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Ken Richardson Posted: Jul 23, 2013 0 comments

Van Dyke Parks: Songs Cycled

New release (Bella Union)
Photo by Roman Cho

This is the first new album credited to Van Dyke Parks alone since 1989’s Tokyo Rose, but the dozen tracks are actually the A- and B-sides of six singles he released on his own label, Bananastan, in 2011 and ’12. Furthermore, whereas four of the A-sides are indeed new-since-1989 original songs (and another track is a co-write), five selections are arrangements of traditional, folk, or classical material, and the remaining two are re-recordings of earlier Parks compositions.

On paper, then, Songs Cycled is a hodgepodge. But when did we ever listen to Van Dyke Parks on paper? Fact is, the 12 numbers miraculously form a coherent whole — an album that, true to its creator’s longtime ambition, celebrates the glorious sound of music.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Mar 19, 2013 0 comments

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Back, way back in Middle-Earth, 60 years before The Lord of the Rings saga began, there was another story. . . .

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Philip Ryan Posted: Sep 09, 2011 0 comments

If ever there were a way to show how much Phish appreciates its fans, it'd be a set like this one. Longtime Phish fan Scott Nowak died in August, and the rumor among Phish fans was that this show was in memory of him.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Jul 09, 2013 0 comments

The Life of Oharu

The Life of Oharu (Saikaku ichidai onna, 1952), from director Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetsu, Sansho the Bailiff, A Geisha), tells of a 50-year-old prostitute no longer able to attract men looking back on her tragic life.

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Ken Richardson Posted: Apr 02, 2013 0 comments

The Band Perry: Pioneer

New release (Republic Nashville; tour dates)
Photo by Robby Klein

Sophomore slump? Not here. As soon as the banjo on the opening track, “Better Dig Two,” makes room for some choice electric-guitar power chords before the two instruments dance together, it’s clear that The Band Perry has lost none of its charm or chops.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Dec 11, 2012 0 comments

The Bourne Legacy

Complex and flashback heavy, The Bourne Legacy expands on the action thriller world created by the late novelist Robert Ludlum and the previous three films based upon his books.

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Ken Richardson Posted: Jul 02, 2013 0 comments

In the days around the Fourth of July, the people who run record companies take a lot of time off. They assume you’re more interested in having picnics and watching fireworks than in buying music. Accordingly, this is a customarily light week on the album-release schedule.

Of course, you could always celebrate the holiday by cueing up some “American” albums that have already been released this year, such as Patty Griffin’s American Kid, the Putumayo label’s American Playground, and Willie Nile’s American Ride. Then there’s Wings over America. And don’t forget that bree is an All American Girl.

Yolanda Kondonassis is another American girl (born in Norman, Oklahoma), and if you’d like to hear some American music, you could (with a nod to Tom Petty) listen to her harp:

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Ken Richardson Posted: Mar 12, 2013 0 comments

David Bowie: The Next Day

New release (ISO/Columbia)
Photo by Jimmy King

This is the best David Bowie album since . . . I'm not gonna go there. Mostly because everyone seems to disagree on just which old album should be put there. But make no mistake: The Next DayBowie's first release in 10 years, is an excellent comeback.

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Josef Krebs Posted: Jun 18, 2013 0 comments

Lifeforce

With a great sci-fi/horror pedigree - directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Salem's Lot, Poltergeist), screenplay co-written by Dan O'Bannon (Alien, Total Recall, and Dark Star) and Don Jakoby from the 1976 novel The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, special effects supervised by Oscar-winner John Dy

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Michael Berk Posted: Sep 04, 2012 0 comments

Animal Collective Centipede HZ

New Release (Domino)

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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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Mark Smotroff Posted: Dec 04, 2012 0 comments

Lips & Friends Cover King Crimson's 1st

You know, with the Internet, you can blink and miss out on important stuff. While I was on vacation - seeing the premiere of The Flaming Lips' musical of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, in fact - NEW news appears from the Lips camp. This came from their Facebook page:

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