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Smile Smile

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Intentionally simple, the Dallas duo Smile Smile spotlights each discrete element of a song, enabling the plainspoken emotion of harmony to speak for itself.


Sufjan Stevens

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Indie songsmith Sufjan Stevens may be known more for ambition than follow-through.



Michelle Mayfield

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The title of Michelle Mayfield’s most recent c.d. comes from a Ralph Waldo Emerson line: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” What’s within Mayfield seems to b...


Regina Spektor

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While half-dozing on the couch recently, I faintly overheard Jay Leno introduce his night’s musical guest. Never heard of her.



The Damnwells

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The Damnwells have come a long way since recording their debut c.d., the stripped-down Bastards of the Beat, in a mini-storage unit in Manhattan. They produced their new album, Air Stereo, in a real studio, and it’s so clutte...


Jason Boland & the Stragglers

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Jason Boland & the Stragglers promote themselves as country outlaws, but if their new c.d. is any indication, they might be in a transition period.



The Burden Brothers

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No reason to describe this one in faux-poetic terms or edu-ma-cational journalism. The Burden Brothers’ new album Mercy rocks your backside about 75 percent of the time. As for that remaining 25 percent, you’ll be wondering...


Nina Simone

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The very concept is a bit jarring: Take one of the most socially conscious, independent, folk-jazz, whatever-style-she-wanted-to-sing artists from the 1960s. Ask some of today’s top DJ’s, producers, and new voices to remix ...



Bonnie “Prince” Billy

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Multitalented artist Will Oldham has kept busy over the past couple of years.


Doug Sahm

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Maybe Doug Sahm never became a household name because he wasn’t an easy-to-categorize, one-note musician.