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Thursday, Mar 19, 2015
This week in metal features legendaries killing it on the live circuit and a surprising debut from the oft-forgotten world of speed metal.

This past weekend I attended a show featuring In Flames and All That Remains, two bands that have achieved substantial popularity in similar but also very different ways. For an extreme metal band to broaden its sound enough to attract a wider audience and at the same time retain credibility in the minds of the established fanbase is a tricky, precipitous line to walk. More often than not, cries of “sellout” will be heard; after all, from day one, most metal fans have loved to complain about their genre’s lack of recognition and validation yet at the same time get up in arms the second a band crosses over. If a band is ambitious and wants to make a decent living in this racket, why not try to attract more listeners, open itself up to broader exposure? Besides, for a lot of bands, merely copying your debut album over and over again would be the most boring thing ever. You can’t blame a band for changing, but as long as they do so with integrity, and both In Flames and All That Remains have succeeded and stumbled along the way to varying degrees.


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Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015
Orrin Keepnews didn't just encourage and oversee some of the most important jazz recordings in history; he rolled up his sleeves and helped shape their final form.

Orrin Keepnews frequently talked about jazz the way war veterans will talk about experiences on the front lines. There were at least two reasons for this. One, it was never strictly business with him; it was always personal. More importantly, it was necessary.


See, Keepnews didn’t gravitate toward a career in jazz—as producer, writer and battle-scarred raconteur—because it was fashionable or profitable. He immersed himself in the idiom for the same reasons any of us who make the music and those who become enchanted, then obsessed by it do: because there is no choice in the matter. Once you get in, as a fan but especially as an artist or producer, you don’t get out easily. You don’t want to. In Keepnews’s case, he didn’t know how to.


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Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015
Buffalo Killers' songwriter Andy Gabbard debuts his solo album, Fluff, which is anything but that.

Andy Gabbard‘s debut solo album, Fluff, definitely does not live up to its title. This trippy-tinged collection of tunes brings fuzzy pop sense to Gabbard’s writings that do not fit the Buffalo Killers’ vibe. Fluff is not “trouble in paradise”; rather, it is an expansion of his creativity, like a second leg of vacation.


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Monday, Mar 16, 2015
You might as well dance while the world is ending, right?

How many pop bands are obsessed with the end of the world? Sure, Adele has the market cornered on break ups that feel like the end times, but how many groups actually focus on the apocalypse?

The funny thing about Everything Everything is that there’s always a sliver of unease running through their music. It’s all brilliantly catchy, expertly produced, and tight as a drum, but something’s just a bit off about it all. It may have taken a few listens to realize it, but the second single from their fantastic sophomore album Arc opened with the line “Four walls and a cauldron of Kalashnikoving / and our home is a trigger that I’m always pulling.” Yes, for all the pristine choruses and earworm verses, Everything Everything injects excessive violence, crushing depression and madness into the friendliest of their hits.


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Monday, Mar 16, 2015
As K-pop continues to regain its even footing after its turbulent 2014, artists this month have taken to somber music and black and white videos.

January set the tone for a darker, more serious year in K-pop. Songs and videos that are more introspective and conscious of the issues within the industry are becoming more commonplace. To a certain extent, February has kept up with this theme. Though there are some exceptional splashes of color and fun, many artists returned with somber tracks set to black and white videos to emphasize that this is Serious Music. Possible pretensions aside, they usually succeed in making their music as interesting as it is presented to be.


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