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The Mavericks

by Tim Mack February 26, 2015

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  They shouldn’t be this happy. This should be their joyless, introspective “dark” album full of loss and regret. Instead, it’s the best dance album you’ve heard this year, and better yet, it sounds like a band ...

Various Artists

by B.A. Nilsson February 26, 2015

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  Seeking the living heritage of American song, John Lomax visited a number of Southern prisons in 1933 with recording gear in tow. Not the most dignified of scholars—Lomax had a racist streak that supported his ...

Cyrille Aimée

by Tim Mack February 20, 2015

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  It was the hippest birthday party in all of downtown. And if you were there, it means you can tell your friends you’ve sung with a celebrated French jazz star. Cyrille Aimée, the acclaimed singer and SUNY ...

The Egg

Roomful of Teeth

by David Greenberger February 20, 2015

  Roomful of Teeth are an ensemble of eight classically trained singers, founded six years ago and dedicated to exploring vocal techniques from around the world. Indeed, that is what they do to a remarkable degree. ...

Williams College Thompson Memorial Chapel

MoonHooch

by Jeff Nania February 20, 2015

  “This is cave music,” saxophonist Mike Wilbur shouted to the crowd toward the end of the nonstop, high-intensity set of music they blew for nearly an hour and a half. While the feel of the night ...

The Hollow Bar + Kitchen

Jay Farrar with Gary Hunt, Anders Parker

by Mike Hotter February 12, 2015

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  Alt-country icon Jay Farrar (progenitor of two classic bands in the genre, Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt) was in great form last Saturday evening, performing a career-spanning set alongside ace string accompanist Gary Hunt to ...

The Egg

Anonymous 4 with Bruce Molsky

by B.A. Nilsson February 5, 2015

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  The opening strains of the opening song—“Weeping, Sad, and Lonely”—are so ethereal, so gorgeous, that when we reach the lyric—“Oft in dreams I see thee lying/On the battle plain/Lonely, wounded, even dying/Calling, but in vain.”—it ...

D’Angelo

by Mike Hotter February 5, 2015

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  I purposely stayed away from reading any reviews or prerelease hubbub before purchasing this album for myself as a Christmas present, wanting to be as unswayed by others’ opinions on it as possible. A casual ...

Starcode

by Tim Mack February 5, 2015

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  It was for their anniversary. Or to begin a new chapter. Or maybe they all just happened to be free that night, and that was excuse enough to get the band back together. Whatever the reason, ...

The Low Beat

Ariel Pink

by Mike Hotter January 29, 2015

  Ranked fourth in my Top 10 albums for 2010, the breakthrough album Before Today from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti impressed me for being “skuzzy, freaky, fun, unpredictable, maddening and ridiculous—a gander into a brainpan skewed ...

Punch Brothers

by Tim Mack January 29, 2015

  Will the mandolin be enough to save us from our iPhones? Not likely. Throw in a banjo, guitar, upright and fiddle? Maybe there's a fighting chance. On their fourth album, The Phosphorescent Blues, Brooklyn-based bluegrass collective the ...

Hypercolor

by David Greenberger January 29, 2015

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  A trio featuring guitarist Eyal Maoz, bassist James Ilgenfritz and drummer Lukas Ligeti, Hypercolor have been playing together for the better part of a decade, and that is a key to why this debut release ...

ZSoloSZ: Patrick Higgins, Greg Fox, Sam Hillmer

by Jeff Nania January 22, 2015

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  ZSoloSZ was a set of music by the avant-garde trio known as Zs. The brainchild of saxophonist and electronic visionary Sam Hillmer, it is self-described “difficult listening.” This show at the Half Moon in Hudson came ...

The Half Moon

Turnin’ It Down

by Stephen Leon January 8, 2015

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  Some years ago, as my wife was driving the car and listening to one of the local country stations, I had a déjà vu moment when Garry Allan’s “Best I Ever Had” came on. I ...

1 comment

Best Recordings of 2014: Josh Potter

by Ali Hibbs December 31, 2014

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  1. Aphex Twin, Syro “He’s back . . . ” Like the whispered buzz of some techno-utopian prophesy—excitement cut with nervous dread—the news of IDM pioneer Richard James’s triumphant return to his most influential moniker changed ...

Best Recordings of 2014: David King

by David King December 31, 2014

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  1. Einsturzende Neubauten, Lament Envisioned as a performance piece about the horrors of war, Neubauten’s Lament a is simultaneously visceral and thoughtful, gorgeous and repulsive. The album of the year is both a history fetishists’ dream ...

Best Recordings of 2014: David Greenberger

by David Greenberger December 31, 2014

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  1. Bill Frisell, Guitar in the Space Age Frisell explores a set of songs that made an impact on him in his youth and may well have drawn him to the guitar in the first place. ...

Best Concerts of 2014: Timothy Mack

by Tim Mack December 31, 2014

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  1. Paul McCartney Times Union Center, July 5 Too obvious? Too bad. Hands down, the best musical experience of the year. If you were one of the 14,000 on hand, you knew that already. 2. Kiss, Def Leppard Saratoga ...

Best Concerts of 2014: David Greenberger

by David Greenberger December 31, 2014

  1. Billy Eli The Ale House, March 1 2. Peter Mulvey, Suitcase Junket Caffe Lena, April 4 3. My Darling Clementine The Ale House, April 16 4. David Lindley The Van Dyck, June 6 5. Chandler Travis Philharmonette The Ale House, June 28 6. King ...

Brad Mehldau Trio

by Jeff Nania December 24, 2014

  The Brad Mehldau Trio might be made up of three incredible individuals, but they truly are a singular organism. From the shared lyricism, to the perfect execution of complex meters, to the necessary trust they ...

1 comment The Egg

Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets

by Paul Rapp December 24, 2014

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  When this show was announced it took my breath away. It all looked so good on paper. But that was nothing compared to how it played out on stage. Oh my god . . . Nick ...

1 comment The Egg

Lucius, Bahamas

by David Greenberger December 18, 2014

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  We have some friends who are that rare breed who take us up on suggestions to attend musical performances by acts they’re not familiar with. We know each other well enough to have a good ...

1 comment The Hollow Bar + Kitchen

Keys to Success

by Jeff Nania December 18, 2014

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  “Sometimes I’ll put on a tiger mask and want to dance around on stage and be a freak and wear red pants,” Marco Benevento says as he talks about the freedom he has come to ...

Gift Guide: Off the Beaten Path CDs

by David Greenberger December 11, 2014

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  The once wide and clear avenues for alerting possible listeners to the existence of a new release have become a thicket of narrow pathways. Hence, many recordings, even ones created by favored artists, can remain ...

Gift Guide: Reissues

by David King December 11, 2014

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  The holiday season is always a good time for fond reminiscence of simpler times--when music arrived in a physical package made up of artwork and these things called liner notes. It is also a good ...