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Gossip  -  - Standing in the Way of Control -  - Kill Rock Stars Gossip always have been a - novelty: three kids originally from Arkansas pumping out - tight blues punk. Their new album finds changes in - lineup and style. It's far funkier; new drummer Hannah - Blilie is far better; and guitarist Brace Paine has learned - some new tricks. But singer Beth Ditto still tears shit up - with her Etta James-in-the-making vocals. She mainlines - Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" vibe in the title track, an - unabashedly disco number. It's a great song, but it - doesn't need a twin -- and "Your Mangled Heart" pretty - much has the same beat. Thankfully, when Gossip risks - repeating themselves stylistically, Ditto's sparse, - gorgeously tortured "Dark Lines" saves the day. -- - Kara Luger </
  • Gossip

    Standing in the Way of Control
    Kill Rock Stars

    Gossip always have been a novelty: three kids originally from Arkansas pumping out tight blues punk. Their new album finds changes in lineup and style. It's far funkier; new drummer Hannah Blilie is far better; and guitarist Brace Paine has learned some new tricks. But singer Beth Ditto still tears shit up with her Etta James-in-the-making vocals. She mainlines Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" vibe in the title track, an unabashedly disco number. It's a great song, but it doesn't need a twin -- and "Your Mangled Heart" pretty much has the same beat. Thankfully, when Gossip risks repeating themselves stylistically, Ditto's sparse, gorgeously tortured "Dark Lines" saves the day. -- Kara Luger

b>Dirty Three  -  - Cinder  - Touch & Go Dirty Three have carved out a - virtually new genre of instrumental music. Using only a - violin, bass, guitar and drums, the songs are at once - coordinated and cacophonic. They stretch for 10 minutes - or more, slowly, methodically, even erotically building - into a turbulent crescendo. Their previous albums have - remained largely within the boundaries of this self- - patented formula. Cinder, however, marks a bit - of a departure. The songs are shorter, clocking in at four - to five minutes. And, for the first time in more than a - decade, they employ lyrics. The vocals belong to Chan - Marshall, whose smoky cords are a fitting accoutrement. -  Bethany Kohoutek
  • b>Dirty Three

    Cinder
    Touch & Go

    Dirty Three have carved out a virtually new genre of instrumental music. Using only a violin, bass, guitar and drums, the songs are at once coordinated and cacophonic. They stretch for 10 minutes or more, slowly, methodically, even erotically building into a turbulent crescendo. Their previous albums have remained largely within the boundaries of this self- patented formula. Cinder, however, marks a bit of a departure. The songs are shorter, clocking in at four to five minutes. And, for the first time in more than a decade, they employ lyrics. The vocals belong to Chan Marshall, whose smoky cords are a fitting accoutrement. Bethany Kohoutek

Neil Diamond  -  - 12 Songs  - Sony From the opening chords of 12 - Songs' first track, "Oh Mary," we're on familiar - ground. We know this Neil Diamond, the man whose - songs are karaoke favorites. But we lost him amid the - chest hair-and-gold-chain flashiness of the 1970s and - '80s. Thanks to the production stylings of Rick Rubin, - who also helped Johnny Cash create one of the best - albums of his career (American Recordings), this - sweet love song runs sparse and simple, and is indicative - of the entire album. Of course, if your idea of Diamond- - tastic is more along the lines of fist-in-the-air anthems - like "America," you're better off hanging around the - jukebox at Benny's. -- Kara Luger
  • Neil Diamond

    12 Songs
    Sony

    From the opening chords of 12 Songs' first track, "Oh Mary," we're on familiar ground. We know this Neil Diamond, the man whose songs are karaoke favorites. But we lost him amid the chest hair-and-gold-chain flashiness of the 1970s and '80s. Thanks to the production stylings of Rick Rubin, who also helped Johnny Cash create one of the best albums of his career (American Recordings), this sweet love song runs sparse and simple, and is indicative of the entire album. Of course, if your idea of Diamond- tastic is more along the lines of fist-in-the-air anthems like "America," you're better off hanging around the jukebox at Benny's. -- Kara Luger

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