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Five Star By Ulrich Schnauss

To make his latest album, Goodbye (Domino), Ulrich Schnauss temporarily departed his home in London for his birthplace: Kiel, Germany. There he came face to face with tranquility and loneliness, plus the spectre of his tormented teenage years, leading him to make a record that fulfills the mission set forth on 2003's A Strangely Isolated Place: to create a modern update of the early '90s British shoegaze sound.

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Architecture in Helsinki: Big Noise

"We started out as a super-quiet band playing a lot of theaters, and we'd freak out when everyone was talking over us," Architecture in Helsinki's founder Cameron Bird explains via cell phone from London. "We naturally got louder because we wanted to be heard."

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Samiyam: Nonchalant Days

"I don't try to let anything go to my head," says Sam Baker in an unassuming tone. Over the phone at least, the 23-year-old from Ann Arbor, MI sounds like a stoner kid who sits around all day surfing the internet and making hip-hop beats. Even his artist name, Samiyam, connotes pure slackerdom.

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What Is It? Yacht Rock

It's music that's peaceful enough to make a dental drill feel like a mother's kiss on a bruise; or, some say, just another smiley face pinned over the dreadful malaise of Carter's America. For DJ Shaun Slaughter, yact rock was just a way to baffle drunken New York hipsters. Read more » 

Catalina Estrada: Spinfluences

It's half past midnight and Catalina Estrada has just strolled in the door from a long evening on the Ramblas. Long, sun-drenched days and wine-soaked nights are standard for this Barcelona-based illustrator, whose work takes life's love and light and amplifies it by thousands of watts.

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