The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966) [HDTracks 24-192]

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966) [HD Stereo 2012]
FLAC (tracks) at 24 bit/192 kHz | No CUE/No Log | 37:28 minutes | 1,59 GB (Incl. 5% Recovery)
Stereo mix | Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks-com | Digital Booklet included
Genre: Pop/Rock

About the Mastering: Stereo mix produced, engineered and mastered at 24bit/192kHz by The Beach Boys’ long time Grammy®-Award-Winning engineer Mark Linett under the supervision of Brian Wilson.

Pet Sounds, the Beach Boys’ definitive masterpiece remains one of the most influential albums in music history, forever changing the rules of rock n’ roll. Brian Wilson reached a new level in terms of composition, production and arrangement. The landmark recording was ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time by NME, Rolling Stone, Vibe Magazine, The Times, Q and Mojo. The band produced their psychedelic sound blending together their stunning vocal harmonies with vivid orchestration. Included were the classics, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows,” “Caroline, No” and “Sloop John B.” This quintessential recording is now available as a pristine hi-res download, a must own!

What music icons had to say about Pet Sounds:
“It was Pet Sounds that blew me out of the water. I love the album so much. I’ve just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life … I figure no one is educated musically ’til they’ve heard that album … I love the orchestra, the arrangements … it may be going overboard to say it’s the classic of the century … but to me, it certainly is a total, classic record that is unbeatable in many ways … I’ve often played Pet Sounds and cried. I played it to John [Lennon] so much that it would be difficult for him to escape the influence … it was the record of the time. The thing that really made me sit up and take notice was the bass lines … and also, putting melodies in the bass line. That I think was probably the big influence that set me thinking when we recorded Pepper, it set me off on a period I had then for a couple of years of nearly always writing quite melodic bass lines. “God Only Knows” is a big favourite of mine … very emotional, always a bit of a choker for me, that one. On “You Still Believe in Me”, I love that melody – that kills me … that’s my favourite, I think … it’s so beautiful right at the end … comes surging back in these multi-coloured harmonies … sends shivers up my spine.” – Paul McCartney
“All of us, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and I consider Pet Sounds to be one of the greatest pop LPs to ever be released.” – Eric Clapton
“For me to say that I was enthralled would be an understatement. I had never heard such magical sounds, so amazingly recorded. It undoubtedly changed the way that I, and countless others, approached recording. It is a timeless and amazing recording of incredible genius and beauty.” – Elton John
“I think I would put him up there with any composer – especially Pet Sounds. I don’t think there is anything better than that, necessarily. I don’t think you’d be out of line comparing him to Beethoven – to any composer.” – Tom Petty
#2 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
“…Brian Wilson’s evolutionary compositional masterpiece….This trenchant cycle of love songs has the emotional impact of a shatteringly evocative novel…” – Rolling Stone
A+ – “…a seamless masterwork that rewards deep, repeated listening….a wonderful collection of songs…” – Entertainment Weekly
Included in Vibe’s “100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century.”
– Ranked #1 in NME’s list of the “Greatest Albums of All Time.”

Tracklist:
01. Wouldn’t It Be Nice
02. You Still Believe in Me
03. That’s Not Me
04. Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)
05. I’m Waiting for the Day
06. Let’s Go Away for Awhile
07. Sloop John B
08. God Only Knows
09. I Know There’s an Answer
10. Here Today 3:09
11. I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times
12. Pet Sounds
13. Caroline, No

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Rush – Clockwork Angels (2012) [HDTracks 24-96]

Rush – Clockwork Angels (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 66:05 minutes | 1,45 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital Booklet
Genre: Hard Rock

Clockwork Angels has been a long time coming. Rush foreshadowed it in 2010 by releasing “BU2B,” and “Caravan” to radio. The next single, “Headlong Flight,” didn’t appear until 2012. Co-produced with Nick Raskulinecz (who also worked on 2007′s Snakes & Arrows), Clockwork Angels is a return to the concept album by the band that perfected it on 2112 in 1976. It centers on a loose narrative about a young man following his dreams. He struggles with inner and outer forces of order and chaos; he encounters an expansive world where colors, images, territories, and characters are embodied by pirates, strange carnivals, rabble-rousing anarchists, and lost cities.

