Album Reviews

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Malachi Lui  |  Oct 24, 2021  |  2 comments
The cover of Fishmans’ “new” live LP Wakainagaramo Rekishi Ari (“Young, But With History”) might mislead you: after all, the drummer is wearing his own merch, the bassist’s baseball cap is far from stylish, and the eccentrically dressed frontman appears disconnected from reality, completely lost in his own music. And unless you live in Japan, you won’t see Fishmans albums in record stores, nor find them on “greatest albums” lists. So, what’s all the hype about?

Mark Dawes  |  Oct 24, 2021  |  6 comments
DJ Format (aka Matt Ford) is a hiphop DJ and producer from Brighton, England. DJ Shadow (aka Josh Davis) is a hiphop DJ and producer from Sacramento, California. Brighton and Sacramento; not the first urban centers you think of in relation to groundbreaking hiphop production. Format and Shadow, however, are at either end of a 25 year continuum of atmospheric instrumental beats. DJ Shadow’s 1996 debut Endtroducing….. which got a half-speed remastered 25th anniversary edition last month, was composed completely from samples, a methodology shared with DJ Format’s latest LP from 2021 Devil’s Workshop.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 11, 2021  |  31 comments
(Update: I was wrong. These were cut from files and not from tape. The information I received was not clear. Some of the commenters are correct and I was wrong. I am always happy to end up with egg on my face to get correct facts published. These digital transfers are the best I've heard. I'm leaving the review "as is".. Brief and to the point: This is a previously unreleased Sarah Vaughan fan “must have” double LP set recorded at the Berlin Philharmonie November 9th, 1969 with Vaughan sympathetically backed by a trio of relative unknowns: Johnny Veith on piano, Gus Mancuso on bass and Eddy Pucci on drums. Mancuso’s story is fascinating and worth a read. You’ll have to fend online for yourself for more about the others.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 05, 2021  |  19 comments
Everything is true that you might have heard or read about this “off the beaten Tone Poet path” release.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 01, 2021  |  16 comments
The gentle, introspective Bill Evans Trio of The Village Vanguard sessions that produced Sunday At the Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby yielded two years later to the somewhat more rhythmically assertive trio heard on this December 18th, 1963 Webster Hall recording released early in 1964.

The late bassist Scott LaFaro’s friend Gary Peacock replaced him in the trio with Paul Motian continuing on drums. Though no less cerebral and harmonically tuned in than was LaFaro, Peacock brought to the group a faster, more aggressive rhythmic style punctuated with nimble staccato runs. More tapping of the toes and less tugging at the heart.

Nathan Zeller  |  Sep 30, 2021  |  1 comments
The original McCartney III disappointed. Overall, I felt it was musically and lyrically weak. Fellow analogPlanet reviewers agreed, though those opinions were expressed in private communications and not published on the site. Then, on March 22nd, Paul McCartney announced McCartney III Imagined, where artists including Beck, Dominic Fike, Khruangbin, St. Vincent, Blood Orange, Phoebe Bridgers, EOB, Damon Albarn, Joshua Homme, Anderson .Paak, 3D RDN, and Idris Elba cover or remix original McCartney III tracks. McCartney himself handpicked the selections, taking a second crack at his self-titled trilogy’s third installment, though it seems he’ll require another layer of polish before this record rivals its predecessors. The old saying rings true; the third time’s the charm, and unfortunately McCartney III Imagined is merely the second.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 29, 2021  |  19 comments
The Yardbirds original "Shapes of Things" took the protest song—a surprising departure from the group's blues-based output— as a smartly rendered military march with mild middle eastern undertones. Jeff Beck played on the original but here for his first solo outing he led with a slinky, heavily syncopated version that presaged by a few years Led Zep's heaviest of metal. The song's conclusion, a rhythmic meltdown to a complete stop was something altogether new to rock fans. Needless to say, back in 1968 buyers of this record had minds blown, in part thanks to the great Ken Scott's impeccable engineering skills and of course by much of the world's first exposure to Rod Stewart.

