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Erin Frank

Silversun Pickups
"Neck of the Woods"
Dangerbird

As a Silversun Pickups record, "Neck of the Woods" sounds exactly like you'd expect it to: cascading guitars, distorted shimmer and Nikki Monninger's breathily-insistent vocals cosseted in waves of reverb that wash through the speakers.

Alina Simone
"You Must Go and Win"
Faber & Faber

By her own admission in the essay collection "You Must Go and Win," Alina Simone has a very small fan base, and that fan base is comprised mostly of depressed Jews. Not a terrible fan base to have in my opinion, as it could potentially include Larry David, Woody Allen or pre-dental veneers Ben Stiller.

In her book "Bossypants" Tiny Fey describes "30 Rock" co-star Alec Baldwin's "Irish Negotiating Technique" as Baldwin saying "they offered me more money and I told them to go f**k themselves." Baldwin might have too much money to care by this point, but his technique is not terribly different from that of Calvin Johnson, frontman of the Hive Dwellers.

While some exceptions could be made for background, I'm willing to bet that for a lot of people, being a fan of Tom Waits from a young age was a lonely feeling.

Mike Doughty
"The Book of Drugs"
Da Capo Press

Like any self-respecting musician's autobiography, Mike Doughty's "The Book of Drugs" does not deprive the reader of sex, the titular drugs, or rock 'n' roll.

Craig Finn
"Clear Heart Full Eyes"
Vagrant

Craig Finn left Brooklyn to record "Clear Heart Full Eyes" in Austin during a four-month break for the Hold Steady. While he arrived in Texas with songs in hand, the actual recording process -- including meeting up with producer Mike McCarthy and introductions to musicians Josh Block, Jesse Ebaugh, Ricky Ray Jackson and Billy White -- took only three weeks.

Hacienda, an impressively-bearded four-piece family band from San Antonio, opened for Heartless Bastards last night at the Firebird. While the bands aren't labelmates, their styles are somewhat similar and make for a well-paired touring team.

Nada Surf
"The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy"
Barsuk

Ever the ones to ignore music industry convention, Nada Surf is obviously moving in a different direction with "The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy."

The rigors of touring are not for the faint of heart. The time away from home and loved ones is difficult enough, and when added to bad food, cold dressing rooms and bandmate farts in the van, those endless miles can wreak havoc on one's soul.

The Black Keys
"El Camino"
Nonesuch

In a recent interview with Pitchfork, the Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney pissed off half of Canada when he posited that while the band would most certainly want to be remembered as more "awesome" like Led Zeppelin, it was also possible that they were more "annoying" like Rush.

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