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Category Archive for 'Rock/Pop'

Madonna: Rebel Heart

“Rebel Heart was introduced to the world with an indiscipline uncharacteristic of Madonna. Blame it on hackers who rushed out a clutch of unfinished tracks at the end of 2014, a few months before the record’s scheduled spring release. Madonna countered by putting six full tracks up on a digital service, a move that likely [...]

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Dwight Yoakam: Second Hand Heart

“Dwight Yoakam recalibrated his career with 2012′s 3 Pears, returning to his former home of Warner and reconnecting to the nerviness of his first albums. With Second Hand Heart, Yoakam continues this unfussy revival, sharpening his attack so the record breezes by at a crisp, crackling clip. Once again, he’s reviving himself through reconnecting the [...]

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Barnstar!: Sit Down! Get Up! Get Out!

“A local example of that oxymoron, the ‘sideman supergroup,’ Barnstar! — Zachariah Hickman, Charlie Rose, Mark Erelli, and Taylor and Jake Amerding — has released a sophomore record that reveals a continuing fondness for the exclamation point, and for bluegrass-based, genre-bending music filled with jawdropping harmonizing, emotive ensemble playing, and a raucous immediacy.” -Stuart Munro/TheBostonGlobe.com [...]

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Passion Pit: Kindred

“Married after his group’s previous album, Gossamer, having split from prior bandmates, and appearing in a PSA about the importance of his having sought professional help for his bipolar disorder, frontman Michael Angelakos presents a gratitude-imbued, relatively ballad-heavy, but still sparkling third Passion Pit LP in Kindred. In no great shift from the distinctive sound [...]

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“On 2012′s Fear Fun, Josh Tillman introduced audiences to Father John Misty, a jaded and erudite, faux-bohemian retro-pop confectioner with a strong surrealist bent and an aptitude for capturing the American zeitgeist via wry couplets concerning the culturally and morally ambiguous wasteland of southern California. That penchant for gutter-highbrow confessionalism still looms large on his [...]

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Mark Knopfler: Tracker

“Scaled smaller than 2012′s double-album Privateering, Tracker also feels suitably subtle, easing its way into being instead of announcing itself with a thunder. Such understatement is typical of Mark Knopfler, particularly in the third act of his career. When he left Dire Straits behind, he also left behind any semblance of playing for the cheap [...]

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Alabama Shakes: Sound and Color

“On their 2012 debut Boys & Girls, Alabama Shakes never hid that they were creatures of the New South — a band with old-fashioned blues, soul, gospel, and country in their blood but raised on modern rock. On their 2015 follow-up, Sound & Color, they free themselves from the vestiges of the past, let loose, [...]

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Kelly Clarkson: Piece by Piece

“These cuts, along with the title track, manage to strike the right balance of Kelly’s indomitable character and fresh electronic beats but overall Piece by Piece sounds a shade too desperate, which means it winds up having the opposite effect than intended: instead of sounding like a new start, Clarkson sounds a little bit behind [...]

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“Here, Giddens expands upon the neo-string band of the Carolina Chocolate Drops by crafting an abbreviated and fluid history of 20th century roots music — along with the older forms that informed it — concentrating on songs either written or popularized by female musicians. As a torchbearer, not a revivalist, Giddins isn’t concerned with replicating [...]

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“As always, she’s (Carlile) grounded in Americana, often straying into a burnished folky melancholy but finding space for urgent country stomps and such full-throttle rock & roll as ‘Blood Muscle Skin & Bone,’ whose hook places it in a netherworld between arena rock and power pop. None of the stylistic shifts amount to showboating: it [...]

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Bettye LaVette: Worthy

“Worthy is another impressive release from an outstanding singer, and if it follows the pattern of some of her recent albums, nothing here sounds rote; this is the sound of an artist doing what she does best, and she is far more than worthy of this great music.” -allmusic.com Check our Catalog

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Dengue Fever: The Deepest Lake

“While Dengue Fever could almost have qualified as a novelty act when they first started out (Los Angeles hipsters playing decades-old Cambodian pop tunes? Talk about high concept!), they’ve matured into a richly satisfying band, blending several different cultures and styles into an indie rock melting pot, and 2015′s The Deepest Lake, their sixth studio [...]

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“Irony abounds in the title of Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, the ninth album by the Scottish collective Belle & Sebastian. It goes unstated that the record was released in an atmosphere not quite synonymous with peace, but the group unquestionably want to dance, spending nearly half of this lengthy record grooving to a [...]

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Modest Mouse: Strangers to Ourselves

“The trick is, he [Isaac Brock] now has the skill of a consummate craftsman, so the raggedness here comes across as deliberate, probably because the moments that are less consciously quirky — i.e., the bulk of the album — are so skillfully constructed. So, Strangers to Ourselves is an album where the trees matter more [...]

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Butch Walker: Afraid of Ghosts

“As it somewhat deemphasizes Walker’s way with big hooks — the very thing that made him an in-demand session man — Afraid of Ghosts isn’t as immediate as some of his other records, but it will suit the needs of anybody craving a record that sounds like Ryan Adams used to make them back in [...]

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Lady Lamb the Beekeeper: After

“There are plenty of startling moments full of guts and gristle in Lady Lamb’s dense lyrics, and then there are the moments when she wanders. The fingerpicked ‘Sunday Shoes’ stretches out between the shoegaze-inflected ‘Heretic’ and ‘Spat Out Spit’, injecting a weird bubble of space into the album’s flow. The rousing coda on ‘Penny Licks’ [...]

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Various: 2015 Grammy Nominees

“Issued by RCA three weeks prior to the 57th Annual Grammy Awards telecast, 2015 Grammy Nominees, like yearly releases before it, emphasizes the ‘big four’ categories. Since four of the nominees for Record of the Year (namely ‘Chandelier,’ ‘Stay with Me,’ ‘Shake It Off,’ and ‘All About That Bass’ — were also up for Song [...]

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“The New Basement Tapes recorded Lost on the River in a real studio fully aware there was an audience awaiting their output, an attitude that’s the polar opposite of the ramshackle joshing around of the original Basement Tapes. Thankfully, nobody involved with Lost on the River contrives to replicate either the sound or feel of [...]

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Tuxedo: Tuxedo

“Unsurprisingly to anyone who’s heard Hawthorne’s note-perfect take on ’60s soul, the duo proves to be masterful at re-creating the feel of the moment in the early ’80s when disco began to die out and was replaced by the funkier sounds of boogie and electric funk. The duo conjures up visceral memories of the finest [...]

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Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell

“Carrie & Lowell is the most harrowingly personal work Stevens has offered us to date; it also ranks with his most skillfully crafted albums despite its spartan approach, and it’s a sometimes difficult but profoundly moving work. Stevens has offered us some fine albums in the past, but he’s never made anything quite like Carrie [...]

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