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The Arcade Fire takes it sound to new and exciting places on its slavishly anticipated new album, “Neon Bible,” which, as previously reported, is due March 6 via Merge. The 11-track set was primarily recorded in a church outside the band's Montreal homebase and features contributions from Final Fantasy's Owen Pallett, Calexico's Martin Wenk and Jacob Valenzuela and Wolf Parade's Hadjii Bakara. Three tracks have already made the rounds online: the pipe organ-drenched “Intervention” (which is available for...

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Thursday, 11 January 2007
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Nick Cave is a strange, beguiling dude. Here’s a guy who made some of the blackest, darkest music of the post-punk era, now verging on Hollywood acceptability (thanks to The Proposition) and is probably a more frequent guest on David Letterman than Steve Martin. His albums no longer carry the explosive, head-against-the-wall, heroin fear of yore, but they instead are big, expansive baroque meditations on love and murder. If anything, he’s only increased in intensity over the years, becoming accomplished...

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Thursday, 11 January 2007
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Deerhoof’s last album, The Runners Four, was probably the most pop-obsessed album that the group had recorded in their lifetime. There were moments of their unexpected heavy crunch and stop/start fragments, but it was practically their version of The Monkees in its pure catchiness and humable tunes. Anyone who has seen the group live recently will know that this bubblegum is just part of the equation that adds up to Deerhoof’s full strength. They are also wickedly obtuse, often heavy...

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Thursday, 11 January 2007
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Sondre Lerche, it might seem, is reinventing his music with every album, but what’s really going on is a combination of exploration and evolution. He’s not only building something entirely new with every record, but also building on what he’s already done. His fourth album, Phantom Punch, rocks where last year’s Duper Sessions swings, and what he’s carried over is his smooth croon. Originally, Phantom Punch was to be his third album, but in order to work with producer Tony...

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Tuesday, 09 January 2007
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“Anybody that listens to just hip-hop is dumb,” says Plastic Little’s Jayson Musson over So-Co and lime at a local Northern Libs bar. He and fellow Plastic Little MC Jon Folmar are waxing philosophical over the nature of hip-hop, girls, art school and Ghostface Killah. Fresh on the heels of the release of their second (actually) critically acclaimed album, She’s Mature, P-Little is poised to take over the world with a U.K. tour and a slew of party-ready remixes. As...

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390
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Tuesday, 09 January 2007
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Few people in the musical world are as busy as the boys from Pinback. Rob Crow has been involved in four releases within the last 12 months—Pinback's Nautical Antiques, The Ladies' They Mean Us (with Zach Hill from Hella), His forthcoming solo album Living Well, and Robertdale Crow III, his brand new son. With all this action, you would think the man would slow down, but you would be wrong. Crow is, in fact, headed out on the road in...

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Monday, 08 January 2007
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If he had to be an instrument, Aloe Blacc would be a piano because, with its chords, bass, treble and melody, his presentation is whole just like his debut solo Shine Through. A musical mosaic composed of a plethora of his influences, Shine Through is a fresh and beautiful display of what Aloe Blacc does. Regardless of the fact that he’s been spitting lyrics since 1995 with DJ Exile as part of rap duo Emanon, he feels he has yet...

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Monday, 08 January 2007
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Sean O’Hagan, indie music’s arranger extraordinaire, applies his unique combination of bouncy plucked bass, vibraphone and lush string arrangements with bold, broad strokes on Can Cladders, the new record from his band The High Llamas. Can Cladders absorbs some of the acoustic meanderings of the previous High Llamas record Beet, Maize & Corn and folds them into a familiar formula of gentle vocals, blue-eyed soul and soft-rock (read yacht rock) leanings. In past records, echoes of Beach Boys Friends-era gut...

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Sunday, 07 January 2007
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When most people think of James Brown, they think of the musical legacy he left behind. Of being the “Godfather of Soul” and making that music into a militant sound BASSed on rhythm called Funk. Of his dancing and excellence in performance. But when I think of him, I think of a man who not only revolutionized music, I think of a man who made a people feel like they mattered. For people who aren’t black that read this, don’t...

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Sunday, 07 January 2007
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It’s hard to endure the dead of winter—regardless of your location—and not feel the need for some music that let’s you just chill out and relax. The outdoors is overrated anyway. During one of those moments when the inside is where it's at, The Phoenix Foundation’s Horsepower will make the inside feel like a sunny day. It’s not that the music is gleeful by any means, it just has this feeling of content and comfort that you need when you’re...

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Friday, 05 January 2007