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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...
Album Reviews
Monday, Nov. 17, 2008

Peaceblaster (1320 Records)

California's Sound Tribe Sector 9 claims that instrumental music can reflect the tension of the times. In fact, the five-man collective considers its dense Eno-esque swirl of pulsing live and electronic sounds a means of "conversation" between band and listener. And Peaceblaster, STS9's fourth studio album, finds band members in a dark mood that's occasionally tempered by shimmering rays of light. Their genre-shattering...
Album Reviews
Monday, Nov. 10, 2008


The Reckoning (OarFin)

Old-school metalheads Dave Ellefson and Jimmy DeGrasso-who both did time in Megadeth's rhythm section-try to snag a new generation of fans with The Reckoning, F5's second album. This aggressive five-man band blurs Megadeth, Symphony X and Disturbed with a dark, dense and raw arsenal that includes twin guitars, thudding bass and drums, and gritty, urgent vocals. But the bludgeoning...
Album Reviews
Monday, Nov. 3, 2008

Music for Pictures (7d Media)

Alternately exhilarating and frustrating, Music for Pictures collects 29 pieces culled and tweaked from multi-instrumentalist Trey Gunn's film and television work. The King Crimson alum-renowned for his use of the 10-string Warr Guitar, a tapped instrument with a wide range-recruited a lineup of heavy-duty drummers to record these works between 2003 and 2008. The result is Brian Eno-like...
Album Reviews
Monday, Oct. 20, 2008

Nobody Left to Crown (Verve)

Almost 40 years after he opened Woodstock with a mesmerizing three-hour performance, becoming the voice of a generation with an improvised tune that evolved into "Freedom," folk-rocker Richie Havens remains relevant. On Nobody Left to Crown, the 67-year-old singer's still-distinct, soulful voice introduces listeners to memorable and politically charged songs such as "The Key" and "(Can't You Hear) Zeus's Anger Roar," as well as smartly chosen covers...
Album Reviews
Friday, Oct. 10, 2008

When In Rome 2007 (Atlantic/Rhino)

  Genesis skipped Wisconsin during last year's reunion tour, but the three-DVD box set When In Rome 2007 spectacularly captures what we missed. Although original frontman Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett passed on this tour, the incarnation of Genesis captured at a free open-air performance in front of 500,000 fans at Rome's historic Circo Massimo still boasted the longtime trio of vocalist/drummer Phil Collins, bassist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist...

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