Reviews

Jinnrail | Million Lifetimes (Girlfight)

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Written by Karen Brandt Friday, 22 February 2008 08:15

cd_jinnrail.jpgThe language is beautiful, but with its elevation comes the problem of obscurity.

 

 

Johnathan Rice | Further North (Reprise)

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Written by Karen Brandt Friday, 22 February 2008 08:12

cd_johnathan-rice.jpgRice recounts typical guy-girl relationships with a "love her, leave her, and long-for-her-later" attitude.

 

   

Steve Smith | This Town (G.A.S.)

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Written by Sheila Shahpari Friday, 22 February 2008 08:10

cd_steve-smith.jpg"Sometimes being a genius is just waking up in the morning."

 

 

Michael Jackson | Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition (Epic Legacy)

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Written by Amy Burger Friday, 22 February 2008 08:07

cd_mj-thriller.jpgAs they'd say in 1983, from the moment the needle hit the vinyl (this was the pre-CD era), it was on, and it was pure gold.

 

   

Bayard Russell | Selftitled (s/r)

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Written by Amanda Pelle Monday, 18 February 2008 05:52

cd_bayard-russell.jpgSelftitled samples generously from the spice rack of genre as Russell seeks to uncover his musical identity.

 

 

The Mars Volta | The Bedlam in Goliath (Universal)

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Written by Josh Vise Monday, 18 February 2008 05:50

cd_mars-volta.jpgThe Bedlam in Goliath is The Mars Volta's way of counteracting Soothsayer's evil curse by way of disseminating its power to the listeners.

 

   

Ray Davies | Working Man's Café (New West)

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Written by Jim Ousley Monday, 18 February 2008 05:47

cd_ray-davies.jpgDavies ratchets up the creepy factor for a tune so thick in atmosphere that you can smell the leaves, hear the wind howl, and feel the humidity form sweat beads on your neck.

 

 

Blue Highway | Through the Window of a Train (Rounder)

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Written by Ryan Parker Friday, 15 February 2008 07:07

cd_blue-highway.jpgMany of the songs have a definite storytelling aspect that seem to fit in well with the "sittin' on the porch" nature of bluegrass.

 

   

David Saw | Broken Down Figure (Iris)

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Written by Raymee Holshauser Friday, 15 February 2008 07:02

cd_david-saw.jpgBroken Down Figure is both sad and hopeful, showing off Saw's songwriting chops and lyrical ability.

 

 

Eat Sugar (s/r)

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Written by Josh Vise Friday, 15 February 2008 06:59

cd_eat-sugar.jpgEat Sugar is one of those groups whose sound encompasses several genres without conforming to any single one.

 

   

Monade | Monstre Cosmic (Too Pure)

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Written by Jaffa Aharonov Friday, 15 February 2008 06:56

cd_monade.jpgReally, it's okay to sound like yourself, right?

 

 

The Shondes | The Red Sea (s/r)

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Written by Rebecca Reardon Friday, 15 February 2008 06:47

cd_shondes.jpgThese are bands that blend seemingly disparate genres to create anthemic, thought-provoking tracks that rock listeners out of their apathetic stupor.

 

   

Pretendo | ][ (Country Club)

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Written by Josh Vise Friday, 15 February 2008 06:43

cd_pretendo.jpgEach song seems tailor-made to be the soundtrack of a high-speed chase.

 

 

Air Traffic | Fractured Life (Astralwerks)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Friday, 15 February 2008 06:37

cd_air-traffic.jpgFractured Life  is gritty Brit-pop, indie rock, dance-inducing, upbeat pop, mellow, reflective, soothing AAA...

 

   

Love in October | Pontus, The Devil, and Me (The Musik Group)

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Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 13 February 2008 06:43

cd_love-in-oct.jpgLove in October, an emo-type foursome led by Swedish brothers Erik and Kent Widman, may be based in Minneapolis, but that adrenaline-charged sound you hear will be familiar to anyone who's heard The Hives.

 

 

 

Meshuggah | obZen (Nuclear Blast)

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Written by Josh Vise Wednesday, 13 February 2008 06:38

cd_meshuggah.jpgFredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström assault the ears with a guitarist's interpretation of tectonic plates colliding.

 

   

The Old Haunts | Poisonous Times (Kill Rock Stars)

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Written by Jaffa Aharanov Wednesday, 13 February 2008 06:30

cd_old-haunts.jpgThe fat and fuzzy bass-heavy guitar of the title track makes me immediately think of Kill Rock Stars labelmates and fellow residents of the Northwest, The Gossip, but with male vocals instead of Beth Ditto's soulfulness.

 

 

Widespread Panic | Free Somehow (Widespread)

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Written by Amy Burger Wednesday, 13 February 2008 06:27

cd_widespread.jpgFree Somehow is the band's first studio effort featuring songs that were not previously "road tested" onstage in live performances.

