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Music

Ben Sollee: Learning to Bend

Learning to Bend uses spare but inventive arrangements in a refreshingly cool exploration of the open spaces between genres and between instruments, but stumbles in its over-earnest lyricism.

Music

Pictures and Sound: Pictures and Sound

For his first solo project after Blue Merle, Luke Reynolds brings familiar musical elements to his even more familiar-sounding voice.

Music

Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros: Someday

Frank Carillo takes the lessons learned from three decades supporting rock luminaries and makes an album that sounds like a synthesis of the music of three decades of rock luminaries.

Music

Johnny Flynn: A Larum

Lest us Yankee folkies get lost in the woods of the Appalachians, Johnny Flynn is here to remind us of Americana’s roots in pastoral British folk.

Music

Portland Cello Project: Portland Cello Project

Portland collective takes an all-cello approach to everything from Bach to Balkan to Britney.

Music

Greg Laswell: Three Flights from Alto Nido

For devotees of piano balladeers and yearning strivers, Greg Laswell serves up a pleasantly melodic hour. But for those who long to find something substantive and new behind the album’s echoes of Coldplay, it can only prompt to keep searching.

Music

The Old Believers: Eight Golden Greats

As if two singers stepped out of Greil Marcus’ Old Weird America and, trying to reconcile it with the real America they find around them, have created a world that is at once strange and utterly familiar.

Music

Reckless Kelly: Bulletproof

Reckless Kelly might not yet be reckless enough to knock down the walls of their country-rock roadhouse, but their raw devotion to the ruffian lifestyle makes for music that’s satisfyingly rough around the edges.

Music

The Incredible Vickers Brothers: Gallimaufry

The Incredible Vickers Brothers is as Vaudevillian an act as their name would suggest, and with Gallimaufry, the “brothers” act as ringleaders of their own three-ring musical circus.

Music

Alejandro Escovedo: Real Animal

A poetic country-gone-glam gem, the latest in Alejandro Escovedo's legendary alt-country career finds him chronicling the stories and characters of his past as a way to live in the present.

Music

Ryan Auffenberg: Marigolds

It’s a wistful, shimmer-laden, summer-afternoon album from a young singer-songwriter -- not the first or last time you’ll hear something like it, but evocative and engaging nonetheless.

Music

Griffin House: Flying Upside Down

Griffin House recruits two of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers to help him channel Ryan Adam’s Heartbreaker but fails to break any hearts on his disappointingly middlebrow recording.

Music

Kris Delmhorst: Shotgun Singer

Singer/songwriter invites listeners to be freedivers into an aural pool with unexpected depth.

Maura Walz
Music

Joshua James: The Sun Is Always Brighter

Joshua James’ quietly devastating meditations on confusion, addiction, and loss remind the listener that the sun is always brighter.

Music

Camphor: Drawn to Dust

Camphor’s debut album will sound better in the fall, when its autumnal feeling matches the weather -- but don’t let that stop you from listening now.

Music

Fayssoux: Early

Emmylou Harris’ one-time harmony singer takes on her own melodies with earnest heart but little energy.

Music

Bravo Johnson: The Crooked and the Straight

It’s pretty bold for a band to release a two-hour-long double album as their sophomore album. Bravo Johnson does, and somehow manages to avoid getting mired in all the jangle.

Music

The Proclaimers: Life with You

You may already think of them as just an early ‘90s one-hit wonder, and with their new album, the Proclaimers will probably not prove you wrong.

Maura Walz
Music

Jay Clifford: Driving Blind

Former Jump, Little Children frontman forges on with ethereal, lyrical pop melodies.

Maura Walz
Music

Kristen Ward: Drive Away

The unexpectedly rich soil for roots musicians in Seattle yields another rich and gritty vocal talent.

Maura Walz
Music

Brian Connell: The Sordid

Darkly humorous opening song gives way to largely derivative tour of American folk, pop, and rock in Connell’s only somewhat-sordid debut.

Maura Walz
Music

She & Him: Volume One

It's all great fun, but spending so much time flitting from one role to another seems to prevent Deschanel from finding her own voice, and together the band rarely transcends the cloak of their influences.

Maura Walz
Music

Devon Sproule: Keep Your Silver Shined

Virginia folk singer writes love songs to country built on jazz and swing.

Maura Walz

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