Reviews

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."

 

 

 

 

   

Albert Hammond Jr. | Yours to Keep (New Line)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Monday, 26 March 2007 08:25

cd_albertHammond proves plenty capable, suggesting that it may be time for Casablancas to loosen the band's collaborative strings.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Bird | Armchair Apocrypha (Fat Possum)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Friday, 23 March 2007 03:48

armchairbirdWhile Bird's live performances serve as a landscape for rewriting his songs, as well as artistic experimentation, the 33-year-old Illinoisan has found stability in the studio, a place where his beauteous forms and melodies come to harbor.

 

   

Modest Mouse | We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (Epic)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Friday, 23 March 2007 03:37

weweredeadmouseOn "Parting of the Sensory," a sleepy acoustic is held up by rhythmic claps before jumping into a hoot-and-holler romp, and "We've Got Everything" employs Mercer's yelp to bring the album's most danceable song a little light-hearted charm.

 

 

Trans Am | Sex Change (Thrill Jockey)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 15:24

sexchangeAdmittedly they have dropped some rather forgetful releases in their history, but picking out which records are their worst (my vote goes for 2002's TA) is liable to stir up arguments voicing the exact opposite opinion. Also, simply describing the band without disagreements is a true rarity. Welcome to the world of the Trans Am fan.

 

 

   

Shaw/Blades | Influence (VH1 Classic)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 15:12

influencesThe pair have sold millions of records between them, Shaw as the singer/guitarist of Styx and the writer of all that band's best songs ("Renegade," for example) and Blades as the singer/bassist of hair band giants Night Ranger, but neither has had a hit since 1 B.C. (Before Cobain), making a grasp at recapturing their glory with a covers album pretty much an inevitability.

 

 

 

+ 44 | When Your Heart Stops Beating (Interscope)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:58

44If his new band's debut album is any indication, Blink bassist Mark Hoppus didn't take the breakup all that well. "Please understand/ This isn't just goodbye/ This is I can't stand you" he wails on the dark "No, It Isn't."

 

 

   

The Greencards | Viridian (Dualtone)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:43

viridianRefreshingly, the Greencards are neither hidebound by bluegrass traditions nor divorced from them. Combining Anglo and American, folk and popular, the separate influences upon their sound are apparent but never dominant.

 

 

 

 

The Noisettes | What's the Time Mr Wolf? (Universal)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:36

mrwolfReleased much later than originally anticipated, the Noisette's first LP is a truly a priceless pearl embedded into a normal-looking oyster.

 

 

 

   

Mezzanine Owls | Slingshot Echoes (s/r)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:31

mezzanineowlsTheir undeniable talent gives them accessibility to a plethora of musical opportunities.

 

 

 

 

Lovedrug | Everything Starts Where It Ends (The Militia Group)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:25

lovedrugLead singer Michael Shepard confusingly ooohs and aaahs for about a minute, then returns to the chorus.

 

 

 

   

The Little Heroes | Cinematic Americana (Wednesday Records)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:19

cinematicI like it in the way I like Green Day: it's OK to listen to once or twice, but after that, I get a little overwhelmed by the brutality of what might have otherwise been a perfectly soothing song.

 

 

 

LCD Soundsystem | Sound of Silver (DFA)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:14

silverMany Sound of Silver songs have strong lyrical content, which is pretty impressive for a dance-punk album, and an improvement from the debut - though don't expect poetry.

 

 

 

 

   

The Feed (s/r)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:09

The album starts off with its best song, "Glueman," a fantastic Fender Rhodes-driven number that bops along, getting progressively better as it goes. In this writer's opinion, this was one of the best singles of last year.

 

 

 

Grand Champeen | Dial "T" for This (In Music We Trust)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 14:04

grandchampIt's tasteful but not terribly innovative; sweet but never cloying; endearing and enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

   

Arcade Fire | Neon Bible (Merge)

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Written by Paul John Little Monday, 12 March 2007 03:02

cd_arcade

Neon Bible is to the '00s what Radiohead's OK Computer was to the '90s. Quite simply, it captures the zeitgeist as only a few pieces of popular music have ever managed to do.

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Taylor | Lynn Teeter Flower (Saddle Creek)

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Written by Kevin Renick Sunday, 11 March 2007 11:17

cd_taylorThe nice balance between the clean guitars and Zac Young's cool drumming on "No Stars" serves as a perfect setting for Taylor's soft, organically pure voice.

 

 

 

 

   

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