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Cheating Fame

Martin Newell The Wayward Genius of Martin Newell (Cherry Red) By Rick Reger In its broad outline, the plight of British guitarist and songwriter Martin Newell will sound familiar. Since 1980 Newell has been releasing brilliant, deliriously tuneful pop records–as the Cleaners From Venus and the Brotherhood of Lizards as well as under his own […]

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Rare and Well Done

Stereolab Aluminum Tunes (Drag City) By Eric Levy This won’t endear me to the Goldmine set, but around 1988 or ’89, when it became apparent that compact discs were here to stay, I hoped the next thing I’d hear in pure digital sound would be the death knell of the pop single. Estimates of just […]

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Letter From a Friend

Bevis Frond North Circular (Flydaddy) By Rick Reger The Bevis Frond has just released North Circular, its 15th LP in a little over a decade. Many forward-thinking musicians and critics will respond to it with an emphatic “So what?” I can understand that. I’ve been there too. The Bevis Frond is the nom de rock […]

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Great Unknown

Elliott Smith at the 70th Annual Academy Awards, March 23 By Warren Sentence Between NCAA tournament games last Saturday on CBS, a man was given the opportunity to take one three-point shot for two million dollars. The contest’s sponsor, Gillette, would pay out the cash–one million to the shooter, one million to his chosen charity–if […]

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Philadelphia Stories

Various Artists The Philly Sound: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff & the Story of Brotherly Love (1966-1976) (Epic/Legacy) Toward the end of the “Make It Funky” episode of the PBS rock ‘n’ roll history series, as dancers in widely unbuttoned shirts and skimpy gowns gyrate across a mid-70s club floor to Harold Melvin & the Blue […]