Archive for the Reviews Category

Top Music Releases of 2012

Posted in music, Records, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on January 27, 2013 by blogstoryshort

Here are my top releases for the year 2012, listed in no particular order or ranking but separated between new albums and compilations/reissues.  Enjoy

A Place To Bury StrangersWorship 

They do no wrong and you should listen to every release.

Matthew E WhiteBig Inner

Take bits of James Taylor and Cat Stevens, throw in some great r&b and you have brother White.

Ondatropica S/T

A tropical exploration brought to us by Will Holland, aka Quantic, that has bits of hip-hop mixed in and a Black Sabbath cover.

Nenah CherryThe Thing 

She should win a Grammy for this wonderful album, a mixture of jazz, lounge and pop that is superb.

Oreo JonesBetty

The best hip-hop to come out of Indianapolis, period!  Seriously, do yourself a favor and jump on the train now.

Exit MusicPassage 

Lush vocals, haunting music and a connection with Boardwalk Empire?  Yes, it’s all there in the record.


Great guitar rock album that drops vocals in at just the right time.

Melody’s Echo ChamberS/T

Produced by a member of Tame Impala, adding in glorious reverb drenched vocals into a sonic landscape of sunny bliss.

Tame ImpalaLonerism 

I worship the ground these guys walk on.

TerranovaHotel Amore

After years of pumping out great releases, this was the biggest surprise I had this year.  A symbolic electronica album with just enough dance undertones.

The Orb & Lee Scratch PerryThe Observer in the star house  

Ok, two landmarks in the electronic/dub/ambient world got together, smoked A LOT of ganga and pumped out a CLASSIC!

The Hundred In The HandsRed Night

This is how I like my “EDM” if you want to label it that way.  Blissful beats, layers of synths, warm textures, simmering drums, punch bass, yup.

The Right NowGets Over You

Modern Chicago Soul, R&B that hits it right every.single.time.

T-Bird & The Breaks Dancehall Freakin EP 

The masters of a Texas thing that I still can’t put my finger on.  A superb mix of soul, hip-hop and honky-tonk boozed swagger.

The Gossip A Joyful Noise

They do it again.  Just buy it already


An afro-psych voodoo magic laced album with fuzzy guitars and just enough hook to keep you around for hours.  An absolute MONSTER of an album that has me thinking of a new religion.


LegoweltParanormal Soul 

For anyone who loves electronic music this should be an album to pick up indeed.  Utilizing a great concept with a depth of layers, this album enters through your ears to massage your frontal lobes into repeatedly listening experiences.  Sound like too much?  Have another listen then.

V/A – Personal Space Electronic Soul 1974 – 1984 (Chocolate Industries)

This is why you have to look deeper than the radio/blogs/internet these days.  These tracks were pushing boundaries and bending genres in their day and still sound as fresh in 2012.

V/A – Twin Cities Funk & Soul (Secret Stash)

Who knew that it could go this deep and funky in MN?  Secret Stash, that’s who.  For all you who like REAL Saturday night style Funk & Soul, gritty, punchy and just enough sass to make yo mama want to slap you for not making it to church on Sunday.

DJ Food, Moneyshot & ChebaRemaking Paul’s Boutique mixtape

The Dust Brothers changed the game, LITERALLY, when they produced this album.  As genius as it still is today, DJ Food & Crew give a wonderful new twist to this classic.

V/A – Eccentric Soul Omnibus 45″ boxset (Numero Group)


Mickey MurrayPeople Are Together (Secret Stash)

James Brown’s protege (seriously) that was never released because King Records was sold and the album was shelved.  Thanks Secret Stash, yet again!

InterpolTurn on the Bright Lights 10th Anniversary (Matador)

They never made a better album, solo or otherwise.

V/A – Man Chest Hair (BMusic/Finders Keepers)

This is the ultimate rock compilation of the last decade.  I’m a Manchester junkie, so I’m biased but this, this album is so f*@king good!  Garage, punk, rock, greasy r&b, early heavy metal, it’s got all the substance you need.  Just add beer for THE party rocker!


