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pop

royal-headache-high
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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RoyalHeadacheCarolina

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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Watch Me: “Friday I’m In Love” by Yo La Tengo

Beautiful, simply beautiful. No, not that part about the apocalypse happening in the background as Yo La Tengo's Georgia Hubley calmly strolls through her neighborhood whispering a joyful song. I wouldn't wish the apocalypse on anyone. Yo La Tengo's cover of The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love" is beautiful as its stripped down to its basics -- A light, uplifting melody supported by patient, thoughtful strums.
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BlurOngOng

Watch Me: “Ong Ong” by Blur

There's a Blur review of their new album, The Magic Whip, sitting unfinished in draft. It exists, much like The Magic Whip exists. Really, the only thing I can say about The Magic Whip is that it exists. It's not about to replace Parklife as everyone's favorite Blur album. It won't inspire new listeners to explore Blur's back catalog. Neither, is it an embarrassment. It's mature, idiosyncratic melodies exist in a state of blah.
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Play Me: “Deeper Into Movies (Remake)” and “Automatic Doom” by Yo La Tengo

The tea leaves said something was up with Yo La Tengo. Recently the band played a surprise show by alter ego, Condo Fucks, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the NYC venue, The Cake Shop. You know Yo La Tengo, always playful and always challenging expectations, it could have been a one off. But I had suspected something else was up. Maybe a new Condo Fucks album was in the works? I was almost right. There is a new Yo La Tengo album (Stuff Like That There) on the way and it's a nod to their 1990 album of (mostly) covers, Fakebook, but as the two preview tracks show it's more in the folk vein, then the gnarly garage rock of Condo Fucks.
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CourtneyBarnettAlbumCover
9 Score

The Rockometer: Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett

Much like the beloved American sitcom, Seinfeld, a show about nothing, Courtney Barnett's debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit, managers to be highly entertaining while working with the most banal source material. Man plays hooky from work. Couple goes house hunting. Courtney swims. Courtney buys groceries. These are but a sampling of the seemingly ordinary scenes recreated over the course of eleven songs. There's even a track, "Small Poppies," where Barnett thinks about moving the lawn. She doesn't actually cut the grass, mind you, she just thinks about it.
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magic-whip

Play Me: “Lonesome Street” and “There Are Too Many of Us” by Blur

One of these two new Blur tracks released over the past week made me add the April 28th release date of Magic Whip to my calendar within seconds. The other did a shit job of generating any real excitement beyond the usual promotions cycle of read, re-post, and maybe listen, and in the process you get your name all over the web for a day.
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magic-whip

Play Me: “Go On” by Blur

Well, burn my biscuits, I didn't see this coming. Brit-Pop icons, Blur, announced today that they will be releasing Magic Whip, their first album of new material, in 12 years on April 28th. Not only that, but they've released the first preview track from the album, too. Oh, and the news gets even better: guitarist Graham Coxon is back in the fold, too.
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