Clockwork Angels is the eagerly awaited 20th studio recording by legendary rock trio, Rush. The band is ranked third only behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band. Produced by GRAMMY® Award winner Nick Raskulinecz, the album marks the first release by the ensemble since their acclaimed 2007 work, Snakes and Arrows. This complex concept album features a young man’s encounter with lost cities, exotic carnivals, pirates and a relentless watchmaker. The first single entitled “Headlong Flight” debuted at #1 on classic rock radio and is quickly climbing the mainstream charts. Clockwork Angels is sure to please the band’s legion of adoring fans.

Tracklist:
01. Caravan
02. BU2B
03. Clockwork Angels
04. The Anarchist
05. Carnies
06. Halo Effect
07. Seven Cities Of Gold
08. The Wreckers
09. Headlong Flight
10. BU2B2
11. Wish Them Well
12. The Garden

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Nirvana – Bleach (1989) [Deluxe Edition 2013] [HDTracks 24-96]

Nirvana – Bleach (1989) [Deluxe Edition 2013]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 76:37 minutes | 1,75 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover
Genre: Grunge

Originally recorded over three sessions with producer Jack Endino at Seattle’s Reciprocal Recording Studios in December 1988 and January 1989, Bleach was released in June of ‘89 and unequivocally/unsurprisingly remains Sub Pop’s very favorite Nirvana full-length album. The album initially sold 40,000 copies, but was brought into the international spotlight following the release and worldwide success of their 1991 sophomore effort, Nevermind. Subsequently Bleach went on to sell 1.7 million copies in the US alone. This 20th Anniversary Edition has been re-mastered from the original tapes at Sterling Sound in a session overseen by producer Jack Endino.

This edition includes an unreleased live recording of a complete February 9th, 1990 show at the Pine Street Theatre in Portland, Oregon. The show features performances of “Love Buzz,” “About a Girl” and a cover of The Vaselines’ song “Molly’s Lips” and has been re-mixed from the original tapes by Endino.

This is one case where the legend really precedes the record itself. Cut for about 600 dollars in Jack Endino’s studio over just a matter of days, this captures Nirvana at a formative stage, still indebted to the murk that became known as grunge, yet not quite finding their voice as songwriters. Which isn’t to say that they were devoid of original material, since even at this stage Kurt Cobain illustrated signs of his considerable songcraft, particularly on the minor-key ballad “About a Girl” and the dense churn of “Blew.” A few songs come close to that level, but that’s more a triumph of sound than structure, as “Negative Creep” and “School” get by on attitude and churn, while the cover of “Love Buzz” winds up being one of the highlights because this gives a true menace to their sound, thanks to its menacing melody. The rest of it sinks into the sludge, as the group itself winds up succumbing to grinding sub-metallic riffing that has little power, due to lack of riffs and lack of a good drummer. Bleach is more than a historical curiosity since it does have its share of great songs, but it isn’t a lost classic — it’s a debut from a band that shows potential but haven’t yet achieved it.

Tracklist
01 – Blew
02 – Floyd The Barber
03 – About A Girl
04 – School
05 – Love Buzz
06 – Paper Cuts
07 – Negative Creep
08 – Scoff
09 – Swap Meet
10 – Mr. Moustache
11 – Sifting
12 – Big Cheese
13 – Downer
14 – Intro (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
15 – School (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
16 – Floyd The Barber (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
17 – Dive (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
18 – Love Buzz (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
19 – Spank Thru (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
20 – Molly’s Lips (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
21 – Sappy (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
22 – Scoff (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
23 – About A Girl (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
24 – Been A Son (Live at Pine Street Theatre)
25 – Blew (Live at Pine Street Theatre)

Please Note: Tracks 14-25 are 48k recordings mastered at 96/24.

