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There's a certain satisfaction to be had when, without really having to work hard to look for it, things just go right. Especially in the realm of pop music, such a charmed experience doesn't always happen easily; on any given day, any band can regale audiences with stories of the tormenting and frustrating events that accompanied or surrounded the creation of their most recent album. Things do not often just fall into place and there can be some hard, nerve-wracking...

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Sunday, 13 December 2009
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The eternal tragedy of rock history is just how little mention The Stranglers get in any tome that talks about the punk and rock music which crashed out of the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. Bands like the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Buzzcocks always get ample examination and there's no arguing the validity of those bands' contributions but (with the exception of The Clash maybe), in listening to them,  it's easy to conclude that a lot of...

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Sunday, 13 December 2009
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It's incredible how much musical values can change depending on what genre a band gets classed under. Obviously retro styling is almost universally abhorred in pop unless such trappings are used to instill a sense of irony, while rock tends to revere them. In punk, whenever a band looks back to either check where their motion is headed or pull a little more than their share of old school information to the forefront, the reception can be very touch and...

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Saturday, 12 December 2009
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It’s a special moment in one’s life when a band “changes the game” for a listener. By “changing the game,” of course, I mean opening their ears to a new genre. Drag The River did this for me and country music approximately eight years ago when I first heard them. Being a stubborn punk at that age, I refused to listen to anything but punk rock. It took a band of Drag The River’s pedigree (since they contain members flavored...

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Thursday, 10 December 2009
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It has been said several times over that the best way to interview Mike Watt is ostensibly introduce yourself, ask your first question and let the tape run. The bassist doesn't so much 'interview' as 'spiel' everything one could possibly need to know about any given subject out and thereby giving the interviewer plenty to work with – but there's a catch. Watt's a nice guy and will tell you anything you want to know, but interviewers need to know...

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Monday, 07 December 2009
Mike Watt – [Discography]
FEATURES

It has been said just often enough at this point that it could be taken as gospel: “Necessity is the mother of invention” but no one truly revels in that sentiment more than Mike Watt. First as the bass player for The Minutemen and then as the bassist in fIREHOSE, Watt helped to usher in a new approach to his instrument both in the context of punk rock and rock n’ roll in general. While other players of the same...

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Monday, 07 December 2009
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Jim Morrison once said that some of the best songs (and many of those that The Doors wrote) focused on the themes of love, death and travel – or a combination of the three. When one stops to think about it, there is a grain of truth in the notion; love and death can be inspiring sensations because they represent promises of loss or gain (or both – depending on your view) on a personal level, but travel represents something...

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Sunday, 06 December 2009
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As much as common wisdom might dictate that the best way for a pop star to rejuvenate his or her career is by re-inventing or recasting themselves in a different light or with a different focus, such traditions still don't explain David Bowie. Since first appearing in 1967, the list of characters that the singer has developed for the stage and struck gold with is both lengthy and celebrated (Ziggy Stardust, The Man Who Fell To Earth and The Thin...

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Sunday, 06 December 2009
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It's been thirty-one years since the band broke into the mainstream and thirty four years since Debbie Harry walked out of Max's Kansas City  and onto the stage at CBGBs and in that time enough static mythology and reductive history has been written that what Blondie did right so long ago to secure an enduring place in pop has been well and truly obscured. The band has weathered every pop music trend to come along since their foundation from rap/hip...

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Sunday, 06 December 2009
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It's been a pretty incredible year for Patrick Watson. Just eight months ago, the singer exploded onto the international radar with the beautifully abstract and orchestral Wooden Arms and when it hit, the rollercoaster ride started. Kudos flew fast and furiously, cash award prize nominations have been made (Canada's Polaris Prize – had he won, it would have been the second time since 2006), his name has been dropped by anyone with even a passing association and the level of...

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Saturday, 05 December 2009