Archive for the ‘CD Reviews’ Category

JAZZ2K: Nels Cline & Julian Lage’s “Room”

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
Julian Lage and Nels Cline (photo: Justin Camerer)

Julian Lage and Nels Cline (photo: Justin Camerer)

NELS CLINE & JULIAN LAGE
Room (Mack Avenue)
Realse date: Tuesday, November 25

In a 2013 interview, Nels Cline described his collaboration with Julian Lage as “200 percent power.” A cursory listen to the soon-to-be-released Room might make one wonder if there are sound files on a laptop somewhere with the Wilco uber-guitarist and the prodigy-made-amazing creating mutual screaming feedback that only the hearing-damaged could love. But once you get tuned into the subtlety and harmony throughout this mesmerizing duo date from these two guitar wizards, you realize that Room is one of the more intense projects of 2014. And the guitar duo is slated to preview the new album in concert at The Egg in Albany at 7:30pm on Thursday night (November 20).

The album’s opening track “Abstract” seems pretty straightforward. Lage lays down a simple riff that Cline works off of with remarkable restraint. A quick bit of formation flying, and the exercise is repeated… except this time, it goes from an established relationship to dueling monologues in nothing flat. The relative cacophony threatens to send the piece careening off the road and into the ditch, but Lage and Cline back together on the nominal melody line relatively quickly – only there’s an obvious edge to both players that sounds like people speaking quietly through very clenched teeth. The piece resolves as if both of them would like to leave this subject behind, but the intrigue has been hatched: If this isn’t a wail-fest, then what is this?

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The Capital Land Crate Digger: “Bluegrass” (1964)

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Red Allen, Frank Wakefield and the Kentuckians: Bluegrass
Review and photograph by Ross Marvin

The Capital Land Crate Digger brings you reviews of vinyl obscurities found for $10 or under at Capital District record stores, thrift shops, garage sales, and junk emporiums. The vinyl archeologist behind this column is Ross Marvin, an English teacher and music enthusiast who lives in Saratoga County. Ross has over 1,000 pieces of vinyl, is running out of shelf room, and can be found getting his fingers dirty in a box of records near you.

ALBUM: Bluegrass
ARTIST: Red Allen, Frank Wakefield and the Kentuckians
LABEL: Folkways
YEAR: 1964
PURCHASED: Rock n Roll Expo, Albany Marriott
PAID: $10
DATE: October 19, 2014

Well, it’s that flannel shirt time of year. The smell of burning leaves, the drop in temperature, and the death of garage sales makes me question my vinyl sickness: Do I stay in my warm bed, or try to make one last score before the good hunting season comes to a close? Though the thought of a thick newspaper and a home-scrambled breakfast was tempting, I dragged my ass out of bed a couple of Sunday’s ago and made the trek to the sterile conference room of the Albany Marriott for another fine rendition Felix Iavarone’s biannual Rock N Roll Expo.

Record fairs are the ugly step-children of record commerce. Less hip than an independent record store (because they aren’t located in an urbane downtown), and a lot better than a garage sale gamble, the Marriott conference room setting of the Rock Expo looked a lot like the floor of some throwback casino where almost everyone has a wild look in their eye, a shared addiction, and the uneasy feeling that a heavy wallet will quickly be made light if you find a lucky table. Gotta love what I overheard, while digging around my fellow crazies. Said one octogenarian with a horrendous come-over to a dealer: “But, what have ya got as far as polka 45s? Here, I got a list. I mean I gotta find this record, man. Even if you find it someday and want to keep it, you could at least make me a CD.” I don’t even think the dealer had ANY polka, but the guy kept yelling at him about some world-forgotten 19th Century dance music. At least I don’t collect polka 45s, I thought. That makes me less of a nerd. Affirmation! Right…

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A Few More Minutes With… Roger Noyes of the Arch Stanton Quartet

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Roger Noyes

Roger Noyes

CD Review and interview by J Hunter
Photograph by Rudy Lu

THE ARCH STANTON QUARTET
Blues for Soli
(WEPA Records)

In hindsight, I may have done the Arch Stanton Quartet a disservice by referring to their stripped-out underground sound as “garage-band jazz.” All us grey-haired rockers can wax poetic about garage bands like the Music Explosion, the Count Five and – my favorite – the Standells serving up two minutes-and-change of nasty, uncultured excellence… but the Electric Prunes and the Count Five never had a chance to experience sophomore slump because they dropped out after the first semester! Well, the Arch Stanton Quartet is back with Blues For Soli, and there are two bits of good news: First, no sophomore slump here; and second, Greater Nippertown’s musical ambassadors are STILL as nasty as they want to be!

