Music

Music

Tue
13
Dec

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Shines Once Again!

Richie Blackmore Rainbow

In June of this year, something incredible happened. After almost 20 years, Ritchie Blackmore reformed Rainbow for a trio of shows that rocked the Heavy Metal world, proving that while time and tide wait for no man, when it comes to playing great rock and roll, age doesn’t matter a hill o’ beans!

With a new frontman in Ronnie Romero (who sounds oddly in many ways like an amalgam of all of the Rainbow front men through the years) and playing music from Rainbow as well as Deep Purple, these three shows brought it to the audience full on. And now, thanks once again to Eagle Rock Entertainment, this 2CD / Single DVD set captures the best of all three shows and brings them into your living room.

Thu
01
Dec

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Live: Volume 3 Has Best Lineup Yet of Songs, Artists

Rock and Roll HOF Volume 3

It is oft said that the third time is a charm...and I can think of no better example of that phrase than this current release from Time Life. Pressed on limited edition white-and-black swirled vinyl, this third installment of the Time Life series of the ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME LIVE hits on all cylinders for me.

With a veritable “Who’s Who” of performers featuring the likes of Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton, The Allman Bros, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Traffic, Keith Richards, Paul Butterfield, Robbie Robertson, and John Mellencamp, what’s not to love? Add to that no sign of Bruce Springsteen anywhere in sight, and it’s a huge win-win proposition!

Mon
21
Nov

Frank Zappa, Eat That Question: Remembering a Rock Icon Who Didn’t Care How He Would Be Remembered

Frank Zappa - Eat That Question

Frank Zappa certainly filled his own niche in music. Showcasing his well-known biting social commentary, this video gives a rare (if ever) seen glimpse into the man that was much more than what most people today remember as the fighter who took on Tipper Gore and the PMRC.

Shown through archival interviews and concert/music “videos” from around the world (U.S., England, France, Germany Holland and Prague to name some), the video takes us progressively through his career, although not in a straight line; it was sort of “take two steps forward, take one back” as we are led through the history of the man.

Mon
14
Nov

Audioquest Type 4 Speaker Cable: Unchanged Over Years, Uncompromising in Sound

Audioquest Type 4 Speaker Cables

Having bought a new amp set me on a new quest--an “audio” quest, haha!--for new speaker cables that sounded best with my new integrated, which as you may have already seen is a Sugden A21SE Signature--and it is no secret that I ended up choosing the cable I am reviewing here, the Audioquest Type 4.

This is not just a review of a speaker cable, because you could say it is biased since I did choose it. But I wanted to talk about the process of how I came to choose it, and why.

Mon
14
Nov

Sugden Revisited: In Which the Reviewer is Motivated to Ownership

One of the few downsides to reviewing audio equipment is that when you are done reviewing it, and you find it absolutely wonderful, unless you’re “Mr. Deep Pockets” you have to give it back.

Such was the case when I finished my review of the Sugden A21SE Signature Class A Integrated. Here was a piece of audio that changed my perspective on listening and enjoying music, and I had to give it back!

If you read my original review, you know how much I love how this integrated makes music, and when I returned it, it left a void in me that my current system (at the time) couldn’t duplicate. My Naim gear made beautiful music, make no mistake about it, but this Sugden just took listening to music to a higher and importantly different plane.

Mon
14
Nov

Frank Zappa's Hot Rats Long Awaited Vinyl Release Well Worth It

Frank Zappa Hot Rats on Vinyl

For someone like me, who has been a fan of Frank Zappa’s music for years and also a frustrated record collector who for years had been looking for an affordable copy of this LP in good condition (any of his LPs, for that matter), you can imagine my excitement to realize the end of my quest was at hand now that HOT RATS has been reissued once again, and this time on 180-gram vinyl.

 

Fri
11
Nov

ANDERSON, RABIN and WAKEMAN Celebrates Classic YES at the Fox Theatre

If you read my concert reviews regularly you’ll notice a trend—I much prefer the older acts, the classic rock and roll bands that are now regulated to “oldies” stations. The best shows I’ve ever seen have consistently been by veteran talents. ARW, consisting of Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman of the seminal progressive rock band Yes, proved once again that terrific bands, like fine wine, only get better with age. Why Yes isn’t already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame I can’t even begin to fathom.

Mon
31
Oct

Zappatite Another Frank Zappa Greatest Hits Compilation, With Flair

ZAPPAtite

Some may say what the world needs now is love, not another Frank Zappa Greatest Hits compilation. And some may say, well, why not both?

