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Blip Blip Bleep are calling it quits but leaving us with a final EP before they go. It's really good, very fun synth-rock, and I highly recommend it.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/172822-blip-blip-bleep-the-end-ep/
Brown Bird are unique among the neo-folk and Americana movements. Their music sounds old-timey but not self-consciously so, and they draw from traditions like gypsy music and other early, pre-jazz, pre-country, pre-pop styles. It's great and different and this is a very strong album.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/172353-brown-bird-fits-of-reason/
This album rocks. It's nothing but story songs set to really fun, catchy music. One of the coolest albums I've heard this year, and it makes me bummed that The Burning Hell only seems to operate in Canada and Europe. I may have to track down the other five albums they've put out since 2007(!).

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/172828-the-burning-hell-people/
Grinning Streak sounds like BNL are phoning it in, making a new album just to get back on the road and keep their careers going and their family fed. Most of these songs are perfectly fine, but only a couple are actually good and/or fun.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/172602-barenaked-ladies-grinning-streak/
Victor Wooten has a legendary reputation among musicians for being an amazing bass player. Sadly, his latest solo effort, a double album, leaves a lot to be desired. The vocal-oriented Words and Tones features a bunch of great female vocalists singing terrible cheesy lyrics. The mostly-instrumental Sword and Stone takes tracks from the other album and inadvertently turns them into cheesy smooth jazz muzak.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/171158-victor-wooten-words-and-tones-sword-and-stone/
14th-Jun-2013 01:22 pm - TV Review- Falling Skies Season 3
Falling Skies came back last Sunday and I think it's a bit stronger than last season so far. I like this show because it fills a niche- there isn't much in the way of military action on tv, period, and military sci-fi is something we usually only see in movies.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/172349-falling-skies-president-mason-settles-in/
Out of the bands I've discovered since writing for Popmatters, Bridges and Powerlines has become one of my favorite. Their new EP is a collection of six strong guitar and synth-pop oriented songs. Quirkily, they just decided to name each song after a neighborhood in Brooklyn.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/172374-bridges-and-powerlines-better/
After a six-year absence, Queens of the Stone Age return with a loose, relaxed set of songs that is probably their best album since Songs for the Deaf.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/172098-queens-of-the-stone-age-like-clockwork/
Birds and Arrows is a folk duo that have put together a widely varied album full of guest stars. But Birds and Arrows are savvy enough not to let the guests overwhelm their songs. This is good stuff.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/171907-birds-and-arrows-coyotes/
Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner teams up with fellow indie rocker Jon Ehrens to make an album of pop/R&B. Wasner is a great singer, but the material on Dungeonesse has a surprising lack of bass and forward momentum.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/171409-dungeonesse-dungeonesse/
Streetlight Manifesto is finally back with a new album of original material (their first since '07), and it's alllmost worth the wait. While this doesn't live up to Somewhere in the Between's magnificence, it comes very close. It's good to have these guys around, putting a high quality, wide-ranging spin on ska-punk that isn't afraid to push boundaries.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/171157-streetlight-manifesto-the-hands-that-thieve/
Young Galaxy have been around for a while, but this is the first time I've heard of them. Their fourth album starts off with a great synth-pop song, and sustains it over the next couple of tracks. But they can't keep that high level of quality up over the course of the entire album.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/170663-young-galaxy-ultramarine/
PYYRAMIDS is made up of the bassist from OKGo (the dude with the beard and big glasses) and a female singer you've never heard of. Together, they've put together a strong album of dark-edged, soulful rock.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/170434-pyyramids-brightest-darkest-day/
The 10-year anniversary edition of Give Up collects all the b-sides, plus some remixes, and even a few covers from other Sub Pop bands. It's good stuff, but probably not essential material.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/170201-the-postal-service-give-up-deluxe-10th-anniversary-edition/
Derivative power-pop band (Oxymoron? In this case, yes) Free Energy updates their 70's Thin Lizzy/Cheap Trick-inspired shtick to include 80's rock. But with a mediocre frontman and strong hooks about half the time, it all comes off as second rate.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/169137-free-energy-love-sign/
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