Music Disc Reviews

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Mike Mettler  |  Apr 23, 2021  |  0 comments
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Neil Young is an international treasure. Perhaps he should adopt Frank Sinatra's signature mantra "I did it my way" as his own, because his artistic vision is, frankly, unparalleled in the history of popular music. Neil always does what he wants, releases new and archival material whenever he wants, and often chooses to lay it all down in whatever genre strikes his fancy. Even better, he takes great pains to ensure we the listeners get to hear all of it in the highest resolution possible.
Mike Mettler  |  Mar 19, 2021  |  0 comments
Eric Clapton was in pain. Deep pain. He was hopelessly in love with Pattie Boyd, the wife of his close friend George Harrison, and there was little he could do about it. Hence, Clapton did what any relatively desperate artist would to express his innermost feelings about the situation—he created an alternate identity (Derek), gathered a semi-fictional band around him (The Dominos), and channeled all of his heartache into a triumphant, sprawling double album, November 1970's Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
Mike Mettler  |  Mar 05, 2021  |  0 comments
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Show of hands, please—how many of you rate August 1973's Goats Head Soup as your favorite Rolling Stones album? Anyone? No? Can't say I blame you. Any record following The Stones' May 1972 career-defining double-album masterpiece Exile on Main St. would have an impossibly high bar to overcome, no matter what made the final cut. Fact is, Goats Head Soup had a master chef's menu stacked against it from the outset. And time has very much not been on its side, as Goats Head Soup has long served as a relatively underappreciated entry in The Rolling Stones' somewhat uneven mid-1970s studio-album canon.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 26, 2021  |  0 comments
Performances
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It's hard to fathom counterculture icon and multitalented musician nonpareil Frank Zappa left this mortal coil almost three full decades ago in December 1993, given the sheer range of archival and new releases that continue to arise from the vaults of his legendary Utility Muffin Research Kitchen (UMRK)—a.k.a., Zappa's onetime home studio. Fact is, many of them were personally sequenced, mixed, and/or produced by the man himself before his untimely passing at age 52.
Mike Mettler  |  Jan 15, 2021  |  0 comments
The Doors needed a win. Badly. After the, shall we say, appendage-related kerfuffle at a chaotic March 1969 show in Miami, the band was sidelined with legal troubles and limited performance options. Solace was found within the friendly studio confines of Elektra Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, with February 1970's Morrison Hotel the ensuing vibrant result.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 04, 2020  |  0 comments
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I always viewed John Winston Ono Lennon as an inveterate seeker—an artist who was forever searching low and high to find both his ballast and his balance. During his time in The Beatles, Lennon was able to connect with listeners on an interpersonal level ("In My Life") while he also remained unafraid to address his own fears and insecurities ("Help!"), was eager to embrace the free-associative nature of the Sixties ("I Am the Walrus"), and was wholly game to confront the depths of his pain ("Julia").
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 20, 2020  |  0 comments
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I've always looked at Paul McCartney's post-Beatles career—now getting into its sixth decade—as being on a sine wave. When's he's at the top of his game, he's at the apex (Band on the Run, Flowers in the Dirt), and when he's off the mark, he's at the nadir (Give My Regards to Broad Street, Press to Play).
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 06, 2020  |  5 comments
The third time was truly the charm for Supertramp. After two middling misfires, the British quintet's third LP, September 1974's Crime of the Century, vaulted them into the big leagues where progressive-leaning tendencies met not-so-subversive pop sensibilities head-on. Over the course of eight songs, Supertramp took full advantage of the dynamic range of tracks like "School" (punctuated by multiple piano bursts and yelping schoolchildren), "Bloody Well Right" (its razor-sharp guitar line wafting from back- ground to foreground and back like a talkbox in a tsunami), and the ascendant, power-packed rage of the title track (with a final lyrical twist worthy of the last episode of The Prisoner).
Mike Mettler  |  Oct 09, 2020  |  1 comments
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"The Replacements are self-destructing right in front of me."

That's what I was thinking to myself as I watched these four Minneapolis-bred indie-rock stalwarts attempt to play through their rag-tag set while opening for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers on August 19, 1989, at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Mike Mettler  |  Oct 02, 2020  |  2 comments
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The Grateful Dead couldn't catch a break. Sure, they were the head-trip belles of San Francisco's 1960s psychedelic ball, but they were unable to get their recording act together enough to cut an album that best captured their true spirit—that is, until they struck prospector's gold with their fourth studio album, June 1970's Workingman's Dead. By dialing back on the overtly psychedelic-cum-outré experimental modes that dominated June 1968's Anthem of the Sun and June 1969's Aoxomoxoa and instead zeroing in on their folk-bred songcraft for Workingman's, the Dead had finally found their recording niche at last.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 21, 2020  |  1 comments
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When the final notes of "Trouble No More" rang out in the early morning hours of October 29, 2014 at The Beacon Theatre in New York City, the unthinkable was finally upon us, for that meant The Allman Brothers Band were truly no more. After five-plus decades as the consummate road warriors, America's premier jam band was hanging up its collective boots for good at the venue they'd held an annual residency at for a quarter-century.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 03, 2020  |  1 comments
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In a galaxy far, far away—well, to be more precise, it was actually in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh—I received a home-made C-60 compact cassette for my 11th birthday in October 1978. My audiophile grandfather had dubbed Charles Gerhardt conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra's performance of music culled from composer John Williams' original scores for Star Wars on Side 1 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Side 2.
David Vaughn  |  May 29, 2020  |  1 comments
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Extras
Def Leppard got its start back in 1977 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England when Rick Savage, Tony Kenning and Pete Willis formed a band called Atomic Mass. Joe Elliott joined the band a short time later and became the lead singer and proposed a new name for the band, "Deaf Leopard," which was ultimately adopted with some modified spelling. Kenning ended up leaving the shortly before their first recording session and was replaced by a fifteen-year-old drummer by the name of Rick Allen.
Mike Mettler  |  May 21, 2020  |  22 comments
One thing our ongoing pandemic lockdown continues to remind many of us music lovers of on a daily basis is just how much we all miss attending live concert events.
Mike Mettler  |  May 15, 2020  |  1 comments
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It would be easy to characterize Chuck Berry, who passed away at age 90 in 2017, as one cantankerously acrimonious fellow, but after revisiting Taylor Hackford's astute 1987 documentary Hail! Hail! Rock 'N' Roll, now available on Blu-ray for the first time via Shout Select, I'm reminded of how captivating, creative, and downright business-savvy the pioneering, guitar-playing singer/ songwriter actually was.

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