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Metope: Vodka Obsessions

For all the playfully plunked pop beats and quirky crunching textures synonymous with Cologne's Areal Records, Kobol, the debut full-length from label honcho Metope (a.k.a. Michael Schwanen), plays it big and twisted; booming, chugging and hissing along as if destined to rock the haunting expanses of pre-dawn warehouse parties. But despite its forward-charging determination, Kobol is equal parts melodious and melancholic. Read more » 

Franck Roger: Paris Goes West

Paris really was burning in November...with the real fires of rioting immigrants. But no matter how hot things actually get, Parisian producer and DJ Franck Roger keeps it cool with his own take on deep house. "I grew up with all kinds of music, and I realized that house music is the perfect mix between soul music, disco and Latin jazz," recounted Roger via email the same week that France was filled with unrest. If only everyone would keep their mind as open as Roger's, who even cites Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria as one of his influences.

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Services: Disruption and Destruction

Tristan Bechet and Christopher Pravdica are Services, a band quite unlike what you might have heard before. Formed out of the ashes of well-known noise rock/wall-of-sound outfit Flux Information Sciences (Young God Records), the duo's staggeringly loud live shows assault the senses with a tower of discordant noise and distorted rhythm. How does a band comprised of only two people produce such a maddening amount of sound? The secret lies in a discovery made one day by Bechet, experimenting in the studio.

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Aloe Blacc: Soothe and Cool

Aloe Blacc, the MC/vocalist legally known as Nathaniel Dawkins, has had a musician's ear since childhood. Raised by Panamanian parents in Southern California, Aloe has always saturated himself with every bit of culture he comes across.

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Eska and Mpho Skeef: Breaking Out

There's a revolutionary energy reverberating through speaker boxes and live music venues across the UK. The polar opposite of the junk food-quick fix of manufactured black pop, this is audio gastronomy that nurtures, energizes and heals, and it's being spearheaded by two very different London vocalists: Mpho Skeef and Eska.

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