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Georgia Film News 04/15/14 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Clark   
ImageVacation – the reboot of the National Lampoon film series starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate (pictured), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Skyler Gisondo (Psych, The Amazing Spider-Man), Steele Stebbins (A Haunted House 2), Elizabeth Gillies (Victorious), Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo – begins filming in Atlanta this week. On Tuesday they’re scheduled to shoot at the Olympic Flame diner on Marietta Boulevard, a restaurant that was also used for a scene in Anchorman 2.

Troubled Medient Studios, which announced plans to build a studio complex just outside Savannah a year ago, is changing its name to Moon River Studios after downsizing its plans; the company is also trying to revise the terms of the incentive deal it was given by the state to bring its business here. So far, nothing’s been completed on the 1,500-acre property off Interstate 16 in Effingham County, but the company’s new CEO Jake Shapiro says that will change soon, with at least an office building open by early 2015. Shapiro took over for former CEO Manu Kumaran, who was fired by the company’s board of directors in June. Medient/Moon River also announced a 1-for-1,000 reverse stock split in an effort to jumpstart its public trading fortunes; the company’s stock is currently trading for less than a penny per share after hitting a high of 62 cents per share last September. The company’s latest earnings report stated a net loss of over $14 million for the quarter ending June 30th. In the midst of all this, production on Chad Darnell’s horror film R.I.P., which Medient had planned to film in Savannah this fall, has been pushed to January.

Filmed in Atlanta in early 2013, the Errol Flynn biopic The Last of Robin Hood starring Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning and Susan Sarandon, is currently playing at the Lefont Sandy Springs theater.

The fifth season of Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse premieres on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on Sept. 17th at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Radio Hour Playlist 09/14/14 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Clark   
Kate Bush - "Moving"
Kate Bush - "Hounds of Love"
Kate Bush - "Them Heavy People (Christmas Special, 1979)"
Kate Bush - "Somewhere in Between"
Kate Bush - "Army Dreamers"
Kate Bush - "Babooshka"
Kate Bush - "And Dream of Sheep"
Kate Bush - "Waking the Witch"
Kate Bush - "Watching You Without Me"
Kate Bush - "The Morning Fog"
Kate Bush w/ Peter Gabriel - "Another Day (Christmas Special, 1979)"
Kate Bush - "The Big Sky"

Kate Bush - "Cloudbusting (extended mix)"
Kate Bush - "The Sensual World"
Kate Bush - "Wow (live at Hammersmith Odeon, 1979)"
Kate Bush - "This Woman's Work"
Kate Bush - "Suspended in Gaffa"
Kate Bush - "Sat in Your Lap"
Kate Bush - "December Will Be Magic Again (Christmas Special, 1979)"
Kate Bush - "50 Words for Snow"
Kate Bush - "Among Angels"
Kate Bush - "The Man With the Child in His Eyes (Christmas Special, 1979)"

The Stomp and Stammer Radio Hour
Sundays 3-5pm Eastern
WMLB, 1690 AM Atlanta

Thanks for listening!
Lucinda Williams - Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fred Mills   
ImageLucinda Williams
Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone
[Highway 20]

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Lucinda Williams has gone and made herself a double album. It’s technically not her first one, but in an artistic sense, it is. Back in 2005 she released a double concert album, Live @ The Fillmore, a bloated affair so ‘luded out and meandering you were left begging for a drum solo. Subsequent studio recs, including the sorta-strong West and the blissfully tepid Blessed, didn’t do her – or us – any favors, leaving a soured yours truly to complain that the gal was in dire need of some kind of objective editor (read: producer; manager; bandleader; etc.) willing to stand up to an icon and say, “Eh, Luce, maybe you need a new strategy…”

She found one. Or maybe an old one.

This is the kind of collection that, once upon a time in the seventies, gave double-platter sets their legendary lustre. It’s an unapologetic throwback to vintage country/funk swamp-pop while still conjuring the contradictory elements that made us fall in love with Williams in the first place: saucy-yet-sensitive vocals, abetted by rutting-in-the-dirt twang and leavened-by-angels jangle; plus intimate turns of phrase betraying the hurt of an old soul and the ecstasy of one eternally young (sometimes all in the space of a single song, such as with “When I Look at the World,” in which she sings in one verse, “I’ve made a mess of things/ I’ve been a total wreck,” only to pick herself up shortly after, admitting how “I look at the world/ In all its glory/ I look at the world/ And it’s a different story”).

Disc 1 gathers steam early on via the tremolo-infused, midtempo choogler “Protection” (as in, the lonely/vulnerable first-person protagonist needs some) and luminous-yet-edgy confessional “Burning Bridges” which hearkens back to such masterpieces as 1998’s “Drunken Angel” and 2001’s “Out of Touch.” One CD change later, we’re at the album’s unabashed center- and master-piece, “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” a growling, drawling, mewling, purring slice of Texas-goes-to-Memphis ‘tude. Somewhere in the middle of all this comes the epic, 6-minute “Foolishness,” a slow-burner that commences upon a bed of heartbeat bass, heartbreak slide guitar and four-to-the-floor drums, then builds toward the type of anthemic crescendo normally reserved for Springsteen and Petty but here – mark my words – destined for LW concert showstopper status.

