Wednesday November 25

Current Album Reviews

Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.

Josh Hoyer & the Shadowboxers - Living By the MinuteJosh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers -  Living By the Minute (Silver Street) review

Nebraska got soul!


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The home of Spam and Kool Aid might seem like a strange place for a great soul band, but Nebraska is where Josh Hoyer & the Shadowboxers call home - and they’ve just put out a fantastic new album, Living By the Minute.  What makes this record refreshing is that they’re not aping a classic style; they’re playing soul music, but it doesn’t sound like it was recorded at Stax or Hi Records, it just sounds real.


Simon & Garfunkel - Complete Albums CollectionSimon & Garfunkel - The Complete Albums Collection (Columbia / Legacy) review

Everything this talented, but volatile duo ever recorded - and then some


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Simon & Garfunkel only released five studio albums. Yet, their work has been compiled many times.  The Complete Albums Collection isn’t even their first box set (there were at least two before it), but it is, by far, the most comprehensive, and the best.

Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies - Legacy EditionKinks - Muswell Hillbillies {Legacy Edition} (RCA / Legacy) review

For a band that made a slew of great albums, this record is one of their all-time best, made even better with the inclusion of bonus tracks and a live DVD.


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The thing that makes the Kinks’ catalog so enjoyable is that they never repeated themselves.  After “Lola” became a worldwide smash in 1970, Ray Davies certainly could’ve knocked off another catchy, gender-bending pop song, but he didn’t.  Instead, he chose to explore the urban struggles of the British working class, something he had certainly done before in songs like “Dead End Street.”  But, with Muswell Hillbillies, he immersed those lyrics in American roots music - blues, country & Dixieland, and came up with one of the most enduring albums of their entire oeuvre.

Candi Staton - Life HappensCandi Staton - Life Happens (Beracah Records) review


An R&B legend returns with a killer new album


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Candi Staton has been at it for a long time, yet her new record, Life Happens, is easily one of the best of her entire career.  She had a hand in writing most of the tracks on the album, and there’s an honesty that she imparts that can only come from someone who has loved, lost, bounced back, and lived to tell about the whole ordeal.

Lisa Mills - I'm ChangingLisa Mills - I’m Changing (Lisa Mills) review


Gritty and soulful - a great record


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We have gotten so used to detached, computer-driven music, that when an honest, earthy record comes along, it can be jarring at first.  Alabama singer Lisa Mills has recorded one such record with I’m Changing.  It’s obvious that this is music recorded with real musicians, all looking at each other in a studio - you can hear the sound of the room when the drummer hits the snare.  And, when Mills opens her mouth to sing - well, get ready to be moved.

Better Than Ezra - All Together NowBetter Than Ezra - All Together Now (The End Records) review


Our vote for album of the year - it's that good


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Remember, years ago, when your favorite band put out a new album?  You couldn’t wait to listen to it ALL THE WAY THROUGH.  You knew it would be great.  Then, when you finished it, you played it again….and again.  Well, nobody makes records like that anymore, right?  Wrong.  All Together Now from Better Than Ezra is a fantastic album - from beginning to end.

Better Than Ezra - All Together NowDevon Allmän - Ragged & DirtySeth Walker - Sky Still BlueBest of 2014 - Six Albums You Probably Missed, But Should Check Out


Lisa Mills - I'm ChangingCandi Staton - Life HappensDavina & the Vagabonds - Sunshine

So, what happens when your entire family gets sick right before the holidays?  Well, it kind of throws a wrench in everything, and sets you back several weeks.  Finally recovered, here's our list of the Best of 2014 - albeit, a little late.

Over the Rhine - Blood Oranges in the SnowOver the Rhine - Blood Oranges in the Snow (Great Speckled Dog) review

A holiday album you can enjoy the entire Winter season


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Over the Rhine,  at their best, have the ability to transport the listener to far away places.  For Blood Oranges in the Snow, we travel to rural Ohio in the chill of winter.  This isn’t strictly a holiday album, per se, although much of the subject matter deals with snow and traveling.  The duo of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist have once again been joined by The Band of Sweethearts, the same group that has played on their last two fantastic records, The Long Surrender, and Meet Me at the Edge of the World.  And, it’s their unique accompaniment that truly elevates the album.

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