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Converge Release New Song And Video

Underground hardcore standard-bearers Converge have a new album coming out on October 9th called All We Love We Leave Behind. This time around the guys have gone with a more “structured” approach to song-writing, according to singer Jake Bannon in a recent interview with Decibel magazine. As you’ll hear in the video below, their new song “Aimless Arrow” has more of a verse/chorus structure, and Bannon’s vocals are less distorted than usual. In fact, the annunciation of his lyrics in this song may well be more distinguishable than any other Converge release to date. The production quality might also be described as a bit “cleaner” than previous releases by the band, who are normally known for being more rough around the edges in terms of honest and gritty sound quality. But don’t let these attributes alarm you. This is still the same heavy-hitting, DIY, true-to-self band that we all know and love. After 12 years of unforgiving brutality, the guys in Converge are still finding new ways to wake people up and expose all of the ugly and beautiful truths of the world. There seems to be no sign of stopping for these masters of thrash.

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It’s A Competition Just To Judge For American Idol

The drama is getting started a bit ahead of schedule over at American Idol. Ever since Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler decided to bow out from their roles as judges on the popular reality singing competition (though not Randy Jackson, apparently) there has been a great deal of speculation and conjecture as who will take over their spots. About a month since Tyler and Lopez’ departure, it looks like the panel for Season 12 is finally coming together. Maybe.

Mariah Carey was one of the first names floated around as a replacement judge. Indeed, Carey was the first new face to sign on for season 12 to the tune of $18 million. But it looks like Carey might not be the only woman at AmIdol this time around; Nicki Minaj is reportedly close to signing onto the show for $8 million and an allowance for hair, makeup, and outfits. Knowing Minaj, that could easily drive her price tag into the tens of millions.

While it doesn’t sound like Carey is too pleased with having to share the spotlight with another female performer it is unlikely that she would have been the lone diva for long. Katy Perry was also in talks with Idol to judge, though $20 million apparently wasn’t enough to land her.

As for the guys it’s still unknown who is going to be bro-ing out with Jackson in season 12. Keith Urban is in talks with the show and he would certainly lend the twang to the proceedings that Idol has been lacking. It would be an easy transition for Urban, too, as he has just wrapped up his judging gig on Australia’s incarnation of The Voice. The other big hosting candidate would be rapper and living embodiment of ego Kanye West. It also sounds like West has some pretty powerful backers, namely American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and Kris Jenner, matriarch of the Kardashian clan and momager extraordinaire. So, he’s basically got it, right?

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Anthems Of The Underdog

Matthew Peabody of The Missing Chums

Matthew Peabody and Mike Kegler share a long history, one that spans bands and orchestras and college jam sessions. The Missing Chums is a continuation of that musical synergy. Along with keyboardist Matt Douponce and bassist Henry Van Loon, the band cranks out jumpy, lo-fi rockers. The title track to their debut album, Out of the Gates, is an anthem of uncertainty. “I’m guessing this great flood will wash your conscience clean,” Peabody warbles over furious strumming, handclaps, and tambourines. The excellent “Cover It Up” is more brazen, steeped in the ‘80s with big distorted guitars, rock steady drums, and Peabody’s loosened croon. The Chums’ music is raw and unrefined, equal parts nervous energy and swaggering hooks. On “Yes You May” isolation and desire creep in, but by “Moving Target” the group has pulled out the tambourines for a low-country jig. Life’s tough. Still, every underdog has its day.

Metal Monday: Next Big Movement?

Music trends have been happening forever, for better or worse. At its best, trendiness has provided us with styles like bebop; at its worst, it brought us disco (no offense, disco fans). Even metal has seen a litany of musical trends come and go. Origins of death metal, new millennium metalcore, dragon-slaying power metal, nu metal, new wave of thrash metal — they’ve all had their time in the metal spotlight. But what’s in the spotlight now…and what’s going to replace it? Today djent might still be king, with bands like Periphery, Veil of Maya, and Tesseract carrying the torch. But what’s next?
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New Jackson 5 Rarities Dredged Up In “Come And Get It: The Rare Pearls”

Since the King of Pop’s untimely death there’s been a fairly consistent stream of posthumous albums culled from demos, b-sides, and various curios from over his extensive back catalog. We’ll be seeing many more Michael Jackson “rarities” records like these for years and years and years to come, no doubt.

But whatever argument could be made against cash-grab, unit moving tactics like that will evaporate in the face of Come And Get It: The Rare Pearls, a compilation record of covers, alternate takes, and unreleased tracks from The Jackson 5 circa the mid 1970s.

Yes, modern nostalgics, you heard me right. Baby Michael is back.

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Songs Of The Revolution: Shonen Knife

For this week’s Songs of the Revolution, we were honored to play host to Shonen Knife, the all-female Japanese pop punk band that influenced a generation of American rockers before ever stepping onto U.S. soil.

The band has just released Pop Tune, their 18th studio album since their debut in 1982. Frequently cited by Kurt Cobain as one of his favorite bands, they had a lot of success in America in the mid-late ‘90s, and during that time made one of their best-loved recordings, a cover of The Carpenters’ “Top Of The World,” which was included on a popular tribute album.

