• The 20 Best Albums of 2008

    The 20 Best Albums of 2008

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    Exclusive: Against Me!'s Tom Gabel Plays Acoustic

    Tom Gabel's no stranger to video performances, what with his new series in support of his recently released solo album Heart Burns. But when SPIN.com caught up with the punk rock troubadour in Brooklyn to film a live acoustic performance recently, Gabel was treated to, well, a lesson in multiplicity.Below, watch Gabel perform a duet with himself -- admittedly a first for the rocker -- on new tracks "Harsh Realms" and "Anna Is a Stool Pigeon" just hours before he lit up New York's Knitting Factory with old Against Me! obscurities.Watch: Tom Gabel, "Harsh Realms"Tom Gabel, "Anna Is a Stool Pigeon"

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    D.O.A.

    What? For 30 years legendary Canadian hardcore outfit D.O.A. has released a steady stream of records that marry Black Flag's raw power, Bad Brains' knee-buckling speed, and Minor Threat's lyrical intelligence with the angst of the Sex Pistols and political messages of early Clash singles. The result is simple, forceful, and anthemic songs that rarely break the 90-second mark -- but always break barriers in the punk scene. Tomorrow the band release their 12th studio album, Northern Avenger (Sudden Death), and, for the first time, they receive proper production oversight courtesy of legendary producer and fellow Canadian Bob Rock (Metallica, Motely Crue, Bon Jovi).

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    Exclusive: Metallica's Kirk Hammett Discusses Kurt Cobain

    Who knew Kurt Cobain was a Metallica fan? Kirk Hammett spills the beans in this exclusive clip, not available on the DVD, from the documentary Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal, about how the poster child of grunge "loved Ride the Lightening and 'Whiplash.'"Written and directed by Rick Ernst of MTV's Headbangers Ball fame, the newly-released Get Thrashed, tells its story through more than 50 interviews with thrash metal's most prominent figures, including members of Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Pantera, and more. Watch Kirk Hammett below.

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    Beck, Spoon, Black Crowes Highlight Street Scene Festival

    With the sun setting on this year's summer music festival season – SPIN has been on the ground for most of them – the 24th annual Street Scene descends upon San Diego September 19 and 20. The two-day block party is returning to its downtown roots, after a two year defection to neighboring Chula Vista, with an eclectic line-up of indie, punk, alternative, world and folk music, along with an army of street performers and vendors. Tickets are still available in one-day ($65) and two-day ($95) passes.

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    Exclusive Download: Japanther, "Bumpin' Rap Tapes"

    The riotous antics of Matt Reilly and Ian Vanek -- the bratty duo behind Brooklyn's Japanther -- fuel the quirky pop-punk style of the band's latest LP, Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt (due Oct. 14 on Wantage USA). Luckily for you, SPIN.com has the album's first track, and boy is it a doozy. The two former art students attack "Bumpin' Rap Tapes" with distorted bass and their characteristic wall-o-fuzz steeped in Casio keyboards. But Japanther take a giant step forward by using a more conventional song structure: Verse? Check. Chorus? Check. Bridge? Check. The whirlwind tune about friendship -- "tell me you love me, no matter the hour," "and you feel like you need a friend/stick by you till the end" -- passes like summer vacation: far too quickly. Now Hear This: Japanther, "Bumpin' Rap Tapes"(DOWNLOAD MP3)

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    O'Death Find Their Sea Legs

    Crammed into a 200-person capacity, double-decker rock'n'roll cruise ship called the Half Moon, New York's O'Death took their boozy, foot-stomping alt-punk to Manhattan's East River Wednesday, slamming through a rollicking, spontaneous night of jubilant, old-time swamp music. The rootsy five-piece winged it without a setlist. Leader Greg Jamie's rambling acoustic odes of youthful indolence rocked along with the boat in the jerking waves at the feet of Lady Liberty. Although their new album, Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin, doesn't arrive till October 30 (Kemado), the Budweiser-swilling faux-Southerners treated fans to a set of mostly new songs, including the excellent brooding ballad "Angeline." As the band lurched into "Down to Rest," a raucous banjo ditty from 2007's Head Home, the dancing, sweat-soaked crowd struggled to not spill onto the tiny stage.

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    Check 'em Out: Rahim

    Who? This Quogue, NY, band's second full-length, Laughter, drops experimental post-punk in favor of a mature vein of indie rock that ponders the differences between town and city life. Fittingly, the music mixes the sounds of New York City hustle and Long Island calm, juxtaposing tense percussive pitter-patter and jangly guitars with langorous vocals.Singer/guitarist Michael Friedrich laments inevitable urban gentrification in "Cities Change," softly emoting the lines "cities change/strangers and fools move in/this neighborhood is gone now/your neighborhood is gone." And the sparse addition of electric blips, melodica, and harpsichord tothe sonic mix moves this quartet beyond the traditional indie rockscope (legendary producer J. Robbins -- Jets to Brazil, The Promise Ring -- helped polish this ambitious band's sound).

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    Exclusive: New Thursday, Envy Split LP Due November 4

    After lots of internet speculation, full album details are finally here, exclusively at SPIN.com: Post-hardcore powerhouse Thursday's and Japanese melodic shredder Envy's split LP will arrive November 4 via Temporary Residence Ltd. More than two years in the making, the split features four new Thursday cuts alongside Envy's three, and arrives packaged as an 180-gram vinyl record with a free CD version inside. What's more, Anthony Molina of Mercury Rev remixes the dark instrumental tune "In Silence." Additionally, three limited screen-printed album editions will be available exclusively through Temporary Residence's and Thursday's web stores starting September 15. The standard black and white album cover (see below) will be replaced with metallic silver on chipboard, metallic pale-orange on uncoated white boardstock, or metallic orange on uncoated white boardstock.

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    New Rainbow Arabia MP3: "Let Them Dance"

    Rainbow Arabia, the brainchild of Echo Park, CA, husband/wife duo Tiffany and Danny Preston (formerly of the dub-punks Future Pigeon), tread curiously close to the sounds of hip-hop acts like M.I.A. and Santogold. But with freewheelin' ideals, punk urgency, and Middle Eastern-inspired instrumentation, Rainbow Arabia manage to find a tone all their own. Utilizing eastern instrumentation, including a snake charmer (called a pungi), the duo let loose on the single "Let Them Dance," which opens with the series of tinny, droning woodwind toots that slowly coax listeners in as a drum circle begins to pound out a simple, continuous tribal beat. Throughout this mesmerizing track, Tiffany's vocals are distant and fussy as she chants and hollers her stubborn demands to dance.

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