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As any band that has ever played before a crowd of people can admit, there are few moments more disconcerting than that one when, at the end of what everyone in the band considered a particularly incendiary performance, the players look out at the assembled mass and are struck by… nothing. Sure – there might be some noises of appreciation radiating from the crowd, but every member of the audience is standing stalk still and simply gazing at the performers....

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Friday, 27 November 2009
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Whether intentional or not, some bands are simply blessed with the ability to alter a listener's consciousness and bodily rhythms so that, upon hearing them, a walk becomes a swagger and posture will be caused to straighten proudly. The swing of a guitar, the crunch of a bass or a well-placed beat are all things that could be the catalyst that instigates this metamorphosis or it could be the snarl of the man on the mic that does it but,...

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Thursday, 26 November 2009
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At a certain point in temporal continuity, some theorists maintain that it's entirely possible for the lines between different, autonomous entities to dissolve at a certain distance. In the case of hip hop, for example, it has been surmised that, because the genre has been functioning for over a quarter century and has grown so much in that time, it's feasible that some fans have been exposed exclusively to it; they were born on hip hop, raised on it and,...

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Thursday, 26 November 2009
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When that video press release hit the web in 2008, it felt like a holiday and a celebration all rolled into one. Tom Waits was hitting the road for his first full-length theater tour in years and, right away, the devotees, parking lot sages, those that hoped and those that had waited for so long were twitching n fits of ecstasy. Tom Waits on tour – not some faraway one-off show! Tickets for the entire tour were gone as quickly...

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Monday, 23 November 2009
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Sometimes the only truth that really matters is that the truth and genuine nature of a record may never be known. Particularly when a band gets as big as Nirvana did with the release of Nevermind in 1991, it's very tempting to obscure truths, events and plans because they're inconvenient; at a certain level, everyone wants to believe in inevitability, if only to validate their own view. Some of the facts about Nirvana's debut album have never been disputed or...

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Monday, 23 November 2009
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It's nice to know that, sometimes, old ideas and ways of working in the music business are still upheld by some bands. In the last fifteen years particularly, most music groups that are impatient to make an impact have embarked upon a standardized, accelerated growth curve but, perhaps because of that increased pace, fall apart or burn out faster too. Even as early as 1995, the question of over-ambitious creative over-reaching was being asked as Smashing Pumpkins released a sprawling...

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Monday, 23 November 2009
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The nature of fame, and the desire for it, has changed dramatically over the span of the last century. Once, professional artists in general, but musicians in particular were regarded as something special; they were viewed as having a unique talent that people were fascinated by – that they were able to coax something grand out of themselves that others felt but weren't necessarily able to articulate to their own satisfaction was viewed as a gift. In the twenty-first century...

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Monday, 23 November 2009
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It has been said that, after one has made his or her mark upon the world, all that can be done thereafter is either live up to it or try to live it down – depending on the impact that said mark made. In Norah Jones' case, she actually made her mark on her third album, Not Too Late, when the singer shucked all songwriting assistance and penned the whole record herself. Jones got personal lyrically and musically threw everything...

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Sunday, 22 November 2009
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In spite of the fact that the very appearance of a new Creed album now – five years after the band's original dissolution and following the abysmal receptions of both Scott Stapp as a solo artist and Alter Bridge as an autonomous, creative entity – fairly smacks of an earnest attempt at career salvaging at best and bank account padding at worst, at least the band has the common decency to not coast or revisit “old glories” on Full Circle....

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Saturday, 21 November 2009
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Anyone familiar with the arc that Pussy Galore/Blues Explosion/Heavy Trash frontman Jon Spencer's career has taken over the last twenty-four years will recognize the shape of, and get excited by, Midnight Soul Serenade – the guitarist's third full length release with Matt Verta-Ray as Heavy Trash. Both the album and the sound of it are familiar turns to the well-seasoned ear. For those that don't know, look at it this way: when Spencer's main squeeze Pussy Galore ended in 1990,...

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Saturday, 21 November 2009