Going by what’s been happening thus far this year, 2009 could be a remarkable year. No, I’m not referring to the election results and the formation of the new government — about which, perhaps justifiably, everyone, including the inexplicable stock market, has been upbeat. No, I’m, as usual, talking about music. Going by the new music that’s been in heavy rotation on my playlist, this year’s looking good. Read more

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I first saw a few copies of Relix magazine in the 1970s when it was a hand-stapled fan-zine for the Grateful Dead. Swept off my feet by the band when I heard them first, I’d written in gushingly to their San Rafael PO Box and some kind tripper in their mailroom out there posted me a bunch of Relix copies free. It was an ‘insider’ kind of magazine then, aimed at hardcore Deadheads and tape-traders.

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A couple of months back when I wrote about the powerful vocals of Shilpa Ray, a second generation Indian-American who accompanies her songs with an unlikely instrument for a rock band, the harmonium, I did toy with the idea of exploring other musicians of Indian origin who might be making a mark on the contemporary western rock and pop scene. Read more

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People keep asking me why I write so much about new music and not so much about bands that most of us are familiar with. Recently one reader mailed me asking why I don’t write about heavy metal bands and, in particular, why I don’t write about early metal bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.

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All of this past week, I’ve been listening only to women singers, mostly new, a few old, but all women. It wasn’t part of a plan or anything like that really, it just so happened that whatever I downloaded — a couple of podcasts, a few mp3s that came into my email inbox, an old CD that I’d burned some months back and kept in the car but forgotten to listen to — all of them had only women singers or musicians. Read more

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