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Wednesday, Sep 3, 2014
They started with an "EP a month" gimmick that actually proved how good they were at songwriting, and to celebrate their first new album in five years, tell us all about Winston Churchill.

For Dark Oceans, a label that’s been completely unafraid of exploring the dark psyche of the modern indie rock landscape, the signing of a band as poppy and joyful as Bishop Allen may at first seem a bit unusual.


However, this long-running project that was initially formed by Justin Rice and Christian Rudder have been making waves ever since their debut album Charm School in 2003. What initially brought them to national attention was their 2006 effort wherein the band recorded a fully-produced EP every month for the course of that year, filled with soaring harmonies, jangle-pop guitars, and a wry sense of wit and wisdom. The best from those sessions helped form their 2007 effort The Broken String, which started the band’s fruitful collaboration with Dead Oceans.


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Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014
A decade later, Green Day's politically charged concept album remains one of the best, most important records of its era. The newest Between the Grooves series examines it in detail, starting with its mission statement title track.

Prior to 2004, few people would classify the music of Green Day as particularly sophisticated, intellectual, or thematically mature. Sure, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” with its poignancy, fragility, and beautiful orchestration, quickly became the introspective acoustic ballad of a generation, and fun singles like “When I Come Around” and “Basket Case” were amongst the catchiest mainstream songs of their era. However, for the most part the ‘90s saw Green Day dominating the airwaves as little more than a premier punk rock group. The band emblemized a contemporary take on the rowdy counterculture retaliation of ‘70s icons like the Clash, and while it did an excellent job of it (don’t get me wrong), no one ever expected the trio to branch out of its preset genre limitations stylistically, conceptually, or technically.


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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
(Dedicate one to the ladies...) This week's Counterbalance found the simple life ain't so simple, when it jumped out on the road. We're taking a look at Van Halen's 1978 debut album, which we're told is living at a pace that kills.

Mendelsohn: The one thing I liked about working from the Great List before the Counterbalance revamp was the weekly marching order. Didn’t matter what it was, whether or not we liked it, we were going to listen to it and have a little back-and-forth. Sometimes it was a drag. But mostly, the Great List offered up some interesting listening material. Looking down the list, it was pretty easy to tell who was going to stand behind specific albums. We are nothing if not predictable. But every now and then we would get to an album and more than anything I just wanted to know what you had to say about it.


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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
For those interested in acquainting themselves with alternative rock's rich and diverse early years, Sound Affects has assembled this '80s alt-rock primer.

In 2014, alternative rock is a standard fixture of the musical landscape. This is an era where Coldplay regularly placing near the top of the pop charts, Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers filling stadiums, Radiohead and Arcade Fire racking up Grammy Award nominations, and Nirvana essentially being begged to be honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are normal, even expected, occurrences. One not even need look beyond PopMatters itself for confirmation, for like any other current critical publication online or off-, a sizable percentage of new rock releases reviewed will originate from the alternative/indie spectrum due to sheer volume and the ubiquity of the style.


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Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014
This Sheffield duo takes great care to craft new types of songs on every album, and also tell us that the soundtrack to Sister Act 2 just may be the greatest album ever made ...

Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor get bored with their own music pretty easily.


That’s not to say they don’t love it or love crafting it or refuse to play older songs at shows, no. However, in their short lifespan, this Sheffield duo have made notable changes to their sound from album to album, as the clap-and-stomp folk-rock of 2010’s Yeah So is notably different from the irreverent, more fleshed-out full-band workouts that made 2011’s great Paradise what it was. Perhaps even more impressive than their discography has been their incredibly notable videography as well, which has featured everything from impressive Daniel Radcliffe cameos to their viral “Two Cousins” concept, stunning in its simplicity but effective nonetheless.


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