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Mumford & Sons – Babel (2012) {Deluxe Edition} [HDTracks 24-44,1]

Mumford & Sons – Babel {Deluxe Edition} (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 63:38 minutes | 790 MB (Incl. 5% Recovery)
British Folk/Indie | Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover
Genre: Rock, Folk

Mumford & Sons took the music world by storm with their critically-acclaimed debut album, Sigh No More. The album was an international success, selling millions of copies worldwide and established the band as a household name. Babel is their highly-anticipated sophomore recording. The epic album finds the rock quartet continuing their effortless blend of traditional folk and rock. The group’s flawless harmonies are bone-chilling. Standouts include “Ghosts That We Knew,” “Whispers In The Dark” and “Below My Feet.” Babel has already been hailed by the Washington Post as one of this year’s best releases and is on track to having the best opening week of the year.

English folk revivalists Mumford & Sons’ 2009 debut, Sigh No More, boarded the slowest train it could find on its journey from regional gem to pleasantly surprising, international success story. After simmering and stewing throughout the U.K. and Europe, the band landed boots first at the Staples Center for a rousing performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards that found the smartly dressed quartet tearing through “The Cave,” and then backing, along with the equally snappy Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan on a generation-spanning rendition of “Maggie’s Farm” that provided one of the better Grammy moments of the last decade or so. They may lack the lyrical prowess of “The Bard,” but they know how to turn a phrase, plant a seed, and build a bridge and tear it back down again without losing the audience in the process. Simply put, they can bend the relative simplicity of traditional folk music to their collective wills, which is exactly what they do on their sophomore outing, Babel. It’s also exactly what they did on their debut, and short of being a little rowdier and raspier, Babel feels less like a legitimate sequel and more like an expanded edition of the former. Working once again with producer Markus Dravs, who helmed Arcade Fire’s Grammy-winning opus The Suburbs, the Mumford boys have crafted another set of incredibly spirited songs that bark much louder than they bite. Ballsy, pained, fiery, and fraught with near constant references to sin, salvation, and all of the pontifical hopes and doubts that lie between, most of Babel is caught between the confessional and an apocalyptic hootenanny, delivering its everyman message with the kind of calculated spiritual fervor that comes from having to adapt to the festival masses as opposed to the smaller club crowds. Tracks like “Hopeless Wanderer,” “Broken Crown,” and the vivacious title cut bristle with moxie and self-importance, but feel like a ruse, aiming for the parking lot with the kind of generic, turgid melodrama that always overshoots its mark, leaving another smoky hole in an already pockmarked landscape. It’s a shame because there’s some potential here, especially when the group eases back on the Me Street Band histrionics. Two albums in and Mumford & Sons still sound like a band fused to the starting block, paralyzed by the thought of having to truly race for their lives.

Tracklist:
01 – Babel
02 – Whispers In the Dark
03 – I Will Wait
04 – Holland Road
05 – Ghosts That We Knew
06 – Lover of the Light
07 – Lovers’ Eyes
08 – Reminder
09 – Hopeless Wanderer
10 – Broken Crown
11 – Below My Feet
12 – Not With Haste
13 – For Those Below (Bonus Track)
14 – The Boxer (feat. Jerry Douglas & Paul Simon) [Bonus Track]
15 – Where Are You Now (Bonus Track)

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MGMT – MGMT (2013) [Qobuz 24-96]

MGMT – MGMT (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 44:15 minutes | 1,04 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz.com | Front cover
Indie Pop-Rock / Electronic / Neo Psychedelia
Genre: Alternative

MGMT are back with their self-titled third studio album. The successor to 2008′s Oracular Spectacular and 2010 s Congratulations, MGMT finds Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser continuing to push themselves to expand the boundaries of modern pop music. Returning to Tarbox Road Studios to work with longtime collaborator Dave Fridmann (Co-producer and mixer of Oracular Spectacular and Congratulations, The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala), Andrew and Ben experimented with various in-studio writing processes, allowing the music to tell them where it wanted to go. The result is a diverse and powerful collection of 10 songs (including a cover of “Introspection” by 1960′s psych band Faine Jade) that directly mirrors the duo’s encompassing surrealist view of the everyday.

