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This album is a study in the measurement of rain. And considering Jeremy Enigk hails from Seattle, that kind of makes sense. The former front man of the now-defunct (and somewhat ironically) named band Sunny Day Real Estate brings his fourth solo effort, Ok Bear, out into the murky filtered light of cloudy days. From dizzying drizzle of acoustic guitars that still hearkens the outdoors, to cloistered pattering of lonely pianos and ambient synth sounds, to torrential floods of booming...

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Thursday, 07 May 2009
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...

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Thursday, 07 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 illustrious career is nothing short of magic, especially for those rabid fans, or however rabid folk-fans can get, really. The first disc is a...

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Wednesday, 06 May 2009
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Whether it was the singer's recent battle with cancer or it just seemed like it was time to tough up again after the pop turn that 2004's Superbeautifulmonster took, there's no doubt in listening to The Promise that Bif Naked felt like she had something to prove when she started making her new record. In some ways, the album plays very much like a very scattered affair in that the songs re-examine every facet of her previous work – “Blue...

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Wednesday, 06 May 2009
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Even at their weakest moments, some bands are possessed of a muse that never falters or lets them down. Just look at Depeche Mode as an example – throughout the group's 28-year career, fans have questioned singer Dave Gahan and guitarist Martin Gore's motivations and movements on an album-by-album basis; trying to decode the changes in minutiae that have been made. This practice has proven to have a very divisive effect on that fan base too – the proof of...

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Wednesday, 06 May 2009
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I can’t help but imagine animated cartoons in vivid detail while listening to The Boy Least Likely To. Each song on The Law of the Playground paints bittersweet images for the listener, and evokes a nostalgia that turns back to folksy songs from your younger years. But these stories aren't for kids, and the album isn’t all child’s play. Even though Law does employ cute phrases like “shooby doo” and “tra la la,” and revolves childish subjects like worms, butterflies,...

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Wednesday, 06 May 2009
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There's a moment towards the end of “Careless Love,” one of the deeper cuts on Camera Obscura's new record, My Maudlin Career, when song effortlessly transforms from a swaying example of orchestral pop as we generally understand it in 2009 to a soaring, melancholy orchestral piece that sounds like it's been yanked from underneath the credits of A Summer Place. The track just refuses to quit building: the snare hits get more incessant, and the strings get higher and louder...

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157
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Tuesday, 05 May 2009
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Superdrag’s 15-year history is riddled with the familiar tropes that can make rock lore so compelling to the listener—and dangerous to the artist: the dizzying hometown buzz; the rapid ascent to national fame; the “difficult second album” and subsequent label fallout; the drugs and drinking and years on the road; the personnel changes; and, of course, the breakup. Anyone familiar with Superdrag’s story knows it was a difficult one at times—and was probably shocked when the Knoxville-via-Nashville...

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Tuesday, 05 May 2009
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to see if this works...

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Tuesday, 05 May 2009
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There are only a handful of bands from my youth that I wouldn't even think twice about seeing live yet again these days. Bands that, although they have been around for well over twenty years, still sound as heavy and brutal as I remember them sounding all those years ago, and who can still deliver the goods live. Destruction are one of those bands. I don't think I have missed them when they have played in San Francisco since 1985...

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Monday, 04 May 2009