Jason Macneil

Miles Nielsen: PresentsThe Rusted Hearts

Julian and Sean Lennon, Dhani Harrison, Jakob Dylan. All of them share the surnames of some of rock’s biggest icons and thus all have had to forge their own career from under a huge (and at times almost unfair) shadow that John Lennon, George Harrison and Bob Dylan have created. But if you’re father still is known in rock circles but doesn’t quite have that stratosphere level of fame, you can still carve your own road. And a perfect example of that comes in Chicago singer-songwriter Miles Nielsen.

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Brendan Benson: What Kind Of World

Released on the same day as his offspring's second birthday, is indicative of the musician's timeless, quality-heavy chops. Rock is better for having Brendan Benson in its world.

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The Richard Thompson Band: Live At Celtic Connections

Whether with his work with ex-wife Linda Thompson that garnered him attention by some, or his routinely strong solo offerings which others have sought out, the musician rarely makes a creative, career-jeopardizing miscue. So it's not that much of a surprise that this live concert from Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall in January 2011, Thompson slowly warms up the audience with a first set featuring 11 of 13 tracks off his latest studio album Dream Attic.

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ZZ Top: Live in Germany 1980

Texas icons ZZ Top released a Live From Texas record in 2008, but as is the case with most artists releasing live albums later in their careers, the set is rife with warhorses that occasional has them on autopilot. Back in 1980 though, the band still had a hell of a lot to prove with “Legs” and “Sharp Dressed Man” still gleams in the eyes of the bearded Billy Gibbons and crew.

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Marketa Irglova: Anar

Now that the whirlwind in recent years that has been the film (Once), the band (The Swell Season) and an award (Oscar for “Falling Slowly”) has concluded, singer Marketa Irglova has branched out on her own. The personal relationship with Glen Hansard now off in the distance but the professional one still ongoing, Irglova has finally gotten around to recording her debut solo album. And it is as haunting, brilliant and spine-tingling as anything she did before in the other group.

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Ozzy Osbourne: God Bless Ozzy Osbourne

Overall God Bless Ozzy Osbourne takes a little while to warm to, but the second half is well worth the wait. Jack says he wanted people to get to know the man from the documentary. He was primarily successful.

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Vanish Valley: Get Good

Vanish Valley made songs here that won’t vanish quickly, capped off by “Lion’s Den” that brings Sparklehorse to mind. They don’t have to get good because they are good.

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Slash: Made In Stoke 24/7/11

Although disc two begins with a series of short, punk-leaning romps like “Speed Parade,” Slash shines on the later half with a winding “Beggars & Hangers On,” a delicious “Godfather Solo” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” The guitar solo in the middle of the album though is something to behold, exemplifying why Slash has remained a force with or without W. Axl.

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