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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, Reviewed 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, 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, Reviewed 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, Reviewed Saga of the Simian Samurai

    Saga of the Simian Samurai

    The teaming up of venerated MCs with esteemed producers has reaped fantastic results over the past few years. From Kool Keith and Dan the Automator's Dr. Octagon project to Danger Mouse and MF Doom's Danger Doom, the right chemistry can…
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    Music, Reviewed Jose Gonzalez

    Jose Gonzalez

    It was only a matter of time before a Jose Gonzalez song appeared during the sappy monologue that closes every episode of Scrubs. His sensitive acoustic songcraft, built around contemplative lyrics and melancholy guitar chords, is the perfect soundtrack to…
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    Music, Reviewed Vanessa Carlton

    Vanessa Carlton

    Irv Gotti, the mastermind behind the infectiously nettlesome Ja Rule and Ashanti, now counts piano-playing chanteuse Vanessa Carlton as part of his talent stable. But judging from the saccharine pop clichés on her new album, it appears he had very…
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    Music, Reviewed Digitalism


    These days, the rock clique feels no shame getting cozy with boom-thwack club tracks, thanks to the guitar- and synth-wielding purveyors of dance-punk. A purer form of electronic music, one firmly rooted in tech-house but unafraid to employ an occasional…
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    Music, Reviewed Art Brut

    Art Brut

    Rock music OS X Version 10.8.9 landed with a lunar-module splashdown last year in the form of Art Brut's debut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll. This incarnation was stripped down to basic punk riffs, injected with classic-rock noodling, and scrapped…
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    Music, Reviewed Kaiser Chiefs

    Kaiser Chiefs

    The British Invasion of 2004-2005 was a brutal offensive. The Futureheads, Franz Ferdinand, and Maximo Park coordinated their melodic post-punk assault with Jam and XTC badges boldly emblazoned on their sleeves. But this strike force had a weak link —…
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    Music, Reviewed The Fucking Champs

    The Fucking Champs

    The Fucking Champs lapped Led Zeppelin a few years ago in their quest for metal dominance. The muted power chord chops that the former band, now joined by Trans Am's Phil Manley, lift from weak, blues-based rock puts the Champs…
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    Music, Reviewed Cyann & Ben

    Cyann & Ben

    From the first candied vocal harmonies that float in over a morose bed of guitars and keys on Cyann & Ben's new full-length, the French quartet's shoegazer fixation rings out loud and clear. In the tradition of My Bloody Valentine,…
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    Music, Reviewed Do Make Say Think

    Do Make Say Think

    The world of indie rock has never really embraced the concept of the instrumental jam band. The few exceptions that (barely) fit into that category — Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Mogwai, Tortoise — don't really follow the genre's rules, instead…
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    Music, Reviewed Nurse and Soldier

    Nurse and Soldier

    Those who are familiar with the pounding, hypnotic nouveau-Krautrock of Brooklyn's Oneida probably never imagined the band to have a softer side. The last two Oneida albums provided helpful clues, though, as the group's furious riff pummeling was interspersed with…
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    Music, Reviewed Sonic Youth

    Sonic Youth

    The elephant in the room is a very calm one — Sonic Youth is older, wiser, and not as prone to youthful outbursts of feedback squalor as it once was. Deal with it. But the one thing the band has…
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    Music, Reviewed Ghostface Killah

    Ghostface Killah

    Ghostface Killah didn't wait long to offer up more of the raw material following the critical and creative success of this year's Fishscale. More Fish is actually closer to a mixtape than a proper album, showcasing the skills of Ghost's…
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    Music, Reviewed Chad VanGaalen

    Chad VanGaalen

    The Canadian one-man band that is Chad VanGaalen would easily whup Conor Oberst's and M. Ward's asses in an indie rock version of American Idol, should one finally get produced (pretty please?). For all the emo heartthrob power and neo-Dylan…
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    Music, Reviewed Grizzly Bear

    Grizzly Bear

    Brooklyn's Grizzly Bear makes music that feels like a visit to a thrift store — while you're fully aware that you're in the 21st century, surrounding you are hints of lives and eras past. Yellow House's loops and electronic warbles…
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    Music, Reviewed Motion Man

    Motion Man

    From the dramatic opening strains of "Down for the Fight," where Motion Man exuberantly raps, "I live for this hip hop, I'm about to die for this hip hop," it's evident that the Bay Area MC's sophomore album is the…
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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"

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