ZAPPAtite from Ume (Universal Music Enterprises) is the latest in a long line of “greatest hits” albums of one of rock’s most eclectic and off-the- beaten-path musicians ever to come down the pike.

I’m not going to take time here to talk about who Frank Zappa is/was, and what he has accomplished. It would take too long. If, by chance, you have been living under a rock for the last 50 years or so, or were brought up in some sort of sheltered sterile world where originality was not embraced and so you might not have not heard of him, then I would urge you to do some Google searches and sit back for a couple of days to read, read, and read more, then listen, listen, and listen more. While I can’t help you out on the reading part, the CD here can help you out on the listening part.

Mon
24
Oct

Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame-Live Volume 2: New Album But Really Just More of the Same

Rock and Roll HOF V2

The second installment of Time Life’s series on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live, catchily titled Volume 2, is a further compilation of some of the best induction ceremony performances by the actual performers themselves or by other musicians brought together to pay tribute to the artist. Volume 2 says it is on “Limited Edition Red and Orange Marbled Vinyl,” however when looking at the album it appears…well…just a solid reddish-orange. Oh well, it’s still very cool though!

That aside, the collection of songs and artists on this volume is an eclectic olio of both songs and artists that have appeared on stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of fame ceremonies. (Although I will always just refer to it as a “music” hall of fame. One day I really hope a museum is opened that truly is just a Rock and Roll Hall of fame--JUST Rock and Roll.)

Thu
13
Oct

Analyzing The Band Analyzed Within

Christians Getting Down!

Whenever you think of metal bands your first thoughts may be Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer and so on but even Christians love to get down and head bang for the Lord. An uprising Christian metal band, Analyzed Within is releasing their latest album and showing just how heavy metal Christians can truly be.

 

 

 

Analyzed Within is comprised of three very talented members.

Wed
12
Oct

Supergirl Too Gender Specific For Miley Cyrus

Supergirl v. Miley

I understand the need to be a critic. Heck, for me it’s a way of life! So if you don’t like something that I do, or you like something that I don’t, I get it. Wear what you dig, live and let live.

But when your criticism is based on something ludicrous, well, expect your criticism to be critiqued. We can do that.

Case in point: Miley Cyrus. The former Disney good girl Hannah Montana was recently interviewed by Variety, where she spoke on a bunch of things important to her, including the CW show, SUPERGIRL, for, of all things, perpetuating gender stereotypes.

Mon
03
Oct

Laurie Berkner is a Superhero, and Her Superpower is Joy

Lauri Berkner Superhero

It should be no secret that I am a bona-fide Laurie Berkner fan. So when I heard that the Queen of Kiddie Music was releasing her first new record of all new songs in 8 years, I said to myself, “Self, you’ve got to hear if Ms. B still gots it.” Would she be able to create songs as endearing as “Victor Vito” and “Bottle caps?” A tall order indeed!

The new CD is called SUPERHERO, and it contains 21 new songs and 2 bonus tracks, running 56 minutes in length.

Right out of the gate, the title track of the album struck a chord with me as I am sure it will for every boy, girl and adult who grew up reading (and still reads) comic books, dreaming of being a superhero. (Yeah, I still dream that too.) Laurie even names one or two that are not on everyone’s tongues because of the Marvel and DC movies, but that I and (I’m sure) many others will remember.

Fri
23
Sep

Anna Danes Find Your Wings Soars with the Eagles

Anna Danes Find Your Wings

This newest album from Anna Danes recorded at Capital Records Studio A, the same studio and microphone by the way used by her role models Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, is one of those albums that sounds both new and classic at the same time.

That’s no small feat, considering Anna didn’t start really singing until 3 years ago when, as fate would have it, her daughter refused to sing at a vocal lesson. And, with the lesson already paid for, Anna stepped in. And the rest, as they say, is history.

This new album, set to release in October during National Breast Cancer Awareness month, turned out to be not only an album of great songs but also an album of great strength, comfort and peace. Because while Ms. Danes was working on marketing and promoting this record, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Sun
18
Sep

The Head and The Heart Show Signs of Light With Their New Album

The Head and the Heart, Signs of Light

The Head and the Heart, an indie folk band from the Seattle area, has been unfairly grouped with the singalong bands The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men. While all leaped into the opening created by Mumford & Sons, what differentiates the band from their banjo-blending peers are excellent songs. The group is composed of songwriters Jonathan Russell and Josiah Johnson along with pianist Kenny Hensley, bassist Chris Zasche, violinist (and sometimes fan favorite vocalist) Charity Rose Thielen, and drummer Tyler Williams. Their debut was self-released in 2010 and later picked up by Sub Pop. The album was a breath of fresh air, with 11 terrific songs that didn’t rely on the banjo inflection (or bro-fans). While not breaking any new ground, their 2nd album, Let’s Be Still, released 2 years later in 2012, continued their journey to open hearts and ears with acoustic guitars, pianos and heartfelt songs.

