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No venture in the music industry has the ability to pull the “big four” record conglomerates together quite like an awards show can, if only because such pageants bring out everyone's competitive spirit. Everyone wants to hold the biggest bag of marbles and everyone looks good when awards are given out; the artist gets acknowledgement for their talent, and labels get acknowledged for having the vision to support them out of the hordes of others. It's reasonable to assume that...

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Friday, 26 March 2010
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Alright so I know what you're thinkin'. You're asking, "Whaddaya doin' Don? Ya came early! You're not due to deliver another bag o' SWAG for a couple of days yet! Yer messin' up my rhythm." Yeah well, look at it this way – Christmas came early alright? I amassed a big lot of stuff for you to steal, so whaddaya doin' lookin' a gift horse in the mouth? And what a fine bag o' Swag it is. Here, you're going...

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Thursday, 25 March 2010
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No matter what sort of relationship one might enjoy with other people (be it just a single individual or a group), in that moment when the relationship reaches a vintage of thirty years it is cause for a celebration. As anyone that has been married for a significant amount of time can tell you, managing to sustain a healthy relationship – an association that is mutually beneficial doesn't simply use up everyone involved – is difficult to negotiate. Over time,...

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Thursday, 25 March 2010
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Once, there was a time when James Brown was called “The hardest-working man in show business.” The title was deserved; Brown was a notorious workaholic – sometimes playing as many as three hundred and thirty one-nighter shows in a year – and famously used to deduct pay from members of his band if they missed a note. His touring schedule may have slowed toward the end of his life, but the fanfare didn't – even in his final final shows...

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Wednesday, 24 March 2010
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Creative focus is always an admirable trait in a musician, but sometimes a diversion is in order too – if only to fulfill a desire to do something a little different. Sometimes it happens because the players involved fear that they're stagnating creatively and they want to deliberately force themselves out of their respective comfort zones and sometimes the power of the almighty dollar is the motivation behind an artistic change or collaboration but, most rarely (and rewardingly), sometimes the...

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Tuesday, 23 March 2010
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Ancient Chinese wisdom says that if one travels long enough and far enough, the traveler will eventuall meet himself in the future. Could the same be true of institutions? To date, rock n' roll has been an institution for fifty-nine years (almost to the day – if one assumes that “Rocket 88” was the first rock song – given it was first recorded by Ike Turner in the first week of March, 1951) and has been from Earth to Hell...

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Saturday, 20 March 2010
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At around one o'clock this afternoon, the wind got sucked from my lungs with four simple words. At one o'clock this afternoon, my wife/girlfriend/partner was sitting at the dining room table sorting through the news of the day when all of a sudden she stopped dead. She went blank and blinked, then she turned to me and uttered those fateful four: "Alex Chilton is dead." And punctuated it with "Holy shit," but it didn't matter – I was already reeling....

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Thursday, 18 March 2010
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Even at the height of the band's powers in the mid-Nineties, Pavement was never allowed to stand on its' own two feet, autonomous from anyone else making music around the same time. They drew near-constant comparisons to other guitar-driven bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Superchunk – they even got called “the bookish Nirvana” at one point – and, listening now, one has to wonder what critics were listening to that led them to such conclusions. Sure – there's no arguing...

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Wednesday, 17 March 2010
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“This is gonna replace CDs soon; guess I'll have to buy The White Album again…."   – Tommy Lee Jones, Men In Black. The practice of bands and labels re-issuing material after it has reached a certain vintage isn't uncommon. In fact, it's been happening for years and makes very good business sense; from a psychological standpoint, rock n' roll has always been a youthful medium which means the younger demographics purchase the most of it, the most regularly. By the...

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Tuesday, 16 March 2010
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Without meaning to sound simple, I must humbly ask, “Why do remix albums bear a single artist's name?” True, the work contained on any such record began life as the work of a single creative body, but that's almost always where their involvement ends. A remix album is defined as one artist's work being passed through the sensibilities of several others which, in execution, leaves the impression of the original auteur, but little more. The work ceases to be the...

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Monday, 15 March 2010