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CD Reviews

'Live In Cuba' Is A Tour De Force That Should Have All Jazz Fans Excited

9/2/2015 10:13am EDT
Review: Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra And Wynton Marsalis Shi
What better way to celebrate a new record label (Blue Engine Records) than to drop a hot new album? Why, there’s no better way of course! The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra has been a hot commodity for years and years for good reason – it’s an exceptional collective of truly prodigious musicians without question. The already ferocious jazz orchestra gets even fiercer with Wynton Marsalis joining for the musical party. Can you say epic?

“Epic” is certainly the best way to describe the orchestra’s live two-disc album, Live In Cuba, which was recorded in 2010. If there was some jazz defi...
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Does The Weeknd's 'Beauty Behind The Madness' Live Up To The Hype?

8/31/2015 9:12am EDT
The Weeknd Steps Up His Game On 'Beauty Behind the Madness'
Talk about a dude with hella hype behind him in 2015! Many musicians would kill to be in the position that Canadian R&B singer Abel Tesfaye – better known as The Weeknd – finds himself in. With three top-five hits, including one chart topper on the Billboard Hit 100, it seemed pretty clear that there was no way that his highly anticipated album Beauty Behind The Madness could miss. Now the question is does the album live up to the gargantuan hype and meet expectations? Sometimes it does, while at others times it’s a smidgen less enthralling than the hype.

With a few notable exceptions, i...
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Does Rob Thomas Deliver The Goods On His Third Album?

8/25/2015 12:15pm EDT
Review: Rob Thomas Delivers On Third Album ‘The Great Unknown’
It has been six years since the last Rob Thomas album – shocking right? In 2009, Thomas issued Cradlesong, his sophomore album following a successful first outing with Something To Be. Cradlesong couldn’t match the success of Thomas’ debut, no matter how good “Her Diamonds” was. Now a half-decade plus later, Thomas must find his niche in ever-changing pop circles. Somehow, Thomas manages to accomplish this feat on his third effort The Great Unknown, keeping things contemporary by pop standards in 2015. At the same time, Thomas doesn’t drift away from what makes him, well, Rob Thomas fo...
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Review: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

8/24/2015 11:20am EDT
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Go Retro On Self-Titled De
Singer/songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff is not new to the game – he’s dropped two albums ahead of 2015’s Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Even so, Rateliff isn’t exactly a household name. After listening to his third album and the debut by the collective as a whole, perhaps Rateliff’s stock will rise. The “sweat” is real on Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – the energy is crazy. It’s imperfect, but it’s definitely an album with some great moments.

“I Need Never Get Old” gets the LP off to a rollicking, fast start. A mix of retro-soul a la Motown (and Stax) with a dash of c...
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Check Out Our Take On Bullet For My Valentine’s New Album 'Venom'

8/21/2015 11:20am EDT
Review: Bullet For My Valentine Rock Hard On 'Venom'
Sometimes, you just need to ‘rock hard.’ If there’s one band that can satisfy those hard-rocking needs, it’s Welsh heavy metal band Bullet For My Valentine. Returning with their fifth studio Venom, Bullet For My Valentine definitely ‘amp up’ to say the least. Are you infatuated with guitar harmonies and screamed vocals? Then you definitely need a dosage of Venom STAT!

After setting the tone with instrumental intro “V,” “No Way Out” unleashes sans an ounce of subtlety. The verses are characterized by the screaming – passionate “that’s gotta hurt the voice” screaming. While much of it ...
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How Does Melanie Martinez’s ‘Cry Baby’ Stack Up?

8/17/2015 1:02pm EDT
Review: Melanie Martinez’s ‘Cry Baby’ Is An Exhilarating Ride
During her stint as a contestant on season three of The Voice, Melanie Martinez was arguably the most unique-voiced singer. Maybe she wasn’t the very best, but she possessed the most interesting set of pipes. Everything about her was quirky, alternative, and – well quirky. Naturally, that quirkiness comes along on her major label debut, Cry Baby. Cry Baby is definitely an exhilarating ride to say the least.

Does Martinez care if she’s called a “Cry Baby?” Nope and she’s incredibly assertive and touchy about the name-calling, singing, “They call you cry baby, cry baby / but you don’t f**...
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Does Dr. Dre Deliver After A 16 Year Album Hiatus?

8/12/2015 1:53pm EDT
Review: Dr. Dre Delivers A Gem With 'Compton'
16 years. That was how long it’s been since a new Dr. Dre album. For years, the west coast MC/producer/multimillionaire has teased the release of a third studio album, Detox. After it was all said and done – or rather upon the surprise release of Compton, Detox was scrapped once and for all. If the effort was subpar as Dr. Dre stated, well, fans came out with a victory getting Compton, an exceptional album ranking among the most thrilling regardless of genre in 2015.

“Intro” offers a brief history of Compton, hence a fitting initiation for the effort. Foreshadowing the sentiment of t...
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Plenty To Feast On In Luke Bryan's Latest Album

8/9/2015 5:00pm EDT
Review: Luke Bryan Bests Previous Albums With ‘Kill The Lights’
What is traditional country anymore? That’s an excellent, relevant question considering that it could easily be said that the “lines have been blurred” as modern country incorporates plenty of non-country elements. That isn’t to say that there aren’t traditionalists still (Kacey Musgraves is a prime example of a contemporary country artist who's throwback), but as with so much music, there is a new sound. Luke Bryan has been one of many country artists who’ve adapted their sound with dashes of pop, hip-hop, and dance. This is prevalent on Kill The Lights, Bryan’s proper follow-up to 2013’s...
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Teedra Moses Returns After 11-Year Hiatus

8/5/2015 2:00pm EDT
Review: Teedra Moses Shines On ‘Cognac & Conversation’ Following
Returning after an 11-year hiatus isn’t easy to say the least. Despite the odds being against her, New Orleans born Los Angeles bred R&B singer/songwriter Teedra Moses returns to the game in top-notch form. On sophomore album Cognac & Conversation, Moses picks up where she left off with 2004’s underrated, critically-acclaimed Complex Simplicity. The mark of a true artist is one who can return without a hitch. Teedra Moses does just that.

Over the album’s course, Moses seems to never miss. “R U Scared” opens the album soundly with an 80s sensibility and an adventurous harmonic scheme. N...
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'Southpaw' Soundtrack Has Some Enjoyable Performances

7/29/2015 4:01pm EDT
Review: 'Southpaw' Soundtrack Has Some Outstanding Moments
Soundtracks, outside of serving the function of accompanying music for film or television, are often less enthralling listening experiences by themselves. In other words, many times, a musical compilation that works exceptionally behind a visual can lack the same luster when listening without the visual. While the soundtrack to Southpaw falls into some of the pitfalls of the soundtrack or compilation, there are a variety of enjoyable musical performances, even if they or Southpaw as a whole doesn’t supplant your favorite hip-hop album.

Among the best moments on Southpaw unsurprisingly...
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