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Lexicographer Samuel Johnson once wrote that, “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man” and, truly, Iggy Pop and The Stooges had tested that adage to its' absolute extreme by 1970. Between 1968 and 1970, the pages of those music magazines that would cover the band (there weren't many) ran red with pictorials of Iggy Pop – rolling in broken glass, smearing himself with peanut butter, knicking himself with drumsticks when he...

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Thursday, 20 May 2010
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Alright ya mugs,So here it is, your newest load o' stuff that my sticky little fingers could – shall we say – liberate from the greater clutches of the music business. I'm still a little amazed at how easy it is – I'm not gonna lie; what with the music business holding on SO tight to the intellectual property of their artists, how is it that I can take so much? It must be like they say; hold onto something...

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Wednesday, 19 May 2010
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For the last twenty-three years (at least), the Cowboy Junkies have cut a solid and celebrated career out of accentuating both the 'southern' and the 'gothic' ends of the term 'southern gothic' – essentially enhancing and focusing on those two elements and injecting some broken soul into the mix while ignoring all else. The band has poured itself into that – thereby indulging in the darker side of human psychology if only to function as the light in that darkness...

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Tuesday, 18 May 2010
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Some things are just beyond comprehension – no matter how open-minded or understanding you try to be. Are you skeptical? Here are some examples of questions that have no easy answer: 

“How is it that there are throwbacks in evolutionary development like the platypus?” 

“How – in spite of flagging ratings – does Donald Trump's The Apprentice remain on network television?”“How did it come to pass that Sing It Loud found itself signed to Epitaph Records?” Each of...

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Tuesday, 18 May 2010
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Sometimes a band will start to generate excitement upon the very announcement of a forthcoming record; the stars will have aligned just right and, when the record in question does come out, it is to a legion of people that are literally standing and waiting with open arms for it. That's actually a tenuous situation to be in – with great expectation comes the possibility for great disappointment and, on those occasions when the hype machine has started already humming...

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Monday, 17 May 2010
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At this point, there's no debating that some sounds are impossible to easily qualify. That, presumably, is why some clever critic coined the term 'Freak Folk' – it's a handy catch-all term that holds artists as far flung as Devandra Banhart, Sufjan Stevens and CocoRosie; one listen to those artists reveals that none of them really has anything in common with the others, it's just convenient to stick them all in the same spot. Falling into the generic 'give it...

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Monday, 17 May 2010
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About twenty years ago (before Nirvana blew up), Sub Pop was a very different label from what it is now. Since grunge exploded, things have changed a lot – now, the label specializes in very clean-cut, polished and poppy mainstream indie rock typified by the likes of Flight Of The Conchords – but there was a time when the label was very much a working class outfit that helped bands like Soundgarden, The Fluid, Green River, Screaming Trees and The...

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Sunday, 16 May 2010
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"What would you do,” asks Wintersleep singer Paul Murphy wryly as “Experience The Jewel” peels open New Inheritors and simultaneously compels everyone within earshot to jump into the palm of his hand. “What would you do if desperation called on you?” It's a simple but effective question and, immediately after asking, Murphy and Wintersleep launch into a snaking, doleful and beguiling mid-tempo rocker that listeners will just be able to feel in them from balls to bones. With strings added...

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Sunday, 16 May 2010
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There's an old French proverb that reads, “It's all very well in practice, but it will never work in theory.” Of course, hearing that or reading it makes the rational mind recoil for a minute because it flies in the face of precautionary principles and deductive reasoning but there are instances, like learning of and hearing Avi Buffalo's self-titled debut LP, when anyone looking or listening can see and hear that it's true. A few things that those uninitiated to...

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Sunday, 16 May 2010
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What is it about a record that makes a listener feel it? I don't mean “feel it” like it makes you want to move, I mean “feel it” like it moves you. You – a third party observer totally detached from the events that inspired the music, separated from the creative process that shaped the songs and with no direct personal connection to the individuals performing – have the ability to take in the music and find a personal connection...

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Saturday, 15 May 2010