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With the recent, unfortunate passing of Levon Helm last year, interest in the musical history of the Band is at an all-time high. Although they have always been mainstays on classic rock radio, their timeless material is now being played even more than ever. As always seems to be the case when a notable musician dies, Helm’s legacy is being presented as much more important now than it did in the twilight of his musical career. I have no idea...

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Monday, 14 October 2013
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The beauty of bluegrass music – when it's played well and not with the intention of packing theaters or stadiums (that music usually gets dubbed 'Americana' these days) – is that it has the potential to be some of the most affecting and gloriously inspirational stuff in all creation. When it comes along for the right reasons, it voices and instrumental timbres in the music can capture a listener's heart as well as his mind and be spiritually moving. That...

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Friday, 11 October 2013
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For the last thirty-two years, Al Jourgensen and Ministry have been the premier purveyors of a fine form of subversive songwriting which has regularly pulled the rug out from under the genre they were working in at that moment. Be it electronic music or metal, the wit and subversive bent of the music has always been the tie which has bound the music and made it uniquely “Ministry.” Through all those years, there have been plenty of critics who just...

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Friday, 11 October 2013
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Ever get the impression that you're re-living a part of your life which you'd just as soon forget about? Most of those sorts of feelings revolve around pop music from the Eighties for me; granted, there was a fair bit of really great music recorded during the period of time when the “Me” Generation was ruling the cultural roost (most of it could be found in the underground – to my taste), but there was an inordinate amount of tripe...

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Friday, 11 October 2013
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Karl Marx once said that history is forever doomed to repeat itself – the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce. I've written those words in CD reviews before (readers are welcome to draw their own conclusions on the irony of me citing the quote again) but it's particularly pertinent in Kodaline's case; on In A Perfect World, Kodaline seems intent on actively trying to hit a sort of existential 'reset' button again. The first time that...

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Friday, 11 October 2013
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In these Aging Punk columns, I often tell stories about musical, or music related, experiences I have had. The point is usually less to talk about myself and more to attempt to illustrate some point about how we relate to music but, sometimes, I just have a good story to tell which doesn’t have any great lesson or moral to it. Such is the case here, I think. There might be a lesson about our relationship with celebrity laced into...

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Thursday, 10 October 2013
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Elton John returns to basics on The Diving Board, his new CD. Most of the songs are just a trio of drums, bass and piano. It almost sounds like the Elton John of forty-plus years ago, of Honky Chateau and Tumbleweed Connection.  That sense is heightened by the fact that Bernie Taupin is writing lyrics for him again. The album is excellently produced by T-Bone Burnett, perhaps the king of roots rock and Americana in today’s music business. He creates...

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Thursday, 10 October 2013
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At this stage of the game (now eleven years after the death of Joe Strummer and almost thirty since the demise of The Clash), there is already no shortage of “definitive” greatest hits compilations which boast The Clash's name. The ground has been tread and tremendous care has already put in to such endeavors, so the obvious question has to become, “Why might the world need another Clash best-of?” Well, the truth is that it probably doesn't – but what...

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Wednesday, 09 October 2013
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And I’ll Scratch Yours is the follow-up to Peter Gabriel’s 2010 album of cover songs, Scratch My Back. Here, most of the artists covered on that disc return the favor, playing Gabriel songs. Okay, I love cover songs. I love Peter Gabriel. I love most of the artists featured here. So I love this album. Still, I recognize that I'll Scratch Yours has its weaknesses. What I really love about cover songs is when an artist...

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Saturday, 05 October 2013
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Now nineteen years after the band began and about twelve since they started suffering from problems internally (bandmembers leaving, other bandmembers getting swelled heads), Korn has done the totally remarkable thing and bounced back. On The Paradigm Shift (the band's eleventh album), Korn welcomes guitarist Brian “Head” Welch back to the fold, abandons a lot of the electronic accoutrements which had dogged every album the band has released since 2002 and spontaneously revives the nu-metallic aggression within them all in...

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Friday, 04 October 2013