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“With their earnest, melodic piano-pop and youthful spirit, comparisons to early Ben Folds Five are inevitable, but where Folds tempered his wistfulness with a wry and often mischievous sense of humor, Axel and Vaccarino generally reach for the stars, fueled largely by hope and positivity….A Great Big World will deliver you to a pretty happy and hopeful place on this debut.” –All Music Guide

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“Sam Roberts Band’s fifth studio album, 2014′s Lo-Fantasy, is a melodic, psych-inflected album that showcases Roberts’ knack for mixing gigantic, propulsive rock melodies and dance-oriented hooks….[A] warm, brightly hopeful album.” –All Music Guide

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David Nail: I’m a Fire

“Nail’s gifts suggest he’s a blue-collar patriot, a working man happy to churn out anthems for the unsung, but he’s a bit more subtle than that, identifying exceptional songwriters and never succumbing to the good-time bro-country that is a golden ticket to the top of the charts….[I]t’s a grower, sounding better with repeated exposure, repeated listens revealing the craft in the songs and the subtlety in Nail’s execution.” –All Music Guide

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“Like Goodfellas and Boogie Nights before it, American Hustle‘s music celebrates the epic feel of ’70s pop, rock, and disco and uses it to give its story extra heft. David O. Russell’s tale of con men, Feds, and the mob has a lighter touch than either of those two movies, however, and this is reflected in the soundtrack’s song choices….A nuanced and playful soundtrack, American Hustle works well as a companion piece to the movie that spawned it and on its own.” –All Music Guide

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“Compared to his albums with N.E.R.D. and In My Mind, this is easily Pharrell’s second most enjoyable album, just behind the original version of In Search Of… from 2001. It’s fun, frivolous, and low on excess.” –All Music Guide

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Lo-Fang: Blue Film

“Blue Film, Matthew Hemerlein’s intense, intimate debut album as Lo-Fang, was inspired by a mixtape, and the free-flowing blend of sounds on these songs retains some of that feel. Encompassing R&B, synth pop, orchestral, and folk music — sometimes within the same song — Hemerlein loves and excels at striking juxtapositions…. [A]n often unforgettable introduction.” –All Music Guide

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“Qwel has become a surprisingly mature, thoughtful storyteller with a deep understanding of song structure….For now, he’ll have to just enjoy his status as Your Favorite Underground Rapper’s Favorite Rapper. If nothing else, someday, I think, there will be a movie about this guy – call it The Greatest Emcee No One Listened To.” –Ze Catalyst

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“Atkins has come a long way since her debut and without the distractions of a major label or a major break-up, she seems to be in the driver’s seat and completely in control of her destiny, delivering her most artistic and confident album to date.” –All Music Guide

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Molly Drake: Molly Drake

“This is surely the most unexpected, strangely compelling release in years – a home recording of self-composed songs made in the 1950s and 60s by Molly Drake, the wife of a successful Warwickshire businessman and mother of Nick Drake, the struggling singer-songwriter who acquired legendary status after dying of an overdose of antidepressants in 1974, aged 26.” –The Guardian

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“[W]hen you’re talking about one of the very best bluegrass groups working in the 21st Century, just playing a set of good songs can add up to something pretty special….The Streets of Baltimore certainly confirms that this group is as good as contemporary bluegrass gets, and this music delivers a healthy dose of soul, passion, and joy.” –All Music Guide

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“The Texan trio has never been constrained by genre, but here they let their imagination wild, dabbling in every sound or style that’s ever tickled their fancy….[I]ts freshness proves that ten years after their 2004 breakthrough, the band is as lively as ever and, in some sly subtle ways, better than ever too.” –All Music Guide

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“Compared to Neneh Cherry’s three proper solo albums, the last of which was released in 1996, Blank Project is from another dimension….From front to back, Blank Project is riveting uneasy listening.” –All Music Guide

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“Mr. Adams, born in 1953 and one of the more original American composers of his generation, has found ways to combine his passions for music and for nature. And ‘Inuksuit,’ flexibly scored for anywhere from 9 to 99 percussion players widely dispersed in an outdoor area, is the ultimate environmental piece.” –The New York Times

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“For his fourth solo release, the Figgs mainstay calls what he’s doing ‘soft roll,’ and his descriptor seems a fitting one….As ever, Gent is covering a lot of ground here, and as ever, his music has an inexorable, seemingly effortless groove.” –The Boston Globe

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“[I]t’s elastic guitar rock constructed partially out of cannabis guitar jams and partially out of punk rock squalls, both sides distinguished by wry melodicism and dexterous wordplay….[I]t feels looser than most of the Jicks records; the compositions are tight but the attitude is ragged, which winds up being more infectious and fun than albums where the songs drift but the instruments are tight.” –All Music Guide

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“[T]he album is a well-rounded sonic and emotional experience that hits hard and sticks around long after the last note has faded. In other words, Push Any Button is what Sam Phillips fans have come to rely on over her course of her career: a perfectly crafted album that overflows with melodic hooks, musical grace, lyrical insight, and emotional depth. Call it another tiny classic of adult pop music in a career full of them.” –All Music Guide

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“Providing the music for a film about the making of one of Hollywood’s most beloved musicals is no easy task, but Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning composer Thomas Newman (The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty) offers up an evocative score for the John Lee Hancock-directed historical comedy-drama that manages to invoke both the despair and whimsy that surrounded the making of Mary Poppins.” –All Music Guide

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Beck: Morning Phase

“As Morning Phase is a slow, shimmering album deliberately in the vein of classic singer/songwriter LPs, it’s easy to think of it as a pained, confessional sequel to Sea Change, the 2002 record written and recorded in the wake of a painful romantic breakup….[T]he abiding impression left from this album is one of comfort, not despair, which makes Morning Phase distinctly different than its companion Sea Change.” –All Music Guide

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Kingsley Flood: Battles

“This is a band that plays with a manic energy and is far more apt to snarl than to coo…..Yet even within the torrent of energy Kingsley Flood puts out live, the band distinguishes itself with richly textured songs….It [is] easy to understand why Kingsley Flood’s profile is rising above its Boston base.” –Boston.com

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“As always in Broken Bells’ world, there’s a fine line between bittersweet and bummed out; while these aren’t the easiest moods to make appealing, Burton and Mercer succeed….Given Burton and Mercer’s pedigrees, it’s hard not to want more from Broken Bells, but After the Disco’s strongest moments suggest that their music is coming into focus.” –All Music Guide

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