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Monthly Archive for August, 2011

“Shimabukuro gained recognition when his version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ went viral on Youtube, but as he shows on much of Peace, Love, Ukulele, he is more interested in his own original compositions. The ear-catching cover here is Shimabukuro’s nearly unaccompanied version of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.”–All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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The Vaselines: Sex With An X

“Sex with an X is filled with wryly humorous tunes that sport extremely catchy singalong choruses. Lyrics aside, the important things is that the songs are as catchy as kissing disease and way more fun. So many comebacks end up being embarrassing or lame that it’s easy to write them off without even hearing the [...]

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Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What

“So Beautiful elegantly touches upon each of Simon’s solo signatures within a compact 38 minutes, its brevity indicating the precision of Simon’s focus. There are no wasted sounds or words here, and if he offers some of his simplest, prettiest tunes in years (“Love & Hard Times,” “Amulet”) and spends a considerable chunk of the [...]

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“According to Steve Earle’s liner notes for I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive, these 11 songs are all ‘about mortality in one way or another.’ Certainly the title — after a song by Hank Williams (also the title of Earle’s new novel) — reflects this, but these songs bear that out in spades.”–All [...]

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“Bingham and his Dead Horses create a sound planted deeply in folk, country, blues, and roots rock. These lyrically direct songs reflect lost, desperate, displaced individuals, all dreaming the same dark dream and all growing tenser with the times — and some fall over the edge.”–All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Although released during the golden days of England’s indie folk scene, Last Night on Earth reaches far beyond the genre, relying heavily on keyboards and leaving the acoustic riffage to Mumford & Sons. Noah & the Whale sound genuinely happy to be exploring a new direction, and tracks like “Tonight’s the Kind of Night” fuse [...]

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Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming

“On first spin, most listeners won’t be able to tell that gutsy soul singer Charles Bradley’s Daptone debut wasn’t recorded in the late ’60s and dusted off for release in early 2011. The music and performances are vibrant and alive with arrangements that are innovative yet informed by their roots. Retro-soul aficionados who claim they [...]

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“Some of the songs are comedic: the hilarious faux-gospel harmony number “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs” is an album highlight despite its lack of an interesting melody, and “Women Like to Slow Dance” is both a wry reflection on gender differences and a straight-up bluegrass barnburner. “Jubilation Day” is one of the funnier kiss-off songs [...]

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William Tyler: Behold the Spirit

“Behold the Spirit is an otherworldly recording. Certainly it is rooted in folk music, but it cannot be contained by it. It enters the culture from so many directions — both inside and outside the usual dialogues — it is by its nature something quite other, that is at once strange and almost unspeakably beautiful.” [...]

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Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain

“There’s a modesty in this set of songs that jibes with their quiet eloquence, and just as Harris’ vocals are always full of striking beauty without diva moves, this cycle of songs isn’t flashy so much as it’s honest and moving, capturing the rhythms of life with an uncanny accuracy.” –All Music Guide Check Our [...]

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The Mamas & The Papas: Icon

“Icon is an 11-track collection that features several greatest hits of the Mamas & the Papas: “California Dreamin,” “Monday, Monday,” “I Saw Her Again,” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me.”” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Joe Cocker: Icon

“Joe Cocker has always been a superb interpreter of songs, taking each one he tackles and jerking and twisting it into new shapes, wringing every bit of emotion out of it in mesmerizing fashion, all of which has made him an iconic and unique artist.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Much of Smoke Ring for My Halo sounds like early Simon & Garfunkel with a concussion, but Vile’s blurry psychedelic folk rock is more interested in atmosphere than in messages or wordplay. He’s mastered the tuneful shrug, the song that sounds unfinished and tossed off but sticks fast to your brain and keeps revealing a [...]

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Chris Brown: F.A.M.E.

“Everything from the title of his new disc, F.A.M.E. (an acronym for the off-putting title ”Forgiving All My Enemies”), to his recent nude photos and ill-advised tweets suggests that Brown has not yet mastered the art of image rehabilitation. Musically, though, he’s in top form. F.A.M.E. shines brighter than anything he produced before that now-infamous [...]

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Foo Fighters: Wasting Light

“Wasting Light, the group’s seventh studio album…was recorded with rock überproducer Butch Vig (he manned the boards for Sonic Youth, the Smashing Pumpkins, and, yes, Nirvana) in Grohl’s basement using only analog equipment. As if that weren’t enough, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould, and the Germs’ Pat Smear, who played with the [...]

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Teddy Thompson: Bella

“Thompson embraces extravagance on his fifth studio album, with string arrangements embellishing the dark undercurrents in his melodies. On Bella, he channels Roy Orbison heartbreak, Lou Christie falsetto, and Righteous Brothers drama with stirring results.” –Entertainment Weekly Check Our Catalog

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“Stuart claims that the inspiration for Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions occurred on August 29, 2005, in an empty train station in Philadelphia, MS after he heard the news of Hurricane Katrina’s arrival in the Gulf. He went and stood on the empty tracks until he heard a northbound train, then moved and stood [...]

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Judas Priest: British Steel

“The first salvo fired in heavy metal’s ultimate takeover of the hard rock landscape during the 1980s. Packed with strong melodic hooks, British Steel is a deliberate commercial move, forsaking the complexity of the band’s early work in favor of a robust, AC/DC-flavored groove.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Sam Beam, the bearded craftsman otherwise known as Iron & Wine, is the very personification of musical consistency. As he’s progressed from murmured acoustic ruminations (2002′s The Creek Drank the Cradle) to full-blooded, rainbow-hued aural expanses (2007′s The Shepherd’s Dog), he’s gotten only weirder and incrementally more engaging. And when it comes to straight-up angelic [...]

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Wagner: Parsifal

“Parsifal is a demanding opera to pull off, and in this magisterial, broadly paced reading, Gergiev and his players make it sound gorgeously luminous while at the same time maintaining a sense of dramatic urgency.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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