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I was doing my first tour of duty in Burlington, Vermont back in 1998. Even though I didn’t have basic cable in my apartment, I was able to pick up Much Music, the Canadian version of MTV. One day I was exposed to this video.

The sirens, the bass line, the guitars – the song was (and still is) perfect. This was the beginning of my love affair with Sloan, or if I was at one of their concerts, “Slooooooooooooan! Slooooooooooooooan!” In honor of their 10th studio album in their 20 year career, the excellent The Double Cross, this will be a journey through the Sloan discography with comments on my favorite songs from some of the albums. Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson, Andrew Scott – this one is for you!

Smeared (1992) – The full-length debut introduced Sloan as some blend of Beatle-esque harmonies and noise pop (think Sonic Youth around Goo). Basically if you think of Teenage Fanclub around this time, you have a good comparison of what Sloan sounded like. Three of the songs were from their Peppermint EP. Recommended: “Underwhelmed”, “I Am The Cancer”, “Marcus Said” – all Chris Murphy songs.

Twice Removed (1994) – “It’s not the band that I hate, it’s their fans.” The best lyric on one of Sloan’s catchiest songs, “Coax Me”. On their second full length album, Sloan fully embrace their power pop side. I love this album. Sometimes I like to use the term “ear candy.” This album is full of it! I want to recommend this entire album, but here are the biggest highlights (almost all of the album). Recommended: “Penpals” (Chris), “People of the Sky” (Andrew), “Coax Me” (Chris), “Bells On” (Chris), “Loosens” (Patrick), “Worried Now” (Patrick), “Deeper Than Beauty” (Chris), “Snowsuit Sound” (Jay), “I Can Feel It” (Patrick).

One Chord To Another (1996) – This is the second in their best four album run where I would want to recommend the entire album. This follows the same formula as Twice Removed and the gateway album for me, Navy Blues. Do you like well crafted, hooky, guitar based rock? Of course you do, and you should own this album. One of the songs, “Everything You’ve Done Wrong” appears in the movie The Virgin Suicides. Recommended: “The Good in Everyone” (Patrick), “Nothing Left To Make Me Want To Stay” (Chris), “G Turns To D” (Chris), “Everything You’ve Done Wrong” (Patrick), “Anyone Who’s Anyone” (Chris), “The Lines You Amend” (Jay), “Take the Bench” (Chris), “Can’t Face Up” (Patrick).

Navy Blues (1998) – This is where it all started for me. It’s my favorite Sloan album because it was the one that I heard first. Funny how that works that way. The guitars on this album have a nice “crunch” to them. So good. So very, very good. Recommended: “She Says What She Means” (Chris), “Iggy & Angus” (Patrick), “Keep On Thinkin'” (Chris), “Money City Maniacs” (Patrick), “Stand By Me, Yeah” (Patrick), “On The Horizon” (Andrew), “I’m Not Through With You Yet” (Patrick).

Between The Bridges (1999) – The last of their four album run of near perfect pop songs, Between The Bridges runs a lot of the songs together Abbey Road style. The songs don’t have as big of a rock “whallop” as Navy Blues, but you can still feel the 1960’s and 1970’s influence. This album was made for vinyl! Recommended: “The N.S.” (Andrew), “So Beyond Me” (Chris), “Don’t You Believe A Word” (Jay), “Sensory Deprivation” (Andrew), “All By Ourselves” (Chris), “A Long Time Coming” (Patrick), “Losing California” (Patrick), “The Marquee & The Moon” (Chris).

Pretty Together (2001) – After the four album run over seven years, you would expect any band to have a bit of a dip in quality. This album is Sloan’s dip. When I first heard it, I thought Sloan were just going through the motions. On occasion, I will listen to a song or two from the album. It’s still tough for me to sit through the entire album, yet I’m still recommending five songs. Recommended: “If It Feels Good Do It” (Patrick), “In the Movies” (Andrew), “Never Seeing The Ground For The Sky” (Andrew), “It’s In Your Eyes” (Patrick), “I Love a Long Goodbye” (Chris).

Action Pact (2003) – After Pretty Together, Sloan tried to bring back the rock in a pretty enjoyable return to form. Strangely, this was the only Sloan album I do not own in its entirety. Thus, only one song is recommended. Recommended: “Ready For You” (Chris).

Never Hear The End Of It (2006) – In what was a long time for Sloan between albums, they decided to put out an album of 29 songs clocking in around 70 minutes. Songs ran into other songs. It was pretty great. Recommended: “Who Taught You To Live Like That?” (Jay), “Flying High Again” (all four take a verse), “Right Or Wrong” (Jay).

