Sometimes you take a chance. It’s not quite like the old days when you would stroll through a record store and something would catch your eye: a name, some art. But it’s close, and as I was flipping through the Record Store Drop releases at my local shop I saw the reissue of the sole record from Ann Arbor’s The Rationals. The hype sticker drew me in as much as the colors on the album art: you put the words “Detroit R&B Garage Band” on your sticker and you’re going to hook me. I’m glad it did because it turns out The Rationals delivers precisely on the sticker’s promise: down and dirty rhythm and blues that has a foot firmly in the 60s while calling out to the more rock-centric power the 70s would deliver.
Continue reading “The Rationals: The Rationals (1970)”
On paper there’s nothing I shouldn’t love about Snake Mountain Revival, the Virginia Beach psychedelic/stoner trio who after two successful EPs released their debut full length Everything In Sight back in November of 2021. Late one night before the release I listened to the available singles and made a judgement call, preordering the vinyl. Almost seven months later I finally got that vinyl, and listening now I can hear things that are appealing, but there’s a sameness to the tracks that, when taken as a whole album I’m finding frustrating. Was this always the album, or was the frustration of waiting contributing to my less than enthusiastic attitude toward the band and album? I decided to listen again song by song and see if I could get to the bottom of it.
Continue reading “Snake Mountain Revival: Everything In Sight (2021)”
Day 14 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for the album you’ve wither waited the longest to receive, or the longest to be released. I’ve got two albums that I ordered back in November that were supposed to be released and six months later I’m still waiting (though one is due to get here next week). And the longest I’ve waited for something that was already shipped I wrote about last year. So how about an album that took 31 years to get a North American release? I may have already featured it a few weeks ago during my Record Store Day excursion, but it’s always a good time to talk about Voivod, and their beguiling release Angel Rat.
Continue reading “Voivod: Angel Rat (1991)”
Day 13 of the #mayvinylchanllenge asks for an album evoking the supernatural and the spooky. I’m sure I could have dug through a ton of metal albums that would conceivably fit the bill, but I wanted something that really evoked the spirit of the ask, and there’s no better album in my collection than the “mighty” Coven, whose 1969 album Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls desperately tries to be sinister and mysterious, but can’t help but be slightly silly, very charming, and a lot of fun to boot.
Continue reading “Coven: Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls (1969)”
We’re back with the #mayvinylchallenge, and Day 1 is all about introducing yourself. And while there were plenty of artists and albums that made me love music, the first artist whose music made me obsessive about it was definitely Frank Zappa. A deep dive on his music has been a long time coming, and I still plan on it (between vinyl, CDs and box sets I’m over 70 albums) but if I were to introduce myself by way of a record, there’s no better artist. And even though Hot Rats wasn’t my first exposure to Zappa (that was Apostrophe (‘)) over time it’s become one of my favorite and most listened to records, regardless of artists or genre. So let get to it.
Continue reading “Frank Zappa: Hot Rats (1969)”
I don’t know if there is a more familiar, comforting sound in music than the guitar tone of George Harrison. Instantly recognizable, there’a a warmth and measured approach to each and every one of his licks and solos that get to the heart of what I think of when I think of musical nostalgia. The sound of his guitar brings strong, vibrant memories of my childhood – every Harrison song could be the closing song to the movie Time Bandits (although in reality it’s “Dream Away” from 1982’s Gone Troppo). And since it’s a cold, snowy Wednesday morning it felt like the perfect time to put on the classic All Things Must Past and think about the past, and the way this album brings it alive for me.
Continue reading “George Harrison: All Things Must Pass (1970)”