• A Riotous Affair

    Ra Ra Riot's new album combines infectious energy with mature musicianship
      A couple of years ago, if you found yourself shuffling down the snowy streets of Syracuse, N.Y., you might have heard the melancholic wail of a violin float out from a half-buried basement window. A split second later, the wall-rattling thump of Ra Ra Riot's dancey chamber pop would've burst through to join it. For the band of six friends, music was a recreational repose from the rigors of academic life at Syracuse University. But within months of playing to college crowds in rickety attics and musty basements, Ra Ra Riot found themselves being hailed by SPIN.com as one of the best young bands it had heard in a really long time. With a flurry of shows booked and an EP in the works, it seemed things couldn't get better. Then everything changed.
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  • Sound Science

    TV on the Radio's thermodynamic third album packs pop and punch
      On the cover of TV on the Radio's new album, a midnight blue felt board glows under what looks like a flickering fluorescent church light. Stick-on white plastic letters, cousins of the tiny tables that come in pizza boxes, spell out the words "Dear Science." It reads like an inspirational marquee for the Darwin set: a lonely humanist prayer that rises out of the imaginary room and disperses like carbon atoms in an exhaled breath. Dear Science, (the comma is part of the title) is TVOTR's third full-length album, and its 11 tracks pulse with the punchy dance beats, quivering falsettos and resounding hope of a true pop album.
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  • From the Stage to Your Ribcage

    Promoter Jen Kniss brings U.K. artist Milanese to town
      Sitting cross-legged on a black leather couch, her hand wrapped around a sweat-beaded double vodka Sprite, promoter Jen Kniss speaks with an intensity that thumps louder than Lush's resounding bass. A few years back, you might've heard Kniss' name thrown around in connection with the hip-hop and break-dancing event Project Om, but these days, she has her sights on a new scene. Starting with the edIT concert at Neurolux this past May and continuing with the upcoming Milanese show at Lush, Kniss has wound her way back into the underground.
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  • The Force is With Them

    Two local bands ruminate on Boise's music scene and opening for Built to Spill
      Few bands born from Boise's insular womb have broken free from her maternal clutches. For the handful that have courted audiences outside of the city's limits, touring means driving a rickety van to Portland, Eugene or Seattle on a diet of gas station beef jerky and Rockstar. But for Built to Spill, Boise's biggest indie success story, this town is less of a cage and more of a place to rest their weary heads. Their latest tour will take the band across Europe to play their seminal 1997 album Perfect from Now On in its entirety.
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  • One Above Average

    Boise's David Maxwell, aka Eleven
      Boise-based hip-hop artist David Maxwell, who uses the stage name Eleven, holds KRS-One's testament to heart. Maxwell raps about the life he has led and the things he has learned along the way. He also rocks the crowd.
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  • That Fleeting Feeling

    The Fleet Foxes Don't Folk Around
      The Fleet Foxes, a Seattle-based indie-folk fivesome, have found a way to capture the slippery yellowness of an old photograph. Their echoing guitars and lilting harmonies make you nostalgic for memories you've never had, trees you've never climbed and records you probably didn't listen to until college. Though their debut LP, Fleet Foxes gets constant comparisons to Crosby Stills & Nash, the Band, Fleetwood Mac and the Beach Boys, they prefer to credit present experience over past influence with helping form their sound.
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  • NYC, L.A. ... Boise?

    Why Knitting Factory put down roots in the City of Trees
      With the opening of its Hollywood location, Knitting Factory became a place where both fans and musicians could brag about having been. The clubs became known for hosting the newest, freshest and most diverse acts around. But ask visiting musicians and show-goers about Boise's music scene, and chances are they'll say that Boise is a few years—or a few musical trends—behind the rest of the country. According to Mark Dinerstein, talent buyer for both the Boise and Spokane, Wash., Knitting Factory Concert Houses, his company wants to change that.
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  • Twisted Festival

