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Josephine-Magnolia Electric Co.

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“Even if Jason Molina of Magnolia Electric Co. didn’t write songs about loss and loneliness, his pained, hollowed-out voice would still convey those subjects with unsettling intensity. The sympathetic accompaniment of his expansive band—which abandons its on-stage Crazy Horse roar to operate in a spare, desolate gray area between funeral-paced country and bloodshot soul on the quietly breathtaking Josephine—does nothing to make Molina seem any less alone.” ( A.V. CLUB Album Review)

 

Ethiopiques, Vol 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale 1969-1974-Mulatu Astatke

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“To some, the term “Ethiopian jazz” might seem impossible; after all, it's a very American form. But what's truly surprising isn't the fact that these musicians play jazz so well, but the range of jazz they manage, from the George Benson-ish guitar workout of “Munaye” to the twisting sax of “Tezeta.” Really, though, it's more Jimmy Smith than Duke Ellington in its aim (although Ellington is on the cover, on stage with Mulatu Astatke, the bandleader behind all these selections). The grooves often smoke rather than swing, with some fiery drumming, most notably on “Yekermo Sew,” and throughout the guitar is very much to the fore as a rhythm instrument. Perhaps the most interesting cut, however, is “Yekatit,” from 1974, which is Astatke's tribute to the burgeoning revolution which would oust Emperor Haile Sellassie. Some of these pieces, certainly “Dewel,” has seen U.S. release before; the track appeared in 1972 on Mulatu of Ethiopia, which was Astatke's third American LP, showing that jazz aficionados, at least, had an appreciation for what he was achieving in the horn of Africa.” (Reviewed by Chris Nickson, All Music Guide)

 

In a Time Lapse-Ludovico Einaudi

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“Einaudi has the odd combination of being original without being especially challenging; his music sort of lies there. But this release may well be a good place to start. Its most noticeable new feature is a light overlay of pop electronics not present on Einaudi's solo piano and piano-and-orchestra music. It actually works well, lending rhythmic and textural variety to the beginnings of each piece. The music soon enough progresses into chord arpeggios on Einaudi's piano, but he has the opportunity to apply his simple musical logic to a variety of moods. This, too, sets the music apart from new age models. In short, who knows? Even if crossover is not your bag, you may find yourself drawn by this. Or maybe you just want something that will relax you in freeway traffic. Einaudi could work either way.”  Review by: James Manheim- All Music Guide

The Avett Brothers - The Carpenter (2012)

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“It has been said that The Carpenter is the Avett Brothers' album about death. Death is there in the first song, there in the last, and wheedling all in between. The brothers, actual and nominal, aren't the raggedy kids they were when they started out a decade ago; they've married, started families, settled down. The band's last record, 2009's I and Love and You, offered a tamer version of Seth and Scott Avett's splintered yawps and shredded banjo strings, and their live show has tempered as their catalog has filled out and fanbase expanded from regional devotees to national masses. It's tempting to peg the Avetts' story as one of a little-band-that-could selling out and smoothing over when a major label and bigger stages come calling, but I'm not sure it's that simple; for an act in it for the long haul, a certain rounding of the edges seems not only inevitable, but natural– healthy, even. Growing up is hard to do, but outright refusing can be trickier.” ( Pitchfork)

Reviews: Rolling Stone, Pitchfork

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