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Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014
The simple alt-country of Lines West's music goes a long ways in softening the Connecticut band's intense lyrical explorations, as its new single "Lover" attests.

One of the wonders of music is its ability to soften the impact of intensely personal subject matter through the use of “happy sounding” technique and key signatures. As Chris Thile once said about bluegrass, “If you want to be happy, listen to the music; if you want to be sad, listen to the lyrics.” “Lover”, the latest single from the Bridgeport, Connecticut alt-country duo Lines West, is an ideal example of the tension between affable music and emotionally probing lyrics. The team of John Radzin and Brian Larney behind the Lines West name bring out this classic feature of country and bluegrass music especially on “Lover”. It’s a tune one will likely hum along to, whether or not one notices Radzin’s melancholy self-exploration.


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Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014
Boston rockers We Were Astronauts have a fun new summer jam in the .38 Special-esque "Keep It Together", which should fit cozily on any summer road trip playlists.

The operative word in the band name “We Were Astronauts” is “were”, for the Boston rock quartet that bears the appellation sounds firmly rooted to the earth. Such is definitely the case for “Keep It Together,” a track off of their upcoming recording Artificial Light, which following a successful Kickstarter campaign was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Warren Huart. Rooted in the country-tinged classic rock of groups like .38 Special, “Keep It Together” is as ideal a summer road trip radio tune as there could be.


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Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014
Drew Daniel continues to show off his love for heavy metal following the release of his incredible Why Do the Heathen Rage? He has now compiled a menagerie of intro and outro tracks from his favorite black metal LPs.

The Soft Pink Truth‘s Why Do the Heathen Rage? is one of 2014’s most daring musical experiments. Drew Daniel has used the Soft Pink Truth name to cover artists before, with 2004’s hardcore punk tribute Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Soft Pink Truth? With Why Do the Heathen Rage, however, Daniel takes his musical vision to even gutsier heights, offering up catchy and off-kilter electronic covers of black metal songs. Dancing could be a side effect of these tunes, yes, but there’s a much bigger point being made by Daniel, who arranged these covers to shed light on the darkest, most overlooked aspects of black metal’s history, namely its racism, sexism, and homophobia.


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Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014
Driven by killer guitar riffs and its unique narrative perspective, the rollicking "Helicopter" by rock outfit Bailiff is can be downloaded here exclusively at PopMatters.

Like many bands in this Kickstarter-obsessed age, rock outfit Bailiff funded their latest outing, the genre-melding Remise, through a fan-funded campaign. Of the many tunes that came from the successfully funded EP sessions is the wickedly cool “Helicopter”, which stands as one of Remise‘s most driving moments. With propulsive, infectious guitar riffs at the forefront, the band brings a great deal of energy in the track’s concise, four-minute runtime, during which vocalist/guitarist Josh Siegel deals with some heavy lyrical matter.


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Monday, Jun 23, 2014
The deceptively cheery, Zappa-esque ditty "It Doesn't Even Matter", by the Brooklyn chamber pop band Onward Chariots is available to stream exclusively on PopMatters.

“You’d never guess it,” says Ben Morss of the Brooklyn chamber pop outfit Onward Chariots, “but I initially conceived ‘It Doesn’t Even Matter’‘, the band’s latest single, “as the dark, angry, highly bitter cri du coeur of a frustrated songwriter”. One spin of the track, and it is indeed difficult to have the notion in one’s head that it ever began with such intentions. “It Doesn’t Even Matter” positively bleeds of the sunny side of ‘50s and ‘60s pop.


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