Hi there, and welcome to Steve and Dennis and Abe's Record Reviews. (Meet your hosts.) I'm Steve; my qualifications to review music are that I listen to musicand I am a native speaker of English. (However, you can see my musical resume here.) Abe was born on June 15, 2001 and is mostly along for the ride. Dennis joined us on January 22, 2004 and contributes even less.
Here's the deal: Abe, like his pop, occasionally enjoys a midnight snack. To pass the time when I'm feeding him, I like to listen to some music. I thought I'd share my thoughts on our nocturnal auditory experiences. (With Dennis, we're hoping to train him to sleep during the night better than Abe did, so he's not getting the middle-of-the-night stereo sessions in hopes that night time will be kind of boring for him.) I also listen to music on my own, such as in the car, or on the Walkman riding the bus. I intend to tread somewhere between the clinical asperity of Wilson and Alroy and the vulgarity of Mark Prindle. I'll take CosmicBen as my model, without so much info on my love life, or better yet, Brian Burks.
These reviews are not intended to be thorough analyses based on rigorous listening; mostly, I'll just play the record once. Often these are records I've had and enjoyed for many years, so the review is based on prior spins as well. However, sometimes I'll check out a CD from the library, so those reviews are usually based on just one listen (I'll mark the library discs). If you're dismayed by the paucity of reviews, don't worry; I'm trying to update every few days.
The Material (and important information for musicians who want to see their names in cyberspace)
I intend to work from my own record collection, which is not thorough at all. For various reasons, it tends toward 60's and 70's mainstream rock. However, I'm no purist, insisting on buying everything I review.
So, if you'd like to see something reviewed, by all means drop me a line. If I have it, I'll give it a spin. (However, I will not pursue the Prindle policy of heading out and scooping up the entire line of Ventures records.)
If there's something you desperately want reviewed, contact me and we'll see about getting it through the mail. (This goes for your own music, too - I'm happy to take a listen to your stuff. In fact, I hereby institute my own version of the bribery review, called the "CD swap." Send me a copy of your tape or disc, and I'll return a review plus a newly minted disc from one of my bands. I realize being reviewed on this site doesn't have the glamour of being reviewed by Prindle, but my music is better - more coherent, anyway - and includes full color graphics.)
Complaints, criticisms, or bribery reviews: Contact me!
The Mind Behind The Math
Allow me to reveal my biases:
1. Music should sound good. I have little patience for music that is deliberately out-of-tune, distorted, or annoying. Music that is unintentionally bad-sounding (due to incompetence or limited resources) gets credit for effort.
2. Music should be interesting. Songs that fail to hold my attention are the bane of my existence.
3. Songwriting is more important than chops. I appreciate lyrics that go out of their way to avoid cliché and present a new take on common themes. I don't, however, care to delve deeply into the personal lives of the songwriters. A cool chord sequence always trumps a blazing solo.
4. Chops do count, though.
5. I like live-sounding productions; spare me the sampler and the drum machine.
6. Greatest hits records are a boon to mankind. Generally speaking, an artist's best work is usually the most popular. Even great bands can usually be summed up in one album.
I like to read too. Whenever I finish a book, I'll post a blurb on the book reviews page. My tastes run to history and non-fiction.