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Recordings

Michael-Louis Smith

by Jeff Nania June 13, 2013

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  Michael-Louis Smith's newest album is a beautiful narrative about the passion, pain,and resilience of the “First Black Nation,” Haiti, and specifically its recent struggle with the earthquake in January 2010. In the age of the ...

The Major Lift

by Josh Potter May 29, 2013

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  One of the primary assumptions in contemporary music criticism is that the golden age of the long-playing album is dead. With MP3s, digital streaming and file sharing, recorded sound has become so abstracted from the ...

The Flaming Lips

by Josh Potter May 15, 2013

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  The Flaming Lips have an uncanny knack for making bad-trip psychedelic rock sound surprisingly sweet and reassuring. It’s that desperately hopeful outlook on stark mortality that earned “Do You Realize??” it’s berth in the zeitgeist ...

Kurt Vile

by Mike Hotter May 15, 2013

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  It seems the music critics of the world (i.e. anyone with Internet access) have agreed that this is the Philadelphia rocker Kurt Vile’s magnum opus, some grand summation of the studied and gifted musician’s aesthetic ...

TSTI

by Josh Potter May 15, 2013

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  Shaun Smith takes his synthesizers very seriously. While some electronic artists like to keep their tools and techniques cloaked in mystery, Smith lays his whole rig out there in the liner notes of his new ...

Oobleck

by Josh Potter May 2, 2013

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  Some funk bands brow-beat you into having a good time. Some funk bands blast you with a horn figure they lifted from the JBs and then demand you tell them how you’re feelin’. Some funk ...

Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie “Prince” Billy

by Mike Hotter May 2, 2013

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  Ostensibly a tribute to the Everly Brothers, What the Brothers Sang finds compatriots and kindred spirits in the avant-folk scene, with Dawn McCarthy and Will Oldham delivering an album that should prove deeply enjoyable to ...

lastdayshining

by Josh Potter May 2, 2013

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  Were it not for the fact that Explosions in the Sky scored the soundtrack to the TV series Friday Night Lights, post-rock bands like Albany’s lastdayshining would probably get more readily compartmentalized as self-indulgent, artsy ...

Eastbound Jesus

by Josh Potter April 11, 2013

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  Since their win at SPAC’s battle of the bands a couple summers back, Eastbound Jesus have consistently topped local polls and best-of lists in the “country” category. While flattered, the band themselves have always insisted ...

Petra Haden

by David Greenberger April 11, 2013

  Petra Haden long ago surpassed the coolness factor of being one of the triplet daughters of jazz bassist Charlie Haden with a rich slew of musical endeavors. Most notable among these have been her multitracked ...

The Knife

by Josh Potter April 11, 2013

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  Even if you’re not a longtime fan of Swedish brother-sister electronic duo the Knife, you likely know their 2006 single “Heartbeats,” which was prominently featured in a Sony commercial and has subsequently been covered by ...

Zan Strumfeld

by Josh Potter March 20, 2013

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  “I played clarinet for eight years, but I probably couldn’t blow a note today.” This was the handwritten, numbered confession on my copy of Zan Strumfeld’s Someone New EP, penned under a flap of screen-printed ...

Marnie Stern

by Josh Potter March 20, 2013

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  Marnie Stern shouldn’t actually exist in the real world. As far as I can tell, she is the mythical ideal of a rock babe, equal parts cute and badass, able to coo a catchy chorus ...

The Major Lift

by David King March 6, 2013

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British indie darlings Alt-J have no soul. Like David, the android from Prometheus, and Superman before him, Alt-J’s problem is that they do everything and they do it well. Don’t think I’m saying the band ...

Atoms for Peace

by Josh Potter February 21, 2013

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Radiohead have never made much sense to me as a rock band. This may sound strange, given the decade and a half they’ve spent in that critically untouchable Bardo realm reserved for guitar-weilding titans, just ...

Titanics

by Josh Potter February 21, 2013

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Despite the resurgence of synthesizer-based bands in recent years, Albany has largely missed the blissed-out genre “chillwave” altogether. Which is ironic, given that what many New York City progenitors of the sound are attempting to ...

Foxygen

by Josh Potter January 17, 2013

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Year-end lists can be a clusterfuck of critical gloating, parasitical echo-chambering, and self-congradulatory back-patting, but before even that could begin (as early as November for some plucky publications that gambled on a flop from Big ...

A$AP Rocky

by Dan LaFave January 17, 2013

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A$AP Rocky’s debut mixtape in 2011 displayed such explosive promise that RCA records signed him to a $3 million recording contract. They didn’t overreact. A$AP’s first major-label effort, Long. Live. A$AP, is stacked with his ...

Pantha du Prince and the Bell Laboratory

by Josh Potter January 17, 2013

One element of electronic dance music that rarely gets discussed is the form’s debt to American minimalism (Steve Reich, Philip Glass, et al.). Last year’s multi-artist Rework: Philip Glass Remixed was evidence of the affection ...

Year in Recordings

by Josh Potter January 3, 2013

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Best of 2012 Critic: Josh Potter 1. Grimes Visions If “experimental” and “pop” ever belong in the same sentence, they best describe Claire Boucher’s bedroom electronic project, Grimes. Imagine Madonna scoring a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, and you’ve got Visions. 2. ...

Conehead Buddha

by Josh Potter December 20, 2012

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Earlier this spring, local concert promoter Greg Bell celebrated his 20th year in the business of booking live music. Headlining the night was a band whose history goes back nearly as far, who rose to ...

Rodeo Barons

by Josh Potter December 20, 2012

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A couple years ago, Chris Carey released his solo debut Sunset Moon. The ’70s-vintage folk-rock and alt-country felt a bit like the antidote to his primary gig as drummer for Railbird—or at least the fulfiment ...

The Major Lift

by David King December 13, 2012

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Why are Muse still a band? They seem bored, copping the same Radiohead poses that have gotten them through what seems like a dozen or so releases. But it’s not the band’s laziness and boredom ...

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Gift Guide: Pop, etc.

by Josh Potter December 6, 2012

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So, here’s how this is going to work. I’m going to rattle off a bunch of good records that came out this year under vague genre headings. Pop music has become so Balkanized and personal ...

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Gift Guide: CDs Off the Beaten Path

by David Greenberger December 6, 2012

While there’s access to more music than ever, the reality is that most new music has little chance of being heard outside of the following that already exists for it. With that in mind, here ...

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