Odds & Sods

Building the 5.1 Wall: Producer James Guthrie Discusses Pink Floyd and Roger Waters’ Surround Sound Plans at Academic Conference

14th April


Pink Floyd and music academia don’t usually mix. But that didn’t deter Gilad Cohen and Dave Molk from organizing the amazing “Pink Floyd: Sound, Sight, and Structure — Interdisciplinary Conference,” the first ever academic conference devoted to the mighty Floyd at Princeton University on April 10-13. In addition to scholarly discussions and live music, the linchpin was a three-album surround-sound listening session shepherded by Pink Floyd producer James Guthrie on Saturday and his keynote address on Sunday.

I was generously given the central sweet spot seat in the third row for Saturday’s surround-sound sessions at McAlpin Hall at Woolworth Music Center. First up was the world premiere of the 5.1 version of Roger Waters’ 1992 opus, Amused to Death, which was mixed by the symposium’s guest of honor, James Guthrie, the man who’s handled the direction of The Floyd’s sonic legacy since 1979′s The Wall. … Read More »

What They’re Doing: Rush Set to Re-release Self-Titled Debut Album on 200-Gram Vinyl

14th March


Call them the Re-Working Men.

On April 15, to mark Rush’s 40-year recording career, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will reissue the original Moon Records release of Rush as part of Universal’s reDISCovered vinyl series. Some history: In March 1974, Rush released their self-titled debut through the band’s own indie label, Moon Records, in Canada, and sold out of the initial 3,500-copy pressing. Moon Records would soon morph into Anthem Records, which launched in 1977 and continues to serve as the band’s Canadian record company. In the United States, Rush has been on Mercury, Atlantic, and Roadrunner.

The package looks to be impressive. Housed in a sturdy, custom box with a lift-off top, Rush is pressed on 200-gram, audiophile-grade vinyl. The mix comes from the original 1974 analog stereo masters, cut to copper plates using the Direct Metal Mastering (DMM) process at Abbey Road Studios … Read More »

Re-Ledded and Reloaded: Led Zeppelin Soars Again With Upcoming Remasters Series

13th March


Led Zeppelin soars again.

An extensive reissue program of all nine of the band’s studio albums will rollout in chronological order from Rhino/Atlantic/Swan Song, commencing with the June 3 release of deluxe editions of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III. Each album has been remastered by Zep founder, guitarist, and producer Jimmy Page. The series will also feature previously unheard studio and live recordings, with each album containing a second disc of companion audio comprised of unreleased music related to that album. In the official press release, Page notes, “The material on the companion discs presents a portal to the time of the recording of Led Zeppelin. It is a selection of work in progress with rough mixes, backing tracks, alternate versions, and new material recorded at the time.”

We Zep fans have been waiting semi-patiently for these releases after they were first discussed seriously around … Read More »

The SoundBard’s Top 25 Albums of 2013

31st December


Damn the naysayers — I say the album format lives! With that vital declaration out of the way, it’s high time to cite the records that caught hold of my expert ear over the past 12 months — the full-length discs and/or LPs I consider most worthy of purchase, hi-res download, and/or dropping the needle on! Here, in reverse order, are my favorite 25 albums of 2013. Happy spinning!

25. Jim James: Regions of Light and Sound of God. Mind-/soul-/ear-expanding. Amen, J-man.

24. Kings of Leon: Mechanical Bull. Cojones-shaking rawk.

23. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs: Under the Covers, Vol. 3. Sid and Susie give the ’80s a deep, loving soul kiss. Read my interview with Sid and Susie here.

22. The Rides: Can’t Get Enough. Super Session, Millennial Style: Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Barry Goldberg burn on down the … Read More »

The SoundBard’s Top 25 Songs of 2013

31st December


It’s that time of year: Time to cite the tunes that caught hold of my expert ear over the past 12 months — the ones I consider most worthy of purchase, hi-res download, and/or dropping the needle on at 45 rpm! Here, in reverse order, are my favorite 25 songs of 2013. Happy listening!

25. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: “Any Weather.” Forecast calls for her continued reign. Co-meteorologized with Foomaster Dave Grohl.

24. U2: “Ordinary Love.” As in, “Extra-” and “This Is No.” And Mandela smiles from The Great Beyond.

23. Michael Monroe: “Ballad of the Lower East Side.” Punkin’-A NYC luv letter. Sneer perfection.

22. Baby Woodrose: “Bubblegum.” Flip your tongue like… super-chewy Euro-garage pop!

21. Palmyra Delran: “Some Day Soon.” Hopeful, wistful, wonderful: Yes, please. Stick it out — rewards ahead.

20. Radio Days: “Love and Fun.” Beach-blanket underground-pop rabble-rouser.

19. Charles … Read More »

R.I.P. Lou Reed: The Great American Aural Novelist

28th October


The garage-punk poet laureate has closed his eyes and passed thru fire. Lou Reed died in Amagansett, New York on October 27, 2013, at age 71, from complications following a liver transplant back in May. As rightfully lauded as Reed is for his confessional, envelope-pushing songwriting and overall groundbreaking punk aesthetic, he was also a pioneer in manipulating, harnessing, and experimenting with sound. One quote that has cropped up fairly often in a number of the initial tributes and obituaries is Lou having said that when you put all of his written work together, you come up with the great American novel. But that’s only part of this tried-and-true NYC Man’s story. I submit that Lou Reed was one of the rock era’s first great American aural novelists. To borrow one of his best lines, he was a … Read More »