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Danc Shmance Revolution

DFA Compilation #2 (DFA) What are DFA’s bands so cranky about? This bite-size New York indie–James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy, the label’s in-house production team, are also two-thirds of its management–is on top of its little world right now, and that world’s about to get a lot bigger. Over the past few years DFA Records […]

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Conventional Thinking

Fairport Convention Fairport Unconventional (Free Reed) Fairport Convention are celebrating their 35th anniversary as a group this year–and on Fairport Unconventional, a four-CD box set issued in commemoration, it’s clearer than ever that the fascination with history that gave them their glory has become their trap. They’re the progenitors of British folk rock, which draws […]

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High Tension

Wire Read & Burn 01 (Pinkflag) Wire has broken up before–twice–and they’re going to do it again, whenever they damn well feel like it. They announce as much with the opening track on Read & Burn 01, the first studio recording of their third incarnation. “Trust me, believe me,” Colin Newman drawls, then straightens up […]

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Going Cold

Chills Secret Box: The Chills’ Rarities, 1980-2000 (Definitive Music) By Douglas Wolk Chills fans have had to put up with almost 20 years of excuses. If only Martin Phillipps had been able to keep a band together, instead of going through 14 configurations in the group’s first 12 years. If only drummer Martyn Bull hadn’t […]

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

Of Grammatology Derrida Cock-Horse None of these young Chicago hipsters had actually played instruments before entering the studio, but they planned to employ Pro Tools’ new “subtle, jazzy, evocative, futuristic, improvisational” plug-in to full effect. Due to a hard-drive error, though, what came out was scrambled fragments of tuning noises and Sean O’Hagan’s collection of […]