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When hard times strike, survival breeds strange bedfellows – and it has certainly made that of the music and advertising industries lately. 'Music' and 'advertising' have always gone hand-in-hand as their business structures have made their respective marks on pop culture, but it has always been a fairly uneasy and generally conflicted alliance; one makes the music and the other makes the image, but often the bands making the music have contended that image shouldn't matter. With the exception of...

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Tuesday, 30 March 2010
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How does one gauge the growth a band undergoes between releases? Is it a matter of observing the overall quality of their work or breaking it down and looking at the smaller differences and changes that have occurred and how they factor into each song; a band's ability to stand on its' own, work beyond the conventions set forth by their genre and do so confidently? On The Flatliners' new album, listeners can check each of those different variables off...

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Monday, 29 March 2010
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Remember when you were a kid and, the first time you heard metal, you were really surprised because it sounded exactly nothing like what you expected? Something was a little off; either it didn't have enough of the undead and satanic cliches, or it didn't sound dirge-y enough, or any one of a thousand other things that you were expecting just weren't there? That absence would ultimately mean one of two things: either you'd write it off in disgust and...

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Monday, 29 March 2010
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When someone suggests the possibility of “Otherkin,” what images come to mind? Theoretically, Otherkin are the human halfbreed descendants of angels, demons, dragons, elves, fairies, kitsune, werewolves and vampires (if I've missed any, I apologize – I don't play RPGs) and, really, those images seem cute and dainty; the Keebler Elf and Puff The Magic Dragon are wonderful things to imagine exist. The European image of those mythical creatures is very different; it's not so cute, but the images are...

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Monday, 29 March 2010
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If someone were to say the words 'Yukon Blonde' to you without much in the way of background information, what sort of image would come to mind? Something chilly, chaste and beautiful? Presumably, such would be the case with most people – it's the sort of phrase that brims with possibility. The self-titled album by Yukon Blonde does not disappoint in that regard. From the opening thump of “Rather Be With You,” Yukon Blonde effortlessly gives a listener's imagination plenty...

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Monday, 29 March 2010
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Rare is the musician that is able to stand back from his subjects – even if he is being introspective – and critique the matter, stoically. How does one not get close to that work? As soon as one begins to write a song (any song), the urge for the writer is to attempt to inhabit it, live it and love it; it doesn't happen often that a singer can just chronicle events. This is the ability that Lou Reed...

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Sunday, 28 March 2010
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Ever hear something and have no idea how to qualify it, but like it anyway? It has happened to me before, and has obviously happened occasionally to record label executives and publicists – if what has been said about LoveLikeFire and their album, Tear Ourselves Away, is any indicator. In any particular piece of literature (except this one), buzz words like 'emo,' 'industrial' and the like get thrown around with reckless abandon. None of them are appropriate. In this case,...

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Sunday, 28 March 2010
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It's always exciting when Butch Walker puts out another record, because he seems to change his face completely every time he does.time he does. His record with the Let's Go Out Tonites! found the singer/producer trying out a set of T. Rex-inspired glam rockers and Sycamore Meadows saw him working out some Wilco-esque alt-country so, upon first announcement of I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart, one had to wonder what shape this new album would take. Listeners...

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Sunday, 28 March 2010
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It's been a while since any country star (Willie Nelson doesn't count – he's spent the better part of the last decade doing everyone's material but his own) actually sounded like he came from a modest upbringing or has shown any affection for it if he did. There's a reason the stations on the radio are called 'New Country' operations now: the singers all sound like city slickers who wonder what a hard day's work might be like, but their...

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Saturday, 27 March 2010
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It's incredible how, in just a few notes, an album take take a listener to a completely different place. It doesn't always happen – no matter how earnestly a band might try – but a few can do it. The Wave Pictures can do it effortlessly; without question. Formed in Wyneswold, England in 1998, The Wave Pictures (made up of singer/guitarist David Tattersall with bassist Franic Rozycki and drummer Jonny Helm) had been working hard on the local club circuit...

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Friday, 26 March 2010