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The Civil Wars

Despite the popularity of Taylor Swift and her bubbly pop anthems, another sub-genre of country music is garnering attention these days. Musical duo the Civil Wars instead sing about angst, disappointment, and love gone sour. Singers Joy Williams and John Paul White met at a writing camp back in 2008 and recognized the rare musical chemistry that existed between them during their session together. In 2011 they released their first studio album, Barton Hallow, receiving critical acclaim and snagging multiple Grammys.

The duo continues to gain popularity despite going on hiatus in 2012 at the height of their musical careers. They cited "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition" and this tension is sharply depicted in their newest album, The Civil Wars ($11). It seems the band has lived up to its name, with singer John Paul White recently accepting the Grammy for their song "From This Valley" without Williams present. The entire album is worth a listen, especially standout tracks like "Same Old Same Old" and "Dust to Dust." Also included is a stripped-down cover of "Disarm" by The Smashing Pumpkins that will make you wish they named their band something less self-fulfilling, like Let's Play Music Together Forever.

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