Archives for album

Michael Jackson’s Xscape

by Ronald A. Rowe April 23rd, 2014| Music Opinions
XscapeIt has been five years since the death of pop music legend Michael Jackson.  To mark the anniversary, Sony Music Entertainment and Epic Records will release Jackson’s second posthumous album in May.  Sony is going to unusual lengths to keep the details of the album a secret prior to its official release.  We do know the album will be entitled Xscape and will consist of eight previously-unreleased songs.

The world got a sneak peek at one of the tracks when "Slave to the Rhythm" was used as a bit of cross-promotion in a commercial for one of Sony’s products, the
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Cloud Nothings, Here and Nowhere Else, 2014

by J Frazzetta April 18th, 2014| Album Review
DSCF6671Dylan Baldi is stuck in the 80’s, and not the one with bad hair, tight pants, and that terrible snare drum sound.  Come on, Avid Reader, you know me better than that, right?  Good, for the last few days I’ve been listening to this album, and all I can think about is Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du or mid-90's Sebadoh.  Baldi and company have managed to update that 80’s hardcore sound into the modern era, all the while keeping the angst, intense rhythms, and fuzzed out guitars intact.  At just eight tracks roughing out to be a little over 30 minutes, this
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Skillet: Rise

by Ronald A. Rowe April 17th, 2014| Album Review
riseSkillet’s 2013 album, Rise, is the album that The Who would make… if The Who was a Christian hard-rock band operating in the second decade of the 21st Century. It may not be Tommy or Pink Floyd’s The Wall, but Rise is the purest and most enjoyable concept album to come out in decades.

Rise features lead singer / bassist John Cooper, guitarist / keyboardist/backup vocalist/lead singer’s wife Korey Cooper, Drummer/vocalist Jen Ledger, violinist Jonathan Chu, cellist Tate Olsen, and newcomer Seth Morrison on lead guitar. The expectations were high for the follow up to Skillet’s breakthrough album, Awake, and
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The Walking Dead (AMC Original Soundtrack) Vol. 2

by Jason Lightner April 16th, 2014| Album Review
twd albumWith the fourth season of AMC's incredible zombie drama behind us, fans of Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead have a lot to consider. The season finale left us with an incredible cliffhanger after an episode which even Kirkman himself described as "savage." What will become of our group? What do we have to look forward to in October? Honestly, your guess is as good as mine at this point. As a big fan of the comics, I'm just surprised at how visceral the series has become.

Undoubtedly one of the most incredible aspects of Season 4 was the
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Lake Street Dive, Bad Self Portraits, 2014

by J Frazzetta April 11th, 2014| Album Review
DSCF6667Several weeks ago there was a bit of an uproar in my Facebook feed as a particular Boston based group was going to be playing a song on an episode of the Colbert Report.  A few were very excited to see a longtime local group take a step toward a larger audience, and on the other hand there were those that threw up their hands calling "sellout", since the band would never be as good ever again.  Up until that evening, Avid Reader, I had never heard of Lake Street Dive, so I struck out to a local
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Warpaint, S/T, 2014

by J Frazzetta April 4th, 2014| Album Review
DSCF6662I feel pretty bad about this one, Avid Reader, and I can explain.  Several weeks ago, maybe January, I picked up this album with the best intentions to let you know all about it, but it got buried.  You might think this was bad, but it turns out that the extra time I’ve had to listen to this album helped me open up more to the rather seductive sounds of the band Warpaint.  In the past I’ve talked about other female rock groups such as Wild Flag and Savages, but Warpaint take punk into a different direction. 
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Skrillex — Recess

by Jason Lightner April 2nd, 2014| Album Review
recessIt's interesting that Recess marks dubstep superstar Skrillex's first full-length studio LP since he began his craft. The 26-year-old producer has been making music for the better part of a decade, with his solo career launching in 2008. He's been the recipient of six Grammy awards, including awards for Best Dance Recording (2012, 2013), Best Dance/Electronica Album (2012, 2013), and Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical (2012, 2013). My fascination with these details stems from the fact that Skrillex was — and remains — a superstar not in spite of, but because of the incredible staying power of his singles and EPs.

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Elbow, The Take Off and Landing, 2014

by J Frazzetta March 28th, 2014| Album Review
DSCF6656Back in college when I was a radio DJ, almost 10 years ago, I can remember coming across the band Elbow and spinning some of their tunes in the early parts of the 2000’s.  I thought they were pretty good as a new wave of British bands were starting to make it big over here, and when I graduated they fell out of my peripheral vision.  Time moves forward, Avid Reader, and I began to hear that their new album was going to deal with a topic all too familiar with this writer: growing up and confronting middle age. 
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Pharrell Williams, G I R L

by Louise March 19th, 2014| Album Review
pw girlLast week I covered longtime producer and somewhat part-time artist Pharrell Williams. Though the artist has been active in the music industry since 1992, his newest album, G I R L, is only his second studio album as a solo artist. (The first was In My Mind from 2006.) I speculated that this album would find more success than his debut attempt. The sophomore album still needs some more time on the charts to see just how well it fares compared to its predecessor, but things are looking good for Williams. "Happy" has topped the Billboard Top 100 chart for several
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Cheesy Country

by J Frazzetta March 17th, 2014| Featured Artist
DSCF6651You can stare at that album cover all you want, Avid Reader, but we will never know what that cowboy is looking at or if he’ll get his herd back to the farm.  Oh, were you looking at the other cover?  I should have known.  For years I’ve seen the cover for Ween’s classic Chocolate and Cheese at record stores and I thought that the album would be about sex, debauchery and other things your mother told you stay away from; boy was I wrong.  Let’s continue our look at Dean and Gene.

With the small success of Pure Guava
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Babymetal — Self Titled

by Jason Lightner March 14th, 2014| Album Review
bmetalWhat does one get when one combines catchy Japanese pop idol music with the pummeling sounds of death metal? This is the very question Amuse talent agency sought to answer when they created Babymetal. The group was formed in 2011, initially as a subunit of the pop group Sakura Gakuin. Like most Asian pop idol groups, Babymetal consists of a rotating cast of members with three girls being the primary focus. The standing tally of both current and former members includes 17 members, with 12 of the girls remaining as active within in the group.

Babymetal released their
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A Pod of Guava

by J Frazzetta March 10th, 2014| Featured Artist
DSCF6650When you strap your headphones on and listen to an early Ween album you might wonder if you’re in on the joke.  I had mentioned that band started as two 14-year-old kids getting high and recording themselves in a four-track to pass the time.  At some point they added a drum machine for beats, but as their voices stretch to sound high pitched or deep, you have to say to yourself: is there something I’m missing?  Should I be huffing Scotch Guard or something?  I didn’t go that far, Avid Reader, but I did try to think of what
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