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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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Sara Evans: Slow Me Down

“Evans elegantly matches the oversized arrangements, matching each crescendo and hushed moment, while the songs are cannily constructed pieces of pop, sounding stronger with each play….Slow Me Down is something that is rare in 2014: an unapologetic, big-scale adult pop album, constructed with grace and care.” –All Music Guide

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“[A]s a band, Elbow reflect this comfortable reckoning with their own nature, letting sadness creep at the edges but favoring a warm, enveloping melancholy that turns the album into a soundtrack for healing, not wallowing.” –All Music Guide

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“The ageless and brilliant Kylie Minogue is an unstoppable force on the pop music scene. Long after her contemporaries have fallen by the wayside, become irrelevant, released the same boring records over and over, or embarrassed themselves in various ways, she continues to crank out inspired albums that show absolutely no dip in quality whatsoever….Kiss Me Once is a glittering, fun, and surprisingly powerful album that’s classic Kylie through and through.” –All Music Guide

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Shakira: Shakira

“Shakira is the rare pop star who can pull an album together through sheer force of personality. Whatever the setting, she not only sounds comfortable, she sounds powerful, and that goes a long way toward making Shakira a nice state-of-the-art pop album for America and the rest of the world.” –All Music Guide

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Noah Gunderson: Ledges

“Born into a musical but very religious family, Noah Gundersen didn’t hear many secular songs as a child, perhaps explaining the subtle and hushed gospel intensity and sincerity he brings to his songs….This is a low-key, autumnal-sounding album that impresses with its unhurried pace and thoughtful, muted sincerity. The songs sound sad but each carries hope somehow.” –All Music Guide

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“Supermodel is full of infectious, dance-oriented music that touches upon ’80s-influenced dance-rock… soulful psychedelia… and melodic acoustic rock… in equal measure….[I]f Torches scratched the surface of twenty-something angst, then Supermodel takes that exploration a few steps deeper, revealing a more introspective, enigmatic, world-weary tone.” –All Music Guide

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“[H]e just lets the music speak for itself, the Minnesota’s trombones cutting off phrases like anvils of death, the cyclical appearance of the tritone interval in the work emerging naturally in the precise work of the Minnesotans (who for all the talk of Finnish musical miracles are at least the equals of their Lahti counterparts) and doing the job of convincing the listener of the music’s utter hopelessness….Highly recommended, even to those already immersed in Nordic readings of Sibelius.” –All Music Guide

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Habib Koité: Soô

“Among the constellation of extraordinary musicians from Mali on the scene today, Habib Koité stands out for his unerring melodic instinct and the sense of intimacy that his songs carry. ‘Soô’ upholds this standard, with interesting innovations….The songs speak of social issues, friendship, love, and nationhood: Mali is recovering from two years of political and military crisis, and ‘Soô,’ which means ‘home,’ is an elegant plea for unity.” –The Boston Globe

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