    Vans Warped Tour better with age
      When the 14th annual Vans Warped Tour rolls into the Treasure Valley on Friday, Aug. 8, it will bring with it more than 50 new and established pop, punk and rock acts, several stages and literally tons of band merchandise, as well as information on going green and traveling in a biodiesel powered tour bus. It will also bring with it tour founder Kevin Lyman.
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  • Nothing to Wine About

    Wood River Cellars brings out big bands
      Something's shaking the grapes out in Eagle, and these days, it's not the soothing lilt of a string quartet. Drive down dusty Highway 16 to the newly re-named Wood River Cellars and let the wail of an electric guitar lead you in. With a stage framed by the rising foothills and a bubbling waterfall, this 2,000-person-capacity venue is poised to become the Treasure Valley's new Dionysian destination.
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  • Leading the Nation With a Microphone

    Flobots bring political beats to Boise
      The phone rang promptly at 1 p.m. Kenny Ortiz, drummer for Flobots, introduced himself with the confident bellow of a radio DJ. Unlike most musicians at this unholy hour, he sounded chipper—like healthy breakfast, half-hour on the treadmill chipper. Though it was only the second day of a six-week tour that will zip the band across the United States then off to Europe, it's hard to imagine Ortiz losing any of his infectious enthusiasm along the way.
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  • Getting On With Business

    Caves might make waves with new release
      An Internet search of Portland, Ore., band Caves leads to a strangely metaphoric journey. As would be expected, the band's Myspace URL and a couple of listings for gigs pop up, as does information on a Portland jazz venue, The Cave. Links for geographic formations from Oregon to Australia to Jamaica also show up. More interestingly, however, are the links to information on Plato's allegory, The Cave, which somewhat reticent Caves guitarist and lead vocalist Jacob Carey says is what the band took its name from.
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  • Do-Re-Me-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do

    Local voice coaches help singers enhance their natural talents
      "We don't hear our voices the way they really sound," said Berg. "Every singer needs someone to listen to them and give constructive feedback."
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  • Digital Jockeys and Vinyl Vanguards

    Local DJs talk about the Treasure Valley's turntable trends
      In a culture that has fully embraced the immediacy and portability of digital music, the era of the turntable-toting DJ is on the decline. With the introduction of music software programs like Serato Scratch Live that allow DJs to scratch and blend digital audio files like vinyl, the old limitations on DJs are being tossed out the proverbial back door.
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  • How to End the Copyright Wars

    Should ISPs serve as the music industry's collection agencies?

      This piece originally ran in Maclean's. Andrew Potter is co-author of The Rebel Sell: Why the Culture Can't be Jammed.

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  • Everyone has a tale to tell

    NPR's StoryCorps broadcasts Boiseans
      Reality TV, talk radio and blogs. These trends in the media haven't really caught my interest. So it was with some skepticism that I ventured online to get the lowdown on StoryCorps, a nonprofit project which, since 2003, has been recording people across America in order "to honor and celebrate one another's lives through listening."
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  • Still Dangerous

    The Von Bondies move past blues rock
      Ypsilanti might not seem like much: A little university town in southeastern Michigan with an industrial past, it's the more low-rent, harder-core little brother of nearby cultural center Ann Arbor. But the area has long supported an underground music scene, acting as a breeding ground for some music stars later associated with Detroit: the iconic Iggy Pop, for instance, noise merchants Wolfeyes and white-hot bluesy garage rockers The Von Bondies.
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  • The Little Drummer Boy

    The Whigs' Julian Dorio on maintaining control
      When R.E.M. released their EP Chronic Town in the early '80s, for many it was an introduction to Athens, Ga., a town they may have only known as an answer in fifth-grade history tests: "List at least three U.S. cities named for Greek gods."
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  • Summer Sounds

    Music festivals a hop, skip and jump away
      One sure sign of summer around these parts is the plethora of music festivals in and around the valley. The following is a melange of musical options that range from being no more than a bike ride away to being far enough outside the Treasure Valley that packing a sleeping bag and tent (or at least making a hotel reservation) needs to be on your to-do list.
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