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Modest Mouse

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Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock is probably the most unassuming hero in modern rock, an idea he wouldn’t scoff at but would more than likely shrug off in silent bewilderment.


The Broken West

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Somewhere in the atom-splitting genre distinctions that music critics like to confer, it got lost that pop can be punk and punk can be exuberant.



Chris Knight

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Songs pour from Chris Knight like good whiskey from a bottle. He’s an independent-spirited chronicler of existential life in American small towns where there’s little to do and less to do it with.


Son Volt

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With anger over the war in Iraq escalating and next year’s presidential election looming, there seems to be a lot of politically charged music coming out, though it could just be the enormous presence of the new Arcade Fire a...



Dolly Parton

Coat of Many Colors; My Tennessee Mountain Home; Jolene (RCA Nashville/Legacy)
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One of a dozen children from a poor family in rural eastern Tennessee, Dolly Parton left for Nashville the day after she graduated from high school.


Radiant

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It’s not so rare that a band claims to have formed out of inspiration from a single album as it is unusually honest. Most musicians want to be considered eclectic and well-listened even if only a handful of tunes truly served...



Rickie Lee Jones

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For her first new collection of original material in almost four years, the quixotic melody-making virtuoso Rickie Lee Jones doesn’t need a personal savior so much as a producer willing to rap her knuckles at the piano and sa...


Norah Jones

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Norah Jones has done a lot to quash the expectations established by her first album, 2002’s Come Away With Me.



Arcade Fire

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With Neon Bible, Arcade Fire’s second effort and the follow-up to 2004’s hugely successful Funeral, the Canadian septet doesn’t just avoid the proverbial sophomore slump but completely obliterates it.


LaLaLand

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In 2004, as Austin singer-songwriter James McMurtry was barricading himself behind a career iron curtain over the Iraq War, a more obscure musical entity from the state’s capital made its recording debut with a bright-eyed, c...