Despite a few lineup changes over the years (singer Naoko Yamano is the remaining original member), the band is currently as strong as ever, as evidenced on this session. We naively requested a stripped-down set, in keeping with the vibe of the SOTR sessions. When the band arrived at the studio, we set up and suggested maybe just a hi-hat for cymbals. Sure, they nodded and agreed. Drummer Emi Morimoto asked for another cymbal stand. Okay, maybe just a ride cymbal, we hinted. Soon enough, she was wailing on the kit with a nice, high crash invading all the mics. We had to respect that. And, in the end, we’re glad we’re not the ones who got Shonen Knife to water it down.

Enjoy these streaming video performances and free downloads, and try not to let “Banana Chips” drive you mental with its insistent catchiness. Atomic-level earworm.

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Exclusive Q and A: Vanna Talks Family, Friends, and Monsoons

“It’s time to get out of this town. It’s haunting, this presence.” If the verse lyrics from post-hardcore band Vanna’s “Safe To Say” ever referred to their hometown of Boston, Mass., we’d never guess it now. After kicking off 2012 with tours through Europe and the U.S. from February to April, then almost immediately turning around and jumping on the Warped Tour, Vanna front man Davey Muise and guitarist Joel Pastuszak told us about how great it was to be home at the Warped Tour stop in Mansfield, Mass. Apart from touring, in the last six months Vanna have picked up new members Pastuszak and Erik Gross, and have begun working on a fourth LP after releasing their third full-length album, And They Came Baring Bones in 2011. Muise and Pastuszak talked to us about friends, family, and tour craziness over the last few months.

OS: You guys are playing back in your hometown, that’s got to be great. What’s it like to be back?

DM: It’s awesome to be back, all of our families are here and you know, we’re just looking forward to our New England date to prove to the rest of the tour that we are a ‘worth it’ band [laughs].

OS: You haven’t played with Four Year Strong in a long time, how does it feel to be touring with some hometown friends again?

DM: It’s cool, it’s cool ‘cause like Four Year [Strong], Transit, A Loss For Words, Man Overboard, Make Do, and Mend (even though they’re kind of from Jersey), it’s a lot of New England bands on this tour and it just feels really really good to tour with bands from New England; slash I apologize to everyone who’s not from New England on this tour because we can get pretty rowdy and obnoxious. It’s cool; it’s definitely cool to have everybody out. Four Year’s killing it, A Loss For Words is killing it, all the New England bands are doing so well, I’m just proud of my friends.

JP: We pretty much just took over the whole tour.

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Chad Kroeger And Avril Lavigne’s Engagement Is Literally The Biggest News Ever, Eh? [UPDATE]

People Magazine got the scoop of a lifetime last night, reporting that Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger and pop starlett Avril Lavigne were newly engaged following a whirlwind romance. The linking of the houses of Kroeger and Lavigne represents a consolidation of power as the two families now have a stranglehold on bad Canadian rock.

That was a joke. But seriously, this is huge.

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Recording Studio That Saw Dylan And Radiohead Might Soon Be Condos


The Church Studios is a storied recording facility in London’s delightfully named Crouch End neighborhood. Housed in a gothic chapel, the studio has hosted sessions for Bob Dylan, Radiohead, and Elvis Costello, amongst others. However, the studio’s days may be numbered.

According to the Evening Standard, current owner and UK pop singer David Gray is looking to divest himself of the property or have most or all of the site converted into “flats.” “David would be delighted to sell the Church Studios,” noted a spokesperson for the singer. “But given the current upheaval in the music business and the repercussions on commercial recording studios, it is only prudent to explore other avenues, including redevelopment.”

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Exclusive Q and A: Yeasayer Stop And Smell The ‘Fragrant World’

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsIndie blogosphere darlings Yeasayer have bucked the boom and bust trend of internet hype once already. Following up their buzzworthy 2007 debut All Hour Cymbals with the grand experimental pop of 2010′s Odd Blood, the Brooklyn-based band proved that it’s possible to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump that too often accompanies massive amounts of online exposure. Now, more than two years later, Yeasayer are back with Fragrant World, their third full length and most ambitious record to date. We caught up with bassist Ira Tuton to talk album art, film scoring, and the process of writing and recording Fragrant World.

OS: During the writing and recording process, you guys reportedly had enough material to do two separate albums: one of three-minute pop songs, and the other of more experimental tunes. Which type of album did Fragrant World ultimately end up becoming?

IT: I’m gonna go with the poppy one, just because we’re dealing with hooks, refrains, verses, and choruses. I think we used a lot of the ideas involved with making an experimental record and translated those aesthetics into the format of pop songs. We just honed down our focus and both types of music kind of bled into each other.

OS: Is there any chance we’ll ever get to hear some of those sidelined tracks?

IT: Yes, totally. I’d also love to explore some long-form compositions in the future. It’s something we haven’t really done. There are a lot of things we haven’t done, so we have the opportunity to move in many different directions in the future. There are certain things that didn’t make the record that are going to come out in the next year. Right now, though, the whole focus is on the album first.  There’s so much thought in terms of that, because it’s not just the release, but it’s also dealing with our live show, making sure the arrangements are where we want them to be, and perfecting the visual aspect of our live show. A lot of things are more pressing matters on our end at this moment.

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