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Some records just seem to be naturally predisposed to coming on strong at their start and leaving listeners to feel a little cheap and dirty at the end. That isn't always a bad thing – there are occasions when a little light BDSM is just what the doctor ordered to turn a crooked frown upside down – it's just not a common topic that comes up during polite dinner conversation. That unspoken, pleasurable torment is the thing that will make...

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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
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My Morning Jacket records have always been "creepers" for me; meaning that they take a while to "sink in" and be fully appreciated. This is not a complaint as I thoroughly enjoy being surprised by what I missed in earlier listens and further enjoy the moment of epiphany where the album suddenly emerges. This "creeper" characteristic has become even more prominent in recent years as the band has strayed far away from the mellow, reverb-heavy sound of their earlier work...

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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
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There are some schools of philosophy which uphold that if you travel far enough, you'll eventually meet yourself – but can the artistic community of an entire landmass accomplish such a feat? That question becomes perfectly valid when one hears What Did You Expect From The Vaccines; for those who don't know, the band is from London, England and, on their debut album, they drag the sounds, styles and aesthetics of every truly great Brit-Pop band from both the Eighties...

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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
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Ah, expletives – they may be the last taboo that kids can call their own because they haven't been co-opted and blanched by grownups just yet. In the right crowd, dirty words can still make adults blush or incite them to disproportionate levels of anger. They're uncouth, regarded as the province of the ill-mannered and under-educated and (because most of the basic ones are single syllable in construct) are the syntactic equivalent to a blunt instrument – no wonder kids...

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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
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At this point – seeing the different directions in which the members of Guns N' Roses have gone, seventeen years after their hiatus began in 1994 – it's incredible to think that Duff McKagan would be the one to boast the most credible band, and have the most consistent output. Duff made a strong return from the GNR wreckage with the one-off all-star group Neurotic Outsiders in 1995 before joining Velvet Revolver in 2002. He survived that band's implosion and...

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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
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Sometimes a classic album can be found in the most unlikely place. For example, back in 1980, the common opinion was that Ozzy Osbourne had had his day; he'd ridden high (really high) with Black Sabbath and, with songs like “Paranoid,” “Iron Man,” “Symptom Of The Universe,” “The Wizard,” “War Pigs” and “Children Of The Grave,” left an indelible mark on rock n' roll – but Ozzy's fall from grace as well as the ranks of Sabbath is an equally...

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Monday, 30 May 2011
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The very touchstone in the Pearl Jam catalog that keeps Ukulele Songs from coming off as a complete left-turn into self-indulgence is precisely the element that calls into question the worthiness of the effort. “Soon Forget,” off of Binaural from way back in 2000, was an Eddie Vedder solo track in all but name, showcasing the frontman as left, quite literally, to his own devices; no band, not even a guitar to hide his by-then-well-tempered “jovially misanthropic” persona. Here was...

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Sunday, 29 May 2011
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Sixty years after the birth of rock, and somehow the music has become very much a thinking man's game. Where once young people picked up guitars and turned up the volume for lack of anything better to do with all the excess energy they had, most every band seems to have a plan very carefully mapped out when they start now; they chart a course with a beginning, a middle (wherein the unspoken hope is that perhaps they'll eventually be...

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Friday, 27 May 2011
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After a band reaches a certain level of success, the popular misconception among the public at large is that said band is set; they've got a core audience of devoted fans and they're not living hand-to-mouth. Things are a little easier right? Well, maybe they are, and maybe they're not. That moment when everything gets “easy” is actually when the going gets exponentially more difficult; the more familiar a band's fans feel they are with the group, the more they...

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Thursday, 26 May 2011
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After so many miles logged and so many projects undertaken (Dim Stars with Richard Hell and the Backbeat soundtrack are personal favorites outside of Sonic Youth, but their mention only scratches the surface of an expansive catalogue), singer/guitarist/sound scientist Thurston Moore has proven he's capable of composing just as many types of music as his imagination can fathom. His body of work is impressive, but equally impressive is the fact that he has never recorded a simple, straightforward and singer-songwriter-ly...

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Thursday, 26 May 2011