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Basilica Soundscape 2016

Full disclosure: I think many music festivals could be improved by a generous helping of extreme heavy metal. But here’s why that change made this year’s Basilica Soundscape, always a unique and engaging event, one of the best in its five-year run. At first, you might not notice the shift in this year’s line-up, which […]

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Psychic Twin – “Stop In Time”

Behind the forceful pulses of Psychic Twin’s electro-pop, a clue to frontwoman Erin Fein’s own psyche appears in the way she keeps repeating certain phrases: “No, I can’t stop in time,” “I won’t take part of you,” “When I go farther, I lose myself,” “We can work it out, baby.” This Brooklyn duo has the […]

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Black Coffee – Pieces of Me

Are we okay with evaluating music for its effectiveness in the gym? Because I’m thinking Black Coffee has a contender for best work-out album of 2016 with his latest album, Pieces of Me. Nathi Maphumulo, the man from Durban, South Africa behind the Black Coffee alias, puts a fresh, jazzy spin on vocal house music. […]

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Basilica Soundscape 2016 preview

The leaves haven’t even started turning colors in New York’s Hudson Valley, but already the locals are anticipating autumn’s sublime landscapes and peak cultural offerings. Speaking of which: two weeks until Basilica Soundscape! This Sound It Out correspondent has attended the celebrated “anti-festival” of independent music, spoken word, and art in Hudson, NY for all […]

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Roísín Murphy – “Ten Miles High”

On “Ten Miles High,” Roísín Murphy orchestrates electronica rhythms, suspenseful dynamics, and her distinct velvet-throated croon to soundtrack the heist movie that’s showing in her head. The look of Murphy’s imaginary film is irresistible, its hi-res sheen highlighting the song’s seductive pull and delicately masking the fact that the narrator is perhaps a teensy bit […]

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Male Gaze – King Leer

Oh, yes: Male Gaze, the Bay Area band who made of one last year’s hot-as-shit debut records, have done it again, delivering nine-tracks of face-melting rock on their new album, King Leer. This being a release on Castle Face Records — the celebrated garage-rock label that Male Gaze frontman Matt Jones happens to preside over […]

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Heaven’s Jail – “Widow’s Work”

Heaven’s Jail plays a hungry, no-frills style of hard rock that makes an unexpected case for the genre’s continuing relevance. The blazing “Widow’s Work,” the title track from their new album, recalls a thousand fist-pumps and sing-alongs — satisfying enough, until you sense that something’s off. Is it the absence of an obvious chorus, a […]

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Diarrhea Planet – “Life Pass”

So here we are: maybe the best new hard rock out there today is being made by a band with maybe the worst name ever. But if you have the fortitude for scatalogogical nomenclature coined, somewhat predictably, in a college dorm room years ago, then Diarrhea Planet should surely satisfy your air-guitar itch. The Nashville […]

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Hannah Georgas – “Rideback”

Here’s an uncommon wisdom: summers can be cruel. (Just ask Bananarama.) Goading us with unrealistic expectations of escape and fulfillment, the season triggers flashes of existential disillusionment in the best of us. On the single “Rideback,” Hannah Georgas freezes these moments, summoning electronic rhythms and baritone saxophones (!) to reckon with the essential question: “What […]

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