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Home » Articles »   By Chris Parker
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Thursday, March 29,2012

Taking out the thrash

Municipal Waste establishes itself as a stylistic bellwether

By Chris Parker
How can you have an ’80s revival without inviting the skaters? You can’t, which is why over the last half-dozen years there’s been a thrash resurgence — a wave Richmond’s Municipal Waste was out in front of by five years.
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Thursday, February 2,2012

Keep it simple

Dr. Dog’s studio approach has evolved over the years

By Chris Parker
Bands are chemistry experiments, and the introduction of a couple new elements can change the mix in not readily apparent ways. Dr. Dog has been together for more than a dozen years and released six albums of widescreen psych-pop, redolent of hooks and rather rollicking rock energy. Though
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Thursday, January 26,2012

Studio savior

Blind Pilot found a new voice while recording

By Chris Parker
It’d be difficult not to hear an echo of Fleet Foxes shaggy Northwestern Pacific folk-pop or Elliott Smith’s strummy melancholia in the delicate chamber-folk beauty of Blind Pilot’s second album, We Are the Tide. The Portland sextet’s September release is a dramatic step forward from 2008’s more austere, low-key 3 Rounds and a Sound, showcasing not only their growth as musicians and songwriters but the difference a full-fledged studio can make.
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Thursday, January 5,2012

Alabama memories

Jason Isbell stops trucking, takes break to rediscover his roots

By Chris Parker
You might say Jason Isbell’s third studio album Here We Rest began at his grandparents’ house in Alabama. It’s there that he first learned his love of music, and it’s to that area that he returned to recharge his batteries. It’s reflected in the album’s quiet, oft reflective tone and largely acoustic instrumentation. It was truly a back-to-the-roots album.
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Thursday, December 1,2011

Back to pilfer Xmas

The Grouch's fifth annual tour channels the giving spirit of the season

By Chris Parker
We’ll never begrudge a rapper moving beyond the cheap sensationalism of bitches, banging and bling, but we also don’t need a loquacious, underemployed PBS viewer schooling us on life’s finer points, as is the custom of many so-called “conscious rappers.”
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Thursday, November 17,2011

Bit o’ honey

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears find success with soul-blues

By Chris Parker
Things were coming to a close for nascent guitarist Joe Lewis. The nearly lifelong Austin resident had reached the end of his musical rope. He was without a band and about to hang up his short-lived guitar career, when he received a call from Zach Ernst.
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Wednesday, November 9,2011

Tragic trajectory

Ra Ra Riot overcomes death of drummer and continues ascent

By Chris Parker
You’ll often hear Vampire Weekend mentioned in connection with Ra Ra Riot, for a variety of reasons not necessarily related to their musical approaches. Both emerged in the late ’00s, possess a big, effusive sound and are connected through Ra Ra Riot singer Wes Miles (who’s a childhood friend of one member and started the electro-soul band Discovery with another). However, their paths have very different trajectories.
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Thursday, November 3,2011

Nothing but changes for restless Murs

Prolific rapper gets groove back with new label, album

By Chris Parker
Some guys worry about success and how to make it happen. Others simply do, channeling their ambition into creation, believing hard work and passion will take them wherever they need to go. Los Angeles-born rapper Nick Carter, aka Murs, is the latter such artist, someone who’s not only a fine storyteller, but punctures rap’s typical air of bravado and superiority to sing about everyday things and people.
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Thursday, August 4,2011

Bird of a different feather

Andrew Bird polishes up work on sixth solo album

By Chris Parker
Listening to Andrew Bird’s music, one is struck by its tender grace. Bird’s eclectic instrumentation helps infuse the songs with baroque beauty abetted by sunny, hook-laden pop warmth. Running through it all are Bird’s quirky, adventurous musical sensibilities, feeling out a balance between hook-laden directness and fanciful flights of music flair.
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Thursday, July 7,2011

On the road to stardom

The Avett Brothers prepare to move beyond 'I and Love and You'

By Chris Parker
The Avett Brothers are a band whose passionate energy, earnest talent and off-the-hook performances inspire great dedication among their fans. Few who have experienced the pretty mea culpa “Shame,” heard their plea to “kill the doubt that strangles my self-worth” on “Sanguine,” or been swept up in their raucous live “hoedown” spirit come away unconverted.
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