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Nov 02, 2011 Live Lydia Loveless

While 21-year-old Lydia Loveless introduces the last song of her set, the title track of her 2010 debut album, The Only Man, she says matter-of-factly, “It’s about shooting your dad in the face.” She’s not kidding; that’s indeed what the song is about.

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Nov 01, 2011 Live CMJ 2011

CMJ 2011 took over various New York City venues in mid-October. Most New Yorkers probably didn’t notice, but it was a big deal to those in the indie music industry. Over the five days we witnessed a mixed bag of sets, with one of the clear standouts being Canadian duo Purity Ring. Other highlights included Zambri, Inc., EMA, and all the bands that played Under the Radar‘s CMJ party (including The Stepkids, Chad Valley, Still Corners, and others).

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Oct 30, 2011 Live Trentemøller

The action at Thursday night’s show at The Henry Fonda in Los Angeles all led up to one single, near-indisputable truth: Anders Trentemøller is a badass.

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Oct 25, 2011 Live CMJ - Day Four - October 21, 2011 - Part One CMJ - Day Five - October 22, 2011 CMJ CMJ 2011 Kid Savant Radiation City Purity Ring

While I was only able to attend the last two days of this year’s CMJ Marathon in New York City, it’s fair to say that the east coast event is a very different kind of beast in comparison to the whirlwind of its much bigger brother in Austin’s South by Southwest.

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Oct 17, 2011 Live Fleet Foxes

The Louisville Palace is covered with ornate sculpture, and when you look up at the ceiling, you are immersed in a replica of the night sky, glowing stars shining down on the crowd. Yet when Fleet Foxes took the stage, their three- and four-part harmonies danced through their performance like rays of sunshine.

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Oct 06, 2011 Live Peter Hook and the Light

It’s pretty obvious that Peter Hook of Joy Division (and New Order) is cashing in on the immortality of his former group by performing songs from their only two albums, Closer and Unknown Pleasures. In witnessing the emotional multi-aged crowds at either of the nights he performed in Los Angeles—a select number of which are following him on tour—it’s clear that few of the fans there cared if avarice was part of the motivation.

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Oct 02, 2011 Live Elbow

I’d like to nominate Elbow’s Guy Garvey as the most charming man in rock. Really. How many artists do you honestly believe when they thank you for coming? When they ask an audience how they’re doing? Or call a stadium full of people “friends?” Chalk it up to waiting ten years to release their first record. Chalk it up to his being the kind of personality that thrives in the spotlight. Or…chalk it up to the fact that Elbow happens to be a band of gentlemen in the truest sense of the word. Your choice.

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Sep 29, 2011 Live Jens Lekman

A dark night. An empty graveyard. A vampire-like Masonic lodge. Random bursts of smoke on stage. And…Jens Lekman. Very little made sense about the setting for Lekman’s first show in support of newly released EP, An Argument With Myself. But as per usual, that didn’t stop the Swedish troubadour from redefining charming over the course of his fifteen-song set.

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Aug 29, 2011 Live Beck Serge Gainsbourg Beach House Grizzly Bear Zola Jesus The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger Joseph Gordon-Levitt Lulu Gainsbourg Mike Patton

It’s deceptively easy to see the career of French musician Serge Gainsbourg as one continuous punchline. With his distinctive vocal style—a muttered sing-speech—parodied almost into oblivion since his rise to popularity in the 1960s, the inclusion of his music in film or television seems to automatically indicate the horny bachelor, the ill-conceived seduction, or (horror of horrors) hipsters aiming to embrace kitsch with both hands. Last night at the Hollywood Bowl however, cool was the name of the game—as Beck, Zola Jesus, Victoria Legrand (of Beach House), Mike Patton, Ed Droste (of Grizzly Bear), The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Lulu Gainsbourg, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, sang, spoke and cooed their tributes to the late performer.

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