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Illmatic

by J Frazzetta February 7th, 2014| Album Review
illWith the lack of new releases this month, I’ve been reading some of the music books on my shelf and decided I’d tell you about them to help pass the time.  When a book makes me go to a record store and start buying music so I can get a better idea of the subject matter, then you know it must be a good read, Avid Reader, and I won’t lead you astray.   When it comes to the world of rap/hip-hop I’m a novice and it is my own fault.  For a long time I grew up with the
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Mike Schiavo — Collide

by Jason Lightner February 5th, 2014| Album Review
collideOut of central New Jersey comes a new indie pop songwriter named Mike Schiavo. This speckled, 19-year-old, Irish kid who's known to fans by his former stage name, Spots the Ginga, has just completed recording and putting the finishing touches on his new single, "Collide," a pseudo-electro-pop anthem featuring pounding electronic drums and one surprisingly great voice.

For those unfamiliar with Mike Schiavo, I'd suggest checking out his Facebook page (linked above), and maybe even this YouTube teaser, dated January 1, wherein Schiavo promised new music for later this year (spoiler: "Collide" is the first of
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Taught You Well

by J Frazzetta January 27th, 2014| Featured Artist
fantasy album2008 became 2009, and everyone knows what happened to Kanye at the VMA’s, so we can gloss over that.  To escape the heat, he took time away from music to pursue other ventures, but landed in Hawaii for several months to work on his fifth album, the epic My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which was released in November 2010.  It was a righteous comeback, and West poured plenty of himself into that album while bringing along a huge cast of guests.  His follow-up in 2013, the dark and skimpy Yeezus, would prove to be just as compelling, but for
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Stephen Malkmus, Wig Out at Jagbags, 2014

by J Frazzetta January 24th, 2014| Album Review
smntjIt took a few weeks, Avid Reader, but I’m back in business with reviewing some new albums.  This time of year is always slow, and there are a few releases coming out in the next few weeks that have caught my attention, so I’ll be sure to tell you what I think.  Case in point -- we have the new album by former Pavement front man Stephen Malkmus and his group the Jicks.  His last album with the Jicks, which was produced by Beck, had plenty of focus and rock to drive the songs along.  This time there
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Britney Jean

by Louise January 22nd, 2014| Album Review
bjOops!... She did not do it again. Britney Spears released her eighth studio album, Britney Jean, on November 29, 2013, to very little fanfare. The album took the number four spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 and continued to slip downward in the following weeks. That makes Britney Jean her lowest-peaking and lowest-selling record (even if we anticipate the months to come).

Reaching number four may seem like a respectable peak for an artist on her eighth album, but the numbers are actually quite dismal considering the artist's history. Spears' debut album (Baby One More Time) and sophomore album (Oops!...
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A Chill Sets In

by J Frazzetta January 20th, 2014| Featured Artist
808 hbBy 2008, if you heard the phrase Auto-Tune, there was a good chance the album you were listening to was pretty terrible.  Auto-Tune is a bit of corrective software that allows subpar vocalists to hit certain notes while trying to sound human; trying is the key word.  What happens when Kanye West decides to incorporate Auto-Tune and the use of an 808 drum machine for his fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak?  Let’s find out.

You have to keep in mind, Avid Reader that up until this point West had three well received albums and was destined to just keep
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Frozen Soundtrack

by Louise January 17th, 2014| Album Review
frozen deluxeThe past few weeks have been slow for the box office and for album sales, and Disney's latest movie Frozen took full advantage of that by topping both lists in January. The soundtrack dethroned Beyonce's self-titled album from its three-week run atop the list. It features nine original songs written and composed by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, as well as 22 score pieces composed by Christophe Beck. It includes the Globe Globe-nominated "Let It Go," as sung by Idina Menzel in the movie, and also as covered by Demi Lovato. Read on for a track-by-track commentary of the
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Lorde — No Better

by Jason Lightner January 8th, 2014| Album Review
nbMost people will recognize the New Zealand-born pop star Lorde from her hit song "Royals," which was an unexpected success, earning the number one spot on the United States' Billboard Hot 100 chart for nine consecutive weeks, and marking the first time a New Zealand solo act topped the chart. The 19-year-old singer-songwriter's talent extends well beyond a singular song, however, as both Lorde's EP, The Love Club, and the gold and platinum-certified album, Pure Heroine, are all the proof needed for that argument.

As a delightful part of Apple's 12 Days of Gifts app, which gives
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In Defense of the Album

by J Frazzetta January 3rd, 2014| Music Opinions
awolnPlenty has been written about how artists are no longer producing albums anymore and just focus on singles for people to download.  At first many people, myself included, Avid Reader, blamed this on the rise in technology and how use of the internet/iTunes would somehow destroy the creative process, thus bringing about the end of complete albums.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I need to change my stance.

People still make albums, believe me when I tell you this, because this website tries to tell you about several new ones each week.  Granted, the method by which
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Jump in my Harmonicraft

by J Frazzetta December 30th, 2013| Featured Artist
harmonicraftFor 2009 and 2010, our heroes took to the road as a trio to show that they could still play ear shattering music despite being down one person.  Then at the start of 2011 it, was announced that Andrew Elstner would join the band on guitar, bringing them back to a four-piece, Avid Reader, and thus closing out our story.  Feeling a surge of creative energy from being on the road and having their lineup rounded out, the band went to the studio to record their most recent album, 2012’s Harmonicraft.

In previous weeks I’ve talked about the crushing power
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Year End Wrap Up

by J Frazzetta December 27th, 2013| Music Opinions
wrapupsHere we are, Avid Reader, the end of another year, and I’m going to tell you about some of my favorite albums.  This website reviewed plenty of new music this past year, and there were some albums that were great, some that were ok, and a few that might be used as coasters.  You might expect this list to be padded with big names, but you might be surprised at the albums that made it versus the ones that didn’t make the cut.  In alphabetical order here are my 10 favorite:

Deafheaven, Sunbather – death metal has never been in
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Mary J. Blige, A Mary Christmas

by Louise December 25th, 2013| Album Review
AmarychristmasA Mary Christmas is R&B recording artist Mary J. Blige's eleventh studio album. Her first album, What's the 411?, was released more than two decades ago (in 1992), but A Mary Christmas is Blige's first Christmas album. It was produced by David Foster and released on October 15. Christmas is Blige's favorite holiday, thus it was an easy "yes" for her when Foster approached her about making a full-length Christmas album. A Mary Christmas has 12 tracks, which are all classic holiday tunes with a bit of a soulful spin.

The album starts off with "Little Drummer Boy." Blige performs a
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