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Friday, August 1 2014

Bleachers: Strange Desire

The fun. guitarist steps out on his own, and the result proves that Nate Ruess isn't the only guy in his other band that can write a stadium-sized hook.


R. Kelly: The Essential R. Kelly

Subtlety was never R. Kelly's strong suit, which is both his greatest gift and his greatest curse.


Steve Lehman Octet: Mise en Abime

The alto saxophonist and composer returns with his large band and his “spectral harmony” approach, this time expanded upon with electronic effects.


Thursday, July 31 2014

Common: Nobody’s Smiling

The veteran Chicago rapper returns to his troubled hometown on a conscious album for a post-conscious age.


Alvvays: Alvvays

Alvvays is an exciting opening album from a band who bring refinement to a genre that make them sound mature beyond their years.


Jim Lauderdale: I’m a Song

A fine, fine record which could do with a little more pep down the stretch, or a slightly stronger editing hand.


Phox: Phox

Epiphanies emerge and fade and come back again. The tempo stays steady and deliberate even when individual players pick up speed when adding baroque touches to the composition; an aural rendition of an optical illusion.


Luther Dickinson: Rock ‘n Roll Blues

By not glossing over the rough patches in a life spent pursuing a childhood dream, Dickinson provides a grounded perspective and lack of hubris on Rock 'n Roll Blues.


Wednesday, July 30 2014

Paul McCartney: 16 July 2014 - Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri

Paul McCartney commanded the stage in Kansas City with an astonishing degree of seemingly effortless finesse. A most glorious concert.


Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens: Cold World

With Cold World, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens deliver funky throwback gospel-tinged soul music of the highest quality.


Goatwhore: Constricting Rage of the Merciless

Unrelentingly pummeling and brutally oppressive, Constricting Rage of the Merciless is a thrilling ride.


Gustavo Santaolalla: Camino

Gustavo Santaolalla may have some Grammys, Oscars, and Global Globes at home, but Camino is for himself.


Claire: The Great Escape

The German synth-pop band pull an unfortunate bait-and-switch.


Matisyahu: Akeda

Akeda seems much less focused on garnering radio hits and more on delving into themes, both lyrically and musically, that Matisyahu has resisted in the past.


SZA: Z

If RZA, GZA, and Smoke DZA weren’t enough for you, we’re now throwing SZA into the mix.


Tuesday, July 29 2014

Shabazz Palaces: Lese Majesty

The innovative hip-hop duo from Seattle is back with another genre bending album.


The Muffs: Whoop Dee Doo

Fresh off a short, aborted stint with the Pixies, Kim Shattuck reforms the Muffs and puts out a very solid album.


Ian McLagan: United States

McLagan has a pleasantly conversational voice. He’s a tasteful keyboard player. While he may not rock out, there’s a nice sashaying quality to the music.


Jennifer Lopez: A.K.A.

Jennifer Lopez has lost her steam since Rebirth. On her eighth album, she's never sounded so boring or flimsy.


PRISM Quartet: People’s Emergency Center

Long known for performing commissioned works, PRISM Quartet release a double album of original material. It is staggeringly wonderful.


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