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Given that Blackie And The Rodeo Kings’ core lineup has been stable since the band’s formation and those core members have enjoyed lengthy, celebrated solo careers, the fact that there are still a few people out there reading this note and wondering to themselves, “Who Is this band and how is it that they’ve earned the release of a greatest hits compilation?” is just plain frustrating. You, the reader, owe it to yourself to know what you’ve missed though (trust...

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Thursday, 29 January 2009
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The lasting impact that a musician makes on pop culture is almost impossible to gauge at a certain point because,  when you really think about it, eventually a trait or approach once considered to be a signature characteristic to a particular artist’s sound diversifies into sounds and sensibilities so far removed from the original that, while a long-time fan can still pick out those elements, they end up being instrumental to the success of other bands but no one realizes...

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Thursday, 29 January 2009
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Following a break-up album is never an easy task, and when its one as painfully heartfelt as Bon Iver's debut darling For Emma, Forever Ago, the charge is doubly difficult. Where do you go after you've poured out your heart on your first album? For Justin Vernon, the soul behind Bon Iver, the answer has been to the road, where he's been able to test a few new tunes, most notably "Blood Bank," the title track of the new EP....

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Wednesday, 28 January 2009
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A rat is something we all feel is unwanted in our life. We would scream “rodent!” and throw bricks. A mouse on the other hand has a completely different feeling for us. We all grew up with a mouse on our television with big black ears almost as big as its head. We all knew how to spell his first and last name before we could spell our own. On the other hand, some of us grew up alongside another...

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Wednesday, 28 January 2009
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To all good things, an end must come and, for Geoff Berner, Klezmer Mongrels marks the conclusion of a three-year journey that has found him winning audiences in the most unlikely of ways. Immediately after unveiling his unique brand of punk-looking, trad-informed music on We Shall No Flag Or Fail, We Shall Go On To The End, singer/accordionist Berner began work on what he purported to be a grand and far-reaching klezmer opus. Klezmer, for the unfamiliar, is a secular...

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Tuesday, 27 January 2009
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After covering three big arena shows during the last month of 2008, it was time to get back to my roots. I may have turned 40 less than a month ago, but there is still something very appealing to me about a hot, sweaty, loud venue packed full of metalheads. And maybe I'm getting a bit nostalgic in my old age, but when I saw the line-up of 3 Inches Of Blood, Toxic Holocaust and Early Man, I had a...

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Saturday, 24 January 2009
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It’s been thirty years now since Howlin’ Wolf died and, in the decades since his passing, no one has matched the raw vocal power that he commanded. Wolf could punch listeners in the guts and wind them with just one syllable of course, but it was when he moaned in that low, ground-shaking baritone that everyone listening could feel it resonate in their bone marrow – they singer’s potency and presence was just that powerful. For those reasons and more,...

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Friday, 23 January 2009
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Can a leopard actually change his spots? With the proliferation of splinter celled bands and “super groups” that have appeared over the last few years (The White Stripes begat The Raconteurs, both The Bastards and The Transplants have wormed their way out of Rancid, Alexisonfire has exploded since first appearing to yield no less than four part-time projects – City And Colour, The Black Lungs, Bergenfield Four and Fucked Up – and  Toronto indie rock fixture Jim Guthrie has recently...

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251
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Friday, 23 January 2009
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Portland's Dead Trees burst onto the scene last year with the deliciously shambling Fort Music EP, a ragged morsel of guitar-pop crumpet that winked knowingly at the Beatles and the Clash while delivering big-chorus fun and grimy, vintage amp sounds aplenty. King of Rosa, their full-length debut, recycles Fort Music’s "Shelter”—a hook-rich, power pop gem that would likely trigger widespread pants-creaming at a Yep Roc board meeting—and adds nine more honest and direct tunes to the pot. No trickery is...

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Wednesday, 21 January 2009
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There’s no doubt about it, Weird Owl’s sophomore album (first for Tee Pee Records) is unmistakably the work of men that recognize their luck at getting the opportunity to make exactly the record they always dreamed of making. How could I know that? It’s apparent from the opening rush of “Mind Mountain” that, with its languid pacing, deep-in-the-pocket drums and relaxed guitar rumbling that this is the brand of stoner rock that the members of Weird Owl have been listening...

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240
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Wednesday, 21 January 2009