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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mavis does Tweedy

Gospel roots get a Wilco update

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 12:00 AM

R&B legend Mavis Staples' last album, 2007's We'll Never Turn Back, was a stirring concept record about the civil rights movement. The follow-up is more direct, bringing the singer back to her gospel roots with a collection of songs (including a few remakes of tunes she originally recorded with her...

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Maximum Balloon

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 12:00 AM

With the possible exception of LCD Soundsystem's This Is Happening and Janelle Monáe's The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III), the self-titled debut album by art-hag electro-popper Maximum Balloon — otherwise known as TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek — is the most fun you'll have listening to any record this...

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Songs from the Road

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Whether they know it or not, nearly every doom-fueled singer-songwriter owes a massive debt to Leonard Cohen. When many of his contemporaries were singing about times that were a-changin', Cohen was offering downcast slices of sorrow and torment. His deep croon, which has all the warmth of a Louisville Slugger,...

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Wake Up!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 12:00 AM

As a hip-hop fan, John Legend favors intelligence over bravado. Dig his terrific collaborations with Lauryn Hill and André 3000 for proof. On the lovely Wake Up!, Legend hooks up with rap's smartest ensemble for an all-star jam session — and what a jam session it is, with aching harmonies...

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Zodiac

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:00 AM

When the Electric 6 released their debut album, Fire, in 2003, the singles "Danger! High Voltage" and "Gay Bar" gave Dick Valentine and co. international hits that would allow the band to tour the world. It looked very much like the band formerly known as the Wild Bunch would follow...

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Junky Star

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:00 AM

There's a timeless quality to Ryan Bingham's best songs that drops them in the middle of the 1940s, 1970s or 2000s. It's one of the reasons he won an Oscar this year for "The Weary Kind," his plaintive theme from Crazy Heart. He's also a sharp songwriter. On his third...

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Interpol

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:00 AM

By this point, there's not much to distinguish one Interpol album from another. Since their 2002 debut, Turn on the Bright Lights, the dapper New Yorkers have combined '80s post-punk reservation with modern indie-rock disconnection. Their fourth album — self-titled, so it's supposed to herald some big changes after 2007's...

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False Priest

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:00 AM

False Priest's cover art is a grotesque mess, which sorta sums up Of Montreal's music. The revolving collective's tenth album comes down from the alter-ego orgies of 2008's Skeletal Lamping, with lots of hate ("Go away/ You're a bad thing/ Useless thing") and incoherence ("I can't cope with such an...

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

31 Minutes to Takeoff

Posted By on Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Mike Posner recorded his first mixtape in his dorm room. His second one included an appearance by electro-hip-hop knuckleheads 3OH!3. That should give you a pretty good idea where this 22-year-old native of Southfield is coming from on his debut — which, by the way, solidifies him as one of...

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Teenage Dream

Posted By on Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Katy Perry's life is all cotton-candy kisses, fireworks on the beach, and drunken Friday nights. And throughout her second album, she sings about the fun she's having living it up with her BFFs. (Market crisis? Oil spills? What war?) Teenage Dream is pure escapism, and the perky Perry sells it...

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