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Pop - Released June 26, 2020 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin EMI

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Since officially embarking on a solo career in 1995, former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler has been quietly and consistently amassing an unassuming horn of plenty, maintaining his prior outfit's penchant for fusing meticulously crafted English blues-rock with sardonic, radio-ready AOR pop, while introducing elements of traditional folk and country with the effortless gait of an artist who has spent his years as both a student and a professor. On Privateering, his seventh solo outing, Knopfler has crafted his most ambitious and pugnacious collection of songs to date, going all in on a two-disc set that pits all of the aforementioned influences against each other without ever succumbing to the convenience of their architectures. Upon first spin, Privateering feels a little like a garage sale, offering up long cold plates of once warm, late-night porch jams that feel like pre-studio session warm-ups, but the album's stately yet schizophrenic nature, which pits lo-fi, studious, yet ultimately forgettable exercises in rote American blues like "Hot or What" and "Gator Blood" with amiable, highway-ready rockers ("Corned Beef City") and incredibly affecting, spooky folk-pop ballads like "Redbud Tree," "Kingdom of Gold," and the magnificent "Dream of the Drowned Submariner," all three of which owe a couple of polite high fives to Dire Straits songs like "The Man's Too Strong" and "Brothers in Arms," reveals an artist in complete control of his arsenal. Could the album use some trimming? Sure, but Knopfler is that rare gunslinger who can make even the wildest shot look like it was completely intentional, and his steady voice, mercurial lyrics, and instantly recognizable guitar tone, that latter of which falls somewhere between the rich, lucid beauty of David Gilmour and the Pan-like spell-casting of Richard Thompson, provide just the right amount of ballast to keep a ship as big as Privateering buoyant. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 9, 2015 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released November 6, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released January 20, 2017 | Virgin EMI

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Electronic/Dance - Released April 12, 2019 | Virgin EMI

On a brisk set with some familiar callbacks to their big beat heyday, the Chemical Brothers offer a decent late-era installment with their ninth album, No Geography. Not as exploratory or insular as their other 2010s output, No Geography is a steady, no-frills mix that focuses more on clever samples than guest vocals and festival-sized body-rocking. Standing out atop the pack, the singles are the best moments on the album. Persistent throbber "Got to Keep On" rides a glittery disco-funk sample (Peter Brown's 1977 gem "Dance With Me") while "We've Got to Try" goes the soul route by swiping the uplifting vocals from the Hallelujah Chorus' "I've Got to Find a Way" and grinding them into a buzzy, robust anthem that recalls the duo's late-'90s best. In a similar vein, "Free Yourself" is all digital dread, taking snippets of Diane di Prima's utopian poetry and twisting them into a robotic instruction manual for liberation through the dancefloor. However, "MAH" ends up being the riotous highlight of No Geography (utilizing a hilariously crotchety El Coco sample from 1977), the closest the Chems come to that "classic" old-school sound. In addition to the singles, Norwegian singer Aurora plays an important role in the album's sound, bringing much-needed emotion to a trio of songs with her ethereal vocals and songwriting. Japanese rapper Nene also guests, dropping a scene-stealing and all-too-brief verse on "Eve of Destruction." While not a low in the Chemical Brothers' catalog by any means, No Geography is also not their strongest or most memorable work to date. It's best not to call it a comeback, just another ample addition to their decades-long discography. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1984 | Virgin EMI

There is an interesting contrast on this 94-minute double-disc live album (recorded at London's Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983) between the music, much of which is slow and moody, with Mark Knopfler's muttered vocals and large helpings of his fingerpicking on what sounds like an amplified Spanish guitar, and the audience response. The arena-size crowd cheers wildly, and claps and sings along when given half a chance, as though each song were an up-tempo rocker. When they do have a song of even medium speed, such as "Sultans of Swing" or "Solid Rock," they are in ecstasy. That Dire Straits' introspective music loses much of its detail in a live setting matters less than that it gains presence and a sense of anticipation. Alan Clark's keyboards help to fill out the sound and give Knopfler's spare melodies a certain majesty, but Dire Straits remains an overgrown bar band with a Bob Dylan fixation, and that's exactly how the crowd likes it. [The CD version of the album contains one extra track, "Love Over Gold," which adds a needed change of pace to the otherwise slow-moving first disc.] © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 28, 2020 | Virgin EMI

