Reviews

Spoon | Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 11 July 2007 04:19

gagagagagaAmong indie bands, Spoon's CD structure often feels the most like Top 40 bands, insofar as their CDs tend to have two or three really good songs, and then a lot of filler.

 

 

The Teeth | You're My Lover Now (Park the Van)

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Written by Mike Tangaro Monday, 09 July 2007 15:06

cd_teethIf imitation is the best form of flattery, consider The Kinks flattered after a spin of You're My Lover Now.

 

 

 

 

   

The Blue Method | Kill the Music Vol. II

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Written by Amy Burger Monday, 09 July 2007 14:07

 

 

tbmcdcoverIf you're not a fan of horns, this album may not be for you, as it is saturated with them. If you are a fan of them, as I am, it will quite literally blow you away.

 

 

 

 

 

Rasputina | Oh Perilous World (Filthy Bonnet)

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Written by Joseph O'Fallon Monday, 02 July 2007 09:17

cd_rasputinaLike the White Stripes' Icky Thump, Oh Perilous World finds Rasputina staying true to its fans and prior work, with fewer turnoffs to the less experimental fan.

 

 

 

 

   

Rocky Volotato | The Brag and Cuss (Barsuk)

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Written by Joseph O'Fallon Monday, 02 July 2007 09:13

cd_votolatoWhen I got my hands on The Brag and Cuss, I was looking for the new rock song, and I can safely say there isn't one.

 

 

 

 

 

Damien Dempsey | To Hell or Barbados (UFO)

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Written by Mary Beth Hascall Monday, 02 July 2007 09:08

cd_dempsey"Serious" has a steady, fast beat with Dempsey fighting himself as a tempting heroin dealer trying to sell himself a fix.

 

 

 

 

   

Marilyn Manson | Eat Me, Drink Me (Nothing)

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Written by Charles Evans Saturday, 30 June 2007 07:41

cd_mansonWhen all is said and done, this will inevitably be seen as the "I didn't know what else to do" album: that point when a musical artist is backed into a corner, most of the band has drifted away, and middle age begins to interrupt the fabled rock 'n' roll lifestyle. But this will also be remembered as one of Marilyn Manson's best albums, maybe even the best.

 

 

 

 

Paul McCartney | Memory Almost Full (Hear Music)

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Written by Jim Dunn Saturday, 30 June 2007 07:33

cd_mccartneyI distinctly remember sitting outside K-Mart, pulling the plastic off the latest album and examining lyrics and artwork.

 

 

 

 

   

Ryan Adams | Easy Tiger (Lost Highway)

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Written by Raymee Holshauser Saturday, 30 June 2007 07:21

cd_radamsRollicking soulful songs like "Good Night Rose" and "I Taught Myself How to Grow Old" have such a rich quality, it's nearly impossible to deny the singer's evolution.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ants | Ideabreaker (Sick Room)

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Written by Jason Neubauer Saturday, 30 June 2007 07:15

cd_antsIt's like a rock fishing lure. You hear something in the music of the Ants that draws you in, and then once you're among it, you realize it isn't what you thought. Yet you can't let go. Subtle subversives crafting pieces of melodic and principled commentary, the Ants speak softly but carry big ideas with their third full-length release, Ideabreaker.

 

 

 

   

The Polyphonic Spree | The Fragile Army (TVT)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Saturday, 30 June 2007 07:08

cd_polyOn The Fragile Army, the still 20-plus-member Polyphonic Spree take occasional steps away from sounding like a glee club conducted by Wayne Coyne. The songs (or "sections," as the band calls them) get sadder and angrier than those on previous albums, and the instrumentation varies beyond drums, guitar, and chorus.

 

 

 

 

The White Stripes | Icky Thump (Warner Bros/WEA)

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Written by Andrew Scavotto Thursday, 28 June 2007 06:11

ickythump2This may be the heaviest White Stripes album ever, and it showcases Meg's uncanny ability to understand Jack and drive the songs.

