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I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure that the dudes from Ivan & Alyosha have the same singing coach as My Morning Jacket’s Jim James or, at least, the dudes try to copy him. With the release of their second EP, Fathers Be Kind, the quartet band from Seattle fuses a flair for pop into vocals and lyrics rooted deeply in folk. In short, they’re a little more fun than they’re PNW brethren, Fleet Foxes. Now that I've dropped all...

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Monday, 07 November 2011
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I’m pretty sure that the whole “Piano Man” scene sort of hit its peak in the late Seventies and early Eighties (see Elton John, Billy Joel et al) and went to ground hard after punk broke and got pounded even deeper when alternative reared its head but, then, Ben Folds came along out of nowhere and pumped out a lot of catchy songs for a guy who doesn’t have the most rabid of fan bases. I’ve never heard anyone attack...

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Sunday, 06 November 2011
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After having been apart for fifteen years, Guided By Voices' classic lineup – with Robert Pollard on vocals and guitar, guitarist Mitch Mitchell, drummer Kevin Fennell, bassist Greg Demos and multi-instrumentalist Tobin Sprout – announced in June 2010 that they had reconvened and, in addition to touring, were beginning to work on new material. Long-time fans rejoiced at the news; while Pollard has illustrated that he's perfectly prolific on his own without assistance, the classic GBV lineup had a sort...

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Sunday, 06 November 2011
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Seriously, who smokes weed after/during a NOFX show these days? I am walking out of the House Of Blues on a Thursday night in October thinking just that. I know NOFX have graced us with some of the best punk/reggae the Nineties had to offer (“Kill All The White Man,” anyone?), but that's no reason to make the masses departing from a show smell like a frat party who just tapped the Bud Light keg (the difference really is drinkability,...

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Saturday, 05 November 2011
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Sometimes, without even having a clear plan in mind necessarily, a band manages to fall ass-backwards into a charmed rock n' roll rhythm which instantly connects with listeners. It's never one particular aspect of the band's songs which ends up being responsible for the instant adoration that listeners feel, it's just a complete package of good melodies, good guitar hooks and a great beat which ensures that some listeners will “get it” from the first spin, and never let the...

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Friday, 04 November 2011
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Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ani DiFranco has announced the upcoming release of her eagerly awaited new album. Which Side Are You On? arrives via the Grammy-winning artist's own Righteous Babe Records on January 17, 2012. Which Side Are You On? marks DiFranco's first studio album in more than three years. The collection features eleven new songs alongside a radically reworked rendition of the classic title song, famously popularized by the one and only Pete Seeger nearly five decades ago, but no less relevant...

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Thursday, 03 November 2011
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It may come as a surprise for fans to learn just how little most musicians tend to have with their back catalogue and the reissuing of it. Greatest hits packages, for example, are often one of the endeavors with the smallest amount of artist involvement; usually the stop-gap measure of choice for record labels to reinsert an artist on new release racks, greatest hits and best-of comps simply collect the songs everyone knows and occasionally tuck in a few bits...

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Wednesday, 02 November 2011
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Merry Christmas Junkie! Oh wait – i'ssnot Christmas yet, izzit? Naw, it jus' feels'at way cuz, now dat Halloween's ova, dat's where da music bizness is lookin' next. An' I already got a coupla Christmas songs'at I found'is week! Kin you believe it? Ah well, it's weird, but all'at means izza world is gonna tip a little on its axis, anna buncha extra stuff is gonna start fallin' offa trucks. Yessir, it's comin' up onna most wonderful time o' da...

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Wednesday, 02 November 2011
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At this point, Anthrax has been bringing the noise for thirty years now and, because the band has never really stopped, one would think they might begin to slow down. Running hard can take its toll over time – voices get raspy and hands may grow sore – but guitarists Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano, drummer Charlie Benante, bassist Frank Bello and singer Joey Belladonna have found a new way to stay tight and rock hard every night: by touring...

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Wednesday, 02 November 2011
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Few bands embrace and convey the rock ‘n’ roll spirit like Deer Tick. They have also managed to include some introspection to round things out a bit. On their fourth album Divine Providence, the required ingredients are all still there; beer, irreverence and a bit of debauchery – check, check and check. But there’s also a bit more. With a wonderfully gravelly voice, singer John McCauley takes listeners through his days as a touring musician, with all the booze and...

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Wednesday, 02 November 2011