Music Disc Reviews

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
Matt Hurwitz  |  Dec 03, 2021  |  0 comments
1968 was a busy year for The Beatles. They had traveled to India to study Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, launched their own record label, Apple, and spent months at EMI's studios at Abbey Road recording their mammoth double-album, The Beatles (aka The White Album). But even before that album was released, they were planning what would end up as their post-breakup album and film, Let It Be. That disc was recently reissued by Apple/Capitol/Universal in a super deluxe edition, remixed by Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell, complete with previously-unreleased bonus tracks, and the film has now been given a reimagining by Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson, in the form of The Beatles: Get Back on the Disney+ streaming service.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 19, 2021  |  0 comments
Performance
Sound
Could May 1970's Let It Be possibly be The Beatles' most underrated core studio album—and is such a thing even possible? To be sure, when Let It Be initially dropped as the free-thinking 1960s gave way to the much grittier 1970s, the album was seen as an imperfect endpoint for a once-in-a-lifetime epoch in popular music—whereas September 1969's Abbey Road, which was actually completed after the Let It Be sessions but was still released eight months ahead of that album, actually serves as a better-suited final exclamation point and nod to their fans as the final, definitive statement of the fully active Beatles era.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 27, 2021  |  0 comments
Performance
Sound
As acclaimed as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 1970 magnum opus Déjà vu is, it somewhat helplessly plays perpetual second fiddle to the sea change garnered by the stacked-harmonic conver- gences in evidence on 1969's Crosby, Stills & Nash, which preceded it by 10 months. Granted, CSN was a breath of fresh vocal-arrangement air and instinctual instrumental accompaniment, but Déjà vu fostered the initial intersection of the volatile four-way street of headstrong artistic personalities with the addition of Neil Young into the fold.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 23, 2021  |  0 comments
Elton John was in the zone. The piano prodigy and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin were in the midst of an almost decade-long creative mindmeld, and October 1973's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was the apex of their collaboration. The initially unintended double album's 17 songs covered the gamut from nostalgic reverie for days gone by (the title track, the indelible "Candle in the Wind") to pumped-up '70s-style electric-boot rockers ("Bennie and the Jets," "All the Girls Love Alice"), and everything in between.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 09, 2021  |  0 comments
Performance
Sound
Al Stewart is the kind of seasoned artist known for being well worth the wait. The Scottish-born and London-bred Stewart initially focused on mining a folk-driven vein when he made his debut with October 1967's orchestrally buttressed Bed Sitter Images, and it took the burgeoning singer/songwriter five more albums and another eight years until he truly hit his stride with March 1975's Modern Times.
Mike Mettler  |  May 21, 2021  |  2 comments
The Who had pioneered—and seemingly perfected—the art of the rock opera with May 1969's all-seeing Tommy, but the ever-provocative British quartet's chief visionary Pete Townshend wasn't done with his honing of the overarching story-arc concept just yet. October 1973's magnum opus Quadrophenia—the 81-minute, 17-song cycle chronicling angst-driven youth-culture clashes and a yearning to break free from a preordained societal rut—reinforced how guitarist/ vocalist Townshend was a musical architect of the highest order.
Mike Mettler  |  Apr 23, 2021  |  0 comments
Performance
Sound
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
Performance
Sound
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
Sound
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
Performance
Sound
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
Performance
Sound
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  |  3 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
Performance
Sound
"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.

Pages

X