Artist
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The Arcade Fire
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Atmosphere
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Bicycle
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Built to Spill
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Duke Ellington With Charles Mingus & Max Roach
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Fabolous
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Good Charlotte
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Heatmiser
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Hinder
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Zion I
ZZ Top
Artist: The Shins
Label: Sub Pop
Genre: Alternative
Release: Oct 2003   My Rating: 0
Duration: 30:53
Summary: The Shins' sophomore album is a joy from start to finish, though it's rather different from their 2001 leftfield pop genius stunner "Oh, Inverted World". That album was like a warm embrace from a long-lost pal. True to its title, all of the songs were of a piece, seeming to inhabit one landscape, with an invitingly similar sound throughout. "Chutes" is more far-reaching and decidedly eclectic. Each song is essentially its own genre exercise. There's singer-songwriter James Mercer's surprisingly Perry Farrell-ish wail on the almost indie-metal opener, "Kissing the Lipless"; the lovely pedal steel lilt to "Gone for Good"; the moody folktronica of "Those to Come"; and the Cars-gone-rockabilly riffing on "Turn a Square." The strongest song, the acoustic "Young Pilgrims," is stripped-down and brilliant. On every tune, Mercer packs more hooks and melodic invention than most bands do on one album. As a whole, it's an even better record than "Inverted World". "--Mike McGonigal"


Artist: The Shins
Label: Sub Pop
Genre: Rock
Release: Jan 2001   My Rating: 0
Duration: 18:19
Summary: Something extraordinary is afoot in Albuquerque. The Shins' first big-time record, "Oh, Inverted World", combines mysterious narratives with golden song structures, resulting in lavish and opulent indie pop. Touches of Neutral Milk Hotel's lyrical majesty and the nostalgic swirl of Echo and the Bunnymen abound. But the Shins' music--rich with acoustic guitars, flickering rhythms, and Casio-tone keyboards--is distinct and peculiar. Worry mixes with abstraction throughout, and while James Mercer sings, "You led no celibate life / No skirt while chemicals danced on your head / You stole the keys to this ride / And your fables are falling tonight," you may wonder if he's been routing through your fondest, most troubling memories. This vital album is easily among 2001's most distinguished recordings and one of the best Sub Pop releases to date. "--Thom Arno"