Over the course of their last two albums, MGMT have shown themselves to be as comfortable crafting a solid hook as they are heading off into more psychedelic excursions, often bringing those two sides of themselves together to create an eclectic sound that often feels like the musings of a glam pop band on a peyote-fueled vision quest. After two exploratory albums, MGMT return with their eponymous third album, which finds them continuing to push their sound forward as they return to working with producer Dave Fridmann, who worked on the band’s debut, Oracular Spectacular. While Fridmann is definitely associated with a sense of spaciousness, thanks to his work with iconic acts like the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, he’s also a producer who is more about capturing what MGMT are doing than making decisions for them, so while his sonic stamp could be heard on their earlier work, it was clear they weren’t quite making the most of the experience. Six years later, MGMT return to Tarbox Road Studios a more confident and self-assured band, and the difference is palpable. Like Congratulations, MGMT is an album that continues to eschew hooky singles for pop experimentation that isn’t afraid to stay melodic, at least initially. While the album feels daring all the way through, early tracks like “Alien Days” feel relatively straightforward, mining the ornate pop sound of their previous effort. As MGMT continues, though, an unraveling process starts to happen, with the songs becoming increasingly strange as the album progresses through its latter half. It’s in this section that the band makes the most of Fridmann’s talents as a producer and engineer, sending the songs into outer space with layers of reverb-drenched synths and crunchy electronics. Although it’s clear that their infectious, single-heavy debut was no accident, the more experimental aspect of MGMT seems to be their dominant side. While this might be bad news for radio DJs out there praying for another “Kids” or “Electric Feel,” it’s a blessing for music fans desperately waiting for a modern answer to pop experimenters like David Bowie and Sparks.

Tracklist:
01 – Alien Days
02 – Cool Song No. 2
03 – Mystery Disease
04 – Introspection
05 – Your Life Is A Lie
06 – A Good Sadness
07 – Astro-Mancy
08 – I Love You Too, Death
09 – Plenty Of Girls In The Sea
10 – An Orphan Of Fortune

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Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell (1977) [2012, HDTracks 24-96]

Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell (1977/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 46:38 minutes | 963 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover
Genre: Rock

Bat Out Of Hell is the definitive masterpiece by Meat Loaf. The album is adored by countless generations and is Meat Loaf’s first collaboration with composer Jim Steinman. Bat Out Of Hell is one of the bestselling albums in music history, having sold over 43 million copies worldwide. It is included on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and has been certified multi-Platinum. It reached #1 on Billboard’s Top Pop charts and features the exhilarating singles “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.” A must-own recording.

There is no other album like Bat Out of Hell, unless you want to count the sequel. This is Grand Guignol pop — epic, gothic, operatic, and silly, and it’s appealing because of all of this. Jim Steinman was a composer without peer, simply because nobody else wanted to make mini-epics like this. And there never could have been a singer more suited for his compositions than Meat Loaf, a singer partial to bombast, albeit shaded bombast. The compositions are staggeringly ridiculous, yet Meat Loaf finds the emotional core in each song, bringing true heartbreak to “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad” and sly humor to “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” There’s no discounting the production of Todd Rundgren, either, who gives Steinman’s self-styled grandiosity a production that’s staggeringly big but never overwhelming and always alluring. While the sentiments are deliberately adolescent and filled with jokes and exaggerated clichés, there’s real (albeit silly) wit behind these compositions, not just in the lyrics but in the music, which is a savvy blend of oldies pastiche, show tunes, prog rock, Springsteen-esque narratives, and blistering hard rock (thereby sounding a bit like an extension of Rocky Horror Picture Show, which brought Meat Loaf to the national stage). It may be easy to dismiss this as ridiculous, but there’s real style and craft here and its kitsch is intentional. It may elevate adolescent passion to operatic dimensions, and that’s certainly silly, but it’s hard not to marvel at the skill behind this grandly silly, irresistible album.

