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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015
John Moreland just cannot write a happy song. That's not a critic's assessment: he says so himself.

John Moreland has a cult following, as he should. I was late to the party, but first got to know him through the 2013 online music festival Couch By Couchwest. Country Fried Rock finally featured him in early 2014, as he was planning his next album, High on Tulsa Heat, now being released this spring via Thirty Tigers.


His previous record, In the Throes, is one of the most gut-wrenching records we have featured, and Moreland’s live performances wring more emotion from a voice and guitar than seems humanly possible. Go ahead and pre-order the album now, and maybe a box of Kleenex. As Moreland says, “I just can’t write happy songs.”


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Friday, Mar 27, 2015
What's for tea, darling? Darling, I said, What's for tea? It's a 1967 pop-art masterpiece. You're going to choke on it, too. A pioneer in the art of the concept album is this week's Counterbalance.

Klinger: Over the last four-plus years, we’ve talked about the Who twice, back when we were taking on the Great List in numerical order—two albums that are highly iconic, yet markedly different both from one another and from the Who’s earliest work. And no matter what relationship I’ve had with the Who over the years (and I’m on record as being back and forth with the group to degrees that alarm even me), I will always be a champion of their pre-Tommy work. That’s especially true of The Who Sell Out, which is currently the 312th most acclaimed album of all time and one that I return to fairly regularly. Released in late 1967, The Who Sell Out is an ingenious concept album that came out at a time before concept albums were de rigeur for artistes of a certain temperament.


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Thursday, Mar 26, 2015
This week's best metal release finds some musical innovators from Brooklyn up to their philosophical shenanigans once again.

Album of the Week



Liturgy, The Ark Work (Thrill Jockey)
The more the years go by, the more Liturgy’s 2011 marvel Aesthethica stands out as one of the best metal albums of the decade so far. I can practically hear the cries of derision as I type. But it’s an album that so wonderfully turns the ideas of black metal on its ear, subverting, inverting it all so that instead of wallowing in misery and morbidity, it creates something bizarrely uplifting, its musical vision far outside extreme metal yet with its feet firmly planted in extreme metal influences. Typical of the metal scene, though, many were quick to react negatively toward Liturgy, but the more the backlash swelled the more apparent it was that folks were particularly preoccupied with the pretensions of guitarist/vocalist Hunter Hunt-Hendrix than the actual music. Four years have passed, and interviewers for metal publications are still bringing up his dissertation on black metal, unwilling to let that faux-controversy die.


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Wednesday, Mar 25, 2015
Richard Jankovich released an electro-pop gem as the Burnside project in 2003. Now, he has a new name, two new albums he's giving away for free, and 20 questions to answer.

By the end of this introduction, you will own two Richard Jankovich albums.


Jankovich has been one of the most fascinating under-the-radar artists to emerge in the last 15 years. Back in 2003, he worked with a variety of collaborators under the name the Burnside Project. Their most notable album, 2003’s The Networks, the Circuits, the Streams, the Harmonies, was a small bit of electro-pop wonder, mixing pop culture-heavy lyrics with dynamic digital arrangements with an astute sense of melody. Who loved the Burnside Project? The UK charts did. Queer as Folk did, using single “Que the Pulse to Begin” as its theme song in later years. Hell, even Cameron Crowe did, nominating it for that year’s Shortlist Music Prize. There was a profound warmth to Jankovich’s music, which helped separate it from a lot of the other electronic acts at the time.


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Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015
Oklahoma native M. Lockwood Porter left for California as a teenager, following his musical passions and inspired by the songs of Chris Bell (of Big Star fame).

Max Porter performs as M. Lockwood Porter, in homage to his grandfather and to make it easier to find him on the Internet. Partly based on a childhood dream to leave Oklahoma and live in California, and partly pulled by his network of friends and musical colleagues, Porter claims both areas as home. His recent album, 27, honors Chris Bell of Big Star, and will be released in the UK and Europe late Spring 2015.


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