It's taken four years but Nico Vega stands poised to revive all things rock with its long-awaited sophomore album We Are the Art later this year. Until you get the chance to hear those songs, however, there's always PopMatters ' "20 Questions" series to have your back. For those of you who think rock is dead, I give you two words: Nico Vega. The band built its reputation through a series of EP releases before finally getting the opportunity to release an epic, self-titled debut LP in 2009. Since then the group has toured with everyone [...]
The revolution will not be played on the radio. These well-meeaning hip-hop progressives need better beats. God Des and She want to stoke a hip-hop revolution, one that embraces feminism, lesbianism, equality and all manner of forward-thinking progressive values. This is all great, but a band needs more than a manifesto to be successful. It needs tunes. In the case of hip-hop, it needs beats, and in this regard, God Des and She stumbles badly. Beats on potentially strong tunes like "Animal Kingdom" and "God, I Know You Love Me" are...
Okkervil River will release their new album 'The Silver Gymnasium' on September 3rd via ATO Records and today the band presents the lyric video for the new song, "It Was My Season". The video was filmed in the Town Hall of Plainfield, NH, near where frontman Will Sheff grew up. Sheff reminisces on the old building, "I remember nights as a kid where we'd go to the Town Hall and watch guys from the town get up and play little rock and roll sets in front of this beautiful three-dimensional Maxfield Parrish backdrop while ladies would sell cans [...]
Greg Porn is stepping out on his own with a new mixtape, 'Amerikin Junkie', following a heralded set of collaborations with the Roots. Greg Porn's got a killer, rapid-fire flow backed with humorous tongue-twisting verses. With Amerikin Junkie, releasing July 16th, he displays that talent in full. "It's reality music," Porn says. "Up in your face, lyrical -- super lyrical -- but easy to digest." Today, we are premiering the tune "Cloud 9" from the record and we'll let Porn tell you about it in his own words... "The 'Cloud 9' track came about because we loved that...
PopMatters is pleased to premiere Singles by North Carolina underground heroes Spider Bags. Though they may be a prime example of an underrated, underappreciated act, Spider Bags still get their fair share of love. Titus Andronicus' Patrick Stickles has touted the North Carolina garage-rock group as one of his favorite bands to anyone who's listening. Press coverage has been flattering as well, especially here at PopMatters: We rated Spider Bags' last album Shake My Head as the top "overlooked" album of 2012, which also happens to be...
Terence Blanchard is more than a brilliant jazz trumpeter. His long-standing quintet is one of the most flexible groups in jazz, and his work as a composer of film soundtracks is unique and distinctive. Terence Blanchard could have been overshadowed easily enough. He was a childhood friend of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis growing up in New Orleans, and it might have seemed that he skimmed along in Marsalis's wake for some time: at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), studying with Ellis Marsalis, moving to New York, and then taking the older player's seat in Art Blakey's legendary [...]
PopMatters is exclusively profiling the women of 20 Feet from Stardom all week in celebration of the film's release. Today, we explore the gospel of legendary chanteuse Merry Clayton. When I first introduce myself to Merry Clayton and rise from my seat to shake her hand, she nods approvingly and announces to the room, "See now, he knows that you always rise to greet a diva!" There's a bit of nervous laughter on my part, and then I immediately, perhaps subconsciously testing the waters of her diva-dom and my own luck, tell her that as a kid [...]
This week at PopMatters, we turn our patented "Spotlight" series on five of the incredible women featured in RADiUS-TWC's bombastic, moving new film 20 Feet from Stardom , which chronicles the lives and careers of some of the most underrated singers in modern music history. Special section edited by: Christian John Wikane and Joe Vallese. 20 Feet from Stardom director Morgan Neville explained to PopMatters recently in New York what the creative team's hopes for the film were and how they have played out since the film's premiere at Sundance, which makes for the perfect introduction to [...]
Yep, it's here. It may not change the game like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy did, but there's still plenty to keep your attention on album that, of course, has to be called Yeezus . "Kanye came over to play me what I assumed was going to be the finished album at three weeks before the last possible delivery date. We ended up listening to three hours of partially finished pieces. The raw material was very strong but hadn't yet come into focus. Many of the vocals hadn't been recorded yet, and many [...]
