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Category Archive for 'Rock/Pop'

Ark Ovrutski: 44:33

“Titled after the length of the album, this latest release by bassist Ark Ovrutski delivers just under ¾ of an hour’s worth of toe tapping post bop. Along with Michael Dease/tb, Michael Thomas/as-ss, David Berkman/p an dUllysses Owens/dr, Ovrutski sizzles on pieces like ‘New Orleans’ and ‘Medium’ that feature Deases rich trombone, while Thomas uses [...]

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“In a sense, nearly every album Eric Clapton recorded after 1970 has been a tribute to J.J. Cale. On that first solo album, Clapton cut a cover of Cale’s ‘After Midnight’ and while he was under the spell of Delaney Bramlett for that album, soon enough Slowhand began drifting toward the laconic shuffle that was [...]

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Bryan Ferry: Avonmore

“On the album art of Avonmore, the record he released when he was a year shy of 70, Bryan Ferry showcases himself as a dashing young man — a portrait of an artist not as a glam trailblazer or distinguished elder statesman, but rather caught in an indeterminate time between the gorgeous heartbreak of Roxy [...]

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Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways

“Constructed as an aural travelog through the great rock & roll cities of America — a journey that was documented on an accompanying HBO mini-series of the same name — Sonic Highways picks up the thread left dangling from Sound City: Real to Reel; it celebrates not the coiled fury of underground rock exploding into [...]

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J. Cole: 2014 Forest Hills Drive

“Named after the address of his childhood home in North Carolina, J. Cole’s third studio effort was released with no supporting singles, and there are no featured artists, either, because 2014 Forest Hills Drive is one of those personal, conceptual, and ‘heavy’ albums. Most importantly, it’s admirable bordering on excellent, sure to inspire returning fans [...]

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Perfume Genius: Too Bright

“In some ways, Perfume Genius’ intimate, unflinching balladry reached its logical conclusion on Put Your Back N 2 It. On that deceptively gentle collection of songs, Mike Hadreas’ songwriting gained more agency while opening the door to the possibilitieshe explores to the fullest on Too Bright. With the help of Portishead’s Adrian Utley and PJ [...]

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The Afghan Whigs: Do to the Beast

“Do to the Beast is an ambitious attempt to re-create the feeling of the Afghan Whigs while retooling their sonic fingerprint; the final product is intelligent and often fascinating, but it doesn’t deliver like the Afghan Whigs do at their best, and ultimately comes off as a brave but somewhat unsatisfying experiment.” -allmusic.com   Check [...]

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“‘Haunting’ is an overused adjective, but it still defines Mirel Wagner’s music perfectly. It certainly applied to her self-titled debut, which brought folk and blues back to their eldritch roots with songs that fell somewhere between nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and murder ballads. It’s an even more apt description of her intensely beautiful and unsettling [...]

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“With its skittish and fuzzed-out production and tendency to shift direction on a whim, the album feels as though it’s trying to re-create the feeling of hearing an album like Sgt. Pepper’s for the first time in 1967, re-creating that feeling that absolutely anything could happen at any moment. Like some of their past collaborations, [...]

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Flying Lotus: You’re dead!

“An early form of You’re Dead! was the length of a double album — a large mass of brief tracks that, for Steven Ellison, possibly signified nothing more than his fifth Flying Lotus album. As the producer and keyboardist spent more time absorbing and shaping the recordings, the title, initially comic in meaning, gained emotional [...]

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David Guetta: Listen

“…Guetta does the build, break, and drop thing on some cuts, while tastefully keeping other songs EDM free, but his major contribution when it comes to creativity seems to be the inspired Black Eyed Peas and township jive mashing he does on ‘Lift Me Up’ with Nico & Vinz plus Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Otherwise, he [...]

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“He (Rice) whittles away the excess in his words and melody, then dresses the detailed sculpture in finely tailored accouterments of slightly sighing strings, strummed guitars, and a hint of forward momentum lying within buried rhythms. This means My Favourite Faded Fantasy may come on as a bit underwhelming at first but that’s the intent: [...]

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Bette Midler: It’s the Girls!

“Bette Midler’s 2014 effort, It’s the Girls!, finds the legendary vocalist paying homage to female girl groups from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. Never one to be underestimated, however, Midler also brings the homage full circle with a reworking of TLC’s 1995 R&B hit ‘Waterfalls.’ Midler’s 14th studio album and 25th album overall, It’s the [...]

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Simple Minds: Big Music

“Big Music finds Simple Minds coming full circle — going all the way back to 1979 for inspiration. They’ve rediscovered the urgent, keyboard-driven post-punk futurism of recordings such as Empires and Dance and Sons and Fascination. Rather than try to merely re-create them, they’ve integrated them with the more guitar-centric classicism of New Gold Dream, [...]

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Maroon 5: V

“…the vibe shifts slightly back to the soulful pop that’s remained at Maroon 5′s core since the beginning, here given an ever so slight maturation to balance the modern moves heard on the rest of the record. Sometimes, the group achieves a delicate balance between the two extremes — ‘It Was Always You,’ ‘New Love,’ [...]

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Mogwai: Rave Tapes

“As impressive as Rave Tapes’ rockers are, the album’s heart lies in subtler tracks like ‘Heard About You Last Night,’ a dreamy prelude that makes the most of the delicacy Mogwai has excelled at since their early days. Similarly, the quietly anthemic ‘Blues Hour’ and vocoder-driven ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’ hark back to [...]

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Joe Henry: Invisible Hour

“Joe Henry has always had a knack for excellent wordplay and knows how to find great sounds and conjure great performances in the studio, but Invisible Hour is most impressive in how spare it is; there is almost nothing here that doesn’t help set the mood or move the songs forward, and in this elegant [...]

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“The reading of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Going Home’ recalls the half-spoken/half-sung delivery (with Brian Eno on backing vocals no less) and places the singer in the place of the subject’s muse, observing him without pity or condemnation. Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’ is reinterpreted through the Weimar Republic’s cabaret musical vocabulary, too: [...]

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Garth Brooks: Man Against Machine

“From its beefy arena rock arrangements to its preponderance of power ballads, this is an album constructed from remnants of the golden age of the diamond album, a cross-demographical blockbuster that’s now a bit of accidental narrowcasting. This is for audiences who wish they made country records like they used to — not when Hank, [...]

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Stromae: Racine Carree

“At first look, Stromae’s pumping Euro-disco with a dash of hip-hop and world music may seem fairly indistinguishable from offerings by many others artists on the Continent. As incongruous as it sounds, what sets Stromae apart from his peers are actually his lyrics — something that you do not hear too often (read: never) when [...]

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