SLEATER-KINNEY Released Powerhouse Punk Album ‘DIG ME OUT’ Twenty Years Ago…

Memorable moments in sonic history!…

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‘Dig Me Out’ by SLEATER-KINNEY
8 April 1997 – 20 years ago

Mighty powerful trio SLEATER-KINNEY reinjected female punk back in the nineties with passionate fire, ardent rage and outspoken leftist statements. Third album DIG ME OUT released 20 years ago today, 8 April 1997, was a smashing powerhouse from start to finish and definitely a key album in their exciting career. Riot grrrll fury at its very best. Hell yeah!

What the press said…

SPIN
“Dig Me Out captures the noise of a soul-filled body shaking itself awake, and that’s an experience that bridges any gender divide. In it, guys as well as girls will hear the rattle of their brains and the flash of their libidos. The catharsis Sleater-Kinney seek is more than just fun. It’s a battle in earnest for the human right to know and possess yourself. Feminism was supposed to be about that fight, too, but it’s still sputtering under the weight of its own complacency. Sleater-Kinney push us back into the fray. If they wanna be our Simone de Beauvior, Dig Me Out proves they’re up to it.”

ROLLING STONE
“When Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein proclaimed “I Wanna Be Your
Joey Ramone” on 1996’s Call the Doctor, they were laying down a dare to themselves and the Nineties indie-rock scene. The band’s next album, Dig Me Out, made good on that promise. Adding powerhouse drummer Janet Weiss, the Olympia, Washington, trio’s feminist punk hit hard — from the elated rush of “Words and Guitar” to the raw romantic torment of “One More Hour.”

One of the highlights ‘One More Hour‘ live in 1998 in a record shop in New York…

Here’s the hammer in full…

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SLEATER-KINNEY: Website – Facebook – Discography

The Only Band That Mattered Released Their Outstanding Debut Album 40 Years Ago – Here’s THE CLASH…

Memorable moments in sonic history!…

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‘The Clash’ by THE CLASH
Released 8 April 1977
40 years ago

THE CLASH translated their social commitment and political discontent into a razor-sharp and outstanding debut album. A historic LP and probably one of the most important punk albums ever. A new generation raised its voice. Loud, clear, fast, innovative and straight in the face of the narcissistic, right-wing establishment. And forty years later this ‘no fillers, all killers‘ knockout record still sounds furious and roars mighty and still is highly inspiring for many young, committed bands who try and hope to make a difference. The restless heart and honest soul of the only band that mattered will never vanish…

What the press said…

ALL MUSIC
“Pure, unadulterated rage and fury, fueled by passion for both rock & roll and revolution. The charging, relentless rhythms, primitive three-chord rockers, and the poor sound quality give the album a nervy, vital energy. Rock is rarely as edgy, invigorating, and sonically revolutionary as The Clash on their debut LP.”

SPIN
“Punk as alienated rage, as anticorporate blather, as joyous racial confusion, as evangelic outreach and white knuckles and haywire impulses””

ROLLING STONE
“I haven’t got any illusions about anything,” Joe Strummer said. “Having said that, I still want to try to change things.” That youthful ambition bursts through the album, a machine-gun blast of shockingly great songs about unemployment (Career Opportunities), race (White Riot) and the Clash themselves (Clash City Rockers)…”

Q MAGAZINE
“On their debut album The Clash never sounded so punk. Lyrically intricate and the record still howls with anger…”

Here are three storming highlights…

WHITE RIOT

I’M SO BORED WITH THE U.S.A.

JANIE JONES

The classic in full…

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THE CLASH: Biography – Discography


Rest in peace, Joe Strummer…

THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS Released Breakthrough Album ‘DIG YOUR OWN HOLE’ 20 Years Ago…

Memorable moments in sonic history!…

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‘Dig Your Own Hole’ by THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS
Released 7 April 1997 – 20 years ago…

Although they didn’t look as party animals themselves, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons
created smoking dance trance firework to soundtrack every rave in the late nineties,
I know, I was there and their second album DIG YOUR OWN HOLE still feels today as
their best and most adventurous, yet accessible achievement ever. Tons of rockin’ beats.

