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Monthly Archive for April, 2015

“This recording of Agostino Steffani’s opera Niobe, Regina di Tebe (Niobe, Queen of Thebes) comes mostly from a live performance at the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival; some music cut from the live production was added back in later. The performance was lavish, and the production, unlike most renderings of Baroque opera, made an effort […]

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Tchaikovsky / Anna Netrebko: Iolanta

“While Netrebko’s name recognition is the chief reason most western listeners will notice this recording, her singing provides the best reason to hear it. Netrebko’s commitment to making this opera better known — indeed, making it her own — is reflected in her passionate performance, which is immediate and thrilling, and she imbues the music […]

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Kelly Clarkson: Piece by Piece

“These cuts, along with the title track, manage to strike the right balance of Kelly’s indomitable character and fresh electronic beats but overall Piece by Piece sounds a shade too desperate, which means it winds up having the opposite effect than intended: instead of sounding like a new start, Clarkson sounds a little bit behind […]

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“Here, Giddens expands upon the neo-string band of the Carolina Chocolate Drops by crafting an abbreviated and fluid history of 20th century roots music — along with the older forms that informed it — concentrating on songs either written or popularized by female musicians. As a torchbearer, not a revivalist, Giddins isn’t concerned with replicating […]

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Jayme Stone: Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project

“With stellar collaborators including Margaret Glaspy, Tim O’Brien and his sister Mollie, and Bruce Molsky, Stone revisits the people and places that (Alan) Lomax and his field recorder encountered, from Kentucky to Scotland to the Dutch Antilles, from Lead Belly to Robert Graves to Growling Tiger. They emerge with treatments that variously incorporate modern stringband […]

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Lightning Bolt: Fantasy Empire

“While they (Lightning Bolt) stick closer to the traditionally heavy, sometimes ham-fisted hard rock compositions they began investigating almost a decade earlier on Hypermagic Mountain, the songs ring especially weird and unstoppable in their new clarity. Album closer ‘Snow White (& the 7 Dwarves Fans)’ brings all of Fantasy Empire’s best elements together, with manipulated […]

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Vijay Iyer Trio: Break Stuff

“Break Stuff is modern jazz on the bleeding edge, a music that not only asks musical questions but answers them, and it does so accessibly and immediately, no matter the form or concept it chooses to express. This trio aims at an interior center, finds it, and pushes out, projecting Iyer & Co.’s discoveries.” -allmusic.com […]

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“As always, she’s (Carlile) grounded in Americana, often straying into a burnished folky melancholy but finding space for urgent country stomps and such full-throttle rock & roll as ‘Blood Muscle Skin & Bone,’ whose hook places it in a netherworld between arena rock and power pop. None of the stylistic shifts amount to showboating: it […]

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Bettye LaVette: Worthy

“Worthy is another impressive release from an outstanding singer, and if it follows the pattern of some of her recent albums, nothing here sounds rote; this is the sound of an artist doing what she does best, and she is far more than worthy of this great music.” -allmusic.com Check our Catalog

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Dengue Fever: The Deepest Lake

“While Dengue Fever could almost have qualified as a novelty act when they first started out (Los Angeles hipsters playing decades-old Cambodian pop tunes? Talk about high concept!), they’ve matured into a richly satisfying band, blending several different cultures and styles into an indie rock melting pot, and 2015’s The Deepest Lake, their sixth studio […]

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“Irony abounds in the title of Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, the ninth album by the Scottish collective Belle & Sebastian. It goes unstated that the record was released in an atmosphere not quite synonymous with peace, but the group unquestionably want to dance, spending nearly half of this lengthy record grooving to a […]

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Modest Mouse: Strangers to Ourselves

“The trick is, he [Isaac Brock] now has the skill of a consummate craftsman, so the raggedness here comes across as deliberate, probably because the moments that are less consciously quirky — i.e., the bulk of the album — are so skillfully constructed. So, Strangers to Ourselves is an album where the trees matter more […]

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Earls of Leicester: Earls of Leicester

“As a tribute, The Earls of Leicester is nearly flawless, and this may encourage some younger bluegrass fans to dig into the Flatt & Scruggs catalog, but as far as having a mind and a character of its own, these sessions leave a certain amount to be desired.” -allmusic.com Check our Catalog Listen Now

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Butch Walker: Afraid of Ghosts

“As it somewhat deemphasizes Walker’s way with big hooks — the very thing that made him an in-demand session man — Afraid of Ghosts isn’t as immediate as some of his other records, but it will suit the needs of anybody craving a record that sounds like Ryan Adams used to make them back in […]

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Lady Lamb the Beekeeper: After

“There are plenty of startling moments full of guts and gristle in Lady Lamb’s dense lyrics, and then there are the moments when she wanders. The fingerpicked ‘Sunday Shoes’ stretches out between the shoegaze-inflected ‘Heretic’ and ‘Spat Out Spit’, injecting a weird bubble of space into the album’s flow. The rousing coda on ‘Penny Licks’ […]

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Various: 2015 Grammy Nominees

“Issued by RCA three weeks prior to the 57th Annual Grammy Awards telecast, 2015 Grammy Nominees, like yearly releases before it, emphasizes the ‘big four’ categories. Since four of the nominees for Record of the Year (namely ‘Chandelier,’ ‘Stay with Me,’ ‘Shake It Off,’ and ‘All About That Bass’ — were also up for Song […]

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“The New Basement Tapes recorded Lost on the River in a real studio fully aware there was an audience awaiting their output, an attitude that’s the polar opposite of the ramshackle joshing around of the original Basement Tapes. Thankfully, nobody involved with Lost on the River contrives to replicate either the sound or feel of […]

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Tuxedo: Tuxedo

“Unsurprisingly to anyone who’s heard Hawthorne’s note-perfect take on ’60s soul, the duo proves to be masterful at re-creating the feel of the moment in the early ’80s when disco began to die out and was replaced by the funkier sounds of boogie and electric funk. The duo conjures up visceral memories of the finest […]

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Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell

“Carrie & Lowell is the most harrowingly personal work Stevens has offered us to date; it also ranks with his most skillfully crafted albums despite its spartan approach, and it’s a sometimes difficult but profoundly moving work. Stevens has offered us some fine albums in the past, but he’s never made anything quite like Carrie […]

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“Then Came the Morning reveals so much growth it’s hard to believe this is only the Lone Bellow’s second album. This trio pulls off a chosen weave of hybrid roots sounds with seeming ease, passion, and verve. No one else performing Americana or crossover country music attempts anything like it, leaving the trio in its […]

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