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There are moments (alcoholics call them moments of clarity, the over-caffeinated call them epiphanies) that, when one peels back the layers of history, look an awful lot like a seemingly forgotten revolutionary occasion. It doesn't seem like the move that ultimately yielded a complete and total shift and rethinking of values and procedures should have happened “right there” in a given timeline but, with enough years removed and enough surveillance of the proceeding damage done, it's impossible to argue because...

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Friday, 27 February 2009
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When you're a musician as prolific as M. Ward is, invariably there's going to be a running monologue that takes shape in your output but never before has the influence of the singer's prior releases (either on his own or with Zooey Deschanel as She & Him) manifested so plainly as it does on Hold Time. That doesn't mean that the singer's newest effort feels hastily assembled or like a set of discarded, sub-par tracks collected to capitalize on the...

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Monday, 23 February 2009
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Since the style first appeared in the 80s, there has always been a bit of mania and a perceived sensory deprivation attached to the rituals at an all-night rave. Between the crazed beats, the car alarm sirens and the laser light show, it's easy to lose oneself in the moment and get carried away but, unless something went fundamentally wrong, the possibility of genuine violence was pretty far removed. At the center of the movement and at the core of...

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Saturday, 21 February 2009
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Five years. It has been five years since Ian Thornley crawled out of the crash site left by Big Wreck to begin his solo career. His debut solo outing, Come Again, proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the guitarist could at least summon the raw and bludgeoning power housed in the best moments of his former band's catalog – if not the delicacy of it. The gamble that Come Again represented did pay off – the title track...

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Saturday, 21 February 2009
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Karen Dalton's In My Own Time comes with a compelling back story. Dalton—a lost voice of the early 60's folk music boom and regular in the Greenwich Village scene—was one of Bob Dylan's favorite singers. Nonetheless, she didn't record until late in the decade, and then only made two albums, both of which quickly faded into obscurity. Dalton struggled with homelessness and drug addiction for much of her life, and died in 1993. Anthology Records has now released In My...

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Friday, 20 February 2009
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I have to be honest here, I totally slept on this band last year. It’s actually hard to say if I slept on it or just never heard it, because I know how it felt to hear them for the first time and there really is no way I would’ve passed on this. It’s just preposterous. The good thing about figuring this out sooner than later is they are about to start their US tour in support of their album...

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Friday, 20 February 2009
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The thought and popular image of those artists lucky enough to get to make music for a living is often greatly romanticized by those outside of the business. On the outside looking in, fans envision professional musicians as often leading a life of leisure as they're given time and space to cultivate their muse and so have the ability to work at their own rate with little concern for what might happen in the interim between recording sessions. With that...

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Thursday, 19 February 2009
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Who says that, after a career spent mining the sadder end of the emotional spectrum and winning healthy amounts of praise for it, changing creative streams is a bad idea? Sure, such moves might mean alienating that meticulously cultivated fan base, but Morrissey has made it plain since his first appearance in 1984 that anything he attaches his name to is going to be his show and he'll throw every ounce of his weight around however he chooses. That heady...

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Wednesday, 18 February 2009
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The further that one gets from home, the more attractive a return must look. With Danger Mouse's help, Akron's Black Keys extended the scope of and possibilities for their incendiary alt-blues on 2008's Attach & Release to well beyond the points that anyone imagined possible but, by the same token, it must have presented a remarkable hurdle to overcome; for a two-piece outfit to make (and then attempt to reproduce live) such sprawling sounds is a tough act to follow,...

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Monday, 16 February 2009
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Sometimes, even when a moment or event seems predestined to pass, it's still surprising because it plays out exactly as expected and without a single thing out of place. Two Tongues' self-titled debut is the epitome of that kind of moment; after first convening in 2006 to cover Bob Dylan's “The Man In Me” for the Paupers, Peasants, Princes & Kings tribute compilation, Max Bemis, Coby Linder (both of emotionally articulate gurus Say Anything) and Chris Conley (from Saves The...

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Friday, 13 February 2009