Thursday, January 27, 2022

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Sound Check




ATO Records

People don’t tend to care much about Phish’s studio albums. There’s just something about that “live jam” feel that the band has never really been able to translate into a studio cut. But, you know, hope springs eternal. So is “Fuego” the album that makes people embrace Phish’s studio side? Probably not. But it is good. The nice thing to see here is that the band isn’t just squatting down and plopping out a retread of its old sound. It’s still definitely Phish, but it’s clearly a band that still has fun with what it does, and isn’t unwilling to explore the occasional dusty corner of its sound. “555” is probably the best track on the album, and it gets there on the back of bassist Mike Gordon’s funky groove that’s punctuated by some brassy background singers. It’s not live, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. CV

Old CrowOld Crow Medicine Show



ATO Records

It really says a lot about how good Old Crow is when you consider that their signature single, 2004’s “Wagon Wheel,” has now been covered by literally every person with a guitar and four minutes of time, and everyone not only still thinks the original is the best but is also not tired of hearing them play it. “Remedy” doesn’t have anything that will capture the planet’s attention like “Wagon Wheel,” but that doesn’t stop it from being yet another pitch-perfect addition to the band’s catalog. From the frenetic, rollicking “8 Dogs 8 Banjos” to the sweeping, Dylan-esque “Sweet Amarillo,” everything Old Crow shows us here is unpretentious, earnestly happy and as open and wide as the American range. They may not have another “Wagon Wheel” in them. But if they stay this good, they don’t really need one. CV

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