What the press said…

ROLLING STONE
“The British DJ duo shows that playing other people’s records — sliced, diced and blown to ingeniously reconfigured bits — is a valid form of composition, and dance music is a matter
of both mind and body…”

ALL MUSIC
“The Chemical Brothers might not push forward into self-consciously arty territories like some of their electronic peers, but they have more style and focus, constructing a blindingly innovative and relentlessly propulsive album that’s an exhilarating listen…”

BBC
“Tom and Ed can harvest up the minds and mess up the hearing of a whole new crowd of converts, and remains an immense, far out and most staggering work. A key text. Literally amazing.”

SPUTNIK MUSIC
‘I like to imagine Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons as two mad and brilliant chemists who play with musical machines in their laboratory and set free monstrous things, kind of like Doctor Octopus in the Spider-Man mythology…”

Here are three highlights…

SETTING SUN (with Noel Gallagher on vocals)

BLOCK ROCKIN’ BEATS

IT DOESN’T MATTER

The full masterpiece here on Spotify…

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THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS: Website – Facebook – Discography

SPIRITUALIZED – Debut Album ‘LAZER GUIDED MELODIES’ Is 25 – Spiritual Dream Pop Odyssey…

Memorable moments in sonic history!…

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‘Lazer Guided Melodies’ by SPIRITUALIZED
Released 30 March 1992 – 25 years ago

What the press said…

MELODY MAKER
“The sound of heaven at times, Spiritualized are making 21st Century gospel.”

ALL MUSIC
“The melodies shimmer and drone and hum like otherworldly pop tunes. One of
the premier dream pop albums, this album is both beautiful and innovative.”

SELECT
“This arsenal of music technology, old and new, lets Spiritualized work a magic on us
that’s part nostalgia, part sci-fi thrill”

SPUTNIK MUSIC
“Lazer Guided Melodies is a mesmerizing journey into another dimension, an experience
not easily matched. The best way to understand this album is to suspend reason and to momentarily leave the left side of your brain at the door.”

Here are three of my favorite tracks…

YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE

RUN

SHINE A LIGHT

The cosmic odyssey in full…

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SPIRITUALIZED: Facebook – Twitter –  Discography


Amsterdam 2015 – a spiritual experience… (photo: Turn Up The Volume!)

U2 – The Irish Rockers’ Masterpiece Album ‘THE JOSHUA TREE’ Released 30 Years Ago…

‘The Joshua Tree’ by U2

On 9 March 1987 – 30 years ago – U2 released their worldwide masterpiece album
THE JOSHUA TREE. The Irish rockers fifth album, produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian
Eno
, made them 24 Karat superstars all over the planet. Influenced by their American
tour experiences, relating literature and Uncle Sam’s politics and probably because of
their commercial and competitive desire to confirm their already huge status in the U.S.
of A., the band chose America as a central theme for the record. Legendary American rock magazine Rolling Stone was undoubtedly impressed with the new LP and journalist Steve Pond wrote this classic review back then in 1987:

The stakes are enormous, and U2 knows it. Its last album, The Unforgettable Fire, contained “Pride (In the Name of Love),” its biggest-selling single ever, and last year the band was the musical heart of Amnesty International’s Conspiracy of Hope tour. Now, it seems, U2 is poised to rise from the level of mere platinum groups to the more rarefied air above. For a band that’s always specialized in inspirational, larger-than-life gestures — a band utterly determined to be Important — The Joshua Tree could be the big one, and that’s precisely what it sounds like.
That’s not to say that this record is either a flagrantly commercial move or another Born in the U.S.A. The Joshua Tree is U2’s most varied, subtle and accessible album, although it doesn’t contain any sure-fire smash hits. But in its musical toughness and strong-willed spirituality, the album lives up to its namesake: a hardy, twisted tree that grows in the rocky deserts of the American Southwest. A Mormon legend claims that their early settlers called the Joshua tree “the praying plant” and thought its gnarled branches suggested the Old Testament prophet Joshua pointing the way to the Promised Land. The title befits a record that concerns itself with resilience in the face of utter social and political desolation, a record steeped in religious imagery.

