In order to highlight some of the musicians currently honing their craft and quietly building a reputation for quality on the fringes of the spotlight, PopMatters brings you an updated and serialized "Now Hear This!". The formerly annual feature caught some bright young stars just before everyone else caught on to them -- the Darkness, Goapele, Saturday Looks Good to Me, Joanna Newsom, Richard Buckner. Having been re-launched as a regularly recurring music feature, "Now Hear This!" promises to continue to feature artists who, for one reason or another, have yet to stake their claim as major media players, but are no less worthy of attention.
Make no mistake, however. The goal of "Now Hear This!" isn't to predict the next "it" band or artist. Instead, its purpose is to provide a featured space for performers who truly deserve a closer look. These are acts worth paying attention to because they're fun, engaging, exciting, and plain old interesting. Some may be fresh new faces on the scene, others might have toiled in relative obscurity for years, and whether or not they become superstars is beside the point. In all cases, these are merely artists that the PopMatters staff feels should not go overlooked, recommendations from our own writers of bands they personally find compelling. So listen up!
Monday, February 10 2014
PopMatters is pleased to premiere the latest album by the Caribbean, Moon Sickness releasing next week via Hometapes.
Tuesday, January 28 2014
PopMatters is pleased to premiere Parker Millsap's self-titled album, the latest from the wise-beyond-his-years 20-year-old Americana songwriter.
Monday, January 13 2014
PopMatters premieres the self-titled debut by Hard Working Americans, the new full-band project spearheaded by singer-songwriter Todd Snider.
Tuesday, October 15 2013
PopMatters is pleased to premiere Milk Money, the latest album by prolific multi-instrumentalist Dosh.
Wednesday, October 2 2013
PopMatters premieres The Runaround, the second album by up-and-coming Austin band Wild Child.
Monday, September 9 2013
PopMatters premieres a collection of covers by underground power pop hero Tommy Keene, Excitement at Your Feet.
Tuesday, August 20 2013
PopMatters premieres Solar Secrets, the latest album by Buenos Aires-bred, Bilbao-based rock outfit Capsula.
Tuesday, August 13 2013
PopMatters premieres My Friends, the upcoming album by power-pop classicists Paper Lions.
Monday, August 12 2013
PopMatters premieres Stranger's Morning, the new album by the Goldberg Sisters, Adam Goldberg's semi-pseudonymous musical project.
Friday, July 12 2013
PopMatters is pleased to premiere Black Horses, the latest offering by Swervedriver frontman Adam Franklin and his Bolts of Melody.
PopMatters premieres The Hoss, the Candle, L.A.-based White Dove's new album.
Monday, June 17 2013
PopMatters is pleased to premiere Singles by North Carolina underground heroes Spider Bags.
Tuesday, June 4 2013
PopMatters is pleased to premiere This Is Another Life, the stunning new album by Case Studies.
Sunday, May 19 2013
PopMatters presents the North American premiere of Vs. Head Vs. Heart, the debut album by fast-rising Australian songwriter Emma Louise.
Monday, May 13 2013
PopMatters premieres Istiklaliya, the new album by hybrid classical-electronic trio Aufgang.
Sunday, May 12 2013
PopMatters premieres the latest album by Brooklyn guitar-guitar-drums trio Radical Dads, Rapid Reality.
Monday, May 6 2013
PopMatters premieres Suchness, the debut album by trans-Pacific duo We Are Loud Whispers.
Sunday, May 5 2013
PopMatters premieres Sun Moon, the latest from Bay Area indie-pop vets the Orange Peels.
Monday, April 15 2013
PopMatters premieres We Will Live the Space Age, the debut by Seattle noise-pop act Jetman Jet Team.
Tuesday, March 26 2013
PopMatters is pleased to premiere the reissue of Port St. Willow's compelling debut Holiday.
Monday, March 18 2013
PopMatters is excited to premiere Teenage Evil, the second full-length by up-and-comers Plates of Cake.
