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  • Article

    Rogue Wave - Following their bliss

    If you're toiling in a 9-to-5 job, telling yourself that one of these days your musical genius will be discovered, lemme tell you about Zach Schwartz. After years stuck in nowhere bands, Schwartz got canned from yet another job and decided, "Okay, th...

    by Tim Grierson on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    Candye Kane - Something to keep on her chest

    Uh, excuse us for a just a sec, but as the beyond-buxom breasts of one Candye Kane, the former porn star turned blueswoman, we'd like a word with you. We're certain we've got your attention, due to the fact that your lecherous peepers have been rivet...

    by Benjamin Leatherman on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    The Stiletto Formal - Jingle (cow)bells

    Christmas comes early this year in a pair of intimate Stiletto Formal shows, and it doesn't matter if you've been naughty or nice. In fact, the arty, sex rocker-hipsters of Stiletto probably prefer the former. The band members are fresh off a string ...

    by Casey Lynch on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    Juelz Santana - What the Game's Been Missing! (Def Jam)

    Whether he's repping the Taliban, dubbing himself "human crack in the flesh," or prefacing one of his many latently homosexual slip-ups with the transparently insecure caveat "no homo," Juelz Santana is brilliantly bad. During his second verse from "...

    by Sam Chennault on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    Lil Wayne - Tha Carter, Vol. II (Cash Money)

    Lil Wayne is the Al Green of rap: He could recite the phone book and have listeners hanging on each of his curvaceous consonants and smoldering vowels. On Tha Carter, Vol. II, Wayne more or less does just that, injecting familiar rap tropes (sample c...

    by Sam Chennault on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    T. Rex - The Slider Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow Dandy in the Underworld The T. Rex Wax Co. Singles: A's and B's 1972-77 (Rhino)

    Rhino's lavish reissues bookend T. Rex's most fully cooked work, polishing maestro Marc Bolan's legacy for any Yanks who still think of this overseas superstar as a trashy novelty. Not that trash is beside the point: Bolan's 1972 masterpiece, The Sl...

    by Andrew Marcus on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    Lady Sovereign - Vertically Challenged (Chocolate Industries)

    This eight-song EP provides the first real indication that U.K. grime may be more than just a passing fad. South London MC Lady Sovereign, already a battle-scarred veteran at 18, has all the confidence of a sassy 28-year-old, plus the charm and cheek...

    by Eric K. Arnold on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    Vote for Pedro Tour - Taking you to Spin City

    Gosh, Pedro Sanchez must have some mad skills besides owning sweet bikes or hooking up with chicks, since the newly elected class president of Preston High School has been visiting dance clubs and discotheques across North America lately. Then again,...

    by Benjamin Leatherman on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    Seven Nights of DJs and Dancing - Who's spinning what, where and when

    Thursday 15 Acme Roadhouse: College Night with DJ J. Alan (Top 40) Ain't Nobody's Bizness: DJ Suzy (hip-hop, dance) Anderson's Fifth Estate: Area 51 with DJ Jeremy (goth, industrial) Axis-Radius: DJ Riz (funky house) AZ 88: DJ P-Body (ja...

    on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    Under Raps - Rocking around the Block

    I've been thinking about the word "nigga" a lot lately. Seems it's popping out of everybody's mouth these days, whether it's high school wiggers or commercial rappers. The way I understand it, there's two ways to see it: It's either taking the pow...

    by Brendan Joel Kelley on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    If the Xiu Fits - Xiu Xiu confronts the unbearable darkness of being

    For a leading indie-rock miserablist, Jamie Stewart possesses one of the heartiest, most boisterous laughs you're ever likely to hear. The 33-year-old Xiu Xiu (pronounced shoe-shoe) front man typically converses quietly, in a polite, thoughtful, self...

    by Michael Alan Goldberg on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    Fine China's Big Break? - O.C. how they run

    Back in the spring, when I first heard Fine China's new album, The Jaws of Life, I fixated on the idea of hidden Phoenix treasures. The album's great from the first listen -- moody, Brit-styled pop, but by a band based here. The album's easily one of...

    by Michele Laudig on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    Good Thinking - Old-time, longtime

    Catherine Ann Irwin and Janet Beveridge Bean have been at this Freakwater thing since about 1988, which is pretty impressive when you stop to realize that Gram Parsons died after recording a total of two LPs with Emmylou Harris; George Jones and Tamm...

    by Scott Faingold on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    Critical Fatwa - Give it a rest. In peace

    All hail Big Poppa! Not only was the Notorious B.I.G. a master storyteller and MC, but he also has never humped a corpse. That may seem faint praise for such a legend. However, his lack of necrophilia sets Biggie apart from his friends and family, wh...

    by The Ayatollah of Rock on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    RIAA-holes - How they misspell relief

    Conspiracy theorists, ready your blogs: The RIAA unleashed last month's Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now on the American public to convince us to stop sending aid to Louisiana. Why? Who knows? But this two-disc benefit album is the musical equival...

    by Sam Machkovech on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    Chilee Powdah - Code of Loyalty (D2 Loyalty)

    If hip-hop's all about the handle, the hooks, and the homies, then local wordsmith Chilee Powdah's got the full package. His name (complete with a double "e" for easy rhymes) has thug appeal, and his album Code of Loyalty boasts a combination of thum...

    by Niki D'Andrea on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    Stereo Typed - Stereophonic Travelers (Avenue of the Arts Recordings)

    The travel bug bit Stereo Typed hard on the Phoenix hip-hop trio's debut full-length. As the album title suggests, these guys get around -- but they're more globe trekkers with a message than bling-seeking jet-setters, delivering political criticism ...

    by Michele Laudig on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    Madonna - Confessions on a Dance Floor (Maverick)

    With Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna makes progress in returning to form after the preachy, pale American Life, but this seamless, beat-filled ode to dance clubs isn't enough to restore her pop relevance. These are the sounds of 1998, halfway b...

    by Sam Machkovech on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    Keith Urban - The man Nic oughta pick

    In case you were pining for another four-month Hollywood/Nashville marriage to fill the Kenny Chesney/Rene Zellweger void, forget it. Urban and Nicole Kidman are currently not an item according to the London Free Press, which reports Kidman advised U...

    by Serene Dominic on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    Nickel Creek - Mood pop

    Gorgeous bluegrass shaded with a blend of contemporary pop and rock influences, the San Diego trio Nickel Creek's supple, earthy tones blow gracefully across genre-bending arrangements. Their new album, Why Should the Fire Die?, transcends categoriza...

    by Chris Parker on December 8, 2005
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