The album closes with a serene reading of JJ Cale’s “Magnolia,” its lone cover and as genuine a denouement as one could desire following such a tempestuous, nearly two-hour assignation. You’ll want a cigarette; what the hell just happened? While boasting a hall-of-fame roster’s worth of guests such as Tony Joe White (did someone mention swamp?), Ian McLagan, Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz and Jakob Dylan, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone is, ultimately, 100% Lucinda Williams.
Spoon - They Want My Soul PDF Print E-mail
Written by Glen Sarvady   
They Want My Soul
[Loma Vista]

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Two very positive reviews of They Want My Soul refer to it as Spoon’s “most booming” and “most generous” album. These adjectives could easily be replaced with “shrill” and “pandering,” but that’s why music criticism is a judgment game – after a sustained run of excellence Spoon has earned some semantic leeway.

Advance warning: this is a contrarian, indier-than-thou take. They Want My Soul is a solid album, one I’ve really enjoyed getting to know over the past month. But the glowing consensus on Spoon’s latest spackles over some cracks in this dream home’s foundation.

After 2007’s commercial breakthrough (and arguable artistic high point) Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, frontman Britt Daniel seemingly rejected the spotlight, pulling back with the lo-fi and willfully obtuse Transference before placing the band on hiatus. After that break, They Want My Soul doubles down on ambition. Its closest cousin in the Spoon canon is Ga Ga Ga – both albums revel in sonic experimentation and ride a rock-solid foundation built on a handful of killer tracks.

Daniel’s raspy snarl remains one of rock’s most recognizable weapons. That voice and his taut, edgy songwriting style make virtually every one of their tracks unmistakably Spoon. The main issue here is the band’s selection of “name” producer Dave Fridmann to gussy up its sound. Daniel’s and longtime drummer/engineer Jim Eno’s past collaborations with less showy producers allowed their frequent twists to come across as organic and original. Here the effects can be obtrusive and sound imitative of Fridmann client Tame Impala, of all things.

Daniel continues to hone his skewed take on blue-eyed soul (a la “Cherry Bomb” and “Finer Feelings”). Here, however, the sultry vibe of “Inside Out” is nearly undermined by a wave of distracting processed harp flourishes. “Knock Knock Knock” and “Outlier” similarly overstay their welcomes, and lack the same strong underpinning.

None of these flaws can offset the fact that Daniel’s penned two of the best tunes in Spoon’s history, however. “Do You” is this outing’s “The Underdog,” with its irresistible radio hook and insistent chorus.  Better yet is the title track, the lyrics of which add an ironic spin to a genre-based interpretation.  “I’ve got nothin’ I wanna sell/ They’ve got nothing I want/ All they want’s my soul, yes I know,” Daniel defiantly proclaims, working in a savvy reference to catalog keeper “Jonathon Fisk” for good measure. It’s an odd claim for a band that suffered a notorious major label trainwreck, only to succeed beyond their wildest expectation from the safe haven of idyllic indie Merge Records. Yet here they are on a new label grabbing for an even shinier brass ring.

They Want My Soul ends on a promising note. “Let Me Be Mine” is the album’s least adorned track, and succeeds because of it. And the skittering beat of closer “New York Kiss” serves as a reminder of how well Spoon can push the sonic envelope without Fridmann’s heavy hand. Here’s guessing that Daniel, Eno and Co’s next outing is another back-to-basics move. Either that, or a completion of the shark jump. 
Fu Manchu - Gigantoid PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Sewell   
ImageFu Manchu
[At the Dojo]

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Since its inception somewhere around the early ’90s, Fu Manchu has delivered quality variations of the same loud guitar formula: King of The Road, The Action is Go and California Crossing featured more laid-back, psych grooves, In Search Of... and Eatin’ Dust veered toward metal, and We Must Obey more-or-less approximated hardcore. The raison d’etree of all the aforementioned discs was a simple and laudable one – to rock the fuck out in a way that was totally cool. Fu Manchu sang about Camaros, dirtbikes, surfboards and gigantic dinosaurs because hey, those are cool things that stoned adolescent males think about when they’re not thinking about beer, giant bongs, X-Treme Nacho Cheese Doritos and giant, gravity-defying, silicone-enhanced breasts (perhaps also cool things – depending upon your orientation and/or aesthetic sense, that is).

Then the music journos came along to fuck up everything with the faux genre, “stoner rock.” Hey, we’ve gotta put a tag on everything.

The brand spanking new Gigantiod corrals all the aforementioned psych, metal and hardcore elements into a monolithic entity that mostly works. Gigantoid is a bit heavier that the bulk of Fu Manchu’s oeuvre, and that’s A-OK. The problems ensue when the band tarries too long in the slower, more fuzzed out psych regions. Sure, mining a slow, stretched-out riff has its merits. But the band gets mired in the protozoan bongwater of Jam Land a little too often, and it gets a wee bit boring. I’m sure it was cool to play this stuff, but the extended guitar wankery gets tedious at times – and this assessment is coming from a guy who loves guitar solos.

So the burning question is: is Fu Manchu A.) “stoner rock”, B.) heavy metal, C.) hardcore, D.) psychedelia, or E.) all of the above? The answer, my friends, is a resounding E. And hence, the hard rock amalgam that is Gigantoid receives an A-. The album is all good fun, just sometimes a bit too much fun. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it? 
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