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Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Songwriters have long understood the poignancy that results from exposing their less-becoming side, but Tegan and Sara take self-disclosure to masochistic extremes. On their latest album of hyper-dramatic, uncomfortably autobiographical power-pop, The Con, the singing identical twins unabashedly cast themselves in the vilest light possible. “Sara and I both have this very self-deprecating, almost abusive way of looking at ourselves,” Tegan Quin explains. “We both feel like we can be very destructive and very pessimistic and very tortured and very weak, but in a weird way those are some of our best qualities.”
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tonight @ Shank Hall - 8:00 p.m.

A Woodstock, N.Y., band with a search-engine-defying name, 3—or is it spelled Three? There’s no consensus on this, even from the band’s own camp—head to Shank Hall tonight for an 8 p.m. show. The group’s latest album, The End Is Begun, is a collection of charged, youthful prog-rock with flashes of Porcupine . . .
Friday, April 4, 2008

Tonight @ the Cactus Club - 10:00 PM

Anticon Records is known almost exclusively for a certain sound—electronica-influenced, abstract hip-hop, often with an avant-garde edge—but one act on the label’s roster smashes this mold. Although they siphon certain aesthetics from hip-hop, Why? sticks mostly to tumultuous indie-pop and spry, Animal Collective . . .
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

March 29, 2008

Like Jonathan Richman, Jens Lekman is a doeeyed and baritonevoiced songwriter who travels the world singing simple, unaffected songs about universal experiences. And like Richman, he writes some of the purest, most genuine music ever recorded. But where Richman relies on just a primitive guitardrum setup to share his vision in concert, Lekman aims for something grander. For his latest tour, he’s recruited a quintet of musicians, including a violinist and cellist, whose swooning strings caress his more intimate songs and aggrandize his zippier, poppier ones. With a little assistance from a laptop, Lekman’s arrangements can conjure anything from classic soul to disco to calypso. Jonathan Richman’s music only sounds this fully realized in Jonathan Richman’s head.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

How Vampire Weekend Channeled Africa Through New York

What is a young artist to make of a post-Giuliani, post-9/11 New York City? Some credit the former mayor’s strategic employment of the “broken window” philosophy in fighting urban crime and blight—along with a police force that, putting it kindly, ignored many of the subtleties of community relations—with helping the city to clean up its act. Many old haunts that once housed angst-ridden musicians are being developed into condominiums and shopping centers (it was, for example, recently announced that the former site of CBGB is being converted into a store for upscale men’s fashion designer John Varvatos). At the same time, the horrific events of 9/11 have created both a newfound sense of community among many New Yorkers and an intense preoccupation with all things safety-related. The grime, danger and sin historically associated with New York have seemingly been wiped off the cultural landscape of the city, creating a new atmosphere marked by a cleanliness that threatens to erase many aspects of the region’s checkered history.
Friday, Dec. 21, 2007

The Response Fits the Bill (In a Good Way)

While recently re-watching Rushmore, Steve Kerwin realized with some dismay that a memorable line in the film bears an unintentional resemblance to the title of his band's latest album, With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?

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