Quick Shot Reviews
Django and Jimmie
Willie and Mergle are back and sounding like the grizzled outlaw country stars they are. The Okie from Muskogee and the red headed stranger have collaborated for a new album and it is a return to the form that made them popular. It is hard not to like this album if you like Willie and Merle. There are some classic sounding songs on here, some are really fun. These guys really know how to tell a story. They really have that classic country sound down pat and of course they should, they are the pioneers of it! There's a nice tribute or two on here to Johnny Cash and to the old outlaw sound. If you like what these guys put out in the 70's and 80's you owe it to yourself to pick this album up. At the very least check it out on your favorite streaming service but you will want to buy it anyway.
Notable Tracks: It's all Going to Pot, Missing Ol' Johnny Cash, It's Only Money, Swinging Doors
Sound Quality 9/10
Replay Value 7/10
Best Version To Get: This is a nice sounding album. A little tiny bit bass shy but not bad. There is a vinyl version coming out and I would be very interested in hearing that. Until then I would recommend the hi resolution version.
-Jim Carter 6/14/2015
Black Messiah by D'Angelo and The Vanguard
This album was a tough one to review. When listening to it you feel like you are listening to something special and it is. The problem is that there aren't many songs on here that are memorable for me on here. Maybe that is because the lead vocals are a little too buried for my tastes I'm not sure. The overall sound quality is decent except for the decision to bury the lead vocals in the mix. This album is bass heavy but it really doesn't ruin the experience. If you are a D'Angelo fan this is a no brainer, you must pick this up. I say this but if you are a D'Angelo fan you probably already have picked this up. For others, it's an interesting album with some great tracks on it and if you are an R&B and more importantly a Prince fan you owe it to yourself to give this a spin.
Notable Tracks: It Ain't Easy, The Charade, Suggah Daddy
Sound Quality 8/10
Replay Value 8/10
Record Pressing Quality 8/10
Best Version To Get: This was a tough one because the vinyl I feel has the better EQ. The mid-bass is less pronounced on the vinyl which gives opened it up a little more. The hi res download however gets the slight edge when it comes to soundstage and focus. The vinyl looked worse than it sounded. There were several light surface scratches all over the record but it was flat and played relatively quiet. I would say you will be very happy with the record if you get it but I would give the very slight edge to the hi res download.
-Jim Carter 5/23/2015
Into The Wild Life by Halestorm
Lzzy Hale and the gang are back and they put out a solid effort. This time they went back and decided to record everything as if they were playing it live in concert and it shows. An overall solid effort with some very familiar reminders of 80s hard rock and metal thrown in for good measure. There are some flashes of Pink in songs like Dear Daughter and that is a good thing as they pull it off well. If you like pop metal and hard rock this is right up your ally and you should pick it up.
Notable Tracks: Mayhem, Dear Daughter
Sound Quality 7/10
Replay ability 7/10
Best version to get: I would say either the Deluxe CD or the vinyl which has the same tracks as the deluxe CD. The vinyl is a good buy because it comes with the CD too but I can't see there being any sonic benefits since it was recorded in somewhat standard digital audio quality (24/44.1). I think the 2 bonus tracks or worthy enough to pay the extra couple of bucks for them
-Jim Carter 5/23/2015
Pain Killer by Little Big Town (on vinyl!)
Pretty typical Pop Country going on with this record. It's good and has some pretty strong songs on it overall. The sound is a little flat sounding for a record, it sounds like it was taken from a CD quality master which it probably was. If your into the Pop Country scene you owe it to yourself to pick this up if you haven't already.
Notable Tracks: Girl Crush, Turn The Lights On
Sound Quality: 6/10
Replay Ability: 6/10
Quality of Pressing: 4/10
Best Version to get: I would say go for the CD. I don't think the record really offers anything better here. As a matter of fact this was pressed at one of the worst plants in the us (URP) and it shows. This is a 2 record set and the 1st record was warped and off center, the second had a little warp but not as bad as the first one. Both records had lots of surface scratches, most of which didn't affect play but the record did have some noticeable surface noise and more crackles and pops than a new record should.
-Jim Carter 4/4/2015
Rebel Heart by Madonna
Its just more of the same that we have heard from Madonna over the last 15 years or so. It's a mix of electronic music and traditional pop with lyrics that try to shock with a little reggae thrown in for good measure (Unapologetic Bitch). It isn't necessarily bad it just isn't anything that will be considered classic Madonna in a few years, even all the guest stars can't help this album. About the only memorable thing about it for me is the unnecessary use of autotune, distorted drums and heavy compression to the point the music pulses. It's too bad because I think some of the music had some potential. I think the feeling may be universal since it just barely is cracking the top 50 (number 50) after only 2 1/2 weeks of release and none of the songs are even in the top 200!
Notable tracks: Living for Love, Ghosttown,
Sound Quality: 3/10
Replay Ability: 3/10
Best version to get: The iTunes Deluxe Edition version. I can't see how buying the CD or Vinyl versions could be an advantage besides having a physical version of the album but why would you want to?
-Jim Carter 3/28/2015
Piece By Piece by Kelly Clarkson
Kelly's latest effort shows she hasn't lost it when it comes to her singing ability. There are some decent songs on this effort but definitely not here best work. Sound quality on it is decent for a new Pop record but I wouldn't classify it as an audiophile recording by any stretch. There is the occasional moment where they use what seems to be more and more popular (now a days) distorted drums but it isn't often. Overall a decent album and the deluxe edition has some good stuff on it, some even better than what made it on to the standard album.
Notable tracks: Run, Run, Run, Bad Reputation
Sound Quality: 6/10
Replay ability: 5/10
Best version to get: The vinyl, it has all of the songs from the deluxe edition spread across two slabs of wax.
-Jim Carter 3/29/2015
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