Larry Fitzmaurice

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    The Jesus and Mary Chain

    What's the Deal? After a messy break-up and the requisite side projects, the brothers Reid (Jim and William) made their triumphant return as the Jesus and Mary Chain on the Coachella stage in 2007 -- perhaps egged on by usage in a crucial scene in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. Since then, they've played a short U.S. tour (with international and festival dates forthcoming), claimed to be at work on a new record (!), and lent a brand new track to the soundtrack of the popular television show, Heroes. This week, their entire back catalog gets the reissue treatment. Who?

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    'Lightning' Strikes for Liam Finn

    It's a hard knock life as the first opening act on a bill. No matter who you want to reach with your performance, you're often stuck with a small crowd of audience members slowly trickling in and talkatively preparing for the headliner as you play through your set. It was a testament to up-and-coming Kiwi multi-instrumentalist Liam Finn's star power then, that Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg was packed with admiring fans singing along to the troubadour's opening set for Apollo Sunshine and Pela last night (Feb.

  • Time Again Draw the 'Line'

    A message to those who think that punk music doesn't exist anymore, Los Angeles-bred rabble-rousers Time Again has a bone to pick with you. While the band's head quote on their MySpace page declares "Punk's not dead," mohawked middle-agers who got the chance to witness the Sex Pistols in their heyday might beg to differ, but even some purists won't be able to argue with the fierceness of first-pumping anthem "Lines Are Faded." Here, Time Again charge through with equal parts melody and rage -- vocalist Daniel Dart's gravelly voice meshes well with the crunchy three-chord structure of the tune. Dart growls, "So I stand up / looking to the sky / amidst this world covered with lies," before launching into an impassioned bridge and a pretty sweet guitar solo, courtesy of guitarist Elijah Reyes.

  • Get a Much-Needed 'Kick' From the Valley Arena

    With a sound that combines the wraith-like musical patterns of Les Savy Fav with the overcast moodiness of late-era Fugazi, Long Beach, California's the Valley Arena might not immediately come across as the best remix candidates. Then again, the first rule of conventions is that they're meant to be defied, which is exactly what DJ Chris Alfaro a.k.a. Free the Robots does in his remix of "Kick at the Ceiling." Under the Robots' hand, the prickly guitars and expressive drumming that give "Ceiling" its punch are pushed to the background and replaced with psych-tinged bass and faint free-jazz keyboards.

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    Atlas Sound

    Who? Named after the tape machine he's been recording onsince sixth grade, Atlas Sound is the side project and recording aliasof Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox. Although his main band touredalmost non-stop throughout 2007, workaholic Cox somehow found time toget in a recording studio and lay down the tracks that make up hisforthcoming debut, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, out Feb. 19 via the Kranky label. What's The Deal? A more electronic-oriented project than Deerhunter, Let the Blind Leadis a swirling ambient journey through Cox's mind, as well as his recordcollection.

  • The Cool Kids Party Like It's 1988

    Though the hip-hop duo's studio full-length isn't expected until mid-2008, that didn't stop Chicago's Cool Kidsfrom tearing the roof off of Brooklyn, New York's Studio B last night(Jan. 24).

  • What Made Milwaukee Famous Take a Walk Down 'Resistance St.'

    What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger; if that meanschanging a few things up and taking some risks, then so be it. For WhatMade Milwaukee Famous' upcoming sophomore album, What Doesn't Kill Us,the Austin, Texas-based outfit entered the studio with producer andSparklehorse guitarist Chris Michaels. New tune "Resistance St." --reflecting darker layers and doleful vocals -- shows that a littlesubtlety goes a long way. Surrounded by shifting, mutedpost-punk guitar chords and minor-key keyboard twinkling,vocalist/guitarist Michael Kingcald croons through lo-fi sheen, "Hey,weren't you told / How brutal life can be?" before the rest of the bandrips into a soaring, guitar-and-saxophone-laden build up. The sense ofdread and crashing noise certainly is a change for WMMF, especiallywhen considering the upbeat indie-pop template established on theirdebut, Trying To Never Catch Up.

  • Nada Surf Challenge 'Authority'

    It's not always necessary to make a grand, defiant personalstatement in order to 'stick it to the man'; sometimes, as thebicycle-pedaling protagonist proves in the video for Nada Surf's newsingle, "Whose Authority," a series of quiet victories during anordinary day is more than enough.

  • Maritime Heads Back to 'School'

    Any group of able musicians can straightforwardly cover a song;the more difficult task is to bring something new to the table.Milwaukee-based outfit Maritime make it sound like just another day inthe studio on their cover of Hot Chip's "Boy From School," aJapanese-only bonus track included on the band's latest studiooffering, Heresy and the Hotel Choir. Here,the indie pop trio keeps the original track's shifting groove andlilting melody while toying with the sonic and emotional structure.

  • Biirdie Takes Flight From La La Land

    Metaphors relating a band's sound to their name can come off as lazy and uninspired, but in the case of Glendale, California's Biirdie,it's impossible to resist the temptation to make such a connection. Theshifting folk-tinged pop exhibited on the band's forthcoming second LP,Catherine Avenue, tends to soar freely like the winged animals they borrow their name from; album cut "LA Is Mars" is no exception. Injust under four and a half minutes, Biirdie shift effortlessly betweenthe countrified balladry of early Wilco, the sunny harmonies of theElephant 6 collective, and 70's Laurel Canyon guitar pop.

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