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Ira Robbins

Reporter

  • The Oceanic Concerts

    In his complex and often confounding career, Pete Townshend has proved himself a master of apparently contradictory impulses. Around 1980, while regularly leading the Who through bruisingly loud expressions of adolescent fury in massive sports arenas, he staged a pair of intimate and contemplative acoustic concerts for fellow disciples of Persian guru Meher Baba at […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Sacrilege: Remixes

    Even in the wild whorl of kraut rock — as Germany's progressive psychedelia of the late '60s and '70s was known — Can stood apart. As older academics steeped in neoclassical, free jazz and electronics, they came at rock from the outside; with a healthy disregard for convention, Can played rock music as if it […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Radiohead: Making the Summer’s Coolest Music

    The British quintet share the secrets behind their debut album 'Pablo Honey'

    • Music
  • Loveless

    As the world's record-company giants consolidate into the mythical OmniVox Unicorp, pockets of independent-label resistance endure, even thrive, on the strength of artistic vision rather than unlimited capital. Since the mid-Eighties, London's Creation Records has wielded a mighty influence on the trend-mad taste of young Britons, successfully promoting its characteristic breed of noisy pop as […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Nevermind

    Despite the hand-wringing the fanzines do each time an indie-rock hero signs a major-label deal, righteous postpunk stars from Hüsker Dü to Soundgarden have joined the corporate world without debasing their music. More often than not, ambitious left-of-the-dial bands gallantly cling to their principles as they plunge into the depths of commercial failure. Integrity is […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Mall

    Unlike most of the defunct groups that have reunited lately, the Gang of Four conveys a positive sense of purpose — unfinished business rather than unpaid bills — on the bracing Mall, the innovative band's first new studio album in seven years. A decade before funk-fired rock became trendy, these British radicals bucked the roaring […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Layla Sessions: 20th Anniversary Edition…

    As a near fatality of the Woodstock Generation's holy trinity — love, music and drugs — Eric Clapton was more than qualified to sing the blues by 1970. Guitar-god superstardom had left the twenty-five-year-old legend disillusioned and burnt; a smack habit and unrequited love for Patti Boyd, the wife of his best friend, George Harrison, […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Human Soul

    Ever since he brought British soul punk to songwriting in 1976, Graham Parker has been working on the difficult second act of his career. Lacking Elvis Costello's ingenuity or Joe Jackson's ambition, the more simply talented Parker has never reinvented his music persona: While various producers and musicians have adjusted the tone of his recordings, […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Don’t Tell A Soul

    When The Replacements left the indie world to sign with a major label four years ago, fans of the Minneapolis quartet wondered if the corporate music industry could somehow subvert the rock underground's most feckless heroes and turn them into a calculating hit machine. They needn't have worried. The band — raised on the fodder […]

    • Album Reviews
  • Lap Of Luxury

    Employing a variety of producers and stylistic retreads, Cheap Trick has spent the Eighties in a vain attempt to regain commercial and creative momentum. The Tricksters can't have failed to notice that, coincidentally or not, their fortunes sagged right after the departure of bassist extraordinaire Tom Petersson. Although all four albums since 1980's All Shook […]

    • Album Reviews