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Monthly Archive for January, 2013

“It’s a remarkably wide range and it’s effortlessly eclectic, with the Dixie Chicks bringing it all together with their attitude and understated musicality — as debuts go (and this does count as a debut), they rarely get better than this.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“For The Majestic Silver Strings, Miller recruited guitarists Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, and Greg Leisz to join him on a program of classic country songs and a couple of originals. …The program is a revisioning of tunes from country’s canon that sound timeless against the original material. … The Majestic Silver Strings is one of [...]

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“As a storyteller, Isbell’s tales of dashed hopes and Southern pride are powerful, realistic, and keenly intelligent, and he and the band bring them to life with just the right touch. …If you haven’t seen Isbell and the 400 Unit on-stage, Live from Alabama will likely convince you to show up the next time they [...]

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“Someone lit a fire under Band of Horses’ porch. The quintet usually specialize in beard-y reverie, somewhere between Built to Spill’s guitar majesty and Seventies AM folk of America. But the Horses rough things up on Mirage Rock, from the ‘Brown Sugar’ bounce of ‘Electric Music’ to the crackling ‘Knock Knock,’ where Ben Bridwell sings [...]

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Cream: BBC Sessions

“This compilation of 22 Cream BBC tracks from 1966-1968 marked a major addition to the group’s discography, particularly as they released relatively little product during their actual lifetime… Given Cream’s tendency to over-improvise on the band’s live concert recordings, however, the concise nature of these BBC tracks (none of which exceed five minutes) makes them [...]

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Cream: Live Cream

“Foreground and background seem to dissolve as all three musicians take charge, using the full range of their instruments. And where Bruce goes with his bass, especially on ‘Sweet Wine,’ is every bit as rewarding as the places that Clapton’s guitar takes us; and Ginger Baker’s playing is a trip all its own. Performances like [...]

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Kid Rock: Rebel Soul

“Rebel Soul winds up as a last testament of backwoods, white-trash, red-state rock & roll: Kid Rock sticks to the tried and true, the sounds that always fueled FM rock in Michigan, and he sounds comfortable: not defiant but happy to be where he is, and Rebel Soul is appropriately rebellious and conservative, a dose [...]

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Meek Mill: Dreams and Nightmares

“Having torn it up on the first two volumes of Maybach Music’s Self Made compilations, Philadelphia rapper and former Grand Hustle artist Meek Mill finally busts out on his own on Dreams and Nightmares… As far as graduations from mixtapes to major-label releases go, this one is still satisfying and a step forward, plus slicked [...]

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“T-Bone Burnett is Nashville‘s music producer. He enlisted some of Music City’s finest songwriters and the help of longtime friend Buddy Miller to co-produce (and perform on) most of the songs here. The end result is a collection that provides a compelling argument that contemporary country music doesn’t need to divorce itself from its history… [...]

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Green Day: ¡Tré!

“Arriving earlier than expected but last as planned, Green Day’s third album of 2012 concludes their pop-punk trilogy… [T]here’s a bittersweet undertow to ¡Tré!, a feeling underscored by Armstrong’s rehab: he could no longer continue trying to recapture his youth, but dammit if he doesn’t come close to doing so at times throughout ¡Tré!” –All [...]

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Rihanna: Unapologetic

“Not only is Unapologetic just as varied as Rihanna’s past albums — it’s another timely refresh of contemporary pop music — but it’s a little more exploratory and a whole lot deeper, too.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Offered the opportunity to direct a karate flick — and with all the freedom, funding, and flash that an executive producer like Quentin Tarantino would allow — Wu-Tang leader and kung-fu fanatic RZA must have been like a kid in a candy store. Still, the soundtrack to his directorial debut is classic, restrained RZA, as [...]

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Muse: The 2nd Law

“Muse have specialized in drama-rock gigantism for more than a decade – long enough to get really good at it… Against orchestral swirls, bass drops and lush Radiohead pantomime, a British scientist direly informs us that ‘an economy based on endless growth is unsustainable.’ It’s bad news that makes for some fine spectacle.” –Rolling Stone [...]

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“[A] megalithic symphony would seem to be an ambitious suite of rock music, and the album fits its title if one interprets the ambition as an unfettered eclecticism and sense of whimsy, as tethered to constant dance beats… Megalithic Symphony engages the ear from moment to moment and allows Aaron Bruno to try out a [...]

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Soundgarden: King Animal

“King Animal is a big, bright album, executed with precision and professionalism… Simply put, Soundgarden sound like they belong together; Cornell sounds richer, fuller when anchored by drummer Matt Cameron, bassist Ben Shepherd, and the deceptively sinewy and brainy guitarist Kim Thayil… [T]his is a surprisingly strong reunion, one that puts the band back on [...]

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The Weeknd: Trilogy

“Modern R&B is, no doubt, in the midst of an experimental renaissance — artists like Frank Ocean, Drake, the-Dream, and even Usher are expanding the genre’s sonic playbook by going darker and weirder, incorporating elements of dance-pop, trip-hop, and warped indie rock. Toronto youngster Abel Tesfaye (a/k/a the Weeknd) may not be the most visible [...]

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“[P]repare yourself for a treat, because two tracks here – ‘Ramada Inn’ and ‘Walk Like A Giant’ – could sit among Young’s best. Writing his autobiography (Waging Heavy Peace) seems to have brought out some biting nostalgia in the old dog – both in the lyrics, which look back to the ’60s, and in the [...]

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One Direction: Take Me Home

“One Direction deliver another immediately catchy mix of dancey pop that maximizes the group’s shared lead-vocal approach and peppy, upbeat image. This album highlights even more than their previous one how much One Direction’s mix of punchy guitars over snappy beats, handclaps, and bright synthesizers has in common with the positive, fun-loving tone of ’70s [...]

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“Since Breaking Dawn is the final installment of the Twilight Saga, it’s fitting that the film’s soundtrack is dominated by ballads that feel like a long goodbye to Bella, Edward, and Jacob….While Breaking Dawn isn’t one of the more dynamic Twilight Saga soundtracks, it is one of the more emotive ones, and just may help [...]

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Alicia Keys: Girl on Fire

“Keys has rarely ever sounded so at ease, so downright sensual, as she does as her latest. It’s her first record since giving birth to her son, Egypt, and the newfound emphasis on looking inward recalls the mood of Beyoncé’s ’4.’ …[Y]ou can’t divert your ears from the magic Keys conjures on her own at [...]

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