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Minnesota and Iowa (2010)

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Photos taken throughout Minnesota and Iowa in the fall of 2010.

Seeing Suge “Breaking” (Influenza)

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Blackbird Blackbird is a California-based producer who churns out music described by Nialler9 as “reverb-heavy” “dream pop jams,” and I Guess I’m Floating as “sunny, idyllic dreamwave.” Star Slinger is a UK-based producer who creates a sound which Dazed Digital has called “heavily rooted in the fundamental laws of hip-hop.” Emay is an Ontario-based producer […]

N.E.R.D. “Nothing” Review

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Somewhere over the course of the past decade Pharrell Williams‘ name became synonymous with style—not simply style, but innovation as well. Musically, if your project had the man’s name associated with it, its chances of failure were nil; even his 2006 solo debut, In My Mind, somehow avoided universal critical backlash despite being marginally bearable. […]

Junip “Always” (Influenza)

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Largely unknown as a group stateside, Junip began in the late-’90s as a collaborative effort from Tobias Winterkorn (organ, synth), Elias Araya (drums) and José González (vocals & guitar). As the three members continued on with their separate paths however, the reality of recording a full length release became a casualty of their own unique […]

Lykke Li “Get Some”

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Serving as the title track for her new two-song EP, “Get Some” rumbles along in the background as the Swedish songbird cautions “Like a shotgun needs an outcome, I’m your prostitute, you gon’ get some!” Rarely do open-ended threats sound so alluring. Teasing with the single and its B-side, “Paris Blue,” Lykke Li promises not […]

Taylor Swift “Speak Now” Review

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Something became quite evident as the term alternative rock morphed into a bastardized parody of itself in the mid-to-late-’90s: there was little left to be an alternative to. Bands such as Creed who were curiously pinned with the label helped contribute to its death, and as the new millennium dawned the vast world of mainstream […]

MaLLy “Heir Time” (Influenza)

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“I am sick and tired of doing shows at these grimey no show bars!” While still a young name on the scene, Mally has been rapping since 2002 and released his first album, The Letter, in 2007. The 26-track collection drew a bit of nation-wide praise for the Twin-Cities-based MC, but none higher than that […]

Eww Yaboo “I’m Not Afraid” (Influenza)

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Yeah, What? EP by Eww Yaboo Described as a “sleepy coal mining town,” the unlikely setting of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania is where Eww Yaboo’s collective fortress, affectionately known as “The Notch,” has taken on a reputation due to the “noise” that continually resonates from deep within. But to the trio of Drew Carsillo, Nathan Andre and […]

Ne-Yo “Libra Scale” Review

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Ne-Yo’s new album, as he has explained in numerous interviews leading up to the release of Libra Scale, is a self-described conceptual piece which focuses on the conflicts that arise between love, power and money. In one such discussion with Rolling Stone‘s Sean Fennessey the vocalist detailed some of the primary influences that impacted the […]

Dark Dark Dark “Wild Go” (Influenza)

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Having released the band’s full-length debut, The Snow Magic, in 2008, Minneapolis’ Dark Dark Dark quickly built a reputation for standing outside any single genre, or single city, actually, as the group roamed between the Twin Cities, New York, and New Orleans. In his review of the album The Line of Best Fit‘s Adam Nelson […]

Kings of Leon “Come Around Sundown” Review

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Since its release in September of 2008, Kings of Leon‘s Only by the Night has sold some 6.2 million copies worldwide, becoming the highest selling digital album in history in the process, has earned the band four Grammy Awards in addition to a slew of other prizes around the world, and has never really left […]

Thomas Dolby Interview

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Thomas Dolby might best be introduced by TED, where the musician is acknowledged for “blinding us with science,” before mention is made of his propensity to have “always blurred the lines between composition and invention.” Since first assuming his place as one of the pioneering stars of MTV in the early ’80s, Dolby, born Thomas […]

Silver Swans “Secrets” (Influenza)

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What was originally meant to be a single collaboration between vocalist Ann Yu and DJ/producer Jon Waters sparked something between the two, a rare sense of chemistry which ultimately led to the formation of Silver Swans. Whether their sound be explained as a combination of “dance floor energy, a laid back lounge refinement, and a […]

Lil Wayne “I Am Not a Human Being” Review

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Despite being held up at Rikers Island Correctional Facility for a large chunk of 2010 Lil Wayne has somehow still proven to be not only one of the most prolific artists alive, but one of the most skilled. Not to overlook the wave of videos which were unleashed earlier this year in support of his […]

Neil Young “Le Noise: The Film”

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Le Noise: The Film: is “a [largely] 38-minute black and white film of eight live-in-studio performances of the eight songs that appear on legendary rocker Neil Young’s brand-new album Le Noise… The performances, shot by filmmaker Adam CK Vollick, feature Young on acoustic and electric guitars at Lanois’ home studio in Silverlake, CA, where Young […]

Black Prairie “Red Rocking Chair” (Influenza)

