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Friday, Jul 12, 2013
Widowspeak's dreamy, Americana-woven indie rock continues its evolution on this hazy single.

Since making their mark with the addictive, immediate and undeniably Mazzy Star-indebted “Harsh Realm”, Widowspeak have gone janglier and introduced a more analog, folksy side to their smoky, “rural dream pop” sound.


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Thursday, Jul 11, 2013
Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes abandons the funk and electronic cut-and-paste pop of the band's last several records for a sound inspired by '60s and '70s guitar rock, creating his most organic and compelling music in years.

Some bands just don’t have one “sound”. While leader (and sole constant member) Kevin Barnes’ distinctive voice is a fixture, over the band’s 17-year run their records have rolled up twee pop, glam rock, psychedelia, electronic music, and most recently funk and Afrobeat into the katamari that is their discography.


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Thursday, Jul 11, 2013
Harry Nilsson's take on the Ben E. King classic never fails to bring a lump to my throat.

On “Save the Last Dance for Me”, Harry Nilsson sounds like he’s in bad shape, and he is. The highlight of an 18-month long binge drinking session with producer John Lennon, the album that boasts “Save the Last Dance”, 1974’s Pussy Cats, is rough, gorgeous, both orderly and a serious mess. Yet, somehow, it works. “Save the Last Dance for Me” is a perfect example, as we can actually hear Nilsson’s tequila-laced phlegm, accompanied by Lennon’s sensitive and bizarre string arrangement, and cannot help but be taken in by the sheer honesty and exquisite weirdness of the thing. Nilsson destroyed his vocal cords while recording Pussy Cats, and his confidence as a vocalist would never recover. All of this makes “Save the Last Dance” a bittersweet listening experience for the Harry Nilsson fan. Few other singers could make falling apart sound so beautiful.


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Thursday, Jul 11, 2013
It must be some sort of odd subconscious association, but Raspberry Bulbs has always sounded to me more like the name of an Elephant Six band than the strange harsh, noisy, black metal-tinted punk amalgam of their past releases.

Listening to “Groping the Angel’s Face”, from Deformed Worship, due out this month on Blackest Ever Black, makes pinning them down to one style or another even more of challenge than the one presented by their name.


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Tuesday, Jul 9, 2013
When critics assail Paul McCartney for his lightweight material, it's songs like "Tomorrow" that they have in mind.

I’m glad I don’t belong to those circles because I can’t imagine not appreciating all of the melodic charm, rosewater whimsy and—believe it or not—disguised tension that “Tomorrow” has to offer. Notably more fetching than “Yesterday”, this dreamy, piano-driven cut from 1971’s Wild Life, the debut record by Wings, finds Paul beseeching his dear to stay strong and true as they map out a brighter future together. Backed by airy “ohs” and “ahs” and using an altered vocal that makes him sound younger, Paul projects hope—urgent, infectious hope—even as pain and doubt are plainly evident. “Don’t you let me down tomorrow” doesn’t exactly brim with confidence, and “Holding hands we both abandon sorrow” means there’s sorrow to overcome. And as he sings on my favorite line, “Through the week we beg and steal and borrow / Oh for a chance to get away tomorrow.” It’s a tricky balancing act, cloudy skies and uncertainty mixed with idyllic visions of picnics and “country air”. The glue seems to be those sustained, spacious “ohs” that Paul belts out again and again. They pack both anxiety and optimism. Far from merely twee, “Tomorrow” is fraught emotion made irresistible.


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