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The National is the United States of America—with guitars, and occasional piano, and a lead singer whose commanding baritone summons the storytelling majesty of Dylan (minus all the nasal whining and general suckiness). It’s true that–back in the days of Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers–they got off to a fumbling start. That album saw frontman Matt Berninger unleashing the occasional lyrical clunker, and the band itself straining too hard to ape the chiming guitars of early U2....

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Friday, 08 June 2007
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If you've never seen a show at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, you really need to make it a priority. The main floor looks up at this beautiful stage (high up, not too high) while it's flanked by these warm browns and reds, amazing woodwork and late nineteenth century details. You could imagine gypsies up there on stage dancing in a circle, or French floozies revealing a bit in some sort of tasteful, turn-of-the-century style bordello-themed kicks....

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Thursday, 07 June 2007
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Lookout, it's attack of the two-headed press darlings! Once upon a time, The White Stripes were a buzz band, heralded as the saviors of rock. If blogs had existed (and I'm not saying they didn't, but admit it, you didn't know what they were back then) then Jack and Meg would have been completely blog-worthy. The Cold War Kids are also a buzz band. They've been blogged into oblivion, and for good reason. Because they're good. And so are The...

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Thursday, 07 June 2007
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Evil is lurking this summer, that’s all there is to say. Slayer and Marilyn Manson are teaming up for a tour that’s sure to bring two of the craziest groups of people together for one big show. We’ve witnessed how these things can work at tours like Sounds of the Underground, where fans of totally different metal/hardcore music can come together in harmony and co-exist like fans a Phish show—only slightly more sinister. In case you’re scratching your head, wondering...

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Tuesday, 05 June 2007
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In 1984, 19-year-old Darryl Hunt was accused of the rape and murder of newspaper reporter Deborah Sykes in Winston-Salem, NC. Hunt, who is black, was sentenced to life in prison for the crimes committed against Sykes, who is white, by an all-white jury. In 1994, DNA testing cleared Hunt, but he remained incarcerated for ten more years before finally being released in 2004, after serving 19.5 years for a crime he didn't commit. The tragic story was the subject of...

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Monday, 04 June 2007
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Ryan Adams is nothing short of prolific. He shits out music on a regular basis (for a literal interpretation, see the collection of albums credited to The Shit on Adam's Cardinal Radio), so the fact that his upcoming album–Easy Tiger, out June 26th–is his ninth studio album is hardly a surprise. Nor is the fact that he's touring to support the album (not because he has a tendency to tour, but just that that is what artists do when they...

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Monday, 04 June 2007
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Two years ago, I got a link in my email to an odd little video with bouncy balls pouring down the San Francisco streets. You probably did too. That was my introduction to Jose Gonzalez. Obviously, Veneer made everyone sit up and say "Huh?" and was on permanent rotation in a lot of CD players for the better part of 2006. So the announcement of a new album is cause for celebration. Party hats should be dusted off come September,...

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Monday, 04 June 2007