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Monthly Archive for November, 2014

Paolo Nutini: Caustic Love

“Caustic Love is all about vintage sounds; its fine songs and provocative mix pay service to that stunning voice. While this set uses retro styles almost excessively, it is a thoroughly contemporary pop record in approach and execution. It takes real nerve to pull something like this off, but Nutini’s swagger is easily matched by […]

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Jack Clement: For Once and For All

“Legendary characters don’t get much bigger than ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement. A maverick old-schooler, he worked at Sun Records in the ’50s, recording Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. He later produced everyone from Waylon Jennings to U2 and wrote hits for Charley Pride and Bobby Bare. This new album was the last thing he did before […]

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Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems

“As always, Cohen’s songs — delivered in his deepest earth rasp — offer protagonists who are ambivalent spiritual seekers, lusty, commitment-phobic lovers, and jaded, untrusting / untrustworthy world citizens. He is them, they are him: strangers hiding in plain sight….Popular Problems reveals that at 80, Cohen not only has plenty left in the tank, but […]

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Billy Swan: Country Funk II: 1967-1974

“Country funk isn’t a real genre, except retrospectively, being one of those kinds of sounds you can’t really explain but you sure know it when you hear it….Yeah, it’s country, but it’s extra greasy, with pronounced backbeats, and it’s, well, funky somehow. You know it when you hear it….Music is all about cross-pollination. Country and […]

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“[A]fter years spent reinterpreting the work of others, Lullaby sees Plant stepping up with his first batch of original songs in nearly a decade, answering his band’s derring-do with some of the most bravely confessional writing of his career.” –Pitchfork Check Our Catalog Listen Now

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“Earl plays with fire reaching deep into his being to coax the joyous abut sometimes world-weary emotions that can only be conveyed through blues and soul music. The interplay between his guitar and his bandmates is a thing of beauty….Good News is a solid addition to Earl’s canon.” –All About Jazz Check Our Catalog Listen […]

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“Childs is joined by such like-minded luminaries as vocalist Renee Fleming, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, singer/songwriter Rickie Lee Jones, bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and others. Ultimately, with Map to the Treasure, Childs doesn’t simply reimagine Nyro’s songs as elevate them in a spiritual and heartfelt celebration of her life and music.” –All Music Guide […]

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Beverly: Careers

“The strength of the songs and the powerful energy with which the duo deliver them help them escape any charges of ripping off the past. Careers isn’t a nostalgia trip, it’s an excellent example of noise pop at its best….Judging from her efforts here, whatever she does next should be worth checking out.” –All Music […]

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“The three ‘voices’ on this transfixingly beautiful recording — violist Kim Kashkashian, harpist Sivan Magen, and flutist Marina Piccinini — met at Marlboro Music in summer 2010, and their effortless interplay is typical of the musical rapport that festival often produces….The performances are all superb — precisely calibrated despite the dreamlike cast of the program […]

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Neil Young: A Letter Home

“‘What the hell?!?’ is an appropriate first response to Neil Young’s A Letter Home. Not for its content: Echoing Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait, Young covers 11 songs that mean a lot to him with tender, unfeigned affection. Less straightforward is how they’re presented. Young cut the mostly solo acoustic performances at Jack White’s lo-fi Voice-O-Graph […]

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Todd Terje: It’s Album Time

“After a decade of releasing singles, remixes, and edits to large amounts of acclaim among in-the-know dance music fans, Norwegian whiz kid Todd Terje finally made an album of his own in 2014. It’s Album Time is a pretty self-explanatory title, though it could have been called ‘I Love Many Different Styles of Dance Music […]

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Bishop Allen: Lights Out

“A less intense mindset seems to have been applied to the band’s long-awaited (by their standards) fourth album, Lights Out, which, on the surface, comes across as an easygoing collection of summertime indie pop that plays more cohesively than much of their previous output. Pairing somewhat downbeat lyrics with amiable uptempo rhythms and melodies, they […]

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“Listeners can take their pick by now among a number of soloists and approaches, but this one by Japanese-German violinist Midori Seiler, leading the small Concerto Köln herself, makes a substantial contribution to the dialogue….[T]his is well-executed, state-of-the-art Haydn that will be of interest to many listeners.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“[L]et’s face it: In terms of pure expression, no singer in popular music can touch Williams when she’s calling from the lonely outskirts of Despairville. She sounds like it’s her permanent residence, that place down deep where the spirit meets the bone.” –NPR Check Our Catalog

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Now That’s What I Call Music! 52

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Sam Smith: In the Lonely Hour

“Disclosure’s loping dance-pop single ‘Latch,’ a number 11 U.K. hit in 2012, introduced Sam Smith, a London-born vocalist with a deeply emotive voice….This is an understated and promising first step from an unpredictable and distinctive talent.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog Listen Now

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“If one could draw a Venn diagram with Southern California punk-pop giants Green Day on the left and British boy band sensations One Direction on the right, the circles would most likely intersect to create Australia’s 5 Seconds of Summer….5 Seconds of Summer have crafted an album of songs that stick in your head like […]

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Interpol: El Pintor

“As the titular anagram of Interpol’s name suggests, El Pintor refocuses and realigns the fundamentals of the band’s music….El Pintor is Interpol’s most consistent album since Antics; fans who love the band for its pure sound will probably enjoy it more than those looking for stop-you-in-your-tracks moments.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Jason Mraz: Yes!

“[I]t emphasizes Jason Mraz the sensitive singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar slung across his shoulders. He flirts with rhythms floating up from the Caribbean, he covers Boyz II Men’s ‘It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,’ he cops a bit of the Lumineers’ big-beat folk stomp, and he strums a ukulele — but these are all mild, complementary […]

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Spoon: They Want My Soul

“They Want My Soul is the quintet’s most booming LP, eons ahead of their Pixies-worshipping beginnings and a far cry from the relatively small-scale charm of their early-2000s touchstones Girls Can Tell and Kill the Moonlight, as well as their self-consciously lo-fi 2010 record, Transference. The album sounds like a proper follow-up to Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the clear-eyed 2007 LP where […]

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