Beach Day will not win any awards for being the most original band in the universe with their '60s girl group, surf rock and garage sounds, but the group is competent enough to provide a somewhat winning formula. Beach Day is the kind of band you'd be forgiven for thinking is glamorous. After all, they come from Hollywood. But wait! Not that Hollywood. Try Hollywood, Florida. Still, despite being from the East Coast, the group certainly has a very retro-West Coast sound. That might be odd, considering that Hollywood, Florida - while being a beach town wedged between Miami [...]
With a songwriter of Fogerty's calibre, you want him to keep going. Wrote a Song for Everyone certainly convinced me that he has, but more than that, it made me eager to hear him continue to do so. Wrote a Song for Everyone -- the title seems a little quaint at first glance, but when you really stop and think about it, its audacity becomes apparent. For John Fogerty to say that he's written a song for everyone is no small thing. After all, how many living songwriters can rightly claim such influence? Of course, Fogerty's [...]
While there's nothing wrong with an artist exploring new avenues and using diverse styles, it seems Benga is possibly being carried by the tide and not forging his own paths and directions. Dubstep has been moving its way into the mainstream music charts throughout America and Europe for some years now. For every song on YouTube, you can find numerous more dubstep remixes, often put together by aspiring producers in their bedrooms. Benga has always been at the forefront of dubstep, with some crediting him for its rise long before the likes of Skrillex and Nero. He started off [...]
Even if the Elvis by way of trip-hop premise of Here's Willy Moon is a gimmick, who cares when it's this fun? Willy Moon looks and sings like a '50's rock star, but he uses modern day faux vintage recording techniques and hip-hop breakbeats. This review of Here's Willy Moon, the New Zealand wannabe Elvis' debut, could stop right here and have said all that needs to be said about Moon's musical approach. Any excitement ginned up over his debut album will rest its case on the union of those two styles. Moon, who started causing ripples...
Flag-bearing Flying Nun group and New Zealand mainstays the Bats balance pop grace and idiosyncrasy on By Night , their debut EP from 1984. When the Clean's Robert Scott and Toy Love's Paul Kean formed the Bats with Kaye Woodward and Malcolm Grant in 1982, the feats of each musician already warranted inclusion in New Zealand's great pop canon revolving around Dunedin's venerable Flying Nun imprint. But, Scott and Kean were pop journeymen simply not content with a career eulogy ending with tenures in their respective pioneering groups. The Bats' debut EP By Night was released in 1984, [...]
Groovy stuff. Electro-pop's Toro y Moi twiddles the knobs for a chill-out, slow funk take on Lady Day's classic "My Man". The tune will appear on Verve's new Verve Remixed: First Ladies compilation coming July 16th and featuring other remixes by Flume, Bassnectar and more.
We're eagerly awaiting the debut long-player from Chvrches, the Scottish electro-poppers headed for loads of Best New Artist nominations and awards this year. The Bones of What You Believe will release on September 23rd in the midst of the band's heavy touring schedule. Below is the album's first single, "Gun", followed by "Recover" from their Recover EP of earlier this year.
Amazing new South African band, John Wizards, releases their new single "Lusaka By Night" this coming June 17th through Planet Mu Records. Here electronic music master µ-Ziq remixes the remarkable tune. And here's all three songs on the single...
North Carolina's Travis Stewart (a.k.a. Machinedrum) produces glitchy IDM under the moniker Machinedrum. Check out this catchy new track "Eyesdontlie" releasing as part of the "Eyesdontlie" single releasing July 29th via Ninja Tune. Listen at Soundcloud.
Hot Chip's Joe Goddard sings on Detroit producer Osborne 's new electro slow jam, "Hold Up". It's cool, chill and funky all at the same time. Enjoy while sipping illicit martinis in paper cups at the beach this summer.
Editors have released a new video today from their upcoming fourth album, 'The Weight of Your Love, releasing July 2nd. Take a gander at "The Weight".