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Rundown Guide for February 15, 2011

Fredric Hall

PJ Harvey

New stuff from PJ Harvey, Stryper, Mogwai, DJ Mark Farina and Off!

Well, it’s the day after Valentine’s Day. I hope everyone had a good time with their sweethearts and whatnot. If you didn’t have a sweetheart to share those special moments, don’t fret. I have some stuff that might perk you up. Besides, we know Valentine’s Day is a corporate holiday designed to milk money from desperate couples.  Suckers!

Off! – “The First Four Eps” [Vice Records]

I figured we’ll start this shindig with a hearkening to the good old days of hardcore rock. Back when young cats in t-shirts and ripped jeans moshed like there was no tomorrow, when the songs were fueled by angst and despair and alienation. Keith Morris, singer for Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, heads up this latest incarnation of hardcore punk revivalism named Off! Believe it or not, the band has only been around since 2009, yet the sounds that come out of this album, like “I Don’t Belong,” will make you think they’ve been around for decades.  This will be the release of the CD version, the vinyl will be released in December of 2010.

PJ Harvey – “Let England Shake” [Island]

British songstress PJ Harvey has been known to change styles with ever record. If you’re looking for a PJ Harvey sound, well, you’ll have to stop because you won’t ever find it.  b>”Let England Shake” is no different. With this album, Harvey focuses her attention on her home country of England and the everything around it, particularly the war in Iraq. However, this isn’t so much a protest album but something that merely states how war is effecting the country. It’s more an emotional reportage than social or political commentary. For a taste, check out the single “The Words That Maketh Murder.”

Stryper – “The Covering” [Big 3 Records]

Yep, it’s Stryper. Just when you thought debauchery and hedonism has taken over metal, Stryper has descended from the heavens with “The Covering”. Here’s the thing: This is a cover album. Yeah, I know, you wanted to hear some new stuff. Never fear, young Christian Soldier. These songs, like Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” and Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell,” include the signature vocals and dueling guitar that made Stryper so popular for all these years.

Mogwai – “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will” [Sub Pop]

As the early band with the label “post-rock” back in the 1990s, Mogwai never let the label be the compass for its sound. As the title of the latest album suggests, they might consider themselves hardcore or maybe punk. Post-punk, maybe? Who cares. Mogwai is Mogwai and this album shows it. Mostly instrumental, atmospheric and laid back, this band is perfect for those nights of kicking back and vegging out.  Check out their song “White Noise.”

DJ Mark Farina – “Mushroom Jazz 7” [MJ7 Records]

We conclude this section with a cat named Mark Farina. House music fans will recognize the name, since he’s been holding it down for the genre since the early 1990s. Since then, he’s been experimenting with different styles, mixing in Herbie Hancock, De La Soul and everything in between to his house tracks, resulting in six mix tapes titled “Mushroom Jazz.” Today, these albums are the most sought after around the world. Volume seven of the series is a cumulation of years of honing his stills to perfection.

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