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Then she leaves with someone you don't know.But she made sure you saw hershe looks right at you and bolts.…And your friends say, "What is it?You look like you've seen a ghost." They played the first Airborne Toxic Event CD regularly at my work and, even through a crappy sound system and the chaotic din of retail, those lines reached out and grabbed me. It wasn't just the punch of the lines themselves, it was the strings sawing away behind...

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Thursday, 23 May 2013
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What do you say about a record which (at least occasionally) makes you cringe and recoil because some of the sounds on it are just so abhorrent, but it isn't so bad that the idea of listening to it doesn't always make you die a little inside? How does one say, “This record is bad, but not so bad that it's impossible to make one's way all the way through it?” How does one explain that, somehow, a record manages...

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Wednesday, 22 May 2013
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The problem with requiems – especially requiems made in tribute to celebrities – is that everybody involved always feels compelled to make sure their voice is heard loud enough that theirs is the one associated with the event. That such a personal thing as a requiem and remembrance is ever co-opted by the vanity of others is a little remarkable (and tactless) at best and a little disgusting at worst; and there's no good reason it should happen – not...

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Monday, 20 May 2013
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Hey junky,How're things goin' where you are, ya wood-armed reprobates? I betcher gettin' a little itchy again, 'specially cause I ain't ben aroun' regular-like ova da las' little while right? Aw, poor junky – well I'm here now ta calm yer nerves an' soothe yer ills wit' anotha bag o' SWAG, so relax awready! I got some pretty tasty pieces fer youse ta try dis week too – ain'chu lucky? Like I got some gear from Dawes an' Shovels &...

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Thursday, 16 May 2013
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It's always fun to think that second chances come for those who deserve them, but the fact is that the chance to start over is a truly special rarity – especially for musicians. Forgiving (if only for a moment) is easy enough to do, but forgetting most certainly isn't; most times, while the circumstances which led to a band breaking up the first time may have calmed, they often end up reasserting themselves and being insurmountable again when the possibility...

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Tuesday, 14 May 2013
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Last week saw the release of the Uncluded's new album Hokey Fright, but who are the Uncluded? Well, they are none other than Kimya Dawson (from every song on the Juno soundtrack) and Aesop Rock (from every good hip hop song that's not on the radio). The partnership is as odd as pairing Tom Waits with Zooey Deschanel. But surprisingly, Hokey Fright sounds exactly as one would expect: it's half nursery-rhyme-type melodies and  half indie hip hop, and it's all...

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Tuesday, 14 May 2013
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"Want a little grace, but who’s gonna say a little grace for me?” Ezra Koenig sings on “Unbelievers,” the second track on Vampire Weekend’s new Modern Vampires of the City. Since landing on the cover of Spin in March 2008, lauded as “the year’s best new band” with a debut album that was just weeks old, it’s easy to argue that Vampire Weekend has received quite a bit of grace. The success of their self-titled debut quickly propelled the Columbia...

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Tuesday, 14 May 2013
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As artists like David Bowie and The Stooges have already proven this year, it is possible for musicians to return and release new albums after long lapses in creative output – but judging how good they are (or aren't) is no easy feat. In the cases of both Bowie and The Stooges, history has basically guaranteed that that both artists are going to generate at least a few good critical words no matter what they do on the strength of...

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Monday, 13 May 2013
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Sometimes providence is just meant to rule over situations in life. Things are meant to happen. People meet people. Stories are shared. Songs get sung. This is the way things went in getting this album into my hands. Online strangers meet each other by re-blogging each other’s Tumblr images (for a couple of years) before eventually ending up writing notes of introduction to each other, leading them to become friends. That was how I came into contact with Michael Serrafin-Wells,...

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Friday, 10 May 2013
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Of Love and Loss, the new record from NYC-based Bipolar Explorer is something of a departure from their previous work, it is at once quieter and more far-reaching. It is eclectic and spare, and altogether haunting. The band, it turns out, was already staking out new ground before they recorded the first wave of songs for what would become this record. Having pared down to a drummerless core of two guitars, bass and vocals, BPX’s new sound was emerging as...

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Friday, 10 May 2013