RiFF RAFF Thinks I'm a Hating, Basic-Ass, No-Vibe Bitch

Categories: Commentary

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Paige Skinner
True to his word, RiFF RAFF has since blocked me on Twitter

I guess he read my review.

The Top 9 Rock Bands Who Went Soft

Categories: Commentary

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Chapman Baehler
Goo Goo Dolls: They weren't always this soft.

It's a tradition as old as pop music itself: A band discovers how much money can be made by crossing over to the pop market and starts crafting softer music accordingly. It has happened to the best of bands. Most of the time, but not always, this occurs when a band has sadly decided to "mature." Some people call it selling out. Often, the bands have merely gone soft.

Once this softening happens, there is almost no going back. One soft single and the next thing you know, it's an entire album of power ballads. Yet even when some of the best bands have gone soft, their soft stuff is usually a hell of a lot better than folks who started out that way. So in honor of one such band, the Goo Goo Dolls, playing at Gexa Energy Pavilion tonight, here are nine of the most prominent rock bands who went soft.

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Hip-Hop's Illuminati Dropout Class of 2014.

Categories: Commentary

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Courtesy of the artist, Lil B.

It's that time of year again: Graduations have party-blocked out every May weekend while springtime optimists flock to their favorite blogs to discover soon-to-be summer hits. You know, the kind of hits that stealthily attack radio and multiply like a pop virus. But what about your favorite hip-hop artists from last year whose big follow-up hits are long-since late for class? The ones who seemed destined to reap the eternal extravagance of the hip-hop elite, but whom can't even release that album that's perpetually getting shelved?

We won't call it a conspiracy just yet, but maybe, just maybe, they've taken their place in this year's Illuminati Dropout Class.

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More than Drinking and Sexing: Mad Men's Characterization of Hip-hop

Categories: Commentary

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© David Redon "Ads Libitum"
"Snoop Doggy Dogg / Gin & Juice"

Characteristically, Mad Men bleeds hip-hop. On the surface you may think, "Of course it does, the characters smoke a lot, they drink like there's no tomorrow, and to them sex is more casual than a handshake." And while that's part of the story, it's a little bit deeper than that. Skydiving into its final season, AMC's zeitgeist into the advertising industry's golden era generates weekly criticism and adoration for its themes of glamorous idealism toward success, dark realism in favor of authenticity, alongside a continuing list of social paradoxes.

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That's Enough Already, Dave Grohl

Categories: Commentary

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Press Photo
Dave Grohl is one of my favorite dudes in the world but he needs to hop off my radar for a minute. I'm a mega Nirvana fan and I've always admired Dave for his talent and humor, but lately I can't seem to get him out of my face. His mug is everywhere.

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The 10 Post-Punk Albums Every Music Fan Should Own

Categories: Commentary

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Thirty years ago this week, The Smiths released their self-titled debut. It arrived at a time when every bass groove, dissonant guitar and echo-ey drum machine rhythm that would become identified with late '70s and early '80s post-punk music was at its peak. However, this debut also represented a new approach to a genre that The Smiths would eventually became associated with: Their sound still retained the same somber approach, but coupled with jangly rhythms you could dance to. Instead of treading through dark territory already previously established by such notable acts like Siouxsie and the Banshees or Joy Division, The Smiths' presence challenged the limitations of this already progressive genre.

1984 was a big year for debut releases, with the likes of Run D.M.C., The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, all groundbreaking in their respective genres. But The Smiths, with all due respect, may be the only ones whose album still sounds relevant today. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of this post-punk classic, here is a list of the top albums in descending order that have established this genre as our favorite institution for indulging in melancholy grooves.


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Ten Rules of the Rave: A Guide to Underground Dance Party Etiquette

Categories: Commentary

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Ed Steele
Electronic music's recent surge in popularity comes with serious side effects for underground-party aficionados. Suddenly, Daft Punk is winning Grammys, and drunk girls (and guys) are ruining life at 4 a.m. in a warehouse somewhere.

By Sarah Stanley-Ayre

Take this recent incident: Under a haunting pink hue Dustin Zahn tended to his machinery, hands poised above the knobs. My body was carried by the sound, hips oscillating, hair in my face, arms outstretched, at worship. I was in ecstasy, but I opened my eyes to someone shrieking, "Can you take a picture of my tits?"

She pushed her smartphone onto a bewildered onlooker. Much to my dismay, he aimed its lens directly at her protruding cleavage and snapped a series of photos. Her drunken friend laughed, peering into the phone's screen and haphazardly sloshing half of her drink onto the dance floor. In short, the magic was gone.

I could spend time being mad at these random people, but that would ultimately lead to nothing but more bad vibes. After talking to friends and other musicians who experience the same tribulations, I have assembled ten rules for proper underground dance-party etiquette.

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I Honestly Tried to Like Imagine Dragons

Categories: Commentary

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From the "I'm On Top of the World" music video.
I'm going to let you in on the secret: I don't know anything about music that normal adult humans listen to. Avalanches of culture engulf our entire society while I sit in a grubby basement, hunched over a laptop listening to old Motorhead records. However, on occasion, I'm forced to stick my head out and comb through the bleak, bland, and depressingly white landscape of pop music to observe the catastrophes around me.

I have heard a song by Imagine Dragons - "Radioactive." I was a career counselor at an arts college and some little booger that went to school there had covered it playing all the instruments himself. I thought it was really good for sounding like something I was fundamentally against.

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How I Learned to Love My Dad's Taste for Nu-Metal Music

Categories: Commentary

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Courtesy of the author
My parents, three years before I was born.
Yes, those are my parents in that picture.

Their pet snake, Phallys, is no longer around, and thankfully my Dad has ceased wearing a chain linking a nose ring to his ear. (Click the photo to enlarge it.)

But, now 43, he remains a wild man, especially when it comes to music.

For almost my whole life he's been rocking out in nerdy fashion and trying to push his tastes on me. The results have often been disastrous.

Like the time he got into dubstep. Or the time our trip to Coachella together sent him to the hospital.

But let's backtrack for a second...


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The Top 10 Metal Love Songs

Categories: Commentary

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Opeth
In honor of St. Valentine's Day, we wanted to offer you a list of love songs. But, these aren't the ordinary love songs about boys falling in love with girls, or girls getting their heart broken. The following heavy metal songs represent the madness and chaos of
love's firm grip on the human psyche. These songs all include tales and stories of torment, romance, lust, sexuality, jealousy, betrayal, the question of evil and the nature of sadomasochism, and even, the unspeakable acts, of the sexually/criminally insane. Most of all these songs are passionate and full of that spirit and energy (and rage) that only love can conjure up.We now present Metal's Top Ten Love Songs.


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