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In rock n' roll in general but punk rock in specific, there are few things that bands love more than contradictions in terms. Take emo for example; this sub-set of punk rockers craves the act of soul baring, but can't resist setting it against very plastic or metallic sounds. In the same vein, street punks will regularly come to blows (at least in their lyrical content) with any and all comers but, as any Rancid or Roger Miret record implies,...

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Monday, 15 March 2010
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How intoxicating is a singer who, from the moment she opens her mouth, can soothe rattled nerves with just the smooth, sweet and self-assured tone of her voice? Voices like that are a rare breed – Norah Jones has one, as do Kelli Dayton, Shara Nelson and Joss Stone, and Fiona Apple has been known to produce something comparable on occasion) – but it's clear that it's the only tone that Elizabeth Shepherd is able to make in Heavy Falls...

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Sunday, 14 March 2010
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If anything can be taken as true about Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton given his operating procedures over the last twenty-four months, it is that he seems to deliberately try to force musicians out of their comfort zones as soon as he sits down in the producer's chair. How else would one explain the mammoth and sprawling sounds he concocted to run along with The Black Keys on Attack & Release? Or how he stunted the funk in Beck for Modern...

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Saturday, 13 March 2010
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When Airborne appeared out of the wilds of Australia with some amped up blues riffs and a campy bad attitude three years ago, listeners were perfectly aware of what they might be witnessing: it was like time had wrinkled a little and delivered another AC/DC before the old one had the chance to leave. The signs were all there; the band had the look, the sound and the attitude, this was a band that just seemed like they might want...

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Saturday, 13 March 2010
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Ya know? I didn't notice before how many songs bands are just giving away for free before I started putting this column together. All the world's a goddamn candyland for this stuff so I thought I'd load another installment in the chamber. So who wants more music? Do you? Sure you do – why wouldn't you. Well, at first I was going to lay stuff on you on a monthly basis but now it's looking like I can do it...

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Saturday, 13 March 2010
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The reason that pop punk has always found a receptive audience is really, really simple: every generation wants to think it is nothing like the previous one. They need to believe that they're writing an all-new book; that no one has ever dealt with what they're dealing with, that no one's ever felt bored or helpless or shiftless, never felt left out, never been stuck and overlooked in the middle, never been brimming with energy and screaming for change but...

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Saturday, 13 March 2010
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If one glances into the “Whatever Happened To?” file locked up in the vaults of Canadian rock, you'll notice there were many great bands in the Nineties but an incredible number of players that jumped ship from those bands at some point. Some of those bands continue to make music today but someone will inevitably ask, “Hey – there was another guy in that band wasn't there? Whatever happened to him?” There are actually more of those than you'd think....

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Friday, 12 March 2010
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When Jimi Hendrix was at the top of his game between 1967 and 1970, the mark he left upon rock n' roll was indelible and arguably changed the face and form of the genre forever. In just three years, he made three lauded albums (four if one includes the live document Band Of Gypsys) that completely augmented the values inherent to rock and proved to totally obscure generic boundaries; to date, a who's who of guitarists including Dave Navarro, Dean...

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Monday, 08 March 2010
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Rock history is littered with the stories of bands that worked tirelessly to break through only to enjoy diminished returns at best. It is, by all accounts, wildly frustrating; a band can try endlessly to find just the right combination of factors to strike gold, yet consistently come up short each time. Sometimes though, the best results come when a band just lets go and, if ever proof was requisite that some of the best things happen when you're not...

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Monday, 08 March 2010
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When one reaches the point where it has been forty years after an artist has passed on, it feels awkward to imply that their story is continuing to deepen, but the body of work that Jimi Hendrix left behind is an extraordinary case. Since Hendrix' passing in 1970, volumes of post-humus compilations have been issued that typically reprise his 'guitar god' glory years but, unless outside assistance was added after the fact (as was the case with pastiche offerings like...

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Sunday, 07 March 2010