Since U2 emerged from Dublin in 1980 with a bracing brand of hard, emotional, guitar-oriented rock, its albums have followed a pattern. The first and third (Boy and War) were muscular and assertive, full of, respectively, youthful bravado and angry social awareness; the second and fourth studio albums (October and The Unforgettable Fire) were moody and meandering and sometimes longer on ideas than on full-fledged songs.
But The Joshua Tree isn’t an outright return to the fire of War. The band ruled that out years ago: Songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day” hit with driving force on the 1983 album and subsequent tour. But U2 saw itself in danger of becoming just another sloganeering arena-rock band, so the group closed that chapter with a live record and video. The band swapped longtime producer Steve Lillywhite for Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois and, with The Unforgettable Fire, declared its intention to no longer be as relentlessly heroic.
On the new album, U2 retains Eno and Lanois, brings back Lillywhite to mix four songs and weds the diverse textures of The Unforgettable Fire to fully formed songs, many of them as aggressive as the hits on War. U2’s sonic trademarks are here: the monumental angst of Bono’s voice, the driving pulse of Adam Clayton’s bass and Larry Mullen Jr.’s drums and the careening wail of the Edge’s guitar. But for every predictably roaring anthem there’s a spare, inventively arranged tune, such as “With or Without You,” a rock & roll bolero that builds from a soothing beginning to a resounding climax.

The band still falls into some old traps: Bono’s perpetually choked-up voice can sound overwrought and self-important; some of the images (fire and rain, say) start to lose their resonance after a dozen or so uses; and “Exit,” a recited psychodrama about a killer, is awkward enough to remind you that not even Patti Smith could regularly pull off this sort of thing.
More than any other U2 album, though, The Joshua Tree has the power and allure to seduce and capture a mass audience on its own terms. Without making a show of its eclecticism, it features assertive rock (“Where the Streets Have No Name”), raw frenzy (“Bullet the Blue Sky”), delicacy (“One Tree Hill”), chugging rhythms (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”) and even acoustic bluesiness (“Running to Stand Still”) — all of it unmistakably U2.
But if this is a breakthrough, it’s a grim, dark-hued one. At first, refreshingly honest, romantic declarations alternate with unsettling religious imagery. Then things get blacker. The raging, melodramatic “Bullet the Blue Sky” ties Biblical fire and brimstone with American violence overseas and at home. In the stomping, harmonicaspiked rocker “Trip Through Your Wires,” what looks like salvation could easily be evil seduction; “One Tree Hill” is a soft, haunting benediction on a U2 crew member who died in a motorcycle accident; and “Red Hill Mining Town” echoes Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” in its unsparing look at personal relationships savaged by economic hardship — here, the aftermath of the largely unsuccessful British miners’ strike of 1984.
But for all its gloom, the album is never a heavy-handed diatribe. After the first few times through “Running to Stand Still,” for instance, you notice the remarkable music: the wholly unexpected blues slide guitar, the soft, Nebraska-style yelps, the ghostly harmonica. It sounds like a lovely, peaceful reverie — except that this is a junkie’s reverie, and when that realization hits home, the gentle acoustic lullaby acquires a corrosive power that recalls “Bad,” from the last LP.
The Joshua Tree is an appropriate response to these times, and a picture bleaker than any U2 has ever painted: a vision of blasted hopes, pointless violence and anguish. But this is not a band to surrender to defeatism. Its last album ended with a gorgeous elegy to Martin Luther King Jr.; The Joshua Tree closes with a haunting ode to other victims. “Mothers of the Disappeared” is built around desolate images of loss, but the setting is soothing and restorative — music of great sadness but also of unutterable compassion, acceptance and calm. The Unforgettable Chill, you might call this album, and unforgettable is certainly the right word.

Time for some music. Here are 3 of my (and of millions of others) favourite tracks…

I STILL HAVEN’T FOUND WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR

WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAME

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU

The classic in full on Spotify…

U2: The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 – Website – Facebook


See you in Brussels next August…

THE DAMNED Released DAMNED DAMNED DAMNED 40 Years Ago…

Looking back in time. Memorable moments in sonic history!

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‘Damned Damned Damned’ by THE DAMNED
Red-hot debut LP released 18 February 1977

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Here’s a public announcement from the veteran punk band’s record label BMG:

“The Damned blazed a trail when they became the very first British punk band to release a single, the mighty New Rose on October 22nd 1976, which was swiftly followed by the release
of the very first British punk album, their classic debut long-player Damned Damned Damned originally released by a nascent Stiff Records on February 18th 1977. Now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band’s dramatic breakthrough, BMG will release a very special Deluxe 40th Anniversary Edition of that incredible debut album on February 17th, almost exactly 40 years to the day since its original issue.”

All details about the Deluxe Edition here.

