tUnE-yArDs : Nikki Nack ★★★★ ~ Release Date: May 5, 2014 by 4AD ~

Such a delightfully interesting bunch of songs that are neatly and meticulously constructed and arranged. The vocals are unique and pleasantly high in frequency - which allows them to sit neatly on top of the mid and low ranges created by the percussion, backing vocals and the many other instruments...  at times 'instruments' are hard to place your finger on exactly what and how certain sounds are made. Nikki Nack is a great album and I love it.

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YOUNG THE GIANT : MIND OVER MATTER Released: January 21, 2014 by FUELED BY RAMEN ★★★

Mind Over Matter is a cool album - the second track 'anagram' is pop-rock at it's best. Sameer Gadhia, Young The Giant's front man, has a great voice andI can't get enough of it! Furthermore, this album has some great guitar riffs, solos and licks... combined with a plethora of really cool guitar effect make this album a listening pleasure. Drumming-wise it speedy, big, powerful and Francois Comtois has a penchant for double time... and I like it! There's also a lovely catch-your-breath tune in the middle called 'Firefly' which is well placed and one of my favourite tunes on this album. Sadly however, the tunes after 'Firefly' (track 7) are not as great as the tunes that proceed it. Overall a great album thats tapers off after Firefly.

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BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB: So Long, See You Tomorrow (Universal Island Records 2014) ★★★★

So Long, See You Tomorrow is a very very good album full of clever and well-crafted tunes. This album won't grab your attention on the first nor second listen, however, it will slowly grow on you - much like the introduction of the opening track 'Overdone'. This album demonstrates a clever blend of light 'n' shade and, it is some of this album's more fragile and lighter moments that produce the most beautiful listening pleasures, like the tune 'Home By Now'. Well done BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB for this wonderful piece of work.

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THE BELLE BRIGADE: Just Because (ATO Records 2014) ★★★★★

WOW! This is a great album! The Belle Brigade, the brother-sister combination with an inexplicable ability to craft gentle, strong, thought-provoking, smooth, intricate and beautiful songs. The album fits well together from start to finish, and once there... I hit repeat again and again and again. I love this album!

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AMERICAN AUTHORS: Oh, What a Life (The Island Def Jam 2014) ★★★★

The name turns me off, the look of the band turns me off, the fact that their big hit 'Best Day of My Life' is too feel-good and was even covered by the GLEE performer turns me off and lastly, because they sound like a nicer version of Imagine Dragons also turns me of... but if I listen to the album and shut all that out... I like it! 

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Skaters : Manhattan (2014) ★★★★

 \m/  ROCK... but not RAWK 'n' FAWKIN' ROLL \m/  ... Think Strokes early stuff with more surf guitar... even though these guy are from New York... which is a long way from the beach. On this album the Skaters have their style locked in and don't veer to far from this...  and that's fine by me cause I love this style of music! Cool tunes and I have played this album a lot since I got a copy. 

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Beck : Morning Phase (2014) ★★★★★

This is a beautiful album from a beautiful man! Each track effortlessly rolls along and on the surface appears lovely and simple, yet when you closely listen to the arrangements one realises that this is far from simple, but rather a rich and carefully woven tapestry of sounds that work so well together it is seamless. A truly amazing album and it was well worth the wait. Thank you Beck!

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Parquet Courts : Light Up Gold (2013) ★★★★

I love this punchy and addictive album. The surf-rhythms, jangly-fuzzy guitars and college-radio vocals are superb and will bring a smile to your face. The album track order is tantalising, this combined with the split second space between tracks, the length of each song and the flow of the album allows you to easily get lost in this album and find yourself playing over and over again. Having said that, however the best tunes are the faster numbers including: Master of My Craft; Borrowed Time, Yonder is Closer to the Heart, Stoned and Starved and Disney P.T..

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Band of Horses : Acoustic At The Ryman (2014) ★★★

Band of Horses fans will love this live, laid-back album. Especially the history of the venue, Nashville's 1892 Ryman Auditorium, and the quality of the live recording and the intimate vibe. However, the album as a whole is a little bland and un-eventful is best listened to on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Best tunes: Marry Song, No One's Gonna Love You and Wicked Gil.

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Ra Ra Riot : Beta Love (2013) ★★★★

Band of Horses fans will love this live, laid-back album. Especially the history of the venue, Nashville's 1892 Ryman Auditorium, and the quality of the live recording and the intimate vibe. However, the album as a whole is a little bland and un-eventful is best listened to on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Best tunes: Marry Song, No One's Gonna Love You and Wicked Gil.

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PEARL JAM : Lightning Bolt (2013) ★★★★

Best Tracks: Mind Your Manners (fast, sweaty, crisp with great vocals!); Siren's (Simply beautiful! A classic that you turn up and listen to over and over again!); Lightning Bolt (I love the muted, distorted guitar at the start and how it build to.... Lightning Boooooolt! I also love how it pull back, the kicks back up and the up and then up and up... to the chorus again and then there's the raging guitar solo and funky keyboard... this song kick ass!); Infalible (classic rock tune with a unique drum sound and great vocals and guitar work), Swallowed Whole (like the joy and exhilaration of riding a powerful, clean wave for over 3 minutes... wonderful!) and Future Days is a lovely closing track.

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Albert Hammond Jr. : AHJ (2013) ★★★★

The opening track, 'St, Justice', of this EP from the STROKES keyboard/guitar man is crisp, light, laid back and feels nice. The second tune, 'Strange Tidings' takes the mood up a notch and, for me, the best part of this tune is the uplifting and neatly arranged guitar parts. The highlight of the third track, 'Rude Customer', are the clever rhythm arrangment between drums and guitars. However, for me, the best song is the last, 'Cooker Ship' - great guitar work, the drums a delicious and it is the best vocal performance on this EP. The chorus is simply GOLD! Overall a great EP and one that all discerning music listeners should have in their collection.

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METRIC : Synthetica (2012) ★★★★

This is a really good album... but you have to avoid the urge to eject/skip until you have listened past the first 2 minute mark of the opening track. Beyond the 2 minute mark is a pure joy with angelic, succulent and anthemic lead and backing vocals, driving drums beats that are up-front in the mix, crisp rhythm guitar, big choruses, just the right amount of keys and to top it all off - a guest appearance by Lou Reed! This album was recored and mixed to perfection - hats off to Gavin Brown (producer) and John O'Mahony (Mixer/ Producer) for this great album.

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