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Monthly Archive for December, 2012

“Holidays Rule attempts to shake up the standard holiday listening with a cross section of artists ranging from ragtag indie acts to legitimate pop icons having a go at time-honored Christmas classics and wintry holiday songs. The collection features contributions from 17 diverse acts….” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“[A]miable, quaint, mischievous, sad, and disarmingly sincere. …[A] relatively simple, country-folk record, albeit one with a college degree, and when it connects it hits that sweet spot between joy and despair that has served as the target for many a dusty brimmed singer/songwriter over the years. The Avett Brothers aren’t rewriting the book, they’re just [...]

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Zach Cowie: Country Funk 1969-1975

“Country Funk: 1969-1975 brings together 16 sides from the catalogs of artists well-known and marginal, whose works all share mercurial qualities: their Southern rural roots actively engage emergent funk. …Country Funk: 1969-1975 illuminates a brief but fruitful period where genre lines blurred, and both genres benefited mightily.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“On ‘Knock Knock Get Up,’ the Boston-based troupe…weaves bright tunes from border-crossing folk threads. DWM doesn’t deliver straight Mexican or American traditions, instead steeping contemporary writing and performance styles in those influences for a fresh hybrid. The lyrics have matured, now as captivating as the sounds around the words. …DWM has leapt up the ranks [...]

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Mike Viola: Acousto de Perfecto

“‘Acousto’ is…stunningly beautiful. Recorded live and accompanied by just his guitar and two violas — yes, Viola performs with violas — he has created a song cycle of great intimacy and warmth. With his sweet husk of a voice, Viola explores everything from self-doubt…to the meaning of love….” –Boston Globe Check Our Catalog

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Miguel: Kaleidoscope Dream

“Kaleidoscope Dream sounds, at its utmost, natural and easy, an artist set free to do what he wants and proving himself every bit the unique voice his debut seemed to deny. It’s respectful of tradition, quietly ambitious, and deeply personal, a wonderfully considered album from an artist who was starting to seem a lot like [...]

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Beth Orton: Sugaring Season

“[T]he album unleashes a kind of churning, rumbling urgency in which intensity stands in for speed. Ornate but not wispy, these songs aren’t merely pretty; they also convey power that builds subtly. Sugaring Season waits until its closer, ‘Mystery,’ to really dial back to something entirely gentle and spare. When that song finally rolls around, [...]

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“A predictably righteous volley of rhyme grenades on race and pop-culture politics, tinged with grumpy nostalgia, it’s startlingly potent. Grooves clobber, facts sucker-punch; and Flavor Flav lights up ’31 Flavors’ like a Christmas tree, riding a hot go-go groove. They’re still partying for their right to fight, hard as ever.” –Rolling Stone Check Our Catalog

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“Change My Mind strikes precisely the right blend of grit and glitz, a record that’s clean and mean but still kicks. Having Cyrus sound so comfortable in his skin at such a late stage is a bit unexpected, but Change My Mind benefits from his veteran skills; he never pushes too hard, he just settles [...]

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Wolf Gang: Suego Faults

“A sparkling debut album with echoes of Byrne and Bowie. …Londoner Max McElligott’s debut has been a long time in the nurturing and crafting, and it shows. …[I]t will be interesting to see where a talent like Wolf Gang’s travels to next” –NME Check Our Catalog

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“The first single-disc Pink Floyd compilation to surface in 30 years — the last being A Collection of Great Dance Songs, released as a stopgap between The Wall and The Final Cut — A Foot in the Door: The Best of Pink Floyd has its share of idiosyncrasies, quirks evident right from the choice of [...]

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“Ranging from 1967 to 2011, Release Me…provide[s] as pretty a picture of Streisand’s talents and interests as the best compilation ever could. All of the varied pop scenes she touched over the years are represented here… although of course, her long and varied career makes her able to do no more than dip a toe [...]

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“[I]f her 2012 album Red intends to do anything, it’s to prove Taylor is a genuine superstar, the kind who transcends genre, the kind who can be referred to by a single name. …Red barely winks at country, and it’s a better album for it. It is, as all pop albums should be, recognizable primarily [...]

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Kiss: Monster

“As Kiss approach 40 years of ridiculously dumb rock & roll fun, it makes sense that their 20th studio album, Monster, is more self-referential than anything. …[F]or the innumerable fans of multiple generations who grew up with and lived their glory days listening to Kiss, the familiarity is what will make the record a keeper. [...]

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“The second volume in local a cappella choir Blue Heron’s releases of music from the Peterhouse Partbooks pays tribute to a pair of little-known English composers, Nicholas Ludford (circa 1490-1557) and Richard Pygott (circa 1485-1549). …[T]his CD, which was recorded last September at the Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, [has] extraordinary sound — [...]

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Grizzly Bear: Shields

“Grizzly Bear were gone for a few years after Veckatimest, but the amount of extracurricular projects they tackled during that time — Chris Taylor’s work with CANT, Daniel Rossen’s solo EP Silent Hour/Golden Mile, and the band’s reconfiguring of their own songs into the Blue Valentine soundtrack — means they never really went away. Shields [...]

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Brandy: Two Eleven

“Brandy could have released another adult contemporary-oriented set, or linked with the dance-pop producers who have boosted many of her fellow artists. Instead, she made a modern R&B album. …Months after scores of music fans went bananas over an opportunistic resuscitation of a deceased peer’s studio scraps, Brandy, a superior vocalist ignored or disregarded by [...]

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“Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro has taken the four-string, two-octave instrument to places no one could have imagined, ranging freely across the music spectrum from jazz, blues, and funk to bluegrass, classical, and folk with the ease of a musician fully in command of the possibilities of his chosen instrument.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“More than a quarter century may have gone by since singer Michael Monroe’s band Hanoi Rocks passed from existence, but Monroe continues to carry the flag for their style of hard rock, with his solo album Sensory Overdrive being another example. …[A]nyone who loves rock & roll that’s loud and fast will enjoy Sensory Overdrive.” [...]

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