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Airs Above Your Station (Sub Pop)

Since the demise of grunge a few years back, both the city of Seattle and the Sub Pop label have struggled to shake off the stigma of a dead scene and forge a new musical identity. While the national media might not have been paying so much attention during the post-Nirvana years, the Emerald City has evolved into a hotbed of independent music, and Sub Pop quietly continues to release some of the best American music out there.

Case in point: cosmic rock quartet Kinski, whose third release (and Sub Pop debut) should go a long way toward dispelling the image of long greasy hair and flannel shirts from your consciousness. From the epic opening salvo, "Steve's Basement," to the 11-minute centerpiece, "Schedule for Using Pillows & Beanbags," and all points in between, Airs Above Your Station takes the heavier side of the Seattle sound and turns it inside out, fusing pure analog volume with adventurous psychedelia more akin to Mogwai or Sonic Youth than to Mudhoney or Screaming Trees. With roaring volume shifts, textured drones, and spaced-out progressions, Kinski explodes into orbit with all the abandon of a one-way rocket to Mars. Enjoy the trip -- and keep your fingers crossed that Courtney Love doesn't get involved.

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