On the Record

Cheek to Cheek, by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

Cool crooner and shock popper an unlikely, entertaining pair

In a smoky, darkened nightclub, the stage is bare save for two figures singing in the gloom. A woman sits playfully at a piano as her partner sips a scotch on the rocks and smiles ...

Paperback Ghosts, by Comet Gain

Another engaging chapter by the British indie folkies

With Comet Gain's seventh album, Paperback Ghosts, the British indie-pop band stays true to its soaring folk and soul melodies with honest, straightforward lyrics. The album was inspired by the changes of autumn — specifically, ...

Erasure's Violet Flame

Vince Clarke promises us a disco extravaganza on this tour, and truth to advertising, this new set’s got plenty of shake. The slip-sliding slightly less-than-booming bass beat, a legacy from the new EDM and the ...

Prince's Plectrumelectrum

His royal badness is back and rockin' yo ass

Songwriter, producer, guitarist, and one of the hardest-working men in modern music, Prince, this week released two powerhouse albums, the solo Art Official Age (reviewed in a companion piece) and Plectrumelectrum, with his band 3RDEYEGIRL. ...

Prince's Art Official Age

Two new Prince records reviewed

The dichotomy of Prince’s sensual, yet electronically futuristic solo album Art Official Age reflects the artist’s inner search for happiness as he tries to adapt to a changing world. The opener, “Art Official Cage,” is ...

Barb Jungr's Hard Rain

Some of the righteous ones, this season, hurt to listen to. Barb Jungr’s been threshing splendor out of Dylan, Cohen, and a few others, many seasons now, and so this one comes acutely calibrated. She ...

Vance Joy's Dream Your Life Away

After hearing the catchy, upbeat song “Riptide,” fans of Vance Joy have been awaiting the Aussie’s debut album. Dream Your Life Away will please followers of his four released songs that have been circling the ...

Ty Segall is the Manipulator

Using equal measures of psychedelia and sonic breathlessness, Bay Area–based singer/songwriter Ty Segall evokes a new California dream with Manipulator. At 17 tracks, Manipulator is massive, yet light as air with an effervescent ’60s vibe. ...

Billy Hart's One Is the Other

“He’s not a metronome,” volunteered one of my resident jazz experts on Billy Hart, age 73, who’s logged time with Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Chico Freeman, and three of Miles Davis’s straightest-up hardest-rockin’ sets. And ...

Millsted's Harlem

After some bumps in the road, Millsted, a noise-punk band from Brooklyn, have hit their hardcore stride with this year’s Harlem. Vocalist Kevin Uffre is at full throttle here, and his manic shredding is matched ...

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition

The misogyny trilogy still rankles, lyric-wise anyway, although “All the Girls Love Alice,” which can’t even decide if Alice’s customers rank with the young girls or “middle-aged dykes,” seems to have grown some cred of ...

Hypnotic Eye, subtle thunder

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' latest rings the Billboard bell at number one

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 13th studio release is a hard-rocking, well-written gem. Petty’s first (ever!) number-one-selling record on the Billboard charts. Though a seasoned veteran, Petty’s voice sounds as fresh and rebellious as it ...

Curtis Harding's got Soul Power

Curtis Harding's neo-soul debut is multi-faceted — complex yet easygoing. It sounds as if Harding's been a successful solo artist for decades, not a man whose recent gig was as backup for CeeLo Green and, ...

We Are Only What We Feel, by NONONO

Synth-pop alive and kicking on Stockholm band's debut record

The verdict is in: synth-pop is here to stay. We Are Only What We Feel, the debut album from Stockholm based NONONO, does it wisely. The album features crisp, polished melodies and enticing beats. Given ...

Ultraviolence, by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey is an enigmatic figure, unable to be imitated, and befitting someone on their own, she’s lonely. Ultraviolence threads that feeling — a seedy, hyper-romanticized sense of isolation and loss — inflating it ...

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