Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more

Monday, June 29, 2009

Green Day: 21st Century Breakdown 180 gram vinyl

21st Century Breakdown [Vinyl]

Green Day is back with 21st Century Breakdown, their eighth studio album and follow up to their 2004 Grammy-winning effort, American Idiot. While American Idiot was a concept album, their current release takes things one step further and presents a full-blown rock opera, complete with three acts: Heroes and Cons, Charlatans and Saints, and Horseshoes and Handgrenades.

Pressed at Record Industry in The Netherlands, the vinyl arrived clean, flat, and was virtually noise-free during playback. The gatefold cover is made of standard weight cardstock and the two 180 gram platters are housed in poly-lined paper sleeves, a nice detail that helps keep the vinyl from obtaining paper-scuffs. A full-size lyric sheet is also included.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Update: Big Star #1 Record and Radio City Reissues -- Classic Records 200 gram Clarity Vinyl vs. 150 gram Standard Vinyl

Several months ago, Concord Music Group and Classic Records both reissued vinyl editions of Big Star's first two albums, #1 Record and Radio City and I was able to obtain copies of the 150 gram standard vinyl pressings from Concord Music Group in advance of their general release. In reviewing them, I compared them primarily to the original Ardent vinyl, and the reissue of Radio City fared much better in the comparison than did #1 Record. Click here to read the full reviews:

When Classic released their versions several weeks later, it was discovered that both the Concord and Classic versions used the exact same mastering from Chris Bellman of Bernie Grundman Mastering. The only difference between the releases was the vinyl formulation and pressing. Concord used 150 gram standard vinyl; Classic used their new 200 gram Clarity vinyl formulation.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kind of Blue at 50 -- Jimmy Cobb's So What Band -- Show Review


2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the recording of the seminal jazz album from Miles Davis: Kind of Blue. In celebration of this anniversary, drummer Jimmy Cobb, the only surviving member of the sextet, is touring with his appropriately named, So What Band, and is performing the entire Kind of Blue album.

Last night, I saw Cobb and his sextet perform two complete album sets at Yoshi's in Oakland, California. The elder statesman Cobb, was joined by Wallace Roney on trumpet, Javon Jackson on tenor sax, Vincent Herring on alto sax, Larry Willis on Piano, and John Webber (filling in for Buster Williams due to illness) on bass.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Neil Young vinyl update: Archives Vol. 1 1963-1972; Neil Young S/T, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, After the Goldrush, Harvest -- Remastered

Click here to read about remastered vinyl releases of the first four albums just announced for November 24, 2009!

Neil Young has finally released his long awaited Archives volume one, 1963-1972 boxset. Released simultaneously on Blu-Ray, DVD, and compact disc, vinyl lovers have been left wondering whether there will be a vinyl release. While the sound quality of the Blu-Ray discs (24/192) is excellent (I viewed and listened to the Archives vol. 1 Blu-Ray preview disc), fans who are highly invested in their vinyl rig or would simply prefer to sit in their listening chair and listen to the music while flipping through the archives book, will still be clamoring for a vinyl release. And if the Fillmore East, Sugar Mountain, and especially Massey Hall vinyl releases are any indication, the vinyl will surpass the digital releases in sonics (click here for prior review of Fillmore and Massey; click here for prior review of Sugar Mountain).