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Material Issue

Material Issue is fronted by the rebarbative Jim Ellison, a long-legged gamin who leads a youthful three-piece band. With a chip on his shoulder the size of Cabaret Metro and a penchant for saying stupid things in public, he’s an onstage natural full of equal parts attitude and shit. But as you watch him skip, […]

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Tav Falco’s Panther Burns

What exactly Tav Falco is I’m not sure. He certainly is an aficionado of southern muck rock, and he fronts a band, Panther Burns, that plays a potent, eerily corporeal strain of mucked-up rockabilly (muckabilly?). But he’s also at least part performance artist (he used to call himself Tubeman and play blues classics on police […]

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Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams’s third record (called Lucinda Williams) is a charmer, released on Rough Trade, of all labels. She’s a country gal unapologetically, and if her record, production-wise, is a melange of messy 70s influences (particularly Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt), she overwhelms them with a wary integrity and an eye for the perfect lyric. “These […]

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Let’s Active

On his third full-length record, Every Dog Has Its Day, prodigy producer and ultrapop songster Mitch Easter continues his search for the perfect hook. There’s a drama to his efforts and a poiignancy as well: it’s a noble task but a hopeless one too, and sooner or later one realizes that that’s not really what […]

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Barbie Army

It’s a little surprising to me how good these women are, because, in some ways, the promo tape they sent me is no different from all those tapes I’ve heard by local, run-of-the-mill underground bar bands who do little else than go through the motions. For one thing, their musical wardrobe contains some pretty standard […]

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Albert Mangelsdorff

In the 70s, Albert Mangelsdorff recorded an album called Tromboneliness, and the concept contained in that title applies to his appearance in Chicago: an evening of unaccompanied improvisation. No matter that the trombone would seem to be an instrument particularly ill-suited to the purpose; in Mangelsdorff’s hands, it might as well be anything from a […]

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3

Appearances to the contrary, this is not another scaled-down ELP revival, despite the involvement of two-thirds of the original ELP personnel. It is the unique brainchild of drummer Carl Palmer (the only member of the original band who declined 1986’s ELP revival), who discovered a sensational new singer/songwriter in the California Bay area named Robert […]

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Alex Chilton

Since Alex Chilton walks a thin tightrope between earnestness and sarcasm, poise and chaos, art and trash, rock and roll, he would make the perfect guest on the David Letterman show if Letterman were cool enough to ask him. Since he probably won’t, I’ll fill in with a top-ten list of Things to Expect at […]

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1988 Palais Royal Orchestra

When society bandleader Paul Whiteman led his Palais Royal Orchestra in “An Experiment in Modern Music” at New York’s Aeolian Hall on February 12, 1924, his intention was (in the words of the original program notes) “purely educational”: he wanted to demonstrate to high-toned listeners that “the discordant jazz” of the streets had evolved into […]

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Tav Falco’s Panther Burns/Sapphires

If your objection to Dirty Dancing is that it’s just not dirty enough, don’t miss the chance to see two purveyors of sweat-soaked primal raunch get scuzzy and fuzzy on one double bill. The suavely unkempt Tav Falco, who resembles a used-car salesman stepping out of a John Waters film festival, is the rockabilly equivalent […]

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The Jesus and Mary Chain

The singles that made this English band the talk of Anglos and Anglophiles everywhere back in ’85 were a unique brand of punk schlock. They were framed by a resonant, pulsating bass hum at one end of the sonic spectrum and a shrill, dissonant layer of guitar feedback at the other; together, these effects combined […]

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Alex Chilton

Lester Bangs said that the Velvet Underground “invented the 70s.” That’s an exaggeration–they’d have done a better job–but it’s no more of one to say that Alex Chilton invented the 80s a decade early. Stuck inside of Memphis with the downwardly mobile blues, Chilton turned from teenage Box Top to torrid iconoclast. His signature band, […]

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Eleventh Dream Day

Over the past couple of years Eleventh Dream Day has gradually built up a raging head of steam, a blistering one-two guitar attack that sounds like somebody throttling down an empty highway at 3 AM. Frontman/songwriter Rick Rizzo likes to write about people driven over the edge by their irrational urges, but he also constructs […]