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Comprised of Portland-based musicians Annalisa Tornfelt and John Neufeld along with Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, and Nate Query of the Decemberists, Black Prairie found its beginnings in 2007 but it wasn’t until this year that the band released any material. The group’s debut, Feast of the Hunters’ Moon (Sugar Hill Records), is nothing if not […]

Bruno Mars “Doo-Wops and Hooligans” Review

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A respected producer and writer before his name was remotely mentioned in the same vein as a solo artist, Bruno Mars is the talk of pop music right now, but he very well might not be the man he appears to be. Catching the ears of many with his appearances on B.o.B.‘s “Nothin’ on You” […]

Liars “The Overachievers” (Influenza)

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Now a decade into their existence, Brooklyn, New York’s Liars released their fifth studio album this past March titled Sisterworld (Mute). And much like its predecessors, 2007′s eponymous album or 2006′s breakout Drum’s Not Dead, it was quickly greeted with acclaim on all fronts. Reviews have only been mixed in that there has been no […]

Lovers “Figure 8″ (Influenza)

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Few names garner such a remarkable endorsement as being called “an entrancing spell-caster,” but Lovers’ Carolyn Berk is one such person. While the founding member of the Portland-based trio first took on the band’s moniker nearly a decade ago, the story of the group’s current lineup comes down to a meeting some years later between […]

Contrast Podcast

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Contrast Podcast was a collaborative podcast I contributed to from 2006 to 2006. “The idea behind the contrast podcast is that various MP3 bloggers and podcasters each suggest a track based on the theme…” Episode #212: Boiling and Steaming Episode #210: 2010 So Far Episode #209: Songs With Laughter In Them Episode #203: Artists’ Last […]

Eric & Magill “Old Man Winter” (Influenza)

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To put it bluntly, the journey leading up to the release of Eric & Magill’s new album has been a long and arduous one. Dating back to the late-’90s, during their time together in the Milwaukee-based band Camden, Ryan Weber and Eric Osterman have had a long and trying relationship, but one that has ultimately […]

Fresh Dubs: “A Prophet (Un prophète)” [2009]

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Fresh Dubs is a series which focuses on an individual film’s use of pop music, or lack thereof, analyzing a sampling of songs from the film and offering suggestions for alternative tracks along the way. “A prison tale of French-Arab-Corsican teenager Malik (Tahar Rahim) dropped into the shark tank of the predatory prison culture, is […]

Paul Cary “Iryna” (Influenza)

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Cedar Rapids, Iowa isn’t exactly perceived as a cultural hotbed teeming with artists on the verge of greatness. But nearly a decade before the city was tragically propelled into nationwide headlines due to severe flooding in 2008, a trio of musicians came together in the city under the banner of the Horrors, signing the great […]

Tetsuo “Smoking Cigarettes With Famous People” (Influenza)

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The daily commute from Murfreesboro to Nashville is a manageable—albeit lengthy—one, but the sounds that the city has become famous for bear little resemblance to those which resonate from the central-Tennessee four-piece, Tetsuo. Having been together for less than a year, the group has already issued its debut full-length, These Crystals Don’t Burn, which was […]

Neil Young’s “Le Noise” & “Ordinary People”

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“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen. In 2007 I wrote an essay that’s about as long-winded as its title: “A Sustainable Future, Neil Young’s ‘Ordinary People’ and the Beauty of Coincidence.” Essentially it touches on a rocky time in my life which led me to a series […]

Heinali and Matt Finney “End of July” (Influenza)

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Approach Influenza as a series which serves to offer insight into the birth of a song; these are the thoughts, influences and the inspirations directly from the mind of the artists. With a distance of nearly 9000 kilometers between them, lyricist Matt Finney (Alabama) and producer Heinali (Ukraine) met online and found a way to […]

I Used to Love H.E.R.

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The 46th installment of I Used to Love H.E.R., a series in which artists/bloggers/writers discuss their most essential or favorite hip-hop albums and songs… Maestro Fresh Wes “Let Your Backbone Slide” I don’t remember where or when I first heard it, I just remember that “Let Your Backbone Slide” has practically always been a part […]

Green Light Go Interview

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Chris DeLine of Culture Bully makes you both laugh and really, really think about the world of online journalism and the serious impact it has on the way bands market themselves. But then he flips the fun switch on again when he says something totally out there (read question #8 for instance) that reminds us […]

Katy Perry “Teenage Dream” Review

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With her new album, Teenage Dream, Katy Perry is looking to do anything but break the mold, “Some people get full of themselves, and they think that anything they do is going to work or turn to gold or be the right move, and the reason why you’re here is because of the people that […]

Elektrisk Gønner “Panoramic Targets” (Influenza)

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Approach Influenza as a series which serves to offer insight into the birth of a song; these are the thoughts, influences and the inspirations directly from the mind of the artists. Roughly translated from the French site Student After All, “Panoramic Targets” is described as a “small ball of platinum electro-rock remix with two more […]

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