In-Studio With KEXP: How all free music should work

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KEXP radio out of Seattle regularly posts the best new music on the internet. For free. (You just gotta dig through the bin a little.) It comes by way of their live in-studio sessions, usually four songs, performed by just about every near-rock band or person you’ve heard of with a new album (not Bieber,... Read more »

I Will Gladly Ultimate Fight The Beach Boys' Mike Love

I Will Gladly Ultimate Fight The Beach Boys' Mike Love
Let’s make this very clear, Mike Love — you’re in a cover band. That’s right. You are in a Brian Wilson song cover band. Sure, you happen to have had the good fortune of being related (a cousin.. we all have them) to one of the best rock music composers of all time (perhaps the... Read more »

In Defense of Hollywood Actor Rock-Star Wannabes

Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard once said (about 30 Seconds to Mars’ Jared Leto), “He’s a professional actor in music; so there’s no way to feel any sincerity about his position as a musician… Because he makes a living playing characters.. [he’s] also acting what you think a rock star should act like.” What’s most amusing... Read more »
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Garbage rises above the '90s resurgence

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So very many staples of the ’90s decided it’d be a good time to make a comeback this year — from Candlebox, Counting Crows, Creed and The Cranberries to Eve 6, The Offspring and Limp Bizkit (if you wanna count them as ’90s (or as anything)). Alice in Chains is even rumored to be working... Read more »

Pussy Riot's new punk rock anthem

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This song is crazy. It’s catchy. It rocks hard. And it’s freaking real. “Putin is lighting up the fires of revolution.” That kind of stuff can get you thrown in jail in some places (think about that the next time somebody calls Obama a socialist and nobody runs around the corner with tear gas). Imprisoned... Read more »

Quality jams to jam with your friends

Quality jams to jam with your friends
There’s plenty of actual freestyle jamming going on when The Annual Jam Band gets together. It’s how we were born. It’s what we do best (and love). J., Taller J. and I spend borderline-inappropriate amounts of time neglecting work, exercise and calling our poor, worried mothers to craft unique and jammable chord progressions. And spending any... Read more »
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Chicago band JIP drops super-collaborative Sparks, Flames & Names EP

Chicago band JIP drops super-collaborative Sparks, Flames & Names EP
Sparks, Flames & Names may be an EP, but JIP doesn’t half-ass anything here. Frontman Jim Gwynn scoured the Chicago music scene on a mission to collaborate with artists of all varieties. What results is a solid, satisfying album that takes its influence from the best of many sounds — from Ben Kweller and Ben Folds... Read more »

What Have We Learned from Shark Week 2012?

Jammers have many interests. So I’m launching a new blog category in the Jam Room called “Freedom Friday” in which I’ll talk about a few other relevant things: sports, entertainment, beer, uh… sharks…. Whatever. Since I started watching the Olympics, I’ve been keeping “What have we learned” lists every two years as a little exercise... Read more »

A Dispatch Concerning Dispatch: Circles Around the Sun

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Dispatch’s new album was released today, Tuesday, 8/21/12. That’s something you might have never thought you’d hear again after they broke up in 2002. And again after their “final concert” in 2004. And then when they never quite re-united, but played a killer show for Zimbabwe in 2007. The three equal bandleaders have, once again,... Read more »
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A Melancholy Tale of Pete (the Beer)

A Melancholy Tale of Pete (the Beer)
If you walked into our 8th floor dorm room in Peoria circa 2000-01 you were promptly offered a Killian’s, a martini and a hand drum. Even if you were there just to see what all the noise was. That’s how I met my still-girlfriend L. That’s right: This is a tale of beer and rock... Read more »