The Inner Banks | The Inner Banks (DAG!)

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Written by Kevin Renick Thursday, 01 February 2007 03:09

cd_innerbanksDavid Gould, who previously played banjo for and led the Bootleg Remedy, must clearly be some sort of nonconformist genius, so gracefully does he buck trends and come up with his own version of life-affirming modern music.






Hobex | Enlightened Soul (Phrex)

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Written by Maria Kriszt Thursday, 01 February 2007 03:05

cd_hobexHobex comes out with a nice, mellow funk beat and lyrics that tell you to loosen up and enjoy the sounds, which helps set the mood for the rest of the CD.







Heller Mason | Minimalist & Anchored (Silber)

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Written by Dave Jasmon Thursday, 01 February 2007 03:01

cd_hellerEssentially a band of collaborators in support of the songwriting of Todd Vandenberg, Heller Mason portrays a dampened soul dipping its oar in a lake of grey humilities.







Emilie Simon | The Flower Book (Milan)

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Written by Kevin Renick Thursday, 01 February 2007 02:58

cd_simonThis is an astonishingly good record that provides an easy answer to the question, "When does pop music rise to the level of art?"







Julie Doiron | Woke Myself Up (Jagjaguwar)

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Written by Jeremy Goldmeier Thursday, 01 February 2007 02:54

cd_doironWith the absence of all of the musical distractions that songwriters frequently employ to support their lyrics, there's really little to talk about with Woke Myself Up other than the themes expressed.







Catherine Howe | What A Beautiful Place (The Numero Group)

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Written by Sam Levy Wednesday, 31 January 2007 09:25

cd_howeWe're delivered to this place we don't know, in a time we don't know, and somehow feel like we know exactly where we are. We see the grimey smiles, and the smokehouse soot doubling as sunshine. Welcome to Halifax.






Ghost Stories | Quixoticism (Sonic Boom Recordings)

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Written by Jeremy Goldmeier Wednesday, 31 January 2007 09:22

cd_ghoststoriesWhatever comparisons one wants to apply—and jeez, there's so many trendy artists out there to name-drop—Quixoticism succeeds because it lacks any of the pretensions that so often scour records of this type.






Suburban Kids With Biblical Names | #3 (Minty Fresh)

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Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 31 January 2007 09:11

cd_suburbanAny budding garage band with a sense of humor can come up with a unique moniker, but only the ones with real talent and determination will likely see their name become secondary to their sound.






Guns N' Roses: The DVD Collector's Box (Chrome Dreams)

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Written by Brian Kenney Wednesday, 31 January 2007 09:06

dvd_gnrWith Axl Rose, we want to remember the Axl in the black-and-white "Sweet Child O' Mine" video, not the bloated, corn-rowed Axl in his last high-profile appearance, winded and sweaty after a semi-rousing set of "Rocket Queen" at the 2003 MTV VMAs. We want to remember Adler, Izzy, and the summer of '88 when the Gunners broke loose of the Sunset Strip scene.







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.



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