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Jan 24, 2011 Music Iron & Wine

Ah, the ancient, nearly lost art of quality control. After more than three years of waiting for a new Iron and Wine album, Sam Beam returns with a taut 10 tracks.

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Jan 21, 2011 Music White Lies

At the outset, things may seem easy for a band that sounds an awful lot like other bands—they’re easy to define, people find them without much trouble, and there’s a track laid out for them.

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Jan 19, 2011 Music Robert Pollard

By now, you know the drill. If you like Robert Pollard, you’ll go out and buy Space City Kicks.

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Jan 17, 2011 Music The Decemberists

The Decemberists have never been shy about their Anglophilia, their early releases often marked by dark, Victorian tales.

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Jan 13, 2011 Music Issue #34 - Year End 2010 - Sufjan Stevens

Three-legged horses are usually put down. The tripodal mustang that adorns Valhalla Dancehall‘s cover seems to want to dance, but is partially bound by British Sea Power’s epic sense of determination. Thankfully, the band does find middle ground and the music takes on some of the playfulness of the band’s lyrics; a tidy step back from the awesome arena rock of Do You Like Rock Music?

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Jan 12, 2011 Music Einstürzende Neubauten

Considering Einstürzende Neubauten’s early intense, confrontational recordings, they might not have seemed like a creative unit that was built to last. Thirty years from their early days of playing custom-built instruments and lots of banging on metal, the group has collected two discs’ worth of considerably more varied and nuanced recordings, made over the past eight years for the fourth in their Strategies Against Architecture archival compilation series.

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Jan 07, 2011 Music Issue #34 - Year End 2010 - Sufjan Stevens

Tapes ‘n Tapes got a raw deal following the release of their 2006 debut The Loon. The blog hype surrounding them became a boiling cauldron, and promptly chilled as quickly as it had simmered. To borrow an axiom from Blade Runner, “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long,” and the band found this cold reality to be fact when their 2008 follow up Walk It Off was greeted with nary a shrug.

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Jan 04, 2011 Music Web Exclusive

Live in Vancouver 1970 documents a late-period Doors concert, which took place just months before Jim Morrison’s trial on charges stemming from the alleged indecent exposure incident in Florida. The show is significant for featuring blues legend Albert King, whose participation on four songs immediately elevates the performance, making Vancouver a welcome addition to The Doors’ catalog.

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Jan 03, 2011 Music Issue #34 - Year End 2010 - Sufjan Stevens

It’s impossible to discount the cataclysmic influence Wire’s canonized, epochal late ‘70s triptych of Pink Flag, 154, and Chairs Missing had on the ‘80s American underground indie scene. R.E.M. paid homage with a cover of “Strange” on Document, and The Feelies and Minutemen were but two of the many legions admittedly galvanized by the band.

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