Hunter Moore

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

Near the beginning of the documentary film Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me rock critic Lester Bangs equates Memphis rock band Big Star with The Beatles. At the time of

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Alex Vans: DJ Booth

Alex Vans’ first full-length project is ambitious and impressive, skewering contemporary consumer culture while providing memorable melodies, creative arrangements, and sparkling production. 1960s and 70s-era rock and pop echo throughout the project, but this is no tribute album. Vans’ lyrics, often ironic, are a stand-out feature. Vans also proves himself to be as capable an arranger and co-producer as he is a songwriter.

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Bob Mould: Silver Age

If Bob Mould did nothing more than provide melodic songs and driving guitar for the innovative and influential 1980s band Husker Du his reputation would be secure. Following the band’s demise in the late ‘80s Mould didn’t rest on his laurels, recording a half-dozen albums with his 1990’s group Sugar and a dozen solo projects. His latest, Silver Age, shows he hasn’t lost a step.

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Ariel Pink

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti values style over substance, but that isn’t a bad thing. The band’s new project, Mature Themes, contains many of elements found on its successful 2010 release Before Today—creative collages of 1970’s pop themes suffused with vocal and keyboard-driven atmosphere.

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The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun: by Robert Greenfield

A writer trying to organize fifty years of popular music—a sprawling and unruly topic—has several options. One possibility is to pick a single genre, say the blues, and trace its birth and development. Another is to follow the history of an influential record label. A more dynamic approach is to tell the story of one influential musician or band, though any artist’s story is restricted by the particulars of his or her career.

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Billy Joe Shaver: Live at Billy Bob’s Texas

Recorded live at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth in September of 2011, Shaver is backed by a three-piece band of musicians half his age, playing hard-hitting country rock arrangements that seem entirely fitting. His years of work with Eddy, an outstanding lead guitar player, continue to shape the way Shaver presents his music today.

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Patti Smith: Banga

Patti Smith shows she’s still capable of conjuring up powerful visual images with words on Banga. More inspired by ideas now than by personal experience, she artfully explores the connections between art, history, and religion across the centuries. If she’s grown more reflective in the process, it’s understandable. She’s earned it.

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