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From left to right: bassist Captain Sensible – guitarist Brian James – frontman/singer Dave Vanian and drummer Rat Scabies

Eccentric bassist Captain Sensible reflecting on that smashing first LP: “ ’Damned
Damned
Damned’ was almost ‘un-produced’ by our Stiff stablemate Nick Lowe, who managed to capture the energy of our live set spectacularly. Nick was known as ‘Basher’ as there was no messing about. It’s fairly manic, but also tuneful and, listened to now, still sounds pretty fresh to my ears. The guitars don’t sound nice – they’re a raw, fuzzed-out thrash – that’s punk rock. Pathway was a rough and ready studio round the back of an Islington garage. It was so dark and dingy in there – you had to be careful or you’d knock your beer over. The sessions took two days, after which the tape was recycled for an Elvis Costello album so there’s no chance of a remix… Not that you’d want one – it’s perfect!”

About time to hear that thunderous beast
in full and going MAD MAD MAD…

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The band (with original members Captain Sensible & Dave Vanian) start a massive tour in North America on April 6th. Tour dates here. And if that’s not enough the band revealed
to be working on a brand new album too. For more info visit Pledgemusic.

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MANIC STREET PREACHERS – Debut Album ‘GENERATION TERRORISTS’ Released 25 Years Ago Today –

Looking back in time. Memorable moments in sonic history!

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‘GENERATION TERRORISTS’ by MANIC STREET PREACHERS – Released 10 February 1992

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Welsh legends MANIC STREET PREACHERS released their debut album, a double one, twenty-five years ago – on 10 February 1992. I fell in love with the Manics for the reasons most of us of fell in love with them at the very start: they looked bloody ‘cool’, they ranted like newborn punks and, most important of all, they sounded anthemic & really big. But in my opinion (all opinions are subjective of course) GENERATION TERRORISTS would have been a 24 Karat Gold debut album as a single not a double one with the following tracklist:

Slash ‘n’ Burn / Motorcycle Emptiness / You Love Us / Little Baby Nothing / Stay Beautiful /
So Dead / Repeat UK / Spectators Of Suicide / Crucifix Kiss and Methadone Pretty.

Anyway Generation Terrorists overall was a hellish rock ‘n roll manifesto in sound
and content and the start of a brilliant career. Here we go back in history…

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Fun to read: on the occasion of the album’s 20th birthday British music weekly NME claimed to have 20 reasons why you should love Generation Terrorists. Check them here

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Young preachers – rest in peace, Richey…

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MANIC STREET PREACHERS: Website – Facebook – Discography

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TELEVISION – Masterpiece Debut Album ‘MARQUEE MOON’ Released 40 Years Ago…

Timeless in sound and vision.…

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MARQUEE MOON by TELEVISION – Debut LP released 8 February 1977

Television, St.Marks Place NYC 1977 L to R: Billy Ficca, Tom Verlaine, Fred Smith, Richard Lloyd
TELEVISION in New York City 1977 – L to R: Billy Ficca, Tom Verlaine, Fred Smith, Richard Lloyd

TELEVISION was one of the most fascinating and innovative bands to emerge from the mid-seventies punk scene of New York City. With debut LP MARQUEE MOON, released
40 years ago – 8 February 1977 – they changed guitar rock drastically. It sounded like nothing else before. The magical interplay between guitarists Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd and most of all their sonic approach in structure and composition revolutionized garage guitar rock impressively. Add Verlaine‘s lyrics and his peculiar and distinctive
voice and what you got was totally fresh, poetic, urban electricity with a lasting impact…

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A classic album deserves a classic professional review. Here’s how British music weekly NME perceived ‘Marquee Moon’…

“Justifiably regarded as one the greatest and most influential albums of the punk era, Television’s debut album is the polar opposite of what that word ‘punk’ has come to mean: a crisp-sounding record, beautifully played, featuring lengthy improvised guitar solos and, in Tom Verlaine, a singer who you could justifiably claim was crooning on certain tracks – albeit obtusely. So although they will forever be synonymous with CBGB in the ’70s, ‘Marquee Moon’’s sound is rooted in many other places, giving the record a timeless quality that even their lofty contemporaries’ best records have struggled to match.

