Evanescence | The Open Door (Wind-Up)

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Written by Jason Green Wednesday, 31 January 2007 09:00

cd_evanescenceWhen Lee and Balsamo experiment, however, they almost always succeed. On "Cloud Nine" and "Lose Control," the band uses sequenced drumbeats courtesy of DJ Lethal (of House of Pain and Limp Bizkit fame) and echo-laden vocals to form airy arrangements that at times border on trip-hop, like some crazy bastard child of Korn and Portishead.





Astrid Williamson | Day of the Lone Wolf (One Little Indian)

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Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 31 January 2007 08:55

cd_astriedWilliamson has a poignant, delicate approach to playing piano that often provides more of the emotional pull than her vocals do.







Jonny Lives! | Get Steady (Eleven Seven)

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Written by Jason Green Wednesday, 31 January 2007 08:51

cd_jonnyA few ballads even sneak in to shake up the tempo, which helps the flow of the album even if they aren't particularly memorable individually.







Beth Waters | This Little Piggy (Mermaid Mafia)

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Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 31 January 2007 08:48

cd_bethwatersWaters' third album on her own label builds in intensity and curious details until the initial seeming lack of originality gives way to a much more lasting impression. This woman is a keen observer of life, a deeply empathetic soul, and a truly devoted musician.






The Good, the Bad, and the Queen (Virgin)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Wednesday, 31 January 2007 08:44

cd_goodbadHaving assembled a diversely talented group of musicians in the Clash's Paul Simonon (bass), the Verve's Simon Tong (lead guitar), Afrobeat specialist Tony Allen (drums), and the production of Danger Mouse, Albarn never seems to fully engage any of them.






Nite Owl | Return of the Real Emcee

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Written by Toriano L. Porter Monday, 29 January 2007 16:00

prof_nite_sm"When people leave tonight, I want them to be able to say they had a good time and enjoyed the show," Nite Owl says. "Especially my set."





Sonic Youth | The Destroyed Room: B-Sides and Rarities (Geffen)

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Written by Tyson Blanquart Wednesday, 24 January 2007 14:05

cd_sonic-youthSonic Youth captures this improvisation and musical weirdness on nearly every album, so much so that they are the standard by which noise music is measured.







Youth Group | Casino Twilight Dogs (Epitaph)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Wednesday, 24 January 2007 13:59

cd_youth-groupWhile the (past and possibly present) prom-night power of "Forever Young" is what will most likely dominate the attentions of Casino Twilight Dogs, it is by no means the high point of the album.







Locksley | Don't Make Me Wait (Feature)

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Written by Chris Schott Wednesday, 24 January 2007 13:53

cd_locksleyListening to the songs on Don't Make Me Wait, one might think back to an Ed Sullivan–era Beatles. The band seems to carry that same befuddled charm the Fab Four was known for back in early 1960s.







Earlies | The Enemy Chorus (Secretly Canadian)

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Written by Jeremy Goldmeier Wednesday, 24 January 2007 13:48

cd_earliesThe album cover tells you a lot. Look closely, and you see all sorts of cute little details. Hey, wow, are those cars flying?







Dark Romantics | Some Midnight Kissin' (Lujo)

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Written by Katherine Yeske-Taylor Wednesday, 24 January 2007 13:41

cd_dark-romanticsWoozy, trashy, sexy, secretive...this band makes late-night heartbreak and alcohol-fueled mistakes sound alluring.







The Velmas | Station (City Canyons)

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Written by Jason Green Wednesday, 24 January 2007 13:35

cd_velmasThe sound of the Velmas is the sound of every radio rock band of the last ten years or so shoved in a blender, resulting in a homogenized mush of everything "alternative."







Shedding | What God Doesn't Bless, You Won't Love; What You Don't Love, The Child Won't Know (Hometa

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Written by Chris Schott Wednesday, 24 January 2007 13:30

cd_sheddingThe people at Hometapes are keeping their ears to the ground, making sure we're constantly hearing something new and exciting.







Of Montreal | Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Wednesday, 24 January 2007 13:24

cd_ofmontrealThis record is undoubtedly Of Montreal's most cogent effort to date, and not coincidentally, contains some of Barnes' most personal songs.







Tom Brosseau | Grand Forks (Loveless)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Wednesday, 24 January 2007 13:18

cd_brousseauWhat the tender-voiced folksmith does best throughout Grand Forks is create an eerily pleasant, old-timey tone, blending the straight-forward dialogue of Hank Williams, Sr. with a modernized, feminized lilt in the vein of Jeff Buckley.






The Shins | Wincing the Night Away (Sub Pop)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Wednesday, 24 January 2007 02:49

shinsWe ultimately benefit in that this Shins record, more than any before, ceaselessly moves from one mood to the next, blending darkened optimism with the glaring shadows of Mercer's lyrics, allowing the group's omnipresent sing-along ability to withstand the attention of casual enthusiasts alongside repeat listeners.



Shaan Sharma | The All New End (s/r)

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Saturday, 06 January 2007 15:42

shahanOpener "20 Years" is almost Howie Day-addictive, with swirling guitars, a catchy beat, and rising vocals.





Pop Levi | Blue Honey (Counter)

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Saturday, 06 January 2007 15:36

popleviAs it plays through the headphones, you can see and smell the smoke filling the coffee shop around you.




