Led Zeppelin (Album)

IN EARLY 1971, when Led Zeppelin returned to Headley Grange — a run-down mansion in Hampshire where some of 1970’s Led Zeppelin III had been taped — they took along The Rolling Stones’ mobile studio to record the whole process. “We needed the sort of facilities where we could have …

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Who’s Next – The Who

WHO’S NEXT IS widely regarded as the finest studio LP The Who ever recorded and one of the best rock records ever. Certainly, it’s far and away their most consistent in terms of quality songs — there isn’t a duffer among them — and it introduces an important new element, …

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Derek And The Dominos – Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs

IN MARCH 1970, after sessions for the guitarist’s self-titled debut solo album were completed, Eric Clapton returned home to plan the album that is now widely regarded as the nest work of his career. He had greatly enjoyed working on record and on tour with the American musicians surrounding Delaney …

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Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water

Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel were an odd couple, mismatched physically and emotionally, but their voices could produce the most gorgeous synthesis. Garfunkel was tall and gangling, with a shock of receding curly blond hair that seemed impervious to the attentions of a comb, and a personality that seemed both …

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience | Electric Ladyland

FOR PURE EXPERIMENTAL genius, melodic flair, conceptual vision and instrumental brilliance, The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Electric Ladyland is a prime contender for the status of rock’s greatest album. During its 75-minute passage, it flirts with electronic composition, soft-soul, Delta blues, psychedelic rock, modern jazz and proto-funk, without ever threatening to …

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Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band | The Beatles

“THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE on Sgt. Pepper was Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys,” said Paul McCartney in 1980. “That album just flipped me. When I heard it, I thought, ‘Oh dear, this is the album of all time. What the hell are we going to do?’ My ideas took off …

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Blonde On Blonde by Bob Dylan

WITH BACKING GROUP The Band on board, Bob Dylan set off to terrorize the civilized world. Established as a bonafide pop star, Dylan played nearly 50 shows between May and July 1966, but diehard Dylan fans still couldn’t take the idea of their idol fronting a pop group; it seemed …

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‘Pet Sounds’: The Beach Boys’ Masterpiece

HAVING BOUGHT TIME (and handed Capitol a purely incidental hit album) with The Beach Boys’ Party! , Brian Wilson now turned his full attention to his new project. Inspired by The Beatles’ Rubber Soul LP (released in December 1965), which he considered to be “full of all good stuff, no …

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Donna Summer Love to Love You Baby Album Review

Disco was about the singles, not the albums. That’s nowhere more true than with Love to Love You Baby, Donna Summer’s second full-length, which is all about the dance remix title track. Originally released in a 3-minute version, Italian producer Giorgio Moroder and his English collaborator Pete Bellotte padded the …

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RUN-D.M.C. Album Review

Hip-hop has a tradition of sonic expansion and excess; Public Enemy, De La Soul, Dr. Dre, Wu-Tang Klan, Tricky, Madvillain, and more build sonic collages in which samples and bass and beats stretch and pull and rumble to fill every layer of ear space. Back at the dawn of the …

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Bebo & Cigala Lágrimas Negras Album Review

Contemporary singer-songwriter Mobley’s ongoing song cycle Fresh Lies is composed of conflicted love songs to a racist United States which refuses to love its Black citizens back. The album Lágrimas Negras (Black Tears) doesn’t embrace explicit double meanings in the same way, but it draws on some of the same …

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Thelonious Monk Genius of Modern Music Volumes 1 and 2 Album Reviews

Much vaunting avant-ing is meant for harm to serious ears, but Thelonious Monk made happy klonky anti-hooks that klonked and hooked you happy. His catalogue has many highlights twisting about in its twisty heads, from Brilliant Corners and Monk’s Music with Coltrane from the 50s to Monk’s Dream with his …

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Neil Diamond Classics: The Early Years Album Sales

I recently joined a Facebook group called Abnormal Music. About 75% of the posts are dedicated to sharing music out of the mainstream—industrial, noise, metal, hardcore punk, the Shaggs, Frank Zappa, Stravinsky, Xenakis, and other dark droning atonal dissonant screech or clang. And then the other 25% of posts are …

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Juana Molina Un Díai Album Review

The designation “experimental music” promises the new and unexpected. But the truth is that experimental music has its own tropes and ruts, just like any other genre. Drones, static, noise, feedback, tunelessness, rapid genre shifts, and minimalist repetition—are they adventurous, or are they just a sign signifying adventurousness? The avant …

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Nozinja Nozinja Lodge Album Review

It’s not easy to sound easy at 190 bpm, but Nozinja (born Richard Mthetwa) makes it sound…well, easy. A Soweto local phone repair shop owner turned producer and impresario, Nozinja began his musical career in the 2000s, making records and comps. He just about single-handedly created the genre of Shangaan …

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Vampyros Lesbos Album Review

Vampires are a metaphor for queer, parasitic, unnatural sexual practices. Sure enough, this soundtrack to assorted early 70s lesbian vampire sexploitation garbage films by Spanish director Jess Franco thrusts its filthy fangs into sweet young genres, sucking out all the soul and leaving behind only a parody of life jerked …

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Sirens of Song: Classic Torch Singers Album Review

In some versions of the history of popular song, music-stage styles gave way to jazz and blues which in turn gave way to rock and roll. But Rhinos compilation Sirens of Song: Classic Torch Singers insists that the heart’s history can’t be so easily set down in books. The album’s …

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Jackie McLean New and Old Gospel Album Review

Before he became one of the most celebrated jazz performers of all time, Ornette Coleman was, supposedly, fired from an R&B band for playing the wrong notes. It’s possible that Coleman was deliberately playing off-key or out-of-tune—that he was just too harmonically adventurous to be tied down by some bandleader’s …

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Wanda Jackson There’s a Party Goin’ On Album Review

More than any other American musical genre, rockabilly is associated with one performer. Elvis’ hiccupping combination of hepped up jump blues and hillbilly boogie wasn’t quite the unprecedented innovation that legend has made it. But Elvis himself, thanks to a combination of sexual magnetism, hip-shaking, whiteness, and sheer luck, soared …

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Cassie RockaByeBaby Album Review

Cassie’s 2005 self-titled debut was the quintessence of producer-driven pop. The first word of the first song, the massive hit “Me & U,” is Cassie provocatively wrapping her little girl voice around the name of her label, NextSelection Throughout that release, Cassie’s thin, processed voice is just another effect in …

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