Search Results for: "Graded on a Curve"

Graded on a Curve:
Bryan Ferry,
Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1974

Celebrating Bryan Ferry on his 77th birthday. —Ed. Bryan Ferry’s solo discography commenced in deceptively lowkey fashion with a pair of covers albums in 1973-’74. The setlist for BMG’s Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1974 draws from those records as it showcases the man’s sturdy, distinctive pipes and equally unique interpretive skills plus a […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Deep Purple,
Concerto for Group
and Orchestra

I guess you had to be there. You should be glad you weren’t there. If you’re not glad you weren’t there you should schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist immediately. She won’t be able to help you, but she will take your money and urge you to come back so she can take more of […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Bruce Springsteen, Chapter and Verse

Celebrating Bruce Springsteen on his 73rd birthday. —Ed. Most artist compilations serve a single purpose—to give the listener who doesn’t want to spring for more than one LP of a musician or band something to buy. This is not the case with 2016’s Chapter and Verse, which offers both casual and hardcore fans of the […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Bad Company,
Bad Company

I’m bad company, I don’t deny it. I tend to monopolize conversations. I’m loud. I laugh at my own jokes. I cut other people off mid-sentence. I cheat at penny poker, although I always get caught. And I have the annoying habit of boring people with long monologues on the Versailles Treaty. But England’s hard […]

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Graded on a Curve:
John Coltrane,
The Atlantic Years
in Mono

Remembering John Coltrane in advance of his birthdate tomorrow. —Ed. John Coltrane’s Atlantic period presents an arresting convergence of circumstances. It was a time of raised profile and of considerable transition, the artist’s confidence audibly growing as he united jazz tradition and experimentation; most of all it was an era of major breakthroughs establishing the […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Dead Kennedys,
Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

On September 30, Manifesto Records will reissue Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, the debut album from iconic Bay Area punk outfit Dead Kennedys on vinyl and CD in a freshly remixed version courtesy of Grammy-winning producer Chris Lord-Alge. Setting aside the question of whether the record actually needed a remix (it didn’t), nothing abhorrent transpires […]

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Graded on a Curve: Nightfly: The Life of Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen by Peter Jones

Lovelorn music man Lester the Nightfly, a major player on Donald Fagen’s 1982 solo album The Nightfly, is a character with a complex identity. At first contemplation, he’s a jazz DJ on the nightshift during the golden, Camelot era of American life in the early ’60s, fielding calls from a cornucopia of after-hour nutsos while […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Oasis,
(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

Celebrating Liam Gallagher, born on this day in 1972. —Ed. I’m of two minds about Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, which many consider the crowning glory of the 1990s Britpop movement. On one hand I can’t help but bask in its bold strokes, symphonic sweep, and big, soaring anthems. On the other, there’s this […]

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Graded on a Curve: Under the Reefs Orchestra, Sakurajima

Following a self-titled debut in 2020, Sakurajima is the new full-length from Under the Reefs Orchestra, the Brussels-based power trio consisting of guitarist and main songwriter Clément Nourry, saxophonist Marti Melia, and drummer Jakob Warmenbol. While they emerged onto the scene with an approach that was decidedly post-rock, their latest radiates a raw toughness, deepened […]

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Graded on a Curve:
New Music Books Roundup

It’s September and time to hit the books. That doesn’t have to mean textbooks and studying. There are some wonderful books on music to either keep close to your couch on the coffee-table or for reading as the nights grow longer and colder. First up is A Life in Focus: The Photography of Graham Nash […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Styx,
The Grand Illusion

Celebrating Chuck Panozzo and remembering John Panozzo, both born on this day in 1948. —Ed. Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Beware, for if you stare long enough into Styx’s The Grand Illusion, The Grand Illusion will stare back into you.” Nietzsche had good reason to be fearful, for not only did Styx’s masterpiece ultimately drive him […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Yara Asmar,
Home Recordings
2018–2021

Yara Asmar is a multi-instrumentalist, video artist, and puppeteer who currently lives in Beirut with her house cat Mushroom. Just 25 years old, her debut release offers an uncommonly rich blend of experimentation, field recordings, and ambient sensibilities across seven tracks. Recorded in her place of residence via mobile phone and cassette, the aptly titled […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Paul Williams, Evergreens: The Best
of the A&M Years

Celebrating Paul Williams on his 82nd birthday. —Ed. It is the fate of some singer/songwriters to be the worst interpreters of their own work. Burt Bacharach springs to mind. Ditto Hoyt “Joy to the World” Axton and Jimmy “MacArthur Park” Webb. Kris Kristofferson falls into this category—unlike Webb and Axton he’s instantly recognizable for his […]

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Graded on a Curve:
The Adverts,
Crossing the Red Sea with The Adverts

Talk about your one-chord wonders. England in the mid- to-late seventies was awash in them, punk bands that woke up to the fact that you didn’t have to be Queen to seize the stage and play rock and roll. The spirit of the day was “Look ma! I just picked up a guitar ten minutes […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Wire, 154

Celebrating Colin Newman, born on this day in 1954. —Ed. Most bands are fortunate to get in the ballpark of a single masterpiece during their existence, but from ’77-’79, and right out of the gate with their debut, Wire produced three in a row. In the process, they delivered a blueprint for minimalist art-punk (from […]

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