Tracklist:
01 – Bat Out Of Hell
02 – You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)
03 – Heaven Can Wait
04 – All Revved Up With No Place To Go
05 – Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad
06 – Paradise By The Dashboard Light: Paradise/Let Me Sleep On It/Praying For the End Of Time
07 – For Crying Out Loud

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Lorde – Pure Heroine (2013) [HDTracks 24-48]

Lorde – Pure Heroine (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 37:13 minutes | 465 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover
Genre: Pop

Lorde is the stage name of Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor. From New Zealand, she is a singer-songwriter whose debut album, Pure Heroine, was released in September 2013. She receieved four Grammy Nominations for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards: Song of the Year for “Royals”, and Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Pure Heroine.

Signed to a major label at an early age, she was groomed in the darkness of studios, the label knowing the potential they had in their singer/songwriter. She wrote on her own, then she was paired with a sympathetic producer/songwriter, live performances taking a back seat to woodshedding. If this story in the early years of the 2010s brings to mind Lana Del Rey, it’s no coincidence that it also applies to New Zealand singer/songwriter Lorde, whose 2013 debut, Pure Heroine, contains all of the stylized goth foreboding of LDR’s Born to Die and almost none of the louche, languid glamour. This is not a small thing. Lana Del Rey is a self-created starlet willing herself into stardom but Lorde fancies herself a poet, churning away at the darker recesses of her soul. Some of this may be due to age. Lorde, as any pre-release review or portrait helpfully illustrated, was only 16 when she wrote and recorded Pure Heroine with producer Joel Little, and an adolescent aggrievance and angst certainly underpin the songs here. Lorde favors a tragic romanticism, an all-or-nothing melodrama that Little accentuates with his alternately moody and insistent productions. Where Lana Del Rey favors a studiously detached irony, Lorde pours it all out which, in itself, may be an act: her bedsit poetry is superficially more authentic but the music is certainly more pop, both in its construction — there are big hooks in the choruses and verses — and in the production, which accentuates a sad shimmer where everything is beautiful and broken. There is a topical appeal here, particularly because Lorde and Little do spend so much time on the surface, turning it into something seductive, but it is no more real than the studied detachment of Lana Del Rey, who Lorde so strongly (and intentionally) resembles. Born to Die is meant to be appreciated as slippery, elusive pop; Pure Heroine seems to hint at the truth…but the truth is, Lorde is a pop invention as much as LDR and is not nearly as honest about her intentions.

Tracklist:
01 – Tennis Court
02 – 400 Lux
03 – Royals
04 – Ribs
05 – Buzzcut Season
06 – Team
07 – Glory And Gore
08 – Still Sane
09 – White Teeth Teens
10 – A World Alone

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Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day (2012) [HDTracks 24-48]

Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day (2012) – Live: O2 Arena, London – December 10, 2007
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 115:29 minutes | 1,53 GB
Official Digital Download | Source: HDTracks.com | November 19, 2012
Genre: Rock

On December 10, 2007, Led Zeppelin took the stage at London’s O2 Arena for a historic performance, headlining a tribute concert for dear friend and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. Celebration Day is an exhilarating tour de force of the band’s signature blues-infused rock n’ roll, a sound that instantly became part of the legend of Led Zeppelin. John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were joined by Bonham’s son to perform sixteen landmark tracks including “Whole Lotta Love,” “Rock And Roll,” “Kashmir” and “Stairway To Heaven”.

