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Thursday, Mar 13, 2014
The man who sampled the Clash's "Straight to Hell" for M.I.A. teams up with his heroes and Frank Ocean to bring summer to your speakers a few months early.

Now here’s a pleasant surprise. A few days ago the Converse sneaker company unveiled a collaboration between producer Diplo, R&B it-boy Frank Ocean, and Clash members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon as the latest offering in its “Three Artists, One Song” single series. There have been eight previous installments in the series—all of which I have admittedly glossed over—but something primal about seeing those names in the marquee made me want to immediately investigate the results.


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Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014
He was Prince's bassist and an underrated solo star. Now, with his first solo album in literally decades, André Cymone tells us about all things Streisand, Obama, and James Blake.

André Cymone has had one of the most interesting careers in music history.


Indeed, Cymone, who was a childhood friend of Prince’s, started out as the bassist for Prince back in the early days (some of their early work can be heard on the recently-released Numero Group compilation Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound). He played with Prince quite a bit in the early days before branching out and going solo, having released a unique trilogy of efforts in the early ‘80s: 1982’s Living in the New Wave, the following year’s Surviving in the ‘80s, and his most popular disc, 1985’s A.C., which included a Prince-written track called “The Dance Electric”, which became a minor club hit. (Full disclosure: I wrote the liner notes for the 2012 UK re-release of A.C..)


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Monday, Mar 10, 2014
The penultimate track on "Weather Systems" is astoundingly powerful and dynamic.

Anathema has battered quite an emotional storm thus far on Weather Systems; each of the previous seven songs has managed to capture an aspect of the human condition with a level of confidence, beauty, and truth that is simply astounding. As you’d expect, the eighth (and second to last) track, “The Lost Child”, is another wonderful mesh of power, delicacy, poeticism, and raw sentiment. In a way, it’s the most surreal yet universal contribution to the record.


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Friday, Mar 7, 2014
Lo they did rejoice, the bright and pure of voice. And the wrong shall fail and the right prevail. A 1978 (or 1974) cult classic is this week's Counterbalance.

Note: For those of you keeping score at home, Counterbalance has stepped away from the most acclaimed albums of all time and is instead examining the role of critical acclaim more broadly, using a wide range of albums as examples. Do not be alarmed.


Klinger: I must confess, once we made the decision to untether ourselves from the chronology of the Great List, I felt a little like a kid in a candy store. But with unlimited choice comes unlimited uncertainty. Where to begin? I found myself still thinking in terms of those albums for which critical acclaim is still inextricably tied to their overall cachet. And that led me right to Big Star.


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Thursday, Mar 6, 2014
Everyone's favorite avant-garde pop weirdo is at it again, and with the recent videos taking on a more aquatic vibe, the music, thankfully, remains as top-quality as ever.

iamamiwhoami has had a stellar couple of years. Since Jonna Lee and Robin Kempe-Bergman’s audio-visual project began back in 2010, they have been creating unique visual and sonic landscapes for us to explore, with the rather suggestive video for “y” even garnering north of 15 million views on YouTube. Finally getting around to playing concerts, 2012’s kin proved to be one of the year’s best albums, and all of the project’s earlier work was housed in last year’s compilation album bounty. In a very short time, iamamiwhoami has created one of the most forward-thinking discographies in recent memory, giving us thrills we haven’t had since Björk was in her prime.


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