Music

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Morning Phase by Beck

One of the reasons Beck is beloved by critics is that he doesn't just put out warmed over versions of his "sound;" although, his music is certainly identifiable.  Morning Phase is recognizably Beck, but the more atmospheric, reflective Beck. Almost every one of his albums has had a song on it that I've loved instantly and forever and this album is no exception. In this case that song is "Heart is a Drum." That's not to say that there is only one good song, there are many: "Say Goodbye", "Blue Moon", "Morning" and "Blackbird Chain" among the best.

Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles by Suzanne Vega

Remember Luka? Suzanne Vega has just released her first album of original material in seven years (her 8th album for those of you counting). These ten new tracks instantly sound familiar and comfortable, like reuniting with an old friend. I hadn't realized I missed her, but her voice takes me back and the simple guitar work is the perfect accompanment (this is not the Tom's Diner remix!) Ms. Vega has great industry connections. She started her own label in 2010 and this album was mixed by Kevin Killen (who has worked with Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush).

Give the People What They Want by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Retro r&b belter Sharon Jones remains in fine form on her latest album of funky, soulful, horn-punctuated songs, backed up by the fabulous Dap-Kings. Whether or not you remember the heyday of 60s r&b and soul music, you'll be hard put not to love this stuff. Exciting and ecstatically fun to sing along with, dance to, drive to, or just listen to! Check Our Catalog

WomanChild by Cécile McLorin Salvant

With a sound that could have been recorded by Blue Note in 1954, this album is sure to delight vocal jazz fans. Three years after winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocalist competition this twenty-something rising star has been lauded by luminaries including Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau, and Dianne Reeves.

Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's Another Self-Portrait, the tenth volume of the Bootleg Series, includes four CDs that will delight any Dylan fan that longs for his Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait, folk-roots days. While the original Self Portrait album was panned in 1970 by fans who weren't interested in hearing Dylan return to his roots, it is worth a listen now and especially in this remastered and reimagined form. Also included in the set is the full 1969 Isle of Wight concert with The Band, as well as some wonderful and insightful liner notes.

Nordo by Air Traffic Controller

Local power-pop craftsmen, Air Traffic Controller provide some light, catchy tunes on this sophomore album. Sometimes sounding a bit like They Might Be Giants, with significant influence from Bleu (the producer for Nordo and their previous album, The One), this will sound new but familiar all at once.

Random Access Memories by Daft Punk

 Although much of this CD features a generic disco beat and really long, repetitive songs, I encourage everyone to have a listen.  I sincerely believe this album was released on a dare. Sadly, for the listener, every song on this album is a least 3 minutes too long, except disco monologue "Moroder" which, at 9 minutes and 4 seconds, is 9 minutes and 4 seconds too long.

Psychedelic Pill by Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Psychedelic Pill absolutely rocks. This is what rock-and-roll is supposed to be: loud, cranky, and grungy. You won't want to listen to these tracks on shuffle--this is an album meant to be experienced beginning to end. That being said, if listening to 87 minutes of Neil Young and Crazy Horse isn’t your style, you still won’t want to miss “Ramada Inn” and “Walk Like a Giant,” two of their best songs ever and probably two of the best songs of the year. These cranky old rockers sound like they did at their peak, and if that sounds like something you'd like, you will love Psychedelic Pill.

Banga by Patti Smith

I am of two minds about this CD. I love it but I also think it's pretentious and ridiculous.  I love the music and her voice but the poetry sometimes makes me cringe...or chuckle.  But who am I to complain?  I have no muse.

Falling Off the Sky by the dB's

I figured I better review the new dB's CD Falling Off the Sky since I mentioned its release as being the reason behind my recommending their Sound of Music a few months ago.   One of the best things about it is that the music isn't a rehash of old dB's, they are older and wiser and it shows in the content of their songs.  There are several catchy songs but also a few colossal duds,  the worst being the weepy lament "Far Away and Long Ago".  The rest of them are middle of the road pop/rock

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