Contrary to popular perception, Led Zeppelin isn’t exactly adverse to reunions. If anything, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant can’t keep away from each other. Just four years after John Bonham’s 1980 death, Page laid down guitar on Robert Plant’s oldies act the Honeydrippers, and not long after that, John Paul Jones joined the pair for a performance at 1985′s Live Aid. That set was trashed by the public and band alike, as was their subsequent 1988 appearance at Atlantic Records’ 40th Anniversary celebration, but despite these lackluster gigs, rumors of a full-fledged reunion continued to circulate well into the new millennium, even after Page & Plant recorded a pair of albums in the mid-’90s — a project that caused tension with Jones, who was unaware of the collaboration until its release. Eventually, all the bad blood cooled and the trio once again reunited, this time with Bonham’s son Jason on drums, for a full-fledged set as the headliners for the 2007 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert. Five years later, this reunion was finally released as Celebration Day, a live album available either as an audio or a CD/DVD set, letting the world at large experience what was roundly and rightly acclaimed as a near-perfect reunion. Why is Celebration Day such a resounding success? The snide answer is rehearsal: Zeppelin knew their previous two returns to the stage weren’t up to snuff so they spent a great deal of time woodshedding, realizing their reputation was on the line. And since none of the participants were truly tempted by an ongoing reunion, one where they would have to hawk the same set list at every corner of the globe for over a year, they decided to pour all they had into this one-off concert, betting that one great gig would trump a globe-conquering tour. They were right. Celebration Day is an ideal coda for Led Zeppelin, proof that the group’s skills only deepened with age. Never once does the group sound as if they’re grasping at re-creating their youth; they’ve selected a set heavy on blues, atmosphere, and hits, songs that allow each member — including Jason Bonham — to stretch out and casually flaunt his skills. Plant may no longer be able to reach the soaring highs he did in the ’70s, but his lowered range gives “Black Dog” and “The Song Remains the Same” gravity, and helps give “Trampled Under Foot” a gut-level punch. Page still can muff a note or two — so can the band, actually, with Plant missing a line on the opening “Good Times Bad Times,” a mistake that’s thankfully left uncorrected — but his imagination is unchained, and, when compared to the Page/Plant records of the ’90s, it becomes clear how much Jones contributed to the band’s chemistry, lending it grit and funk (“Misty Mountain Hop” grooves more than any song without bass should), deepening and coloring Page’s riffs, letting the band bounce out and return to center. All of this unique chemistry is evident on Celebration Day — underscored ever so slightly by the presence of Jason Bonham, the son of the king who now seems like the only possible heir to the throne, emphasizing that the band is a family affair — and while this reunion is so unexpectedly, impossibly good that you’d want to experience this in the flesh, it also underscores the wisdom of leaving this as a one-time thing. This is so good that this is how you want to remember them: older, perhaps wiser, and still majestic.

Tracklist:
01 – Good Times Bad Times
02 – Ramble On
03 – Black Dog
04 – In My Time Of Dying
05 – For Your Life
06 – Trampled Under Foot
07 – Nobody’s Fault But Mine
08 – No Quarter
09 – Since I’ve Been Loving You
10 – Dazed And Confused
11 – Stairway To Heaven
12 – The Song Remains The Same
13 – Misty Mountain Hop
14 – Kashmir
15 – Whole Lotta Love
16 – Rock And Roll

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Kings Of Leon – Mechanical Bull {Deluxe Edition} (2013) [HDTracks 24-44,1]

Kings Of Leon – Mechanical Bull {Deluxe Edition} (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 50:52 minutes | 706 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet
Genre: Alternative Rock

Kings of Leon are fresh off three acclaimed headlining performances at American festivals, Bottle Rock in Napa, CA, Hangout in Gulf Shores, AL, and, most recently, this past weekend’s Governor’s Ball in New York City, during which the festival cancelled the band’s Friday night performance due to Tropical Storm Andrea. The band, upset over the cancellation, worked through the night with festival organizers and management to figure out a way to come back on Saturday. The festival found a place for them on the main stage right before the Saturday headliner, during which the fans were treated to the live premiere of Mechanical Bull’s first single, “Supersoaker”.

Kings of Leon hit it big in 2008 with their album Only by the Night and the accompanying one-two punch of singles “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody.” The success of those singles propelled them into the upper echelon of arena rock bands and found them at a crossroads between the post-punk-influenced sound of their previous albums and the anthemic, U2-influenced approach that they’d begun to explore on Only by the Night. Perhaps not surprisingly, the band’s follow-up, 2010′s Come Around Sundown, while by no means a disappointment, seemed strained, as if the band was trying too hard to balance its early sound with its later hits, all while digging even deeper into its Southern roots. Which is partly why the band’s sixth studio album, 2013′s Mechanical Bull, comes as sweet relief. While still retaining Kings of Leon’s penchant toward bombastic, hooky choruses and driving guitars, Mechanical Bull feels breezier and less labored than Come Around Sundown. Even the title feels like a cheeky double entendre that references both the band’s Southern upbringing (lead singer Caleb Followill and his bandmate siblings were raised in Oklahoma and Tennessee) and the gear-like machinations of the rock industry. Front-loading an album with the leadoff single can often be a sign of weakness in a release, but not in this case. Kicking off with the passionate “Supersoaker” merely sets the tone for this album. In fact, two of the best cuts come midway through, with the yearning “Wait for Me” and the bluesy, Primal Scream-esque “Family Tree.” Elsewhere, “Rock City” brings a heavy Mott the Hoople vibe to the fore and the raging “Coming Back Again” finds the band delving into War-era U2. Having grabbed their career by the horns with Mechanical Bull, it’s clear that Kings of Leon aren’t letting it get away from them anytime soon.

