Short Cuts

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Malachi Lui  |  Oct 30, 2021  |  15 comments
(Review Explosion is a recurring AnalogPlanet feature covering recent releases for which we either don't have sufficient time to fully explore, or that are not worthy of it. Curated by AnalogPlanet contributing editor Malachi Lui, Review Explosion focuses on the previous couple months' new releases and reissues.)

Malachi Lui  |  Dec 22, 2021  |  9 comments
Despite our best efforts, we unfortunately didn’t review in real time every consequential 2021 release; thankfully, there’s still time to catch up on important missed albums, EPs, and singles. Our two 2021 Catch-Up Explosions (of which this is the first) differ somewhat from typical Review Explosions: some of these reviews are shorter than usual, and this time we won’t include sound quality scores (though rest assured, those will remain a site fixture). We won’t be able to cover every worthwhile 2021 release, though it’s possible to provide a reasonably comprehensive roundup of the year in music. The reviews are listed alphabetically, not by merit. Let’s begin!

Malachi Lui  |  Dec 28, 2021  |  6 comments
Unfortunately, we didn’t review in real time every important 2021 release; thankfully, there’s still time to catch up on essential missed albums, EPs, and singles. This is the second of two 2021 Catch-Up Explosions (read the first one here), featuring in alphabetical order 12 more releases.

Malachi Lui  |  Oct 19, 2020  |  3 comments
(Review Explosion is a recurring AnalogPlanet feature covering recent releases for which we either don’t have sufficient time to fully explore, or that are not worthy of it. Curated by AnalogPlanet contributing editor Malachi Lui, this particular Review Explosion focuses on new and old 7” releases.)

Mark Smotroff  |  Dec 08, 2022  |  4 comments

Mark Smotroff was up bright and early on Record Store Day (a.k.a. RSD 2022) back on Black Friday, November 25 — and, spoiler alert, he was able to find most of the RSD Exclusive and RSD First LPs he wanted. Read on to find out what LPs he got, how they all sound, and where you might still be able to find any RSD 2022 goodies you want for your own collection. . .

Mark Smotroff, Mike Mettler  |  Apr 19, 2023  |  First Published: Apr 18, 2023  |  16 comments

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Record Store Day — and it really should, as the very next RSD is slated for this Saturday, April 22. Since its 2007 debut, RSD has grown into an international pilgrimage event for vinyl-loving music fans around the world — and it shouldn’t surprise you in the least that we collectively love Record Store Day here at AnalogPlanet, seeing how we’ve been proud RSD supporters since Day 1. Read on to see what two of AP’s intrepid album lovers, vinyl evaluators, and inveterate collectors — namely, chief LP reviewer Mark Smotroff and AP editor Mike Mettler — cite as their top-tier RSD 2023 choices. . .

Ken Micallef  |  Jan 25, 2023  |  5 comments

AP editor Mike Mettler asked ace reviewer Ken Micallef to come up with a list of his Top 10 jazz releases on vinyl for 2022, and Ken happily complied, and compiled accordingly. Read his list of new and historical jazz LPs of note from the past listening year right here. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Dec 23, 2022  |  4 comments

AP editor Mike Mettler asked ace reviewer Mark Smotroff to come up with a list of his Top 10 vinyl releases of 2022, and it was a much harder task than Mark imagined it would be. “Paring down all the vinyl releases I’ve reviewed in 2022 into a list of just 10 choices?” was Mark’s initial reply. Nonetheless, Mark soldiered on, and got his list in fine order. Read the first 5 of his 10 choices — archival releases, in this case, plus a few bonus extra selections — here. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Dec 30, 2022  |  13 comments

Last week, AP editor Mike Mettler asked ace reviewer Mark Smotroff to come up with a list of his Top 10 vinyl releases of 2022, and it was a much harder task than Mark imagined it would be. “Paring down all the vinyl releases I’ve reviewed in 2022 into a list of just 10 choices?” was Mark’s initial reply. Nonetheless, Mark soldiered on, got his list in fine order, and shared the first 5 of his 10 choices, focusing on archival releases, plus a few bonus selections. This week, Mark shares the other 5 top-shelf choices on his list — all of them new-to-2022 releases — and here they are. . .

Mike Mettler, Mark Smotroff  |  Dec 30, 2023  |  15 comments

Looks like another year has gone by with a seemingly endless release-cycle parade consisting of scores of brand-new LPs from both known artists and untested newcomers alike, along with a myriad of archival vinyl reissues and overstuffed box sets galore — a good number of them presented in the much-preferred AAA form to boot. With the calendar set to turn over to 2024 any day now, that means it’s high time to assess the best of what we’ve heard on wax during the past 12 months. Read on to see AP editor Mike Mettler and chief LP reviewer Mark Smotroff’s respective lists of the top archival and new LP releases of 2023. . .

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 05, 2020  |  25 comments
(Review Explosion is usually a recurring AnalogPlanet feature covering recent releases for which we either don’t have sufficient time to fully explore, or that are not worthy of it. Normally curated by AnalogPlanet contributing editor Malachi Lui, this particular Review Explosion has been hijacked by AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer and covers in capsule form Direct-to-Disc releases).

Mark Smotroff  |  May 05, 2023  |  13 comments

ECM Records is back! Well, they never really went away in the eyes and ears of many audiophiles, but now the legendary ambient jazz label has decided to rejoin us here in the vinyl pool, and the idea couldn’t have come at a better time. Read on to glean Mark Smotroff’s capsule reviews of five current ECM LP releases from John Scofield, Avishai Cohen, Tord Gustavsen, Enrico Rava & Mark Turner. . .

Malachi Lui  |  Dec 17, 2019  |  43 comments
On her latest proper album Charli, British pop star Charli XCX creates a work that epitomizes, with an artsy bend, all of 2010’s pop music’s hallmarks. Blown out, hyper-compressed production, glistening synths, giant drum machines, and digitally-stressed vocals are in abundance on Charli, yet the choices that she and executive producer A.G. Cook (known for running the PC Music label) make often surprise the listener. Following the relatively normal and upbeat Troye Sivan-featuring “1999” (no relation to the iconic Prince song, but Charli’s track holds its own) comes “Click,” which thanks to Dylan Brady’s production, in the last third takes a noisy, abrasive left turn. Similarly, Cook and Lotus IV anchor “Cross You Out” with a warped synth bass that oscillates in and out of tune, with other electronic sounds unexpectedly popping out
Mark Smotroff  |  Sep 01, 2023  |  2 comments

With so many pressing plants being fairly maxed out these days in terms of their production capacity, it’s been nice to see how Detroit’s Third Man Pressing has stepped up to the plate to deliver respectable, audiophile-grade vinyl pressings at fairly reasonable SRPs. Read Mark Smotroff’s combo review of three new Verve by Request 180g 1LP reissues from jazz greats Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, and The Ahmad Jamal Trio — all of which have been recently pressed at Third Man — to see if they make the grade. . .

Mark Smotroff  |  Sep 29, 2023  |  0 comments

Our seventh Short Cuts installment of Review Explosion is all about Pharoah Sanders — namely, the rare 1977 spiritual jazz album Pharoah that’s now a part of a new 2LP Luaka Bop box set that also includes a separate Harvest Time Live 1977 LP, plus a look at the fine 180g 1LP Third Man-Pressed Verve by Request reissue of 1972’s Black Unity. Read on to get Mark Smotroff’s take on both of these quite worthwhile reissues. . .

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