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Dan Epstein

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The Yardbirds Roost Again

Last time Chris Dreja toured the U.S. with the Yardbirds, people were marching in the streets against the war in Vietnam, and American garage bands like the Count Five and the MC5 had lustily inhaled the fumes of groundbreaking Yardbirds singles like "I'm a Man" and "Over Under Sideways Down."......
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Sing Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace

Illustration by Tavis Coburn "BALL OF CONFUSION (THAT'S WHAT THE World Is Today)," the Temptations' apocalyptic 1970 hit, recently popped up on a local oldies station and set my mind a-stewing. That a protest song railing against war, racism, rising unemployment and an indifferent government should still be deeply resonant,......
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The Hummable Revolution

Photo by Carol Sheridan For its first 30 seconds, the song seems like just another rockin’ slab of ’70s-influenced power pop. A skittering Rick Nielsen–meets–Eddie Cochran guitar riff kicks it off, followed by thundering drums and a well-timed pick scrape down somebody’s six-string. According to genre conventions, such an intro......
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No Taste Is Good Taste

There comes a time in every person’s life when the laws of human existence reveal themselves as arbitrary, unfair or just plain inexplicable. For the local rock & roll wiseass known as Kennedy, this epiphany occurred when he was still in elementary school. “Barry Manilow‘s Greatest Hits was the first......
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Pop Tomes

It takes only one spin of Mind if We Make Love to You, the new record by L.A.‘s Wondermints, to realize that something’s changed since 1998, when the band‘s Bali album established them as pre-eminent purveyors of musical retro-futurism. Sure, Esquivel-coifed keyboardist Darian Sahanaja, perpetually be-hatted guitarist Nick Walusko and......
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Let’s Get Intimate

Photo by James HicksThere’s the voice, a soft, high, fluttery thing, as sweet and warm as a spring afternoon. There are the songs, four decades’ worth of classics like “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “I Second That Emotion,” “The Tears of a Clown” and “Being With You,” not......
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Miss the Water

BABY LEMONADEThe High Life Suite (Sympathy for the Record Industry) The first time I saw Baby Lemonade play was in September 1993 at the Palomino, where they backed up Arthur Lee so astoundingly that several Love fans in attendance were crying tears of joy. A few months later, I caught......
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Free Your Ass and Your Mind Will Follow

“Most contemporary rock bands bore me,” says Dennis Lyxzen, front man for the Swedish socialist punk-soul quintet the (International) Noise Conspiracy. “They‘re just a representation of nothing -- a band that wants to play music. I don’t expect every band in the world to be a political band, but I......
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Let There Be Rock

“There was a time when, if you said something ’rocks,‘ it meant something,” laments Rev. James A. Rota II, guitarist and lead singer of Fireball Ministry. “Today, it’s like, ‘My mom rocks!’ or ‘Big Macs rock!’ C‘mon, dude -- parents don’t rock. Sandwiches don‘t fuckin’ rock. ACDC fuckin‘ rocks!” Fireball......
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Just Like This

All right, trivia fans, which R&B act has actually scored a chart hit in each one of the past five decades? Here’re a few clues for ya: Their songs have been covered by everyone from the Beatles to Whitney Houston; they‘ve been sampled by everyone from Ice Cube to Destiny’s......