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The New Releases Shelf: In Between

When I was writing music reviews for Spectrum Culture, I sometimes felt obligated to volunteer for the new releases from bands who had banged out tunes at club shows staged before some of my cohorts were born. There was no

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The New Releases Shelf: AIM

  I’m not sure M.I.A. has ever made a single album that’s great from start to finish. Her muse has too much wanderlust for that. Running freely can lead an artist to cross entirely new landscapes, but it can also

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The New Releases Shelf: My Woman

Consider the enormous pressure that must come from following up a true breakthrough. Angel Olsen’s 2014 album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, wasn’t a debut, but it felt like it was. It was infused with the immediacy of a

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The New Releases Shelf: and the Anonymous Nobody

Here’s my true confession, offered with more shame than usual: much of hip hop resides in my musical blind spot, or deaf spot, I suppose. I tried and tried when I was in college radio, as a slew of formative

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The New Releases Shelf: Emotion Side B

It happens every now and again. A pure pop performer, completely unabashed in their rejection of arty, anguished pretenses, flares up with a handful of songs that makes the cool, snobbish music aficionados decide the artist is briefly acceptable to

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The New Releases Shelf: Hit Reset

Let’s face it: punk isn’t known for its subtlety. So why not call the new album from the Julie Ruin, the band fronted by Kathleen Hanna, Hit Reset? The scorching performer has consistently taken charge of her own iconography ever

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The New Releases Shelf: Puberty 2

Puberty 2 opens with “Happy.” Against delicate, intricate music, Mitski sings, eerie and ethereal. Initially, the lyrics seem settled in the mundane: “Happy came to visit me, he bought cookies on the way/ I poured him tea and he told me

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