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Music Staff Picks: The Best Releases of April

billy woods – Aethiopes On Aethiopes, billy woods reestablishes his strengths as a storyteller, with help from producer Preservation’s experimentally jazzy beats. By now, woods has cemented himself as one of hip hop’s greatest writers, and his brooding yet clever introspection sounds especially powerful over Preservation’s musical backdropping. Samples of pianos will twinkle across some tracks, and pound discordantly on others, while electric guitars ring and horns blow. By the time the harmonica enters the equation, the beats here are unparalleled. It is an enveloping atmosphere completed by excellent percussion, which moves between hand drums, full kits, and shuffling jangles … Continued

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Soccer Mommy Hints at New Sound at Mission Creek Festival

Overall, Soccer Mommy earned the headline spot at Mission Creek Festival with their bright-sounding indie underpinning the deeper, darker meaning looming in the lyrics. Sometimes, Forever releases June 24th and can be pre-ordered through her website. 

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On Cloud Nine with Beach Bunny

Beach Bunny had had their first performance of their tour at the Englert Theatre. The theater quickly filled with excited young bodies thrilled to see Beach Bunny live.

Review: Chiddy Bang – Breakfast

By Keith Evanson Hip-hop duo, Chiddy Bang, have taken their underground hype into the mainstream. After nonstop touring, mixtape releases, and record label signings, they have now settled down to release an official album. Band members, Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and Noah “Xaphoon” Jones Beresin, use a successful formula to stimulate the ears of as many listeners as possible. Combining elements of hip-hop, electronica, and indie, they have displayed how versatile rap music can be. Xaphoon Jones shows a lot promise as a producer, there is no doubt about that. He has made a lot of interesting choices in the samples … Continued

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By Keith Evanson Video Games. This one single song has started a whirlwind of buzz, praise, criticism, and controversy within the music blogosphere concerning an artist that, prior to its release, flew under the radar. The song itself is beautiful sounding to me—elegant harps and strings surrounded by an angelic vocal, and a fantastic chorus built on a lovely melody. To put it plainly, I think the song is great. The music video is perplexing, though. It features Lana’s ginormous lips mouthing the lyrics in a sultry, sexy manner, which isn’t too unusual to see in modern pop videos. What … Continued

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By Keith Evanson Straight outta Des Moines, Iowa, Bright Giant exists to fill your ears with fuzzy distortion and crunchy guitar licks. Front man Josh Davis, who founded The Josh Davis Band, an alt-country band active in the early 2000s, has now broken out of his country shell (mostly), and created a new monster: Bright Giant. The local band released a 5 track EP in the summer of 2010, and since then they have been writing new material for their breakout album, “Kings and Queens of Air.” I can’t really describe the LP more accurately then by simply stating the … Continued

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By Keith Evanson Methamphetamine, heartbreak, and crime. The second LP from the country/folk/southern rock-inspired band, The Gimps, invites you to the depressing world of the rural south. Band members Johnny Nova and Chris Matule don’t even live in the same region of the U.S (Nova lives in Atlanta, Matule lives in San Francisco.) They record music in their own home studios, and send each other mixes via FTP. The large distance between the two band mates can be easily heard within the mostly muddled mixes of ideas and sounds. The band has yet to find a distinguished sound. “If Had … Continued

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