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12 Sleeve (3mm Spine)
8 Score

The Rockometer: Illegals in Heaven by Blank Realm

In one sense, yes, Illegals in Heaven is Blank Realm's pop record, for gradually over the course of their career, the Brisbane art-punks have moved from outsider noise rock aiming to please the curators of all things obscure to easily identifiable song structures with shorter run times and predictable melodies. Yet, while continually making strides towards accessibility, the band still enjoy playfully fucking with everything they record by placing track upon track of melody, counter melody and white noise upon those simple songs.
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Play Me: “See Me” by Obnox

Now, here's a face I never thought I'd see on the NPR website. Hillary? Sure. The Donald? Yes. Kim Davis? For fucks sake, I wish it wasn't so. But Obnox, Cleveland's own, Lamont "Bim" Thomas? As much as his profile has been steadily rising with each successive release of forward-thinking, punk'n'rap'n'soul albums, or trunk punk, as he calls it, I never considered the possiblity of Bim on NPR
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Watch Me: “Life Like This” by Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile, has long been known as a rambling blues man whose complex, dreamlike melodies fuck with long-standing norms of the genre. But, did you know Kurt Vile is also a piano man? On "Like Like This," the latest preview from his forthcoming Matador album, Vile augments that wandering guitar style of his, not with more guitar and more feedback, but with a persistent piano loop giving, this otherwise rootsy track a sly modern feel.
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Play Me: “Chlorine and WIne” by Baroness

"Chlorine and Wine" is epic without being tedious. None of the individual movements overstay their welcome. The ambient into, blends into a folksy passage, which in turn leads to evenly paced power chords. "Chlorine and Wine" is heavy without being obvious. Dave Fridmann's mix rightly focuses on the guitar chug (and later the Thin Lizzy style, double-tracked solo), but remains spacious. The Flaming Lips' go to man left plenty of room for brilliantly colored swooshes of electric sounds, like one would hear on a Lips album.
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New Jam City: New Jams by Protomartyr and Blank Realm

I am Morrissey. For the better part of 2015 I've been all "Burn down the disco/Hang the blessed DJ/Because the music they're constantly playing/It says nothing to me about my life." Then, there are weeks like this, when new jams by Protomartyr and Blank Realm, bands that do speak to me and my life, hit on consecutive days.
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9 Score

The Rockometer: High by Royal Headache

If musicians were subject to rules of an NFL-style draft, Royal Headache's vocalist, a man who goes by the name Shogun, would be a first round pick. His voice has the wear of a life that hasn't always been an easy one to live. He's got soul. He's got effortless range. If he came in the age in the late '60s he could have fronted the Faces. In the '70s it would have been The Nerves or The Jam. And, if he came of age in the '80s, and really, really liked his booze, he could slide right into an outfit like the Replacements. In the grunge era, he would have sung like he had marbles in his mouth. Let's be glad Shogun is not active in 1995, but in 2015, where he sounds right at home in this scrappy four-piece, garage band from Sydney.
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Top Jam: “Carolina” by Royal Headache

From the first time I heard Royal Headache's lead singer, Shogun, open his mighty pipes I've contended he's a star, as in network TV performances, gossip mags and paparazzi, trapped in an indie-rockers body. Dude has a classic, soulful and scruffy voice like Rod Stewart, and in the right setting, like, say this video for the mid-tempo strummer, "Carolina," from the band's new album, High, out this Friday, it positively stuns.
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New Jam City: Hear New Jams by Deafheaven, Destruction Unit, My Disco, Blank Realm, and Deerhunter

Deafheaven's "Brought to the Water," isn't a total reinvention of modern heavy into some overwrought philosophical work, like that of that other heavy-as-holy-hell, but totally not a black metal band, Liturgy. Rather, it's a refinement of the visceral thrills which made Deafheaven's debut so compelling.
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