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Jeff Echert 

  • Emerald Queen
  • Emerald Queen

    The prodigal daughter of the Pacific Northwest comes home again.
      Case may have been born in Virginia but her cradle was formed by the twin arms of I-5 and State Route 167. Raised in Tacoma, she spent her formative years as a musician along the stretch of highway from Olympia to Vancouver, taking in both the best and the worst that Washington has to offer.
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  • 'Deerhoof Vs. Evil,' Deerhoof
  • 'Deerhoof Vs. Evil,' Deerhoof

      The working man’s rock music has always been defined by artists like Bruce Springsteen who sing about the 9-to-5ers. But there’s something to be said for Tapes ‘n Tapes, a band workman-like in the way it consistently churns out solid tunes. If there’s such a thing as a bad Tapes ‘n Tapes song, it’s yet to be released.
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  • 'Cardinals III / IV,' Ryan Adams
  • 'Cardinals III / IV,' Ryan Adams

    If you're not a Ryan Adams superfan, pass on this album.
      Behind his hyperactive, honest flow, the Wu-Tang member samples with a genius touch. “In tha Park” and “2getha Baby” expertly use crackly vintage funk and rock to build atmosphere. On “Ghetto,” samples further enforce a message. He answers Marlena Shaw’s brassy, desperate cries of yesteryear — ”How do you make your bread in the ghetto?” —.
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  • Destination Unknown
  • Destination Unknown

    Josh Ritter and the journey for its own sake.
      on different forms: an explorer singing a tender ode to his ship as he burns it for warmth, an ancient mummy waking up and falling in love with the archaeologist who cracked open his tomb. The real winners, though, draw on a finite sense of place — a geographical specificity that few artists can pull off.
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  • Jah Rule
  • Jah Rule

    Mishka is the John Mayer of reggae.
      “It gives me a sense of place inside myself that I can meditate on when I start to write a song,” he says, speaking of his rather unique childhood. “There are no limits out there. It’s all horizons — you’re out at sea and you can’t see the end. It’s about emotion — the sea can be calm or it can be a raging storm.
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  • Family Values
  • Family Values

    Stephen Kellogg and the power of home and love.
      But this amorphous idea is one Kellogg, along with his band the Sixers, has spent the last seven years exploring in his writing. In an unadorned Americana style, they spin engaging vignettes, equating family, belonging and love with that feeling of home.
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  • Backwater Blues
  • Backwater Blues

    Southern rock rises again.
      It remains to be seen whether these high-profile tours will get the Savannah, Ga., band on everyone’s mind (the Metallica tour’s in Australia and they are big in Japan. But then again, who isn’t?).
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  • Big Brains
  • Big Brains

    Cipher puts ethos, politics, street smarts and shock value back into punk rock.
      Punk isn't dead, but it's close. It's a shambling stitched-up zombie now, hungering for intelligence but often settling for mindless, juvenile statements. Or artful glamour. Sometimes it has a hint of relevance, but rarely does it have the will to mean something.
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  • 'How I Got Over,' The Roots
  • 'How I Got Over,' The Roots

    Jimmy Fallon's house band borrows some star power.
      On the latest effort by the Roots, the indie crossover potential is blatant. Featuring Joanna Newsom and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, it’d be easy to peg it as a hipster favorite. But th
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  • 'High Violet,' The National
  • 'High Violet,' The National

    The indie darlings have done it again.
      THE NATIONALHigh VioletHHHHThey bloody did it again. Trust us, we’re as surprised as you are. The National, itinerant indie darlings and noted Obama adherents, have produced another watershed al
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  • Hearts and Minds
  • Hearts and Minds

    The Head and the Heart marks Seattle's shift from grunge to folk-pop.
      The character of the scene has changed significantly — and the eyes of the hipster mafia have wandered elsewhere, to Montreal and Williamsburg. Though there’s still plenty of flannel and bushy beards, Seattle’s grunge days are long gone.
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  • Behind the Glass
  • Behind the Glass

    John Vanderslice, in and out of the booth.
      Being a great producer does not necessarily mean being a great musician, despite the thin line between the two professions. Hell, Rick Rubin was kicked out of his first band because he couldn’t play more than a few simple chords (ironically enough, it was a punk band).
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  • Giant Steps
  • Giant Steps

