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Bred in Isolation

Go-Betweens 78 ’til 79: The Lost Album (Jetset) By Jon Dolan Punk’s democratization of rock ‘n’ roll in the late 70s is perhaps the single most romantic moment in the history of the music–at least to those of us who weren’t there to step in the vomit. With the birth of DIY came a support […]

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Adjusting Her Aim

Kelly Willis What I Deserve (Rykodisc) By Peter Margasak Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can tell a few things about a country singer by her hairdo. On the first of three poor-selling albums for MCA’s vaunted Nashville division, Well Travelled Love, Kelly Willis looked like a bookish bumpkin proudly […]

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All the Rage

Silkk the Shocker Made Man (No Limit) Mystikal Ghetto Fabulous (No Limit) By Keith Harris Like so many antisocial punks before him, from Iggy to Ice Cube, New Orleans hustler Percy Miller had a dream: to invent the ugliest music imaginable. Under the vaguely sadomasochistic nom de guerre Master P, he devised a virulent, no-budget […]

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Highs in the Mid-60s

Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (Rhino) Hardly a week goes by when this paper isn’t recommending a “performance” by one of the recent crop of name DJs that tour and release their own albums. Disc jockeys have always had a place in the music scene, as far back as the big-band […]

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A Man Among Giants

Charlie Feathers Get With It: Essential Recordings (1954-69) (Revenant) By Bill Meyer More than 40 years ago four rockabilly performers barnstormed the south, staging nightly cutting contests in sweaty roller rinks, tents, and armories. Some nights the winner was Johnny Cash, others it was Elvis Presley; sometimes both were dust beneath Carl Perkins’s blue suede […]

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Fangs for the Memories

Bauhaus at the Riviera, August 28 By Monica Kendrick In her book Our Vampires, Ourselves, a penetrating and sometimes hilarious study of literary and cinematic leeches as the personification of cultural taboos, Nina Auerbach reminds us that it was Bram Stoker who coined the word “undead.” He needed a word that would accurately convey the […]

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Sweet Self-Indulgence

Sonic Youth at the Riviera, May 16 By Monica Kendrick Every one of the professional fans at South by Southwest was looking for those proverbial mindblowing unknowns playing in the bathroom of some barbecue joint. I kept my ears open too, knowing I’d look like an idiot if I told the truth: the band that […]

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Remixed Results

Miles Davis Panthalassa: The Music of Miles Davis 1969-1974 Reconstruction & Mix Translation by Bill Laswell (Columbia) Various Artists Variety Pack (Smile) By Michaelangelo Matos When they rewrite the annals of popular music again in a couple years, the 90s will be known as the remix decade–the years when a little piece of underground dance […]

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Little Big Man

By David Whiteis I never met a man who could wear clothes the way Junior Wells wore clothes–not a thread out of place, not the slightest smudge, even on his shoes, no matter how sweaty the room, no matter how chaotic the situation. Even on those rare occasions when he put on something as pedestrian […]

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Verbal Assault

Crom-Tech Crom-Tech (Gravity) Harry Pussy Live (Cherry Smash) Melt-Banana Wedge (Slap a Ham) Arab on Radar Queen Hygiene II (Heparin) By Douglas Wolk Early hardcore was as simple a musical style as has ever been invented: chords anyone could learn in a few hours, rhythms an easy variation on the polka beat, speed as high […]

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Raw Power

AC/DC Bonfire (East West) In a fat book somewhere, preferably called “GODDAMN ROCK,” there should be a patient eulogy for AC/DC, explaining how the band wowed us with an overkill of wattage and captivated our adolescent selves with a fiery juggling act of bawdy lore, forlorn sentiment, and songs about oh what a rocking band […]

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Triumph of the Swill

The Lynns The Lynns (Reprise) Jim Lauderdale Whisper (BNA) Country and its fans are notoriously obsessed with tradition and authenticity, and though the industry’s definition of those terms is constantly in flux, on the surface no other popular music style places such an emphasis on the perpetuation of a certain set of values. But as […]

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Shallow Roots

Buju Banton Inna Heights (VP Records/Germain Music) By Joshua Green It’s not too tough these days for a fallen star to clamber back into the public’s good graces. Marv Albert hit the talk show circuit before the ink was dry on his plea bargain; a newly penitent Mike Tyson landed a gig with the World […]

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Volume on Volume

The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal By Martin Popoff (Collector’s Guide Publishing) How many times has this happened to you? You’re sitting in your cubicle, slogging away as usual, when suddenly the woman across the aisle leans over and says something like: “Hey, you know what? I just picked up that last Carcass LP, Wake […]