• Carole King: The Essential Carole King

    Carole King: The Essential Carole King

    The Essential Carole King is not your typical “greatest hits” package. Although this collection contains plenty of hits—King, after all, is fully or partially responsible for a startling number of chart-topping songs—the word “essential” suggests ...
  • Tom Waits: Glitter & Doom Live

    Tom Waits: Glitter & Doom Live

    No album could truly hope to recreate the rarified experience of seeing Tom Waits live. Onstage, the 59-year-old makes magic from dime store props (pockets full of glitter, a giant magnifying glass), primal-yet-dramatic lighting, and ...
  • Levon Helm: Electric Dirt

    Levon Helm: Electric Dirt

    Editor's note: This review was written in 2009, before Helm's death in April 2012. At age 69, Levon Helm sings like a geezer from another era—say, the Great Depression. Which is another way of saying ...
  • Aaron Neville: My True Story

    Aaron Neville: My True Story

    Grammy-winning vocalist Aaron Neville likens the doo-wop songs he heard while growing up to “medicine” that pulled him off the mean streets of New Orleans. His first national hit, 1967’s R&B classic “Tell It Like ...
  • The Essential Zappa

    The Essential Zappa

    “The manner in which people consume music has a lot to do with leaving it on their coffee tables or using it for wallpaper for their lifestyles, like the score of a movie,” visionary composer, ...
  • Pearl Jam: Backspacer

    Pearl Jam: Backspacer

    If the recent deluxe edition of Pearl Jam’s Ten reminded audiences of the band’s prior glory, then Backspacer serves notice that—even two decades into its career— the Seattle quintet remains a vital, vibrant unit. The ...
  • Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky

    Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky

    Mark Knopfler writes mood music for sad and lonely men. Mark Knopfler writes modern Celtic-folk songs about an old country none of us has ever known, but long for deep in our hearts. Mark Knopfler ...
  • Heart: Red Velvet Car

    Heart: Red Velvet Car

    On Heart’s first studio album in six years, the Seattle-based sister act of singer Ann and guitarist Nancy Wilson prove that, musically speaking at least, you shouldn’t mess with a good thing. The 2010 version ...
  • Elvis Costello: This Year's Model

    Elvis Costello: This Year's Model

    Produced by Nick Lowe, and originally released in 1978, This Year’s Model was Elvis Costello’s second album, his first in a string of successes with The Attractions, and the first in which this brilliant pop ...
  • Punch Brothers: Antifogmatic

    Punch Brothers: Antifogmatic

    More than a year ago I chatted with Chris Thile about the Punch Brothers’ second album, specifically asking him how much of the material he had penned himself—a natural question, given his remarkable growth as ...

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