Last week, in the middle of a particularly hectic phase at work, Bruce Springsteen came to my aid. Just as long hours and frayed tempers were threatening to take their toll on my sanity came the announcement that the Boss was dropping a new EP with four never-before-released songs. The EP’s called American Beauty (I know that the use of that title could seem like blasphemy to many Deadheads, but never mind). As I write this, one single from American Beauty has been streaming all over the Internet. It’s called Hurry Up Sundown and it’s a classic rock and roll track, upbeat, lyrically direct and quintessentially Springsteen-esque: just what the doctor ordered if you’ve been stressed out at work. Read more
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My daughter, about to be eight, has an earworm. You know, a piece of music that seems stuck in your ear so seemingly permanently that you just couldn’t get it out. It’s a song that she hums, sings and dances with vigorously even though it’s not being played anywhere. And I’m happy. Delighted, actually, because the song happens to be Lonely Boy by The Black Keys. Actually, the duo that makes up The Black Keys may also seem like an earworm for Download Central, in case you are one of those readers who for some strange reason follows this column fairly regularly—I don’t know how many times I have written about them, obsessively, compulsively and, perhaps also, maniacally.
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“But let’s talk about you for a minute, with the vomit at your gullet, from a half bottle of vodka that we’d stolen from the optic. On the back seat of your car because it wasn’t safe to start it, you were ‘far too f***ed to drive’ were the words that you imparted. And the woolen dress that clung so tight, to the contours of your body. And the dead grass stuck to fibers from us rolling in the layby, were passed to dog-hair blankets that protected the bench seat covers, and a crucifix was hung from rear-view mirror by your mother.” Read more

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When three bands that you like release their new albums on the same day, you have a problem of plenty and a difficult choice to make. So, on May 4, when The Hold Steady released Heaven is Whenever, The New Pornographers put out Together and Broken Social Scene popped out the curiously named Forgiveness Rock Record, their first album in five years, I went and bought digital versions of all three online. After some fretting over which one to listen to first, I chose Broken Social Scene. I was glad I did that. Read more

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Last weekend, I did something that is totally at odds with what Download Central is supposed to do. Instead of sitting at my computer and scouring the Internet for downloads or streams of new music, I actually went out and watched a rock band performing live. The gig was at Delhi’s kitschy Hard Rock Café (but then aren’t all HRCs meant to be kitschy?) and the band was Hurricane Bells who hail from Brooklyn, New York.

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When I wrote a couple of months back about The Hold Steady and the lure of their frontman Craig Finn’s harsh, nasal, sometimes unmelodic, but totally endearing voice, I got an email from Rachel Tanzer who used to handle their artist relations before she moved out of the US to work in India. Rachel urged me to check out Lifter Puller, a band that Finn fronted in the early 1990s before The Hold Steady was formed. Read more

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The best thing about scouring for music on the Internet is that you discover new bands and musicians constantly. Sometimes these are brand new outfits, lurking under the radar, like hidden treasure that’s waiting to be discovered. Read more

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