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Monthly Archive for September, 2013

Ciara: Ciara

“At her best, Ciara comes on less as a full-blooded personality or even an object of desire and more as a glamorous big sister, the one you want to be when you grow up, who knows all the right moves on the dancefloor and in life. Complexity and personal drama ain’t in it: Ciara holds [...]

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Johnny Marr: The Messenger

“One quick listen to The Messenger brings all his signatures rushing back — the intricate, intertwining arrangements, the insistent riffs finding a counterpoint in the elastic yet precise melodies, a romance with the past that doesn’t negate the present. Marr has avoided these traits, so hearing each in full bloom on The Messenger is rather [...]

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“Despite the weighty life events that inspired the songs, this is hardly a ‘dark’ album. It’s serious and looks deep; its songs find truth in unlikely places, but they never despair….Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon details emotional and mental states in the stages of transition from grief to acceptance and looking forward; but the constant thread running [...]

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“Here, Court Yard Hounds embrace freedom to be something different than the Dixie Chicks, which also means they’re not quite identifying as contemporary country, either….Amelita is, at its heart, an adult pop album and it’s a gorgeous one at that: it glides by easily but it digs deep.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Femi Kuti: No Place For My Dream

“Besides the slamming tunes, another notable thing about No Place for My Dream is the way Femi mirrors his father’s musical innovation. Where the elder Kuti brought other musics into the one he was creating as a new language for liberation, Femi uses Afro-beat as the jumping-off point that explores and connects other sounds to [...]

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“Do You Love the Sun, the first new collection of songs to appear from Massachusetts-based alt-country/Northern gothic folk quartet Scud Mountain Boys since 1996, pretty much picks up where things left off. Warm, weary, and congenially intimate, Joe Pernice, Stephen Desaulniers, Bruce Tull, and Tim Shea have crafted a fine new set of understated anthems [...]

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Shout Out Louds: Optica

“Thanks to the production, the overall strength of the songs, and the quietly intense energy the bandmembers put into their performances (not forgetting Adam Olenius’ typically impressive lead vocals), Optica is a welcome return to form and solidifies Shout Out Louds’ position as one of the best indie pop bands of their era.” –All Music [...]

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James Blake: Overgrown

“Somewhere between the vacant echoes of dub and trip-hop, dubstep’s sample-slicing production, and the contained heartbreak of a singer/songwriter playing piano to himself in an empty room, Blake has crafted Overgrown….While it might take listeners a few spins to find the right head space for the album, once they get there, it’s an easy place [...]

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“Guy Clark’s first album in four years is a wonderfully rough, tough, tender, wise, and gracefully resigned testament to a life lived, a craft followed, and regrets considered, weighed, and given due….My Favorite Picture of You is simply a wonderful, balanced gem of an album from a masterful songwriter.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“By no means is he returning to familiar territory here; he’s stepping far outside his ‘Southern Comfort Zone,’ as Paisley puts it on the record’s first single….[W]hen Paisley does pull it all together… the results are so good they wind up proving his point that more country singers should step outside their wheelhouse.” –All Music [...]

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Vince Gill & Paul Franklin

“Bakersfield is a collection of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard tunes from the 1960s, cut by an all-star session band. It not only pays tribute to these giants and the era, but also the sound, and the men who created it….The bottom line is Bakersfield smokes from top to bottom; a fitting tribute, it is [...]

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Selena Gomez: Stars Dance

“Thanks to the strong songs, Selena’s reliably strong vocals, and the variety of sounds, it adds up to be another fine entry in her catalog and just another example of why Selena Gomez is one of the best pop stars making music in 2013.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“[T]he sound is much, much better than the sound on the CDs for the regular albums, which are now nearly 20 years out of date. That sound, along with the nostalgic joy of getting these American incarnations on CD, is the main reason the hardcore fans will be more than happy to… enjoy the many [...]

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The Heist

“The Heist comes off as instant, alive, and oh so welcoming….These two talented young bucks can’t be contained, and hearing them offer one memorable, meaty number after another makes for an exciting listen….The Heist winds up a rich combination of fresh and familiar.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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The Postal Service: Give Up

“Ben Gibbard’s famously bittersweet vocals and sharp, sensitive lyrics imbue Give Up with more emotional heft than you might expect from a synth pop album, especially one by a side project from musicians as busy as Tamborello and Gibbard are. The album exploits the contrast between the cool, clean synths and Gibbard’s all-too-human voice to [...]

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“[T]he first Precious Memories sounded old and dusty, as authentic as a small-town church, but this second volume is stark and bright, sounding as contemporary as the day it was recorded….[T]his is a reverent, resonant spiritual album distinguished by its sweet sincerity.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Jason Isbell: Southeastern

“The overall tone of this fine set is one of quiet and thoughtful honesty with one’s life and past and the knowledge that personal redemption has to be earned again and again each and every day. It is, quite frankly, Isbell’s best solo album thus far.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Upon first spin, Trouble Will Find Me, the warm, wistful, and weary sixth long-player from The National, sounds a lot like 2010′s warm, wistful, and weary High Violet, but where the former was built on a foundation of suburban despondency and casual, middle class self-destruction (and skillfully juggled melodrama and dark comedy), the latter feels [...]

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Atoms for Peace: Amok

“Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace involves longtime Radiohead engineer/producer Nigel Godrich (Ultraísta) and bassist Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), as well as two session veterans in drummer Joey Waronker (R.E.M., Ultraísta) and percussionist Mauro Refosco (Forro in the Dark)….[T]hey’ve come up with this, a product of jam sessions formed — by Yorke and Godrich — [...]

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