PopMatters is pleased to premiere the reissue of Dump's Superpowerless, one of the quintessential four-track albums of the '90s.
Monday, March 11 2013
PopMatters is pleased to present the U.S. premiere on Stornoway's latest album, Tales from Terra Firma.
PopMatters is proud to premiere Via, the latest from indie-rock all-timer Thalia Zedek and her band.
Sunday, March 3 2013
PopMatters is pleased to premiere Hit the Waves, the latest album by Swedish indie-pop band the Mary Onettes.
PopMatters is happy to introduce the self-titled debut by Glasgow-based noise-pop up-and-comers Golden Grrrls.
Sunday, February 24 2013
PopMatters is pleased to premiere Ride, the latest by one-of-a-kind Texas Swing troubadour Wayne Hancock.
Wednesday, February 20 2013
PopMatters is proud to premiere the 25th album by Cajun music legends, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet.
Tuesday, February 19 2013
PopMatters premieres Antipodes, the debut album by promising Auckland, New Zealand power trio Popstrangers.
Thursday, February 14 2013
The UK's amazing electro-soulsters Stubborn Heart share with PopMatters an exclusive Valentine's Day mix for this most romantic of days.
Tuesday, January 29 2013
PopMatters proudly premieres the latest album by soulful neo-bluegrass band, the SteelDrivers, Hammer Down.
Tuesday, January 22 2013
PopMatters offers the online premiere of Eight, the eight album -- obviously -- by venerable Los Angeles band Radar Brothers.
PopMatters presents the U.S. premiere of the debut album by the History of Apple Pie, Out of View.
Tuesday, October 30 2012
The Turkish hip-hop star discusses censorship in his native land, the might of Eminem, and his own influences.
Wednesday, July 11 2012
Four albums into his career, Will Stratton just finished his first-ever European tour, having just barely formed a new label to put out his incredible new disc Post-Empire. Not bad for someone who just turned 25 ...
Tuesday, May 22 2012
They’re four girls whose debut single, released on a good old fashioned independent label, was also the first song they ever wrote at just aged 13. They sound like little else right now -- except the swell of Generation LOL rising up to take on the charts. They’re Poppy & the Jezebels and they’re from Birmingham.
Sunday, February 5 2012
The concept of a “trilogy” is such an overdone thing. Be it film trilogies, album trilogies, book trilogies, video game trilogies… we have all seen trilogies in various forms of entertainment media to the point of it becoming banal. At the end of the Deathspell Omega experience however, do not be alarmed if you wake up to find yourself in Silent Hill.
Thursday, October 27 2011
With a sonic makeup that includes Middle Eastern, North African, Persian and Western sounds, Ssahha makes truly World music. Pianist and composer Amino Belyamani discusses how this wide array of sounds all come together in his band's latest album Ummi.
Monday, October 24 2011
"I've only sliced my hands and scalp open 10 or 20 times!" This, as well as musings about whether cockroaches are more evolutionarily intelligent than humans, dominate the discussion with this fierce Berkeley twosome ...
Wednesday, September 7 2011
What happens when a Nashville-bred duo moves to Los Angeles? They conquer New York.
Tuesday, March 1 2011
Is there any decade in American history more often mimicked than the '60s? Fingers of the Sun has been (begrudgingly) labeled Denver's 1960s revivalist troubadours, carrying on that great tradition of eulogizing an era they never lived in.
Tuesday, November 23 2010
Bear McCreary’s musical versatility has made him one of the most sought-after composers in television. In an interview with PopMatters, McCreary reveals his unabashed love of film and television scoring as he talks about his latest release, the soundtrack to Season One of Human Target.
Thursday, May 27 2010
Hovering somewhere in the interstitial spaces between mainstream pop, jazz, and '70s rock, Valery Gore's lush music has chart potential but is oblique enough in its approach to avoid all the common pitfalls of pop music clichés.
