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Sound Advice

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The Shins  - Wincing the Night Away  -  -  -  - Sub Pop  -  - Sounds like: Early '80s underground rock - meets the 2000s -  - Short take: Ego-free indie rockers make good - on promise -  - It's here, the best new album of 2007. Forget for a - moment that The Shins went from obscurity to celebrity - in the blink of Paris Hilton's eye with the inclusion of - their 2001 song "New Slang" in the 2004 feature film - Garden State. Just focus on the outfit's third - album Wincing the Night Away, which includes a - mesmerizing and intoxicating combination of - imaginative songwriting ("Sleeping Lessons") and alluring - guitar work ("Split Needles"). What makes the 11-track, - anthem-heavy album so compelling is the band's ability - to seamlessly shift gears, styles and vibes without a - clunker or misstep in the bunch. There's little doubt with - Wincing the Night Away: The Shins successfully - move from indie pop band to compelling rock act. -  John Benson
  • The Shins

    Wincing the Night Away

    Sub Pop

    Sounds like: Early '80s underground rock meets the 2000s

    Short take: Ego-free indie rockers make good on promise

    It's here, the best new album of 2007. Forget for a moment that The Shins went from obscurity to celebrity in the blink of Paris Hilton's eye with the inclusion of their 2001 song "New Slang" in the 2004 feature film Garden State. Just focus on the outfit's third album Wincing the Night Away, which includes a mesmerizing and intoxicating combination of imaginative songwriting ("Sleeping Lessons") and alluring guitar work ("Split Needles"). What makes the 11-track, anthem-heavy album so compelling is the band's ability to seamlessly shift gears, styles and vibes without a clunker or misstep in the bunch. There's little doubt with Wincing the Night Away: The Shins successfully move from indie pop band to compelling rock act. John Benson

The Early Years  - The Early Years  -  -  - Beggars Banquet  -  - Sounds like: Catching a sonic wave across the - sky -  - Short take: Atmospheric rock for the stoner - generation -  - For those headphone-friendly music fans always on the - lookout for a mind-bending, psychedelia-infused - ambient rock trip  where moments are extended - seemingly for eons while the ground ceases to exist - The Early Years is ready to depart planet Earth - when you are. "High Times & Low Lives" is a trippy affair, - while "All Ones & Zeros" imbues pop elements without - any buzzkill. There's also the mellow "This Ain't - Happiness," which offers starkness among the stars. - Ultimately, it's the sonic guitar's drone-like effect that - acts as the catalyst for transcendence. Fans of - Television, Spiritualized and Tortoise need to do - themselves a favor and buy this debut from The Early - Years.  John Benson
  • The Early Years

    The Early Years

    Beggars Banquet

    Sounds like: Catching a sonic wave across the sky

    Short take: Atmospheric rock for the stoner generation

    For those headphone-friendly music fans always on the lookout for a mind-bending, psychedelia-infused ambient rock trip where moments are extended seemingly for eons while the ground ceases to exist The Early Years is ready to depart planet Earth when you are. "High Times & Low Lives" is a trippy affair, while "All Ones & Zeros" imbues pop elements without any buzzkill. There's also the mellow "This Ain't Happiness," which offers starkness among the stars. Ultimately, it's the sonic guitar's drone-like effect that acts as the catalyst for transcendence. Fans of Television, Spiritualized and Tortoise need to do themselves a favor and buy this debut from The Early Years. John Benson

The Good, The Bad & The Queen  - The Good, The Bad & The Queen -  -  -  - Virgin  -  - Sounds like: 12 pre-/post-apocalyptic sighs -  - Short take: Damon Albarn, you're better than - this! -  - When an artist becomes too topical, it's his music that - suffers  quite the problem when you're a musician. Blur - and Gorillaz topman Damon Albarn has been - outspokenly glum about the current world war for years - now, and it hasn't helped his music one iota. The Good, - The Bad & The Queen, his newest project with members - of The Verve and The Clash, is an unfortunate reiteration - of that stale gloominess. Even with the energy of all - members, the album is a spare, morose affair, and little - more than a demo tape. Knowing what Albarn's capable - of  and that he has one of the most finely tuned ears in - music today  his newer records just make me feel like - his head-shaking father.  Matt Martin -
  • The Good, The Bad & The Queen

    The Good, The Bad & The Queen

    Virgin

    Sounds like: 12 pre-/post-apocalyptic sighs

    Short take: Damon Albarn, you're better than this!

    When an artist becomes too topical, it's his music that suffers quite the problem when you're a musician. Blur and Gorillaz topman Damon Albarn has been outspokenly glum about the current world war for years now, and it hasn't helped his music one iota. The Good, The Bad & The Queen, his newest project with members of The Verve and The Clash, is an unfortunate reiteration of that stale gloominess. Even with the energy of all members, the album is a spare, morose affair, and little more than a demo tape. Knowing what Albarn's capable of and that he has one of the most finely tuned ears in music today his newer records just make me feel like his head-shaking father. Matt Martin

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