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CD Reviews
  • Black Messiah
    Here's to messiahs worth waiting for. D'Angelo has kept the world fiending 14 years for the follow-up to his Crisco-thick R&B classic, Voodoo, but as the man himself purrs in "Sugah Daddy," "Can't snatch the meat out of the lioness' mouth/Sometimes you gotta just ease it out." Black Messiah shows how deep easy can go. D'Angelo......
  • ¡Viva Nueva!
    Few bands looked more promising in the late Nineties than Rustic Overtones. The Maine band spent years building a devoted New England following before recording their fourth album with Tony Visconti (David Bowie, Iggy Pop). Soon, Clive Davis signed them to release the big-budget LP on Arista Records. But before it was released,......
  • Sucker
    You've gotta hand it to a 22-year-old who, on the brink of pop mega-stardom, opens her latest LP with a chant of "Fuck you, sucker!" But allow Charlotte Aitchison some cockiness. The writer and singer behind one of the decade's most irresistible pop jams (Icona Pop's "I Love It") as......
  • The Pinkprint
    The Pinkprint is Nicki Minaj's busting-out-all-over magnum opus, a love letter to her supernova star power and hip-hop radicalism, her teeming brain and her body electric. Minaj's previous album, 2012's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was dominated by psycho-glam role-playing. Now, as the Blueprint-referencing title implies, she's more Hov than Gaga. She talks about taking off......
  • Foulbrood
    Something is rotten in the suburbs of Maryland. Could it be the smell of teen spirit? "Life's a twitch and then you die," Two Inch Astronaut's Sam Rosenberg sings on "Part of Your Scene," sounding like he's simultaneously scribbling in someone's yearbook. The band's second album is about life passing......
  • Fireball of Sulk
    This Ohio band's second release of 2014 bursts with thick guitar riffs, gutsy solos, hummable melodies and the occasional head-scratching lyric. (Example: "Step on my head and press it down/Chew on my bread, it’s on the ground," from the start-stop grinder "Blankets on the Sun.") Since rising from the ashes of......
  • Classics
    Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward's She and Him have always been fundamentally rooted in musical nostalgia for sunny Sixties pop. For their fifth album – a covers record composed largely of pre-rock standards popularized by singers like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald – the duo shift focus to the Forties......
  • The London Sessions
    Mary J. Blige's 2011 album My Life II didn't exactly recapture the mojo of her classic 1994 original. So, after a Christmas album and a soundtrack, the R&B royal headed to London to record this proper follow-up – a smart move, considering that Brits from Amy Winehouse to Adele to......
  • Rock or Bust
    AC/DC ringmaster Brian Johnson may be approaching 70, but that won't stop him from yowling like a young lech: "Mistress, mistress, all night long/Keep on comin' hot and strong," he shouts on "Rock the House," a bluesy cut from the Aussie power-chord monsters' latest LP. This is a band that......
  • Led Zeppelin 'Houses of the Holy (Deluxe Edition)' Album Review
    It's easy to forget just how quickly Led Zeppelin went from sharply juxtaposing blues thump with delicate folk on their debut to blending the two sounds seamlessly at once. After releasing three masterfully multidimensional LPs in 1969 and 1970, the group began its middle period relatively early, in 1971, with the......
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