Tuesday, May 18 2010
It's unlikely that a post-hardcore band that transformed into an indie-pop act while filling out its complex religious and philosophical traditions would have made the best album of 2009.
Thursday, May 13 2010
Brooklyn's Robin Aigner writes engaging and emotive history-vignettes that blends Old Time folk, mid-century country-and-western and Eastern European music with the strains of the contemporary singer-songwriter. She is also one of America's most unfairly undiscovered musicians.
Thursday, January 14 2010
Perhaps the question isn’t why “keep on keepin’ on,” but how? You can begin by making a record as good as Wussy, an effortless-sounding album full of spit, regret, and, at times, a damn-near spiritual beauty.
Wednesday, November 18 2009
The former pianist for Antony & the Johnsons "awakens" with his most elaborate solo work yet.... and it features a plastic bag! Here's the story behind Reuben Butchart's boundless creativity.
Thursday, August 20 2009
FM Supreme may be young, but she's well on her way toward creating awareness and building momentum for social and personal action using hip-hop, spoken word, and youth activism.
Wednesday, August 19 2009
Nosaj Thing's music is mysterious and provocative, bringing a rumbling intensity and highly individual style to both remixes and his own work.
Wednesday, July 15 2009
Shedding her wash-out past, Mona Mur has found a new strength and a new focus, balancing the virtual with the real, and rescuing German identity.
Tuesday, May 26 2009
After witnessing the genesis of Clint, Michigan's intimate music firsthand, the honesty of its translation to the recording studio has one PopMatters writer expanding his cherished memories.
Wednesday, May 20 2009
Something in Yann Perreau has cracked open, and while the irritated, despairing musician of his past work was attractive, Perreau's sudden confidence seems like a better fit with his raucous stage persona.
Thursday, March 12 2009
Calmer's patchwork aesthetic extends all the way from classical and jazz influences to scrap metal instrumentation, all in service of sound collages woven with meticulous care.
Monday, February 16 2009
Skirting the line between hip-hop and electronica with an aural tribute to the neighborhoods of Chicago, Radius delves deep into the introspection of bone-chilling winters and aimless depression in search of salvation.
Wednesday, February 11 2009
Maya Azucena is among the most original independent artists to hatch from the New York scene and conquer the world stage. Here's how this warrior built her career from the ground up.
Sunday, October 26 2008
After two decades of charting his own path through the music industry, Todd Snider is a musician on his own terms -- when he isn't being kidnapped by his friends and forced to write excellent albums.
Wednesday, October 8 2008
After years of building a sound, a fan base, and scraping by in the music business, Two Cow Garage is (once again) poised on the edge of greatness with their upcoming release.
Wednesday, October 1 2008
Turning the spotlight on a band that's come to an end may seem odd, but the release of Sorta's final album gives cause to mourn the loss of one of Dallas's greatest bands, and honor the memory of one of its most vital musicians.
Tuesday, September 16 2008
After meeting more than a share of mad hatters in the music industry, Mandi Perkins survived the rabbit hole and is gearing up for her first major label release, Alice in No Man's Land.
Tuesday, September 2 2008
London's Orphans and Vandals are making their engrossing way through familiar territory, singing of the detachment of the nighttime streets and its clouded characters, but made fresh for their naive lack of imitation.
Thursday, July 24 2008
Know it or not, odds are you've heard Joe Purdy's music on television -- but there's nothing commercial about this artist. Eschewing the lures and traps of the music industry, Purdy is blazing his own path simply for the love of song.
Wednesday, June 18 2008
Dark Meat is cutting a wild, grimy, jazz-punk path across the musical landscape, and they want you to join them -- in the audience, on-stage, whatever.
Wednesday, May 14 2008
Philadelphia's Tickley Feather brings a new face to the Philly music scene -- in part by tackling the national stage as a new recruit to Paw Tracks.
