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Album Reviews
Monday, Sept. 29, 2008

Death Magnetic (Warner Bros.)

   First, the good news: Death Magnetic contains Metallica's most sophisticated, energized and-yes-heavy material since its 1988 classic, ...And Justice for All. If you were hoping for a return to form, it's hard to deny the ways that Death Magnetic sounds like one. Finally, Metallica has revived the long-song format that it built a career on, and the guitar sound hearkens back to the monumental Master of Puppets, the last time James Hetfield and company were coming from an underground...
Album Reviews
Monday, Sept. 22, 2008

U2

Boy/October/War Deluxe Editions (Island/Interscope)

Leave it to our reliable friends in U2 to respond to the music industry's structural implosion with a triple-shot of pricey extravagance-and the promise of more to come. Who could have foreseen that the guitar wailing of "I Will Follow" from the band's 1980 debut, Boy, was actually the first breath of a larger-than-life juggernaut. To be fair, even when listening with the benefit of knowing...
Album Reviews
Monday, Aug. 4, 2008

One Day as a Lion (Anti-)

After years of audience anticipation for what he would come up with after Rage Against the Machine, vocalist Zack de la Rocha opts for quality over quantity on this five-song EP. That’s wise, because de la Rocha and his drummer band mate Jon Theodore already begin to repeat themselves on these tracks. It’s a minor . . .
Album Reviews
Monday, July 21, 2008

Weezer (“Red Album”) (DGC/Interscope)

Get ready to laugh, cry or do both the moment you hear Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo start rapping on the band’s third self-titled album. That he does so over a song filled with piano and choral-chanting bombast (no lie) suggests that Cuomo may have seriously lost his marbles. His hysterically loyal fan base is no doubt . . .
Album Reviews
Monday, June 2, 2008

Rising Down (Def Jam)

As much as The Roots have undeniably revolutionized the genre, their records still sometimes succumb to hip-hop clichés. Maintaining a track-to-track flow, for example, remains an issue. However, unlike with other rap acts, the numerous guest appearances often provide their albums with a vital spark.
Album Reviews
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Third (Mercury/Island)

Third justifies its 11-year buildup in that it’s not the type of work you quickly digest before moving on to the next thing. Portishead’s bleak outlook and laser-like ability to hone in on human loneliness mean that you’re taking on the weight of the world when you listen to one of their records. That these records contain almost too much . . .
Album Reviews
Monday, April 28, 2008

The Chicago Project (Central Control)

Full speed ahead! That’s the rate at which alto saxophonist and Chicago native Matana Roberts and her extraordinary band push forward into uncharted sonic terrain. It’s not like we haven’t heard post-bop and free jazz in the same molds that Roberts, bassist Josh Abrams, drummer Frank Rosaly and Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker
Album Reviews
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008

Made in China (Invisible China)

Made in China (Invisible China) “I just want some rock music”: The first words you hear on the latest offering from Martin Atkins—ex-PiL/Killing Joke drummer, Pigface ringmaster and industrial entrepreneur— have grown so familiar to us in the West that they sound comical. In some parts of the world, however, a simple attraction to rock music still constitutes an act of defiance with potentially grave consequences. Of course, as the Chinese economy awakens into the profit-ravenous behemoth that it is, Chinese society is undergoing massive, sweeping changes. And, like a predictable virus, rock music isn’t far behind, already infiltrating Chinese life and spinning off new strains. Savvy to this and sensing untapped creative frontiers, Atkins set off for China in 2006 and began an intensive two-week process of collaboration and sampling.

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