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BEST OF THE BEST Yikes! 2014 is here! But before we move onto THIS year’s goodness, we take one last look back at LAST year’s best. The TOP 10 albums of 2013. 10. OMD — English Electric (April) It’s rare that a band will produce some of their very best music 30 years into a working career. But that’s exactly what British synth-pop pioneers Orchestral...

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Sounds by Mike Evans     THE BEST OF 2013 Hey gang! It’s time to look back at the 20 albums that mattered most over the past year. My apologies first; Justin Timberlake and One Direction were snubbed yet again. 20. NINE INCH NAILS — Hesitation Marks (September) Last year, we thought Mr. Reznor retired the NIN moniker for good. We were wrong. But a...

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SUPERSTARS UNDER THE TREE PAUL McCARTNEY — New THE GOOD: Singer/songwriter and former Beatle Paul McCartney returns with his 24th solo studio effort. THE BAD: Nope. THE NITTY GRITTY: Sample the guy’s entire post-Beatle catalog (Wings and solo), and you’ll find sparkling gems along with huge misfires. Thankfully, McCartney’s been alright for the past...

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Sounds by Mike Evans     MORE WOMEN OF OPPOSITE WORLDS HAIM  —  Days Are Gone THE GOOD: Los Angeles sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim regroup and give us a dazzling debut. THE BAD: Indie fans may find Days Are Gone TOO polished at first, but the record grows on even its biggest initial detractors. THE NITTY GRITTY: A decade ago, eldest sisters...

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Sounds by Mike Evans   WOMEN OF OPPOSITE WORLDS SHERYL CROW — Feels Like Home THE GOOD: Singer/songwriter (and current Nashville native) Sheryl Crow goes country on her eighth full-length. THE BAD: Crow has flirted with the genre in the past so this seems like an easy fit. However, a little more Dolly Parton bluegrass or Son Volt alt-country, and a little...

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Sounds by Mike Evans   ALL NATURAL GOODNESS BILL CALLAHAN — Dream River THE GOOD: American singer/songwriter Bill Callahan returns with his fourth post-Smog record. THE BAD: You have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate Callahan. He’s not about big hooks, bold production or tight tunes. The guy’s music flows naturally, taking its own sweet...

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Sounds by Mike Evans     BEYOND CIRCUIT BOARDS MGMT — MGMT THE GOOD: Neo-psychedelic indie duo MGMT unleashes their third. THE BAD: No complaints. But realize these guys will never release anything as accessible as 2008’s Oracular Spectacular again. The boys got the “pop” album out of their systems early. MGMT is closer in spirit to 2010’s...

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Sounds by Mike Evans   MESSY CROCODILES — Crimes of Passion THE GOOD: California indie rockers Crocodiles unleash their fourth. THE BAD: Nope. THE NITTY GRITTY: For Passion, the boys hired the Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner to produce.  Never before has a Crocodiles record sounded so focused while still retaining its noisy charm. One can make all of...

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Sounds by Mike Evans   CREATIVE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS WASHED OUT — Paracosm THE GOOD: Georgia singer/songwriter/instrumentalist/producer Ernest Greene (AKA Washed Out) returns with a dreamy swirling second full-length. THE BAD: Nope. THE NITTY GRITTY: Paracosm picks up where 2011’s brilliant Within and Without left off, while changing the vibe...

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Sounds by Mike Evans     SOUTHERN FRIED INDIE OKKERVIL RIVER — The Silver Gymnasium THE GOOD: Texas indie rockers Okkervil River move forward by looking back. THE BAD: Nope. THE NITTY GRITTY: For their seventh album, the band’s frontman Will Sheff relived his adolescence for inspiration. He returned to the 80’s and the tiny town of Meriden, New...