Steve and Dennis and Abe's Record Reviews
"It may be grouchy, but it's music." - Mr. Hoots the Owl

Latest update: September 23, 2005

Aerosmith ... Jim Akans ... Alice Cooper ... The Allman Brothers Band ... The Andrews Sisters ... J. Armen ... Bachman-Turner Overdrive ... The Band ... Barenaked Ladies ... The Beatles ... Harry Belafonte ... Bobby Bland ... Gary U.S. Bonds ... The Bottle Rockets ... James Brown ... Tim Buckley ... Carpenters ... Johnny Cash ... Cheap Trick ... Chicago ... Dave Clark Five ... Gilby Clarke ... The Clash ... Joe Cocker ... Cornershop ... Elvis Costello and the Attractions ... Creedence Clearwater Revival ... Rick Danko ... Delusional ... John Denver ... Disclaimer ... Dread Zeppelin ... Bob Dylan ... Eagles ... Emerson, Lake & Palmer ... Gloria Estefan ... Melissa Etheridge ... Europe ... José Feliciano ... The Fifth Dimension ... Marvin Gaye ... The Georgia Satellites ... The Guess Who ... Guns n' Roses ... Guys and Dolls ... George Harrison ... Corey Hart ... P.J. Harvey ... Richard X. Heyman ... Garth Hudson ... The Impressions ... Michael Jackson ... The James Gang ... The Jayhawks ... Billy Joel ... Elton John ... Kiss ... John Knowlton ... Steve Knowlton and the Knowl-Tones ... Led Zeppelin ... Loggins & Messina ... Lene Lovich ... Nick Lowe ... Lynyrd Skynyrd ... Kirsty MacColl ... Madonna ... Barbara Manning ... The Marshall Tucker Band ... Paul McCartney ... Paul McCartney's Ego ... Meat Puppets ... John Mellencamp ... George Michael ... Mineral Kings ... Ministry ... Joni Mitchell ... Mix Tapes ... Moby ... Van Morrison ... Mötley Crüe ... My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult ... Bob Newhart ... Los Niños de Sara ... Nirvana ... One Fluid Ounce ... Roy Orbison ... Pink Floyd ... The Presidents of the United States of America ... Pretenders ... Primus ... Prince ... Quarterflash ... Queen ... Radiohead ... The Rascals ... R.E.M. ... Smokey Robinson and the Miracles ... The Rolling Stones ... Linda Ronstadt ... Bob Seger ... Shonen Knife ... Paul Simon ... The Smithereens ... Sonic Youth ... Soundtrack Mind ... The Cast of South Park ... Britney Spears ... Tony Spinelli ... Bruce Springsteen ... Rod Stewart ... Stone Temple Pilots ... The Strokes ... The Stylistics ... Television ... Van Halen ... Vanilla Fudge ... The Velvet Underground ... The Who ... Jane Wiedlin ... The Wiggles ... Wings ... Stevie Wonder ... Wreckless Eric ... XTC ... Yes ... Neil Young ... Paul Young ... Frank Zappa

(Extras: Book reviews; Music That Irritates Me; Music That Makes My Day; Concert File;
Turkeys and Gravy; Macca Meets Jacko; Ratings Overview; My Musical Resume; Silly Lists;
Second Opinions; What I've Really Been Listening To Lately;
The Thinking Surfer's Beatles Quiz)

Help us choose Abe's future by taking our poll.

The Men
   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.

The Madness
   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.

The Method
   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 Math
   Ratings are on a scale of zero to ten. Zero is a record so lacking in musical value that I literally could not finish listening to it. Ten is a perfect record. Because records are made by human beings, there are no tens (unless someone comes up with a recording of the seraphim singing 'round the Throne of Heaven.)
   At this page you can compare all the ratings at a glance. I take zero to ten literally - a five record is half decent, so an eight is a really, really good record and a four is not terrible, just below average.
   For records that I listen to with Abe, he's also giving a "squirm factor" rating, showing how content he was listening. One is calmly sucking, five is spitting up. Since I listen with the headphones on and Abe doesn't hear the music, these ratings have no meaning, but he likes to be involved. (Note: as of July 29, 2002, Abe's ratings are changing. Since he sleeps through the night now, he'll only be rating records we listen to while playing around the house, and the rating reflects how well-behaved he was. One is playing calmly with toys, five is biting his dad.)

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.

   And if you want to find a second opinion, here are lots of them.

   Here I detail some music that really irritates me!

   And here I point out some music that makes my day!

   And here you'll find a special section on "Turkeys and Gravy"!

   And here is my silly lists page!