Bailey, "Gratitude" stands as a classic EWF jam. 1975 marked a banner year in EWF's history; their breakthrough album, That's the Way of the World, spawned the hits "Shining Star," "Reasons," and the title
In the early days of CD box-sets, the Rhino label were responsible for some of the finest ever. One of these was the Jack Kerouac Collection. The three-CD set was released in 1990, and went out of print rather quickly. My guess is that the audience for beat poetry set to jazz is rather specialized. I though I had missed the boat for good regarding this material. So when I heard that the Rock Beat label were issuing both Poetry for the Beat Generation and Blues and Haikus as stand-alone discs, I was stoked. The idea behind each album was

Chris Rene Opens Up About 'I'm Right Here' EP, Future Tour, Album Plans

BlindedBySound gets another exclusive interview with X Factor finalist Chris Rene
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Chris Rene released his debut album I'm Right Here on October 2, making him the first of last season's The X Factor top 3 to do so. I spoke to him in July about the upcoming disc and future plans, this time we conducted the interview via email and he divulged touring plans and how the title I'm Right Here came about. I wanted to ask about the title I'm Right Here – is that a reference to when on The X Factor you told LA and Simon “I will always be right here”? Exactly, it was the 1st time

Review: Soundgarden - King Animal

Seattle grunge quartet returns with first new album since 1996...
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Bob Dylan warned us in "Mississippi" you can go back but you can't go back all the way and it's with that in mind I sat down to listen to the first album of new Soundgarden music since their 1996 effort Down On The Upside. The Seattle quartet -- Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd, Matt Cameron -- have pursued other musical endeavors in the years since (Cornell fronted Audioslave and made solo records, including a solo acoustic live album while Cameron has spent the last several years drumming with Pearl Jam) and have issued a smattering of recordings under

Review: Green Day - ¡Dos!

Green Day hits the garage.
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The tenth studio album for Green Day is ¡Dos!, the middle portion of a trilogy of records that began with ¡Uno! and will end with the upcoming ¡Tré!. While ¡Uno! set the tone with a collection of party pop-punk tunes, this record finds the trio a little more entrenched in the shindig to the point that the floor is beset with empty beer cans and cigarette butts and all the “cool people” have gone home. That is, of course, a damn good thing. ¡Dos! plainly makes a lot of sense in what is shaping up to be one hell of

Review: James Durbin - Santa Claus Is Back In Town

Durbin channels Elvis to get you in the Christmas spirit...
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While I am typically morally opposed to any Christmas music pushing its way into my ears until Thanksgiving evening, I've made an exception for Elvis and James Durbin. Durbin was the beloved, metal-head fourth place finisher on Season 10 of American Idol who released his debut album Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster last year on Wind-up Records. In the midst of recording tunes for his sophomore effort James and his band started riffing and came up with this version of Elvis' “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” which may be the most popular, if not certainly best selling Christmas song

DeepSoul: Major Harris - "Love Won't Let Me Wait"

The soul crooner's recent death inspires a reappreciation of one of the great love ballads.
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Soul music suffered a loss this week with the death of Major Harris, a Philadelphia Sound alum who scored a hit with the 1975 quiet storm jam "Love Won't Let Me Wait." Thanks to his smooth vocals and backup singer Barbara Ingram's sensual moans, the song ranks as one of of the sexiest ballads ever recorded. Numerous R&B artists covered the track--most notably Luther Vandross--but younger fans may not know about Harris' long journey to that hit. Born in Richmond Virginia in 1947, Harris came from a musical family. According to AllMusic, his grandparents were vaudeville veterans, his father played

Review: Gary Clark Jr - Blak And Blu

Promise, power, and potential abound- if only the execution were a bit more consistent...
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It would have been an impossible task For Gary Clark Jr. to deliver the record I was hoping for, having long ago descended into fanboy obsession and I tried tempering my expectations in the runup to the release of Blak And Blu to avoid the possibility of being disappointed with a record I wanted to and was bound to fall in love with despite any imperfections. That was (mostly) a waste of time because it almost lives up to the enormous, impossible hopes- a near impossible achievement considering how much I've been listening to, writing about, and anticipating this "debut"

