Reviews

20 Apr 2006 // 12:00 AM

LL Cool J: Todd Smith

Todd Smith is glossy, safe, front-loaded, and slick. My mom likes it, enough said. And the young-girl LL Cool J fans will love it too, regardless of what we say here.

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Ms. John Soda: Notes and the Like

Ms. John Soda is the collaboration between Micha Acher (of Notwist fame) and singer/keyboardist Stefanie Bohm (from not-so-famous experimental rockers Couch).

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Dennis Chambers / Jeff Berlin / Dave Fiuczynski / T. Lavitz: Boston T Party

The guys here get dug in, and if this is bluesy funk, they're in no blue funk. Plenty of energy; great drummer; musical conversations; force and fluency.

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Duke Robillard: Guitar Groove-a-Rama

This is the rare guitar CD that displays both virtuosity and a sense of history and style, performed with class and substance.

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Mountain Patrol: Kekexili (2004)

Mountain Patrol: Kekexili charts one local moment in the global clash between capitalism and conservation.

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19 Apr 2006 // 1:00 AM

A Bit on the Side: Stories by William Trevor

Trevor's work has long been marked by his ability to merge bleakness and grandeur, to find an aching loveliness in the desolate and the isolated.

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Built to Spill: You in Reverse

For the first time in their career, the band has made an album that is both musically and lyrically indifferent.

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Michael Carvin: Marsalis Music Honors Michael Carvin

One of the finest drummers in American jazz is paid tribute by one of the finest families in American jazz.

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Gary Bennett: Human Condition

Former BR5-49er says he wants the simple life, but don’t believe him. Like everyone else, he just wants what he hasn’t got.

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Madlib the Beat Konducta: Vol. 1-2: Movie Scenes

These are not movies, and this is not a movie soundtrack. These are scenes, and Madlib is a master cinematographer.

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Abidin Ensemble: From The Day I Was Tossed Here: A Tribute to the Poetry of Nazim Hikmet

Victoria Serruya finds a fine line between grand formality and genuine emotion, while Yaghi Malka and Ehud Gerlich drone thoughtfully on the double-bass and cello, and Oren Fried taps a slow-paced drum.

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Zero Crossing: My Kinda Funk

German producer tries to give up tha funk, ends up with only occasionally funky electronica.

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Various Artists: Exit Music: Songs for Radio Heads

Covers are a tricky beast. When, say, Jose Gonzalez covers the Knife, I'm fine with it. But the moment someone pulls an acoustic guitar to Radiohead, I feel a pain in my chest.

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Andre Ceccarelli: Avenue des Diables Bleus

Three masters and a perfect combination.

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18 Apr 2006 // 1:00 AM

America loves conspiracies. Whether it is about who killed our leaders, the nasty truth about our natural disasters, or who ends up winning American Idol, we always try to construct the story behind the story.

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18 Apr 2006 // 1:00 AM

Beth Orton

All the schtick in the world can't buy you substance.

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A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller by Frances Mayes

If Tuscany is her brand, then Frances Mayes' most recent literary product, A Year in the World, is the franchise.

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Richard Butler: Richard Butler

This is a lovely album and a very welcome return from the former lead singer of The Psychedelic Furs.

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18 Apr 2006 // 12:00 AM

13ghosts: Cicada

This Birmingham, Alabama, group's third full length has ridden a quiet wave of buzz over the past year, raising the profile of this previously obscure act.

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18 Apr 2006 // 12:00 AM

Days of Heaven (1978)

Terrence Malick's 1978 film leaves you with the ache of paradise briefly felt and then remembered.

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