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The problem so many rock bands suffer from has always been that, no matter what sort of music they want to make, they feel compelled to approach it with a sort of tunnel vision; they have to come into it in their own time, put their own stamp on it and make it their own. It's their way or no way. It's commonplace for a band to want to twist the idiom they're working in and put their own face...

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Saturday, 27 February 2010
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Isn't it funny how trends are able to reoccur in pop music? In the 1980s, synth-pop ruled the airwaves as bands like Depeche Mode, Flock Of Seagulls, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Devo (among hundreds of others) made the most of their Casio-tones and produced primo plasticized pop. All of that was erased at the dawn of the Nineties as rock asserted control over the radio again but, as time has passed and the sour taste of synths has faded,...

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Saturday, 27 February 2010
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There are moments – and listening to Matt Vanuti's Hangisphere is one of them – when one has to pay attention to what's going on because there's a central, cornerstone element that is very alien. There is an unusual sound that amounts to a puzzle that a listener will find himself paying very close attention to – if only to figure out what it is. In the case of Hangisphere, that sound is made by the PanArt Hang – a...

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Friday, 26 February 2010
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The gifts a band might possess can take many forms. For some, they have the impressive ability to simplify and micro-size their muse in such a way that tiny music – tiny structures, modest sentiments and small sounding instruments – can seem like the most important things in the world. When that happens, it's usually a surprise to listeners because it's just so small but seems to be key for the listener's continued existence. Other bands simply have a gift...

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Friday, 26 February 2010
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Something had to change. When The Snips' original singer Mike Podio left the band last year (the details on why are public domain, but irrelevant) and trumpet player Ricky “Slick Dick” Pridmore stepped up to front the band, fans were surprised – but they also knew that the Ceremonial Snips' brand of anthemic “hardcore with horns” rock was not long for this Earth. Podio was blessed with a fantastic and fantastically mean snarl in his throat that Ricky just didn't...

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Thursday, 25 February 2010
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It's funny how, as time has worn on, changes in the music industry and technology have completely changed how music is consumed. For a while, as albums from the punk and alt-rock explosions came of age and grew in mythos, many of those releases that were considered keystone or genre-defining reappeared on store shelves. Often, they'd come bearing remastered treatments and with extra songs appended to entice those fans that already bought the music once to buy it again. It...

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010
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I remember the first time I heard punk rock. I was in high school and my best friend kept raving about this one song by NoFX. Soon afterwards, I somehow tracked the song down on the internet. I say 'somehow,' because the internet at that point was still called the World Wide Web; dial-up and all. And the World Wide Web, dear readers, was as underdeveloped as a Decemberists album. How I got anything off it except Porn, I'll never...

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010
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The explosion of Nirvana onto the pop music scene had a profound impact on the values inherent to the genre and the effects of that success are still being felt over a decade later. Prior to the emergence of grunge and Nirvana's ascension to the top of the proverbial heap, a band's signing with a major label was cause for celebration; it was a sign that the band was doing well enough that a larger business body wanted to endorse...

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Sunday, 21 February 2010
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It would be difficult to argue that the single most overused metaphor in rock n' roll over the last fifty years hasn't been the one which contends that “love is a drug.” There aren't many bands that haven't dabbled with the idea to varying degrees and with varying degrees of success, but it has become so common now that it's almost a soft option; as is the case with the concepts of both love and drugs, anyone can do it...

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Friday, 19 February 2010
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At a certain point, history begins to be the defining characteristic for a record label. Think about it – if the label in question has a track record of focusing on a particular sort of band or music and it has even been revered for some of the artists and releases on its roster or catalogue, eventually a sort of brand loyalty will begin to manifest; a thought process skin to, “If you like this particular sounds and/or ethic, this...

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Thursday, 18 February 2010