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Friday, Aug 8, 2014
Hello there, ladies and gentlemen. Hello there, ladies and gents. Are you ready to rock? Because Cheap Trick’s classic 1979 live album is this week’s Counterbalance. Surrender. But don’t give yourself away.

Klinger: By the late 1970s rock had become big business, and the emergence of the live album is a perfect example of the way that popular music had gone from being a cottage industry to being a regular industry. Nowadays, the live album is seen as a delightful little bonus for the fans and completists, but back in the satin-jacketed ’70s it provided an opportunity for bands to cross over into the mainstream. Peter Frampton had been something of a journeyman musician for about a decade before Frampton Comes Alive made him a heartthrob and radio staple. Kiss’s first few albums were largely ignored until Alive made them jukebox (and lunchbox) heroes. And of course Cheap Trick were more or less a quirky road band until they tapped into their rabid Japanese following and made the album At Budokan.


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Thursday, Aug 7, 2014
The Busta Rhymes-aided "Swagger Wagon" advertisement is getting all sorts of negative attention for Toyota. Yet is it racist, or just typifying an emerging trend of cultural insensitivity?

Toyota has been blasting out a lot of videos on its YouTube channel to promote its forthcoming 2015 Sienna, all in an attempt to try and make a good solid viral campaign, going with everything from fathers having conversations/getting pep talks from the vehicle to kids pretending they’re in their own action movie. It’s actually a nice way to kind of “road test” (forgive the puns) ads to see what reaction is before buying slots from advertisers, which costs far more money than actually making the clips themselves.


Yet no one is talking about those previously-mentioned ads at the moment. Right now, everyone is talking about the “Swagger Wagon” ... and if the entire video is actually racist.


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Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014
What separates someone merely capturing a night when a band is on fire from a great concert documentary? Here are ten films that bridge that gap.

There’s definitely not a shortage of concert footage floating around. From esteemed directors to random people waving an iPhone in everyone’s face, there’s a ton of material to shift through, but, now that watching your favorite band live from behind a screen is so easy, there’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: what separates someone capturing a night when a band is on fire from a great concert documentary? Because there is a difference. And what bridges the gap is an underlying storyline. Some sort of innovative, emotional, or humanitarian connection that changes the way we think about, talk about, or listen to one or multiple performers. Something that makes it feel cinematic. Or stranger than fiction.


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Tuesday, Aug 5, 2014
July has brought the full-fledged summertime songs to K-pop, so get ready for massive pop hooks, breezy production, and over-saturated music videos.

f(x) - “Red Light”


As someone naturally drawn to the more unusual and experimental K-pop, f(x) has always been one of my favorite girl groups. Especially since it released last year’s Pink Tape, the five-member, multi-ethnic group has pretty much dominated the strange, eclectic-pop side of of the genre. And Red Light, the group’s new full-length album, goes even further into the bizarre this-is-too-weird-to-be-likable-pop-but-we-all-love-it-anyway category.


Tagged as: k-pop, kpop
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Monday, Aug 4, 2014
"Moon" isn't a bad song by any means, but when surrounded by so many notable home runs, it feels like the odd man out, a b-side that snuck its way onto the album's actual b-side.

If this Between the Grooves series has gone out to prove anything, it’s that crystallized inside the recording of the B-52’s first album is a nervy, gritty, and surprisingly supple New Wave energy that was wacky as it was sexy, smart as it was fun, kitsch as it was considered. It is a near-flawless album, and one of the greatest pop discs ever made. Although there were still great songs throughout their career (and a very decent attempt to reclaim what made this 1979 disc special with their 1980 follow-up Wild Planet), the nine tracks that make up this eponymous effort are as close to perfect as you could possibly get.


Yet, if there is a single “weak track” to be found on The B-52’s, it would be the second song on this LP’s b-side: “There’s a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)”.


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