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Top 50 Songs Of 2016: Part 2

November 29, 2016

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Here are more songs I liked in 2016.  Enjoy.

Part 1 of this list is HERE.

PS – I got a ton of take down notices, so you’ll have to listen via Spotify.

40)  :The xx – On Hold:  I know this track from The xx is only a few weeks old, but I’ve been obsessed with it and I just had to include it on my year-list.  It’s intoxicating.

39)  :Charli XCX – Vroom Vroom:  Charli XCX cranked this out in conjunction with Sophie, and it’s just the most goddamn ridiculous thing.  Please be sure to listen to it as loud as possible.

38)  :Tobacco – Gods in Heat:  I’ve had this Tobacco song on repeat for months.  It’s fairly weird and oddly sexy (it is called Gods in Heat, after all), and I just love it.

37)  :Chaos Emeralds – Animal Kingdom:  I’m not sure why this song from Chaos Emeralds isn’t all over the radio.  Talk about accessible and catchy.

36)  :Thao And The Get Down Stay Down – Nobody Dies:  Here’s one from Thao that I revisited a lot this year.  It’s an attention-grabber.

35)  :Bleached – Keep on Keepin’ On:  This song from Bleached really makes me want to get up and move and because of this it’s what I’m going to hit play on if someone ever starts chasing me.

34)  :The Julie Ruin – I Decide:  If you ask me, this is the best track off of The Julie Ruin’s 2016 release, Hit Reset.  On another note, Kathleen Hanna’s voice is still rad.

33)  :Phantogram – Cruel World:  Phantogram went for (and achieved) bigger and better things in 2016, but this track sounds like the old them and it’s what stuck with me.  Go figure.

32)  :The Range – Florida:  The Range really nailed it here.  I advise that you slap on headphones before you hit play.

31)  :Sheer Mag – Can’t Stop Fighting:  I’m starting to feel like it’s no longer possible for me to do a year-end song list that doesn’t include Sheer Mag.  Here’s hoping they keep on killing it.

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Quickdraw: Bon Iver, Phantogram, Weaves, LVL UP, The Tallest Man On Earth

August 18, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Bon Iver – 22 (OVER S00N) (Bob Moose Extended Cab Version):  I’m not sure why, but I just listened to this new Bon Iver track.  It’s fantastic!  What a leap forward for an already great band.  22, A Million is due out September 30 via Jagjaguwar.

:Phantogram – Cruel World:  I haven’t been able to connect with the latest singles from Phantogram, but this track is something else.  One more like it and I’ll definitely go back to being excited about their upcoming LP.  Three is due out October 7 via Republic.  See the band at Sound On Sound Fest in November.

:Weaves – Help (Beatles Cover):  Weaves recently let slip this Beatles cover, and I can’t get myself to take it off of repeat.  It’s such a quirky, charming little number.  This track appears to be a one-off effort that was done for fun, so grab it while you can.

:LVL UP – Hidden Driver:  Whenever I listen to this LVL UP track I get a really strong Neutral Milk Hotel vibe, and I’m super into it.  More please.  Return To Love is due out September 23 via Sub Pop.

:The Tallest Man On Earth – Rivers:  Here’s the second (seemingly) one-off track that Kristian Matsson (aka The Tallest Man On Earth) has released while out on the road.  It’s just as magical as the one that came before it.

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Top 25 Albums Of 2014: Part 1

December 9, 2014

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Well friends, I’m just about done with posting the site’s year-end music lists.  Today I have the first part of my Top 25 Albums of 2014 (25-11, plus various Honorable Mentions), tomorrow I’ll have my Top 10 selections, and then on Thursday I’ll have Top 5s from each of SOTO’s contributors.  Whew!  Anyhow, on with the rambling.  Enjoy.

PS – This year’s list is very heavily influenced by how often I revisited an album.

25) Swans – To Be Kind

There’s nothing about Swans’ To Be Kind that’s easy (or it would be ranked way higher), but if you can fully immerse yourself in its sprawling sound, you’ll find that it’s a rather rewarding album.

:Swans – A Little God In My Hands:

24) Interpol – El Pintor

While it’s no Turn On The Bright Lights, I do think that El Pintor is the best thing to come from Interpol in a long while.  Who knew that parting with Carlos D would turn out to be good for the band?!

:Interpol – All The Rage Back Home:

23) Future Islands – Singles

Future Islands’ Singles is one of those albums that I burned out on and then ending up excitedly coming back to.  It’s a pretty great effort, especially if you need something to dramatically dance to.

:Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You):

22) Sylvan Esso – Self Titled

Sylvan Esso’s self titled debut is an easily accessible effort that’s loaded with some of the year’s best electronic pop songs.  I often just put it on and let its warm sound fill the room.

:Sylvan Esso – Coffee:

21) Thee Oh Sees – Drop

Just when it looked like Thee Oh Sees were going to take a lengthy break, they released the lively Drop.  I approve of such indecisiveness.  Here’s hoping they continue on maybe going on hiatus.

:Thee Oh Sees – Penetrating Eye:

20) Ty Segall – Manipulator

Manipulator is the culmination of all the various sounds that Ty Segall has churned out over the last few years, and it’s great.  Way to bring everything full circle, Mr. Segall.

:Ty Segall – Susie Thumb:

19) Phantogram – Voices

I can’t say that Voices dominated my time the way that Eyelid Movies did (way back in 2010), but it’s definitely a high quality effort.  Phantogram craft great hooks.

:Phantogram – Fall In Love:

18) S – Cool Choices

Jenn Ghetto (formerly of Carissa’s Wierd) is S, and Cool Choices is her very sincere, introspective album.  She’s got the sort of voice that I can’t help but get hung up on.

:S – Vampires:

17) Mono – Rays Of Darkness/The Last Dawn

Technically, Rays Of Darkness and The Last Dawn are two separate releases, but I still consider them to be a two-disc effort.  As for the actual LPs themselves, I really dig how neither of them feel like the Mono that made the over-orchestrated For My Parents.

:Mono – Recoil, Ignite:

16) Jack White – Lazaretto

I can’t ever make any sense of the things that Jack White says and does these days, but I sure do like his music.  Lazaretto is a boisterous experience.

:Jack White – Lazaretto:

15) Abram Shook – Sun Marquee

Austin’s own Abram Shook put out the immensely pleasing Sun Marquee back in January, and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since.  It’s the kind of breezy, relaxed pop music that’s impossible to not get lost in.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:

14) Tune Yards – Nikki Nack

Nikki Nack is exactly what we’ve all come to want and expect from the talented Merrill Garbus (aka Tune Yards) – it’s creative and a whole lot of fun to listen to.

:Tune Yards – Real Thing:

13) Ex Hex – Rips

I miss Wild Flag, but their disbandment delivered Mary Timony’s equally catchy and rocking Ex Hex AND put Sleater-Kinney back together.  I’ll take that deal any day.

:Ex Hex – Hot And Cold:

12) The Dead Space – Faker

If you are even the slightest fan of post-punk, then you need The Dead Space’s Faker in your life.  There’s not a track on it that isn’t rad.

:The Dead Space – Behind The Wall:

11) Tacocat – NVM

I didn’t pay much attention to Tacocat’s NVM until kind of late in the year, but once I “discovered” it I was forever hooked.  It’s total surf-rock bliss.

:Tacocat – Crimson Wave:

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 Albums of 2014!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

To be honest, I could have easily detailed 50 albums this year, but since the bottom 25 slots would have been occupied by the various releases that I liked but didn’t listen to a whole super lot, I figured it was best to hold back.  For fun though, here are the LPs that more than likely would have made an expanded list.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent
Alex Napping – This Is Not A Bedroom
Alvvays – Self Titled
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Ariel Pink – Pom Pom
Coathangers – Suck My Shirt
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lose
Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita
Equals – Tracts
Eternal Summers – The Drop Beneath
FKA Twigs – LP1
Flesh Lights – Free Yourself
Literature – Chorus
Men – Tomorrow’s Hits
OBN IIIs – Third Time To Harm
Owls – Two
Pompeii – Loom
Ramesh – The King
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
Thurston Moore – The Best Day
Tontons – Make Out King And Other Stories Of Love
Warpaint – Self Titled
We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling
Wye Oak – Shriek
Yellow Ostrich – Cosmos

Also, for even more fun, here are my five favorite EPs of 2014.

Speedy Ortiz – Real Hair EP
Diarrhea Planet – Aliens In The Outfield EP
White Reaper – Self Titled EP
Otis The Destroyer – Dark Arts EP
Whiite Walls – Self Titled EP

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Top 50 Songs Of 2014: Part 3

December 3, 2014

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We’ve now arrived at the middle section of my Top 50 Songs of 2014.  Check out Part ONE & TWO if you haven’t already.  Otherwise, get on with cruising today’s list!  Enjoy.

