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by Adrien Begrand

13 Dec 2011



cover art

Opeth

Heritage

(Roadrunner)
US: 20 Sep 2011
UK: 19 Sep 2011

Review [29.Sep.2011]

Opeth
Heritage


Interestingly, Opeth’s boldest album since its 1996 debut Orchid was also the most natural next step for the Swedish band. Although firmly rooted in extreme metal, Opeth’s music, all written by singer/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt, has always been influenced by classic 1970s progressive rock, and as the years have gone by that prog element has been creeping into the band’s music more and more. What’s so remarkable about Heritage is not only how deeply Åkerfeldt immerses himself in prog—there’s nary a death growl to be heard—but how it still feels like an Opeth record. Influences can be heard throughout the album, from Rainbow, to Camel, to the Moody Blues, but Heritage‘s impeccable blend of jazz, rock, and folk make it wholly original. Åkerfeldt won’t rule out returning to the band’s heavier side, but he’s also said this is the first time he’s made a record that sounds like the music he’s an actual fan of. That passion can be heard on Heritage, and is why it feels like a career-defining album.

by Evan Sawdey

13 Dec 2011



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Shelby Lynne

Revelation Road

(Everso)
US: 18 Oct 2011

Review [19.Oct.2011]

Shelby Lynne
Revelation Road


Since branching out on her own Everso label, Shelby Lynne has released three self-produced albums, one of which was a stripped-down holiday disc. Revelation Road immediately stands out as the best she’s put out so far not only because of its rich, meaty production, but also because her songwriting has only gotten better. The gorgeous country burner “Even Angels”, the damn-near-funky title track, and the tender tragedy of “Toss It All Aside” all wind up creating this one of her strongest discs ever. If you haven’t jumped on board the Lynne bandwagon yet, there is no better starting place than here.

by Cynthia Fuchs

13 Dec 2011


When Bruce Ratner announced the Atlantic Yards development project in Brooklyn in 2003, he brought along noteworthy supporters, from architect Frank Gehry to New Jersey Nets minority owner Jay-Z to Mayor Mike Bloomberg. They all touted the arena as a way to create jobs, to improve the local economy, to bring new life. It hasn’t quite worked out that way, as documented in Battle for Brooklyn.

Troubles began when some residents of “the footprint” resisted being moved. Their resistance led to the corporation bringing in the state government, who cited “eminent domain” as a rubric for claiming the land, that is, the expropriation of private property for the public good. And oh yes, primary “public” beneficiary was to be Forest City Ratner Companies. Local resistance galvanized ROUND EXACTLY THAT APPARENT OVERSIGHT. Screening on 13 December as part of Stranger Than Fiction’s Pre-Winter Season Special—and followed by a Q&A with directors Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky—the film follows one resident in particular, Daniel Goldstein, a graphic designer who can’t imagine how his life will be changed by his commitment to the project. Goldstein and other residents resent the implication that they matter so little as to be considered “practically from scratch.” To be sure, not all residents feel this way: some believe the promises made by Ratner, Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz, Mayor Bloomberg, and Senator Chuck Schumer, that the development will bring employment opportunities to Brooklyn and improve material and economic conditions going forward. (Senator Schumer’s misspeaking during a press conference may or may not be telling: “Basketball is great, but you know what enervates me about this? 10,000 jobs!”) As the Atlantic Yards project divides the community, it inspires a range of responses, from placards in residential and commercial windows and street protests to local organizing and full-on media campaigns.

See PopMattersreview.

by Sachyn Mital

13 Dec 2011


Yesterday, the Hollywood cast of We Bought a Zoo walked the red carpet in NYC for the Cameron Crowe-directed film’s premiere while, outside the tent, some PETA-protestors made a fuss. The film, out December 23rd in the US, stars Matt Damon, Thomas Haden Church and Scarlett Johansson and is based on a memoir by Benjamin Mee.

Tonight, Crowe is leading a question and answer session with the composer of Zoo‘s score, Jonsi Birgisson, a member of Sigur Ros, in concert with the release of the soundtrack. The event begins at 7 pm EST, but if you aren’t in New York City, you’ll still be able to get a live feed of the event on the internet at either one of these links:
http://jonsi.com/news/live-qa-from-new-york-city
http://www.livestream.com/weboughtazoo.

by Christian John Wikane

13 Dec 2011



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Lalah Hathaway

Where It All Begins

(Stax/Concord)
US: 18 Oct 2011

Review [13.Dec.2011]

Lalah Hathaway
Where It All Begins


A journey of musical greatness begins here. The 12 songs on Where It All Begins represent a new benchmark in Lalah Hathaway’s two-decade career, reflecting the singer’s impressive stylistic range. Hathaway satisfies many appetites on the album yet there’s a continuity between each song. The acoustic-pop orientation of “Wrong Way”—four minutes of absolute perfection—yields to Hathaway’s well-conceived cover of “You Were Meant For Me”, the last solo single her father Donny Hathaway released before his untimely passing. The contagious bounce of “If You Want To” increases the club quotient while “Always Love You” provides a cool-down. Hathaway’s voice sets “Lie to Me” afire above a jagged rhythm and sweetens the melody on the lullaby-like “Dreamland”. Amidst artists that are chasing the next-big-producer or trend, Lalah Hathaway is just doing what feels right and, in the process, raising the standard for our expectations.

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