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Concert: Nine Inch Nails “Wave Goodbye” Tour

It was the beginning of the end at the Hollywood Palladium on September 2, when Nine Inch Nails played the first of their final batch of tour dates on their “Wave Goodbye” tour. And probing that they should perhaps not be splitting up, the band put on one of the most dynamic, intense, and powerful shows that they’ve ever performed. [...]

CD: Brendan Benson: My Old Familiar Friend

With Raconteur bandmate Jack White off making music with The Dead Winter, Brendan Benson is left to his own devices on “My Old Familiar Friend.” Lucky us. The 11-track album is a cornucopia of cascading keyboards, jangling guitars, and shiny pop hooks. [...]

CD: Loudon Wainwright III: High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project

Country music pioneer Charlie Poole might have died in 1931 at the age of 39, but Loudon Wainwright III’s self-proclaimed “sonic bio-pic” of the troubadour is anything but tragic. Blending original songs about Poole with covers of his most famous numbers (“Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down Blues,” “If I Lose, I Don’t Care,” “Take a Drink on Me”), Wainwright has come up with a two-CD, 30-track set that mines a rich seam of roots magic. [...]

Concerts: The Long Beach Blues Festival

The Long Beach Blues Festival took place at the beautiful Rainbow Lagoon Park over Labor Day weekend. The weather was hot, and so was the music. The festival was a major fund-raiser for publicly supported radio station KKJZ, located at California State University in Long Beach and known as "America's Jazz and Blues Station." Celebrating their 30th anniversary, the festival had a world-class lineup of artists on September 5 and 6. [...]

CD: Elvis Presley: From Elvis In Memphis: Legacy Edition

Invigorated by a 1968 TV special and the notion of returning to a Memphis studio for the first time since leaving Sun Records for RCA in 1955, Elvis Presley decided to pull out all the stops for his first non-soundtrack album in six years. The songs were well selected (“Suspicious Minds,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “Gentle on My Mind,” “True Love Travels On a Gravel Road,” “Kentucky Rain”), the production stripped-down, and the musicians Memphis-funky. [...]

CD: Portugal. The Man: The Satanic Satanist

Portugal. The Man’s bizarrely titled fourth album kicks off with a groove so fat and swampy, you’ll swear it was recorded in Memphis, circa 1967. “The Satanic Satanist” opens with the anti-war anthem “People Say” that builds on that funky riff to become a full-fledged barnburner. “What a lovely day, yeah we won the war,” sings vocalist John Baldwin Gourley. “May have lost a million men but we’ve got a million more.” The rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to that awesome opener but it comes pretty damned close. [...]

CD: Ian Hunter: Man Overboard

Can you believe that “All the Young Dudes” crooner Ian Hunter is 70 years old? Kinda shocking if you remember him with his white-boy ‘fro, tight jeans, and trademark shades fronting the proto-punk outfit Mott the Hoople during the 1960’s and 1970’s. But here’s the good news: on his latest solo outing, Hunter is a still-virile presence, singing with more force and feeling than vocalists half his age. [...]

CD/DVD: David Bowie: VH1 Storyteller

On the surface, David Bowie seems ill-suited to the chatty format of VH1’s “Storytellers.” He barely speaks on his previous live CDs and has seemed, through the years, content to project an inscrutable air of mystery. But where Bowie is concerned, it’s all about cha-cha-cha-changes. [...]

CD: Hill Country Revue: Make a Move

The first time you hear Hill Country Revue, you will think they sound like the North Mississippi Allstars. That is a very good thing, and makes sense, since Cody Dickinson formed the new band with Chris Chew. Cody and Chris make up two thirds of the NMAS. Hill Country Revue’s debut album, “Make a Move,” is a blend of southern rock, blues, soul, and swampy funk guaranteed to get your body moving. [...]

CD: Sweet and Hoffs: Under the Covers Vol. 2

With “Under the Covers Vol. 2,” their second collection of covers, Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs turn to music of the Seventies, drawing inspiration from AM and FM radio mainstays alike. The beauty of the CD is that bubblegummers like Bread ("Everything I Own") and the Raspberries ("Go All the Way") sound as righteous and relevant as critical darlings George Harrison ("Beware of Darkness") and Big Star ("Back of a Car"). [...]
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