Wednesday, April 16 2008
Unlike many of his fellow Brooklynites, whose boundary-pushing is an aesthetic in and of itself, Alan Wilkis has no fear of pop.
Wednesday, April 9 2008
A superstar in Europe, an unknown in America. Kevin Grivois (aka Ké) remembers the "strange world" of his major label ascent and why an election year is bringing him back to the spotlight.
Wednesday, April 2 2008
Despite intense familiy struggles, Salim Nourallah has truly blossomed into his own as one of the most talented musicians in a too-often overlooked scene.
Wednesday, March 26 2008
Blending the strains of native South American, Latin, African, and psychedelic music, Peruvian chicha music has a trippy, lighthearted vibe all its own. Olivier Conan talks to us about this fascinating genre, his band Chicha Libre, and the syncretism of global music.
Wednesday, February 6 2008
Bucking the "nostalgia band" trend by being authentically nostalgic, the Teenage Prayers cause you to give blessings to that raw, purely enthusiastic adolescent music fan in all of us.
Wednesday, January 30 2008
Part-time house diva and full time soul music icon, Angela Johnson has already achieved acclaim as a performer, but now she's ready to challenge the gender assumptions about R&B producers with a collaborative album that might be one of the year's early bests.
Wednesday, November 28 2007
3rd Day Syndrome has infected London audiences with their singular style of funk, rock, and soul, all while adhering to a contemporary independent, DIY ethos. Could the U.S. be close behind?
Wednesday, October 3 2007
Lights go up onstage revealing one man. The bass drum lays down the initial beat. A boom, chick, boom-boom, chick, punctuated by an explosive blow to the crash cymbal. It’s an orgy of percussion, and it's all coming from a single mouth.
Wednesday, September 26 2007
It would be easy to assume that every decent-sized town has their own version of Raleigh, North Carolina's Kenny Roby -- a hard-working singer-songwriter and an engaging performer. But Roby is the cut above.
Wednesday, August 22 2007
South African filmmaker and songwriter Chris Letcher talks about the intersection of film soundtracks and pop, what it was like growing up in apartheid-era South Africa and how he got the sounds of a heart transplant ward onto tape.
Tuesday, July 31 2007
Rising up from under the mega-strip mall concrete, Raleigh, NC's Bowerbirds are the best folk act you haven't heard yet.
Wednesday, July 25 2007
For the two breathing members of the Brooklyn-based band The Depreciation Guild, a love of intense rock music and the vintage video game sounds of the 1980s have melded into something powerful.
Tuesday, July 10 2007
Now ten years into its rule as one of Athens, Georgia's best-loved party bands, Je Suis France has broken out its most professional album ever in Afrikan Magik. But don't worry that they're turning into squares -- the big hit is still an eight-minute space-rock epic... about a whale's erection.
Thursday, June 14 2007
The Cinematic Orchestra's rapid evolution as one of the strongest forces standing on the wall between jazz and electronic music is even more idiosyncratic in that the band has also been steadily reducing the concoction until it's reached a crackling, steady simmer.
Sunday, May 6 2007
One of the gems of the often overlooked New Orleans underground rock scene, the Gubernatorial Candidates exist in a place where history overlaps and the Big Easy sidles up to post-punk and post-rock in equal doses.
Sunday, April 15 2007
Embodying the labyrinthine decay and assured swagger of their Hollywood home, the Beautiful & Damned are fueled by a bit of literary pretension and a drive to expose the grandeur in the intimate and ugly.
Tuesday, March 13 2007
The Slip have moved away from years of jazz-inspired instrumentals and towards more traditional pop structures, leading them into exciting new territory and bringing compositional dexterity to their recent pop.
Sunday, February 25 2007
Flamboyant, extravagant, even audacious, Patrick Wolf's public image may have garnered him some notoriety, but it's his skill with songcraft that has won him praise. Now Wolf stands poised to tackle the mainstream with his forthcoming The Magic Position.
