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album cover“The difference between the guy who made 1989′s Too Long in the Wasteland and the man who cut Complicated Game is the more mature McMurtry has figured out how to deliver the fine songs he writes and get their qualities on tape, and Complicated Game confirms he’s not only remembered this valuable lesson, he’s finding new ways to refine what he knows, and this album is another triumph for one of America’s most rewarding tunesmiths.” -allmusic.com

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album cover“Like Earle’s best work, Absent Fathers is low on flash and high on emotional honesty and perceptive songwriting, and paired with Single Mothers this is some of his most intelligent and moving music to date.” -allmusic.com

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album cover“Arguably (and not many would argue) the greatest living jazz pianist, Chick Corea has had a long and highlight-filled career, beginning with his tenure with the great Miles Davis when Davis was defining the jazz-rock synthesis, through Corea’s own breakthrough jazz fusion recordings and his subsequent journeys into everything from the post-bop avant-garde to classical and new age, and his restless and musically inclusive spirit has always shone through. This expansive live release finds Corea working with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade, and the three have an uncanny connection, filling space with gorgeous and subtle phrasings, gliding through all manner of styles with a seemingly effortless elegance, grace, and freshness.” -allmusic.com

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“Neatly tied together by openinAlbum Coverg and closing cuts that include Stevie Wonder on harmonica, because Ronson could swing it, Uptown Special is another nostalgic fantasy that provides light entertainment and provokes backtracking.” -allmusic.com

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Meghan Trainor: Title

Album cover“By the time the record winds its way around to the Motown bounce of ‘Lips Are Movin’ — a single equally inspired by vintage 45s and Amy Winehouse’s snazzy new-millennial revival that’s the best song here — Trainor’s giddiness has become ingratiating, so it’s easier to warm to her considerable skill at pastiche and performance. Far from consigning her to one-hit wonder territory, the blend of strength of personality and music-biz savvy on Title shows that Meghan Trainor is clever enough to parlay a big hit into a real career.” -allmusic.com

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Album CoversShadows in the Night finds the songwriter whose work marks the divide where artists were expected to pen their own material finding sustenance in the Great American Songbook, with every one of its songs recorded at some point by Frank Sinatra. Its songs are old and Shadows in the Night is appropriately a defiantly old-fashioned album: a record the way they used to make them, long before Dylan had a recording contract of his own. Archaic though it may be — it’s a mere ten songs lasting no longer than 35 minutes, just like all the long-players of the ’50s — it’s hard to call it musty, not when Dylan invested considerable energy in adapting these songs to the confines of his five-piece road band.” -allmusic.com

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Album Cover“Monuments stitches together all of Corgan’s obsessions — thick sheets of guitars, 4AD space rock, delicate acoustica, Commodore 64 synthesizers, a fondness for both noise and beauty — but there is an ease to the album that not only feels self-reflective but also rather mature. Usually, when Corgan covers this much ground it was with the express intent to dazzle, but here his attitude is almost casual as he slides from the volcanic ‘One and All’ to the exquisitely sculpted new wave of ‘Dorian,’ stopping for a respite of disco on ‘Anaise!’ The breadth impresses and it resonates stronger because he’s funneled all these sounds and textures into a tight nine-song album that lasts barely over a half-hour. For an artist who has fervently believed more is indeed more, this restraint is thoroughly appealing and helps showcase his craft in surprising — and, yes, sometimes dazzling — ways.” -allmusic.com

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Album Cover“This is one of three bands tenor saxophonist, Jerome Sabbagh leads amid his numerous gigs as a session artist and group member with pianists Laurent Coq and Guillermo Klein, paired with many other diverse musical roles in the modern jazz community. This quartet strikes back with its third album, following Pogo (Sunnyside, 2007) and North (Sunnyside, 2004). Besides his burly tone, melodic structures and fluent improvisational acumen, one of the key differentiators is how Sabbagh transparently melds modern mainstream with the outside schema.” -allmusic.com

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Joey Bada$$: B4. DA. $$

Album Cover“With a style that’s an all-encompassing throwback, going from Notorious B.I.G. to Mos Def, Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ draws the golden age hip-hop fetishist in without a problem, but his delivery is so full of life, it still holds sway for those who don’t know their Bad Boy from their Death Row. This fine debut is also filled with productions from Statik Selektah, DJ Premier, and others whose names hold weight, but beat junkies will most likely jump right to the smoky highlight ‘Like Me,’ where the Roots complete a lost track from the late, great J. Dilla. Reggae singer Chronixx makes a guest appearance on an album with few features, but the bonus edition comes with ‘Run Up on Ya,’ where Action Bronson and Elle Varner threaten to steal the show.” -allmusic.com

