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

Monday, January 24, 2011

Robert Plant: Band Of Joy -- 180 Gram Vinyl

Led Zeppelin's longtime front-man, Robert Plant, is back with Band of Joy, the follow-up to his surprisingly successful 2007 Grammy-winning collaboration with country-folk singer Alison Kraus, Raising Sand. For Band of Joy, Plant recruits a host of Nashville session players, including guitarist/co-producer Buddy Moore, and Patty Griffin, who shares singing duties with Plant on seven of the twelve cuts on the record. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reissue Review: Van Halen II, Women and Children First, 1984 -- 180 Gram Rhino Vinyl

Rhino continues their Van Halen vinyl reissue program with the release of three more titles: Van Halen II, Women and Children First, and 1984.  Their 2009 vinyl reissue of the self-titled debut, Van Halen on 180 gram vinyl, proved superb--and turned out to be a re-pressing of the now out-of-print DCC vinyl reissue, mastered by Steve Hoffman. One of the primary improvements achieved by that reissue was to bring the vocals and guitars out of the shroud of echo found on earlier versions of the record. One title reviewed today had that issue as well--and the reissue definitely adresses it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bob Dylan: Original Mono Recordings Vinyl Box Set (w/ included digital download)

The Music
Following the sucess of last year's Beatles Mono Box Set, Sony/Legacy has released a box set of Bob Dylan's first eight albums using their original mono mixes. Like the Beatles, Dylan's Sixties output--and particularly his all-acoustic efforts, are best heard in mono--as the stereo mixes can be unnatural, wonky affair, with vocals on one side, guitar on the other. The original mono mixes, approved by Dylan himself, are much more focused and are simply the best way to hear the music. 

As you enter his electric era, opinions differ whether the mono or stereo versions are better--but as a listener, you'll be rewarded by the differences in the mixes, especially if you've never heard the mono versions that have now been out of print for thirty years.