Reviews

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

 

 

 

 

 

   

Cletus Black | Bloodlines to the Heart (Little Fish)

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Written by James Nokes Monday, 09 April 2007 15:24

cd_cletusNot far off, but not quite there yet, a look at another for Cave and Cohency

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barr | Summary (5 Rue Christine)

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Written by James Nokes Monday, 09 April 2007 15:18

cd_barrWhat listeners have with Summary is a raw, uncensored cut of what could certainly use some severe translation

 

 

 

 

   

Swati | Small Gods (Bluhammock Music, LLC)

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Written by James Nokes Monday, 09 April 2007 15:14

cd_swatiA satisfying mix of discordant sounds, slurry lyricism, and frenetic chords

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Young Pony Club | s/t EP (Modular)

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Written by James Nokes Monday, 09 April 2007 15:08

cd_ponyclubJerk-funk candy fantasias with a dollop of homoeroticism

 

 

 

 

 

   

Other Men | Wake Up Swimming (Robcore)

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Written by David Lichius Monday, 09 April 2007 14:56

cd_othermenWith ex-HV comrades Manolo Turner on drums and Travis Nelson handling the guitar duties, Other Men have turned away from the fractured and discordant heaviness of HV in favor of a decidedly more poppy and compact style.

 

 

 

 

 

Minibar | Desert After Rain (s/r)

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Written by Jason Green Monday, 09 April 2007 14:50

cd_minibarThe band's self-produced, self-released third album makes it clear that Minibar never needed a big label in the first place.

 

 

 

 

   

Kings of Leon | Because of the Times (RCA)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Monday, 09 April 2007 14:42

cd_kingsKings of Leon still sound like no one else, mostly due to Caleb's literally instrumental vocals, but this is their first effort to see such decided growth.

 

 

 

 

 

Todd Carey | Watching Waiting (Inspiration Factory)

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Written by Amanda Pelle Sunday, 08 April 2007 10:13

Carey's radio-ready persona projects more than just a voice that could melt Antarctica; his boy-next-door baby face will surely win the hearts of a captivated audience in this eye-candy infatuated musical era.

 

   

Serengeti | Noticeably Negro (Audio 8)

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Written by Bob McMahon Sunday, 01 April 2007 14:19

As on past releases, Serengeti is alternately political, abstract, hilarious, and goofy. He sounds equally convincing rapping cynical critiques as he does silly witticisms.

 

 

Let's Go Sailing | The Chaos In Order (Yardley Pop)

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Written by Pete Wissinger Wednesday, 28 March 2007 14:54

cd_sailingLevy has taken the atmosphere of Belle and Sebastian's If You're Felling Sinister and combined it with the feelings of the kid who got picked last for kickball.

 

 

 

 

   

Kate Havnevik | Melankton (Continentica/Universal)

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Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 28 March 2007 14:52

cd_havrenikHavnevik has the touch, apparently, but knowing the little details about her past hardly prepares you for the vibrant, gorgeous sound of her debut.

 

 

 

 

 

John Taglieri | Wide Awake & Dreaming (s/r)

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Written by Amanda Pelle Wednesday, 28 March 2007 14:29

cd_taglieriAt best, Taglieri's musical abilities, especially those portrayed in "Wide Awake & Dreaming," the album's namesake, might be suitable for a modern church choir.

 

 

 

 

   

Vandaveer | Grace & Speed (Gypsy Eyes)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Wednesday, 28 March 2007 14:23

cd_vandaveer_0327One only needs to look to the masterful construction of "However Many Takes It Takes" to see that Heidinger feels the genre in his bones, as his learned tone confidently suggests that Vandaveer is worth a listen, that his stories are worth being heard.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ghost of Sly Stone

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Tuesday, 27 March 2007 13:37

sly2 In celebration of the group's 40th anniversary, Epic/Legacy Records has deemed it the right time to reissue Sly & The Family Stone's seven LPs, with the usual digital re-mastering, revised liner notes, and bonus tracks included. These new CD packages provide a thorough look at the birth and death of Sly Stone's American dream.

 

 

 

 

   

Ada Jane | Never Been Better (P.A.W.)

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Written by Jason Green Monday, 26 March 2007 13:45

cd_adajane"On Your Level," the second track on Never Been Better, has the underdog anthem qualities of classic Replacements, Matt Marka singing in a rough-throated howl over guitars that have the wild fury of Bob Stinson but the lo-fi buzz of Hüsker Dü-era Bob Mould.

 

 

 

 

 

Air | Pocket Symphony (Astralwerks)

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Written by Kevin Renick Monday, 26 March 2007 08:43

cd_airPocket Symphony is eminently listenable, as long as you're not expecting to rock out or looking for retreads of "Moon Safari."

 

 

 

 

   

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