Joemca | (jum+ka) (One Stone Productions)

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Saturday, 06 January 2007 15:29

joemcaHe enunciates his intelligent lyrics crisply, even when effects are thrown into the mix. Remember the wonder with which you first heard Cy Curnin's voice (the Fixx)?




Hammock | Raising Your Voice…Trying to Stop an Echo (Darla)

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Saturday, 06 January 2007 15:19

hammockThe music's evocative, dreamy, meandering, picturesque.





The Cinematics | Break EP (TVT)

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Saturday, 06 January 2007 14:47

breakThey're Scottish, and they apparently grew up on New Wave music. True, it's easy to be hokey, but the Cinematics manage to show some serious musical chops while making largely lighthearted dance music.



Go! Motion | Kill the Love (s/r)

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Saturday, 06 January 2007 14:40

gomotionThe opening title track is an invitation to the next 11 songs and tells you all you need to know: catchy, high-energy, strong vocals, steady beat, solid harmonies.




Rob Crow | Living Well (Temporary Residence)

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Written by David Lichius Thursday, 04 January 2007 12:24

cd_robcrowTouted jokingly as "the best Pinback album that Pinback never made," Living Well certainly lives up to that qualifier on a technicality, but it also marks the best solo record that Crow has ever made.






Grizzly Bear | Yellow House (Warp)

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Written by Jeremy Goldmeier Saturday, 30 December 2006 05:04

cd_grizzlybearCredit not just the group songwriting on display here, but those painfully tight, communal harmonies that decorate each song. They're a bit too dark and desperate to garner the overly familiar Beach Boys comparisons—but they're just as effective.






The DFA Remixes: Chapter Two (Astralwerks)

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Written by Kate Estwing Saturday, 30 December 2006 04:42

cd_dfaThe DFA crew goes beyond gimmick with its second gathering of remixes.







Jay-Z | Kingdom Come (Roc-a-Fella)

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Written by Maria Kriszt Saturday, 30 December 2006 04:37

cd_jay-zThis is Jay-Z we're talking about. He's always kept it real, and he keeps on keepin' on with his new disc, Kingdom Come.






Shitake Monkey | Street Beef (Outlook)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Saturday, 30 December 2006 04:30

Despite jejune lyrics that clearly reflect Shitake Monkey's social statement (that being that contemporary pop is offensively effortless in its production), Street Beef is, indeed, a very finely tuned, imaginative album.



Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story

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Written by Jeremy Goldmeier Saturday, 30 December 2006 04:04

dvd_mobWhether pulled from the archives or just a few years ago, the Burma performances are uniformly outstanding, revealing the true foundation of their legend: intense, unpredictable live shows.








Imogen Heap | Speaking for Herself

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Written by Preston Jones Thursday, 14 December 2006 03:09

ev_imogen_sm"I don't like lyrics that tell an obvious tale; I like things that tug your imagination in different places and forces you to create your own meanings for it."






Pablo | Half the Time (Curb Appeal)

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Written by Tyson Blanquart Friday, 08 December 2006 04:08

cd_pabloThe moods shift from gloomy to almost psychedelic to nearly joyous. But each feeling evoked has kind of a dark cast to it, as well. Perhaps it has something to do with the use of minor keys in a lot of the songs.






Various Artists | Butchering the Beatles: A Headbashing Tribute (Restless)

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Written by Jason Green Friday, 08 December 2006 04:02

cd_butcherbeatleIn what seems like a fairly obvious pairing, Damn Yankees Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw tackle the high harmonies on "Day Tripper," a song whose guitar riff was made for wank-ery, and Doug Aldritch (Whitesnake, Dio) definitely delivers.






Gaba Gavi | The Things We Want to Hear (Creative Life)

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Written by Tyson Blanquart Friday, 08 December 2006 02:59

cd_gavi"Right Where You Left Me" has almost an amateurish sound to it, but this somehow makes it more endearing. It's a lost-love song that's worthy of repeated playing. Gavi's voice runs across familiar territory here, but it shows his adeptness at handling this type of vocal: heartfelt, hurt, and wanting happiness.




Langhorne Slim | Engine EP (V2)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Monday, 04 December 2006 14:27

engineIf this EP is any indication, there should only be better things to come from Slim, a 26-year-old Pennsylvanian spawned from a time that no longer exists, pulling Dylan, moonshine, and sepia photos from under his dandy suit.




Four Letter Lie | Let Your Body Take Over (Victory)

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Written by Kevin Huelsmann Monday, 04 December 2006 14:16

cd_fourletterlieThe scream-heavy verses with choruses on their second album, Let Your Body Take Over, try to wring out some emotion, or at least empathy, from the listener. The problem is that they don't go anywhere.






Endwell | Homeland Insecurity (Victory)

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Written by Jason Green Monday, 04 December 2006 14:14

cd_endwellThe New York City fivesome have created a bizarre blend of virtually all things heavy, resulting in an album that is a breath of fresh air for metal fans and something that will likely send anyone else running to the hills.





The Damnwells | Air Stereo (Rounder)

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Written by Laura Hamlett Monday, 04 December 2006 14:10

cd_damnwellsAll this drama surely raises expectations, am I right? But, unfortunately, the wait doesn't seem to have been worth it.





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