 

   

Dirty on Purpose | Like Bees EP (North St)

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Written by Alex Bates Wednesday, 06 February 2008 14:17

cd_dirty.jpgThe songs are mellow getting mellower, and it's an easy album to listen to.

 

 

Private Eleanor | Sweethearting (The Beechfields)

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Written by Jaffa Aharonov Wednesday, 06 February 2008 14:14

cd_eleanor.jpgBefore more words are said, I must confess to having a bit of a soft spot for dramatic romanticism in song.

 

   

Spencer Jo | My Old Home (s/r)

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Written by Jason Neubauer Wednesday, 06 February 2008 14:07

cd_spencer-jo.jpgHis talent as an instrumentalist and lyricist are showcased in a way that keeps his music free of distracted bravado and long solos

 

 

The Metapuffs | Dimensional Maze (Interplanetary)

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Written by Rebecca Reardon Wednesday, 06 February 2008 14:03

cd_metapuffs.jpgTruly great pop song, with tight harmonies. The lyrics are a bit twee. But Lane sounds so sweet, I don't mind.

 

   

Edison Glass | Time Is Fiction (Credential Recordings)

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Written by Carl Hines Friday, 01 February 2008 04:20

cd_edison-glass.jpgEach track is strong enough to stand on its own, all the while perfectly contributing to the cohesiveness of the work as a whole.

 

 

Biirdie | Catherine Avenue (Love Minus Zero)

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Written by Kevin Renick Friday, 01 February 2008 04:18

cd_biirdie.jpgThe plaintive vocals and stately Americana trappings of "Life in a Box" reveal the band as more than competent craftsmen, while the alt-country "Estelle" is pure, uninhibited fun.

 

   

Karmic Whiplash | The Nervous System (City Duck)

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Written by Eammon Azizi Friday, 01 February 2008 04:00

cd_karmic.jpgThe Nervous System is a quick, enjoyable ten-song folk rock album with enough creativity, edge, pop and variety to keep it interesting all the way through.

 

 

L'ocelle Mare | s/t (Sick Room)

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Written by Jason Green Friday, 01 February 2008 03:54

cd_locelle.jpgTrack 7 shows what potential there was in Bonvalet's original idea, with a gently plucked acoustic guitar backed only by the sound of pouring rain.

 

   

Grand Ole Party | Humanimals (DH)

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Written by Rebecca Reardon Friday, 01 February 2008 03:46

cd_grand-ole-party.jpgEven after several listens, I never really got over my Yeah Yeah Yeahs déjà vu.

 

 

Kate Nash | Made of Bricks (Fiction/Polydor)

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Written by Todd McKenzie Thursday, 24 January 2008 07:29

cd_kate-nash.jpgShe doesn't sing about prostitutes or pushers; instead, she weaves intricate tales about crushes and teenage identity crises.

 

   

Ladyhawk | Shots (Jagjaguwar)

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Written by Alex Hodschayan Thursday, 24 January 2008 07:27

cd_ladyhawk.jpgUpon first listen, I couldn't help wondering if Ladyhawk had spent too much time listening to Jason Molina.

 

 

Earthworms | Bottle of Bourbon (F5)

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Written by Joshua Vise Thursday, 24 January 2008 07:19

cd_earthworms.jpgEarthworms manage to successfully avoid the sophomore curse by keeping up the momentum and sticking to their real strength.

 

   

Cassettes Won't Listen | Small-Time Machine (s/r)

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Written by Glen Elkins Tuesday, 22 January 2008 13:20

cd_cassettes.jpgWith a sound less fresh than its predecessors, Cassettes Won't Listen still manages a fun, enjoyable disc.

 

 

Lucinda Black Bear | ‘Capo My Heart' and Other Bear Songs (Eastern Spurs)

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Written by Kevin Renick Tuesday, 22 January 2008 13:11

cd_lucinda.jpgThere's something about hearing a male voice reaching for that challenging, octave-stretching high note—and nailing it—that is utterly sublime.

 

   

Hello, Blue Roses | The Portrait is Finished and I Have Failed to Capture Your Beauty (Locust Music)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Monday, 21 January 2008 03:02

cd_blue-roses.jpgWhile this album sounds great, it's a lot to take at once. Even though the 14 songs add up to about 40 minutes, the stream of short tunes provides a sensory assault that causes even the smoothest sound to wear on the eardrum.

 

 

Dick Prall | Weightless (Authentic)

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Written by Glen Elkins Monday, 21 January 2008 03:01

cd_dick-prall.jpgThe dense and meaningful lyrics make Weightless anything but, as he demonstrates his adept ability to join substantive words with catchy melodies.

