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Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014
A decade later, Green Day's politically charged concept album remains one of the best, most important records of its era. The newest Between the Grooves series examines it in detail, starting with its mission statement title track.

Prior to 2004, few people would classify the music of Green Day as particularly sophisticated, intellectual, or thematically mature. Sure, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” with its poignancy, fragility, and beautiful orchestration, quickly became the introspective acoustic ballad of a generation, and fun singles like “When I Come Around” and “Basket Case” were amongst the catchiest mainstream songs of their era. However, for the most part the ‘90s saw Green Day dominating the airwaves as little more than a premier punk rock group. The band emblemized a contemporary take on the rowdy counterculture retaliation of ‘70s icons like the Clash, and while it did an excellent job of it (don’t get me wrong), no one ever expected the trio to branch out of its preset genre limitations stylistically, conceptually, or technically.


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Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014
While it is now under the umbrella of a non-profit foundation, the Newport Folk Festival still remains one of the top Summer festivals for an artist to play.

It wouldn’t be hard to believe that Jack White, head honcho of Third Man Records, had a say in Saturday’s lineup at the Newport Folk Festival, given that many acts who’ve released something on the label or dabbled with him in the studio appeared that day. There was John C. Reilly and Pokey Lafarge just to name a couple (okay, you want a few more as proof? Try Chris Thile, Shovels & Rope and Haden Triplets). Plus I saw Beck wandering around on Friday (a few days later White made a guest appearance at one of Beck’s shows). White himself was taking in sets from various acts on Saturday, including young guitarist (and NPR-intern reject) Benjamin Booker, his own label’s Language Lessons reading series (Third Man now has a publishing arm) and taking Polaroid selfies with people.


Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it out on Sunday so I missed a ton of good photo ops but it was hard to even catch most of the surprise moments on the days I did go. I missed Mavis Staples do guest appearances at least twice - she joined Lake Street Dive on Friday and Lucius on Saturday for example. Of what I did see (non White-related), Reignwolf put on one of the most aggressive sets. Hozier was quite busy, with two short sets on Friday and Saturday and a proper set Sunday. Ryan Adams was thrilling to see live for the first time. Sun Kil Moon (who didn’t allow photos) expressed concern about the number of white people at the festival and how as he was getting older, his dick “wants to do things” but his body can no longer keep up before singing a song he wrote for his mother. Jimmy Cliff received round after round of applause for a set that included a fantastic cover of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World”.


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Friday, Aug 29, 2014
The work of Dr. Susan Robinson forms the focus of Martha Shane and Lana Wilson's intelligent, conscientious documentary, After Tiller, premiering on PBS' POV series on September 1.

“Of course you don’t want an abortion. Nobody wants an abortion.”


Dr. Susan Robinson provides abortions, in particular, for women in their third trimesters who, for any number of reasons, need to end their pregnancies. Robinson is one of four such providers in the US who do this work, work they once did with Dr. George Tiller and work they now continue to do, after his 2009 murder in his church in Wichita. The work, and more importantly, the people who choose to do it, form the focus of Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s intelligent, conscientious documentary, After Tiller, premiering on PBS’ POV series on September 1.


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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
The teenagers of the Strypes ended their current tour run in spectacular fashion in New York.

Four teenage lads who hail from Ireland, Ross Farrelly (vocals), Josh McClorey (guitar), Peter O’Hanlon (bass) and drummer Evan Walsh make up the Strypes, a straight up rock and roll band influenced by ‘60s and ‘70s acts. Their current US tour with Brooklyn’s the Skins recently wrapped up at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg where the crowd went a little bonkers, turning half of the dance floor into a churning mosh pit. The young band put out their first album Snapshot last year and have a new EP out this year, but they didn’t just fill their show with only their songs. Throughout, but primarily at the finale, the Strypes’ included covers of acts that influenced them, from Vince Taylor to Howlin’ Wolf. The two most fun covers at the end included some audience participation though. The Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach” and the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” became sing-alongs and the latter saw the Skins return to the stage to close out the night and the tour with their friends.


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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
Eighteen new songs with notes (and a quiz) to extend the summer vibe.

Here’s another collection of music culled from recent releases to help keep the summer vibe going. Check out new songs from indie veterans Spoon, Interpol, the New Pornographers and the Shins along with new bands such as Jungle and the Orwells. Vacationer, Parquet Courts and Ex Hex bring the party atmosphere while Christopher Owens, Stand of Oaks and Tweedy (Jeff Tweedy of Wilco) craft a mellow musical vein.


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