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Film Soundtracks - Released April 15, 2015 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Virgin EMI

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R&B - Released April 24, 2020 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released April 30, 2020 | Virgin EMI

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 29, 2018 | Virgin EMI

The story started ten years ago for Florence + The Machine with the single Kiss with a Fist that revealed a certain feminism and a strong personality. For her fourth album High as Hope, the English singer steps into the big league with a unique pop that borrows from rock as well as baroque arrangements. She produced this latest creation herself, with the support from Emile Haynie who has produced the likes of Bruno Mars, Eminem and Kid Cudi. Needless to say, Florence Welch bet on the right horse! Her extraordinary voice reaches new heights on High As Hope. She effortlessly navigates between melancholy and reveries. She alternates between sweet lyric vocalizations and disturbing throat cries! A piano sounds the death knell on Big God, then a whole orchestra comes to life on No Choir. With the strings, keyboards and two talented guests, Sampha and The xx’s Jamie xx, the intensity is at its height. Welch uses her music to create a wild and fantastic world, in which the listeners can truly lose themselves. Throughout the album’s ten tracks, she deals with a general theme about her relationship to art and the voids it filled in her life. Voids created by her dyslexia, anorexia, as well as her addictive personality and disturbed sexuality. Hypersensitive, Florence manages to give birth to a tough and strong creation charged with emotions, and affirms her dual character, both vulnerable and dominant. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 22, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 4, 2018 | Virgin EMI

"[H]er vision becomes more tightly wound. There’s a loose, jazzy feel to the set, which lends itself to casual listening, yet there’s something more at play..." © TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 12, 2017 | Virgin EMI

This debut EP from the young New York singer/producer comes on the back of the massive internet buzz caused by her self-released track "S P A C E," which led to a major-label deal. That track is included here, alongside the singles "Lose My Cool" and "Can You Hear Me?," on an EP which contrasts sparse, modern electronic R&B with jazzy, soulful, retro flourishes. © John D. Buchanan /TiVo
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R&B - Released December 4, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | Virgin EMI

With his second post-millennium album in just two years, Mark Knopfler has already equaled his meager (non-soundtrack) output for the '90s. And while he isn't reinventing himself, The Ragpicker's Dream is a pleasant, classy, often inspired effort whose unassuming charms are best appreciated after repeated listenings. The memorable riffage that fueled Dire Straits' most radio-friendly material has been discarded for a more pastoral approach, making this a perfect album for a rainy Sunday morning. Like his Notting Hillbillies side project, it isn't entirely unplugged, yet there is an emphasis on acoustic accompaniment to its predominantly ballad slant. Instead of leaving space for traditional soloing, Knopfler weaves his snake-like guitar between the words. This infuses a tense, edgy quality in even the most bucolic tracks, resulting in the crackling but still low-boil atmospherics of "Hill Farmer's Blues" and "Fare Thee Well Northumberland." "Marbletown" is an unaccompanied folk/blues that sounds as if Knopfler was born and raised in the Mississippi backwoods. He taps into the patented insistent lazy, shuffling groove on the spooky "You Don't Know You're Born." It's the most Straits-like track here featuring an extended, winding, yet subtle solo. "Coyote," a mid-tempo sizzler -- lyrically based on the Road Runner cartoons -- is propelled by a walking bass figure and Knopfler's homey, lived-in, talk-sung vocals. Again, the guitar pyrotechnics are interspersed throughout the verses with overdubbed sounds employed to provide ambiance and mood. The authentic honky tonk swing of "Daddy's Gone to Knoxville" could have come off a Wayne Hancock album, and the "King of the Road" melody from "Quality Shoe" is a tribute to Roger Miller. As an homage to the American roots music he's always admired and a desire to retreat further from the stadium rock of his Straits days, The Ragpicker's Dream is a restrained success, at least on its own terms. It may not please some of Knopfler's old "Money for Nothing" fans, but at this stage, he's obviously not trying to. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2013 | Virgin EMI

