Recently by Matthew Gruber

Review: U2 - Songs Of Innocence (Deluxe)

A good album enhanced by the bonus material but only the diehards will need it. Oh, and what's up with that cover?
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So now that the great iTunes fiasco has come and gone, and you actually have to pay for U2's new album, Songs Of Innocence, if you want it, let's talk about the deluxe version of the band's 13th studio album. First, the elephant in the room: What is up with that cover, or more to the point, what is going on in the picture on the cover? Well first off, get your mind out of the gutter. That's U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr., displaying what is believed to be the band's only tattoo, which honestly has GOT to be the

Listful Thinking: Top 5 Songs About God By 'Secular' Artists

Five great songs from rockers who stopped playing God and instead sang about Him...
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Like it or not, love it or hate it, God is everywhere. Even if you don't think there is a God, enough people do, or were at least raised to, that we often find religion at the center of art. This has been true since the Middle Ages, and it is no less true today in the great medium of rock and roll. Early American rockers like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins all came from charismatic Christian traditions, making their inclination to gyrate a bit while telling it like it is all the more natural. Johnny Cash

Review: U2 Give The World A Gift On 'Songs Of Innocence'

U2 is still making great music that matters on 'Songs Of Innocence'
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You know, in this day and age, we aren't surprised very often. The blessing and curse of the Internet age is that we know EVERYTHING, whether we want to or not. Keep a secret? Forget about it. Ask Jennifer Lawrence about any private information remaining private. Try making a movie without the whole script being available months before the first ticket is sold. With all that in mind, I could not have been more shocked at U2's announcement that not only was a new album finally coming six years after the last time we heard from the Hall of Fame

Introducing: The Pine Hill Haints

Alabama-based group resurrects Southern sounds
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I don't think the Pine Hill Haints could have conceived a more appropriate name for their band if they had spent the rest of their natural lives trying. The Florence, Alabama-based outfit takes its moniker from Pine Hill Cemetery where legend has it the band used to rehearse. The Haints - as they are known to those lucky enough to know them - are themselves elusive and mysterious. You won't find a lot of information about them online. And while the Haints' back catalog of albums is readily available on Amazon and iTunes - hint, hint - you aren't going

The Killers: Battle-Tested in Nashville

The Killers blended hits, rarities, and covers for a majestic show in Music City, USA
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Alright, so eight years after seeing the video for "Somebody Told Me" back when MTV could still be bothered to show, you know, music, I finally got to see The Killers, and I was not disappointed. The Las Vegas, Nevada-based quartet played a show in support of their fourth studio album, Battle Born on Sunday night at the Grand Old Opry House in Nashville - Music City, USA as it is rightly known - and if you will forgive me a mild pun, the New Wave/dance-pop rockers lived up to their name. The 4,400-seat venue was packed to the rafters

Review: The Killers - BATTLE BORN: No Surrender, Just Rocking For Righteous Reasons

The Killers might have topped themselves on fourth album...
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I wonder if Brandon Flowers walks around at parties wearing one of those ‘My Name Is’ stickers on his shirt, with ‘My Name is Brandon Flowers, and I am from Nevada’ written on it. Outside of Bruce Springsteen’s ever-present New Jersey references, I can’t think of another artist that writes about his home state as much as The Killers’ frontman. Evidently, Nevada is ‘The Battle Born State.’ We must have skipped that in fifth grade Social Studies, because I had never heard of such a thing until the lead-up to The Killers’ fourth studio album, Battle Born. Like many major

The Killers Return To Their Strengths On Fantastic "Runaways"

If this is what is in store on 'Battle Born,' The Killers are back!
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My name is 11, and I like The Killers. Or, if you like, bless me Father, for I like The Killers. Now, before you judge me too harshly for enjoying the stylings of one of the most simultaneously loved and hated rock bands to come along in the last decade, consider the following and realize that I had no choice in the matter. If you look at my iPod, you might notice that I enjoy: '80s New Wave Synth Pop Soaring Anthems Angst Melancholy See? I’m not responsible for being a fan of The Killers. The first time I