Off the Beaten Track: Ziggy Played Surf Guitar

David Bowie’s guitar-god persona hangs ten once again, fingers on his Fender, as instrumental surf bands of the world perform his songs.
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Break out the reverb, the tremolo, echolettes, and the whammy bar dips. “Wipeout” on the “Pipeline” to the Link Wray power chord and the Duane Eddy twang. And while you can cue stars like usual suspects Dick Dale and the Ventures, there’s also a surf guitar starman in an unusual suspect, David Bowie’s guitar-god persona from his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Though his “snow white tan” may not survive a day on the beach, Ziggy’s “screwed up eyes and screwed down hairdo” still work their magic, and may even
As we recently discovered with the release of Keith Jarrett’s Sleeper album, there are some treasures locked away in the vaults of ECM Records. This should not really come as any big surprise, considering the fact that the label has been running under the benevolent rule of Manfred Eicher for over 40 years now. There have been no great shake-ups, or hurried profit-taking vault raids. But what did surprise me was the incredible quality of that concert. When something is put on the shelf for 30-some years, it is usually because the music is not quite up to par. Sleeper
As we recently discovered with the release of Keith Jarrett’s Sleeper album, there are some treasures locked away in the vaults of ECM Records. This should not really come as any big surprise, considering the fact that the label has been running under the benevolent rule of Manfred Eicher for over 40 years now. There have been no great shake-ups, or hurried profit-taking vault raids. But what did surprise me was the incredible quality of that concert. When something is put on the shelf for 30-some years, it is usually because the music is not quite up to par. Sleeper

Review: Ambassador Gun - Golden Eagle

A rip-and-tear nor'easter of pain.
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Ambassador Gun’s Golden Eagle feels like the sonic attack in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. With a deluge of pandemonium, the Minnesota-based grind outfit punishes eardrums and hastens heart rates. Golden Eagle is raw, disordered detonations of noise and discomfort. It’s hard to characterize it as a listenable experience, but there’s little doubt that the band achieves what they’re after through these barely-contained knife fights. Ambassador Gun was formed by Tim Sieler and Luke Olson, a couple of high school buddies with chops in metal and punk bands. After relocating to Minnesota in 2000, the pair worked some different

Review: Neil Young with Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill

Going places with the Horse.
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There is a portion in Neil Young’s transcendent book Waging Heavy Peace that finds the rocker describing how he can “go places” with Crazy Horse. On their latest album, Psychedelic Pill, the listener gets to go places too. Young’s book is filled with lots of “anyways;” his thoughts come out in torrents, gushers really, and there’s no stopping him. When he gets something in his mind, he wants to go there. He’s willing to stretch out and take his time, even if things like rock and roll and thought and 50 shades of fucking book-writing don’t seem to accommodate that

Brad Vickers And His Vestapolitans - Travelling Fool

Tired of ‘Americana’ yet? Vickers and friends will change that!
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As a genre, the notion of ‘Americana’ – rootsy music that begins with folk but encompasses every indigenous format from blues and ragtime to country and good ol’ rock and roll – is in danger of becoming a tired cliché. What else, though, to call a collection that ranges from hokum to honking rhythm & blues, countrified rock ‘n’ roll to a rockabilly rave-up? As the bassist for New York-based Little Mike And The Tornadoes, Brad Vickers recorded with Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, and James Cotton while all three were on the Blind Pig label back in the 80’s. He

Review: Creedence Clearwater Revival - Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival

This thorough collection gives listeners a box set experience without the high price.
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Ask anyone to name his or her favorite Creedence Clearwater Revival song, and chances are the ensuing conversation could last a long time. From the late 1960s to the early 1970s, CCR amassed an impressive number of hits without compromising their sound or message. Led by John Fogerty, arguably one of the best blues vocalists in rock, the band indulged in their love of folk, country, and blues, while adding touches of pop to make the tracks even more accessible. At the same time, they often delivered powerful messages about the common man's struggles, most notably the still-arresting song “Fortunate

DeepSoul: Charles Wright and the 103rd Street Rhythm Band - "Express Yourself"