30)  :The Dead Space – Behind The Wall:  Pretty much all of my dark-corner-brooding in 2014 was done while listening to this stellar piece of post-punk from Austin’s own The Dead Space.  From Faker.

29)  :We Were Promised Jetpacks – I Keep It Composed:  This swirling song reinvigorated my love for We Were Promised Jetpacks.  I’m honestly not sure they’ve ever sounded as good as they do here.  From Unraveling.

28)  :Angel Olsen – Forgiven-Forgotten:  While I like Angel Olsen’s slower and more intimate material, I found myself coming back to this little rocker of hers the most.  From Burn Your Fire For No Witness.

27)  :Shannon And The Clams – Mama:  This Shannon And The Clams song is splendid and permanently on my go-to list for whenever I’m in the mood for soul/doo-wop-enthused music.  From the band’s split with Guantanamo Baywatch.

26)  :Saint Pepsi – Fiona Coyne:  My “song of the summer” this year was definitely this Saint Pepsi track.  It’s immensely catchy.  And danceable.  And super fun.  From the Fiona Coyne single.

25)  :Tennis – I’m Callin’:  I love this song for two reasons.  1) It’s wonderfully easy on the ears.  2) It fully completes Tennis‘ transition from lo-fi indie band to full on pop act.  Not sure they could have done it any smoother.  From Ritual In Repeat.

24)  :Screaming Females – Wishing Well:  Screaming Females usually go right after your face, but for this track they decided to dial things back a bit.  It worked.  In fact, I think this is probably their best song.  From the Wishing Well single.

23)  :Phantogram – Fall In Love:  Phantogram blew up in 2014, and it was partly because of this single.  To be honest, I think it ranks a little lower than some of their older songs, but I still love it.  From Voices.

22)  :The War On Drugs – Red Eyes:  The War On Drugs really got me with this track.  I had only ever just appreciated them and their Springsteen-ish ways, but this is so damn good that they’re now a favorite of mine.  From Lost In The Dream.

21)  :Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You):  This fantastic synth-pop song totally helped Future Islands wrangle in just under a bazillion new fans.  Good for them.  They deserve it.  From Singles.

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Stream This

February 14, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Phantogram – Voices

The Tontons – Make Out King And Other Stories Of Love
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Pillar Point – Self Titled
Lost In The Trees – Past Life
Solids – Blame Confusion
New Bums – Voices In A Rented Room
Shocking Pinks – Guilt Mirrors
Evan Only – Not Matter What EP
Dawn Landes – Bluebird
Guided By Voices – Motivational Jumpsuit

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
The Sour Notes

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Quickdraw: The Men, Tony Molina, Ex Hex, Owls, Phantogram

February 10, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:The Men – Different Days: Last week The Men released two tracks. This one is a snarl-filled effort, and I really dig it.  The other song, to be honest, kind of sounds like a White Denim track and it largely just weirds me out.  Sacred Bones will release Tomorrow’s Hits on March 4.

:Tony Molina – Nowhere To Go:  Here’s another super short pop gem from Tony Molina.  It’s pretty incredible how catchy and awesome the guy can be in just 48 seconds.  Dissed and Dismissed will be available on March 25 through Slumberland.

:Ex Hex – Hot And Cold:  Wild Flag may be dead, but that’s not stopping Mary Timony.  She’s gone and started Ex Hex with Betsy Wright (Fire Tapes) and Laura Harris (The Aquarium), and this rocking track is their first single.  Grab the Hot And Cold 7″ when Merge releases it on March 18.

:Owls – Ancient Stars Seed:  ”The line ‘We’ve never had nice stuff’ feels good to sing because we really are still a grubby foursome with broken equipment and no money and I see these shitty young bands every day with pedal boards and no ideas.”  Any song that comes with a quote like that from Tim Kinsella gets my seal of approval.  The apparently very inspired Two will be out on March 25 via Polyvinyl.

:Phantogram – Bill Murray:  This is a rather pretty, slow burning track from Phantogram.  I think it’s a good change of pace for them, but I will admit it’s a little odd to not hear their usual aggressive swirl of sounds.  The band will release Voices on February 18 via Republic.

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Quickdraw: While We Were Sleeping – Part 2

January 7, 2014

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As promised, here’s another 10 tracks that we missed while hibernating throughout December.  Starting tomorrow we resume normal posting, which should be fun.  Let’s have a blast in 2014, friends.  Enjoy.