Tracklist:
01 – Supersoaker
02 – Rock City
03 – Don’t Matter
04 – Beautiful War
05 – Temple
06 – Wait for Me
07 – Family Tree
08 – Comeback Story
09 – Tonight
10 – Coming Back Again
11 – On the Chin
12 – Work On Me
13 – Last Mile Home

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Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady (2013) [HDTracks 24-44,1]

Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 67:28 minutes | 792 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover
Genre: R&B, Soul

At long last, Janelle Monae — the inimitable, award-winning, songwriter, performer, producer, CoverGirl and avant-garde funkstress — is back again, ready to release her another full-length “emotion picture” to the masses. But as always, Janelle is not ready to talk about music just yet. She’d rather talk about her past and how those fertile powerful experiences forced her to create her coming album The Electric Lady.

Prince, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding, Solange, and Miguel contribute to the fourth and fifth Metropolis suites, but it’s not as if Janelle Monáe and her Wondaland associates were short on creative energy. Equally as detailed and as entertaining as The ArchAndroid, The Electric Lady likewise is a product of overactive imaginations and detailed concept engineering, and it also plays out like a sci-fi opera-slash-variety program with style and era-hopping galore. Suite four is the album’s busier and more ostentatious half, more star-studded and less focused, highlighted by the bopping “Dance Apocalyptic” and the strutting Badu duet “Q.U.E.E.N.” Suite five is considerably stronger with a handful of firmly R&B-rooted gems. The inspiration for its overture is noted in the liners as “Stevie Wonder listening to Os Mutantes on vinyl (circa 1973),” but shades of Stevie’s ’70s work are heard later in more obvious ways. “Ghetto Woman” is impeccably layered soul-funk, fluid and robust at once, with chunky percussion and synthesizer lines bounding about as Monáe delivers a performance as proud and as powerful as Stevie’s “Black Man.” It contains an autobiographical 30-second verse that is probably swift and dense enough to make early supporter Big Boi beam with pride. The enraptured liquid glide of “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes,” featuring Spalding, recalls “I Can’t Help It,” co-written by Stevie for Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. Earlier, on “It’s Code,” Monáe channels the yearning Jackson 5-era MJ. “Can’t Live Without Your Love,” presumably a paean to human love interest Anthony Greendown has Monáe — or Cindi Mayweather, aka Electric Lady Number One — yearning like never before. The album is sure to astound Monáe’s sci-fi/theater-geek following. Its second half cannot be denied by those who simply value creative R&B that owes to the past and sounds fresh. Anyone can appreciate the phenomenal interludes, which are close to 3 Feet High and Rising level. Power-up to the Droid Rebel Alliance and the Get-Free Crew indeed.

Tracklist:
01 – Suite IV Electric Overture
02 – Givin Em What They Love [feat. Prince]
03 – Q.U.E.E.N. [feat. Erykah Badu]
04 – Electric Lady [feat. Solange]
05 – Good Morning Midnight (Interlude)
06 – Primetime [feat. Miguel]
07 – We Were Rock & Roll
08 – The Chrome Shoppe (Interlude)
09 – Dance Apocalyptic
10 – Look Into My Eyes
11 – Suite V Electric Overture
12 – It’s Code
13 – Ghetto Woman
14 – Our Favorite Fugitive (Interlude)
15 – Victory
16 – Can’t Live Without Your Love
17 – Sally Ride
18 – Dorothy Dandridge Eyes [feat. Esperanza Spalding]
19 – What An Experience

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