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Twenty-three year old U.K. grimer Lady Sovereign, S-O-V, Louise Amanda Harman or whatever you'd like to call her, is pretty new to the American scene as she only broke ground a few years ago with Jay-Z's Def Jam backing her Public Warning album up. Her single "Love Me or Hate Me," featuring Missy Elliott, received good airtime and became the opening theme song to Oxygen network's reality show "Bad Girls Club." Now, she's back under her own independent record label,...

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Wednesday, 20 May 2009
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Rare beauties emerge in Iron & Wine’s latest release with a two-disc collection of a rare, never-before-heard and new-to-print collection of unyielding goodness. From hidden treasures of 2002’s The Creek Drank the Cradle to soundtrack-bound leftovers and side-picks from The Shepherd’s Dog in 2007, this sampling from the span of Iron & Wine’s career is nothing short of magic, especially for those rabid fans—however rabid folk fans can get. The first disc is a deliberate, lower-fidelity collection of soulful...

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182
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Tuesday, 19 May 2009
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Hope and belief, particularly when combined in a desperate mind, can be potentially intoxicating things. For example, when the Kirkwood brothers reunited under the Meat Puppets moniker and released Rise To Your Knees in 2007, it felt and (at the time) sounded like they had arrived – again. The songs sounded pretty good and, because it had been so long since anything bearing the band's name had even held a candle to the dynamism they once possessed (about eleven years...

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156
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Sunday, 17 May 2009
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In his 47-year tenure as a professional musician, Bob Dylan has imposed a series of stylistic modifications on his songwriting style to satiate his muse (he's been “reborn” and born again – as just two examples) but usually by the time those changes are presented to fans, they're so complete, seamless and confidently presented that they're regularly referred to as “comeback” albums – even if the creative ground covered on them is fresh to him. With that common critical approach...

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Saturday, 16 May 2009
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When a show sells out well in advance at The Great American Music Hall, there is a pretty good chance it's going to be, at least what I consider, "epic." I can think of more than a handful of shows that went down at GAMH over the years where tickets were snatched up weeks beforehand, and every single one of them turned out to be nothing short of incredible. Amebix, Jello Biafra, The Melvins, Social Distortion, Neurosis and Motörhead are...

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145
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Wednesday, 13 May 2009
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For the last twenty-four years (give or take), NoFX has enjoyed a sort of extended adolescence because they've managed to keep a perfect balance of sophomoric lyrical content (jokes about the human body as well as its tolerance for consumption of drugs and alcohol and the comic results of testing those limits) and prescient social and political commentary that always sounds fresh and biting rather than repetitive. To date, it's been an easy road to run but, maybe because the...

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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
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…Well, that was fast. About three years ago, Anti-Flag finally stepped up (some would say, “Sold Out,” but that's over-reaching unnecessarily) and signed a deal with a major label conglomerate in the form of Sony BMG, RCA and Red Distribution. The theory for the change was sound enough, they wanted to reach a larger audience and make a greater impact upon the world at large with the political manifesto so integral to their image. The added bonus was that the...

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182
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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
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As any musician can (and will) tell you, sometimes songs – good ones, bad ones, odd ones and ones that just don't fit anywhere – get written and then written off almost immediately. Sometimes it's simply a matter of the musician's own interest that finds them falling by the wayside; sure, it might be a good song, but it's not representative of where the musician or group in question wants to be heading creatively and so it gets buried under...

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177
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Sunday, 10 May 2009
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Over the last few years, a remarkable number of the great (and greatly under-appreciated) rock bands from the Eighties and Nineties have staged reunion concerts and tours to impressive fanfare and critical kudos (to date, the list of great – at least partially – reunited includes Flipper, The Germs, X, Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies and Alice In Chains), but the single greatest shock came when Dinosaur Jr. announced that the band's original line-up was back together and had plans to...

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Friday, 08 May 2009
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Subversive, antagonistic, esoteric—these are words I would use to describe Throbbing Gristle’s legacy as one of the forefathers of the industrial music genre. Touching on subject matters like fascism, mutilation, degradation and the overall darker side of the human experience, have made for some of the most uneasy music to listen to. That may not sound that “extreme” these days, but Throbbing Gristle was doing this back in the mid-70s. The show in San Francisco at the The Grand Ballroom was...

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Friday, 08 May 2009