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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014
Few can deny that Swift is a talented songwriter, but there are only so many times she can attack her "haters" before that trope feels as worn as a months-old US Weekly still sitting on the top of your toilet.

In the much-hyped media event revealing Taylor Swift’s big new single, not only did Swift announce that her new album will be called 1989, but also shared with us that this is the “first documented, official pop album” that she’s made.


So, forget all the country purists who called her a sell-out for the Max Martin co-pen “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” or the dubstep-indebted “I Knew You Were Trouble” or MOR pop mainstay “22” (all from her last album, 2012’s Red)—this album here is her real shameless attempt to become a pop star! It’s documented, even! Official! Notarized! With witnesses!


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Monday, Aug 18, 2014
Sorry, Tommy Tutone: the B-52's had you beat at this a long long time ago.

Sorry, Tommy Tutone: the B’s got ya beat.


The penultimate track to the B-52’s’ seminal debut album, the follow-up to the somewhat more dramatic lyrical leanings of “Hero Worship” proves to be something that is firmly in Fred Schneider’s carnival-barker wheelhouse, even though the whole band (save Cindy Wilson) wound up writing it. It is a goofy party-rocker that has a surprising amount of punk energy, even if the guitar distortion is kept to a minimum.


Opening with the tapped-out drum beat that corresponds with Fred, Kate, and Cindy shouting out the titular phone number digit-by-digit, and then the song breaks into its surprisingly simple structure: two strummed major chords on repeat. Ricky Wilson’s strum pattern helps give the song verve, with several well-placed down-strokes adding a bit more rhythm and personality to the proceedings, but once the chorus hits, he adds in one more note into the mix, still keeping the riffs raw and agile, the momentum never stopping.


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Friday, Aug 15, 2014
There are no more summer lifeguard jobs. There are no more art museums to guard. The lab is out of white lab coats, because there are no more slides and microscopes. But there always careers talking about this week's Counterbalance album.

Mendelsohn: At one point in my life I had an insane addiction to new music. I would go through five or more albums a week, searching for that next great record. Downloading, buying, or using my media connections to get my hands on anything I could. If I it wasn’t new music, I wasn’t interested. And then we took on the Great List and my listening habits did a complete 180. New music was replaced by “old” music as we systematically moved through the Great List. I’ve been doing a little to catch up, trying not to fall into my old habits. So when I started seeing pieces on Parquet Courts’ new record, Sunbathing Animal, all of which mentioned the phenomenal quality of their previous record Light Up Gold, my interested was piqued. Old Mendelsohn would have just went out and picked up Sunbathing Animal, leaving Light Up Gold and their debut American Specialties for later, if ever. But if the Great List has taught me anything, it is to respect the organic development of music and appreciate where a band has been and where they could go.


So this week, we are listening to Parquet Courts’ second album. I haven’t listened to their new album yet — It’s sitting on my desk, Klinger, just waiting like a Christmas present — or their first album that nobody talks about (probably for good reason?). But first, we have to talk about Light Up Gold.


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Thursday, Aug 14, 2014
Woodstock ’94 sometimes gets lost in pack. But here are five of those performances worth revisiting from the now 20-year-old event.

Woodstock ’94 sometimes gets lost in pack. It obviously didn’t — and could never have — carried as much weight as the original, which in 1969 blazed a trail for modern music festivals and left us with a wealth of unforgettable performances. Nor did it digress into the nightmarish, post-apocalyptic hellhole that Woodstock ’99 did. In some ways, 20 years later, Woodstock ’94—which took place on August 13th and 14th—seems like an afterthought. But, when you dig into it deeper, it hit the sweet spot between the classic-rockers/folk-revivalists/returning-veterans and the names that were then at the forefront of popular music. They even got Bob Dylan, who turned down a spot at Woodstock ’69, to perform. In honor of the middle brother Woodstock’s 20th birthday, we decided to remember five great performances that are worth revisiting/discovering, and are readily available in their entirety.


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Monday, Aug 11, 2014
There are no vocal overdubs, no excessive instrumentation, and a relatively straightforward lyrical slant. In short, it shouldn't be a B-52's song ... but that's part of the charm as to why it is an essential one.

As of right now, we’re seven tracks in to this Between the Grooves series exploring the B-52’s lightning-in-a-bottle debut. They’ve used kitsch, grit, sex, and smarts to get our attention, taking us to alien worlds and undersea bikini parties alike, all while committing to their performances wholeheartedly while giving us hints and teases of real human emotion underneath the wackiness of it all.


With “Hero Worship”, however, the Athens quintet give us what may be their most direct, cohesive song to date.


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