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Above all else, what True North proves definitively is that Bad Religion has made three kinds of record in the duration of their three-decades-and-counting career; they've made really bad albums (see Into The Unknown and No Substance), good albums (see The Dissent Of Man, Recipe For Hate and Suffer) and great albums which not only mark time but stand out as being definitive documents both for the band and for punk rock as a whole community. The number of albums...

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Monday, 21 January 2013
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Remember the first time you heard Was (Not Was)? It was weird, right? Here was this band who could knock out awesome rhythm tracks – great beats, good guitars and a kind of worldly spice – and it had some totally oddball vocal track on top of it which was (probably) screaming out some unusual one-man vignette about calling your father to tell him you were prison bound and excited about it. Listening came with an awkward sensation; that killer...

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Saturday, 19 January 2013
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Maybe it's because the roots-and-folk musical landscape has just become so over-populated with new and excellent songwriters (like The Lumineers, Grey Kingdom, Daniel Romano and so on), but it's really difficult to get excited about Jimbo Mathus' new album with The Tri-State Coalition. White Buffalo is very much a casualty of timing; had it been released five years ago, the album might have seemed exciting for listeners looking for a sparer, more songwriter-ly antidote to the over-produced and Pro-Tools-ed hordes...

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188
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Friday, 18 January 2013
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Hey Junky,How's it goin'? Stuff's been slow in my neck o' the woods; one o' my suppliers OD'd on accident, so a buncha my buddies an' me've been flyin' the flags at half mast, if ya know what I mean. I can't stay down fer too long though, 'cause I gotta get back at SWAGgin' fer youse miserable reprobates – an' what I got this week is worth it! Let's start wit' da whale; I gotta new tune from my...

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166
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Thursday, 17 January 2013
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Have you got the blues? Have you got a fire in you just aching to get out and feel like you only need the right tool to channel it, shape it and make it a reality? Innovative luthiers Bohemian Guitars knows exactly how you feel. The music and the fire that bred the blues moved them too and, rather than trying to extinguish it, they're trying to make it burn higher, brighter and longer by throwing cans of oil on...

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181
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Thursday, 17 January 2013
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At this point in history, it's nearly impossible for a female singer to perform meticulously arranged, jazz-informed songs in French without drawing at least a cursory comparison to Edith Piaf, but Jill Barber will generate such comparisons not because it's easy but because her fantastic presence and performances on Chansons are only matched on this sound and style by Piaf; performances like this have simply not been heard since Piaf's passing in 1963. Chansons is a brave release for Barber,...

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210
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Tuesday, 15 January 2013
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WAITS/CORBIJN ‘77-‘11, a collector’s edition linen slipcase book limited to 6,600 copies, is scheduled for a May 8th release in US and Europe by renowned German publisher Schirmer-Mosel. The coffee table art book not only features over two hundred pages of Waits’ portraits taken by Corbijn over four decades, but also includes over fifty pages of the first published collection of musings and photographs taken by Waits himself. The linen bound book has introductions...

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175
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Tuesday, 15 January 2013
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No small number of fans will scream heresy when I say this but, as good a songwriter as he is, Neil Young really can't sing worth a damn. His shortcoming as a singer has always been the biggest reason why he has tread on the fringe while artists like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen have enjoyed significant mainstream success. The hindrance that Young's shortcoming has been on his career has been significant – but listening to Justin Rutledge's new album...

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189
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Monday, 14 January 2013
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It's funny how music industry trends have changed over the last twenty-five years. A quarter of a century ago, for example, Sub Pop had a reputation for being the little label that helped launch grunge and, while their stable of artists has been getting more diverse since the departure of label co-founder Bruce Pavitt, the founding belief that guitar rock was golden held up for a really, really long time. Now though, in 2013, that founding tenet (as well as...

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162
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Monday, 14 January 2013
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Ground Control's Editor-In-Chief, Bill Adams, and I had a discussion recently about who might be this generation’s Led Zeppelin. That is, which of today’s bands might be able to maintain their popularity and influence thirty or forty years into the future? I’m not talking about who the it bands of the moment are and what chance they may have of writing songs that people will still care about in five years, this is both a broader and more focused question...

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164
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Friday, 11 January 2013