Joseph Coscarelli

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    New Blitzen Trapper Album Out September 23

    After soldiering around the Northwest's dingiest club corners, indie rockers Blitzen Trapper have finally graduated as they prep the release of their Sub Pop debut, Furr, due September 23. The buzzworthy gang bring their Beck-like blend of acoustic guitar and electronics to the legendary Seattle label after sessions in their own studio, Sally Mack's School of Dance -- housed in an archaic Oregonian telegraph building -- basing Furr around the quirks of an "ancient, warped piano." The group made their name touring with the likes of Fleet Foxes and Two Gallants and through an opening slot for fellow Pacific Northwest veterans Modest Mouse. And should you need something to tide you over until Furr's release, check out this exclusive live performance of "Love You", filmed at the Saloon during this year's South by Southwest festival.

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    What? When an artist's debut ends up a genre-defining classic, expectations never fade, and though steeped in quality entries like the furious Stillmatic and sleeper hit Street's Disciple, Nas' catalog still craved another manifesto. And 14 years after Illmatic, Queensbridge's finest builds his untitled political tome around a hot-button racial epithet represented only by the first letter on the album's cover -- a poignant lacerated "N" scarred on the rapper's back -- and the record's incendiary rhymes. From the scathing "You Can't Stop Us Now" to the Bill O'Reilly-bashing, guitar driven "Sly Fox," Nas brings it; "No matter what the CD called, I'm unbeatable," he promises. Who?

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    Nurses, White Fang Lead PDX Pop Now!; Exclusive Horse Feathers MP3 from Accompanying Comp

    The fifth annual PDX Pop Now! festival will, per usual, pack Portland's finest into a West Coast weekend with no shortage of tradition, having starred acts like Sleater-Kinney, the Decemberists, and the Shins in the past. This year's all-ages shindig features regional stalwarts and compelling national up-and-comers like Grouper, Nurses, and White Fang, and will be held in the Oregon indie music mecca -- specifically at Rotture -- from July 25-27. While some of the acts have been announced, is proud to unveil the full artillery of participants for the first time (see below). But were that not enough for all ye Oregonian faithful, an exclusive download from the fragile and earthy Horse Feathers, taken from the 2008 PDX Pop Now! compilation, is available here.

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    As Lil Wayne Hits No. 1, We Encourage All to 'Bang Insanely, Not Try to Understand'

    "They cannot see me / They are like Stevie," Lil Wayne once boasted. And with the heights our favorite rasping martian and his syrup-fueled spaceship have reached recently, he's absolutely right. Larger than life, but too high to see (in more ways than one), the Young Carter has again peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, four weeks after Tha Carter III debuted to platinum sales in its first week -- a feat no album had accomplished since 50 Cent's The Massacre in 2005. Just in time to celebrate another 156,000 discs moved, the self-proclaimed and increasingly undeniable Best Rapper Alive also popped the cork on plans to launch a line of champagne he's calling Halo.

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    New Deerhunter Album, Tour With Nine Inch Nails

    Georgia punk peaches Deerhunter have announced the details of their much anticipated follow-up to 2007's lauded fuzz-fest Cryptograms. The album, dubbed Microcastle and slated for release on Oct. 28, comes less than one year after Bradford Cox and his cohorts announced an indefinite hiatus after two years of touring behind Cryptograms. In the interim we heard from frontman Cox via his hyper-personal solo outlet Atlas Sound and even saw the boys open for the Smashing Pumpkins on a few dates this summer. Now, the down-South kids are packing up for a cross-country jaunt with Corgan's '90s alt-rock contemporaries Nine Inch Nails in a coveted supporting slot ideal for promoting the new disc, which was recorded over only one week at Rare Book Studios in New York. Microcastle tracklist: 1. Cover Me (Slowly)2. Agoraphobia3. Never Stops4. Little Kids5. Microcastle6. Calvary Scars7.

