Search Results for: "Graded on a Curve"

Graded on a Curve:
Blue Öyster Cult,
Agents of Fortune

Remembering Allen Lanier in advance of his birthdate tomorrow. —Ed. When it comes to 1970s faux evil rock bands that didn’t have a bone of true evil in their bodies, Blue Öyster Cult comes in right behind Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath. BÖC flirted shamelessly, tongues planted firmly in cheek, with the iconography of the […]

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Graded on a Curve: Fleetwood Mac,
Kiln House

Celebrating Mick Fleetwood on his 75th birthday. —Ed. Between their start as a standard English blues band and their apotheosis as perhaps the seventies best pop group, Fleetwood Mac wandered from style to style and sideman to sideman, and in so doing put out some very intriguing albums. 1970’s Kiln House is a fine example. […]

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Graded on a Curve:
The Grateful Dead, American Beauty

Remembering Robert Hunter, born on this day in 1941. —Ed. How many Deadheads does it take to change a light bulb? Six hundred and one. One to score the acid, and the other six hundred to stare slackjawed at the dead bulb and say, “Looks lit to me, man.” I know, it’s a shitty joke, […]

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Graded on a Curve: Horace Andy,
Midnight Rocker

With a career spanning back to the late 1960s and a creative breakthrough early in the decade following, vocalist and songwriter Horace Andy is one of reggae’s most respected figures, with his artistry persevering into the current moment largely in connection with UK trip hoppers Massive Attack. Well, Andy has a fresh album in the […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Todd Rundgren, Something/Anything?

Celebrating Todd Rundgren, born on this day in 1948. —Ed. The words “studio genius” get flung about willy-nilly, but Todd Rundgren, the guy who gave us “Hello, It’s Me,” is the real thing. Oh, I know, his prog explorations with Utopia are largely unlistenable, but I would ask you to look at Exhibit A, the […]

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Graded on a Curve:
The Rolling Stones,
Live at The El Mocambo & Licked Live in NYC

This is part four of our summer live concert album series. —Ed. The Rolling Stones are arguably the greatest live musical act in rock ‘n’ roll history. While the group only released three live albums during its 1960s and 1970s heyday and one of them wasn’t even a truly live album, as the years have […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Noori & his Dorpa Band, Beja Power!

With the release of Beja Power! Electric Soul & Brass from Sudan’s Red Sea Coast, the track record of Vik Sohonie’s Ostinato Records remains unimpeachable, at 14 releases quite the impressive feat. This latest set, available June 24 on 180gm black vinyl and digital, features six highly pleasurable selections by Noori & his Dorpa Band, […]

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Graded on a Curve:
The Kinks,
Muswell Hillbillies

Celebrating Ray Davies on his 78th birthday. —Ed. Ah, the Kinks. Of all the great bands to come out of England in the 1960s, they were by far the most English. Their music hall inclinations and deadpan irony simply didn’t translate, and until they reconstituted themselves as a hard-rocking touring band in the 1970s their […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Roxy Music,
Stranded, Country Life, Siren, Manifesto

Virgin/UMe’s reissue program covering all eight studio albums by Roxy Music is well underway. We covered the initial installments here, and below are hindsight considerations of Stranded (1973), Country Life (1974), Siren (1975), and Manifesto (1979), all out now. And hey, Flesh and Blood (1980) and Avalon (1982) are scheduled to arrive July 1 (separate […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Van Halen, Van Halen

Celebrating Michael Anthony, born on this day in 1954. —Ed. So I was listening to the masterful and spiritually uplifting guitar artistry of John McLaughlin and thought, “You know what? I’d rather listen to Van Halen.” That’s the kind of spiritually evolved being I am. There is the cosmos, with its songs of devotion and […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Patti Smith Group,
Radio Ethiopia

I’ve always disliked Patti Smith. No, make that strongly disliked. Why? Because she’s pompous, pretentious, an anti-feminist, and has been quoted as saying things I consider racist. Oh, and she’s a shitty poet. And on the cover of 1979’s Wave she appears to think she’s Stevie Nicks. But mostly I dislike her because her ego […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Barry Manilow,
Greatest Hits

Celebrating Barry Manilow on his 79th birthday. —Ed. Back in the mid- to late seventies, when America was flying high thanks to the exalted stewardship of such Churchillian figures as Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, one all-around entertainer bestrode the Pop World like a colossus. Men wanted him. Women wanted to be him. He floated […]

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Graded on a Curve:
Helen Reddy,
“Angie Baby”

Ask your average reputable citizen who Helen Reddy was and they’ll say the woman who gave us the inspirational (and defiant) feminist anthem “I Am Woman.” But Reddy had depth, and alongside such goo as “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” (from the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar) and “You and Me Against […]

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Graded on a Curve:
New Releases from
ESP-Disk

June 17 is new release day for ESP-Disk, the New York City-based label that has, with a few stops and starts, been specializing in free jazz, fringe folk, and twisted psychedelia since 1963. To get specific, the recordings are World Construct by the Matthew Shipp Trio (CD), Love in the Form of Sacred Outrage by […]

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Graded on a Curve: Harry Nilsson,
Nilsson Sings Newman

Remembering Harry Nilsson, born on this day in 1941. —Ed. In the first month of 1970, RCA Records released Nilsson Sings Newman, a collaborative album between one of the period’s strongest and most unique pop vocalists and a truly gifted if somewhat obscure songwriter known primarily for providing other artists with prime material. A theoretical […]

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