Joris Voorn – Global Underground #43: Rotterdam (The Exclusive Originals)

Album cover for Joris Vroon "Global Underground 43 The Exclusive Originals"

When I heard that Joris Voorn mixed a new Global Underground set, I immediately hunted it down. As soon as that first melody opened up, I prepared for an epic release of beats. Other than a bass drone, nothing came. Track two began, and again, no release. While there is a ton of innovation within electronic dance music, the genre… Read more »

Bonobo – Late Night Tales

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Album cover for "Late Night Tales: Bonobo"

I’m constantly humbled by how little I know about music. Bob recently offered me a humbling moment when he introduced me to Late Night Tales, a 20-year-old compilation series that I missed for the past 20 years. As I sit in the wee small hours of Sunday morning, recovering from a marathon workday and recuperating so I can do it… Read more »

Kölsch – 1977

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Album cover for Kölsch "1977"

1977 is big and easy. The opening track “Goldfisch” accurately sets the stage. The beats are generic, the melodies simplistic, the compositions predictable. This is the kind of electronic dance music that inevitably finds its way into festivals and blockbuster movies. If that’s your thing, I think you’ll like this record. Personally, I struggled to get through “Goldfisch” and the… Read more »

Akufen – Fabric 17

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Album cover for Akufen "Fabric 17"

I love experiencing how different DJs navigate the peaks and valleys that are essential to great mixes. The 2004 Fabric set from Akufen (nee Marc Leclair) demonstrates how one creative song choice can shape an entire set. The first few tracks establish a glitchy mood, and the equipment complaints and Joe Walsh references of “Little Tiny 1/8 Inch Jack” cement… Read more »

Everything but the Girl – Walking Wounded, New York City, 1996

Album cover for Everything but the Girl "Walking Wounded"

When I hear music that confuses me, I commit to listening to it. Electronic dance music was the exception, though. Dance music confused the hell out of me, but I fought it. I fought it hard. For years, I refused to dig in and try to understand it. I ranted about turntables not being instruments and DJs not being musicians…. Read more »

Townes Van Zandt – Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas

One of the worst things that can happen at a show is for the songs on the stage to reproduce the songs from the studio, yet live records fall into this trap more often than not. Crowd noise is cleaned up and artificially returned between songs. Rather than reproducing the best show, tracks are culled from multiple shows. Part of… Read more »

Natalie Bergman – Mercy

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Someone once told me, “If you’re not troubled by anything in the Bible, you’re not paying attention.” There’s a lot of truth to that and I think that is something that a lot of overtly religious music misses. The sugary sweetness of “praise” music leads to what I see as the very odd, but convenient conclusion that a faith-based life… Read more »

Iron Maiden – “The Writing on the Wall”

What? Were they listening to a lot of Bon Jovi during quarantine?  Before the vocals cut in, I was expecting, “I’m a cowboy/On a steel horse I ride/I’m wanted dead or alive …”  I know that’s unfair, because it does have some weird gypsy/folky stuff going on, but my first reaction was “Wanted Dead or Alive,” only a little heavier… Read more »

Nils Lofgren – Night After Night

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Nils Lofgren’s earlier band Grin had some teeth, but for the most part, I find his solo records to be lacking any of that. They’re not bad so much as they are just lacking in anything ecstatic. That makes Night After Night a bit of a surprise. Steven Kurutz at allmusic.com calls the record “not an inspired effort,” but to… Read more »