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Sound Advice 

Karen Novak lays it out for you.

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Cleveland rock photographer Karen Novak has worked with the likes of Ringworm, Today Is the Day, and the JJ Paradise Players Club. She gives us the skinny on some must-have tunes.

What have you been listening to lately?
I tend to get a little obsessed with albums. So sometimes I may play them until they die (the CDs, not the bands). Currently, it's High on Fire, Blessed Black Wings and Live From the Relapse Contamination Festival (because I was there). Roger Allen Wade, All Lickered Up. While Christmas shopping, I found a K-Tel-type mix CD of some old-school hip-hop (Sugar Hill Gang, Ice-T, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Queen Latifah, etc.). And, as always, Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, and Duran Duran.

What do you most like to spin while shooting bands?
I leave it up to the victims. When they pick the tunes, they're more relaxed and fun, so I end up with better results.

What works best to loosen up subjects?
I tend to lean towards something a little heavy and/or mellow. Tom Waits, Neurosis, Mastodon, Isis, Keelhaul, Unsane. A little bite of Bauhaus, and, for fun, some Cheap Trick and Duran Duran.

What picks you up after a crappy day?
I listen to this CD made by a friend of mine, under the name Maktaktic. It's kind of a hip-hop thing, with lyrics like "two ho's are betta with chedda" and songs about toe-sucking and girls fighting over him. You can't help but have a smile on your face. And of course, Unsane, High on Fire, Mastodon, the Book of Knots, and a new band out of N.Y. called ASEA. Play it loud and drive fast.

What kind of stuff sours your mood?
The only name that pops into my head when I think of music that sucks and/or an artist that makes me sick would have to be Celine Dion. (Bluk! I think I just threw up a little.) I also have a bit of a dislike for those teenage-boy-type bands: Green Day, Blink-182, etc. Maybe it was all those crappy bands I had to endure during the days of the Euclid Tavern.

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