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Recordings

John Fahey

by B.A. Nilsson April 4, 2012

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Beginning in 1958, and for seven years, guitarist John Fahey recorded for the quirky Fonotone label, which issued hand-cut records on demand. At first he recorded in Joe Bussard’s Fonotone studio; at a later point ...

Keith Pray

by Jeff Nania March 29, 2012

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Keith Pray’s most recent release, Confluence, is a serious work of heavy jazz. The saxophonist features world-class talent  including Peter Tomlinson on piano, Lou Pappas on bass, Jeff “Siege” Siegel on drums and guitarist Chuck ...

Arthur Rubinstein

by B.A. Nilsson March 29, 2012

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Back in 1999, the $1,600, 94-CD box of pianist Arthur Rubinstein’s complete recordings nearly bankrupted BMG’s classical division. BMG had absorbed the RCA Red Seal catalogue and produced big box sets of Heifetz and Toscanini ...

Sleigh Bells

by David King March 22, 2012

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 Sleigh Bells’ second disc is sophomoric. The vibrant production that combined crunchy guitar work and big dropping hip-hop beats on the band’s debut Treats is nowhere to be found on Reign of Terror. Instead the ...

Brian Patneaude

by Jeff Nania March 22, 2012

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All Around Us is Brian Patneaude’s ode to everyday inspiration. His tunes tell stories of experiences as diverse as his recent engagement, childhood memories, and even a brush with dental surgery. Of the eight compositions ...

Skinny Puppy

by David King March 22, 2012

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Skinny Puppy reunited some years ago thanks to lucrative German industrial festival cash. Well, it turns out that Germany’s love of industrial wasn’t enough to keep the band fat and paid. And, hey, when a ...

To the Moon

by Josh Potter February 16, 2012

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This past year has seen a sudden craze for pioneering French filmmaker Georges Méliès—a mere 110 years after he released his most famous film, A Trip to the Moon. Méliès and his work, of course, ...

Grimes

by Josh Potter February 16, 2012

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Like assholes, everyone has an opinion—of Lana del Rey. Mine: She’s actually a David Lynch-engineered femmebot designed to plug a Twin Peaks reality TV spinoff, The Voice (of Laura Palmer). Ultimately, she’s not worth paying ...

Eyvind Kang

by Josh Potter February 16, 2012

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While The Narrow Garden would probably get dumped in the “classical” rack at a record store—if those stil existed—violinist-composer Eyvind Kang comes to his solo material from a region as far removed as you might ...

The Major Lift

by The Staff February 2, 2012

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I was excited for the Black Keys’ El Camino, I admit it. While the Keys lost me on Attack and Release with its awkward polish, I fell in love with them again on Brothers. Sure, ...

Cosmonauts

by Josh Potter January 25, 2012

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It may sound like a contradiction in terms but, with The Demise of Daniel Raincourt, Glens Falls rock sextet Cosmonauts have managed to compress an impressively well-wrought conceptual epic into the EP format. To be ...

Ani DiFranco

by Elyse Beaudoin January 25, 2012

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Folk singer Ani DiFranco’s latest album, Which Side Are You On?, sways between liberating marches and light airy tunes. DiFranco’s staccato guitar carries her live-and-let-live spirit, anti-corporate messages, and feminist ideals. Every word, from soft ...

La Sublime Porte: Voix d’Istanbul (1430-1750)

by B.A. Nilsson January 25, 2012

The music on this disc is both haunting and poignant. Haunting because it’s characteristic of the tunes that come out of the blending of cultures represented here. Poignant because it’s one of the last recordings ...

Timeless Virtuosity

by B.A. Nilsson January 12, 2012

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The all-time, go-to, everybody-loves-it sonata for violin and piano was written in 1886 by César Franck. Edison had patented a recording device eight years earlier, and this piece gave musicians something to record on ever ...

Objet d’art

by David King January 12, 2012

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It’s a rare thing to find something so succinct and perfect as Cynic’s Carbon-Based Anatomy, like a little music box of out-of-this-time, ethereal prog rock. The six-song EP is far from straightforward or bare-bones: The ...

Best of 2011: Recordings

by The Staff January 5, 2012

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Critic: Josh Potter 1. St. Vincent Strange Mercy It’s hard to decide what I like best about Annie Clark: her girl-next-door persona, her voice that can go from bashful to Björk-y in a single song, her band who ...

Girls

by Taylor Morris November 10, 2011

We last heard from Girls on “Carolina,” the closing track of their Broken Dreams Club EP, released last November. The sprawling, multipart beauty rounded out what amounted to an exploratory EP for the band—a deeper ...

Michael Benedict

by Jeff Nania November 10, 2011

Bopitude is not Michael Benedict’s first release as a bandleader, but it is his first release as a drummer. He is known for his work as a local vibraphonist with his former group Jazz Vibes. ...

Randy Newman

by David Greenberger November 10, 2011

In 2003, the year he turned 60, Randy Newman released his Songbook Vol. 1. While eight years seems like a long time to return to the studio to reconsider songs from his own catalog, alone ...

Homegrown and Fresh-Cut

by The Staff November 3, 2011

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We Are Jeneric Our Day in the Sun Our Day in the Sun, an epic concept album about two adventurers’ journey from land to sea and back to find their rightful place in the world, marks a ...

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

by Jeremy D. Goodwin October 6, 2011

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At this point it seems fair to say Stephen Malkmus is the most distinctive stylist to emerge from ’90s alt-whatever rock. His oeuvre isn’t colored by an electronic phase (see: the Smashing Pumpkins) or suddenly-serious ...

Shabazz Palaces

by Raurri Jennings October 6, 2011

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Shrouded in the shiny blueness of his nom de plume “Palaceer Lazaro” for the release of his first two EPs with Shabazz Palaces, rapper Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler (formerly of Digable Planets) has finally stepped out ...

Jay-Z and Kanye West

by David King September 7, 2011

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A CEO and a sex addict walk into a recording studio—stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You probably have, actually, in a number of ways. Jay-Z (the CEO) teamed up with sex addict ...

Little Dragon

by Raurri Jennings August 3, 2011

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With their third album, Ritual Union, Little Dragon  tighten up their minimal electro-R&B sound. Singer Yukimi Nagano has pipes but you will not hear any caterwaulin’. Keyboard commander Håkan Wirenstrand has chops but you won’t hear ...

Battles

by Josh Potter August 3, 2011

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It takes a lot of vision, plenty of gall, a touch of arrogance and more than a little bit of chops to start an instrumental rock band. All of which would be limiting factors save ...