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The complete beginners’ guide to Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros are known for creating vast sprawling soundscapes that jump from the delicate and mystical to the raw and rampant. Post-classical arrangements combine perfectly with large electric guitar sounds, thumping drums and incredible falsetto vocals to create an other-worldly sound. Their music is and has always been truly unique. Some of you may dive straight in at the beginning, ...

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Honest Press Release

Dear Editor, Pour Cement on Me are one of the bands I’m paid to be enthusiastic about. Below is a press release, which I hope you will find, if not interesting, at least worthy filler material for your next deadline crisis. Neither chart favourites nor cult heroes, Pour Cement on Me are pioneers of grindcore K-pop, a blend of styles ...

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Some Bob Dylan-related Sacrilege

‘Gonna find me a janitor, to sweep me off my feet’ is not a line one would expect from the master poet-musician Bob Dylan. But there it is, on the 1997 album Time Out of Mind, which is otherwise a masterpiece, containing one of his greatest ballads, Make You Feel My Love, and one of his best couplets: ‘You broke ...

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Storytelling in popular music: three key songs

Lily Allen – Not Fair From the same album as her mournful ballad ‘Fuck You’, ‘Not Fair‘ is about Allen’s relationship with a man who is kind, mature, and in most ways respectable, but not very good at sex. It’s adapted, I believe, from a Tolstoy short story. ‘When we go up to bed/you’re just no good/it’s such a shame’, as ...

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Why you should care about… ECM Records

‘ECM is the nearest thing music has to a cult’, the Observer claimed in 2006. I believe I’m a member. I’m not the kind who sells his house and goes to live in a commune run by the supreme leader, who turns out not to be supreme enough to provide proper food or sanitation; nor am I the kind of ...

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Roxy Music: A Beginner’s Guide

Roxy Music’s emergence at the start of the 1970s signalled an important shift in British rock. Amid the abundance of flares and demin jackets, the band, led by a kind of gothic Elvis in Bryan Ferry, leaped onto the scene with flamboyance, humour, darkness and a unique idea of what popular music could be. It’s important to note that there ...

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