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Picks of the Week

Toby Keith redefines patriotism.

0. Toby KeithFollowing 9/11, Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” used vengeful and dividing lyrics to describe patriotism. Conversely, “Drunk Americans” opens 35 Mph Town with the uniting line, “We ain’t black, we ain’t white/ We just came here to drink/ We’re all mud flaps and bourbons/ All ball caps and turbans.”  –Eric Shea

CURATOR’S PICK

No one will replace the voice and guitar of Ariel Camacho.

1. Los Plebes Del RanchoHe was a once-in-a-generation artist. Los Plebes Del Rancho have chosen to honor his legacy by continuing on the path that he laid down. DEL Negociante serves as a reaffirmation of the group, as well as a demonstration of unity, strength and focus on the part of DEL Records. –Marcos Juarez


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Picks of the Week

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Janet Jackson returns, unbroken.

1. Janet JacksonWhen I think of Janet, I think of innovation, social consciousness and silky, seductive pop. Unbreakable (her first release since brother Michael’s death in 2009) delivers on all counts, aided by fresh yet restrained production from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Janet herself waxes reflective: “Wherever life takes me,” goes “Well Traveled,” “I’m willing to go.” –Party Ben

 

CURATOR’S PICK

A decidedly sophomore UN-slump from these San Francisco post punks.

2. Dirty GhostsWhile Let It Pretend shares plenty of sonic DNA with Dirty GhostsMetal Moon debut, the new songs sound more like Patti Smith fronting ‘70s era Devo – or a grittier, garage rockier Pretenders. Tracks like “Cataract” fuse ‘80s MTV rock to sinewy, angular, post-punk; delivering some seriously addictive, retro-pop action! –Andee Connors

 

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Picks of the Week

Eagles singer releases his first solo album in 15 years.

1. Don HenleyDon Henley’s fifth album is more than a return to form. Recorded in Nashville, Cass County is a celebration of his Americana roots and influences. Henley covers The Louvin Brothers and Tift Merritt. He’s also joined by friends like Mick Jagger, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert and Martina McBride. –Eric Shea

CURATOR’S DISCOVERY

Discover the hottest new sound of soul with Louisville’s Bryson Tiller.
2. Bryson Tiller
The infectious tone of bass drops and sensual vocals creates a seductive combination of R&B and trap on T R A P S O U L. Can this young man revive the soul of the South? Creating a signature vibe some have called RnBass, Tiller is the next voice. –J Boogie

 


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Picks of the Week

Gillian Welch’s partner delivers a sophomore jewel.

1. Dave Rawlings MachineRecorded on analogue tape, Dave Rawlings Machine’s Nashville Obsolete blends timeless tones with classic songwriting that’s both familiar and surprising. Rawlings’ guitar work shines (especially in 11-minute-long epic “The Trip”), but his uncanny chemistry with Welch best exemplifies why they received a Lifetime Songwriting Achievement Award at the 2015 Americana Music Association Awards. –Eric Shea

CURATOR’S PICK

Psychedelic threnodies and dismal euphonies.

2. Windhand

On their third album, Windhand expand even further on the lumbering dirge-doom of their debut, crafting a songsuite of lysergic heaviness that often sounds more like a heavier, slower, female-fronted Alice In Chains. The molten metal of Grief’s Infernal Flower flows hypnotically beneath Dorthia Cottrell’s haunting croon, conjuring up a bewitching doom metal otherworld. –Andee Connors
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Picks of the Week

1. Arthur Lee

The late, great, self-proclaimed “first black hippie” gets a deluxe reissue.

Before his untimely death in 2006, Arthur Lee claimed that without him, there’d be no Jimi Hendrix or Sly Stone. Sure enough, the extended Black Beauty rocks loud and funks hard. By 1973, Love was a vacuum-tight all-black band. Vestiges of their early psychedelic sophistication surface in “Lonely Pigs.” –Eric Shea

CURATOR’S PICK

Oakland’s Shannon & The Clams continue pioneering their distinctively fun sound.

2. Shannon & The Clams

On their fourth studio album Gone By The Dawn, Shannon Shaw and the Clams draw on doo-wop, garage rock and girl groups with dark, slick and soulfully emotive vocals. Opener “I Will Miss The Jasmine” features freaky Joe Meek-esque sonic beams, paving the road for one heckuva killer album!  –Michelle Solomon


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Duran Duran is hitting all the right notes.
1. Duran DuranNew Wave legends Duran Duran are killing it with this new album. I mean, guests including Janelle Monae, Nile Rodgers and John Frusciante?! The title? Paper Gods?! And that cover art! Perfect. And the songs back it up too. “Pressure Off” is a particularly tasty slice of old school Duran Duran vibes. –Diego Gonzalez

 

CURATOR’S DISCOVERY

This is the sound of a band hitting their stride.

2. Stone Foxes

Stone Foxes frontman Shannon Koehler may not listen to George Jones, but with Twelve Spells, the raspy singer seems to have taken Jones’ “write about what you know” credo to heart. These roots-rockers muse on Koehler’s multiple heart surgeries, income inequality and biblical references – spun into timeless garage rock gold. –Eric Shea

 

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