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Friday, Feb 27, 2015
Audiences hungry for the reunited Sleater-Kinney will be thrilled. The band are as explosive as ever.

I first saw Sleater-Kinney open for all-male band Pearl Jam back in 2003. Their rock was raucous, rough and impressive. I was fortunate enough to see them twice more before they disbanded in 2005. It’s hard to believe, but in the decade since then, there wasn’t any act who filled the hole left by Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss. So, at the end of 2014, it was very exciting to hear that the original line-up were returning with a new album No Cities to Love and a tour to support it. Fortunately, they don’t sound like they were gone at all.


As the New York Times said,


“The new songs are as gnarled and brazen as the rest of Sleater-Kinney’s catalog. They also reflect how 10 years have passed between Sleater-Kinney albums, as lyrics take on current economic insecurities (“Bury Our Friends” declares, “We live on dread in our own gilded age”) and ponder the band’s own future. “No one here is taking notice/No outline will ever hold us,” the band vows in “A New Wave.” During Sleater-Kinney’s absence, Ms. Brownstein found a new audience as a writer and star in the comedy series “Portlandia,” but Sleater-Kinney doesn’t play for laughs.”



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Thursday, Feb 19, 2015
The Motet have been rocking Denver for over a decade and have seen a rise in national touring and prominence over the past few years, synchronistically mirroring the rise of legal cannabis or so it seems.

There was a festive vibe in the air as the 2015 O.penVAPE Tour launched in Southern California at the end of January. A co-headlining show featuring longtime jamrock stalwart Keller Williams and rising funk phenoms in the Motet, the tour also celebrates one of the winners of 2014’s culture wars—the cannabis oil vape pen. “Vape” was in fact the Oxford Dictionary word of the year for 2014, as the popularity of the personal vaporizer pen skyrocketed in the wake of the booming legal cannabis industry in Colorado.


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Monday, Feb 16, 2015
San Fermin presented enriched versions of songs from their forthcoming album Jackrabbit to the Lincoln Center audience.

The presence of open incandescent light bulbs on stage at the Appel Room (formerly Allen Room) enhanced the already gorgeous atmosphere of the Lincoln Center venue that overlooks Columbus Circle and Central Park South with its ebb and flow of headlights. At the same time, the atmospheric “baroque pop” of San Fermin (with a total of eight members) was enhanced by the presence of the six-piece Metropolis Ensemble (three brass/horns and three strings). San Fermin were showcasing songs from their forthcoming, second album Jackrabbit out in April on Downtown Records. Primary song-writer Ellis Ludwig-Leone was off on the side at his keyboards, remaining low-key, as his bandmates were the center of a vibrant, almost hour and a half, performance. The rest of San Fermin includes John Brandon on trumpet, Stephen Chen on saxophone, Rebekah Durham on violin, Michael Hanf on drums, Tyler McDiarmid on guitar, and Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate alternating on vocals.


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Friday, Feb 6, 2015
The inviting balladry of the Rails evokes bygone traditions of the British Isles.

The husband and wife duo of the Rails (James Walbourne and Kami Thompson) released their debut album Fair Warning last year on the resurrected Pink Label of Island Records. The Pink Label was home to the albums of Richard and Linda Thompson, Kami’s parents, so it was a fitting tribute. The album hasn’t made a huge splash amongst critics as there are few reviews online for it. But Fair Warning is a contemporary album of ballads that evoke bygone musical traditions from the British Isles.


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Thursday, Feb 5, 2015
For the Chicago post-metal trio Russian Circles, ten years isn't just a number: it's a number that perfectly encapsulates the incredible journey they've taken up to this point.

The way anniversaries are typically celebrated in the music world tends to be arbitrary. Although these usually come up in neat multiples of five—the tenth anniversary, 25th, 50th, and so on—the fanfare is regularly thrown without any concern for whether or not the time that has elapsed, however neat a number it may be, actually holds any meaning for a particular artist’s career. Come the start of each calendar year, publications across the web and globe ready their lists of album anniversaries for a regular glut of thinkpieces—whether or not the albums in these albums are actually worth the retrospective is up for debate. So when the Chicago-based post-metal trio Russian Circles kicked off 2015 with a tenth anniversary tour, there was only one obvious question: are the past ten years meaningfully significant for this band?


After their final United States tenth anniversary show, a homecoming event held at the North Chicago rock venue Metro, Russian Circles confirmed what their five studio albums in their ten years as a group had already made obvious: yes, this is an anniversary well worth celebrating. Based on the amount of moving bodies and battered eardrums that left Metro just after midnight, much celebration was certainly had.


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