Thought I Was Crazy When I’d Think About You: Blondie strikes back with the underrated “Plastic Letters”
From the Vaults

Thought I Was Crazy When I’d Think About You: Blondie strikes back with the underrated “Plastic Letters”

BLONDIE – Plastic Letters (Chrysalis ’77): Nobody likes Plastic Letters except for me. The Spin Alternative Record Guide gave it a 4/10. The Rolling Stone Album Guide gave it a 3/5. Allmusic gave it half a notch above Autoamerican. It’s generally considered a classic example of the sophomore slump—not as good as their eponymous debut … Continue reading

Wilco – “Schmilco” Review
Record Bulletin

Wilco – “Schmilco” Review

WILCO – Schmilco (Anti/Epitaph): Delineating Wilco’s albums according to sound would be a tired trope by now if it weren’t so useful. Recorded during the same period as the skronky and short Star Wars, Jeff Tweedy and crew’s tenth outing (not including Mermaid Avenue) is subdued but not without surprises. It bears no similarity to the similarly-titled … Continue reading

21st Century Schizoid Man: The indelible debut of King Crimson
From the Vaults

21st Century Schizoid Man: The indelible debut of King Crimson

KING CRIMSON – In the Court of the Crimson King (Atlantic ’69): “Beware the forthcoming hype,” Robert Christgau concluded in his three-sentence Consumer Guide review for the Village Voice way back in December of 1969: “This is ersatz shit. D+.” What he meant was that King Crimson were pretentious, and that’s an epithet hard for … Continue reading

Great Tunes, Questionable Comps – “The Randy Newman Songbook” and “Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016”
Record Bulletin

Great Tunes, Questionable Comps – “The Randy Newman Songbook” and “Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016”

RANDY NEWMAN – The Randy Newman Songbook (Nonesuch): Four-LP, limited edition release of Nonesuch’s Newman songbook series, of which volumes 1 and 2 were released in 2003 and 2011. This collection includes the newly-released Vol. 3 (available on its own digitally and on CD) and a handful of other tracks. Each volume consists of re-recordings … Continue reading

Margo Price – “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” Review
Record Bulletin

Margo Price – “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” Review

MARGO PRICE – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (Third Man): Everyone’s raving about this country veteran who’s just now getting her proper debut courtesy of Jack White’s Third Man Records, and understandably so: it contributes to staving off the glut of pretty-faced, plaid-clad, bro-country douchebags, it has a skillful vintage sound and production, and Price has a … Continue reading

Jonathan Richman, Party of One: Hangin’ out on your couch with an ex-Modern Lover
From the Vaults

Jonathan Richman, Party of One: Hangin’ out on your couch with an ex-Modern Lover

JONATHAN RICHMAN – Having a Party With Jonathan Richman (Cheree ’91): Not much of a party, unless you think up-close-and-personal with the ex-Modern Lover is a rollicking good time. Having a Party is little more than Jonathan and his guitar, some of the songs live, others in studio. Regardless, it exudes his love for silly … Continue reading