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When Matisyahu first burst onto the international scene in 2006 with Youth, there weren't many that could believe what they were looking at. Really – a Hasidic Jew emcee inspired by equal amounts of reggae, hip hop and religion? It was easy to understand the disbelief – particularly given the 'more is more,' rat-racing tenor of the mainstream hip hop culture at the time. It didn't take too long for Matisyahu (born Matthew Paul Miller) to break through to listeners...

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Saturday, 22 August 2009
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“If you can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em.” Since the advent of legally questionable online downloading and the general pilfering of the music industry's wares began to get a head of steam behind it about thirteen years ago, said industry has run in a panic toward every outlet and used every angle it can think of to either quash, control or assimilate the X factor that this obviously public forum represents, as well as the black market trading...

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182
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Saturday, 22 August 2009
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About ten years ago, the playlists of modern and alternative rock clubs swelled with rhythmically-centered and aggressive electro-rock groups. Some called it nu metal but, really, bands including Powerman 5000, Hed PE, Nickelback, Filter, Disturbed, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit were all simply following Korn's leader to platinum sales and (fleeting, for the most part) massive acclaim. Without meaning to sound condescending, it was a good time to have a bad attitude, mental anguish and be angry and resentful of...

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163
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Friday, 21 August 2009
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Contrary to what The Rolling Stones said forty-four years ago, sometimes it is the song, not the singer and the proof of that indisputable truth lies in the nineteen tracks that make up Classics – the new album by Rhythms del Mundo. On paper, it's easy to balk at the presumptuous nature that Classics upholds because the songs on it are indeed classic; entirely comprised of covers, the likes of Michael Jackson, The Eagles, Lou Reed, Jack Johnson, David Bowie,...

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202
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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
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More than any other art form, rock music needs its fans. Its power, its very raison d'etre, is dependent on fans. Poets can scribble away in their attics, painters can stand in a field alone and paint. Even movies and television, seemingly social art forms, put a screen between the art and the audience. But a rock musician without an audience might as well not exist. On a basic level, fans created rock'n'roll—or at least midwifed it into existence. They...

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171
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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
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To say that singer Ryan Dahle has spent a significant portion of his career immersed in a series of unfortunate events betrays a gift for understatement. To begin with, the singer/guitarist's first project that drew significant notice, Age Of Electric, imploded under the weight of co-founder Todd Kerns' ego. Then his celebrated side-project-turned-main-squeeze, Limblifter, was derailed by Dahle's brother (and Limblifter drummer) Kurt's shenanigans. At every turn, Ryan Dahle has encountered another significant obstacle in the...

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185
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Tuesday, 18 August 2009
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A couple of years ago, when The Grates appeared as the biggest of independent blips on the comically over-sized pop music radar, it looked like they had it made. Sporting kamikaze riffs that gave listeners that seemed like they might be able to demolish everything in their path but held at bay by the virtuous, post-punk Disney delivery of singer Patience Hodgson, songs like “I Won't Survive” and “19 20 20” established the band in their native Australia. That assault...

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194
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Tuesday, 18 August 2009
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Although the band has released more than their fair share of groundbreaking albums, it has always been the live show of The Cult that has elevated them to legendary status. No matter how many genres they crossed, or how many times Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy have reached down into themselves and pulled out their own hand-stamped brand of music, whether it be the unmistakable flanged-out guitar intro to "She Sells Sanctuary" or the crunch guitar riff of "Rise," there...

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253
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Tuesday, 18 August 2009
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Ever get the feeling you just heard history being made? Not history like, “That's one small step for a man…” or, “I have a dream…” or, “Ever get the feeling you've been cheated,” I mean the sort of history that has played out before but has seemed to be so long gone that an entire set of ideas and styles had been lost forever but suddenly reasserts itself in one moment. When singer Dave Erickson belts, “We're commin' for you”...

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195
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Sunday, 16 August 2009
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Over the last few years, Willie Nelson seems to have gone out of his way to flex the muscles that about five decades as a celebrated songwriter and performer have earned him. In the last five years alone, Nelson has done an in-depth examination of Cindy Walker's music, done a series of sessions that ultimately bore the plainly reggae-inspired Countryman, actually covered some countrymen (including Dave Matthews, Randy Newman, Bob Dylan and Kris Kristopherson) on Moment Of Forever and cleaned...

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Sunday, 16 August 2009