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Album Reviews
Monday, May 31, 2010

Snap Your Fingers & Stomp Your Feet (Slightly Charred Records)

Madison-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Sean Michael Dargan takes his time releasing albums, but they tend to be worth the wait. His crisp Snap Your Fingers & Stomp Your Feet arrives five years after The Big Picture (which, incidentally, came eight years after his eponymous second album). More raucous than...
Album Reviews
Monday, May 10, 2010

Another Dawn (Magna Carta Records)

The 12th studio album from Celtic rockers Tempest opens with the multinational band’s first-ever single: a “Celtodelic” cover of the Grass Roots’ 1967 hit “Let’s Live for Today.” The upbeat reworking sets the tone for Another Dawn, an album notable for its positive vibes...
Books
Monday, April 12, 2010

(Omnibus Press), by Brian Southall

As the original home of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Radiohead, Britain’s EMI Records boasts a rich musical history. But away from the recording studio, the label has been a mess for at least the past two decades...
Album Reviews
Monday, April 12, 2010

Falling Through Rainbows (Unicorn Digital)

A man out of time, Canada’s Rick Miller has composed, produced, performed and recorded since the early ’80s. But his fourth solo CD, Falling Through Rainbows, confirms that his real musical influences come from the ’70s. Featuring a fuzzy unicorn on its cover (which looks a tad too much like My Little Pony), this album takes plenty of inspiration...
Album Reviews
Monday, April 5, 2010

Love Is Gone (Roadrunner Records)

Delivering on its title, Dommin’s Love Is Gone plays like a soundtrack for brokenhearted goths. Consider the leadoff track, in which fragile lead vocalist, guitarist and band namesake Kristofer Dommin sings, “My heart in your hands/Closing your grip/I’m so afraid that you’ll leave me cold” over a doomy claustrophobic...
Album Reviews
Monday, March 29, 2010

Zenith (ProgRock Records)

Progressive metal’s pretentious reputation won’t be spared with Zenith, the third album from AtmOsfear. Indeed, the 71-minute disc contains only six songs, including the four-part finale “Spiral of Pain,” which clocks in at almost half an hour. But the German quintet—not to be confused with the U.K.-based jazz/funk...
Album Reviews
Monday, March 22, 2010

Rise

High-school buddies Ray Luokka and Brian Noonan had all but given up on becoming rock stars. But years later, in little ol’ Jackson, Wis., the guitarist and drummer found a vocalist with wide range and a serious bassist, and decided to give it one more shot. Wise move. Rise is a progressive-metal...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010

Visionary (The Laser’s Edge)

Eloy should be a familiar name to progressive-rock fans of a certain age. And now, thanks to the outstanding reunion album Visionary—the German band’s first studio record since 1998 and released to coincide with Eloy’s 40th anniversary—a whole new generation of listeners can hear what all the fuss was...
Album Reviews
Monday, Feb. 8, 2010

Natural Selection (Daystorm Music)

Gary Tanin’s name might not ring a bell with all local rock fans. But as a veteran producer, he’s worked with some of the city’s finest and best-known musicians—including the BoDeans’ Sam Llanas, the Violent Femmes’ Victor DeLorenzo and Genesis’ Daryl Stuermer. Natural Selection gathers 18 songs from...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Odd (KW Enterprises)

On his latest studio album, Odd, veteran one-man band Keller Williams sounds perpetually stoned—just the way his fans like him. Williams receives minimal accompaniment on these dozen tracks, and he keeps the arrangements sparse enough that he’ll be able to handle them just fine at his whimsical solo gigs...