When the Funk Hits the Fan

Posted in music, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by blogstoryshort

The deep funk outfit known as The Budos Band recently played at The Bluebird Theater in Bloomington.  The band is touring in support of their upcoming album, Budos Band III, off Daptone Records. Daptone is home to Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Menahan Street Band, (their song, “Make the Road by Walking” was sampled by Jay-Z for the song “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)” on the American Gangster album) and a host of other funk, soul and gospel outfits.  The label continuously puts out authentic, original music projects that extend the landscape of funk and soul that was established some 50+ years ago.    Menahan is just one band that lends some of its members to Budos, Antibalas, The Dap Kings, El Michels Affair and Lee Fields & The Expressions also help complete the impressive outfit.

Budos Band, Bluebird Theater, Bloomington, Indiana, Daptone Records, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, Antibalas, El Michels Affair, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Jaz-Z, American Gangster, Menahan Street Band, jazz, funk, soul, gospel, Budos Band III

Budos Band at The Bluebird

Daniel Foder is a bass player that is second to none on this planet, laying down a heavy funk, sometimes psych-rock like groove as the platform for the rest of the band.  (Just look at the way he plays his bass in the picture below.)  Drummer Brian Profolio and guitarist, Tom Brenneck continuously joined in to create the perfect pocket.  The horn section, Jared Tankel on baritone sax and Andrew Greene on trumpet, continuously blazed fiery latin fused blasts, hooks and solos so hot, the front rows had to take a few steps back.  Keyboardist Mike Deller and a trio of percussionists, Dame Rodreiguez, Cochemea Gastellum and Rob Lombardo helped to create the polyrhythms and organ layers to complete the sound.

Budos Band, Bluebird Theater, Bloomington, Indiana, Daptone Records, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, Antibalas, El Michels Affair, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Jaz-Z, American Gangster, Menahan Street Band, jazz, funk, soul, gospel, Budos Band III

Daniel Foder

From the first note to the last, everyone could tell that this was not going to be any ordinary show.  Yes, the band is all instrumental and no, the lack of vocals do not harbor any threat of boredom.  Th intensity of such numbers like “Ride or Die”, “King Cobra” their new single,“Unbroken, Unshaven”, are proving that The Budos Band tour de force of funk goodness!  I suggest you check their album that is due out on August 10th, it will be one for the ages.

Thievery Corporation in Chicago (2009)

Posted in music, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2010 by blogstoryshort

Friday, February 20 at The Aragon Ballroom, Thievery Corporation, touring behind their latest album, Radio Retaliation, offered a mix of dub, Indian, acid-jazz and bossa nova with a full retinue of backup help. Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, the core of the group, were accompanied by a two-piece horn section, sitar/guitarist, conga player, tabla/percussionist, bassist, three MCs (Archie, Arthur Steele and Jamaica’s Sleepy Wonder) and four vocalists (Guyana’s Pat Wharton, Iran’s Loulou Ghelichkhani, Brazil’s Karina Zeviani and Argentina’s Natalia Clavier.

Garza and Hilton opened the show by themselves, performing “Sound The Alarm” before towering video screens showing only a pair of piercing eyes. The remaining members of the band joined the duo for the instrumental jam “The Forgotten People.”

“Lebanese Blonde”, a song featured on the Garden State soundtrack that was the group’s first hit, featured Wharton on vocals, but it was Ghelichkhani who had the most mic time. Before nearly every one of her number, she coaxed the crowd to have another drink, even when we were well past our cut-off point.

Clavier, a seductive creature with a velveteen voice and long legs, emerged on stage wearing a green top, scarf and leggings, white tutu and sunglasses. As lights pulsated and the band grooved into high gear, she shouted ‘Let’s go to Brazil,’ ordered up a round of caipirinha (the national drink of Brazil) for the crowd and launched into “All That We Perceive.” Later she teamed up with Zeviani for “El Pueblo Unido,” a sexy, hip-shaker that got my two left feet moving.

Sleepy Wonder, Archie and Steele, clad in a satirical combination of army fatigues and Rastafarian safari-wear, presented the perfect caffeinated punch to politically-charged Thievery songs like “Americmaika,” “Numbers Game” and “State of the Union.” “Liberation Front” was given a unique twist: each MC chanted various pop culture references like ‘Turn this mother out!’ and ‘Release that pressure!”

It always comes down to the music for me, but it doesn’t hurt when a group can put on a production that’s both visually intoxicating and cerebrally satisfying.

photo by Kate Franzman

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