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Holiday Wishes… is satisfying because producer Walter Afanasieff commits to his Christmas classicism, as does Menzel. Everything here sparkles with the gleam of freshly fallen snow: it’s big, bright, and so stubbornly out of fashion that it’d never go out of style.” –All Music Guide

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“Holland is that rare performer whose reach extends in many directions and dimensions without sacrificing her distinct core identity. Across eras and genres, tempos and tendencies, she sounds exactly like Jolie Holland and no one else.” –NPR

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“[T]he lasting impact of La Roux’s whip-smart synth pop — which became a template for countless other ’80s-worshiping acts during Jackson’s absence — proved her music could still be relevant five years later….Jackson is still better than many of her contemporaries when it comes to making fizzy electro-pop.” –All Music Guide

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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 the quality of the material and his inspired performance.” –All Music Guide

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“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 passing away last year….His voice is unpredictable at times but his words and emotions ring true.” –Boston Globe

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“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 is at his most confident and committed. This is his finest recording since 1995′s The Future.” –All Music Guide

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“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 funk were always going to meet. They did. They have. You’ll know it when you hear it” –All Music Guide

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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

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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

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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 Guide

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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 as a whole.” –Boston Globe

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“‘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 recording booth in Nashville, producing a finished product akin to a beat-up 78 rpm record, pockmarked by constant pops, hissing and distortion….[O]ne of his strongest sets in a long time.” –Spin

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“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 and Will Proceed to Put My Warped Spin on All of Them.’….[A] solid debut.” –All Music Guide

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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 deliver what Rice has referred to as a ‘sad party record.’” –All Music Guide

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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

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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

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