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Jonah Flicker 

Music, MC El-P talks about new music and the demise of Def Jux

MC El-P talks about new music and the demise of Def Jux

It becomes apparent when listening to El-P that this is one producer, MC, and (former) label head who doesn't care about hip-hop conventions. Over two solo albums, several mixtapes, and the tracks he has produced for Cannibal Ox, Cage, and…
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Music, All Shook Down

Good Rappers Who've Made Terrible Actors

The trend of rappers shifting into acting is nothing new, and in theory it makes sense. Both roles focus on emotive storytelling, right? Unfortunately, that transition isn't always a smooth one--a point hammered home repeatedly by the new film Just…
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Music, All Shook Down Will Lil Wayne's Stardom Survive Lockup? Look To 10 Other Jailed Rappers

Will Lil Wayne's Stardom Survive Lockup? Look To 10 Other Jailed Rappers

Lil Wayne, perhaps the most commercially successful and critically-lauded rapper of the past few years, was recently granted a reprieve from his date with destiny. Due to be sentenced on February 9th after pleading guilty to gun possession, the proceedings…
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Music, Del the Funky Homosapien teams up for his best work in a decade

Del the Funky Homosapien teams up for his best work in a decade

Del the Funky Homosapien has contributed his share to the canon of hip-hop classics. His first two albums, the funk-infused I Wish My Brother George Was Here and the harder-edged, battle-rapping No Need for Alarm, left unique marks upon the…
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Music, Claude VonStroke’s bird-themed empire takes flight

Claude VonStroke’s bird-themed empire takes flight

Claude VonStroke knows the value of branding. It's not that the San Francisco–based house and techno DJ and producer is a commercial automaton. After all, the man has been known to rock a bird costume. But don't let his fowl…
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Music, CD ripping services put record collections in the 21st century

CD ripping services put record collections in the 21st century

It seems the only numbers rising at independent record stores these days are in the amounts of CDs being sold back to retailers who deal in used merchandise. Buy counters across the country are inundated with customers trying to unload…
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Music, Reviewed Zion I

Zion I

"This system does not work for us, so we must take this system over." The statement of intent that opens Zion I's new album rings true both politically and musically. Since their 2000 debut, producer AmpLive and MC Zumbi have…
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Music, Reviewed Bon Iver

Bon Iver

The title track of Bon Iver's new EP is an example of mastermind Justin Vernon's songwriting at its best. The tune is a delicate ballad, rich in sentiment but completely schmaltz-free. Musically, it comprises layered vocals over a melancholy, descending…
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Music, Reviewed Matt and Kim

Matt and Kim

Sung to the tune of "Jack and Diane": "A little ditty about Matt and Kim/Two American kids making music in Brooklyn/Matt plays keys, sings snotty and cute/Kim bashes out drumbeats and sings a bit, too/Oh yeah, life goes on/Long after…
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Music, Electronic acts trade laptops for live bands

Electronic acts trade laptops for live bands

It seems like only yesterday that everybody wanted to be a DJ, or at least to have one in his band. This trend peaked in the late '90s, the era that begat the godawful fusion of rap and rock. Frosted-tip…
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Music, Reviewed Wilderness

Wilderness

You don't so much listen to a Wilderness album as become completely absorbed by it. The band's densely textured and deceptively simple format of guitar, bass, and drums takes on a throbbing, hypnotic quality that's hard to classify with terms…
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Music, Love as Laughter gets a boost from Modest Mouse

Love as Laughter gets a boost from Modest Mouse

Sam Jayne, the architect behind Brooklyn's Love as Laughter, has been toiling away at this rock 'n' roll thing for a long time. The story begins in early-'90s Olympia, Washington, where his noisy and highly influential band, Lync, counted a…
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Music, Reviewed The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs

We're only halfway through 2008, but Philadelphia's The War on Drugs claims one of this year's most exciting debuts. On Wagonwheel Blues, songwriter Adam Granduciel precisely fuses together the best elements of rollicking folk and classic rock with experimental ambience…
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Music, Hear This The moral dilemmas of a liberal Nugent fan

The moral dilemmas of a liberal Nugent fan

It's hard to be apathetic when it comes to the infuriatingly fascinating Detroit rock legend Ted Nugent. He presents a musical and moral dilemma for those of us who love blasting his balls-out cock-rock, but prefer hybrids and Obama to…
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Music, Reviewed Islands

Islands

Since his days with the Unicorns, Islands' mastermind Nick Thorburn has revealed himself as equal parts pop genius, musical theater admirer, neo-vaudevillian, and humorous storyteller extraordinaire. With Arm's Way, he has refined these traits, crafting an eclectic, albeit scattered album…
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Music, Reviewed Tapes 'n Tapes

Tapes 'n Tapes

After so much blog and print buzz for Tapes 'n Tapes' excellent 2005 debut, The Loon, expectations were high for the Minnesota indie rockers' follow-up. Walk It Off successfully avoids the clichéd "sophomore slump" curse, due in large part to…
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Music, Reviewed Peter Morén

Peter Morén

It's hard to keep a frontman happy. Today's lead singers often harbor dreams of going it alone once they gain success with their bands, from Steve Perry to Gwen Stefani to Thom Yorke. Add to this list Peter Morén, lead…
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Music, Reviewed Del tha Funkee Homosapien

Del tha Funkee Homosapien

"Never rearrange my stuff to sell units/Do it, then you can't come back again." So claims the Funkee Homosapien on "Raw Sewage," the first track on his battle-rap-laden Def Jux debut. The statement isn't far from the truth, as the…
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Music, Reviewed Instruments of Science and Technology

Instruments of Science and Technology

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Richard Swift is something of a Cole Porter–Paul McCartney hybrid, constructing pop tunes built upon a solid base of Americana and Tin Pan Alley. But his latest project, Instruments of Science and Technology, flips the script, focusing…
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Music, Black Mountain's Psychedelic Sprawl Needs a Roadmap

Black Mountain's Psychedelic Sprawl Needs a Roadmap

Vancouver's Black Mountain drew from a deep well of psychedelic-rock firewater when recording its self-titled debut, which was released in 2005. The group offered a rush of heavy, ethereal jams that bled Sabbath distortion into vintage '60s and '70s grooves.…
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