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Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015
6 String Drag was a regionally beloved Southern roots rock band, who seemingly fell off the face of the earth at the top of their game. Bass player, Rob Keller, tells what happened and how they made it back.

Kenny Roby (previously featured here) and Rob Keller disbanded 6 String Drag at the top of their game, nearly 15 years ago. The first new album from 6 String Drag, Roots Rock N Roll, brings the group together again, ranging the gamut of roots rock with their brother-from-another-mother harmonies. Why would a regionally beloved band, seemingly at the peak of success, fall off the face of the earth? Love.


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Friday, Feb 6, 2015
Oh, 191st most acclaimed album of all time, you let me violate you, you let me desecrate you, you let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you. A 1994 industrial bellwether is this week's Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: If there was one album that could concisely sum up my musical taste as a teenager, it would be Nine Inch Nail’s The Downward Spiral. In 1994, I was wandering around the rock and roll wilderness, trying to find my way with nothing more than a couple of Rush records and a mixtape of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits. Then the video for “Closer” hit MTV and my world changed. A path opened up in the woods and I was shown the way into my rock and roll. I spent the next couple of years listening to The Downward Spiral record, along with the rest of the NIN archive, plus a myriad of less talented bands who were proffering the industrial rock that was fighting for ears in the mid ‘90s. None of it was as well thought out as Trent Reznor’s vision. Some of it was downright terrible (obligatory finger pointing at Marilyn Manson—not the worst, but a frequent and repeat offender). By the end of high school I had cut my long hair, boxed up the black t-shirts and acquired a marginally better taste in music. I would check in with Nine Inch Nails from time to time over the last decade but it seemed that aside from the ardent following Reznor had built for himself, there was little cultural currency left in the newer albums, as he drifted into an atmospheric approach that lent itself better to movie scores than rock albums.


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Thursday, Feb 5, 2015
Sailing the seven seas is a lot more fun when you're on a cruise ship with 60 metal bands and a legion of eager metal fans. No, really.

Longtime PopMatters readers might remember the original Blood and Thunder column, in which I wrote monthly thoughts about whatever was going on in heavy metal at the time. Started in 2005, it was one of the first columns on a music/pop culture site with this size and diversity of audience to devote serious writing to metal music, and it became a labor of love for yours truly. It came to an end in August 2011, but after three and a half years away, and with a new year upon us, it’s time to bring Blood and Thunder back.


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Wednesday, Feb 4, 2015
It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

None of you reading this are greenhorns when it comes to “Greatest Hits” compilations. We all know the gamut: by creating a goto catalog release that will entice casual fans for years and decades to come, Greatest Hits/Best Of compilations are a reliable source of income for record labels and artists alike. We all snicker whenever an artist feels the need to tack on a “Volume One” onto that title, because unless you’re the Eagles or Billy Joel, you ain’t gettin’ a Volume Two, rest assured.


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Tuesday, Feb 3, 2015
Mike Zito's departure from Royal Southern Brotherhood may have been sudden, but given the exciting path ahead of him, it was certainly with good reason.

Mike Zito talked with Country Fried Rock just before the announcement that he was leaving Royal Southern Brotherhood, a departure with no drama or backstory, other than a guy who finally found what he wanted to do musically and the craziest opportunity blossomed right in the middle of it. Zito’s growth as a musician really started after getting sober, and that clarity allowed him to find and follow his truth, which he describes as wandering the road of Texas blues. When it became clear that Royal Southern Brotherhood had legs beyond a novelty supergroup, he ushered in Bart Walker and stepped away to continue down his own route.


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