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Craig Chaquico – Fire Red Moon (2012)

Fire Red Moon is neither the arena rock of Craig Chaquico’s days with Jefferson Starship, nor the chart-topping smooth jazz that he initially turned to as a solo artist. It’s something grittier, more primordial — and utterly surprising.

Rickie Lee Jones – The Devil You Know (2012)

Rickie Lee Jones – The Devil You Know (2012)

First, I’ll come right out admit that, unlike a lot of so-called critics, I kind of like covers albums. The complaints usually range from variants on “Their career is over and they’re desperate”

Kat Parsons – Oh! (2012)

Kat Parsons – Oh! (2012)

Kat Parsons sounds sort of like a geekier, over-caffeinated Carole King, singing with humor, joy and these occasional flashes of revealing introspection over a series of pop confections on the perfectly named Oh!

Donald Fagen – Sunken Condos (2012)

Donald Fagen – Sunken Condos (2012)

Donald Fagen makes a clean break from his thirty-year-old crowning achievement, with a big assist from the Steely Dan machinery’s secret weapon.

Movies: The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

1967 marked a crucial transitional period for the Beatles; they recorded the groundbreaking Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; performed “All You Need Is Love” on the Our World broadcast

Wadada Leo Smith and Louis Moholo-Moholo – Ancestors (2012)

Wadada Leo Smith and Louis Moholo-Moholo – Ancestors (2012)

In his relentless pursuit of unique sounds with real emotional depth, Wadada Leo Smith has for nearly five decades experimented with so many approaches, both in styles and configurations

Books: Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll (2012)

Books: Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll (2012)

As amazing as it may seem, there have been 27 members of Heart since the group’s formation in the mid-1970s, including the revolving door of multiple drummers who have come and gone in, as characterized, Spinal Tap-like fashion

One Track Mind: The Beach Boys, “Isn’t It Time” (2012)

One Track Mind: The Beach Boys, “Isn’t It Time” (2012)

After the latest implosion in a journey filled with cratered disasters, there are songs by the Beach Boys that I just can’t listen to anymore — in particular “Isn’t It Time”

Desert Island Discs: 1980s R&B and Hip Hop Edition

Desert Island Discs: 1980s R&B and Hip Hop Edition

We’ve finally answered an age-old question from the decade, as our intrepid panel of shipwrecked music lovers definitively chose Prince over Michael Jackson — not to mention Stevie Wonder, Public Enemy, Rick James and Run-DMC

Books: The John Lennon Letters (2012)

After years of wondering when a book containing John Lennon’s personal correspondence would be published, that moment has arrived and here it is — just in time for today’s 72nd anniversary of the former Beatle’s birth.