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Thursday, April 16 2015

The Damnwells: The Damnwells

The fifth album by this Brooklyn-based quartet provides a tribute to their dogged persistence.


Bettye LaVette: Child of the Seventies

This re-release provides evidence that Bettye LaVette should have been famous decades earlier.


George Morris: We Will Go to Hell for This

Detroit troubadour merges the shimmering decadent of '70s glam rock, the subtleties of indie rock, and the danceable innovation of synth pop on sophomore solo LP.


Wednesday, April 15 2015

The Romance of Obsession in ‘Schubert’s Winter Journey’

Tenor Ian Bostridge has sung Winterreise hundreds of times and here gives it the equivalent of 33 1/3 entry -- only denser in substance, more elaborately written, and with some fascinating tangentials.


The Science Overshadows the Story in ‘Interstellar’

Interstellar is a movie full of Big Ideas that end up overshadowing the human element, particularly during the poorly plotted first act.


Villagers: Darling Arithmetic

The addition of a full musical ensemble has done little to alter Villagers’ sound, what with the lush, ethereal arrangements, the lonely reminiscing and reflection, and the hushed gaze that pervades these pieces overall.


Beth Hart: Better Than Home

On Better than Home Beth Hart delivers a veritable tour-de-force that highlights her remarkable prowess as both a singer and songwriter.


Coming Full Circle as the Children of Immigrants

The Blind Writer is less about South Asians and the Indian-American experience as it is about Indian-American men and their (in)abilities to navigate life.


Boz Scaggs: A Fool to Care

A delightful journey of songs through musical decades and styles, all delivered in Scaggs' soulful tenor.


JEFF the Brotherhood: Wasted on the Dream

If you wanted a cover album of Black Sabbath, Nirvana and Weezer's greatest hits but the originals were too strong for you, no worries! JEFF the Brotherhood's prolonged adolescent fixation with their predecessors continues!


Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith: Special 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Judas Priest's three-disc re-issue of their classic 1984 chart-topper shows that the years have been kind to both the album and the band.


Tuesday, April 14 2015

Sufjan Stevens Shone With Sorrowful Genius at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music

Stevens goes for a transformative, pensive, and atmospheric live presentation. Ultimately, that’s what makes his artistry so one-of-a-kind and invaluable.


‘Saga #27’ Characters Are Unforgettable

Saga propels readers into new and unchartered, yet always compelling, spaces. From the horribly exotic to the stunningly beautiful, the characters are impossible to forget.


Greed Gets Tiresome in ‘Beyond the Reach’

The idea here is that Madec's limitless financial resources make him every bit as phantasmal and inexorable as Jason Voorhees.


‘The Queen’s Bed’, the Queen’s Body, and the Body of the State

A rigorous, middle ground between lurid populist histories and dry academia, Anna Whitelock provides an excellent biography as a well trained historian.


School’s Out Forever in ‘Class of 1984’

Aiming for an incisive social commentary on the increasing violence of youth gangs, Class of 1984 falls short.


Calexico: Edge of the Sun

Seeds of experimentation and collaboration planted long ago bear some of the best fruit of Calexico's long career.


The Heart Says Whatever in ‘Hausfrau’

Jill Alexander Essbaum’s first novel bleakly evokes the life of a woman adrift. However well built, it is story constructed over a sinkhole.


Delta Rae: After It All

On its second album After It All, the Durham-based sextet successfully raids the storehouse of American musical traditions, incorporating influences ranging from blues to folk, rock to pop, and hip-hop to musical theater.


Folk Family Revival: Water Walker

Americana's band of brothers expand their sonic horizons in Water Walker.


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