• Like A Neon Rainbow

    April 22, 2014 4:08 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Neon Trees: Pop Psychology (Island/Mercury) There are certain records that seem to arrive at precisely the right time, offering music that resonates, fat-free and without excess, that are fascinating for their absolute purity. And that would be the case for this latest album by Provo, Utah’s Neon Trees, who with their flashy, multi-colored clothes and conspicuous flair for ‘80s-style pop seem slightly out of time—and deliberately so. With its healthy batch of aggressively ca...  | More »

  • Rock, Roll & Ronstadt

    April 8, 2014 5:30 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Linda Ronstadt: Duets (Rhino) There’s probably a generation or two who’ll note Linda Ronstadt’s being admitted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and wonder exactly what the nice lady who made those orchestral albums with Nelson Riddle back in the ‘80s has to do with Kurt Cobain and Gene Simmons. I’m not sure this compilation of her duets answers that question—Frank Sinatra, Bette Midler, James Ingram and James Taylor aren’t exactly Chuck Berry&rsquo...  | More »

  • Have a Happy Dio!

    March 31, 2014 4:55 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Various Artists: Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life(Rhino) When all of music rushes by in a confusing blur, and this week’s superstar is next week’s has-been, there’s a certain comfort to be had in those musicians truly iconic—and boy, is that an overused term—in their genre. And so it is that the pint-sized, highly respected, golden-throated metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio, here in 1942 and gone in 2010, is in the public eye once more. This well-meaning ...  | More »

  • Shakira Sings, Dances, Is Most Popular Person On Earth, Etc.

    March 25, 2014 12:25 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Shakira: Shakira. (RCA) Certainly more important than the fact that Colombian pop superstar Shakira has a brand new album out is the unexpected news that she has recently become the most popular person on Facebook on the entire planet—with over 86.2 million followers, according to a popular rewritten press release! Adds the tempestuous singer: “I always wanted to have a lot of friends, but never imagined it would be so many!” So let’s get real: Even if this brand new a...  | More »

  • Strypes & Stars Forever!

    March 18, 2014 10:50 AM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    The Strypes: Snapshot (Island/Def Jam) This week sees the release of the debut set from Irish quartet the Strypes, a young, tight and exciting combo of the sort that arises every few years and excites the hell out of generations both young and old. Rocking with stunning precision, with attitude to spare, a charismatic lead vocalist, and nary a wasted note, the band boasts an efficiency and power that can’t help but impress younger music fans; older music fans, on the other hand, might...  | More »

  • The Cat In The Hat Comes Back!

    March 4, 2014 11:45 AM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Pharrell Williams: G I R L (Columbia) Few would deny that the most fascinating album release of the week comes courtesy not just of the talented Pharrell Williams, but via his extraordinary hat, which in the scheme of things—the world at war, recent American cultural ceremonies honoring the best of music and film, hot TV shows like True Detective—could not be more profoundly relevant. Plus, like his hat, were you to buy this album in its vinyl configuration, place it between two s...  | More »

  • Beck To Basics!

    February 25, 2014 11:30 AM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Beck: Morning Phase (Capitol) It struck me as I was listening to this new Beck album for maybe the third time that 1) It is very good and 2) Lots of people I know are bigger fans of him than I am. “Oh, isn’t this record great?” asked one co-worker, “it’s like his best since Sea Change.” Someone else came by twiceand caught me listening to it two days in a row. “This is like my favorite album of the year,” said she. “It reminds me of Sea Ch...  | More »

  • Benmont Tench: I, Heartbreaker!

    February 19, 2014 3:35 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Though this purports to be a weekly recap of the week’s best, most exciting and best-decorated album releases, there are those certain times when, to be blunt, your guess is as good as mine! Back before my friend Larry invented the Internet, most music critics dealt in a world of print publications with three-month album review lead times, advance cassettes, promises not to leak said cassettes to over-eager radio stations, and a well-orchestrated publicity and promotion plan perfectly ...  | More »

  • Bells Of The Ball!

    February 4, 2014 11:20 AM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Between the Grammys and last weekend’s Super Bowl halftime show, and the insanely whacked out world of today’s social media in overdrive, you’d think the entire world has embraced pop music like never before. But Bruno Mars vs. the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Really? I don’t know about you, but most everyone I know thinks Bruno Mars is an extremely talented dude with not too much “there” there! And the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Obnoxious, shirtless, and tuneless!...  | More »

  • He’s Croz, But He’s Not Angry!

    January 28, 2014 6:32 PM ET
     |  Dave DiMartino

    Have to admit to being more impressed than usual by Sunday night’s Grammys awards broadcast! Why? It’s simple! *The nice assemblage of top-level talent. *The eye-opening array of very popular artists who, I’ve come to realize, mean very little to me personally. *The surrealistic, often jarring performance combinations—Kendrick Lamar with Imagine Dragons, say, or Metallica with Lang Lang. *My unexpectedly lengthy stay at the Sherman Oaks Jiffy Lube--which made me m...  | More »

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