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Monday, Mar 31, 2014
A haunting paean to one's home city.

Rahdan Vandal (who usually just records under his first name), is probably Turkey’s most haunted rapper, his rhymes and beats mired in an air of anxiety and angst. Often, his work expounds on the emotional troubles of solitary youth and, with the poetic sweeps of some carefully versed rhymes, the rapper manages to convey these troubles without seeming banal. This may not be apparent to non-Turkish speakers, so Rahdan does the one thing he knows best when penning a lyric: back it up with an indelible melody that will linger in the listeners’ heads long after.


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Thursday, Mar 27, 2014
Italian rapper O'Priò fires off a missive to a former crime boss and sheds light on environmental disaster.

O’Priò’s “La Deposizione” has an interesting story to it. It deals with a catastrophe in Southern Italy called “La Terra dei fuochi” (The Land of the Fires), which concerns the areas around Naples and Caserta, respectfully. These areas were targeted for waste contamination years ago and have remained an environmental disaster since, polluting the groundwater and food sources in Italy with toxic waste. O’Priò fingers Carmine Schiavone (a former member of criminal organization Camorra) for this environmental crime, taking him to task in his lyrics of restrained fury.


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Monday, Mar 17, 2014
In honor of St. Paddy’s day, I figured we could celebrate some music straight from Ireland.

You’ve almost certainly got a playlist ready and raring to go populated with Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and the Tossers. Good for you! But maybe you could augment your lineup of irish-sounding songs with one from a band that’s, y’know, actually Irish.


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Monday, Mar 10, 2014
Sharon Van Etten once again tweaks her signature sound just the right amount.

Slightly more relaxed and groovy than the biting tracks off 2012’s Tramp, Sharon Van Etten recently dropped “Taking Chances”, the first single off her forthcoming album, Are We There?, due out May 27. Sadly and soulfully, “Taking Chances” doesn’t desert her signature dreamy style, but the song has a slick production quality to it and sharp, yet subtle indie-pop sensibilities. It’s a lot less sparse than usual and quite a bit more atmospheric, which is exciting considering Van Etten is skilled at slight tweaks to her distinct sound. She’ll also be touring extensively throughout the next few months.


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Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014
The video for “Glacier” telescopes nearly a century of gay history into its 7:57 running time.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis established their cred as gay allies with their earnest if clunky “Same Love”. But John Grant’s “Glacier” is a vastly superior take on homophobia and its injuries, hidden and otherwise. The closing track on Grant’s much-acclaimed 2013 album Pale Green Ghosts, “Glacier” is a seven-minute-plus, piano-driven ballad sung by Grant in an intimate, direct-address style that is quietly devastating.


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