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
After stunning the mainstream pop machine into a state of huffy, new school e-disbelief by beating out Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry for the 2011 Album of the year Grammy, Arcade Fire seemed poised for a U2-style international coup, but the Suburbs, despite its stadium-ready sonic grandiosity, was far too homespun and idiosyncratic to infect the masses in the same way as the Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby. Reflektor, the Montreal collective's much anticipated fourth long-player and first double-album, moves the group even further from pop culture sanctification with a seismic yet impenetrable 13-track set (at 75 minutes it’s one minute over standard single disc capacity) that guts the building but leaves the roof intact. Going big was never going to be a problem, especially for a band so well-versed in the art of anthem husbandry, and they're still capable of shaking the rafters, as evidenced by the cool and circuitous, Roxy Music-forged, David Bowie-assisted title cut, the lush, Regine Chassagne-led “It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus),” and the impossibly dense and meaty “We Exist,” but what ultimately keeps Reflektor from sticking the landing is bloat. The stylistic shifts, courtesy of LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, aren’t nearly as jarring as the turgid and Tiki-colored, almost seven-minute “Here Comes the Night Time,” the six minutes of rewinding tape that serve as the coda for the otherwise lovely “Supersymmetry,” or the unnecessarily drawn-out fountain of white noise that should seamlessly connect the Gary Glittery “Joan of Arc” with the Flaming Lips-ian “Here Comes the Night Time, Pt. 2,” but doesn’t because the songs are on separate discs. Flush with artistic capital, they went on a bender, and in the process lost some of the warmth, jubilation, and capacity for empathy that made their first three efforts so inclusive. Nevertheless, Reflektor is as fascinating as it is frustrating, an oddly compelling miasma of big pop moments and empty sonic vistas that offers up a (full-size) snapshot of a band at its commerical peak, trying to establish eye contact from atop a mountain. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1996 | Virgin EMI

Mark Knopfler's debut non-soundtrack solo album, Golden Heart, was, in effect, the follow-up to the last Dire Straits studio album, On Every Street (1991). But it was also a compendium of the various musical endeavors in which Knopfler had engaged since emerging as a major figure in 1978. "Imelda" was cast in the mold of "Money for Nothing," with its trademark electric guitar riff and sardonic lyrics about Imelda Marcos, and other songs resembled Dire Straits songs, notably "Cannibals," which recalled "Walk of Life." But "A Night in Summer Long Ago" was presented in a Scots/Irish traditional folk style, complete with a lyric about a knight and a queen and would have fit nicely on Knopfler's soundtrack for The Princess Bride, and "Are We in Trouble Now" was a country ballad featuring pedal steel guitar and the piano playing of Nashville session ace Hargus "Pig" Robbins that would have been appropriate for Knopfler's duo album with Chet Atkins. For all that, there was little on the album that was new or striking, and Knopfler seemed to fall back on familiar guitar techniques while intoning often obscure lyrics. You get the feeling that there was a story behind each song, but except in the cases of "Rudiger," a character study of an autograph hunter, and "Done with Bonaparte," the lament of a 19th century French soldier on the retreat from Moscow, you might have to read Knopfler's interviews to find out what the songs were actually about. Knopfler hadn't used the opportunity of a solo album to challenge himself, and at the same time he had lost the group identity (however illusory) provided by the Dire Straits name. The result was listenable but secondhand. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo