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Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014
Amidst tragedy and controversy throughout the month, September also offered up some more great k-pop, especially from veteran groups like 2PM, T-ara, and Girls' Generation-TTS.

September was another month marked by tragedy and controversy. At the beginning of the month, girl group Ladies’ Code was involved in a car accident, ultimately killing members EunB and RiSe. Less tragic but still shocking, at the end of the month, SM Entertainment announced that Jessica would no longer be part of the iconic girl group Girls’ Generation. The American-born singer was the first of the nine members to be signed to SM, but after tensions rose between her, the group, and their management from Jessica’s relationship and other business ventures, Girls’ Generation officially announced that they would “continue as eight”. It’s hard to imagine SNSD without all nine members, and this incident marks the end of one of K-pop’s greatest successes. Outside of this, though, there was plenty of good music throughout the month.


Tagged as: k-pop
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Tuesday, Oct 7, 2014
The seventh and eighth tracks on American Idiot solidify Jesus' transformation into St. Jimmy, as well as introduce the woman who holds onto his heart like a "hand grenade". It's emotional, powerful, and very catchy.

Despite all of its political overtones, American Idiot is, above all else, an emotional and personal tale of teenage angst and uncertainty. Sure, there’s plenty of social commentary about the psychological and governmental state of America post-9/11, but the heart of the record is the saga of a punk rebel who struggles with identity, romance, and acceptance. Each of these attributes are brought to the surface with endearing aggression on the LP’s seventh and eighth tracks, “Give Me Novacaine” and “She’s a Rebel”. Lost, confused, and yet born again and anew, the protagonist must now come to terms with both his new persona and new object of affection.


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Friday, Oct 3, 2014
And though they were sad, the 137th most acclaimed album of all time rescued everyone. They lifted up the sun. A spoonful weighs a ton. A 1999 neo-psychedelic masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.

Klinger: I’ve made no secret of the fact that as the 1990s wore on and on and on, I found myself increasingly tired of what alternative rock had become. I couldn’t hear much beyond the unrelenting bleakness and/or the chamomile acoustic stylings that were all symptomatic of the times. At least that’s the way I remember it. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I started hearing that the Flaming Lips, a group I had only been half-paying attention to, had just released an unabashed classic that mixed sunny psychedelia with gigantic beats, and in the process had created their masterpiece nine albums into their career. Then imagine my surprise when I heard the album and bought into the hype 100%.


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Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014
It's been more than a year since My Chemical Romance decided to lay down their instruments, and PopMatters looks back on some of their finest moments.

My Chemical Romance was a band that was doomed from the start.  From their manic 2002 debut (I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love) to their final escape off into the sunset (Danger Days), MCR always sounded like a steam engine careening off of a cliff. Lead singer and showman Gerard Way’s unhinged vocal style felt fresh out of an asylum, complimenting his macabre, twisted imagery. The band never quite fit into any genre or anywhere in general. And that was perfectly fine by them.


Eternally the outsiders, My Chemical Romance always played by their own rules above all else. Constantly slapped with the “emo”  categorization (a label that the band particularly loathed), My Chemical Romance were in reality the spirit of punk rock incarnate. Their identity was in perpetual flux (particularly during the latter part of their careers), re-envisioning themselves for every album, never content to stay the same. They shoved the very boundaries of what “punk” could mean.


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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
After over 20 years in the game, Sloan's Andrew Scott contributes a hell of an epic to the band's new "multiple-solo project" album Commonwealth and tells us of why he ended up stealing so many USA license plates in his time.

One would be hard-pressed to find much correlation between the Toronto power-pop institution that is Sloan and famed makeup-metalers KISS, but as of late, that task has become increasingly easy.


Back in 1978, riding a crest of popularity following the fact that KISS’ live albums were making them bigger stars than their studio albums ever were, the band’s manager thought it would be great idea to have each band member release their very own solo album on the same day, each disc counting as half-an-album in their five-album contract with their label. Although such a unique marketing idea had never been tried prior, the stunt itself turned out to have more of a lasting legacy than any of the material that appeared on those discs, but, if KISS gained a reputation for anything, it was being great at marketing.


For Sloan, however, the band has quietly been turning out brilliant pop albums every few years like clockwork, which makes them sound like they exist purely as craftsmen, but their consistently-stunning, quietly-developing style has been the very thing that has endeared them to their fans, which explains why, how after two decades in the business, they are still going strong, with each member (Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson, and Andrew Scott) proving to be a dynamic, distinct songwriter in their own right.


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