 

   

The Yarrows | Plum (Empyrean)

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Written by Kevin Renick Friday, 18 January 2008 02:40

cd_yarrows.jpgWhat truly pervades is a sense of patience; the band wants to nail a certain mood here, and they're not the least bit interested in showing off their chops or proving how diverse they are.

 

 

Cat Power | Jukebox (Matador)

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Written by Katie Cook Friday, 18 January 2008 02:36

cd_catpower.jpgMarshall has a way of taking what is familiar, fixed, or at the very worst, stale, and uniquely contemporizing it for a new time in music.

 

   

The Whigs | Mission Control (ATO)

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Written by Keith Mangles Tuesday, 15 January 2008 08:05

cd_whigs.jpgI find myself humming the vocal parts and the bass guitar parts to "Production City," the second track.

 

 

Evangelicals | The Evening Descends (Dead Oceans)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Tuesday, 15 January 2008 08:01

cd_evangelicals.jpgReally, the only three words that fit this album are "LISTEN RIGHT NOW."

 

   

Throw Me the Statue | Moonbeams (Secretely Canadian)

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Written by Joseph O'Fallon Monday, 14 January 2008 01:49

cd_throw-me-the-statue.jpgA good portion of Moonbeams shies away from the playful Boy Least Likely To elements, and instead embraces, especially vocally, a Casiotone for the Painfully Alone or Robot Ate Me feel.

 

The Magnetic Fields | Distortion (Nonesuch)

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Written by Todd McKenzie Monday, 14 January 2008 01:39

cd_magnetic-fields.jpgSonically, Distortion is about as much of a 180 as one could expect after the quiet, acoustic chamber pop of the band's previous effort, i.
   

Vampire Weekend (XL)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Tuesday, 08 January 2008 14:52

cd_vampire.jpgSo, while everyone from frat boys to library clerks moving their buns to Vampire Weekend, what's left for the serious music fan to appreciate?

 

 

The Cult | Born Into This (Roadrunner/New Wilderness)

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Written by Jason Green Tuesday, 08 January 2008 14:26

cd_cult.jpgRather than continuing in the vein of Beyond Good and Evil or branching off in a new direction, the Cult of ‘07 seems content to try to rock out with their cock out like it's 1989.

 

   

Juno | Original Soundtrack Recording (Rhino)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Monday, 07 January 2008 08:41

cd_juno.jpgReally, the Juno soundtrack might as well be a best-of Kimya Dawson record.

 

 

Numero Group | Numero 017: The Outskirts of Deep City

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Written by Sam Levy Tuesday, 18 December 2007 03:04

cd_numero-17.jpgAs they built The Deep City Label release and turned over the rocks, a giant web emerged: names and leads and stories of late-night jam sessions in the Magic City.

 

   

Ian Axel | im on to you (Authentic Music Group)

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Written by Eammon Azizi Tuesday, 18 December 2007 02:57

cd_ian-axel.jpgIf you're a fan of piano-based rock with light attitude, then you'll really enjoy listening to Ian Axel and his band's musical craft.

 

 

Thomas Dybdahl | Science (Recall)

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Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 12 December 2007 13:52

qh_dybdahl.jpgIf Dybdahl isn't necessarily blinding you with Science, he sure is beckoning you with it, albeit in a shy, Nick Drake-ish manner.

 

   

Eastern Blok | Folk Tales (s/r)

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Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 12 December 2007 13:45

cd_easternblok.jpgThis incredibly talented ensemble conceive a fiery blend of Middle Eastern exoticism and the folk traditions of the Balkans.

 

 

The Dimes | Silent Generation (Pet Marmoset)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Friday, 07 December 2007 08:34

cd_dimes.jpgIt's like singer Johnny Clay is looking at a history book, but acting like he's just found a stack of pictures of his ex-girlfriend.

 

   

Small Sins | Mood Swings (Astralwerks)

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Written by Kevin Renick Friday, 07 December 2007 08:31

cd_smallsins.jpgIn the lyrics, the music and the fresh, energized arrangements here, there's a definite joie de vivre at work; you can clearly tell D'Arcy enjoys doing this pop music thing.

 

 

Symbolo | s/t (s/r)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Monday, 03 December 2007 09:47

cd_symbolo.jpgIt's the intricate interplay of instruments—guitars, keyboards, violin and effects—combined with Brandon Rice's eerie, almost angry vocals that defines this band.

 

   

Black Tie | Goodbye, Farewell (Socyermom)

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Written by Kevin Renick Monday, 03 December 2007 09:44

cd_blacktie.jpg"Hourglass" proudly establishes itself as a piece of pure ambient melancholia, waving across the fence at its close friends, film music and classical.