 

   

Air Supply | The Best of Air Supply: Ones That You Love

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Written by Jim Campbell Monday, 25 June 2007 09:01

cd_airsupply I completely forgot how "edgy"—by Air Supply standards, anyway—some of their songs came off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenderhooks | Vidalia (Rock Snob)

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Written by Kevin Renick Monday, 25 June 2007 08:45

cd_tenderhooksHis voice is mixed upfront, which means you can't ignore it. Some may wish to; Winstrom is likely gonna be an acquired taste, as there's playfulness and tension in equal measure in his tart delivery.

 

 

 

 

   

The Actual | In Stitches (Soft Drive)

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Written by Jason Green Monday, 25 June 2007 08:37

cd_actualThe Actual's singer/guitarist Max Bernstein's pedigree also invites curiosity: his mother is famed screenwriter and director Nora Ephron, and his father is Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein.

 

 

 

 

 

The Conformists | Three Hundred (54 40 or Fight)

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Written by David Lichius Monday, 25 June 2007 08:29

cd_conformistsBelleville, Ill.'s the Conformists are the closest thing the boundless St. Louis area has to Shellac.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Various Artists | Transformers: The Movie Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 20th Anniv. Ed.

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Written by Jason Green Monday, 25 June 2007 08:21

cd_transformersBoth "The Touch" and its companion piece "Dare" feature Stan Bush's wailing vocals—think Sammy Hagar and Journey's Steve Perry smooshed together—over anthemic, fist-pump-inducing hair metal that will give any child of the '80s the same warm fuzzies as blasting "Pour Some Sugar on Me" out of a redneck bar jukebox.

 

 

 

 

Sea Wolf | Get to the River Before It Runs too Low (Dangerbird)

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Written by Glen Elkins Monday, 25 June 2007 08:13

cd_seawolfChurch's pained delivery, coupled with somber organ, requires a double take to make sure the copy of Fevers and Mirrors you had in high school didn't accidentally slip into your stereo.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Tunng | Comments of the Inner Chorus (Full Time Hobby)

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Written by Kevin Renick Monday, 25 June 2007 08:01

cd_tunngIt takes a certain creative willfulness to not only sustain the unusual sound palette here, but to make the resulting compositions melodically fresh and emotionally satisfying.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuatara | East of the Sun (Fast Horse)

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Written by Jason Green Monday, 25 June 2007 07:55

cd_tuataraIn lieu of instrumentals, each of East's 15 tracks features a guest vocalist, 10 singers in total.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Bob Frank and John Murry | World Without End (Closer Recording Studios)

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Written by James Nokes Monday, 25 June 2007 02:47

cd_murryWorld Without End is an unforgivingly remorseless stitchwork of murder ballads that unlike the somber, sometimes repentant Murder Ballads of Nick Cave, are just, well, creepy.

 

 

 

 

 

Serena Ryder | If Your Memory Serves You Well (EMI)

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Written by Paul John Little Monday, 25 June 2007 02:42

cd_serena"Morning Dew" retains much of its easy swagger courtesy of a slick, uptempo swamp-rock arrangement and a throat-rending vocal that finds Ryder channeling Melissa Etheridge with uncanny accuracy in the song's final stretch.

 

 

 

   

Art Brut | It's a Bit Complicated (Downtown)

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Written by Mikey Goralnik Friday, 22 June 2007 03:47

cd_art-brutThe high marks I've given this record are really a testament to the music. While Argos seems to have regressed a tad in his writing and delivery, guitarist Ian Catskilkin has moved well beyond the power chords, and catchy yet undemanding fretwork of Bang Bang for guitar stylings that are a bit more complicated.

 

 

 

 

Cat-A-Tac | Past Lies and Former Lives (Needlepoint)

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Written by Rebecca Reardon Monday, 18 June 2007 13:50

cd_catatacTennant and McTurnan share guitar and vocal duties, creating the swirling, '90s-style distorted guitar of self-professed influence My Bloody Valentine.

 

 

 

 

   

Numero 015 | Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label (The Numero Group)

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Written by Sam Levy Monday, 18 June 2007 13:41

cd_numero15Nobody in Columbus remembers them, but for two minutes and forty seconds they become amazingly familiar. It's unpolished, but it's from the soil, and the soul. And it's wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

Pelican | City of Echoes (Hydrahead)

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Written by David Lichius Monday, 11 June 2007 14:36

cd_pelicanFor a rock fan, there are certain bands' names you don't want to hear mentioned alongside "pop" in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence.