It was their short-but-intense tour of Egypt in 2013 that helped birth the disc’s first four tracks (also known as the “Lady Egypt Suite”), and there’s a definite intensity to the opening track “Kofta.” The introduction has this swirling, almost drunken quality to it that makes you wonder, “How bad will this trip be?” Then drummer Steven Partyka hits this sweet groove straight out of Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay,” and the ASQ is serving up the funk their way; that involves mixing whip-tight guitar from Roger Noyes with open, almost snarling trumpet from Terry Gordon (who is SO on his game throughout this date), while bassist Chris Macchia bows a counter that evokes Frankenstein skanking down the street while sipping from a bottle of schnapps.

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The Capital Land Crate Digger: “Out After Dark” (1979)

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Roy Loney: Out After Dark

Review and photograph by Ross Marvin

The Capital Land Crate Digger brings you reviews of vinyl obscurities found for $10 or under at Capital District record stores, thrift shops, garage sales and junk emporiums. The vinyl archeologist behind this column is Ross Marvin, an English teacher and music enthusiast who lives in Saratoga County. Ross has over 1,000 pieces of vinyl, is running out of shelf room, and can be found getting his fingers dirty in a box of records near you.

ALBUM: Out After Dark
ARTIST: Roy Loney & the Phantom Movers
LABEL: Solid Smoke
YEAR: 1979
PURCHASED: Last Vestige Music Shop, Albany, NY
PRICE: $6.99
DATE: August 30, 2014

Here’s a little story that sums up the Capital Land record store scene. At the end of July I had my annual record garage sale in Clifton Park and despite ridding myself of several tons of tunes (making my wife immeasurably happy), I was still left with some quality merchandise. Like most serious record collectors, I deal to pay for the habit. So, I took a stack of wax to Troy’s Citizen-of-the-Year Jimmy Barrett down at the River Street Beat Shop in Troy. The always fair Barrett gave me some credit at the store, and before you know it I was pulling out more records than I expected. I felt a heady rush when I came across an extremely clean promo 12” single of legendary Flamin’ Groovies frontman Roy Loney doing the Elvis hit “Return to Sender”.

Norton Records co-founder Miriam Linna probably said it best about the Groovies that they were the American Rolling Stones, raised on Sun Records rather than Chess. It’s a fitting description of the Groovies early records like “Teenage Head” and “Flamingo” that sound more ’50s rock and rockabilly informed than blues derived. When Loney left the band in the early ’70s, he became a record clerk in San Francisco, but never exactly stopped recording, making several records on the Solid Smoke and War Bride labels as Roy Loney & the Phantom Movers. The Phantom Movers may well have been called the Phantom Groovies as they included original Groovy drummer Danny Mihm, and sometimes-Groovy lead guitar player James Ferrell. The group was rounded out by Maurice Tani on bass, and Nick Buck on keyboards, with Loney belting out snarling lead vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar.

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JAZZ2K: Top Discs for September, Part I

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Reviews by J Hunter

Okay, I’ve been sloughing off on this feature for WAY too long! And since September is essentially Jazz Month in Greater Nippertown (with the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival, Jazz at the Lake, and – of course – the return of A Place For Jazz), here are a few discs I’ve been meaning to talk about for some time. Next week, I’ll talk about some new stuff on the way, some of which you can see performed live this month! Until then, feast your eyes and feed your ears:

Stanton Moore: ConversationsSTANTON MOORE
Conversations (Royal Potato Family)
When I heard Galactic drummer/leader Stanton Moore was doing a straight-ahead release, I was decidedly unenthusiastic. Then I saw the liner notes for Conversations and exclaimed, “Stanton Moore AND David Torkanovsky? FUCK yeah!!” Torkanovsky’s one of those righteous NOLA pianists who proves technical excellence and downright fun are not mutually exclusive. Moore does play it (kinda) straight, with killing takes on bassist James Singleton’s waltzing “Lauren Z” and the Herbie Hancock cruiser “Driftin’,” but dancing tracks like “Carnival,” “Tchefunkta” and “Big Greaze” have that Galactic “LET’S PARTY” attitude in full force. A piano trio disc you can party to! Who knew?