Parallel Play (2008) – The shortest of Sloan’s albums after their longest album. Still, it sounded like they were having fun turning up the guitars again. Live a lot of the songs felt like new anthems. Recommended: “Believe in Me” (Patrick), “All I Am Is All You’re Not” (Chris), “Emergency 911” (Andrew), “Burn For It” (Patrick), “Witch’s Wand” (Jay), “Down in the Basement” (Andrew), “I’m Not A Kid Anymore” (Chris).

The Double Cross (2011) – You’re thinking, finally, this post is almost over. I’m still absorbing this album, so the list of the recommend songs may change later this year. It’s nice to see one of your favorite bands still putting out great music 20 years later. Basically, all I can do is to give a big “Thanks” to the little band from Halifax that could! Recommended: “Follow the Leader” (Chris), “The Answer Is You” (Jay), “Unkind” (Patrick), “Shadow of Love” (Chris), “Green Gardens, Cold Montreal” (Jay), “It’s Plain to See” (Andrew), “I’ve Gotta Know” (Patrick), “Traces” (Andrew), “Laying So Low” (Chris).

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I did this for work, I also do interviews for Rhythmism.com. This was a big one, Carl Craig, one of Detroit’s famed second wave (along with names you electronic guys will know like Richie Hawtin… Intro is below, I just linked to the website for the rest…

Carl Craig is a true legend in the world of electronic music, and specifically, techno – a genre he helped spread to the world as part of Detroit’s famed 2nd Wave of producers and DJs. Under the tutelage of original Motor City juggernauts like Derek May, Carl quickly branched out on his own to found his personal imprint, Planet E. Over two decades the record label has housed work under his numerous aliases, BFC, Psyche, Paperclip People, 69, Designer Music, and Innerzone Orchestra, served as a springboard for young artists, and released tracks from the likes of Kevin Saunderson, Alton Miller and Moodymann.

At present, Carl is starting a tour of live performances as 69, the alias he released his first Planet E track under 20 years ago. The tour will include numerous special guests, including Luciano, a friend and collaborator on numerous artistic endevours, along with Ricardo Villalobos, Dubfire, Sven Vath, Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice, Seth Troxler, Psycatron, Paul Woolford, Radio Slave, Chris Liebing and many others. In February, Carl released 20 F@#&ING Years – We Ain’t Dead Yet, a best-of compilation of Planet E productions, while throughout the year dropping a series of monthly Planet E catalogue remixes, produced by some of Carl’s expansive group of industry heavyweight friends.

REST OF THE INTERVIEW IS HERE.

You like System of a Down?  I sure do.

You like Legos?  Who doesn’t?!

Then you’re sure to enjoy System of a Lego.

Meet Sarah Jarosz, 20 year old bluegrass prodigy. According to her wiki, Sarah first picked up a mandolin at age 10, was jamming with Ricky Skaggs by 15, and signed a record deal and released her debut album Song Up In Her Head in 2009 while still a senior in high school.

Her sophomore effort, Follow Me Down, dropped earlier this year and serves as further proof of Jarosz’s considerable talent for songwriting and skilled musicianship – more impressive still: she recorded it while still handling a full course load at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music.

Follow Me Down is an excellent album well worth repeated listening, featuring 9 original songs written and performed by Jarosz (with a little help from the likes of Bela Fleck, Vince Gill, Darrell Scott, and Punch Brothers) and 2 covers: Ring Them Bells by Bob Dylan and The Tourist by Radiohead. Jarosz is quite the Radiohead fan and the track My Muse was inspired by (at least in part) the work of Oxford’s favorite sons.

Enjoy.

Whenever I hear of celebrities trying their hands at music, I always get a bit squeamish.  I instantly hear Eddie Murphy singing “Party All the Time” and then I can’t stop myself from doing “The Carlton”.  Needless to say, I get strange looks when this happens.

On the other hand, there are some definite success stories (and I’m specifically not talking about Scarlett Johnansson covering Tom Waits).  Phantom Planet, which featured Jason Schwartzman at one time, wasn’t half bad.  Zooey Deschanel’s has enjoyed moderate indie success playing in the group She & Him.

Then there’s Dead Man’s Bones featuring Ryan Gosling of Half Nelson-fame.  Check out the track below, My Body’s a Zombie for You (recorded in conjunction with the Flea-pioneered Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir).  Apart from the content of the song, which initially enticed me to check it out, it’s good stuff!

[Disclaimer: This is old news.]

When I heard that Harmony Korine of Kids fame was making a movie starring the South African Zef phenomenon, Die Antwoord, I was dubious.  Then I saw the film.  I’m fairly certain that Harmony Korine has a machine of some sort that records the dreams of Die Antwoord’s Ninja and Yo-landi Vi$$er and then translates them into film.  You be the judge.

Also, not suitable for work.

Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys | Album review – Music – Time Out Chicago.

Best Review Ever?

He uses bee dick as a unit of measurement. That’s Pulitzer Prize material.

Scratch this one off the listen list. Yikes.

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