 

 

 

 

   

All Smiles | Ten Readings of a Warning (Dangerbird)

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Written by Rebecca Reardon Monday, 11 June 2007 14:28

cd_allsmilesUnlike Sumday by Grandaddy, Ten Readings of a Warning never found me reaching for the "skip" button. The songs are that good.

 

 

 

 

 

Kalli | While the City Sleeps (One Little Indian)

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Written by Kevin Renick Monday, 11 June 2007 14:20

cd_kalliKalli is genuinely self-aware, and, like most of us, living by the age-old ethos of "Hope springs eternal," even though disappointment and lowered expectations tend to be the norm.

 

 

 

 

   

Waking Ashland | The Well (Immortal)

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Written by Jason Green Monday, 11 June 2007 14:15

cd_wakingUpon further listens, little details begin to bubble up to the surface: catchy melodies start to stick in your head, clever turns of phrase jump out of the lyrics, and subtle musical touches start to emerge from the mix.

 

 

 

 

Shellac | Excellent Italian Greyhound (Touch and Go)

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Written by David Lichius Monday, 11 June 2007 13:55

cd_shellacWith this long of a layoff, it is important to stress that Excellent Italian Greyhound is a Shellac record. There are no big surprises to be found inside.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Utah Carol | Rodeo Queen (Stomping Ground)

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Written by Kevin Renick Monday, 04 June 2007 15:10

cd_utahThis is one of the few records I've ever heard that would sound great in any situation. Driving in your car. Playing it in the background at a small dinner party. Curled up at night with your headphones on.

 

 

 

 

 

Sage Francis | Human the Death Dance (Epitaph/Strange Famous)

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Written by Chris Schott Monday, 04 June 2007 15:05

cd_sageThe songs vary in style, giving artistic dignity to the track producer while allowing Sage to share the spotlight, giving credit where credit is due—a selfless rapper, imagine that.

 

 

 

 

   

Johnny and the Moon | Johnny and the Moon (Kill Devil Hills)

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Written by Rebecca Reardon Monday, 04 June 2007 14:56

cd_johnnymoonLike the kindergartner who refuses to quietly return the instruments to the box at the end of class time, the album ends with someone giving one last impulsive jingling of the wind chimes.

 

 

 

 

 

The National | Boxer (Beggars Banquet)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Saturday, 02 June 2007 05:58

cd_nationalSmall observations, self-deprecating moments (Can I get a minute of not being nervous and not thinking of my dick"), and bits of conversation fill out the rest of the lyrics, lending credence to the National's more repetitive choruses, and adding a mystery that abolishes any semblance of tedium.

 

 

 

 

   

Creeping Weeds | We Are All Part of a Dream You're Having (Hot Horse!)

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Written by Rebecca Reardon Wednesday, 30 May 2007 08:55

cd_creepingFrom the first note of the catchy guitar riff of "Eternity Is a Long Time," it will remind you why you like indie music so gosh-darned much. Jangly guitars! Plaintive lyrics!

 

 

 

 

 

Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities | Lucas (Ghostly Int'l.)

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Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 30 May 2007 08:40

cd_skeletonsSummoning a sort of ghostly, late-night vibe, Mehlan arranges these tracks like a witch at her cauldron, stirring and stirring the bubbling brew in hopes of conjuring magickal forces.

 

 

 

 

   

Sonny Smith | Fruitvale (Belle Sound)

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Written by Paul John Little Monday, 21 May 2007 10:06

cd_sonnysmithSmith half-speaks his songs in a ramble-tamble style that recalls both Lou Reed and Eels' principal Mark Oliver Everett in equal measure, an inherently hip and cynical method of delivery which lends credibility to his street-level vocabulary and seedy subjects.

