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Album Reviews
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On My Way Back Home (RockIt)

You can hear the heartland in singer-songwriter Dustin Lee's clear, deep and comforting voice. The veteran of several bands in Iowa and Illinois, Lee moved to Milwaukee about two years ago and recently teamed up with other area musicians (including guitarist Peter Mulvey and keyboardist Rick Forkes) to record On My Way Back Home...
Album Reviews
Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mercury Said 65

No stranger to Wisconsin's club scene, the veteran Minnesota trio Dazy Head Mazy continues to make rootsy, feel-good heartland rock on its fourth CD, Mercury Said 65-a smooth and instantly familiar collection of 12 nostalgic, cynical and catchy songs. Bigger groups such as Hootie & the Blowfish, Sister Hazel and even R.E.M. and Dave Matthews Band have trod these smooth trails for years, but that's no reason to overlook...
Album Reviews
Friday, April 3, 2009

Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams (Collector’s Edition) (Rhino)

Vindication for years of internal ups and downs and music-industry apathy comes in the form of this lavish and richly deserved Collector's Edition of the BoDeans' sturdy debut album, Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams. Produced by T-Bone Burnett and released in 1986, when new artists were putting crisp pop spins on old rockabilly sounds, the album contained 11 simple, catchy...
Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Review

Precious little quality rock 'n' roll has been made since 1976. That's the premise of cranky British writer Dave Thompson's I Hate New Music. Subtitled "The Classic Rock Manifesto," this biting 225-page diatribe argues that Foghat trumps Foo Fighters, Blue Öyster Cult outshines The White Stripes and Steve Miller kicks Dave Matthews' ass. Even though he recognizes the excess of the live double...
Album Reviews
Sunday, March 15, 2009

Step in 2 My World (ProgRock Records)

Seven Steps to the Green Door blurs pop, jazz, rap and progressive rock, never stylistically standing still long enough for listeners' attention to lapse. The German collective featuring four musicians and a trio of male and female vocalists previously won two prestigious German Rock and Pop Awards in the progressive and experimental...
Album Reviews
Monday, March 9, 2009

Dollars to Doinas (Giant Clam Records)

A doughnut with pink frosting and colorful sprinkles on top graces the cover of Dollars for Doinas, the fourth CD from Madison's internationally renowned klezmer band Yid Vicious. It's a fun, deliciously appropriate image for a group that's helped keep Yiddish folk songs alive for almost 15 years...
Album Reviews
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009

Who’s the Boss in the Factory (InsideOut Music)

What began as one of numerous side projects for members of The Flower Kings, Sweden's purveyors of traditional progressive rock, has evolved into a respectable five-man entity. Karmakanic, helmed by Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold along with a handful of distinguished guests, is rooted in classic prog with twists of...
Album Reviews
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009

Anthem for the Broken Hearted (MRI)

They've sold 15 million records in their native Indonesia, and now the five members of Slank-a rough translation of "come as you are"-invade America with their first English-language album, Anthem for the Broken Hearted. Far from a reference to the lovelorn, the title refers to the inhabitants of a homeland riddled with strife and corruption...
Album Reviews
Monday, Jan. 19, 2009

Say You Will (CMG Entertainment/Wefunk)

San Francisco-based Americana-rocker Stefanie Keys may have nabbed a record deal with her gutsy, carefree version of Janis Joplin's "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," but her own songs on the debut CD Say You Will-including the acoustic, catchy and organ-driven I-found-my-man affirmation of "Whiskey Bottles," the slick blues rock...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008

Budokan! (Epic/Legacy)

There should be little argument that Cheap Trick's 1979 live album, At Budokan, ranks among rock's seminal live recordings, paving the way for practically every band that dared call itself "power pop." No wonder Epic Records has reissued numerous versions of that April 1978 concert at Tokyo's Nippon Budokan arena over the years. But none comes close to Budokan!, the Godzilla of reissues, featuring three CDs and one DVD that mark the original...