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Album Cover“…Hewitt fights boredom by infusing the music with the full range of expressive and technical possibilities at her disposal, and her full performance has the nuances and variety of her recordings of the Well-Tempered Clavier and the partitas. Just as this masterpiece was the culmination of Bach’s thinking on the subject of the fugue, it is a fitting conclusion to Hewitt’s worthy service to the composer and a high point in her catalog.” -allmusic.com

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Album Cover“There are moments where Single Mothers feels like art therapy as much as music, but this album communicates its pain with intelligence and a gentle touch, and as a singer and lyricist Earle grows with each album; there are more than a few moments of brilliance on this set if you don’t mind sharing a rough and lonesome road with Earle for a while.” -allmusic.com

 

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Album Cover“Here, it’s possible to hear the band gel — Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens found a balance with Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, something that’s obvious by the group’s subsequent history, but on this spirited show you can hear the gears fall into place and that’s worth the price of admission, perhaps more than once.” -allmusic.com

 

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Album Cover“In 2014, K. Michelle issued a mixtape, turned her debut album into an Idris Elba-directed musical, maintained her presence on the VH1 network with K. Michelle: My Life, and was plotting a number of other moves. A slip in quality control would have been understandable, but there is no indication on Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart?, her second proper album, that music hasn’t remained her top priority. Like Rebellious Soul, this blends contemporary and classic styles, with the latter incorporated naturally, not as a forced authenticator.” -allmusic.com

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Album Cover“…with a new kind of focus in their songs and arrangements that makes it clear this album’s sound is a result of creative evolution, not an offering to their newer, larger audience, and it’s a sweet and sour wonder that rewards repeated listening.” -allmusic.com

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“‘My aim on the guAlbum Coveritar is to try to get each chord to follow the preceding chord like it was meant to be there, and then sort of hint at what the next chord might be,’ Joe Beck says, in one of several spoken introductions sprinkled throughout Get Me Joe Beck. The CD, recorded live in Berkeley, Calif., two years before Beck’s untimely death from lung cancer in 2008, is indeed packed with displays of guitar work that is as artfully logical and eminently musical as it is a thing of beauty.” -Philip Booth/jazztimes.com

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Album Cover“From the brooding opening title track to the closing Chet Baker homage, ‘I Fall in Love Too Easily,’ Dark Nights unapologetically embraces the heart of jazz. Every aspect of the album—from the cover photo, to Cohen’s precise trumpet inflections, to the trio’s dedication to immediacy and collective improvisation (and even the album’s forays into electronic affects)—is saturated with the emblematic textures, rhythms, and imagery of jazz. This is achieved with professionalism, creativity, and skill, without a wit of irony or cliché, while avoiding both navel-gazing insularity and crowd-pleasing revivalism.” -Franz A. Matzner/allaboutjazz.com

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Album Cover“When I think of the hardcore albums that have maintained a spot on fans’ playlists for years on end, I think of frantic, gut wrenching and unpredictable songs grouped together in an emotional outpour. Albums like ‘Jane Doe,’ ‘Travels’ and ‘We Are The Romans’ immediately come to mind. My Fictions is a hardcore band from Massachusetts focused on bringing these same qualities to their music. Their newest release Stranger Songs is the culmination of fantastic songwriting, piercing vocals and gripping lyrics.” -sputnikmusic.com

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“Over the years, WeisAlbum Covers has earned much critical praise and respect for his ambitious and wide-ranging work with The New Jazz Composers Octet, his support and championing of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard during that icon’s last years, explorations with his Point Of Departure band, burn-and-drive work with The Cookers, and reworkings of saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter’s music. In those situations, Weiss wore many hats, serving as composer, arranger, leader, supporter, and situation-maker. Here, he does the same, but he also serves as the emotional power source for this music. When Words Fail may be the most direct and personal record Weiss has ever released.” -DAN BILAWSKY/allaboutjazz.com

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Album Cover“Both recordings complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, with Sunbathing Animal offering furious, often bewildered forays of guitar-heavy punk and Content Nausea focusing on home-recorded detours ranging from free-associating post-punk rants to a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s country go-go classic ‘These Boots.’” -allmusic.com

 

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AC/DC: Rock or Bust

Album Cover“If Rock or Bust does indeed wind up as the final AC/DC record — they did indeed weather many setbacks during its creation — it will stand as a suitable career-capper. It may be no different than what came before, but Rock or Bust is by many measures stronger than most latter-day AC/DC albums, serving as a testament to why their good-humored raunch and industrial-strength riffs made them a rock & roll institution.” -allmusic.com

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