On a Mission Katy B
Columbia / Sony

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
Falling in love with a singer is like being a teenager every time it 
happens.  So it is when you listen to Katy B's "On a Mission"--one the finest 
albums of the year.
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Speakeasy Times Various Artists
Sony

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
The increbible list of artists on "Speakeasy Times", including Duke 
Ellington, Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, etc. sing so softly, so 
gently--but with so much much power.  These artists are so focused and direct, 
they hit a pure stride.
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1 The Beatles
Capitol / EMI

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
The Beatles turned us into loving them on the first note of "Love Me Do".   
Whether broken or hard-wired, they located a vulnerabity we thought we'd 
long ago armoured over.  They were four working-class Liverpool boys who came 
out of nowhere to conquer the world with the greatest songs ever heard. 
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To Hear From There Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintnet
Patois

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
Wayne Wallace and his Latin Jazz Quintet have created a thrill out of what 
they are doing, and the thrill is infectious.  They reminded this gringo of 
the time he was dancing salsa in NYC's spanish harlem on 116th street 
between 2nd and 3rd avenue, with Raquel Rodriguez, having all the latin brothers 
check us out, until we got to the end of the block for a cuban sandwich and a 
corona.
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Own The Night Lady Antebellum
Capitol / EMI

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
This is a stunning album--Lady Antebellum always tell the truth.  Lady Antebellum felt 
they had the right to sing about anything, and thet gives their voices a 
singular identity.  They go right to what they feel, what they have to sing.  One 
of the best albums of the year.
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August and Everything After, Live at Town Hall Counting Crows
Eagle Rock

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
the counting crows have released a live cd, dvd and blu-ray of a live 
concert, entitled "august and everything after--live at town hall" where the 
music was in their souls, and their souls reached into the air, and from there it 
passed into our bodies.  how can we possibly thank them enough?  one of the 
best albums of the year.
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Hear My Prayer Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir
self-released

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
"hear my prayer" by the oakland interfaith gospel choir is a force from 
heaven.  you know this is a gospel-tinged jewel.  their deep, heated voices 
can't be touched.  they provide glorious voices from the gospel world.
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Opus Collection Roy Orbison
Orbison / Legacy / Sony

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
roy orbison's voice stays with you forever.  it is absolutely, totally from 
his own world.  the voice was confident, insinuating, taking no prisoners. 
orbison has those great whoops and diving moments.  his voice swoops down to 
the note like a bird of prey.  his incredible voice always heightened the 
tension and mirrored every story with fevered anxiety-riddled atmosphere. 
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Queen II, Remaster Queen
Hollywood

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
queen's "II" is a double album that shows the stunning thing that the late 
freddie mercury's voice had--he always told the truth.  if a singer is not 
singing from the soul, i do not even want to listen to it.  it's not for me. 
queen was excessive, decadent, theatrical, androgynous, tasteless, mocking, 
ironic, self-conscious--queen lived up to its moniker with gleeful abandon. 
mercury, brian may, john deacon and roger meddows-taylor always had soul. 
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Putumayo presents African Beat Various Artists
Putumayo

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
african beat, an album by various great artists, produced by the greatest 
label in the world, putumayo, is a crushing depiction of a land that we know 
so little about.  i wonder why that is?  one of the greatest albums of the 
year.
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Black Robes and Lawyers William Michael Dillon
WMD

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
the extraordinary album by william michael dillon entitled "black robes and 
lawyers" is a crushing depiction of a hard life--28 years behind bars. you 
hear everything deep within this special man.  this a one of the greatest 
albums of the year. 
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Mercury Pieta Brown
Red House

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
"mercury" by pieta brown is a gospel-tinged jewel.  her deep, heated voice 
captures the carnal fire of the south.  this album is so great that saying 
it's one the greatest albums of the year does not do it justice. 
Purchase from Amazon

Making Speech Free Utah Phillips
PM Press / Free Dirt

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
i've heard, as you have, over and over again, that being an anarchist is as 
bad as being a terrorist.  utah will change your mind about all that.  being 
a war criminal, as the usa is, is never mentioned by the bourgeois press and tv. 

getting the album "making speech free" will teach you--since reading anarchist 
and marxist books, and understanding the exploitation by the ruling class of 
the working class, and the rest of the world--is a mystery. so you have a choice: 
pick up this extraordinary album by the late, great utah phillips or watch fox news. 
watcha gonna do. 
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Side One: See How Far I Get (ep) Reed Turner
self-released

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
reed turner's "side one: see how far i get" is half an album but twice a 
killer -- wrapped in pure folk/americana. there's poetry in the lyrics with 
a rough sound and wounded vocals. he can sing a heart-rending love song about 
a doomed girl whose heart is too heavy for him to lift. but he vows to try anyway. 
he better complete the second half of the album. 

one of the best albums of the year.  
Purchase from Amazon

Standing In Line The Chris Weaver Band
Tygart

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
the chris weaver band's album "standing in line" has powerful songs 
that talk to us, his flesh-and-blood fans. Chris showcases his trembly voice, 
strong guitar, and dewy-eyed romanticism. one the best albums released this 
year.
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Wrapped Up Good The McClymonts
BSM

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
the mcclymonts "wrapped up good" is stone, fine country, but wrapped in 
elaborate pop. the family is crying on the inside, like a nerve rubbed raw by 
heartbreak. the mcclymonts strike the listener with a sound into the depths of their 
emotions. one of the best albums of the year. 
 
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self-titled Young The Giant
Roadrunner

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
young the giant's self-titled album prove that most love songs are just 
calculated attempts at commercial exploitation. they have nothing to do with 
love. this band is for real--from beginning to end.
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Clutching Stems The Ladybug Transistor
Merge

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
the ladybug transistor's album "clutching stems" captures the trashy side 
of an identity meltdown. one of the best albums of the year.
Purchase from Amazon

self-titled Dark Ocean Colors
Rainbow Quartz

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
this self-titled album by dark ocean colors nails their flights of fancy 
and worry with  powerful attention to earthy rock. one of the best albums of 
the year.
Purchase from Amazon

Now I'm Here (ep) Novi
self-released

Author:
John Shelton Ivany
novi's "now i'm here" is a sweepingly generous, absurdly virtuistic 
rock/hip-hop classic. one of the best albums of the year.
Purchase from Amazon

La Verdad Bio Ritmo
Electric Cowbell/Fatbeats

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

The band crafts amiable rock numbers that are at once sparklingly warm, and coolly removed...the music is fresh and compelling.

Purchase from Amazon