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New Release Rack: Stephen Trombley’s “Tea for Three”

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Stephen Trombley: Tea For Three

Review by Thomas Dimopoulos

ALBUM: Tea For Three
ARTIST: Stephen Trombley

There’s a noticeable twang to upstater Stephen Trombley’s newest CD – and with good reason. Tea For Three is the Saratoga-raised songwriter’s first release since bolting from the Empire State for the music city skyline of Nashville, Tennessee. And while the six-song EP was written and recorded south of the Mason-Dixon line, Trombley’s studio comrades are men of the world – much like the author, filmmaker and musician himself.

The CD features drummer Charlie Morgan, who spent 13 years pounding the skins behind Elton John; just-north-of-Syracuse A-list bass player Mark Prentice; and multi-instrumentalist Jim Hoke, a native of Schenectady.

“It’s a great upstate invasion of Tune Town, plus a hands-across-the-water U.K. pal on drums,” says Trombley, whose creative co-writing foils include veteran hit-makers Fred Koller (who’s been covered by everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis to Dave Edmunds), Angela Kaset (Lorrie Morgan and Wynonna Judd have performed her songs) and one-time Patti Smith guitarist Oliver Ray.

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New Release Rack: The Arthur Holmes Blues Band’s “I’m Waiting”

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The Arthur Holmes Blues Band: I’m Waiting

Review and photographs by Wanda Calagy

I’m Waiting is the new CD recently released by the Pittsfield-based Arthur Holmes Blues Band, offering unique guitar sounds with moving lyrics sung and written by Arthur Holmes, bolstered by a strong bass style from John Worth and rhythmic beat from drummer Brian Forfa. Former bandmate Gary Smith also adds his flair on his Hammond B2 organ to the mix.

The band’s third album tells some moving stories, with all but two selections originals, and Holmes is proud of this latest accomplishment. The beginnings of this CD started a couple of years ago.

“I enjoy songwriting,” said Holmes. “We have been playing ‘Sand Road’ out at a few gigs before the release. That song is a condensed version of my life – much of my music is.”

Holmes’ favorite tune on the album is “Crying Time.” “When you listen, you will hear how I held onto certain notes for a long time,” he added. “We were in the studio for weeks, and a couple of pieces, such as ‘I’m Waiting’ had been stuck going around inside my head forever. The first two songs came easily, though I had not laid them all right out. I’ve worked with John for years, and he is a solid bass player. Brian joined the band a little over a year ago and is a great fit. I had worked with him in the past.”

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The Capital Land Crate Digger: “The Monkey’s Head in the Corner of the Room” (1982)

Monday, July 14th, 2014

The NeatsReview and photograph by Ross Marvin

The Capital Land Crate Digger brings you reviews of vinyl obscurities found for $10 or under at Capital District record stores, thrift shops, garage sales, and junk emporiums. The vinyl archeologist behind this column is Ross Marvin, an English teacher and music enthusiast who lives in Saratoga County. Ross has over 1,000 pieces of vinyl, is running out of shelf room, and can be found getting his fingers dirty in a box of records near you.

ALBUM: The Monkey’s Head in the Corner of the Room EP
ARTIST: The Neats
LABEL: Ace of Hearts
YEAR: 1982
PURCHASED: Feeding Tube Records, Northampton
PRICE: $8.95
DATE: July 3, 2014

One of the greatest ironies about Feeding Tube Records on King Street in Northampton is its location next to a Subway restaurant. The indescribably hip record store is financially backed by former Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore and run by rock scribe and scenester extraordinaire Byron Coley. Thus, it feels more like the kind of shop that would be located adjacent to a subway stop in Lower Manhattan than a place where you can get a $5 foot-long.

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