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Lollapalooza 2013 Day 3: The Cure charm, Phoenix finish strong, and Baroness and Palma Violets burn the rest to the ground

If the first day of Lollapalooza was all about connecting past and future, and the second was a referendum on country in rock, the theme of Sunday was, “Man, there certainly was a lot of music this weekend.” Freed from the confines of a vague narrative (either constructed by the producers or grafted upon it by media types), the third and final day in Chicago’s Grant Park  was simply about finding something to be passionate about and then leaving it all on the field.

A great deal of that passion was reserved for the Cure, who served up a lovely two hours of throwback sadness as one of Sunday night’s headliners. Though his band has already been alt royalty for decades, frontman Robert Smith still draws his charisma from outsider weirdness. And though the Cure’s setlist was aggressively familiar (if you can think of a Cure song right now, they probably played it), it still lent many of their jams some freshness—even Smith himself still seems alarmed at just how sinister the bassline is that lurks underneath “Lullaby.”

He’s charmingly expressive too—during “Friday I’m In Love,” he made a stink face every time the lyrics came around to “Thursday,” as though that part of the week committed some still-unforgivable sin. And though he himself is showing signs of age, his voice remains as powerfully delicate as it did back when he recorded “Boys Don’t Cry,” the band’s first hit and still their encore-closing number.

At the opposite end of the festival grounds, Phoenix provided a Euro alt-dance party for anybody who wasn’t an aging goth romantic. READ FULL STORY

Musicians without health care: Ailing members of School of Seven Bells and the Replacements shine a spotlight on needy artists

About a month ago, Benjamin Curtis (above)—half of acclaimed New York indie-pop duo School of Seven Bells and formerly of Texas rockers Secret Machines—was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that attacks the immune system.

The silver lining is that Curtis’ particular affliction is treatable. However, like many cancer treatments, it’s prohibitively expensive, especially for an indie musician without health insurance. That’s why his School of Seven Bells bandmate Alley Deheza has launched Support Benjamin Curtis, a website that will take donations to help pay for Curtis’ treatment.

“These next few months will be tough, but [Curtis] is the toughest person I know (even while here, he was trying to figure out a way to sample the MRI),” Deheza wrote on the site. “I wanted to share this with you all, because you guys are such a huge and important part of our lives. Send all of the light and love that you can his way. Every bit will count towards a strong and fast recovery.”

Health care is a burden for everybody, and it hits musicians particularly hard. READ FULL STORY

Best and Worst 2012: The six best metal albums of the year

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A peek at EW’s top 10 albums of the year highlights a vaguely disturbing trend: In 2012, most of the best music of the year was pretty mellow.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing; relatively low-key albums by the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean handily proved that un-blustery does not equal boring.

That being said, 2012 was a particularly remarkable year for metal. Perhaps because they currently have no place on the pop landscape at the moment, heavy musicians made a concerted effort to push personal boundaries on their new releases.

In some cases, that meant exploring the limit of how much noise the human ear can endure; for others it was a bold step toward something resembling pop music. It’s that second step that made it such a weird, wonderful year. READ FULL STORY

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