Malachi Lui  |  May 31, 2022  |  12 comments
Between the excessive sprawl of 2013's James Murphy-produced Reflektor and the failed experimentation of 2017's punchable Everything Now, it might seem as if Arcade Fire spent the last decade actively trying to lose people's interest. Now, however, they're back; at least, that's what their Nigel Godrich-produced new LP WE wants you to think. Split into more introspective "I" (A) and outward-facing "WE" (B) sides, WE is a concise 40-minute summation of the band's previous work. Every Arcade Fire record finds them striving for epic heights and always falling short, though you can't say they're not trying really hard.
Michael Fremer  |  May 28, 2022  |  11 comments
The Kuzma Safir tonearm

Explosive worldwide vinyl record sales growth over the past few years produced a powerful response from the audio industry, based on what was on display at Munich High End 2022. A profusion of new turntables, tonearms, phono preamps and accessories spread throughout the sprawling 28,000m2 MOC Event Center made difficult covering it all even with four days available to do it.

Mike Mettler  |  May 16, 2022  |  7 comments
Graham Nash In Performance. (Photo: Ralf Louis)

“I’ve been a harmony singer most of my life. I know what to do, and where to be.”

That’s Graham Nash, 80 years young, not only defining his artistic M.O. as a tenor vocalist, but also speaking to his inherent instincts for knowing what the right tones are for the music he’s making, and, frankly, where he stands on life and society in general.

Joseph W. Washek  |  May 16, 2022  |  1 comments
On the evenings of July 12, 13, and 14, 1957, Bill Broonzy made his last recordings at Universal Recording Studios in Chicago. He was suffering from lung cancer, was scheduled to be operated on in a few days, and had been told that he would probably not be able to sing after the operation.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  May 16, 2022  |  1 comments
In my previous review of the Korppoo Trio by the Sibelius Piano Trio and Yarlung Records, I spoke a great deal about the recording philosophy of this boutique classical outfit and their AAA, 45rpm chamber music records. From the same recording sessions that brought us that exquisite romantic delight, we have another outing with musicians Petteri Iivonen, Juho Pohjonen, and Samuli Peltonen, this time with a decidedly different program.

Michael Fremer  |  May 16, 2022  |  44 comments
LOS ANGELES, May 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson today announced that it will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the biggest selling album of all time, with the November 18 release of Michael Jackson Thriller 40, a double CD set comprised of Michael’s original masterpiece Thriller and an exciting second disc full of surprises for fans including never-released tracks which were worked on by Michael for the Thriller album. To date, the album has amassed in excess of 100 million in sales worldwide.

Nathan Zeller  |  May 15, 2022  |  22 comments
The $725 ($995 CAD) io is Rega Research’s entry level integrated amplifier. At 30 watts per channel into 8Ω—compared to the more costly Brio’s 50—the io aims toward listeners using easy-to-drive loudspeakers and/or headphones. Featuring the Brio’s moving magnet phono preamplifier and class A/B power amplifier stage, the io strives to borrow at a lower price point the Brio’s sonic characteristics: wonderful detail, wide dynamic range, and raw musicality. It shares the more costly Brio’s high quality “Alps Alpine” potentiometer and linear power supply. Rega even offers a lifetime warranty against any potential manufacturing defects. With its integrated phono preamplifier, two line level inputs, 3.5mm headphone output and remote control, the io offers everything a beginner hobbyist may require… at least theoretically.

Malachi Lui  |  May 14, 2022  |  4 comments
Last year, British electropop star Charli XCX tweeted, “rip hyperpop.” The tweet shocked many—especially coming from the artist who brought bubblegum bass and hyperpop to broader audiences through projects like 2016’s SOPHIE-produced Vroom Vroom EP or 2020’s quickly recorded quarantine album how i’m feeling now—but Charli has always gone at her own pace, on her own terms. Yet, her new album Crash presents her as merely another generic pop star, supposedly as a performance art piece about selling out that doubles as her last record on Atlantic (and therefore her as-of-now last chance to use those major label resources). Crash is Charli’s Let’s Dance: the album where a pop star fully embraces the mainstream after years of artsier excursions. Unfortunately, the end result lacks personality, trading her strengths for lyrically emptier and sonically blander songs laser-focused on mass appeal.

Michael Fremer  |  May 14, 2022  |  26 comments
If the audio industry handed out awards, the winner for “The most improved analog product of the decade” would be Schiit’s Mani 2 MM/MC phono preamplifier. Okay, that’s “click bait” so how about “Schiit’s Mani 2 might be the winner”? Yes, let’s stick with that.