Search Results for: "Graded on a Curve"

Graded on a Curve:
David Sylvian,
Brilliant Trees

Celebrating David Sylvian, born on this day in 1958. —Ed. When UK new wavers Japan broke up in 1982, the members predictably splintered off into various directions, and the highest profiles belonged to Mick Karn and David Sylvian. Over the decades the latter has amassed a solo and collaborative discography of unlikely reach and impressiveness; […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Cage the Elephant,
Social Cues

Alt-rock megastars Cage the Elephant have won two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album of the year, and I think I know why: they’re boring. Toothless. Bland. Not out to make any waves. They’re the Whitney Houston of alternative rock, and proof that playing it safe is a sure-fire way to win the hearts and […]

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Graded on a Curve: Johnny Winter,
Still Alive and Well

Remembering Johnny Winter in advance of his birthdate tomorrow. —Ed. Famed music critic Frank Sinatra once called rock ’n’ roll the “most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear.” The crooner who liked to eat scrambled eggs off the breasts of prostitutes added it’s the handiwork of “cretinous […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Bardo Pond,
Volume 9

Formed in 1991 in Philadelphia, PA, the enduring heavy psych specialists Bardo Pond have amassed a substantial and consistently rewarding discography on a variety of physical formats in the years since. A significant portion of that output is a series documenting assorted jam sessions; Volume 9 is the latest entry, available on vinyl with accompanying […]

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Graded on a Curve:
VA, We Can Work It Out: Covers of The Beatles 1962–1966

When examining the enormous influence of The Beatles, one factor stands out and that’s the peerless songwriting team of Lennon and McCartney. The greatness of their partnership also extends to the covers of their music over the years. This three-CD, 75-track compilation offers an exhaustive, comprehensive, and fun collection of covers of the music of […]

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Graded on a Curve: Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans,
Know What I Mean?

Julian “Cannonball Adderley” ranks amongst the finest alto saxophonists in the history of jazz. In pianistic terms the same is true for Bill Evans. Putting them in the studio together meant brilliance was bound to happen. And that’s exactly what’s heard on Know What I Mean?, an album first released in 1962 by the Riverside […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Steely Dan,
Can’t Buy a Thrill

Remembering Walter Becker, born on this day in 1950. —Ed. The passing of Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker hit me hard; my fond memories of them go all the way back to their debut LP, 1972’s Can’t Buy a Thrill, which an unusually hip (for the tiny Nowhereville I grew up in, at least) high […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Art Pepper Quintet,
Smack Up

On February 23 Craft Recordings and Acoustic Sounds kick off a year-long 180 gram vinyl reissue series sourced from the catalog of Contemporary Records with a welcome new edition of Smack Up by the Art Pepper Quintet. Cut in 1960, it captures alto saxophonist Pepper in superb form leading a top-flight band of West Coasters […]

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Graded on a Curve: Sonny and Cher,
The Beat Goes On

Remembering Sonny Bono, born on this day in 1935. —Ed. They were, during their time, America’s most beloved singing couple. The short one wasn’t much to look at, but, boy, was that Art Garfunkel hot! No, I’m talking about Salvatore Bono and Cheerily Sarkisian, who started their career together as Caesar and Cleo but won […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Uriah Heep,
The Best of Uriah Heep

Uriah Heep played Hobbit rock. The English progressive rock band’s unholy fascination with swords and sorcery, dungeons and dragons, and castles and fair damsels was enough to make you suspect the guys in the band wore sky-blue capes emblazoned with golden stars around the house. And owned extensive codpiece collections. Depending on your feelings about […]

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Graded on a Curve: Bright Eyes,
I’m Wide Awake,
It’s Morning

Celebrating Conor Oberst, born on this day in 1980. —Ed. You know you’re in trouble when the most uplifting song on an LP is about a fatal airline crash. And yet in the case of the 2005 LP I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, Bright Eyes’ front man Conor Oberst somehow makes it work. This album […]

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Graded on a Curve:
The Children’s Hour,
Going Home

Formed in Chicago in the early 2000s, The Children’s Hour featured the vocal and multi-instrumental talents of Josephine Foster alongside the guitar and bass of Andy Bar. Gorgeously folky, they released one LP in 2003 and then recorded some tracks with the addition of David Pajo on drums, material that was long lost and recently […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Tim Buckley, Lady, Give Me Your Key and Wings: The Complete Singles 1966–1974

Remembering Tim Buckley, born on this day in 1947. —Ed. Two releases illuminate Tim Buckley as being far from the typical 1960s folkie. Light in the Attic’s Lady, Give Me Your Key uncovers two ’67 demos and is easily the more consistent of the two, its contents complementing a significant portion of Omnivore’s Wings: The […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Liam Bailey,
Zero Grace

UK singer-songwriter Liam Bailey is a sly genre blender. Nowhere is this more apparent than on his latest album Zero Grace, which is out February 23 on vinyl (bloodshot colored or standard black), compact disc, and digital through Big Crown Records. Reteaming Bailey with ace producer and Big Crown co-founder Leon Michels, the resulting 12-song […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Peter Gabriel,
Peter Gabriel

Celebrating Peter Gabriel on his 74th birthday. —Ed. When Peter Gabriel split Genesis to venture out on his own in 1975, his first solo album was 1977’s eponymous Peter Gabriel. In hindsight, he would judge it overproduced. But artists rarely prove the best judges of their own work. Come the end of his life Picasso […]

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