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  1. If I had to pick a second favorite music site (the favorite being all music of course), it would be PopMatters. I find them to be both fair in their reviews, less liable to fad, and wide in their coverage. I also really like their list for Americana. It might have something to do with the fact that they really like Tift Merritt.
  2. FWIW, I enjoyed 2012's offerings a great deal. It was a wonderfully diverse year for music. I enjoyed albums made equally by men and women in a wide array of genres: country, alt-country/americana, bluegrass, indie pop, hip-hop, R&B, hip-hop, soul, jazz, indie, and rock. As usual, these aren't necessarily the "best" albums of the year. They're simply a list of albums I enjoyed more than others. I do think they hold up as examples of excellence in music though. Tift Merritt :: Traveling Alone Robert Glasper Experiment :: Black Radio Dwight Yoakam :: 3 Pears Carolina Chocolate Drops :: Leaving Eden Esperanza Spalding :: Radio Music Society Justin Townes Earle :: Nothing's Gonna Change the Way I Feel About You Now Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson :: Wreck & Ruin Allo Darlin' :: Europe Bonnie Raitt :: Slipstream Cody ChesnuTT :: Landing on a Hundred First Aid Kit :: The Lion's Roar Damien Jurado :: Maraqopa Richard Hawley :: Standing at the Sky's Edge Dr. John :: Locked Down Elizabeth Cook :: Gospel Plow The Bad Plus :: Made Possible Jon Cleary :: Occapella! Sara Watkins :: Sun Midnight Sun Rosie Thomas :: With Love Fiona Apple :: The Idler Wheel ...
  3. I hadn't really thought much about the "arena-filling rock sounds" of this album. I think you're onto something. Prior to this album there was nothing really "big" about Hawley's music. Well, that's not entirely true, I think he has a big voice. Prior to this album I don't know how well he would do at one of those mega-festivals that sprout up like weeds all summer. Thinking of it that way, it makes what Hawley did all the more impressive here. He's slid into an entirely different vein of music and nailed it. He could teach the youngsters a couple of things. Have you heard Coles Corner or Lady's Bridge? I could listen to those two on repeat for days.
  4. I'd never even heard of this one. So far so good. (I wasn't doubting you. Just nodding my head in agreement.)
  5. I made it through The Tempest once. I had to do it in two sittings. I don't feel bad not liking it. Bob Dylan has earned two lifetimes of good will.
  6. Not at all Christian. I listen to it quite frequently. That being said I don't think I would be heartbroken if I never picked it up along the way. I also doubt I'm going to be going back to it much a few years down the road. Famous last words.
  7. Could anyone explain to me Japandroids and Frank Ocean? They seem to be at the top of a lot of lists. To my ears they are good (perhaps getting close to great on Ocean's case) but not exactly revelations. As far as the Japandroids go, I think I'd rather listen to Andrew W.K. And Ocean: it's bloated an meandering in a good way I guess. Here's my hunch: musical tastes are spreading broader and broader every year. There is less and less crossover on critic's lists. Hence in places that feature numerous writers the albums that rise to the top are those that were more likely to find their way into a critic's listening device. Frank Ocean is a good example of this: Celebration Orange has a broadly appealing aesthetic. I think it has enough going for it that the indie kids and the R&B/hip-hop fans will find something to appreciate. Pool enough together and it rises in lists.
  8. This has proved a frustrating album for me. It skirts tantalizingly close to greatness but doesn't quite grasp it. The stories told in these songs are phenomenal. Heartbreaking really. Mary Karr knows how to convert her writing to the song format. The singing is great. The playing is great. Really, it's all great--especially on a song by song basis. But as an album? I don't know. It's sequenced well but I find the compilation aesthetic a bit ... for lack of a better term ... off-putting. I can't help but think of what it might sound like if the number of contributors were reduced. It might sound a bit more coherent. I know I'm sounding negative and I don't want that to be the last word. My complaints are really minor quibbles in what is otherwise an excellent record that has received steady play at my house.
  9. Kyle


    I hope they throw everyone for a loop by creating a speed metal group or really any genre where "speed" is requisite.
  10. Sure-- Off the top of my head and in no particular order are some of my favorites: Robert Glasper, Black Radio Esperanza Spalding, Radio Music Society Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leaving Eden Allo Darlin', Europe Bonnie Raitt, Slipstream Elizabeth Cook, Gospel Plow Jon Cleary, Ocappela Dr. John, Locked Down Richard Hawley, Standing at the Sky's Edge Justin Townes Earle, Nothings Gonna Change the Way I Feel about You Now First Aid Kit, The Lion's Den Rosie Thomas, With Love Damien Jurado, Maraqopa JD McPherson, Signs & Signifiers John Fullbright, From the Ground Up Sara Watkins, Sun Midnight Sun Treme, Season Two soundtrack
  11. For those interested, it is currently selling for $4.99 at amazon.
  12. I've been really enjoying these lists that allmusic has been putting together. The indie, hip-hop, and country lists didn't yield me very many revelations. The R&B one was great (Shafiq Husayn ... my mind is officially blown. Although I should have been familiar with him already through his work with Erykah Badu and Robert Glasper). That being said, I'm excited to work my way through this list. I'm all about filling in massive gaps in my listening habits.
  13. Thanks for the tip. I'm listening to it right now. If the first song is any indication, and I truly hope it is, I'll be listening to this often.
  14. I haven't gotten a chance to listen to the whole album yet. I did enjoy the Fresh Air review (as well as Josh's review). The bits that I picked up made me think that there is enough talent involved in its creation that its going to be a worthwhile listen that I'll greatly enjoy.
  15. I think Josh and Andy described this one as a "head scratcher". I'm inclined to agree. It too reminds me why I've been mostly ambivalent of Neil Young. (And as a side note. I'm a Built to Spill fan. Been so for awhile. This makes me very worried for the direction they've been heading. How long before Doug Martsch and company start banging out 12 minute versions of "On Top of Old Smokey"?)
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