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Album Reviews
Monday, Aug. 1, 2011

Legalize It/Equal Rights-Legacy Editions (Columbia/Legacy)

With the battle to legalize marijuana still raging, reissues of Peter Tosh's first two solo albums—cornerstones of the roots-rock-reggae movement—serve as a reminder of the former Wailer's pro-pot efforts. After all, the cover of...
Album Reviews
Monday, July 18, 2011

Indigo Dreams (He & He Records/Oarfin Records)

The BoDeans, which released its debut album 25 years ago as a four-piece out of Waukesha, is now a duo. Guitarist/vocalist Sam Llanas and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kurt Neumann, always the band's heart and soul, co-wrote all 13 songs on Indigo Dreams. Former members and live players Michael Ramos (keyboards), Bukka Allen (accordion)...
Album Reviews
Monday, July 11, 2011

Future Past (Reingold Records/ProgRock Records)

Fans of progressive rock that emphasizes “rock” over “prog” will find plenty to enjoy on Future Past, the debut from Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion. Fröberg is the guitarist and sometimes-vocalist for the Swedish symphonic prog band The Flower Kings, and the similarities between his new outfit and his main...
Album Reviews
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

III (Crimsonic)

Yeti Rain—a dark, ambient collaboration between former Racine resident William Kopecky on bass and Chicago's saxophone/wind synth master Roger Ebner—expands to a trio for the aptly titled III. Craig Walkner, another former Wisconsinite, adds exceptional dimension to Yeti Rain's disturbing wall of sound...
Album Reviews
Monday, June 13, 2011

Grappling Hooks (Kscope/Snapper Music)

At first, you refuse to believe the lush soundscapes created by Scotland's North Atlantic Oscillation are the work of only two musicians. “This sounds more like five or six,” you proclaim incredulously. But the band's U.S. debut, Grappling Hooks—a sonic treat that melds classic rock with digital sequencing and laptop...
Album Reviews
Monday, April 25, 2011

If God Is a Drug (Hikikomori Records)

Pure evil. There really is no other way to describe the dark, experimental music of Haiku Funeral, a demonic duo featuring former Racine bassist William Kopecky. If God Is a Drug, the second full-length album in Kopecky's alliance with Bulgarian...
Album Reviews
Sunday, April 17, 2011

Smash Record (Waterdog Records)

When Chicago hipster Ralph Covert's family-music project Ralph's World took off (10 albums, Disney deals and a Grammy nomination), his days of recording with his fun power-pop band, The Bad Examples, seemed over...
Album Reviews
Monday, March 14, 2011

Distance and Fortune (Dreamcar Records)

Looking at the cover of Texas-based singer-songwriter Jonny Burke's debut CD, Distance and Fortune, it's easy to mistake this for a reissue of a long-lost country-rock album from the 1970s. There's a satisfied-looking Burke—gazing off into the distance, wearing bell-bottom jeans and a too-small T-shirt—frozen in a...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Alpine Valley 2010 (JEMP Records)

If you're tired of the cold, this warm and fuzzy two-DVD/two-CD box of Phish captured at Alpine Valley last summer will make you forget about winter. There are few crowd shots—don't look for yourself on camera if you were there—but watching this, it's easy enough to position yourself in the front row...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (Cruz del Sur)

Don't call the five members of Germany's oddly named Atlantean Kodex underachievers. The Golden Bough, the band's ambitious debut CD, takes inspiration from the late Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer's scholarly work of the same name, which explored the notion that organized religion...