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Whether you referred to the current waning year as the year of the pig or simply as 2007, it was my year of Minipop. I first saw the dreamy indie pop four-piece when they opened for faux-French rockers Nous Non Plus at Cafe du Nord back in May. I bought Minipop's self-titled demo album at the concert and it hasn't left my stereo since. Since that fateful night in May, I've caught San Fransisco's local darlings only one other time,...

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Monday, 31 December 2007
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"It'll never work in theory, but it works in practice," is how the saying goes and, truly, no record released recently exemplifies that principle better than Raine Maida's solo debut. Other than Maida's own vocals, there's not a solitary thing about The Hunters Lullaby that resembles the body of work that the singer has amassed with Our Lady Peace—stripped of guitar heroism and soaring melodies, the album relies more on raw acoustic guitars, stark arrangements, poignant lyrics and incisive criticisms...

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Thursday, 27 December 2007
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I was convinced, in a complete and irreversible way, that Soulja Boy was the pinnacle of all musical recordings to date. I mean, seriously, who would have expected that someone could top such a useful and poignant (in a very post-911 world kind of way) phrase as “Superman that Ho.” I don’t think you can really argue against Superman being a Ho, it’s almost assuredly fa sho. Where were you then, you Kryptonian hack? Where were you in our hour...

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Wednesday, 26 December 2007
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In my first couple of columns here I described the opening of my own musical mind, when I moved from the punk rock of New England to the jam bands of the Mountain West. Looking back I can easily see how narrow my taste had become, and how being forced to listen to music outside of those confines greatly enriched my musical life. Coincidentally, at the same time several of my musical heroes were also expanding their horizons. Not necessarily...

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Wednesday, 26 December 2007
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After watching the “Planet Earth” series on the Discovery Channel, I get the same feeling of bewilderment and awe as I do when I watch Sigur Ros’ first-ever live DVD, Heima. Although, instead of hearing Sigourney Weaver describe never-before-seen hunting habits of glowing vampire squid, you hear the sounds of one of today’s most gifted musical groups. And the unblemished imagery of their homeland—Iceland—contests the most breathtaking African migration scenes filmed from high above in HD, no less. It might...

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Sunday, 23 December 2007
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Check out this photoseries of Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks as they performed at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on 12.19.07. More on Stephen Malkmus here: www.stephenmalkmus.com Download "Baltimore" –...

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Saturday, 22 December 2007
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Having come up through the indie rock tape-trading age synonymous with the 1980s and '90s, does it come as a surprise to anyone that Weezer was an avid home demo-makin' band? Anyone familiar with the band's unparalleled geekitude shouldn't be surprised, but no one could have guessed that the quality of Weezer's demos would be so good; immediately noticeable on Alone (where Cuomo is anything but—most of these tracks are full-band recordings) is the care and precision that Rivers Cuomo...

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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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As idiosyncrasies go, few musicians can be topped by Rufus Wainwright; particularly now that the singer's adoration for Judy Garland has led him to recreate Garland's famous 1961 performance in every possible way from the set list employed to the venue in which the show occurred. Okay, that's out of the way. Now then—belief in one's ability is one thing, but execution is quite another, and the amazing part about Rufus Does Judy is that Wainwright does better than pull...

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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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Check out this photoseries of VHS or Beta at Slim's in San Francisco as they made their way throughout the west coast in support of their latest album, Bring on the Comets, out now on Astralwerks. More on VHS or Beta here:...

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249
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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
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A photoset from Kristoffer Rangstam's performance in San Francisco where he was opening up for Blondie, which we would've covered too if it wasn't for a publicist that thinks it's amusing to not return emails. Thanks a million. Kristoffer Ragnstam – Breakfast By The Mattress...

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Tuesday, 18 December 2007