Rock/Pop/Etc.

CD Review: Lone Justice – THIS IS LONE JUSTICE: THE VAUGHT TAPES, 1983

Lone Justice - THIS IS LONE JUSTICE - THE VAUGHT TAPES, 1983 | ©2014 Omnivore Recordings

Distributor: Omnivore Records Suggested Retail Price: $15.41 If there was ever a band that deserved more than what they got, Lone Justice was it. They were a band with friends in high places (Tom Petty donated a track to their debut release, U2 invited them to open for them), yet, for various reasons, they never were as big as they should have been. That said, they were ahead of their time in many respects – marrying countrified passion with rock paving the way for the genre to gain more respect through the 1990s and the Aughts. Part of the problem …Read On »

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CD Review: Paul McCartney – NEW

Paul McCartney - NEW | ©2013 Hear Music

Suggested Retail Price: $12.99 Distributor: Hear Music I have been a big fan of Paul McCartney’s since the early 1990s when he was still crafting fascinating pop albums and occasionally writing some of his best tunes since the Beatles with Declan MacManus (aka Elvis Costello). Every new release since then, I’ve found ho-hum, but now, at age 71 McCartney has steamrolled back to the fore, first with fronting a mini-Nirvana reunion with the “Cut Me Some Slack” track from earlier this year and now with his latest full length album NEW. This doesn’t sound like someone ready for the retirement …Read On »

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CD Review: Otis Redding – LONELY & BLUE: THE DEEPEST SOUL OF OTIS REDDING

OTIS REDDING - THE DEEPEST SOUL OF OTIS REDDING | ©2013 Stax

Distributor: Stax Suggested Retail Price: $7.00 (CD), $17.98 (Vinyl) For those that only know Otis Redding for his classic R&B hit “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” don’t really know what they’re missing. There are so many classic Redding songs that should have been much bigger than they were and there have been so many compilations, it’s impossible to figure out where to start if you’re a newbie to the charms of this 1960s legend. That’s why the release of LONELY & BLUE: THE DEEPEST SOUL OF OTIS REDDING is such a cool little curiosity item. Instead of simply …Read On »

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Album Review: Marshall Crenshaw – I DON’T SEE YOU LAUGHING NOW E.P.

Marshall Crenshaw - I DON'T SEE YOU LAUGHING NOW | ©2012 Marshall Crenshaw

There’s no denying the power of Marshall Crenshaw’s power pop. With his 1982 self-titled debut album he brought a sense of rock and roll purpose with his catchy lyrics and crystal clean vocals. From “There She Goes Again” to “Whenever You’re On My Mind”, his music was in many ways out of place with the early 1980s synth movement. Which makes his music although the more timeless today. Throughout countless exceptional albums and just as many labels, he’s weathered the musical storm and found the best way to do business in the modern age is to get back to basics. …Read On »

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CD Review: Haley Reinhart – LISTEN UP!

Haley Reinhart - LISTEN UP! | ©2012 Interscope Records/19 Entertainment

Distributor: Interscope Records/19 Entertainment Suggested Retail Price: $7.99 As AMERICAN IDOL has de-volved into an on-going parade of white guy with guitar winners and even blander Top 10 finalists, Season 10 did prove to have a diamond in the rough. Her name was Haley Reinhart. She wasn’t country. She wasn’t a Whitney clone. She was an original with a jazzy sound, a great look and unfortunately too much criticism heaved on by the biased judges that made sure she didn’t get past the third position in the competition even though she deserved to be in the final two (and honestly, …Read On »

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CD Review: Joey Ramone – …YA KNOW?

Joey Ramone - ...YA KNOW? | ©2012 BMG

Distributor: BMG Suggested Retail Price: $9.90 When Joey Ramone, the frontman of the groundbreaking punk pop band Ramones passed away in 2001, 11 unreleased songs found their way on the posthumous release DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME. While the songs weren’t as perfect as his days with the Ramones, they still were fun little ditties and allowed us to mourn, through music, the legacy Joey Ramone left behind. Now, almost eleven years after his death, his second posthumous release is here. Titled …YA KNOW? (because Ramone always ended his sentences with those two words), the tracks consist of demos and other …Read On »

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CD Review: Best Coast – THE ONLY PLACE

The Best Coast - THE ONLY PLACE | ©2012 Mexican Summer

Distributor: Mexican Summer Suggested Retail Price: $7.99 While I heard nothing but raves about the Southern California buzz band Best Coast when they release their 2010 debut CRAZY FOR YOU, I found the 1990s inspired alt-music thin and the echoy vocals hard to get my head around. The vibe was there, the songs weren’t. With the Best Coast duo of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno back for their sophomore effort THE ONLY PLACE, I suspected it would be more of the same. Yet here’s an excellent follow-up record that lives up to the promise of CRAZY FOR YOU and then …Read On »

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CD Review: Karmin – HELLO

Karmin - HELLO E.P. | ©2012 Epic Records

Distributor: Epic Records Suggested Retail Price: $8.68 You Tube is becoming a new venue for young, emerging artists to prove their mettle and gain a fan following. The way Karmin (aka couple Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan) did it was by doing quirky covers of popular songs. Their biggest splashes was a stripped down version of Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now and Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.” In a weird way, they made these hip-hop songs even better with their back-to-basics aesthetics and Heidemann’s incredible rapping prowess. Frankly, she put Minaj and Brown to shame – and also proved she’s …Read On »

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CD Review: Bruce Springsteen – WRECKING BALL

Bruce Springsteen - WRECKING BALL | ©2012 Columbia Records

Distributor: Columbia Records Suggested Retail Price: $11.99 (regular edition), $12.99 (special edition) When you have so many great albums under your belt like Bruce Springsteen (BORN IN THE U.S.A., DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, THE RISING), you can pretty much do whatever you want and it isn’t going to tarnish your legacy. There have been some near misses, some grand experiments and a handful of very good songs over the years from Springsteen, but it was that spirit of experimentation that kept The Boss from getting stale even if consistency wasn’t always the mission. Thankfully WRECKING BALL remedies all …Read On »

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Concert Review: Peter Case and Paul Collins of The Plimsouls, The Beat and the Nerves – March 7, 2012 at the Echo, Los Angeles, CA

Peter Case performs with Paul Collins on March 7, 2012 at the Echo in Los Angeles, CA | ©2012 Assignment X

Steeped in 1950s and 1960s rock music, but channeled through the power pop sheen of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the music of Peter Case and Paul Collins is still relevant today. Whether together as The Nerves and The Breakaways or separately fronting The Plimsouls and The Beat, respectively, they had a knack for writing great hooks that have stood the test of time. Early into the eighty-minute concert by Peter Case and Paul Collins at the Echo in Los Angeles, CA on March 7, 2012 where they performed hits from their various groups, Case admitted that they wrote …Read On »

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