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The View: Cheeky for a Reason

Curiously affecting and absolutely sincere, the View must cite more variations on the word “love” than any band since the Beatles.

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Cooking Vinyl / 429

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Cooking Vinyl/429 Records

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Scrapomatic: I'm a Stranger and I Love the Night

Scrapomatic deliver 12 solid, if unremarkable, blues-rock tracks that would make for satisfying filler on your local classic-rock radio station.

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Straight to the Sun

Music

Maxïmo Park: The National Health

The National Health is the sound of a band finding themselves again, finding themselves stronger and sweeter than ever, finding that, despite the dour hints around the edges, they’re still here for the pop songs -- and they are gorgeous.

Music

Joey Ramone: Ya Know

Is it up to Ramones-levels? No, not really, but then again, what is? It's a damn decent pop collection, and I'm sure that Joey would have taken that as high praise.

Music

Hunx: Hairdresser Blues

Discarding with the backing vocals of his previous release, Hairdresser Blues assumes that Bogart’s voice and lyrics can do the heavy lifting. And, frankly, they’re just not quite up to the task.

Music

Lurrie Bell: The Devil Ain't Got No Music

Sparse but stirring, Devil is an album to bring sinners into the fold.

Emily Tartanella
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Aria B.G.

Music

You Won't: Skeptic Goodbye

You Won't's debut offers the vertigo of watching a band choose their next move. The band could fade away in a heartbeat, or they could take their raw potential and shape it into critical and commercial triumph.

Music

Otis Taylor: Clovis People, Vol. 3

Propelled first and foremost by Taylor’s extraordinary vocals, this is a welcome addition to Taylor’s discography, even if it doesn’t wildly diverge from earlier records.

Music

Rocky Votolato: True Devotion

True Devotion is adequate, average, ultimately a bit dull, but Votolato’s persona is so fundamentally likeable that True Devotion’s banality is almost comforting.

Music

The William Blakes: Wayne Coyne

This Danish quartet still loves the '80s, but its sound ultimately falls flat.

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Last Gang/Speed of Sound

Music

Rihanna: Rated R

At the heart of Rated R lies a common misconception: that slower songs are more emotional and more powerful, that big ballads say more about a singer's soul than, say, an R&B club hit.

Music

World Tour/Media Whore(s): The Year in Reunions

While 2009 spawned plenty of rumors that brought the Libertines, the Smiths, and the Stone Roses back together, these were the bands that actually dusted off their guitars and plugged in their amps one more time.

Emily Tartanella
Music

The Cribs: Ignore the Ignorant

Ignore the Ignorant might be a technically better album than earlier Cribs efforts, but it’s a hell of lot less fun.

Music

The Raveonettes: In and Out of Control

The Raveonettes aren’t reinventing their formula with In and Out of Control, but with pop this lovely, they shouldn’t expect to hear any complaints.

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Fierce Panda

Music

The Queen Killing Kings: Tidal Eyes

The Queen Killing Kings have a lot of time to perfect its sound, and the band will need it.

Music

Vivian Girls: Everything Goes Wrong

What Vivian Girls do, they do quite well. The problem is that 37 minutes of essentially the same song starts to feel rather exhausting.

Reviews

The Hold Steady: 24 July 2009 - Sayreville, NJ

A Hold Steady performance requires the commitment of the audience -- pumping their fists at the right moments, or shouting out choruses that Craig Finn pretends to have forgotten.

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