    The Sasquatch Festival leaves a huge footprint.
      Nine is admittedly not as round and auspicious a number as 10. But it’s a milestone in its own right. The long-standing Washington state indie rock mainstay, Sasquatch Festival, celebrates its ninth year this year. Two hours from any kind of real civilization, the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Wash.
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  • 'Heaven is Whenever,' The Hold Steady
  • 'Heaven is Whenever,' The Hold Steady

    Even with loss of keyboardist Franz Nicolay, the Hold Steady keeps things together.
      There’s no mistaking it: The departure of Franz Nicolay, keyboardist and moustachioed rake, has left a palpable hole in the Hold Steady’s lineup. But Craig Finn and company are determined
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  • Animal House
  • Animal House

    Local Natives produces familiar music with enviable results.
      Local Natives produces familiar music with enviable results
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  • 'True Love Cast Out All Evil,' Roky Erickson
  • 'True Love Cast Out All Evil,' Roky Erickson

    Fallen psych-rock legend Roky Erikson is back with one hell of a record.
      It sounds like a match made in indie-nerd heaven: Roky Erickson, minor psychedelic rock legend (of the long-defunct and sadly underappreciated ’60s band, the 13th Floor Elevators), backed by contemporary sad bastards and literary folk rockers Okkervil River.
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  • Fast Lane
  • Fast Lane

    Tearing up the road with sounds from the garage
      There will be no mercy for Vancouver rock duo the Pack A.D. No rest. No respite. Drummer Maya Miller sums it up succinctly: “We played 157 shows last year. That’s a show every other day.&r
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  • Score Makers
  • Score Makers

    Eye Alaska makes a soundtrack for the movie in their heads
      INDIE Eye Alaska makes a soundtrack for the movie in their heads A string section swells when the protagonist’s love interest is seen on screen for the first time. A piano plink
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  • Horror Show
  • Horror Show

    Twiztid combines brutal imagery with a desire for greater connection
      Juggalos are so devoted to Insane Clown Posse that they dress up as killer clowns to prove it. For their devotion to the Detroit hip-hop duo, however, they’re reviled. Juggalos have been called
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  • 'Odd Blood,' Yeasayer
  • 'Odd Blood,' Yeasayer

    The album sags in the latter half, but the first five tracks comprise some of the greatest weird pop released so far this year.
      Yeasayer came in at the wrong time: Appearing near the peak of Animal CollectiveÂ’s popularity, they were a sound-alike with a nearly identical focus on vocal harmonies and synth-illed experimentation. But while their sophomore album Odd Blood.
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  • Taking Flight
  • Taking Flight

    Fanfarlo's orchestral style soars higher than you'd expect it to
      “Using that kind of instrumentation was something we bonded over. For us there’s really no novelty about it. It’s not about us being different for the sake of it. It’s just what we do naturally,” Balthazar says, deflecting any implication that they are consciously aping the bombast and multi-instrumentalism of other bands.
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  • "Transference," Spoon
  • "Transference," Spoon

    Not as immediately accessible as the pop bombast of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, but a welcome return to old school Spoon
      More than most bands shufling around the indie circuit, Austin’s erstwhile Spoon (frontman Britt Daniel now resides in Portland) usually understands the value of tension and space. On their latest effort Transference,.
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  • "The Goodbye Album," Matthew Sonntag
  • "The Goodbye Album," Matthew Sonntag

    It’s only natural for a young artist to imitate his idols: We learn by walking in the footsteps of giants.
      Youth is invincible. Or at least it thinks it is. Matthew Sonntag’s debut album, The Goodbye Album, is inescapably caught up with that particular fallacy. In fact, nearly every song on the album
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  • Big Birds
  • Big Birds

    Embracing the earth without being a jerk about it
      The bird-band similarities don’t end there. A pair of bowerbirds will meet up again year after year in the same nest — an established lifelong relationship.
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  • "Contra," Vampire Weekend
  • "Contra," Vampire Weekend

    Vampire Weekend takes a cue from the Clash on their sophomore record
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