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Without a doubt, one of the most hotly anticipated records of 2009 has been Wolfmother's follow-up to 2005's smash self-titled debut – if only because the album represents an against-the-odds release. At the beginning of this year, drummer Myles Heskett and bassist Chris Ross departed from the band, leaving singer/guitarist/songwriter Andrew Stockdale to sink or swim all on his own. The verdict was still out on whether Stockdale could pull it off even in the twilight of the recording process...

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Saturday, 31 October 2009
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At the end of the day, when the books finally get opened on bassist Mark Sandman and his band Morphine, it will be found that while rock history is dotted with bands that made a tremendous impact but seemed to come from nowhere, Morphine set a whole new template for the concept. At a time when bands were either expanding the scope of their music to points they could never possibly reproduce on stage or self-analyzing – in some cases,...

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Saturday, 31 October 2009
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For the last nineteen years, Converge has led a modest but respectable career mixing metal and hardcore (someone once went so far as to call it 'Grindcore') and has amassed a decent following for their efforts – there's no denying that – but even the most dogged fan would have to admit that there has always been something just a hair off. That fractional discrepancy has been the grain of sand in albums like Halo In A Haystack, Petitioning The...

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Thursday, 29 October 2009
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No matter how open-minded a fan of any given band might be, there are moments when one has to be skeptical about their output – particularly when that output is an album specially dedicated to covers. Think about it; why would a group decide to stop in its tracks and play human jukebox? Particularly in the case of any metal band that enters into such an undertaking (Between The Buried And Me leaps), one has to ask why – “Why...

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Wednesday, 28 October 2009
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There will always be ongoing debates among fans about how it came to be that a particular band reached one creative consensus or another that ultimately yielded a significant artistic change in style but, sometimes, it's much more simple than anyone would like to believe and, of that, Attack In Black is living proof. While there were indications on the band's sophomore effort, Marriage, was moving speedily away from the rather standard-issue hardcore that the band played out on their...

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Tuesday, 27 October 2009
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For some bands, the loss of a key member – say, the singer, for example – would qualify as a devastating blow to morale and place the group's future into question. With the singer would go an identifying, recognizable trait from the band and the loss would immediately cast the group's future into question; if the remaining members allow themselves to view it that way. On the other hand, if the group in question embraces the change, recognizes the challenge...

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Tuesday, 27 October 2009
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There is no hard and fast set of rules for how a band creates music, each one does it differently. When it comes time to make a new record, some bands consciously go out of their way to block out a pre-determined (by them) set of dates and times during which the band's members will pour all of their concentration and imagination into the development of new material; hammering out the knicks and dings in their ideas – whether individually...

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Tuesday, 27 October 2009
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As any stand-up comedian can tell you, it takes a lot of work to be funny. Social commentary and criticism – no matter how superficial – require a precarious balance of obviously out-sized imagery and prescient truth in order to get over with audiences because the delivery will lose audience members if one is too heavy on one side or the other of the truth/mockery line. Is the act too serious? That's not funny and one risks the possibility of...

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261
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Tuesday, 27 October 2009
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In every music genre, there are a few records that mark time and mark a shift in values that would forevermore be felt and seen in the style and sound of that genre – how it's perceived, what it might mean to the people listening, what it means from both a historical and sociological standpoint – and indicates a shift in direction as far as how that sound is both performed and consumed. In the early years of hip hop...

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Monday, 26 October 2009
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Some sounds are just universally comforting. Whether it's a melody that reminds a listener of an easier time or it's a chord progression that invokes feelings of nostalgia, there are some songs that will cause a listener to heave a sigh of relief involuntarily as muscles begin to loosen and relax. Songs like this dot the catalogues of lots of singers – Van Morrison has “Rcok Your Gypsy Soul,” Ben Harper has “Diamonds On The Inside” and Billy Joel  has...

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261
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Monday, 26 October 2009