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David Gray: Mutineers

“Gray remains a subtle songwriter, but these songs are direct and often slyly hooky, which means Mutineers makes a striking initial impact then seeps in deeply.” –All Music Guide

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The Both: The Both

“While both Aimee Mann and Ted Leo are perfectly capable of making records that are full of brainy, emotionally charged, and melodically rich songs, together they come together in a way that adds up to something greater than their solo work.” –All Music Guide

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“If there ever were a modern rock star who could be called an auteur, it’d be Damon Albarn. As the leader of Blur, he was responsible for the group’s grand themes….Upon repeated listens, the sorrowful undertow of Everyday Robots becomes a comfort, a balm for moments of alienation; it’s the kind of record that when you’re lonely, you press play.” –All Music Guide

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“From the start, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed has specialized in soul like they used to make back in the good old days….Reed remains the same sharp, skillful soulman, one whose good taste and craft are hard to resist.” –All Music Guide

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Lily Allen: Sheezus

“At her best, Lily Allen operates just at the edge of a crowd, slyly and snidely passing judgment from a safe distance….Allen is no provincial pop star; she belongs in the big leagues.” –All Music Guide

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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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