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Janelle Monae: Cyber Soul

The OutKast-affiliated Dungeon Family, arguably the crew that established Southern hip-hop as a creative and commercial force, is a locus for imaginative artists bent on self-exploration. So it made sense that Janelle Monae, a young and ambitious singer from Wyandotte County, Kansas, would find her way to OutKast's Big Boi in Atlanta.

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Strategy: Together All Alone

You might call the lush, liberal landscape that stretches from Portland through Seattle and British Columbia the "Pacific Northwest." But to some it's Cascadia–a name that is both a reference to the region and a part of a shorthand, half-joking slogan (Free Cascadia!) for a particular state of mind, if not a proposed state. Cascadia celebrates a community of freedom and open-mindedness–and it's not just a hippie hangover from the surplus of quality local bud.

Cascadian Rhythms
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Eye Spy: Indie Music Videos

Chances are, you will not be getting $7,000,000 to direct a widescreen space-age pop odyssey, as Mark Romanek did for Michael and Janet Jackson's "Scream." But it is eminently possible that you could direct a music video for your favorite indie artist. If that's your dream, then Visual Rocks (IdN/Gingko Press; softcover/DVD, $29.95) might be your inspirational tool. The title highlights 19 music videos from the likes of Beck, Audio Bullys, and Pete Miser. Read more » 

Mice Parade In The Studio

For the record, Adam Pierce's Mice Parade isn't really a post-rock band. The music does share some of the genre's trademarks–namely dense, intricate drumming, non-standard instruments, and wild dynamics–but it also defies stereotypes by delving deeper into actual songs. Mice Parade isn't a post-post rock band either... it's just that you don't need a bong and 10 minutes of careful listening to get into songs like "Tales of Las Negras," from his latest, self-titled endeavor.

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Arnaud Rebotini: Heart of Darkness

A guy that guzzles the blood of virgins at the dinner table–that's what I expected when meeting Arnaud Rebotini for a few mid-afternoon drinks.

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