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Seventeen years ago, a global trust of disaffected youth found sanctuary in the aggressive rock of the Seventies (all genres included—hard rock, punk, metal and more) and the sounds of the early Eighties underground along with hardcore. Those with instruments began to intermingle those sounds and came up with something all their own that someone (it has been credited to Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees) called ‘grunge.‘ Fifteen years or so after that explosion, the current batch of very ineffectual...

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Thursday, 15 May 2008
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Side projects undertaken by the members of established bands have always been funny things that, like it as not, have always been pretty easy o qualify when one looks at the players involved. The Breeders, for example, started out as a side project that afforded Pixies bassist Kim Deal the opportunity to indulge in her love of catchy pop songs and The Beatles. It only grew and got built up when The Pixies fell apart. The same could be said...

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Thursday, 15 May 2008
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Times have changed at Epitaph Records. In the last few years, the label has seen the departure of several large-draw bands (including Pennywise, Rancid and Dropkick Murphys among others) and in their place have arrived less than punk-inclined names like Lyrics Born, Sage Francis, Man Man and The Coup. Epitaph is expanding and growing out of its punk rock roots—that much is apparent—but there are some acts still hanging around that were once considered solid second-stringers that may now get...

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Thursday, 15 May 2008
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When you're making a film whose premise seems strangely surreal and psychedelic (celebrity impersonators holed up in a mythical place), it seems only natural to have a soundtrack scored by a guy who has referred to himself as J. Spaceman in liner notes for quite some time now. Add to it the psychedelic twang and meandering of Sun City Girls and you have a record as surreal as the film it accompanies. But to be honest, it's essentially an instrumental...

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Tuesday, 13 May 2008
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Rock journalists have varied personal musical histories, and as far as I go, I have the worst. A.) My first concert was New Kids on the Block B.) My first vinyl was Chipmunks sing the Beatles and C.) My super Christian parents banned 95 percent of my record collection through age 17. So, fast-forward to today. I’m randomly listening to KROQ and the song "Sex Dwarf" by Soft Cell came on. I suddenly remembered a good ol' story from my...

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Tuesday, 13 May 2008
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What can be said about Billy Bragg that hasn't been said since the singer first appeared thirty-three years ago? In that time, he's been revered in his native UK as a national treasure, he's had a celebrated solo career, and has also found time to sit in and record albums with everyone from Less Than Jake to Wilco. He`s been afforded comparisons to every legend from Woody Guthrie to Joe Strummer and had every other form of praise that can...

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Tuesday, 13 May 2008
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At some point, megalomania, ego and vanity eventually give way to genuinely bizarre, deviant behavior and with Soft Power, singer/songwriter/producer Gonzales has found – and crossed – that point. On first listen to Soft Power, the average modern rock listener’s brain recoils in horror as the lead-off track “Working Together” replays every sappy sound of the Seventies from Bee Gees-esque harmonized vocals to weepy piano bar pattering to heart-warming but trite sentimentality. You find yourself hitting stop...

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Monday, 12 May 2008
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The list of bands that could never hope to have their story told accurately is a short one, but there’s no doubt that The Doors is at the top of it. The characters are just too larger-than-life; Oliver Stone based his movie on drummer John Densmore’s account and it wound up being the same fantastic work of fiction that Densmore’s “tell-all”, Riders On The Storm, was; everything keyboardist Ray Manzarek has written about the band has been hopelessly romantic, theatrical...

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Monday, 12 May 2008
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Okay, here’s the history lesson for the totally clueless: John Lennon—along with The Beatles—didn’t so much revolutionize pop music as streamline it into a series of memorable ground rules that were easy for anyone to apply. They’re timeless constructs that never sound old and when any given band applied them just right, they can enjoy the same successes The Beatles did due to simple accessibility. Don’t think it’s that simple? The cases have already been made for that fact by...

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Monday, 12 May 2008
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If superfluous memory serves me correct, I believe I lost my virginity listening to Scream, Dracula, Scream by Rocket From The Crypt. Thirteen years after the release of that monumental album, I found myself at the Mercury Lounge, near the famous Katz's Deli (where a sandwich costs more than my ticket for the night's show), hungering for the latest sliver of rock n' roll liverwurst from Sir John Reis. Sir, mind you, wrought by virtue of my unimpeachable ability to...

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Monday, 12 May 2008