Music Disc Reviews

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Mike Mettler  |  Nov 20, 2020  |  0 comments
Performance
Sound
I've always looked at Paul McCartney's post-Beatles career—now getting into its sixth decade—as being on a sine wave. When's he's at the top of his game, he's at the apex (Band on the Run, Flowers in the Dirt), and when he's off the mark, he's at the nadir (Give My Regards to Broad Street, Press to Play).
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 06, 2020  |  5 comments
The third time was truly the charm for Supertramp. After two middling misfires, the British quintet's third LP, September 1974's Crime of the Century, vaulted them into the big leagues where progressive-leaning tendencies met not-so-subversive pop sensibilities head-on. Over the course of eight songs, Supertramp took full advantage of the dynamic range of tracks like "School" (punctuated by multiple piano bursts and yelping schoolchildren), "Bloody Well Right" (its razor-sharp guitar line wafting from back- ground to foreground and back like a talkbox in a tsunami), and the ascendant, power-packed rage of the title track (with a final lyrical twist worthy of the last episode of The Prisoner).
Mike Mettler  |  Oct 09, 2020  |  1 comments
Performance
Sound
"The Replacements are self-destructing right in front of me."

That's what I was thinking to myself as I watched these four Minneapolis-bred indie-rock stalwarts attempt to play through their rag-tag set while opening for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers on August 19, 1989, at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Mike Mettler  |  Oct 02, 2020  |  2 comments
Performances
Sound
The Grateful Dead couldn't catch a break. Sure, they were the head-trip belles of San Francisco's 1960s psychedelic ball, but they were unable to get their recording act together enough to cut an album that best captured their true spirit—that is, until they struck prospector's gold with their fourth studio album, June 1970's Workingman's Dead. By dialing back on the overtly psychedelic-cum-outré experimental modes that dominated June 1968's Anthem of the Sun and June 1969's Aoxomoxoa and instead zeroing in on their folk-bred songcraft for Workingman's, the Dead had finally found their recording niche at last.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 21, 2020  |  1 comments
Performance
Sound
When the final notes of "Trouble No More" rang out in the early morning hours of October 29, 2014 at The Beacon Theatre in New York City, the unthinkable was finally upon us, for that meant The Allman Brothers Band were truly no more. After five-plus decades as the consummate road warriors, America's premier jam band was hanging up its collective boots for good at the venue they'd held an annual residency at for a quarter-century.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 03, 2020  |  1 comments
Performance
Sound
Packaging
In a galaxy far, far away—well, to be more precise, it was actually in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh—I received a home-made C-60 compact cassette for my 11th birthday in October 1978. My audiophile grandfather had dubbed Charles Gerhardt conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra's performance of music culled from composer John Williams' original scores for Star Wars on Side 1 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Side 2.
David Vaughn  |  May 29, 2020  |  1 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Def Leppard got its start back in 1977 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England when Rick Savage, Tony Kenning and Pete Willis formed a band called Atomic Mass. Joe Elliott joined the band a short time later and became the lead singer and proposed a new name for the band, "Deaf Leopard," which was ultimately adopted with some modified spelling. Kenning ended up leaving the shortly before their first recording session and was replaced by a fifteen-year-old drummer by the name of Rick Allen.
Mike Mettler  |  May 21, 2020  |  22 comments
One thing our ongoing pandemic lockdown continues to remind many of us music lovers of on a daily basis is just how much we all miss attending live concert events.
Mike Mettler  |  May 15, 2020  |  1 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
It would be easy to characterize Chuck Berry, who passed away at age 90 in 2017, as one cantankerously acrimonious fellow, but after revisiting Taylor Hackford's astute 1987 documentary Hail! Hail! Rock 'N' Roll, now available on Blu-ray for the first time via Shout Select, I'm reminded of how captivating, creative, and downright business-savvy the pioneering, guitar-playing singer/ songwriter actually was.
Mike Mettler  |  May 07, 2020  |  41 comments
Okay, you got me. I freely admit before all my fellow music lovers and audiophiles alike that I had a very specific ulterior motive when I noted in a recent Remaster Class column that the title track to Yes' September 1972 magnum opus Close to the Edge was my "second-favorite 5.1 mix." Following my primary intention of encouraging listeners to marvel at the fully enveloping scope of that song's truly amazing surround sound mix, I figured the next thing anyone reading said comment might wonder would be along the lines of, "Yeah, cool cool cool, that's great and all—but what's No. 1?"
Mike Mettler  |  Apr 24, 2020  |  1 comments
Yes may have hit the roundabout motherlode with November 1971's Fragile, but their true zenith came with the following album, September 1972's Close to the Edge. Edge was the perfect intersection of envelope-pushing, multi-movement compositions and beyond-heady lyrical mysticism, permanently cementing Yes' status as top-tier progressive rock progenitors.
Mike Mettler  |  Apr 17, 2020  |  3 comments
Performance
Sound
Prince was determined. While he had made some inroads on both the sales charts and urban radio with his first four hot-button, mostly one-man-show albums of the late-'70s and early-'80s, an opening slot on The Rolling Stones' 1981 tour exposed the narrowmindedness of many concertgoers who outright booed and/or threw things at Prince and his band while they were onstage.
Mike Mettler  |  Mar 06, 2020  |  0 comments
Few artists have oh-so-quantifiably defined their own uncopiable sound as definitively as King Crimson did with their October 1969 debut, the full-title-mouthful In the Court of the Crimson King: An Observation by King Crimson. This five-track, beyond-progressive salvo brought together forward-thinking pastoral, orchestral, jazz, and blues-rock sounds into a distinctive blend that only served to widen the overall aural palette of the most formative decade in popular music.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 21, 2020  |  4 comments
Performace
Sound
Which one's Pink? It's a question the mighty members of Pink Floyd have answered more than once throughout their unmatched 50-plus-year career. No matter who's been at the helm—the wide-eyed lysergic-minded guitarist/vocalist Syd Barrett, the uncompromising iconoclast bassist/vocalist Roger Waters, or the melodic linchpin guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour — the mantra of delivering music that's always high fidelity, first class has been at the core of Pink Floyd's production values from the very beginning.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 13, 2019  |  1 comments
Jethro Tull made a bold move with their fourth album, March 1971's Aqualung, by amping up the intensity that informed the eclectic, prog-folk acoustic/electric hybrid the British band had firmly established on their first three LPs. That move effectively catapulted Tull headlong into the slipstream of the first wave of FM radio-favored artists. In fact, one could even argue the opening six-note pattern of the iconic title track is as instantly recognizable as the recurring four-note riff that defines Deep Purple's seminal "Smoke on the Water" (sorry, just wond'ring aloud here).

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