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 26, 2021  |  4 comments
(Vinyl Reports is an AnalogPlanet feature aiming to create a definitive guide to vinyl LPs. Here, we talk about sound quality, LP packaging, music, and the overarching vinyl experience.)

Michael Leser Johnson  |  Sep 24, 2021  |  19 comments
Those browsing the classical vinyl reissues on various audiophile websites may have encountered a few peculiar releases from a Korean label known as Analogphonic. The small label has been pumping out limited reissues of vintage classical recordings since 2012. The records are mastered by various engineers in Europe or North America but are always AAA and pressed at Pallas records in Germany.

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 21, 2021  |  12 comments
This month, AnalogPlanet launches The Rear View Mirror, an ongoing series extensively reviewing notable albums from the past. Entries, which will be posted at least once a month, are limited to one album per artist per year. And what better way to launch it than with a 50th anniversary review of Yoko Ono’s Fly?

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 18, 2021  |  44 comments
Time and time again, Kanye West succeeds in the unexpected. With each album, he overcomes struggles regarding celebrity, ego, family, mental health, and religion, moving forward yet never fully conquering his demons. He married and had four kids with Hollywood socialite/tabloid fixture Kim Kardashian, though still maintained his unfiltered authenticity. A consistently provocative—off-putting, some might say—figure who lives at pop culture’s core, he encapsulates human nature’s duality and contradiction. Kanye West is a rough-edged perfectionist, a master of spectacle, and even if you hate him, the center of attention.

Joseph W. Washek  |  Sep 14, 2021  |  5 comments
In December 1965, Sam Charters (1929-2015) went to Chicago to record Blues musicians who were playing in the clubs of the Black neighborhoods on the south and west sides. Charters, a white man, had written "The Country Blues" published in 1959. It was the first book about rural blues and while it contained many factual inaccuracies, it was entertaining romantic storytelling and helped foster the interest of young White folk fans in acoustic Blues. The glaring failing of "The Country Blues" was Charters’ insistence that “real blues” was dead, that Lightnin’ Hopkins was the last living blues singer (!), that postwar electric Blues was diluted, crude, loud, monotonous and that, “The blues have almost been pushed out of the picture and the singers who have survived at all have had to change their style until they sound enough like rock and roll performers to pass with the teenage audience.” Opinionated, though he may have been, Charters remained open minded and observant and within a few years, realized that the music being played in the small bars in the Black neighborhoods of Chicago was an urban, modernized version of the rural southern blues he admired so much and served the same social purpose for its audience. 

Nathan Zeller  |  Sep 14, 2021  |  1 comments
Picture a circus brimming with color, excitement, and unrestrained wackiness. Weld that mental image to your favorite funk performance, whether it’s a distant memory or one of the Internet’s many treasures. The result should be invigorating, intoxicating, and most importantly, a spot-on Vulfpeck depiction.

Evan Toth  |  Sep 14, 2021  |  1 comments
The Enigmatic Foe’s new album The Original Plan (S/R) offers up contemporary rock and roll in the vein of Real Estate with other jangle pop influences, including distant echoes of primordial U2 with some mid-80s leanings via occasional electronic drums and synth-pop production. Tight, yet airy, the band creates a satisfactory wall of sound - mostly via the shimmering guitars of Josh Dooley (Map, Fine China) and Jared Colinger. Colinger - writer, guitarist and vocalist of the group - explains the topical nature of his tunes, “Sometimes we go to great lengths to be miserable and stay miserable. I once heard a story about a musician who purposely created strife with their spouse to have song fodder. I certainly thrive on creating songs out of misery. Anything else outside that topic seems a novelty.” Colinger, however, camouflages these sorrows with chipper, sparkly production and plenty of guitar chime. Frank Lenz’s (Headphones, Richard Swift) drumming provides a tight, propulsive groove to the whole affair.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 02, 2021  |  32 comments
Joni Mitchell first came to the attention of some folk music enthusiasts from the three songs heard on Tom Rush’s 1968 release The Circle Game (Elektra 74018). Rush covers “Tin Angel”, “Urge For Going” and of course “The Circle Game.” Rush also covers on the album songs from Jackson Browne and James Taylor before they too became well known.

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