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Mikal Cronin MCIII Album Cover

Play Me: “Made My Mind Up” by Mikal Cronin

Mikal Cronin's newest record, MCIII (out 5.5 on Merge), is being billed as his attempt at going big. For power pop artists, like Cronin, big is a relative term: ask Big Star or Sloan or Teenage Fanclub or Matthew Sweet. In terms of money and in terms of exposure, there's only so big a power-pop singer like Cronin can get, especially in today's music landscape where rock music has had to learn to accept its second-tier status.
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FreedomTower

Top Jam: “Do the Get Down” by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Some people find the incessant bragging of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion to be off-putting. Like, we know you're the BLUES EXPLOSION, HOT DAMN, YOU TOLD US TEN TIMES ALREADY, AND WE WOULDN'T BE HERE IF WE DIDN'T WANT TO ROCK SO YOU CAN QUIT IT ALREADY. Point taken, but, consider this: How many other acts with the audacity to claim their new record captures all of New York City, from disco and punk to the rent is too damn high, can actually pull off such a feat? THE ONE AND ONLY BLUES EXPLOSION.
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Liturgy

Play Me: “Quetzalcoatl” by Liturgy

Ok, so this is the new track by Liturgy, the not hipster metal, not black metal band who had unexpected, albeit hotly contested, success with their 2011 release, Aesthethica. It's different. Youtubers, being youtubers say it's the gayest shit ever. I would never say such a thing. Feces, being feces, cannot express sexual preference.
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8 Score

The Rockometer: No Cities to Love by Sleater-Kinney

Sleater-Kinney are an important band, a very important band. Their left-leaning politics and fiercely proud feminism sheltered countless listeners during the band's first run through the '90s and early-to-mid '00s. Carrie Brownstein also has one helluva rock kick. And you know that song of theirs, "No Rock 'N' Roll Fun?" Turn it around and the message becomes, Sleater-Kinney are Rock 'N' Roll fun.
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VietCongAlbumCover
9 Score

The Rockometer: S/T by Viet Cong

It's not that the Canadian post-punk outfit, Viet Cong, have listened to different albums than you and I and everyone else active in the underground music scene. The foreboding tones of Ian Curtis and Joy Division provide a convenient starting point for anyone with a passing interest in what's happened outside of the mainstream during the past 30 years. Yet, unlike pretty much everyone else who has turned to the early days of UK post-punk for inspiration, the finished product is anything but a by the note reproduction of once ground-breaking sounds.
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Exploding in Sound, Indeed: New Jams by Pile and Krill and the Burgeoning Boston Rock Scene

Back in the day, and on the wrong side of 40, I've earned the right to say back in the day without a trace of irony, one could judge a band by its label.
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A Jam Packed Wednesday with JEFF the Brotherhood, Disappears, A Place to Bury Strangers, Dirty Dishes, and Twerps

That picture up there, the one of the new JEFF the Brotherhood album, Wasted on the Dream, is reason number one why you should be worried about ...
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Torche

Play Me: “Annihilation Affair” by Torche

"Annihilation Affair" is like the first time you heard Torche. Remember those early releases where the band would bang the same sick, heavy chord for what seemed like an entire track, only to quickly follow it up with a two-minute fist-pumping, anthem? "Annihilation Time" is the former
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