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Lykke Li: I Never Learn

“I Never Learn utilizes the simplest tools of confessional songwriting: uneasily strummed acoustic guitars and resonant piano chords enlarged for texture and dramatic flair, like they’re appearing from behind a just-raised curtain, or from a radio as you sing to yourself….We’re used to breakup albums that assume you just want to crawl into a hole and die, but I Never Learn is for the times when heartbreak is so life-affirming that you want to share the feeling with the world.” –Pitchfork

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“Intuitive cooperation is what makes Nickel Creek so special. It’s in the way Thile’s mandolin runs launch or follow Watkins’ fiddle parts in instrumentals like ‘Elsie,’ and in the band’s harmonies, which breathe in sync the way family harmonies so often do. It’s remarkable, showing how three distinct voices can come together in the service of expressing how one person can feel many things at once.” –NPR

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“On Animal Heart, Nina Persson does everything an artist with a career as lengthy and varied as hers could, and should, do on a solo debut album….[T]hese songs blend the countrified reflection of her former project and the sparkling pop of the latter….Neither a denial nor a rehash of Persson’s past, Animal Heart is a welcome reflection of her changing life and art.” –All Music Guide

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Arc Iris: Arc Iris

“Arc Iris is the band singer, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist Jocie Adams established after leaving the Low Anthem. This self-titled debut album is nearly impossible to categorize. Though this bracing, fresh, nearly seamless meld of cabaret, folk traditions, country, rock, classical, cabaret, and jazz is eclectic and ranging, it’s accessible to listeners of many stripes….Arc Iris is an auspicious debut.” –All Music Guide

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“Released in 2012, Sweet Sour saw the bluesy Southampton guitar rock trio moving out of the garage and into a flat, offering up a lustrous, loud, and wistful (yet still gritty enough to evoke a few White Stripes comparisons) set of moody English alt-rock confections….Once again, Band of Skulls have proven that they have the chops and the moxie.” –All Music Guide

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“Forty-four years is a long time between albums, but for singer/songwriter Linda Perhacs it has been exactly that… [T]his set picks up where her hallucinatory classic left off….It’s spacy yet bright and fluid. The Soul of All Natural Things… is unmistakably an extension of the sonic, spiritual continuum Perhacs began — and probably thought she left — on Parallelograms. Her uncommon, even singular approach to singing, recording, and writing, remains fully in evidence here.” –All Music Guide

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“Back in 2009, Seasick Steve released an album called Man From Another Time, a perfectly apt title for a record full of dirt-ridden, diesel-fueled (mostly) solo blues tunes… [T]he enigmatic character has built a sonic identity around performing on junkyard, often handmade instruments while telling stories about his early years working obscure and manual jobs….Hubcap Music seems to announce that ‘the man from another time’ has finally made it to the present.” –Paste

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“Everlasting is the second collection of covers Martina McBride has recorded, following 2005′s Timeless by nearly ten years. A decade isn’t the only thing separating the two records. Timeless was a collection of country covers but Everlasting has soul in its heart….There’s warmth in [Don] Was’ production and honey in McBride’s voice.” –All Music Guide

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“Black Pistol Fire’s 2011 full-length debut earned them a lot of comparisons to the Black Keys….Three years and an interim album later, Hush or Howl benefits from the Canadian duo finding their own sound.” –PopMatters

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“A great legacy can be a blessing and a curse, and when your mother is June Carter and your stepdad is Johnny Cash, you’re going to have a lot to live up to in the minds of most folks….On Carter Girl, Carlene Carter has confronted the mighty legacy of the Carter Family’s songbook and allowed it to strengthen her music rather than buckling under its weight, and this ranks with her finest recorded work to date.” –All Music Guide

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Ivan Lins: Amorágio

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“Turn Blue, the 2014 successor to their down-and-dirty international blockbuster El Camino, is… a churning psychedelic excursion that slowly pulses in any color you like….Turn Blue impresses because it does what all great bands should do: it captures a band stretching while always sounding like themselves.” –All Music Guide

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“Lost in the Dream is the War on Drugs’ Daydream Nation or Disintegration; lengthy distillations of similar themes result in wildly different threads of song, all connecting again in the end. It’s a near flawless collection of dreamy vibes, shifting moods, and movement, and stands easily as Granduciel’s finest hour so far.” –All Music Guide

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“Takako Minekawa returned with Toropical Circle, a collaboration with former Ponytail guitarist Dustin Wong that is equally familiar and surprising….Toropical Circle might be Minekawa’s least overtly poppy album yet, but it’s also one of her most successful and intriguing; it’s true to her spirit as well as Wong’s, and a lovely, welcome return.” –All Music Guide

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“‘Writing and completing this album was one of the most difficult and rewarding things I’ve ever done,’ main man Daniel Graves comments. ‘I set out to demolish every expectation people have about Aesthetic Perfection, and I think I succeeded. People may say the anger is gone, but it’s not, it’s just bubbling underneath the surface.’” –Revolver

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“Even though John Corigliano has proved himself time and again to be a master of instrumental colors and orchestration, he nonetheless had misgivings about composing a concerto for percussion, a daunting prospect merely because of the large number of instruments at his disposal. Yet Corigliano succeeded brilliantly in Conjurer.” –All Music Guide

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“Boban Marković is the finest trumpeter in the Balkans, while his son, Marko, is another impressive brass player who has edged this celebrated Serbian Gypsy band away from traditional influences to a more contemporary style.” –The Guardian

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“Almost without fail… reviews pitched Run the Jewels as a more worthwhile and rewarding alternative to Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne, with the latter’s succession of big-name producers and expensive studios replaced by one dedicated, groundbreaking auteur, and its endless references to its creators’ wealth traded for an anti-materialism more in keeping with the current economic climate.” –The Guardian

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“Ten albums and 18 years on from their first show, the Drive-By Truckers are still capable of mixing things up and showing off new sides of their skill set, and that’s certainly the case with English Oceans, which shows them making wise use of all their talents.” –All Music Guide

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Ledisi: The Truth

“Squarely R&B albums dominated by upbeat, clean, and energetic material seemed like a forgotten art until late 2013 and early 2014….Ledisi continued the upswing with The Truth, her fifth Verve album….Succinct, consistent, vibrant, and all Ledisi all the time — there are no guest appearances — this is one of the singer and songwriter’s best releases.” –All Music Guide

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