Music

Music

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.

Mon
01
Aug

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits on Vinyl? Oh My My, Oh Hell Yes!

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits 2-LP Vinyl Release

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers needs little or no introduction from me. Since they released their self-titled album back in 1976, the band has had a string of hits any number of which can be found as staples on any classic rock radio or Sirius XM station, and they have had a Greatest Hits compilation in print since ’93.

What does bear introduction is that the Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Greatest Hits is being released here for the first time ever on 180gm vinyl, in a 2 LP set from Geffen Ume.

Tom Petty is one of those iconic voices that fits the music he writes and sings; although sounding more and more like Bob Dylan as he grows older (just my opinion), the songs on this set are mostly from what I consider his heyday of 1976 thru 1993.

Fri
22
Jul

Note To Music Artists: All Right Now, You Can't Always Get What You Want

Donald Trump, Queen, Rolling Stones, George Harrison

Every election cycle, there is always a story or three about some politician running for office who picks a theme song and forgets that he has to pay the band. And it's such a simple thing to do -- you contact ASCAP or BMI and you get yourself a license. It's simple enough that every high school band director or local cheerleading camp instructor knows the drill. And after one or two lawsuits making the news, you can bet that every campaign strategist knows this as well.

So why is it that the campaign for Donald Trump is angering so many musicians? Surely they know better.

Well, the fact is, they do know better.

Tue
12
Jul

Kitsch and Cool Clash Colossally on Music of DC Comics Volume 2

Music of DC Comics Volume 2

I've often thought to myself, "Self, our life needs theme music." I hope it gets composed by Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer, but I'm afraid it might get done by Arthur Korb.

These are the thoughts I now think as I listen to the tracks from The Music of DC Comics, Volume 2. Now, I know, comics are printed on paper and don't usually come with musical accompaniment. These are (mostly) from animated and live-action adaptations, smart-ass. And what an eclectic mix it is, starting with "The Baby from Krypton" from the 1940 SUPERMAN radio show, all the way through the opening theme credits for CW's LEGENDS OF TOMORROW.

Fri
01
Jul

ABC's "Greatest Hits" (1980-1985) Recap: Messin' Around Kept to a Minimum

ABC's "Greatest Hits"

The perfect summer series, IMHO, is mindless, full of music, has plenty of dancers, and is unabashedly nostalgic. ABC's six-week summertime event, Greatest Hits, fits the bill. When I heard about it from Steve Spears over at Stuck in the '80s I immediately thought back to the summer of 2005, when the limited series Hit Me Baby One More Time trotted out bands from the '80s to sing one of their hits, then tackle a newer pop song. Greatest Hits blessedly skips the "competition" format and just presents the musicians to let them do what they do best: perform in front of an appreciative crowd, just like the good ol' days.

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