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Thursday, December 11 2014

Madeleine Peyroux: Keep Me in Your Heart Awhile: The Best of Madeleine Peyroux

Choosing the busker over the diva role, Madeleine Peyroux’s eclectic 20-year career is highlighted on this collection of jazz vocal non-standards.


Little Dragon: Best Of

Best Of only offers a truncated, abridged version of three quality records that, ironically, misses out on much of the Swedish synthpop band's best music.


Jonathan Richman: No Me Quejo De Mi Estrella

Has Jonathan Richman reached the point in his career where the only people who buy his new albums have been fans of his for 20 years?


Abysmal Dawn: Obsolescence

If you bemoan the fact that the metal genre is getting more and more unlistenable due to groups trying to push beyond music into something else entirely, then this will fit the bill.


Smashing Pumpkins: Monuments to an Elegy

Meet the new Smashing Pumpkins, gradually distancing themselves from the old Smashing Pumpkins.


The Heart That Refused to Burn Steadfastly Holds Its Secrets Close: Joan of Arc

Kathryn Harrison's longtime fascination with the Catholic Church finds its ultimate expression, and biggest challenge, in this biography of Joan of Arc.


Computational ‘Superintelligence’ and Human Idiocy: What Does Our Future Hold?

Superintelligence may evolve or it may be engineered; either path leads to an existential threat to humanity, perhaps in decades, perhaps in hundreds of years.


With Season Two, ‘The Paradise’ Had to Duck Out Too Early

The Paradise lights a slow fuse that burns brighter than its ITV rivals. Too bad low viewership has brought the series to an end.


Frank Sinatra: London

Sinatra box-set with re-mastered studio album Sinatra Sings Great Songs From Great Britain and a wealth of British extras.


Wednesday, December 10 2014

The Results of True Collaboration: ‘The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio’

Reading this book is like entering the offices of Simon and Kirby and rifling through their files, scouring the slush pile, even breathing in the smoke from one of Kirby’s cigars.


‘Accused Series 1 and 2’ Is a Good Procedural, Episodically

Fans of quality British television could do much worse than Accused, but only certain episodes, such as the one featuring Sean Bean's stunning role as a transvestite, stand out.


David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed

Nothing Has Changed, despite the exact nature of its target demographic being up for debate, remains a thrilling go-to for the semi-casual Thin White Duke observer, and is about as damn close to perfect as a Bowie anthology can get.


Could It Happen in America? The Rise and Fall of Fritz Kuhn’s German-American Bund

Could America have become a Swastika nation in the '30s? Arnie Bernstein assembles a riveting in-depth portrayal of the rise and fall of Fritz Kuhn's German-American Bund.


Lloyd Cole: Standards

Lloyd Cole’s Standards is literate and engaging, with pop music hooks deserving of attention.


Robbie Basho: Art of the Acoustic Steel String 6 & 12

This reissue of Robbie Bahso's 1979 album feels more like a conversation between him and his guitar about larger Western spaces.


Teyana Taylor: VII

Though she doesn’t break new ground, Teyana Taylor delivers an enjoyable contemporary R&B album capturing the ups and downs of love.


Various Artists: New Orleans Soul: The Original Sound of New Orleans Soul 1960-76

The Big Easy creations are grounded in luv, pronounced with a long sultry dipthong, doing somebody wrong for the right reasons and instrumental arrangements dipped in the sweat of sex.


The American Analog Set: Know by Heart (Reissue)

They could have been contenders; they probably should have been. But ultimately the peak of this band's hushed, precise, nuanced indie rock might have been a bit too twisty to catch on.


Tuesday, December 9 2014

Press Start With Your Mind Finger: “God Hates Astronauts #4”

Don't let God read God Hates Astronauts. He would hate it even more than he hates astronauts.


Lou Reed: Uptown Dirt, Downtown Man

Waiting for the Man is a beautiful read, fluid like a long conversation with a friend in your favourite coffee shop.


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