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Monday, Feb 16, 2015
After K-pop's dark and turbulent 2014, January 2015 may have marked the beginning of a new direction for the industry.

The year 2014 was a troubled one for K-pop. Whether you want to join the many calling it the “K-pocalypse”, as some have argued, it’s hard to deny that it was a dark year for the industry. Even with some incredible music released, the amount of death and lawsuits surely signals change coming ahead, to say nothing of Jessica’s departure from legendary girl group Girls’ Generation. So January of 2015, then, is the first glimpse of what’s to come following those trying times. Perhaps there’s no majestic phoenix rising from the ashes just yet, but January 2015 was certainly not devoid of interesting K-pop.


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Friday, Feb 13, 2015
The 183rd most acclaimed album of all time is this week's Counterbalance, a pastoral 1968 masterpiece from the Kinks. God save little shops, china cups and virginity.

Klinger: How in the hell has it taken us this long to talk about the Kinks? Ray Davies is (and this can’t just be me) one of the finest songwriters in rock history. Sure, he might not have the incisive fogginess of Dylan or the cantankerous anthemry of Lennon, but he can usually be counted on to bring a certain dignity — something very close to wisdom — to the proceedings that you just don’t often hear. I suppose the rap on the Kinks is that they never made their masterpiece. For whatever reason, they never delivered a career-defining statement of purpose that would match a Sgt. Pepper or a Blonde on Blonde or an Exile on Main St. Over the years, though, critics have come around to this week’s record, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, which currently sits at No. 183 on the Great List. Which, if you buy into the rap on the Kinks, pretty much makes sense.


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Thursday, Feb 12, 2015
While the Grammys may have gotten metal absolutely wrong again, a new album by the Swedish outfit Marduk and a noteworthy tenth anniversary remind us that not all is wrong with the metal world.

I have no trouble admitting I have a total weakness for noting anniversaries of classic heavy metal records. As one with a great interest in the genre’s history, and like anyone else my age who has witnessed the musical form evolve right before our ears (if you can pardon the synesthesia), it’s important to recognize those recordings whose impact was the biggest—not to mention fun. And for nostalgia’s sake, those nice round numbers of 40, 30, 25, and 20 are good moments to do so, which you’ll see on this column as it goes along. In fact, there’s a big one coming in the next few weeks.


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Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015
Even in bootleg form, the Clash's Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg stands as one of the most daring, fearless, idiosyncratic recordings ever put on tape by a major recording artist.

Combat Rock (1982) gave the Clash the commercial success in America that their rabid fanbase felt they deserved and critics had expected from them since their landmark record London Calling was universally heralded as the last great record of the ‘70s. (Depending on which side of the Atlantic you were on, it could have also been the first great record of the ‘80s.). Combat Rock’s first two singles, the funky new-wave boogie of “Rock the Casbah” and the sloppy power pop of “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, were performing exceptionally well, getting them plenty of airtime on MTV, a booking on Saturday Night Live, and a gig as the opening act on the Who’s 1982 comeback tour in arenas across the United States.


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Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015
6 String Drag was a regionally beloved Southern roots rock band, who seemingly fell off the face of the earth at the top of their game. Bass player, Rob Keller, tells what happened and how they made it back.

Kenny Roby (previously featured here) and Rob Keller disbanded 6 String Drag at the top of their game, nearly 15 years ago. The first new album from 6 String Drag, Roots Rock N Roll, brings the group together again, ranging the gamut of roots rock with their brother-from-another-mother harmonies. Why would a regionally beloved band, seemingly at the peak of success, fall off the face of the earth? Love.


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