Mon
12
Sep

Harry Potter in Concert - An Amazing Experience

Harry Potter Live Concert Series

I got the chance to see the Harry Potter Concert Series live at Powell Hall last Friday, and it was a fantastic experience! 

One of the best parts of the Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone movie is the iconic score composed by the incomparable John Williams. I remember first seeing the film when it came out and getting chills during "Hedwig's Theme." For such a popular franchise with such great characters, intense action, and magic, I'm so happy John Williams was able to lend his immeasurable talent to the score. 

But the only thing better than seeing the movie in theaters is seeing it on an equally big screen while the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra plays the score live below. The movie Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone plays on a massive screen, but with the music removed - the soundtrack is instead played live by the orchestra.

Fri
09
Sep

Justin Freer and the Sorcerer's Stone: Bringing Harry Potter's Musical Magic to Life

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Film Concert Series

Justin Freer is performing stage magic. No, he's not pulling rabbits from his hat or sawing women into two pieces. It's much more enchanting than that.

Freer is a conductor and producer of film music, as well as the founder and president of CineConcerts, a company dedicated to the preservation and concert presentation of film, TV and media performances live with film. His current project, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, is currently playing at the St. Louis Symphony as part of a mind-blowing concept that blends film with live music.

Tell our readers what sets what you're doing apart from your standard afternoon at the symphony.

Fri
02
Sep

Soft Voice, Strong Opinions. Dede Wedekind Discusses Her Vision of America United

Dede Wedekind's "America United."

Nearly every musical artist has something to say. Otherwise, why bother with the art?

Indie Music Channel's 2016 Best New Female Artist, Dede Wedekind, has several things to say about several things, but more recently she's garnering attention for her latest number, a patriotic piece called "America United" that contains a lyric that ought to ring familiar with anyone who has come into contact with a working television set for the past year. We spoke with Dede about the inspiration for "America United," her experiences growing up in music, and her own vision to "Make America Great Again."

How has your history of making music led up to what you put into “America United?”

Mon
22
Aug

Sugden's A21SE Signature Integrated Amplifier: Simply Stated, Simply Wonderful

Sugden

I am reminded by dialog spoken by King Osric (Max Von Sydow) in the movie “Conan The Barbarian.”

When King Osric needed Conan to rescue his daughter from Thulsa Doom, upon dumping out a bag full of jewels and offering them to take all they wanted, he says,

“ There comes a time, thief, when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father's love for his child.

So it is with me in my audiophile time of life, where what matters most to me now is not high power, not large heavy pieces of equipment, not stacks of individual components, nor even high and flighty names. While I freely admit all those “jewels and gold” did, at one time, matter to me; I have had Krell, Audio Research, Martin Logan, Duntech, Focal, Oracle, SME, Koetsu, Convergent …the list goes on and on.

Tue
16
Aug

Tesla, "Psychotic Supper" -- Big Hair, Big Sound, Big Reissue

Tesla Psychotic Supper 2LP set on vinyl

Tesla’s now classic 1991 release PSYCHOTIC SUPPER was the band’s 3rd studio album. It is thought by many, including myself and the band members, to be their best. Now it is being reissued in a 2LP set, which, I believe (but I could be wrong; it happens), is the first time this album will have been released on vinyl. The album contains the hits “What You Give”, “Call It What You Want”, and “Song & Emotion” (my favorite along with “Toke About it”), and it is not one that I had on vinyl.

Fri
05
Aug

Time Life Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Live-Volume 1 Prince Tribute Edition On Purple Vinyl Fitting Tribute

Rock and Roll Hall of Fave V1 - Prince Tribute Edition on Purple Vinyl

Time Life's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Live-Volume 1 Prince Tribute Edition on Purple Vinyl a Fitting Tribute to an Artist Who had the Most Memorable R&R HOF Performance

When Time Life released their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live-Volume 1 it was just after Prince had passed away. The album, containing his performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” quickly sold out its first pressing.

Time Life felt that it should honor the artist by re-releasing the album in a limited edition pressing on purple vinyl.

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