It's almost Election Day in America, and there's no better time to celebrate the season than listening to this classic 1970 tune.
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Tomorrow is a big day in the US: Election Day. In honor of the season, listen to a deep funk cut that perfectly expresses the current spirit: 1970's "Express Yourself" by Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. Its message remains timeless, and the garage-band quality of the recording adds to its charm and catchiness. The band's roots trace back to Clarksdale, Mississippi, the birthplace of group founder Wright. The multifaceted singer and musician--he played guitar and piano--recruited the eight-piece band from Watts, Los Angeles, although they originally dubbed themselves the Soul Runners. Remarkably, their big break came

Review: Al Jawala - Lost In Manele

...though difficult to listen to in one sitting due to its sometimes repetitive nature, Lost In Manele is an album that is definitely worth a try from a dynamic young quintet that hold lots of promise
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I first came across the music of Al Jawala at the Plai festival in 2007. Headlining said show was flamenco legend Paco De Lucia and we were all very excited to see this guitar heavyweight in action. I was not familiar with any of the opening acts and was excited at the prospect of making some new discoveries as I had in the past. There is usually at least one band that captures my interest and that year it was this pack of young troubadours from the very German-sounding city of Freiburg im Breisgau. Al Jawala (apparently an Arrabic

Review: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Play the Music of Rush

The Royal Philharmonic Play the Music of Rush is a wonderful addition to any Rush fan’s collection
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When I first heard that there was to be an album featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performing the music of Rush I had no idea what to expect. In the ‘70s, Rush recorded a number of extended pieces which definitely had potential to be adapted into the classical world. It is a different world today though, and the era of the 20-minute song seems very long ago and far away. Out of curiosity more than anything else, I took the plunge and picked up this intriguing set. Much like the recent release of Jon Lord’s Concerto for Group and

DVD/LP Review: Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones: Live At The Checkerboard Lounge Chicago 1981

The master meets the students at this intimate club show.
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Seeing the late, great Muddy Waters in person was always a treat for fans. Seeing him live at Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago was even better. An intimate venue, it served as the perfect environment for Waters’ songs. In November 1981, fans not only got to see Waters in this setting, some very special guests also joined him. Seems The Rolling Stones were in town in support of their album, Tattoo You and Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and pianist Ian Stewart decided to take in the show. It didn’t take much persuading from their hero to join

The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live In Texas '78 DVD/LP Review

This instant classic release is now available as a DVD/LP set.
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The Rolling Stones’ tour for their 1978 album, Some Girls, is considered to be one of their very best. In a response to the aggression of punk and the bloated excess of disco, the album of the same name finds the band at their stripped down best. While the punks labeled many bands from the Stones’ generation dinosaurs, the Stones ended up showing the punks a thing or two about who pioneered snarling rock and roll. For the tour, the band played stadiums, arenas and small theaters. Fans in Forth Worth, TX, were treated to a small show at the

Review: Dethklok - Dethalbum III

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They may be a virtual death metal band, but Dethklok tears at the very fabric of the universe with Dethalbum III, their third full length release. The band is featured on the Adult Swim animated series Metalocalpyse, but the real group behind the animated characters has toured with some pretty serious metal heavyweights. In 2009, Dethklok toured with Mastodon, High on Fire and Converge. And a 2012 tour was planned with Gojira and Lamb of God, but Randy Blythe’s bail hearings in the Czech Republic put a stop to that. Dethklok is the creation of Brandon Small and Tommy Blacha.
In music, 25 years is an eternity. I came of “musical age” in the ‘70s, and even though The Beatles had broken up less than 10 years earlier, they seemed like ancient history to me. I can only imagine what the MP3 generation thinks of Loop, a band who came together so long ago that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were still in office. Thanks to the Reactor label’s series of reissues though, we have an excellent opportunity to hear one of the truly great groups of that era. I have seen plenty of high-quality reissues over the years, but

Jazz Review: Fred Hersch Trio - Alive at the Vanguard

"If it's right, it's transcendent."
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Five-time Grammy nominee Fred Hersch takes to Alive at the Vanguard with an exciting trio that rounds out with bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson. The pianist’s group has drawn enough water from the well for a double album. Hersch brought the trio to the attention of many with Whirl, his 2010 Palmetto debut. But here with Alive, the group takes to the legendary New York City club for a series that runs with gusto and professionalism. The program includes seven Hersch originals, seven classic jazz numbers and four pieces from the American Songbook. The trio plays the songs