:The Dead Weather – Open Up (That’s Enough):  Solo is a word I was hoping Jack White would be holding onto for the rest of time, but here he is back with The Dead Weather.  You know what though?  This track is awesomely heavy and I love it.  The Third Man subscription series is where you can find this song. No word yet on when a full length can be expected.

:Phantogram – Fall In Love:  I’m very much looking forward to Phantogram’s upcoming full length.  It’s been a long time coming, and I’m really hoping it manages to at least come close to what I’m unfairly expecting.  Voices is set to be released on February 18 via Barsuk.

:Tokyo Police Club – Argentina (Parts I, II, III):  One of the more pleasant surprises to come out of December was the return of Tokyo Police Club via this nearly nine-minute long prog pop gem.  It’s good to have them back.  The band is expected to put out a full length at some point during the first part of this year.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:  Once upon a time Abram Shook was the vocalist of a band called The Great Nostalgic.  Now he’s doing his own thing, and as this track indicates, it’s stuff you need in your ears.  You’ll be able to pick up Sun Marquee on January 21.

:Warpaint – Biggy:  While I think that Warpaint have a neat sound, this track is the first of theirs that I’ve legitimately wanted to spend some quality headphone time with.  It’s superbly crafted.  Rough Trade will release the band’s self titled effort on January 21.

:Tiger Waves – Weekends:  Really nice work here by Austin’s Tiger Waves.  This catchy pop tune is easily one of their best songs.  The band has a single out now on Canvasback.

:Tele Novella – Umbrella At The Station:  Tele Novella got their start in Austin last year (out of the ashes of Agent Ribbons and Voxtrot), and they quickly impressed me.  I love their quirky pop sound.  At some point this year the band is expected to put out a debut full length.

:Damien Jurado – Silver Timothy:  A new Damien Jurado album is one of those things that should be celebrated by all.  The guy is a brilliant songwriter.  Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son is due out January 21 via Secretly Canadian.

:The War On Drugs – Red Eyes:  I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t think this was the best thing The War On Drugs have ever done.  Their upcoming album is now one I’m anxious to check out.  Lost In The Dream is due out March 18 through Secretly Canadian.

:Robert Ellis – Only Lies:  When it comes to artists currently making country music, Robert Ellis is as good as it gets.  I dare you to not love his voice and its thoroughly classic sound.  The Lights From The Chemical Plant will be available on February 11 via New West.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 3

December 4, 2013

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We’re now firmly in the mid-section of this list.  I hope that so far you’ve been digging it and have maybe found some new stuff.  Let me know if you have any guesses on what will be in the top spot!  Enjoy.

30)  :Action Bronson – The Rockers (Featuring Wiz Khalifa):  Out of the ton of good stuff that Action Bronson released in 2013, this track is my favorite.  He sounds great in it, and I especially dig the Wiz Khalifa verse.  From the SAAAB Stories EP.

29)  :Phantogram – Celebrating Nothing:  At some point in 2014 I’m going to finally get a new Phantogram album.  Until then, I’ll just let this gem swirl around in my head.  From their self titled EP.

28)  :Divine Fits – Ain’t That The Way:  If you ask me, this is the best Spoon cover that Divine Fits have ever done.  Ha!  Seriously though, it’s a pretty great pop song.  From the Ain’t That The Way/Chained To Love digital single.

27)  :M.I.A. – Y.A.L.A.:  Another year, another great single from M.I.A.  She may be a bit unhinged, but her work is consistently interesting and worth your time.  From Matangi.

26)  :Joanna Gruesome – Sugarcrush:  This infectious piece of noise pop has been a favorite of mine for months.  Also, as a Joanna Newsom fan, I’m admittedly a sucker for the name Joanna Gruesome.  From Weird Sister.

25)  :The Orwells – Other Voices:  While the hard working, fresh out of high school dudes in the Orwells make me feel lazy and old, I can’t help but dig their music.  This rock tune is as catchy as it gets.  From the Other Voices EP.

24)  :Son Lux – Lost It To Trying:  This song is definitely Sigur Ros-light, but I think that actually makes me like it more.  Toss on headphones or just crank your stereo, either approach works well with Son Lux.  From Lanterns.

23)  :The Men – The Seeds (Acoustic Version):  The original version of this track is rather nice, but I think the acoustic take really makes for something special.  It’s definitely my favorite song by the Men.  From the Campfire Songs EP.

22)  :Youth Lagoon – Dropla:  Throughout the year this Youth Lagoon song was one of my go-tos for when I just wanted to kick back and listen to something.  It has such a stellar, well layered arrangement.  From Wondrous Bughouse.

