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Marah

Led by Dave and Serge Bielanko, Philadelphia’s Marah is one of the more ambitious Americana outfits in recent memory. The scruffy, swaggering brothers have set themselves the task of surveying the frontier between rural myth and urban reality; remarkably, their music manages in its best moments to encompass city and country, black and white, in […]

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Stereophonics

Pity the poor Stereophonics. They’re arena-headlining stars in their native Britain but get a steady stream of flak from critics, tabloids, and Thom Yorke, while in America they’re reduced to warming up theater crowds for the likes of VH1-approved coffeehouse refugee Howie Day. Despite the continued efforts of their label (the Welsh combo was the […]

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Navel-Gazing Nation

Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo by Andy Greenwald (St. Martin’s Griffin) Not long after finishing Andy Greenwald’s Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo, I got an e-mail from one of the book’s subjects, Jimmy Eat World singer Jim Adkins (an old friend of mine from Arizona). “It’s so weird, dude. […]

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Old 97’s

Despite decent sales and critical praise for his 2002 album, The Instigator, Old 97’s singer Rhett Miller’s solo odyssey turned out to be a rather strange trip–one that found him chatting up Carson Daly, covering Simon and Garfunkel for a MasterCard commercial, and opening for everyone from Tori Amos to Uncle Kracker. Something about the […]

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Har Mar Superstar

So far American audiences have taken Sean Tillman’s lil’ lothario shtick with a big grain of salt, but our counterparts overseas have embraced his Har Mar Superstar character with an alarming intensity. The pudgy prince of ironic do-me R & B spent the summer in Europe, stripping to his skivvies on the festival circuit, conducting […]

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History Remix

The Beatles Let It Be…Naked (Apple/Capitol) Spin the latest entry in the Beatles’ catalog and you’ll be transported, as they say, to a simpler time. That simpler time isn’t the halcyon 60s, though–it’s the late 80s, when we all thought the worst that could happen to the Fab Four’s memory would be Michael Jackson’s buying […]

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Bringing It All Back Home

Paul Westerberg Come Feel Me Tremble (Vagrant) Come Feel Me Tremble DVD (Redline Entertainment) Grandpaboy Dead Man Shake (Fat Possum) Don’t look back, Paul Westerberg thought to himself the first time he crossed paths with Bob Dylan. It was early 1990, and the Replacements were wrapping up a long, boozy session at Hollywood’s Ocean Way […]

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The Alternative Universe

Milk It! Collected Musings on the Alternative Rock Explosion of the 90’s by Jim DeRogatis (Da Capo) To Jim—Now It’s Your Turn. Best, Lester This brief inscription, scrawled across the inside cover of his quickie bio of Blondie, were Lester Bangs’s parting words to fledgling rock critic Jim DeRogatis. It was mid-April 1982, and the future […]