Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment


Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment


Proper Records PRPCD160
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

The Cowboy Junkies have recorded quite a few of their own songs in the 37 years they have been performing together, but the Canadian group has always shown a talent for reinterpreting other artists’ tunes. Their first album, Whites Off Earth Now!! (1986), comprised eight covers and only one original song (“Take Me,” by band members Margo and Michael Timmins). But it was a cover song from their second album, two years later, that brought them international attention: Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” from The Trinity Session (1988)—the Junkies’ best known and most highly acclaimed recording.

Windchild Records WCR001LP
Format: LP

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

In January, my fellow SoundStage! writer and vinyl enthusiast Jason Thorpe wrote an article on sister-site SoundStage! Ultra about Canadian musician and songwriter Harkness. Jason grew up in the same Toronto neighborhood as the artist and went to school with the Harkness family, and his article contains biographical detail about Harkness that I need not repeat here. The article also explains the reasons behind the musician’s public persona and his attire, which includes a visor and lavender-colored robe.

Republic Records B0034978-02
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

John Mellencamp turned 70 this past fall; the years—and cigarettes—have left their mark on his voice. He now sounds almost as raspy and ancient as Bob Dylan. At this point in his life and career, Mellencamp realizes the pop music landscape has changed. “I still make albums,” he told The Wall Street Journal recently, “even though there’s not a lot of demand for albums in today’s singles world.”

ISO Records/Parlophone Records CDTOYBOX 1/0190296773372
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

In the summer of 2000, David Bowie performed four live shows, including an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival on June 25. That performance, in front of an estimated 250,000 people, was a triumph; the following month, Bowie and the members of his touring band began recording in New York City. The group had been together since the previous year, when they toured in support of Bowie’s then recently released Hours . . . (1999).

Intervention Records/A&M Records IR-030/B0027737-01
Format: LP

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
*****

Overall Enjoyment
*****

When I reviewed the Hybrid SACD reissue of Joe Jackson’s Body and Soul, I closed with the hope that Intervention Records would soon release the album on vinyl. Sixteen months later, I’ve gotten my wish. The Intervention vinyl reissue is, like the SACD, sourced from the original digital PCM files. Once again, Kevin Gray handled the mastering, and he cut the vinyl at 45 rpm for a two-disc, four-sided release.

Discipline Global Mobile DGM5022
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****

The current lineup of seven musicians who make up King Crimson has been touring, off and on, since 2013, with minor personnel changes. Although this version of the band hasn’t released any studio recordings, its life as a touring group has been well documented in a series of live albums released through Discipline Global Mobile, the label overseen by Crimson’s guitarist and leader, Robert Fripp. Music Is Our Friend (Live in Washington and Albany, 2021) is the latest of these releases.

Jem Records PSL 1025
Format: LP

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

The Grip Weeds have been making great rock’n’roll for nearly 30 years now, writing and performing music that shows a reverence for the great bands of the ’60s and early ’70s. Their songs contain hints of everyone from The Who to Paul Revere & The Raiders, but the band’s recordings are strong enough to stand on their own. Despite their affection for an earlier period in pop-music history, the Grip Weeds don’t sound retro. They make music that is fresh and vital.

ATO Records ATO 0573
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

After releasing The Waterfall in 2015, My Morning Jacket went on hiatus. Guitarist and singer Jim James released five solo albums, guitarist Carl Broemel completed two solo projects, and other members of the Louisville, Kentucky, band found their own ways to keep busy. My Morning Jacket regrouped to play a small number of live shows over the last couple of years, and compiled unreleased material from the sessions for the earlier album for The Waterfall II in 2020.

2L 2L-164-SABD
Format: Hybrid SACD, Pure Audio Blu-ray

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****1/2

It’s not exactly news that the COVID-19 pandemic threw things into confusion, and one of its impacts was on the delivery of mail. The US Postal Service’s own internal issues compounded this with further delays and backlogs. Near the end of January 2021, I received a holiday disc that had been released in November 2020 by 2L, a Norwegian audiophile label. Normally, I wouldn’t review a disc that has been available for a year, but Stille grender is a collection that is worthy of your attention at this time of year.

Libertino Records
Format: 24-bit/48kHz FLAC download

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

One of the ways I choose what I’ll review for the SoundStage! Network is to check the new releases listed on various music sites, including AllMusic.com. I read the summary review for a description of the band or musician, then I stream the album to see if I think it would be of interest to readers. If I do, I buy the disc.