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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

Imagining What’s on Each NFC North Team’s Christmas List

At this point, everyone has a pretty good feel for each team’s strengths and weaknesses. If the run defense hasn’t been fixed by now, it probably never will be this season – unless of course, Santa comes early. Given that we are approaching the holiday season, I figured it would be a good time to imagine what is at the top of each team’s Christmas list. (Image via Minnesota Vikings)

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The Lowdown:   As Bears fans everywhere know: rebuilding is a long, torturous process that has had us ready to punt our TVs out the window ever since Jay Cutler joined us in watching the Packers advance to the Super Bowl in 2011. But hey, it could always be worse… the Jets were also playing in the conference championship that season, at least we’re not them. That being said, things are cautiously optimistic for Bears fans right now… even with the injury to Zach Miller. Most people believe the Bears are still years away from true contention, but why listen? … Continued

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Since the turn of the millennium sports have taken on a whole new look. Rules have changed, superstars have become larger than ever, our favorite players are now owners and fantasy sports are nearly trumping the importance of reality. Although the landscape of professional athletics continues to evolve, one aspect has maintained familiarity; teams still win. Some much more than others. “Dynasty” is term loosely tossed around to describe successful teams after championship runs. In most modern sports, the talent pool has proven too deep to have a classic, 20th-century, dynasty such as the 50s Yankees, 60s Celtics or 90s … Continued

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