Music reviews

Friday, November 10, 2017

Your Winter LGBTQ Playlist

This winter of 2017/2018, whether you’re all bundled up and trudging through snow and ice or wearing board shorts and soaking up the sun at the beach or pool, remember that music makes everything better.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Brexit Music

Galloping in a couple of years after Oxford’s Foals’ breakthrough disc Holy Fire, What Went Down (WB) does a remarkable job of sounding alternately massive and intimate, sometimes even in the same song. The riveting title track sets the tone. “Birch Tree” is an irresistibly funky workout that could find club success with the right remix. In fact, listeners should have no trouble shaking their asses to “Albatross,” “Night Swimmers,” and “Snake Oil.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Soundtrack for Nostalgia

Most LGBT folks are probably more familiar with Rufus Wainwright (or his sister Martha or his late mother Kate McGarrigle) than they are with his father Loudon Wainwright III. But that doesn’t mean that Loudon doesn’t deserve his due. As a singer and songwriter, Wainwright excelled at both. The 24-track compilation The Atlantic Years (Real Gone Music), which combines Wainwright’s first and second albums – the 1970 eponymous debut and the 1971 follow-up Album II – and adds a previously unreleased bonus track (“Drinking Song”), is proof positive. Wainwright’s trademark humor (see his 1972 hit single “Dead Skunk”) is also in evidence, along with his serious side, on songs such as the breathtaking “Old Friend,” as well as “School Days,” “Nice Jewish Girls,” “Movies Are a Mother to Me,” “Be Careful There’s a Baby in the House,” and “Glad to See You Got Religion.”

Friday, August 04, 2017

Twelve By Two

Country duos are nothing new. Think about Johnny and June, Porter and Dolly, George and Tammy, and so on. The Judds put a different spin on the coupling of country singers by teaming up a mother, Naomi, and her daughter, Wynonna. The Judds were a prevailing pair from the early 1980s until the beginning of the 1990s, at which time Wynonna embarked on a solo career that made her an even bigger star. The 21-track compilation All-Time Greatest Hits (Curb) includes everything you might expect on a collection such as this, including “Mama’s He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me,” “Have Mercy,” “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days,” “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain,” and “Love Can Build a Bridge”.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Sound of Seniors

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, now in their mid-to-late 70s respectively, remain productive and continue to tour and perform on a regular basis. In their youth, the surviving half of The Beatles, along with the late John Lennon and George Harrison, made an immeasurable impact on contemporary music and culture. Out of all of the Beatles’ albums, 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Apple / Capitol / UMe), now available in a new two-CD 50th anniversary edition stereo mix (by Giles Martin, son of George Martin) 50th anniversary edition, is probably the Fab Four’s most influential and eternal recording. Whether you last listened to Sgt. Pepper a year ago or 20 years ago, you’re sure to be thrilled by the new sounds you’ll discover in this version, especially on songs such as “She’s Leaving Home,” “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “Getting Better,” “When I’m 64,” and “A Day in the Life.” The second disc features numerous takes of the songs on the album, as well as 2017 stereo mixes of the singles “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” which though recorded at the same time as Sgt. Pepper, would later find their way onto Magical Mystery Tour, released later in 1967.


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