 

 

 

 

 

John Boy's Courage | The Fall Precaution (s/r)

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Written by Amanda Pelle Monday, 21 May 2007 09:59

cd_jbcCoupled with emotional lyrics and sensual vocals, the end result is masterful, melodic poetry.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Dinosaur Jr. | Beyond (Fat Possum)

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Written by Gabe Bullard Monday, 14 May 2007 08:52

cd_dinoThat now-classic sound is all over Beyond. The big, fuzzy riffs flow almost seamlessly from one song to the next and the not-quite whiney vocals sound just as good as ever.

 

 

 

 

 

Dungen | Tio Bitar (Kemado)

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Written by Kevin Renick Monday, 14 May 2007 08:48

cd_dungenIt's perhaps a measure of the highly evolved musical aesthetic that pervades Scandinavia that a young Swedish dude like Gustav Ejstes could better his American counterparts at recreating guitar-based psychedelic rock of the hippie era.

 

 

 

 

   

White Rabbits | Fort Nightly (Say Hey)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Monday, 14 May 2007 08:06

cd_whiterabbitsThe crafting of the group's style seems more at the front of their minds than the crafting of memorable songs.

 

 

 

 

 

The Twilight Sad | Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters (Fat Cat)

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Written by Jessica Gluckman Monday, 14 May 2007 07:43

cd_twilightA rolling rim-tap forms a bridge over watery arpeggios in "Talking With Fireworks," a would-be tender song ruptured by hot-level salvos so overwhelming that even the vocals are forced to drop out until the barrage recedes.

 

 

 

 

   

Cult Cargo | Grand Bahama Goombay (The Numero Group)

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Written by Sam Levy Monday, 14 May 2007 07:39

cd_numeroHonestly, if you're a man, and it's summer, and you have a lady, and you love her, play this song. She'll kiss you right then and there.

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Timony | The Shapes We Make (Kill Rock Stars)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Monday, 14 May 2007 03:49

cd_timonyLyricism, voice melodies, and Timony's more innovative sounds have taken a backseat in Shapes, but this filler-free record is quality nonetheless and worthy of multiple plays.

 

 

 

 

   

Wilco | Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch)

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Written by Raymee Holshouser Monday, 14 May 2007 03:32

cd_wilcoThe perfect plea, "Leave Me Like You Found Me" hearkens back to the simplest sound of Wilco, a track that could seamlessly slide onto 1999's Summerteeth.

 

 

 

 

 

Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours | Trailercana (DRP Records)

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Written by Jason Green Wednesday, 09 May 2007 07:06

antsyThere aren't any real laugh-out-loud moments on Trailercana, but there's enough witty and clever wordplay to please anyone looking for a fun little poke at the trailer park lifestyle that us Midwesterners know so well.

 

   

Sia | Lady Croissant (Astralwerks)

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Written by Amy Burger Monday, 07 May 2007 13:40

cd_siaA soulful and unique talent, Sia has a distinctive, almost otherworldly voice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feist | The Reminder (Cherry Tree/Interscope)

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Written by Joe Bowman Monday, 07 May 2007 13:28

cd_feistWith The Reminder, Feist has emerged as the most solid of the rotating female vocalists from Broken Social Scene.

 

 

 

 

   

Magic Bullets | A Child But in Life Yet a Doctor in Love (Words on Music)

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Written by Jason Neubauer Monday, 30 April 2007 14:26

Songs that embody an intricate use of musical theory coupled with thoughtful lyrics make up the debut CD of this San Francisco sextet. Classic undertones of lost love and semblances of heartbreak balance out compositions of odd celebration and poignant advice for the soul-sick.

 

 

Lesbians on Ecstasy | We Know You Know (Alien8)

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Written by James Nokes Monday, 30 April 2007 14:24

Through electro beats, synth add-ins, space age mixes, and liberating lyrics, Lesbians on Ecstasy celebrate decades of womyn's movements and lesbian love.

 

   

The Book of Knots | Traineater (Anti-)

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Written by David Lichius Wednesday, 25 April 2007 14:44

cd_bookofknotsThere have been fantastic records released this year, but they all pale in comparison to Traineater. This record is that solid.

