‘Laila Biali’ masterfully mixes jazz and pop

Smooth jazz might be an even worse idea than soft rock or light beer, which makes Laila Biali’s self-titled album a miracle of sorts. The Toronto

Once full of promise, Moon Taxi now riding on fumes

The Nashville-based quintet Moon Taxi has been steadily gaining a wider following over the past decade and we’re happy for them. But the cost, it now becomes

New N.E.R.D. album both frustrating and intriguing

There’s a new N.E.R.D. album out so it’s best to plan ahead: Carve out some time and be prepared to put in some work. N.E.R.D. albums are

Speed The Plough bring the family on ‘…And Then’

Part of New Jersey’s rich indie scene, Speed The Plough has a family tree deserving its own entry in any rock genealogy, with crisscrossing branches including The

Neil Young lashes out at Trump, world on ‘Visitor’

Neil Young is unhappy. That’s good news for music fans. Young is back and crotchety in “The Visitor,” a record that finds him lashing out

Eminem sounds alive on ‘Revival’

The A-List collaborators on Eminem’s new album scream “I want a radio hit,” with Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Pink and Alicia Keys co-starring on the songs. It wouldn’t be hard

It doesn’t take much to keep Van Morrison singing

Van Morrison has proven that he’d rather be singing than anything else. Stage chatter? Not so much. Interviews? Not his thing. But he loves making

Noel Gallagher widens sound on ‘Who Built the Moon?’

His younger brother Liam’s new album has been heaped with praise, he turned 50 in May and a recent TV appearance featured a French bandmate playing scissors,

U2’s ‘Songs of Experience’ is a thrilling listen

Like its 2014 predecessor, U2’s “Songs of Experience” is the product of a difficult and drawn-out recording process. Much more so than “Songs of Innocence,” however,

Taylor Swift’s ‘reputation’ is pure pop magic

If you’d stop thinking about her reputation, you’d actually appreciate the musicality of Taylor Swift’s “reputation.” Sure, she named the album that so there will be

Staples in fine form as album chronicles America’s divide

Mavis Staples seems to grow in stature the longer she keeps chronicling America and its contemporary woes. Her constant frame of reference — the civil rights

Billy Bragg delivers the news on ‘Bridges Not Walls’

Billy Bragg is among the most romantic of protest singers but “Bridges Not Walls” is a newscast of dissent, not a love letter. Comprising just six

Turnpike Troubadours back with road-honed polish

The sound of the road permeates the latest release from The Turnpike Troubadours, a hard-charging six-piece band out of Oklahoma that’s been honing its earthy sound for

Robert Plant radiantly returns with rootsy, achy CD

One of the weirder chapters in rock history happened in 2014. That’s when Led Zeppelin won a Grammy for best rock album for a seven-year-old concert recording

Travis Meadows lays it out there with hard-won grit

On two different cuts from his new release, “First Cigarette,” singer-songwriter Travis Meadows acknowledges his voracious appetites. “I’ve been hungry like a stray dog in an

Chris Hillman revives the Byrds’ glorious sound

From the opening beat drop of his first album in more than a decade to the bluegrass-infused cover of a Tom Petty song at the end, Chris

The Killers return with complex and brilliant angst

Don’t be fooled by the title of The Killers’ latest CD. Things aren’t “Wonderful” — much less “Wonderful Wonderful.” This may be the most misleading album title

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams show rootsy range

Master multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell is a restless soul, and onstage he alternates from guitar to mandolin to fiddle to pedal steel, sometimes switching during songs. His

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