THIS WEEK

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Ken Richardson Posted: Mar 26, 2013 0 comments

The Strokes: Comedown Machine

New release (RCA)
Photo courtesy of RCA

I had pretty much given up on the Strokes some time ago. The band’s early, early promise just wasn’t bearing fruit anymore. But here we have Comedown Machineand waddayaknow, things would seem to be looking up.

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Ken Richardson Posted: Mar 05, 2013 0 comments

The Replacements: Songs for Slim

New release (New West; MP3 only)

Slim is Bob “Slim” Dunlap, lead guitarist for the latter-day Replacements. A year ago, he suffered a severe stroke that has left him ailing and in need of financial help. To that end, two original ’Mats — guitarist/vocalist Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson — reunited to record most of this benefit EP (joined by guitarist Kevin Bowe and drummer Peter Anderson).

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Ken Richardson Posted: May 14, 2013 0 comments

Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City

New release (XL; tour dates)
Photo by Alex John Beck

“Much of the overall sound and approach to the album was [the outcome of] being able to record the drums to tape on an old Ampex machine at Vox Recording Studios. That put us in a different world. There’s a quality that happens with tape; it lets you really crunch and compress the drums, and they don’t get harsh or painful. It has to do with the transients hitting the tape; something changes. Once the drums have been passed through tape to Pro Tools, you can really mangle them and go crazy with them.”

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Ken Richardson Posted: May 20, 2013 0 comments

Daft Punk: Random Access Memories

New release (Daft Life/Columbia)
Photo by David Black

In this era of electronic dance music, you might think the pioneering French duo Daft Punk would be eager to trump the upstarts. But you’d be thinking wrong.

As Thomas Bangalter told Rolling Stone, “We wanted to do what we used to do with machines and samplers but with people.” And as Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo said, “It’s not that we can’t make crazy, futuristic-sounding stuff, but we wanted to play with the past.”

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Ken Richardson Posted: May 28, 2013 0 comments

John Fogerty: Wrote a Song for Everyone

New release (Vanguard)
Photo by Nela Koenig

Dusting off old songs, a veteran rocker teams up with (mostly) younger musicians for duets: Often, this can be a recipe for tedium, if not disaster. So it’s a joy to report that John Fogerty’s Wrote a Song for Everyone is among the best of such tributes.

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Ken Richardson Posted: May 07, 2013 0 comments

Natalie Maines: Mother

New release (Columbia; tour dates with Dixie Chicks)
Photo by Danny Clinch  © Columbia

“Lots of albums by lead singers might just as well have been made by the band, but I think this is very different from anything the Dixie Chicks could make.” So says Natalie Maines about her debut solo album. It’s “a new direction,” her press release underscores. Most common translation I’ve seen to date: It’s “a rock album.”

Ken Richardson Posted: Oct 01, 2013 0 comments
Also reviewed: Joan Jett, Haim, Quasi, and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Plus: the scoop on boxes from Rush and Vladimir Horowitz. And much more.

Ken Richardson Posted: Oct 15, 2013 1 comments
Also reviewed: Pearl Jam. And in revue: many more new releases, as well as classic XTC in 5.1.

Ken Richardson Posted: Oct 22, 2013 0 comments
Also: Van Morrison’s Moondance in 5.1 on Blu-ray, Santana’s third album on audiophile vinyl, and ’80s tunes revamped by The Big Bright. Plus, let’s see…oh, yeah, Katy Perry.

Ken Richardson Posted: Oct 29, 2013 0 comments
Also: Humble Pie expanded, Jethro Tull remixed in 5.1, and much more. Plus: the return of Dorothy Wiggin. (She used to be a Shagg.)

Ken Richardson Posted: Oct 08, 2013 0 comments
Whatever you think of Miley Cyrus these days, she does have you thinking. In other words, she got your attention. Which, in the current era of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and elder shockwoman Britney Spears, is the first order of business, and I do mean “business.”

The thing is, what if she’d gotten our attention another way?

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Ken Richardson Posted: Sep 10, 2013 Published: Sep 17, 2013 0 comments
This Week in Music, September 10, 2013: The country side of Sheryl Crow
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Ken Richardson Posted: Sep 16, 2013 1 comments
Also reviewed: Richard X. Heyman, Potty Mouth. Plus: boxes of the Band and the Grateful Dead.
Ken Richardson Posted: Sep 24, 2013 0 comments
Also reviewed: Kings of Leon, Sting, and Icona Pop. Plus: a thematic list of all the other prominent new releases and reissues, including The Complete Waitresses and a big box of Nirvana’s In Utero.

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Ken Richardson Posted: Sep 03, 2013 0 comments

Nine Inch Nails: Hesitation Marks

New release (Columbia; tour dates)
Photo of Trent Reznor by Baldur Bragson

Trent Reznor already came back haunted in March with the release of Welcome oblivion by How to destroy angels. That side project with Atticus Ross and (Reznor’s wife) Mariqueen Maandig took post-industrial/ambient music and made it sound fresh. By contrast, Hesitation Marks, Reznor’s first album in five years under the Nine Inch Nails moniker, seems beset by run-of-the-mill electronica. Ross and another veteran collaborator, Alan Moulder, return as co-producers with Reznor, but together they’re often just busy little techno-bees buzzing around Reznor’s generally average material.

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