 

 

 

 

 

Various Artists | SC100 (Secretly Canadian)

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Written by Jeremy Goldmeier Wednesday, 25 April 2007 13:58

cd_sc100Each artist covers another member of the SC family, with assignments determined "via the ol' names-in-a-hat method," according to the album's press sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Yoko Ono | Open Your Box (Astralwerks)

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Written by Joe Bowman Wednesday, 25 April 2007 13:51

cd_onoAll premature snickering aside, the album is curiously listenable, if not utterly scatterbrained in electronic stylings.

 

 

 

 

 

Of God and Science | Elbow, Spoon, Doves (Detach)

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Written by Maria Kriszt Wednesday, 25 April 2007 13:44

godandscienceOf God and Science shows their talent off with long stretches of music in every track; you never know when they will break into instrumentals.

 

   

Illinois | What the Hell Do I Know? (Ace Fu)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Wednesday, 25 April 2007 13:37

cd_illinoisWhenever Illinois starts to hint toward psychedelic, they always remember to harness pop structures and rein them in.

 

 

 

 

 

Blonde Redhead | 23 (4AD)

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Written by Tyson Blanquart Tuesday, 24 April 2007 15:31

Makino sings of a love lost, but it appears that she is the dump-er rather than the dump-ee.

 

   

Mr. Quintron | JamSkate EP (s/r)

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Written by Joseph O'Fallon Tuesday, 24 April 2007 15:08

Mr. Quintron—or Robert Rolston to those who knew him in Florissant—provides a basic, plain-structured EP with music that is anything but bland.

 

 

Umphrey's McGee | The Bottom Half (Sci Fidelity)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Monday, 16 April 2007 15:33

cd_umphreysA double-disc comprised of previously unreleased tracks, alternate versions of songs, and studio brainstorming, The Bottom Half reveals why Umphrey's McGee is one of the most intriguing rock bands in today's music scene, not just in the jam world.

 

 

 

   

RJD2 | The Third Hand (XL)

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Written by Nick Main Sunday, 15 April 2007 14:49

cd_rjd2When you look back to his last album, the two tracks RJD2 sang on are some of the best songs on the album. The simple lyrics were charming; here they're embarrassing. What went wrong?

 

 

 

 

 

The Cinematics | A Strange Education (TVT)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Sunday, 15 April 2007 12:52

cd_cinematicsOn repeated listens, the once charming title track comes off as a watered-down ripoff of an earlier generation (Reagonomics, anyone?), despite the fact that Scott Rinning's vocals really are quite versatile and beautiful.

 

 

 

   

Black Lab | Passion Leaves a Trace (s/r)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Sunday, 15 April 2007 12:43

cd_blacklabDurham's voice—stark, lonely, aching—is spot-on against bare-bones accompaniment. When he sings counterpoint with himself on vocals, it's pure heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

The Frames | The Cost (Anti-)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Sunday, 15 April 2007 12:40

cd_framesThe more I listen to The Cost, the more I have realized this: My life is the Frames, at times spiraling wildly, deliciously, passionately out of control, only to be reigned back in and tamed.

 

 

 

 

   

Numero 013: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation (The Numero Group)

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Written by Sam Levy Wednesday, 11 April 2007 14:10

cd_numero13For every Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin there are a hundred Syl Johnsons, a big name if you know soul, a "No, I don't think I ever heard of him," if you don't.

 

 

 

 

 

Lovewhip | Virtual Booty Machine (Juicy Juju)

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Written by James Nokes Monday, 09 April 2007 15:42

cd_lovewhipA blend of live DJ sets, band performance, and cabaret in an irresistible show of dance beats and theatricality

 

 

 

 

   

Jatun (Other Electricities)

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Written by James Nokes Monday, 09 April 2007 15:33

cd_jatunAuroras don't come with soundtracks, but if listeners could imagine themselves in Alaska staring at an iridescent sky, this would be the music playing in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Mehling | How Do I Make You Lonesome? (Sacred Heart Studios)

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Written by James Nokes Monday, 09 April 2007 15:28

cd_mehling20-year-old Dave Mehling takes on the indie circuit with the help of his late uncle's battered Gibson guitar

 

 

 

 

 

   

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