Mike McGuirk

Where's the party?

It's wherever AC/DC is
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The best time to hear AC/DC — besides during the obvious coked-out, high-speed cop chase — is at a party. At least this is my personal fave: during a party I'm throwing and controlling the music being played.

I love the part of the night when it is appropriate to put on the first AC/DC song, really loud. It has to be pretty late — when the strangers start filing in, cigarettes are being smoked everywhere, and the rules have been tossed out. Read more »

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: John Prine

The great and the really great
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Although he has never made it commercially, John Prine has been considered one of the premier songwriters in Americana and folk since his first album, John Prine (Atlantic), came out in 1971. "Sam Stone," the story of a Vietnam vet turned junkie, "Hello in There," made a hit by Joan Baez, and the monumental "Angel from Montgomery" were instantly and forever pasted on the American psyche, even if Prine has never reached household-name status.

Prine released records steadily through the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, without a drop-off in quality. Read more »

Reading is fundamental

Shoot 'em up, if you can, in Made Man
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Made Man

(Aspyr; PlayStation2, Windows)

A couple of weeks ago I was facing a stretch without the possibility of any money besides what I had in my pocket. I have experienced this before, and the way I have learned to deal with it is to stay in my apartment, sleep a lot, and eat very little, counting the days. At my age and with my diet of cigarettes and coffee, Internet porn will only go so far. So I have found that the best way to kill the hours when I am conscious has been to play video games. With my meager budget, I set aside what I needed to buy some games and hit the mall. Read more »

Right place, blues time

Robert Randolph and Allen Toussaint crown the San Francisco Blues Festival lineups
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There are two performers, among others, you really need to see at the San Francisco Blues Festival this time around. The first, headliner Robert Randolph, along with his Family Band, has been blowing minds since his debut, Live at the Wetlands (Dare/Warner Bros.), came out in 2002. Critics proceeded to freak out, big shots like Eric Clapton started taking him on tour, and Randolph began freeing the minds of white pothead kids with jam-blues purveyors the North Mississippi All-Stars. Read more »

Myth mash

God of War II
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God of War II

(Sony Computer Entertainment; PlayStation 2)

GAMER The sequel to the best game of 2005 may not be the best game of 2007, but that's only because Shadow of the Colossus ruined all games for all time by boiling adventuring nerdery down to an unheard-of, almost new-age minimalism. That game ruled. Read more »

His world or yours?

Scarface: The World Is Yours
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Scarface: The World Is Yours

(Vivendi Universal; Windows XP, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Sony PSP)

GAMER One nice thing about Scarface: The World Is Yours is that although it is a first-person shooter–adventure game, there is no sewer level. It doesn't matter what the story line is: at some point, dude is going into a sewer and tromping through ankle-deep water with rats skittering around.

Scarface doesn't bother with that. It's more interested in having you sell cocaine and brutally murder people, like a good game should do. Read more »

Rock in a hard place

Music falls by the wayside when you're out of cigarettes
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Who cares what I have to say? I just review video games and write lies about music for pay. You don't want to read about what kind of "meaning" I gleaned from my experience with music that "really mattered" in 2006, do you?
It's 4 a.m. I ran out of money one week ago. I ran out of cigarettes at exactly 2:10 this morning, and until I get paid again — in approximately eight days if I'm lucky — I will be eating only things you can prepare by adding hot water. I don't care about music. I hate music. Read more »

Goldies Music winner Om

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Possibly the heaviest band to ever receive a Goldie from the Guardian, Om consists of drummer Chris Hakius and bass player Al Cisneros, who met in high school in the ’80s and have been playing on-and-off together ever since. Along with guitarist Matt Pike, Hakius and Cisneros formed the landmark ’90s stoner doom–Sabbath worship metal band Sleep, which you better know all about by now.
A couple years ago, after a fairly long hiatus from playing music, Hakius and Cisneros began working together again. Read more »