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SPOTLIGHT: New York Ninja
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WHO: Kurt M Spieler/Vinegar Syndrome WHAT: New York Ninja WHY: Look, the point of SPOTLIGHT was to focus on music, not movies, but there’s a first time for everything. Imagine a man discovering 6 hours of footage, without sound, of an abandoned martial arts movie from the 80s and taking it upon himself to re-edit it, rewrite the script (sometimes by reading lips), rerecord the dialogue and sound effects, and find a band to write a score that would fit...

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Tuesday, 25 June 2024
SPOTLIGHT: Live at Jaap Edenhal, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1981
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WHO: The Clash WHAT: Live at Jaap Edenhal, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1981 WHY: We’re not accustomed here at GC to recommend bootlegs, but this one is probably the mother of Clash bootlegs. Live at Jaap Edenhal is a live bootleg recorded from the console, and catches the Clash still at the height of powers still. This is finally a cohesive, high quality, complete capture of the band playing mostly their entire catalog (Combat Rock excluded). It’s interesting both as a testament...

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Friday, 07 June 2024
SPOTLIGHT: Barge at Will
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WHO: Jon Snodgrass + Buddies WHAT: Barge at Will WHY: Jon Snodgrass’ appeal is very specific. His songs sound like they would fit perfectly in an ALL or Descendents album, but his drawl gives it all a country-western quality. Also, the man has a sense of humor that he doesn’t mind showing in his music. Barge at Will is a rocking collection of songs that sit comfortably in a beer-soaked bar, much like you would find in a Hold Steady...

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Thursday, 16 May 2024
Spotlight: Half-divorced
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WHO: Pissed Jeans WHAT: Half-Divorced WHY: Punks can be scary and funny. They also cry. I’ve never heard a band that combines such fury, aggression, and rawness, with hilarious observational humor. Half-Divorced is only a half hour long (as albums like this SHOULD be), and frontman Matt Korvette barks about helicopter parents, the downsides of where we live, and of course, being happy that he’s ONLY $62,000 in debt. This stuff is aggro as shit but brings a smile to...

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Tuesday, 26 March 2024
SPOTLIGHT: Untame the Tiger
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WHO: Mary Timony WHAT: Untame the Tiger WHY: Timony might be considered a guitar goddess, but if that’s the case, she doesn’t let it on. Maybe it’s safer to say she’s a guitarist’s guitarist. That being said, anyone listening to her music can expect the guitar to be the highlight. Her newest solo record is the first one in over a decade and was written during tumultuous times: a breakup, and the loss of both her parents. But out of...

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Wednesday, 13 March 2024
SPOTLIGHT: Integrated Tech Solutions
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WHO: Aesop Rock WHAT: Integrated Tech Solutions WHY: Boy, this was a close one. Aes’ last two albums had failed to resonate with me and I was starting to fear that either his best days were past him or that I was unable to relate to the guy’s music. I delved into Integrated Tech Solutions hesitantly and, luckily, after spending time with it, was able to finally crack it open. ITS is another example of Aesop Rock’s unmatchably verbose rapping...

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Friday, 23 February 2024
SPOTLIGHT: Nothing Lasts Forever
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WHO: Teenage Fanclub WHAT: Nothing Lasts Forever WHY: Sometimes, things fall through the cracks. Last year, it was Nothing Lasts Forever. I had heard it, and enjoyed it, but it took a while to click. By the time that happened, we were already in 2024. If I were to tell you that Teenage Fanclub is a California band, you’d believe me. But I’d be incredibly wrong. Try across the pond and way north. They’re not even close to being teenage!...

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Thursday, 15 February 2024
SPOTLIGHT: Stop the World
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WHO: NOT WHAT: Stop the World WHY: I did not think Stop the World would make such an impact on me, mostly because I didn’t think I could ever get used to the vocals. I still don’t think I like the vocals, but Stop the World sounds like a love letter to ALL; every note, every guitar solo, every melody, every tone. For someone starving for new ALL material (“two new albums, one instrumental”), this album is a reminder of...

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Thursday, 01 February 2024
SPOTLIGHT: Back to Moon Beach
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WHO: Kurt Vile WHAT: Back to Moon Beach WHY: Look, you’re not fooling me by calling this an EP, OK? Anything with either 10 songs or more, or longer than 25 minutes is an LP. This thing clocks in at 52 minutes, so KV, you gave us a new album last year, even if some of these songs are covers. KV is the real deal, his style is like no other, his music deceptively simple and his lyrics and vocals...

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Tuesday, 23 January 2024
Derrick Brown on Comedy and Poetry
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There are a number of poets who use humor in their work. Some, like Ogden Nash, strive for it. For others, it just seems to come naturally. Derrick Brown is a naturally funny poet. While many of his best known poems are quite tender, a Derrick Brown show is guaranteed to include more than a handful of laughs. So it is not completely surprising that he has shifted over to comedy, releasing his first comedy album, A Close Shave with...

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Thursday, 18 January 2024