21)  :Lightning Dust – Loaded Gun:  I ended up not loving Lightning Dust’s new synth-enthused sound as much as I thought I would, but I do think this particular song is rad.  Be sure to jam it.  From Fantasy.

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Quickdraw: Terry Malts, The Coathangers, Phantogram, CFCF, Polica

September 30, 2013

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Today’s music believes in you.  Enjoy.

:Terry Malts – I Could Be Happy (Altered Images Cover):  I’m in the midst of Terry Malts-heavy stretch, and I love it.  Just law week they played a really nice show at the Mohawk, and now they’ve released this super catchy cover.  You might be able to get this track as a bonus if you jump now and order Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere, which is currently available on Slumberland.

:The Coathangers – Adderall:  This is one of the more impressive tracks that the Coathangers have ever delivered.  I really love the enormous amount of attitude packed into it.  The band’s split 7″ (with Audacity) is due out October 15 via Suicide Squeeze Records.  They play Red 7 on October 16.

:Phantogram – Celebrating Nothing:  While I would have preferred a new Phantogram full length this year, I’ll take an EP.  It does, after all, include this stellar song.  You can actually grab their self titled EP now via Barsuk.  See them at the Mohawk on October 27 (the 10/26 show is already sold out).

:CFCF – Beyond Light:  Grab some headphones before you hit play on this new track from CFCF, as it is intricate and totally deserving of all of your attention.  The world will be able to dive into Outsider when it’s released on October 21 via Dummy Records.

:Polica – Smug:  I’d be lying if I said this sultry number didn’t immediately vault Polica’s upcoming full length to somewhere near the top of my “most anticipated releases” list.  Shulamith is due out October 21 via Memphis Industries.

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Quickdraw: Phantogram, Twin Shadow, Wild Child, Tera Melos, Fuzz

September 16, 2013

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Today’s music has always thought of you as more than just a friend.  Enjoy.

:Phantogram – Black Out Days:  This is a beautiful track, and I’m so very happy that Phantogram are back with some new music.  The band hasn’t announced an album yet, but I would assume there’s one coming soon.  Catch them at the Mohawk on October 26.

:Twin Shadow – Old Love/New Love:  Grand Theft Auto V lands in stores tomorrow, and this Twin Shadow tune is on the soundtrack.  It’s fantastically dancey and soulful, and I can’t wait to drive around and shoot digital people while listening to it.  Or something.

:Wild Child – Crazy Bird:  Here’s a really charming new one from Wild Child, who are one of the better pop bands in Austin.  If I were you, I’d consider it the perfect opportunity to climb up on their bandwagon.  The Runaround is expected out on October 8 via Ben Kweller’s Noise Company.

:Tera Melos – Weird Circles (Fang Island Remix):  I realize that saying a song has been changed from dynamic to plodding doesn’t sound sexy, but it really does work here.  Nice job, Fang Island.  Tera Melos will put out the X’ed Out Remixes EP on October 8 via Sargent House.  You can catch the band tonight at Emo’s East with Minus The Bear.

:Fuzz – What’s In My Head:  Is there anyone right now who’s on more of a roll than Ty Segall?  Fuzz is his 47th side project and 22nd album this year, and there’s just no dip in quality.  The band’s self titled debut is due out October 1 via In The Red.  They play Red 7 on October 4.

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Stream This

November 9, 2012

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

How To Destroy Angels – An Omen
El Ten Eleven – Transitions
Social Studies – Developer
Vinyl Williams – Lemniscate
The Babies – Our House On The Hill
El Perro Del Mar – Pale Fire
Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Crystal Castles – (III)

VIDEOS

Arms have an album titled Summer Skills that’s out now.

Jon Hillcoat (The Road) helped direct this video for IO Echo.  The band has an album due out next year.

Icky Blossoms play Emo’s East on November 28 with The Faint.  Their self titled debut is out now.

The Joy Formidable will release Wolf’s Law on January 22 via Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records.

Tame Impala’s Lonerism is available now.

Jonti currently has a new album titled Sine + Moon that’s out now.

Phantogram recently released an EP titled Nightlife.

Correatown’s Pleiades is currently available.

Columbia will release Wild Belle’s debut, Isles, early next year.

Dumbo Gets Mad will release Quantum Leap sometime in 2013.

The Luyas recently released Animator.

Jeff The Brotherhood’s Hypnotic Nights is out now.

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