What sets them apart is that they had already been together for a few years, and were so comfortable and familiar with the material they had for the record that being recorded live in the studio was not a problem for them. Plus, they could really play. That’s not to say the group weren’t infused with the energy around at the time – the opener ‘See No Evil’ revolves around a gloriously infectious dumb riff, while the likes of ‘Fiction’ and ‘Prove It’ are taut, clinically precise rockers, which gives the record a crucial balance. Because such was the dexterity of Verlaine and fellow guitarist Richard Lloyd’s playing, if it wasn’t reined in there’s a good chance they could have ended up with a sprawling, self-indulgent mess of a debut album. Underpinned by Fred Smith’s reliably solid bass parts and drummer Billy Ficca’s satisfying but relatively economical clatter, the two combine to devastating effect, creating something radically new from old parts – ’60s garage rock, psych, country and, yes, jazz.

The title track is the undoubted highpoint, a 10-minute epic which could stretch to over half an hour when they were playing live. But then, they were also capable of moments of economical beauty – the celestial ‘Guiding Light’ being the nearest Verlaine ever got to writing an out-and-out love song. It wasn’t a particularly big record in the band’s native America, although they scored a Top 30 album in the UK on the back of a lengthy review raving about the record by the legendary writer Nick Kent.

The influence of ‘Marquee Moon’ cannot be overestimated. The post-punk movement certainly took on board numerous aspects of the record – the clinically precise instrumentation, the clean sound and the introspective, vaguely gloomy feel. That filtered through to the indie movement of the ’80s, for whom the record became one of the sacred texts, while even bands like The Strokes have clearly taken inspiration from it. It would not be an overstatement to say that ‘Marquee Moon’ is to the ’70s what ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ was to the ’60s.

Here’s the magnum opus in full…

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TELEVISION: Biography – Discography

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HÜSKER DÜ – Sixth & Final LP ‘WAREHOUSE: SONGS AND STORIES’ Released In 1987… Thirty Years Ago

Looking back in time. Memorable moments in sonic history!

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‘Warehouse: Songs And Stories’
HÜSKER DÜ
Released 19 January 1987

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Minneapolis noisemakers HÜSKER DÜ released WAREHOUSE: SONGS AND STORIES,
their sixth and final (double) album thirty years ago, on 19 January 1987. The highly praised, vigorous trio excelled in constructing turbulent, red-hot powerhouses fueled
with an army of multi-tracked guitars and imposing choruses. Their last effort was also packed with steamrollers. Like these smoking guns: Charity, Charity, Prudence And Hope / Standing In The Rain / Ice Cold Ice / Could You Be The One? / Tell You Why Tomorrow/ Actual Condition/ You Can Live At Home and promo single She’s A Woman (And Now He’s A Man) which they performed live, back then, on the legendary, American The Late Show…

The razor-sharp DIY punk attitude of the early days (‘Revolution starts at home, preferably in
the bathroom mirror
‘ was an uncredited quote on one of the inner sleeves) still was intact on Warehouse, musically as well as lyrically, although the production was way smoother and more polished than before. The competitive ego’s of Bob Mould and Grant Hart,
the DÜ’s two songwriters were a blessing for the ongoing creativeness during the group’s career (1979-1988) but, finally, in the end the chemistry went down the toilets and both wayward characters wanted to be in front all the time. So taking this backbreaking rivalry into account this double LP (20 songs) is quite a startling victory. A slashing goodbye with
a ruthless big bang. Press the button, turn it up, attack your ears…

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You can read the laudable review by Rolling Stone Magazine
journalist David Fricke published in March 1987 right here

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HÜSKER DÜ: Bio – Discography

7 Significant Debut Albums Turning 15 in… 2017

Looking back in time… memorable moments in sonic history!

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The year 2002 was quite significant for debut albums. Here are seven that stood out,
7 thrilling longplayers turning 15 in 2017 and still sounding impressive. Here we go…

1/ ‘Behind The Music’ by THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES
Released (UK): 16 January
Top trackThe Flood
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2/ ‘Original Pirate Material’ by THE STREETS
Released: 25 March
Top trackLet’s Push Things Forward
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3/’Highly Evolved’ by THE VINES
Released: 14 July
Top track: Outtathaway
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4/ ‘The Coral’ by THE CORAL
Released: 29 July
Top trackDreaming Of You
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5/ ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’ by INTERPOL
Released: 19 August
Top trackNYC
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6/ ‘Up The Bracket’ by THE LIBERTINES
Released: 14 October
Top track: I Get Along
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7/ ‘They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top’ by LIARS
Released: 30 October
Top track: The Garden Was Crowded And Outside
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