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Sounding like the result of a fetish party turned filthy orgy between The Beastie Boys, Bitch and Animal, and Luscious Jackson (who carried the baby is anyone’s guess), Northern State’s sophomore effort expands upon the wildly eclectic flow of the trio’s debut and starts throwing in a bunch of new sounds for good measure. On Can I Keep This Pen?, Northern State take elements of 80s girlie pop, a la The Bangles and a little Donnas-esque punk crunch, and mix...

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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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Ground Control Radio listeners were in for a big treat as L.A. band Amateurs visited the Little Radio studios to talk about their new record, Speak Easy, and played a semi-acoustic set featuring reconfigured renditions of songs like "Atlantis" and "Six Days." You can stream the entire album on Amateurs' site, and don't forget to listen to the podcast of the evening here. Check out the Amateurs...

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007
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The Echo is a strange little dimension of the Los Angeles nightlife. Certainly unmatched for its people-watching prospects, the tiny venue sits directly on top of an adjoined venue, the Echoplex. On August 4th, the night that I’m about to discuss at length, two shows occurred adjacent to each other in this building. On the bottom floor, the Echoplex, the FerdieFest benefit for 400 Blows’ drummer Ferdinand Cudia whose bout with chicken pox racked up an enormous hospital bill. FerdieFest...

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007
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Come on, who honestly out there doesn’t like Shout Out Louds. Even the heaviest of metalheads would have to admit that these Swedish indiepopers know their stuff…well maybe not metalheads… In any case, in honor of their sophomore full length Our Ill Wills, Shout Out Louds will be touring all across North America this fall. The tour will kick off October 6th at the LA Weekly Detour Festival and run through November 3rd in Dallas, with two nights in New...

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007
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Billy Corgan must be pissed. The Pumpkin’s new album is receiving bleh reviews as it falls from the charts and, to add insult to injury, Corgan’s “triumphant” return is being stifled once again by none other than his old adversary, 90s rocker, Dave Grohl. The new Foo Fighters album is already receiving fabulous reviews and it doesn’t even get released for another month and half. The Foo Fighters' "The Pretender," the first single from the band's sixth studio album, Echoes,...

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007
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It’s no surprise that a songwriter as legendary and prolific as Frank Black, aka Black Francis, aka Charles Thompson, needed to put out a greatest hits record. Undeniably one of the hardest working and original musicians on earth, the man is a songwriting machine. Frank Black’s greatest hits CD set titled Frank Black 93–03 is only on 2 CDs. Disc 1 is composed of 22 tracks spanning 9 albums and disc 2 contains 9 various live tracks. If I had...

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Monday, 13 August 2007
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(Last month I explained how the punk rock explosion of the late 70s shaped my musical taste for years to come. It wasn't just that I developed a liking for loud, aggressive music, although that did happen. The early days of punk were notable for a broad experimentation, and I grew to love and search for that innovative spirit. This month I'm going to explain how a change in my living, and therefore musical, situation caused me to open my...

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Monday, 13 August 2007
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If UNKLE had some master plan to lure me into listening to their latest album War Stories by packaging the promo in a sweet cardboard envelope with images of monochromatic Joshua trees and skeletons on the cover, it worked. Let’s face it, it gets pretty old getting yet another janky promo with no artwork. James Lavelle made quite the effort on this latest album, the first on his Surrender All label. And hot damn, what an album. First off, compulsory...

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Sunday, 12 August 2007
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“It is only just begun/…don’t forget to close your eyes” singer/songwriter Rose Kemp advises and comforts in the opening track, “Little One” – a fair, and thoughtful, warning to the listeners not knowing what is fast approaching. “How long is this? Will I fall asleep?” Kemp hails from Bristol, England, home to many working artists of all mediums. Growing up around her parents’ folk-rock project, Steeleye Span, she found her voice and talent at an early age while performing alongside...

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Friday, 10 August 2007
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When I first spoke with Lou Barlow, it was under very different circumstances than the second time around. The last week of February in 2003 found the singer, songwriter and bassist contemplating what was to happen next as, with the record of the moment, The New Folk Implosion, in the can for a new label and a national tour looming, he was trying to figure out if he was where he wanted to be as he walked up the streets...

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Friday, 10 August 2007