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    Son Ambulance

    What? The indie rock apple never falls too far from the Saddle Creek tree, and Son Ambulance sit in a similar fruit bowl as their Nebraskan contemporaries. Singer-songwriter Joseph Knapp's pet project blends the moody acoustic stylings of underground icon Nick Drake with the poppier moments of Omaha's own prodigal son Conor Oberst, with whom Knapp split the Oh Holy Fools EP in 2001. Son Ambulance flirt with a Shins-like bounce on the woozy, organ-drenched "Horizons" and '70s psychedelic-lite vibes on "Juliet's Son the Renegade," both from the forthcoming Someone Else's Déjà Vu, due July 8. Who? Indie-pop project Son Ambulance, the brainchild of cornhusker Joseph Knapp.

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    Zack de la Rocha's New Group to Release Debut July 22

    A new release from Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha has become the stuff of legend. But now, after years of rumors and stalled projects with the likes of DJ Shadow and EL-P, the fruit of the politically charged rocker's labor finally arrives in the form of One Day as a Lion -- a partnership with ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore -- and the project's eponymous debut EP, out July 22 via Epitaph imprint Anti-. Named after the imagery in an iconic photo from famed Chicano shutterbug George Rodriguez, One Day as a Lion play by the mantra, "It's better to live one day as a lion than a thousand years as a lamb." And with de la Rocha on both vocals and keyboards and a skin-punisher like Theodore behind the kit, ferociousness is to be expected. One Day as a Lion tracklisting: 1. "Wild International"2. "Ocean View"3. "Last Letter" 4. "If You Fear Dying" 5.

  • Hello, Blue Roses

    Who? The love child of two multi-talented,multi-tasking eclectics, Hello, Blue Roses pairs visualartist/vocalist/flautist Sydney Vermont with her scraggly-hairedsweetheart, artsy singer/songwriter Dan Bejar (Destroyer, NewPornographers, Swan Lake), to make up this charming duo. Their intimacybeget a distinctive and engrossing debut album, complete with the awww-inspiring title, The Portrait Is Finished And I Have Failed to Capture Your Beauty... due Jan. 22 via the Locust label. What's the Deal? Like a Sonny & Cher for the hippest sectors of the Great WhiteNorth, these Vancouverites are anything but frigid, delivering 14 warmembers of by-the-fire folk fitted for the lovelorn literati.

  • Robbers on High Street Send 'Greetings' from Winter Wonderland

    Do you ever wish you were a famous songwriter? Well, so didthousands of Americans who, starting in the 1950s, began mailing theiroriginal words to grubby record labels and actually paid a fee to havetheir lyrics set to music. These "song-poems" might never have made astar of every (or any) John Public or Susie Q, but it did leave someundeniably fascinating pop culture relics. On the American Song-Poem'sChristmas album Daddy, Is Santa Really Six Foot Four?, amateur lyricists treated us to such not-so-classics as "Randy, the Lil' Elf" and "Santa Came on a Nuclear Missile." Now, reviving the phenomenon without the scam-artist ramifications, NYC rockers Robbers on High Streetget jolly with a new rendition of "Seasons Greetings," originallyperformed for the American Song-Poem collection.

  • Right On Dynamite Blow Up, Try to 'Let It Go'

    Before becoming a wedded Harvard grad, Weezer's Rivers Cuomobanged out post-grunge, fuzzy pop bliss with playful naivety -- atradition that Brooklyn trio Right On Dynamite are more than happy tomaintain. Like 1994's Weezer (The Blue Album), "Won't Let ItGo" is a welcome reprieve from brooding and over-serious rock,showcasing Right On Dynamite's poised and snappy manner. Deliveringhigh spirits in handclaps and slight xylophone dings, the track'sgleeful sound is effortless, while clear, crisp power chords are set toa low rumble. Eventually a section of undeniable oh oh ohsignites into a squealing guitar freak-out only to be quickly smoothedby the reprise of the simple verse melody. Lyrically, the trackaddresses a short fuse and the testing of patience but the contagiouschorus insists that "it's not your fault" if this Dynamite blows.

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