New Pornographers Demonstrate How Hope and Darkness Can Co-Exist in Music

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Mike Durham
New Pornographers' Neko Case and A.C. Newman

Crescent Ballroom was packed to the gills Monday night. A whole lot of mega-fans (and some less rabid admirers) of Canadian indie-pop-rockers New Pornographers gathered to see the band play a hearty set of more than 20 songs. The set mixed tunes from all the band's offerings from the past 14 years, including a bunch of tracks from their new release, Brill Bruisers -- their first in four years. This tour is extra special, as members Neko Case and Dan Bejar were able to break away from their other projects and join the rest of the members; sometimes the band tours without one or both.

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Anberlin Calls It Quits on Its Own Terms

Categories: Up on the Sun

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Becky Kovach
Anberlin

Should someone undertake a study of musical groups and the manner in which most dissolve, it is unlikely that many end amicably. Typically, internal friction, ego, death, or addiction causes band breakups. Anberlin has decided to take a different path despite differences making the band's existence somewhat tenuous.

"The decision to walk away is what is best for the fans, even though they may not see it," lead vocalist Stephen Christian says. "Our passion for being in the band has been waning for years because we have all started to invest our lives in other opportunities. If you are not performing music with passion, then it is for all the wrong reasons. Being in this band [any longer] . . . risked the chance of [us] being five hollow men on stage disgruntled with life, music, and each other."

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Paul McCartney Is So Much More than "Silly Love Songs" and "Band on the Run"

Categories: Up on the Sun

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Luke Holwerda
Paul McCartney

At 72, Paul McCartney has had a long, illustrious career -- most of it post-Beatles, though all too many forget that the Beatles lasted a mere 10 years. Still, Sir Paul's history starts with the Quarrymen, which morphed into the Beatles, the most popular rock band, and one of the best selling, of all time.

Innovation was the key to the Beatles success. Sure, they were cute, wore long hair when others didn't, and could harmonize better than most R&B groups. But their music went way beyond the simple melodies and pop trappings the songs offered to a welcoming public. There were also strings, classical instruments, horns, overdubs, backmasking and other wild studio trickery that was pretty unheard of at the time. It got wilder as the band aged, discovered mind-expanding drugs, and found that advances in musical equipment and recording equipment erased many conceptual roadblocks.

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Kim Shattuck on How Getting Fired by the Pixies Named Her Album

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Kim Shattuck
The Muffs

The Muffs (Kim Shattuck, Ronnie Barnett and Roy McDonald) have been writing and performing spirited, clever and fierce pop-punk tunes since they formed in the very early 1990s. Their first full-length release in 10 years, Whoop Dee Doo, hit the streets this week and both fans and critics are eating it up like candy, rightfully so. The 12-song recording is loaded with exciting, dynamic and catchy songs delivered with all the punch and spunk these longtime rockers have made us expect. Kim Shattuck, the band's lead vocalist and guitarist, was in the garage rock band The Pandoras, prior to The Muffs, and most recently did some time with the Pixies. Shattuck, whose voice can whip from snarl to sweet before you can blink an eye, got chatty with us about all that and more.

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How Everything From Hip-Hop to Psychedelic Rock Influenced Heavy Glow

Categories: Up on the Sun

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Bo Cross
Heavy Glow

If there's one thing that can be said about Jared Mullins, singer/songwriter/guitarist for San Diego rock/soul trio Heavy Glow is that he's single minded about the duality he wants to express.

"I've always been drawn to heavily guitar based rock and roll mixed with soul," he says. "Guitar riffs based on Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, even some Motown stuff. The only thing that I really wanted to do with Heavy Glow was keep it in the tradition of bands that try to cover a wide variety of rock 'n' roll subgenres, like Led Zeppelin or Iron Butterfly. Bands where you get the yin-yang, you get the light and the heavy, violent and beautiful at the same time. That's where the band name came from. I wanted to keep it in that tradition."


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On Billy Joel and the Days When You Had to Earn Music

Categories: Up on the Sun

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Courtesy of US Airways Center
Billy Joel

I love Billy Joel. I can get pretentious about the music I like, but at the end of the day, I always go back to the Piano Man. He could be soft or edgy. Songs like "Pressure" were futuristic and others like "Uptown Girl" could wax nostalgic. He was the one musician my parents and I could agree on. He was my first concert. I learned his music on piano after I got "Mary Had A Little Lamb" out of the way.

I know every word of the song "We Didn't Start the Fire." If it were karaoke night, you'd lose the bet. I wouldn't screw up one word. I bought the cassette of the album Storm Front when I was 11 years old, and I broke the rewind button on my boom box listening to that song. I would read the liner notes as each song played, even singing along on occasion. And let's face it, "We Didn't Start the Fire" isn't the greatest song ever. It isn't even a good Billy Joel tune, but I love it anyway. I earned it and it was something I could hold in my hand.

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Inside Brit Floyd, The Ambitious Pink Floyd Cover Band

Categories: Up on the Sun

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www.britfloyd.com

Will the real Pink Floyd please stand up? Actually, the real one has decided to sit it out for the foreseeable future, but in its place stands the live spectacle known as Brit Floyd, perhaps the closest thing to the real McCoy. With a syncopated psychedelic light show complete with video and laser projection, a full band including horn section and background vocals, and the ability to pull anything from Floyd's diverse catalog, musical director Damian Darlington says Brit Floyd is the ultimate Pink Floyd experience.

Darlington formed Brit Floyd three years ago after a 17-year stint with Australian Pink Floyd Show, which, as you can guess, is an Aussie Pink Floyd cover group. His reasoning? Simply because he felt he could do it one better.


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Folk Singer Greg Brown Is Used To Going With The Flow

Categories: Up on the Sun

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Sandy Dyas

Performing, writing, or even living, Greg Brown is at his best when he can settle into a groove.

With 25 studio albums, the 64-year-old Brown has carved out a distinct path among folk singer-songwriters. His rich baritone, with a rounded, cozy Midwestern drawl, delivers songs with wry humor, existentially yearning poetry, and stories of sharply observed detail.


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Matt Pond: "I'm Not the Easiest Person to Get Along With"

Categories: Up on the Sun

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Courtesy of Matt Pond PA
Matt Pond

In 2004, singer-songwriter Matt Pond quietly released his critically acclaimed fifth album Emblems with his band, Matt Pond PA. Documenting the artist's stressful relocation to Brooklyn from Philadelphia, the album delved into the creative highs and lonely lows of a new city. It showcased a musician at an artistic peak as Pond recruited musicians who brought forth a diverse sound brimming with the kind of orchestral instrumentation that fills up a room with happiness and dread.

Ten years later, the band is revisiting the album that put them on the indie rock map. Their set at the Crescent Ballroom on May 25 will feature the 12 tracks of "Emblems" from start to finish. When speaking with Pond, he seems uncomfortable talking about the past despite being on a tour that celebrates it. His humility and blunt honesty shone through when he talked to Up on the Sun about how the Internet has changed the way he collaborates with his band, distributes his music, and thinks about the future.

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Buffalo Killers Channel the Greats for Heavy Reverie

Categories: Up on the Sun

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Tragic Hero/Sun Pedal
Buffalo Killers

Buffalo Killers, at the very least, seem to hail from another time, which makes them perfect for right now. This four piece Ohio-based band adheres to that old balls-to-the-wall rock and roll credo when music was all about style and substance as well as simply piling on the heavy.

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