Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Apr 18, 2017  |  17 comments
Music composed for films is by definition precisely timed and intended to mirror or at least complement the on screen action. Of course that’s not always how its accomplished, especially when the hired musicians are not trained film composers.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 06, 2017  |  6 comments
Over the past decade or so vinyl-loving jazz enthusiasts have been treated to a series of previously unreleased but significant recordings discovered under beds, in closets and in the vaults of European radio stations. Some were never before heard. Others were bootlegged from radio broadcasts

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 14, 2017  |  6 comments
You’ve probably seen or at least heard about Damien Chazelle’s musical “La La Land”, about a musician (Ryan Gosling) whose less than fully expressed mission was to “save jazz”. He brings his turntable and retro-record collection to Los Angeles where he lives in a crummy apartment and makes ends meet by playing in a piano bar.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 09, 2017  |  4 comments
It doesn't slight to this well-produced, thoroughly engaging record to write that singer/songwriter/pianist/raconteur Judith Owen is best experienced live in concert.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 26, 2017  |  44 comments
Pictured are three percussion records you should own—especially if you feel like banging your head against the wall. One is an "oldie" Living Stereo novelty that's back in print, one was originally released in 1984 thanks to a grant from The National Endowment For the Arts (today an endangered species) reissued in the 1990s and one is a current release.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 24, 2017  |  5 comments
We think of "field recordings" as vital ancient musical history, primitively captured. These "field recordings" dating from the 1990s were recorded using a pair of Bruel & Kjaer 4165 microphones and B&K power supply, Cello preamp, Apogee 1000 ADC and a Nagra D digital recorder given by Mark Levinson (the man) to producer Timothy Duffy .

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 03, 2017  |  10 comments
There was a period in '60s record history when you could buy "by the label" and pretty much be assured of a great listen. It was true of Elektra and later, after it got off its "high horse," Columbia, which for a while wouldn't touch rock.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 29, 2016  |  14 comments
This is the first Roy Orbison collection that includes material from all of Roy's excellent recorded adventures. There are twenty six tunes in all, culled from Sun, Monument, MGM, Virgin and The Traveling Wilburys.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 23, 2016  |  20 comments
The just released (November 18, 2016) six LP box set of the four Brahms symphonies recorded direct-to-disc performed by Sir Simon Rattle and The Berlin Philharmonic before a live Philharmonie audience is as meticulously produced and presented as its existence is unlikely.

Tristram Lozaw  |  Dec 21, 2016  |  4 comments
We make a seasonal exception to our vinyl-only review policy and publish Tristram Lozaw's review of the double Grammy Nominated (Best Historical Album and Best Album Notes) three CD plus harcover book set Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 11, 2016  |  3 comments
Producer/annotator Jay Landers has pulled from Capitol's rich vaults some of the label's best Christmas music that the label has issued as a double LP set complete with excellent liner notes (they are back.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 11, 2016  |  3 comments
According to the liner notes for this record that's guaranteed to knock you out in a good way, both musically and sonically, the aggregate known as "The CO-OP" began as an "ad-hoc" backing band for the Swedish singer-songwriter Malin Johansson, A/KA Blue Utopia. The more you search online for information about Ms. Johansson or Blue Utopia, the less you'll find, not that it really matters.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 10, 2016  |  7 comments
Angel Olsen's third album reminds me of Elvis Costello's first even though she's mostly vulnerable whereas Costello was angry and snarly. The similarity is in how both make fresh older rock conventions like power cords and '50s era rhythms.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 30, 2016  |  18 comments
The second David Bowie box set covers but two years—1974-1976—but for David Bowie that timespan leaped across a few musical universes.

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