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Ever wondered what the smaller names in great big bands do while they wait for their more recognizable bandmates to get to work on new material? They don't just sit on their thumbs; everyone's got bills to pay, so musicians will often try and find other things to do which (they hope) will sustain them through the intervening months and/or years between “big artist” releases and tours. Such “extra curricular” endeavors are typified by Zenith Myth and its self-titled debut...

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011
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At what point is it safe to call a project which was once regarded as a silly sidebar operation a serious new endeavor that deserves serious attention? Such is exactly the question that Tool/ A Perfect Circle/ Puscifer fans will be asking themselves when they hear “Conditions of My Parole,” the newest, most creatively forthright and most well-rounded  album by Maynard James Keenan's Puscifer project. Founded in 2007 as Keenan's release valve away from Tool and A Perfect Circle, Puscifer's...

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Monday, 24 October 2011
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Over the last ten years, singer/guitarist Charles Thompson (a.k.a. Black Francis, a.k.a. Frank Black) has seemed intent on proving to his fans that the scope of sound he's capable of creating is limited only by his imagination – but the catch is that not everything he has recorded necessarily merits release. Since 2001, Thompson has put out fourteen albums of new material but, for every gold nugget he has presented (like Devil's Workshop, Honeycomb and Bluefinger), there have been as...

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Monday, 24 October 2011
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It's been an incredibly busy year for Dave Grohl. In addition to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind album and granting a few interviews for the reissue (Jon Stewart's Q&A with Grohl and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic was a phenomenal moment), the Foo Fighters singer has also found time to release Wasting Light and embark upon a massive world tour which has already covered the United Kingdom,...

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Saturday, 22 October 2011
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On listening to the first few tracks of Peter Gabriel’s new album, New Blood, my knee-jerk reaction was, “Oh no, Peter’s gotten old, really old, and has resorted to the "symphonic background" method of music making to popularize his old hits.” It was a chilling thought which didn't thrill me in the slightest but, happily, by the time I heard the fourth and fifth tracks on the album, I knew I was wrong in my assumption. I suspect that the...

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Saturday, 22 October 2011
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Wilco kicks off their eighth studio album, The Whole Love, with the type of musical experimentation that we have come to love from the band, but what follows throughout The Whole Love is an album which wants to give listeners the chance to finally take in all that Wilco has given them over the past seventeen years. The lead-off track from the album, "Art of Almost," hits with a vibe almost reminiscent of Radiohead at first until it staggers into...

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Saturday, 22 October 2011
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You may not even like "progressive rock". You might think prog is pretentious, ostentatious, discordant, anal retentive, or any other number of disparaging adjectives, but you'd be turning yourself away from a demonstration of some of the finest musicianship in the world.

Ever.

The presentation of the "2 of a Perfect Trio" tour that I caught on October 18, 2011 was astounding on numerous levels. Most of the musicians have toured the world, some of them several times. Most of them have...

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Friday, 21 October 2011
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I must admit that I was a little surprised when I first heard that Incubus was headlining a show at Raley Field in West Sacramento last week. Sure, they can still be heard on local radio stations with moderate regularity, but most of the songs which do get play must be a decade old at this point. "Pardon Me" and "Wish You Were Here" were decent hits in their time, but are they enough to draw an audience in 2011?...

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Friday, 21 October 2011
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As aged wisdom goes, "the harder the struggle, the sweeter the success" – a phrase that Copenhagan's Black Light White Light are learning to be true right now. While the Danish trio are no strangers to North American performances (earlier this year, they played as part of the North By Northeast music conference in Toronto), they ended up being forced to cancel three dates of their proposed American tour as well as having to miss CMJ this year as they...

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Friday, 21 October 2011
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What music do I play in my car on rainy days when I’m driving to the cemetery? Opeth, no doubt about it. Thing is, I like to listen to Opeth even when it’s not raining and I’m not on my way to the cemetery. It was rather auspicious recently evening when the BART train I was riding left the eighty-degree temperatures and sunny skies of Walnut Creek and emerged out of the Berkeley Hills Tunnel to see San Francisco –...

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Thursday, 20 October 2011