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Monthly Archive for May, 2013

Nataly Dawn: How I Knew Her

“A heady and quirky mix of Regina Spektor, Leslie Feist, and Joni Mitchell, the second album from Nataly Dawn, the female half of heady and quirky indie pop duo Pomplamoose, is held together by the…multi-instrumentalist’s gift for gab, unique phrasing, and sophisticated musicality. Largely acoustic yet peppered with swampy slide guitar, brooding strings, and gospel-tinged [...]

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“Adrian Younge conceived ‘Turn Down the Sound,’ one of the highlights from Venice Dawn’s Something About April, as an imagined RZA-produced ’60s Delfonics cut. Shortly after the release of that cinematic, psychedelic soul masterpiece, a fan put Younge in touch with the Delfonics’ William Hart. The meeting led to this, the best Delfonics album since [...]

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Lil Wayne: I Am Not a Human Being 2

“Compared to the albums he’s released under the name Tha Carter, Lil Wayne’s I Am Not a Human Being series is noticeably looser. The quality control is certainly above mixtape or street-release level, but stray tracks and Carter leftovers are given their homes here, while the overall album flow is allowed to be reckless…. [A]nyone [...]

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“Whether moved by the documentary or simply interested in a one-disc anthology of Rodriguez’s work, the Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack is a thoughtfully curated celebration of this devastatingly underrated artist.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Brian McKnight: More Than Words

“McKnight’s first album since 2011, More Than Words is filled with references to late-’70s and early-’80s R&B and soft rock… This is McKnight’s most enjoyable album since 2006′s Ten. It would be his weirdest release even if it didn’t feature him swapping lead vocals with sons Brian Jr. and Niko on songs titled ‘Ididntreallymeantoturnuout’ and [...]

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Bilal: A Love Surreal

“A Love Surreal is kicked back — lighter, slower, and steamier, more about flirting and lusting than personal and societal turmoil… ['Butterfly'] deserves to circulate as much Herbie Hancock’s similarly lissome composition of the same title. As a producer and songwriter, Bilal has stepped up. As a vocalist, he remains supernaturally skilled and creative — [...]

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“The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver gathers up an oddball team of contemporary artists with a shared love for the late Muppets/Rocky Mountains loving singer/songwriter, and lets them strut and fret their hours upon the stage by paying homage to a rich assortment of Denver classics.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Alice Smith: She

“Two of her first album’s many attractive attributes were the subtle and surprising twists in song structure and seamless genre fusions. They’re in steady supply here… She has enough skill and character to leave one hanging on her every note.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Vows of Love

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“Monroe is enamored with tradition, pushing fiddles to the foreground and sometimes succumbing to the smoky sway of a slow dance at a dancehall, but she’s not a retro-singer, she’s a modern girl hauling old ways into the present. This blend of contemporary attitudes and classic sounds is insinuating and addictive, particularly because at nine [...]

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Devendra Banhart: Mala

“Mala streamlines Banhart’s multifaceted muse, and the songs all fit together, if in a somewhat roundabout manner. Apart from the increased cohesion, the quality of the songwriting is far higher, reminding us of the astonishing promise and tossed-off ease of Banhart’s early material…” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Kacey Musgraves could easily be contemporary country’s next big thing. She’s a sharp, detailed songwriter with a little bit of an edge… Musgraves has a sense of humor, too, and all of these traits add up to make Same Trailer Different Park more than a collection of songs just aiming for the country charts.” –All [...]

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“Jennings truly came into his own on Family Man, but on The Other Life, he pushes the boundaries further, offering some of the finest songs he’s written to date. He fully realizes here what he’s been attempting all along. Box these sounds whichever way you want to, but they are all Shooter Jennings, and as [...]

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“The whole album accumulates in a powerful, meditative way, and its themes are less about drinking and trying to forget the past than they are about making peace with the past and trying to remember it and use it as a spark and a springboard to the future. Honky Tonk is country facing forward informed [...]

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Andy Stott: Luxury Problems

“Despite being significantly more ambient and less knotty than Andy Stott’s 2011 releases, which were combined and expanded that December for Passed Me By/We Stay Together, Luxury Problems is nearly as spine-chilling. Its rhythms are fluid more often than coagulated, and there’s an additional human element granted by the voice of opera-trained singer Alison Skidmore.” [...]

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Boz Scaggs: Memphis

“On Memphis, Boz Scaggs pays tribute to the city’s magnificent soul tradition, Al Green, and producer Willie Mitchell and his Royal Recordings studio, whose location and personnel were used to cut it in three days… This set is a stunner. Scaggs is in full possession of that iconic voice; he delivers songs with an endemic [...]

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“The resulting Beast in Its Tracks, written in the wake of his divorce, treats the situation with anger, warmth, despair, humor, honesty, and most importantly, empathy for both of its subjects, something that many records of a similar disposition fail to achieve.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“[T]hey know how to turn a phrase, plant a seed, and build a bridge and tear it back down again without losing the audience in the process. Simply put, they can bend the relative simplicity of traditional folk music to their collective wills, which is exactly what they do on their sophomore outing, Babel.” –All [...]

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Dido: Girl Who Got Away

“Sophistication is a given, but there’s a surprising undercurrent of sensuality that runs throughout the album, a sleekness that suggests a distillation of the stiff club-soul of Elle Goulding, a shimmer that blends quite seamlessly with Dido’s sculpted songs… Halfway through, Girl Who Got Away sucks you into its sway, its comforts as alluring as [...]

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Anna Gourari: Canto Oscuro

“The recording shows Gourari capable of performing repertoire in a wide range of moods: from the brash RagtimeĀ movement found in the Hindemith suite to the gravitas and grandeur required in the Bach/Busoni transcriptions. One through line: she makes technically demanding repertoire sound far too achievable by mere mortals.” –Chamber Musician Today Check Our Catalog

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