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Kelly

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If you want to listen to middle-of-the-road music with nice production values that seldom really takes you anywhere, it’s OK to stop by the local Wal-Mart and buy some top-10 songs produced by a major label in a fancy studio....


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.



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.



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...



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...


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.



Sunday Drive

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Sunday Drive’s Needle/Eye has a solid, guitar-based indie rock vibe, but the Dallas band’s third studio album does generic indie one better by being inventive on the skins. The disc chugs along quickly, with lots of snare d...


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 ...