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A Fistful of Jams: New Jams by Liturgy, Death Grips, and Thee Oh Sees

The tech world loves its disrupters, those whose ideas and products shake up the status quo. The music world has a much more troubled relationship with those who dare challenge convention. Acting out in public is disruptive and accepted. Flamboyance and egos can be accepted form of disruption, too. Can you say Kanye? Live hard and live fast, destroy your shit and destroy yourself and you'll be admired for your edge. But try to change the way people engage with music through philosophy? No, no, no, now you're being a conceited asshole.
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New Jam City: New Jams by Obnox, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Flesh Lights

After two albums where the lines between rock and hip-hop became increasing blurred, Obnox offers up something different as a first taste from his second album of 2015: a rocker, no slashes, no dashes, just a rocker.
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Mikal Cronin MCIII Album Cover

Mikal Cronin’s New Jam, “ii) Gold,” Is the Jam

The best power pop artists, from Big Star on through Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, and Sloan, make it sound so easy that they leave you wondering why aren't more bands capable of the perfect three-minute rock single every time? After all, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, or even a drummer, to write a simple melody and put a guitar on it.
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8 Score

The Rockometer: You’re Better Than This by Pile

I can't say that I'd go as far as to say You're Better Than This, the new record by buzzy, Boston upstarts, Pile, is a difficult album, as Pitchfork's Paul Thompson claims in an otherwise complimentary review. Selections, like howling opener, "The World Is Your Motel," should sound familiar to anyone whose familiarity with the AmRep catalog stretches beyond knowing how to use AmRep as a shortcut for the nastier and heavier underground sounds of the '90s.
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9 Score

The Rockometer: S/T by Beech Creeps

It's March 4th, the streets of Cleveland are lined with black, nasty ice sculptures, remnants of three weeks where the temperature rarely rose above freezing and the snow kept piling, and I have found my summer jam. It's "Times Be Short," by the New York band, Beech Creeps.
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Road Trip Review: Sleater-Kinney @ Stage AE Pittsburgh

"They were all women on stage and the guitar techs were eunuchs!" one of my road trip companions exclaimed as we skated the three blocks of icy sidewalks from Stage AE back to our hotel room after the sold-out Sleater-Kinney concert in Pittsburgh. We had been drinking for a few hours prior to the show, you see, and we were feeling loose all night, loudly playing games like guess who's going to the show while we waited for our food at the sports bar down the street. It wasn't a hard game. Anyone who looked like a protester or an employee at a feminist book store (Dude! your ponytail gave you away!) were going to see Sleater-Kinney. Those in Penguins jerseys were there for hockey on the big screens.
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Krill - A Distant Fist Unclenching
7 Score

The Rockometer: A Distant Fist Unclenching by Krill

Like their brothers in rock, Pile, the Massachusetts act Krill are one of those bands who wouldn't know a chorus if the chorus was a wet Atlantic salmon and they were smacked over the head with a wet Atlantic salmon chorus. They're also one of those bands who tend to nerd out, and noodle on their instruments for minutes on end like early Modest Mouse and early Built to Spill. Oh, and bassist/vocalist, Jonah Furman has a unique way with words. The most memorable track on the trio's 2014 release, Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts Into Tears, was called "Turd." Furman literally imagined himself as a turd, as in a piece of shit, going down the commode. This is all to say Krill are not going to be everyone's favorite new band, not everyone is going to get it. Those not content with the status quo in modern guitar rock music, however, should by all means get themselves more familiar with the weird world of Krill.
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8 Score

The Rockometer: Restarter by Torche

As the title would imply, Restarter is a deliberate attempt by Florida heavies, Torche, to realign their recorded output with the band they consider themselves to be. Their previous two efforts, 2010's Songs for Singles EP and 2012's Harmonicraft, downplayed their background in the sludge and doom metal scenes, and instead focused on quick-hitting (and oh so burly) pop-metal. In one particularly memorable soundbite from this era, conservative commentator, and closet rocker, Mike Huckabee, labeled Torche the heavy metal Foo Fighters. It fit, especially if you've only heard Torche through earbuds.
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