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Monthly Archive for January, 2014

“These tracks feel much more like an album of alternate versions than a typical live recording. The intimacy and raw beauty of Live at the Cellar Door makes it not just a must for super fans, but a valuable companion piece to any of Young’s early studio output.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Kelly Clarkson: Wrapped In Red

“Generally, the 14 songs here emphasize Clarkson’s skills as a full-throated diva — the arrangements are bold and brassy, as is her delivery — but when the tempo slows and the arrangements scale back, she’s perhaps even more alluring….Perhaps the concept and execution are conventional, but even in this utterly expected setting, Clarkson retains her [...]

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“The soundtrack to 2013′s Iron Man 3: Heroes Fall features a collection of indie pop cuts by the likes of Passion Pit, Neon Trees, and Rogue Wave. Since many of the tracks here are by bands that lean toward mixing atmospheric synthesizer pop with some post-U2 guitar uplift, it leaves the general impression of being [...]

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Yuna: Nocturnal

“Essentially a straightforward pop singer/songwriter — the kind who wouldn’t sound out of place in a coffee shop — there has always been something empowering and motivational at the core of Yuna’s music. Whether it’s that she’s a strong female artist, or simply a positive-minded songwriter, many of the songs on Nocturnal evince a kind [...]

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“With Modern Love, Nathanson colored his yearning, singer/songwriter compositions with keyboards, electric guitars, horns, backing vocals, and even some light electronic flourishes. On Last of the Great Pretenders, Nathanson sticks to this same formula….Which is to say that while Nathanson remains a thoughtful mainstream artist, the tracks on Last of the Great Pretenders have an [...]

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Celine Dion: Loved Me Back To Life

“[T]he album is livelier, less self-conscious, less beholden to the expected, and quick-footed enough to not seem mired in show biz glitz. That doesn’t mean Loved Me Back to Life will reverse her Billboard chart trajectory — there’s nothing here that screams big hit –- but it’s something better: the work of a diva who [...]

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Joshua Radin: Wax Wings

“Wax Wings, the fifth long-player from singer/songwriter Joshua Radin, offers up 11 melodic meditations on love and heartache that fall somewhere between the breezy, radio-ready emissions of Jack Johnson and the confessional, studious folk-pop of Josh Ritter. Engaging and articulate….” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“[I]t’s easy to tell that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a more lavish affair than its predecessor just by looking at its soundtrack, which features some of pop and rock’s biggest names….The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a solidly entertaining soundtrack.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Katy Perry: Prism

“[S]he’s determined to give her career a dramatic narrative arc, eager to leave behind the bawdy recklessness of her early years in favor of something that’s age appropriate. That’s why the lead single from Prism was ‘Roar,’… the inspirational adult contemporary single signaled how Perry no longer views herself as a fluffy confection but rather [...]

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“Japanese-British pianist Mitsuko Uchida continues to impress with recordings that are not so much intellectual as simply well thought out, making a challenging yet extremely satisfying overall impression….Decca’s engineering staff outdoes itself with its capture of an ideal sound environment for the work: not the usual concert hall or studio but the well-known audiophile venue [...]

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“Entering a long line of artists who’ve drawn inspiration from the Everly Brothers, Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones serve up a unique tribute with Foreverly….They’re a good match. Jones’ suppleness sands down Armstrong’s ragged voice, he gives her grit while she lends him grace, and these qualities are evident throughout this lovely little gem [...]

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Paul McCartney: New

“New lives up to its title, finding McCartney eager, even anxious, to engage with modern music while simultaneously laying claim to the candied, intricate psychedelia of latter-day Beatles….New is one of the best of McCartney’s latter-day records: it is aware of his legacy but not beholden to it even as it builds upon it.” –All [...]

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Drake: Nothing Was The Same

“[I]t is worth exploring if you’ve been following Drake’s progression up till now….[T]he small changes to the sound and the slightly wider net his lyrics cast make it worthwhile. Plus, there aren’t many other rappers who do gloom as well as Drake and that’s something worth supporting, if only because it’s something different than the [...]

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“The Devil Makes Three are a very special trio, mixing old country blues, gospel, banjo reels, ragtime, and back-country stomp into a potent brand of folk-punk that has made their live shows near legendary….[T]he band sounds like a feisty mix of the Lovin’ Spoonful and Country Joe & the Fish on a careening moonshine-and-coffee jag. [...]

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“It’s imbued with a sense of timelessness: a very 21st century record that sounds like it should be playing through a battered old valve radio in an Edward Hopper painting – Nighthawks, perhaps? And apart, perhaps, from someone to make you that damn fine cup of coffee, that’s just about everything you could ask for [...]

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Tom Odell: Long Way Down

“The brooding and bloodied Romeo to Jake Bugg’s blue collar Brit-pop Lothario, sad sack English crooner Tom Odell’s intimate, soul-searching ballads draw from an awfully deep well of ruin… but there’s certainly no denying the West Sussex native’s knack for spinning expertly crafted tales of woe….It will be interesting to see how Odell grows into [...]

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Daughtry: Baptized

“DAUGHTRY has never allowed DAUGHTRY to be silly before this record. This relative lightness makes a big difference — it also helps that the music itself is relatively nimble — and, ultimately, this turns Baptized into the best album he or his band has made. He’s updated his sound just enough to stay relevant but, [...]

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Britney Spears: Britney Jean

“Typically, whenever a self-titled album arrives fairly far into an artist’s career it signifies a rebirth, a moment when the musician reconnects to what’s real and true….Prior to its December 2013 release, Britney called Britney Jean one of her most ‘personal’ records, a term that carries a certain weight, suggesting that the brief album… would [...]

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