cleveland eaton - plenty good eaton

Cleveland Eaton: Plenty Good Eaton (1975)

I wasn’t familiar with Cleveland Eaton before seeing this reissue from Real Gone Music when I was looking at grabbing the Kool and the Gang vinyl I discussed a few weeks ago. But the description – a blend of Ramsey Lewis’s soul funk and the swing of Count Basie filtered through the fusion that was riding high in the mid 70s – caught me. The fact that Plenty Good Eaton not only was a fun play on words but was originally on the Black Jazz label was another vote of confidence for a blind buy, so I took the dive…I’m here to report I am now the happier for it.

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iggy and the stooges - raw power

Iggy and the Stooges: Raw Power (1973)

Let’s be fair: there’s probably very little I can contribute to the enormity of writing on the righteous rock god status of that street-walking’ cheetah Iggy Pop and the incendiary power of The Stooges. The man and the band are untouchable in the annals of rock, stone cold classic purveyors of the form and I’m not going to dispute that. So instead I want to talk about how Raw Power, that nuclear A-bomb of ripping rock helped me to understand thats much of an album’s power comes from how you listen, as much as what is on it. So let’s get into the Bowie vs. Iggy mix…

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kool and the gang debut

Kool and the Gang: Kool and the Gang (1970)

If we’re re-booting this blog for 2021, I thought I’d start with some of my most recent vinyl acquisitions. I can’t pinpoint when I precisely fell in love with soul and funk music; I’d been exposed to it on the radio in the 70s, but rock and metal took over, and it wasn’t until high school and late nights driving around town with Parliament’s Up For the Down Stroke blasting out the windows (that’s how my friends rolled in upstate New York circa 1990) and obsessing over the wriggle of Isaac Hayes’s Shaft score that I started to identify something that spoke to my DNA. Fast-forward about 30 years and when I got the note that Real Gone Music was reissuing Kool and the Gang’s debut self titled album on yellow vinyl I was all in.

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yellow eyes - rare field ceiling

Yellow Eyes: Rare Field Ceiling (2019)

I listened to a lot of albums this weekend, mostly classic rock (Grateful Dead’s Live Dead) and modern rock trying to sound classic (Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell’s Very Uncertain Times) but it was the cold and somewhat impenetrable Yellow Eyes that got me to stop and think “I should write about this.”  Because Rare Field Ceiling, like all of the band’s other records, has the peculiar trick of frustrating me even as it draws in me into its maelstrom. Continue reading “Yellow Eyes: Rare Field Ceiling (2019)”

baptists - bloodmines

Baptists: Bloodmines (2014)

How many seconds into Bloodmines, the second full-length from British Columbia hardcore outfit Baptists did you become aware this was recorded and produced by Kurt Ballou?  It’s unmistakable, and that’s a huge plus if you’re a massive fan of the man’s work as a producer.  If you’re not, I don’t know if anything is going to change your mind here, because this sounds like like any number of hardcore bands recorded under the Godcity banner.  Make of that what you will. Continue reading “Baptists: Bloodmines (2014)”

belus - apophenia

Belus: Apophenia (2017)

The first thing I noticed about Belus was the drumming.  Listen to how the drums practically skip over the melodic black metal riffing on “Chasm,” the opening track of the band’s debut album Apophenia.  It’s a marvel of work, on par with the first time I heard someone like Brann Dailor explode on Remission or even (gulp) Lars play on And Justice for All.  It immediately serves to move Belus apart from what the glut of other melodic black metal bands are doing, and makes Belus one of the best modern US black metal releases in some time.  Continue reading “Belus: Apophenia (2017)”