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REVIEW: Bettye LaVette @ The Highline Ballroom — 5/26/10

Contributor Earl Douglas writes: “To put it bluntly, when Bettye LaVette sings your song, it’s not yours anymore.” m4s0n501

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REVIEW: Janelle Monae — "The ArchAndroid"

  @janellemonae Many of us have waited almost three years since Janelle Monae's EP Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase was released.  Along the way, we've been thrilled at her live shows by her unbridled energy.  She's someone who leaves it all on the stage. But, I always wondered how she'd follow the EP […]

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REVIEW: Earl Greyhound — "Suspicious Package"

At first, you’re not sure you’re actually listening to an Earl Greyhound album. “Eyes of Cassandra (Part 1)” is so unlike the muscular, guitar-driven sound that characterized much of their previous album, Soft Targets.  And before the song transitions into Part 2, there’s this segue that reminds me of a Brazilian shuffle, all drums and […]

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REVIEW: Erykah Badu — “New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh”

I can’t get “Window Seat” out of my head. Nor can I separate the song from the image of Erykah Badu walking through Dallas’ Dealey Plaza while disrobing. The song’s appeal, like the video’s, is raw desire: desire for freedom, to love, and to be. That element of desire sums up New Amerykah Part Two, […]

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REVIEW: Nneka — "Concrete Jungle" (Epic)

I got a chance to see Nigerian-German singer Nneka (neck-a) at SOB’s earlier this month.  She was cool. That is, I like what I saw, but I wasn’t blown away.  She’s good, not great.  The band is competent. Since then, though, I’ve been wondering why I can’t muster more excitement about this album and this […]

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REVIEW: Sade – “Soldier of Love”

Like most people, I’m quick to say, “I love Sade!” Thing is, I’ve never thought of the music this band creates as romantic.  They’re beautiful creations, yes.  But what’s appealed to me is the core of melancholy that informs the music.  Within the beauty you’re forced to wrestle with many emotions: Loss.  Regret.  Connections missed.  […]

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REVIEW: Corinne Bailey Rae’s "The Sea": Mourning Becomes Beauty

Corinne Bailey Rae’s much anticipated sophomore album The Sea premieres today in the U.S. four years after her self-titled debut captured fans on both sides of the pond with “Like a Star” and almost two years since the much publicized death of her husband, Jason Rae. Though loss permeates the album, which Bailey Rae describes […]

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Lil Wayne's "Rebirth", black rock, and modern music

by Marcus Dowling If he could, Chuck Berry would slap DeWayne Carter in the face with his dingaling for this one. It "leaked." And it damn sure doesn't make me think of Lenny Kravitz. Or Jimi Hendrix. Or Rick James. Maybe it made me think of Eddie Murphy. But "Party All the Time" even laps […]

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A Trace of Grace

Saturday, fans of Grace Jones gathered at the Brooklyn Museum on a crisp sunny afternoon to listen to two up-and-coming bands pay tribute to the legendary diva. The Black Rock Coalition presented “A Strange Case of Grace” in conjunction with the BMA’s ongoing exhibition Who Shot Rock and Roll. The exhibition sets a small room […]

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REVIEW: Leila Adu — "Dark Joan" (Frizz Records, 2009)

I first met Leila Adu at this year’s URB Alt Festival and was immediately struck by her bold approach to song structure.  It’s not that she throws out pop song structure, but that she’s not neccesarily constrained by it.  In the course of my thinking about this album, I came across this review that URB […]

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