 

 

The Toy Dolls | Treasured Tracks (SOS)

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Written by Jason Neubauer Monday, 03 December 2007 09:29

cd_toydolls.jpgFront man Michael Algar (stage name Olga) has been the only constant in the abundance of incarnations the band has endured since 1979, and he's everyone's friend. Really.

 

   

Dan Craig | Wirebird (s/r)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Monday, 03 December 2007 09:27

cd_dancraig.jpgCraig is perhaps at his most Damien Rice on the title track; the instrumentation simple and stripped down, his rough-coated voice stands tall.

 

 

Dave Derby and the Norfolk Downs | s/t (Reveal)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Monday, 03 December 2007 09:25

cd_davederby.jpgThe result is an at times Cole-esque collection of introspective tales, delivered via laidback, smooth-as-silk vocal style.

 

   

The Mary Onettes | s/t (Labrador)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Thursday, 29 November 2007 02:18

cd_mary-onettes.jpgOn one of the standout tracks, "Lost," the group sounds remarkably isolated, yet oddly upbeat.

 

 

Brian Dewan | Words of Wisdom (Eschatone)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Wednesday, 21 November 2007 09:45

cd_dewan.jpgWhile the instrument isn't known for its complexity or grit, in Dewan's hands the autoharp turns into a musical Swiss Army Knife, suitable for ballads, stomps and dissonant aural punches.

   

Never Heard of Zeppelin | Is In Business (Metal Postcard)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Wednesday, 21 November 2007 09:43

cd_neverzep.jpgEven though it hurts to hear at high volumes, and even though the lyrics are all basically "I hate everything, I live my life right, unlike you, but I'm still miserable," I loved this EP.
 

Bob Dylan | Dylan (Columbia)

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Written by Raymee Holshauser Thursday, 15 November 2007 01:07

cd_dylan.jpgThis collection is impressive. But what's more impressive is that these songs are still relevant, still important, still really amazing and these songs have touched so many different generations on the way.

 

   

The Cynics | Here We Are (Get Hip)

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Written by Jason Neubauer Thursday, 15 November 2007 01:03

cd_cynics.jpgOnce again affirming their distinctive garage sound with Here We Are, The Cynics have managed to synthesize the same fuzzy 1960s style appeal that has been their trademark with lyrical sophistication that can only be described as thoughtful exploration of their already established raw talent. Think of the music itself as a broadsword and the lyrics as a scalpel.

 

 

The Goo Goo Dolls | Greatest Hits Vol. 1 - The Singles (Warner Bros.)

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Written by Jason Green Thursday, 15 November 2007 01:00

cd_googoo.jpgThe non-chronological tracklisting helps draw attention to songs that work better in an album context than they did as radio singles; the folk-y guitar-and-banjo number "Sympathy," in particular, never sounded so good as it does as a lead-in to "Iris."

 

   

Maxtone Four | Hey Hey Do It Anyway (Brickhouse Acoustics)

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Written by Paul Little Thursday, 15 November 2007 00:56

cd_maxtone.jpgMore than anything else, Maxtone Four want to rock your ass and make you feel good.

 

 

Ben Lee | Ripe (New West)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Tuesday, 13 November 2007 10:52

cd_benlee.jpgLee's gone a teensy bit over the upbeat edge, as Ripe veers a bit too often into schmaltzy territory.

 

   

Family Force 5 | Business Up Front, Party In the Back-Diamond Edition (Gotee/Maverick)

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Written by Jason Green Tuesday, 13 November 2007 06:05

cd_familyforce5.jpgIt all comes together on the back-to-back whammy of the club-ready anthems "Love Addict," whose hook is so dirty it could have only come from the Dirty South, and "Earthquake," with crunktastic keyboards, whipcrack drums, and even chanting cheerleaders to get the asses shaking.

 

 

Sebastian Bach | Angel Down (Get Off My Bach Productions/MRV/Caroline/Emi)

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Written by Eammon Azizi Tuesday, 13 November 2007 01:42

cd_sebastian.jpgNo question, fans of Skid Row or any other Bach endeavor are sure to be pumping their fists once Angel Down comes roaring from their stereo speakers.

   

Gorillaz | D-Sides (Virgin)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Saturday, 10 November 2007 09:24

cd_gorillaz.jpgD-Sides caters almost perfectly to hardcore Gorillaz fans. The kinds who follow the cartoon mythology and buy the collectibles, or those who are drawn to pick up a Roland or Casio after hearing "Dirty Harry" on the radio.

 

 

Soulsavers | It's Not How Far You Fall, It's How You Land (Red Ink)

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Written by Glen Elkins Saturday, 10 November 2007 09:15

cd_soulsavers.jpgThe disc avoids this trite compost heap by blending unique swathes from the musical palettes of Machin and Glover, creating a tapestry of sonic possibilities.

 

   

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