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The timing is perfect for this band to shine. Phoenix has blown up this year with their May release of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Right when we have heard it all and found ourselves a little tired of the pop-synth rock groups, Phoenix showed up with a fresh vibe and an amazing album to tour with. And apparently, I learned that not all French guys are pretentious jerks. The sold-out Wednesday night crowd at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom was hyped up after...

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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
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Have you ever started following a band, not because you were their biggest fan right away, but, because the group seemed to bear enormous potential that you hoped they would eventually realize? You found yourself following them, hoping they'd get the change to get it right eventually? There's no denying that such a pleasure is very private, (sort of) misplaced and self-absorbed (claiming victory when the band makes it from a comfy, third-person seat?), but it's no less gratifying when...

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Tuesday, 29 September 2009
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As Tragically Hip singer Gord Downey once said, the problem with cutting out a living in the arts (particularly in music) is that, as soon as you subscribe to one discipline, all of the others look that much more attractive. Actors want to make music (as exemplified by Keanu Reeves, William Shatner and Juliette Lewis), musicians want to act or paint (Hugh Dillon, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Gibby Haynes or Ronnie Hawkins anyone?), and painters (like Andy Warhol) along with...

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Monday, 28 September 2009
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I’ve come to the realization that I listen to well over 100 albums each year, dear readers. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but having to sift through the utter sea of shit that qualifies as music these days in order to bring you the highlights isn’t exactly an easy task. Whenever the yearly consumption and absorption starts, there’s always a few crazy outliers; some albums come from genres that would normally be way out of my radar. This...

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Sunday, 27 September 2009
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No one likes a show-off. I know that’s certainly the case for me and, in addition to a certain lack of patience, I have a low tolerance for people’s bullshit. This general sense of impatience isn't something I'm proud of (because, come on – everyone deserves a chance!), but I’ve come to accept it. Knowing that these aspects add to my sunny disposition, I was given the arduous task of reviewing Gallows’ Grey Britain, which was released earlier this year....

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Sunday, 27 September 2009
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What's a band to do when, as the ink dries on a brand new record contract, its members realize that have very little in the way of fresh material for use on a new album? Raid the B- and C-side content in the vault and assemble an album from those previously dispossessed and discarded songs? Record a live album? Release a greatest hits package maybe? All of those options are feasible when a band realizes its creative cupboards are bare,...

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Saturday, 26 September 2009
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I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, “Huh? Lynyrd Skynyrd – that band responsible for writing a song which has become the butt of the most enduring joke in the rock book, that band who told Neil Young where to go in one of their other greatest hits – that group of perennially loveable goobers have a new album out? How? Didn't they join the third-string nostalgia circuit after the death of most of their founding members as well as...

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Friday, 25 September 2009
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Imagine, for a moment, an alternate universe where Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine and Gina Schock had been born in stately Ukraine rather than Los Angeles and, rather than journeying down to the beach and discovering fame and fortune as The Go-Gos, they remained in covered wagons and became well-known as a traveling gypsy party band. Sounds weird doesn't it? Unbelievable even? Maybe, but that's the image that comes to mind as The Only Really Thing spins...

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Thursday, 24 September 2009
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There aren't many people that would argue Three Days Grace had an easy trip up a very crowded street when they first appeared in 2003. At that time, an angry band whose muse was centered in an angry and resentful place had it made and it didn't hurt that Three Days Grace, unlike its peers, was far more thematically blunt and straightforward (one had to work at it to miss the message in songs like “I Hate Everything About You”),...

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Wednesday, 23 September 2009
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The romantic image that most music fans tend to harbor when they think about the process of making a new album is always the same: even the most social of bands will retire to comfortable studio confines after a regimen of touring and songwriting, where they'll flip the switches on their inspiration to create something that is simultaneously a statement of themselves and where it is creatively at that moment. It's an attractive and romantic thought, but it almost never...

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Sunday, 20 September 2009