Bruce Springsteen - 'Wrecking Ball': Everything You Know Is Wrong

Don't believe the hype, believe in Bruce...
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Ever find yourself listening to an album for the first time and coming away with a feeling completely different from what you were expecting? Thanks to the mouthbreathers over on the notorious Bruce Springsteen site Backstreets – Michael Stipe’s quip, ‘this is why the Internet sucks’ comes to mind – I was caught off-guard early Tuesday morning when I slid Wrecking Ball into my car’s CD player for the first time. In the aftermath of the release of the lead single and opening track “We Take Care Of Our Own,” the seemingly unavoidable leak of the entire album occurred, and,
Happy birthday to the Achtung Baby, which as of last month is officially no longer a spring chicken. As part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of U2’s landmark, career-saving album, Q magazine – with help form U2 themselves – put together AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered, a tribute album that features a track-by-track take by artists who know and love U2. I want to pause just a second to thank U2 for taking care of fans with this release. Q can be difficult to find on newsstands outside of the UK, and it is my understanding that newsstand editions shipped
Well, it has been a couple of months now since R.E.M., as they put it in their official statement ‘called it a day.’ I think I now understand what people of my parents’ generation meant when they say ‘I just haven’t been the same since Elvis died.’ Rather than continue to navel-gaze or try to kid myself into thinking R.E.M.’s retirement from making music together is a. for the best, or b. even moderately acceptable, let’s take a look at the legendary Athens-Ga.-based rockers’ final release to contain new material, Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011. That

Noel Gallagher Revives Magic Of Britpop on 'High Flying Birds'

Noel’s first solo offering is a smooth, mellow effort that is both accessible and easy on the ears.
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So, let me tell you how I feel about Noel Gallagher. Way back in 1995, before the Internet was readily accessible and/or worth a damn, I saw the video for Oasis’ "Wonderwall" on MTV, back when that channel was worth a damn. I fell in love instantly. I went out immediately and bought (What’s the Story) Morning Glory. I liked it so much that I bought its predecessor, Definitely Maybe, a week later and I agree with Noel that it is among the greatest debut albums ever. Like much of the civilized world in 1995, I was hooked on Oasis.

Coldplay Hasn't Outdone Themselves With 'Mylo Xyloto,' But They've Done More Than Enough

Second place doesn't have to be the first loser when it comes to music...
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I am not a musician – much less a popular one – but I am thinking one of the most frustrating, maddening parts of being a big megarock band must be the expectations that come with each release. Bands could probably ease some of the pressure by not waiting three or four years between releases, but not everyone can be James Brown, The Beatles or Prince, who seemingly released classic records every other month at the height of their careers. Coldplay shot to global stardom after having previously been critical darlings with the release of A Rush of Blood To

The Hidden Gems of R.E.M.|10 Songs MTV Didn't Overplay But Should Have

The depth of R.E.M.'s albums tell us where these past three decades have gone...
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Don’t you hate that guy who buys a 12-song record you love and talks about it like the three songs he heard on the radio are the only things there worth his time? That guy misses so much. One of the most impressive things about R.E.M. is the fantastic depth of their back catalog. Compare them to U2. U2 are my favorite band, but honestly, how many truly great songs are on Boy? Three? Four? Now, how many are on R.E.M.’s Murmur? Could you limit yourself to four songs from that record? Me either. Two legendary bands with two great

R.E.M. Retirement Leaves Impossible To Fill Void

R.E.M. calls it a day, as friends, as we always knew they would...
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R.E.M. have retired. I like that word: retired. Not broken up. Retired. No attorneys have been called. No one has used the phrase ‘musical differences.’ No ‘f- yous’ have been shouted before limos screech away into the night. After 32 years, they have -- as the band’s statement read in the most R.E.M.-way possible -- ‘called it a day.’ I want to pause a second and commend BlindedBySound. As a guest here, I am not tooting my own horn as I compliment this site for staying away from the following ready-made, corny one-liners, because Lord knows no one else on