Sunday, February 11 2007
Grimy, blue-collar rock and roll... or is it? Dirty Faces' Get Right with God would be the most intense and powerful straight rock record of the year. That is, if it really were a straight rock record.
Tuesday, January 16 2007
Born out of twin interests in art and activism, the murky and even problematic practice of either has given way to a band that perches on the ledge between hipster fashion and scene critique.
Monday, January 1 2007
If you've seen Brian Borcherdt on stage this year, chances are it was as a member of the noise-freak supergroup Holy Fuck. But it's in the quieter-but-equally-intense songs of his solo project, the Remains of Brian Borcherdt, that the singer-songwriter's talents appear in full force.
Tuesday, November 14 2006
Hot IQs have claimed a spot atop Denver's indie pile, helping add to the city's resurgent local music scene. And while they definitely have their sights set on the national stage, this band of music geeks-cum-musicians is more than happy to stump for their Mile High hometown.
Wednesday, October 18 2006
Chicago/NYC's P-1 would rather let their songs define them than any one style, which is probably necessary considering the cross-pollination of influences and sound incorporated in their mix. And his refusal to be pigeonholed might just be the thing that expands their audiences even further as they release their second album.
Friday, October 6 2006
Glam rock laced with obscure super hero references and sapphic celebration, anyone? Yes, please. But don't get too hung up on the sci-fi sex trappings. At the radioactive core of Atomic Swindlers is a solid rock band that doesn't require gimmicks.
Tuesday, September 19 2006
Chicago's hometown modern rock heroes are starting to get some play outside the Windy City, proving that dedication and hard work pays off. And if the same devotion that they've generated in local fans can be instilled in new audiences, then the brand extension is likely to blossom following a new album and tour.
Thursday, September 14 2006
An independent artist in the truest sense of the word, Casey Kessel may call Nashville her home, but she writes and performs country music on her own terms and at her own expense. Capturing the details of life in powerfully touching songs, Kessel's talents may only currently find their way to public ears in the mouths of others, but odds are that situation won't last long.
Thursday, September 7 2006
With an EP called Sing Song, the Little Ones capture the sweet/sad, just beginning and already wistfully nostalgic vibe of perfect power pop. Frontman Ed Reyes talks about his journey from emo Sunday's Best to the hand-clapped, euphorically harmonized Little Ones... and his less-than-rockstar penchant for early rising.
Tuesday, August 15 2006
Once the only active band on the legendary Crypt Records roster, NYC's the Little Killers rampage on with a new label, a new record, a new producer, and a smokin' old-style approach to rock 'n' roll.
Thursday, August 10 2006
Following the release of a surprisingly mature and developed full-length debut, young Canadian metal quintet Protest the Hero are setting out to win new audiences across North America this summer. But as vocalist Rody Walker warns, leave your genre badges and expectations at home.
Friday, July 28 2006
Still in the larval stages, guitarist and vocalist Scott Rinner explains how the Cinematics have found themselves on the verge of breaking big, and what that means for establishing an identity.
Thursday, July 20 2006
Determined to carve out her own space in music, determinedly independent antifolk artist Jaymay has garnered an impressive amount of acclaim and a dedicated following in a couple of short years. But the possibilities of success are only important so long as Jaymay can do it her way.
Tuesday, July 11 2006
Something's lurking in the New England woods.... From his isolated shack in rural New Hampshire, Kelley Polar has turned self-imposed exile into an exploratory journey through love, time, and the cosmos. All set to a bumping disco beat.
Monday, May 15 2006
How does an Italian band overcome an indifferent scene at home and the insular, unexposed audiences overseas? Why, by conquering America first, of course... one show at a time.
Wednesday, May 3 2006
After reaching the heights of mainstream success, neo-soul vocalist Amel Larrieux had to start over when it came to crafting her own vision. Three albums into a sometimes turbulent solo career, she's finally found her independence, and is preparing a musical explosion of creative output.
Wednesday, April 26 2006
Something special is happening in Los Angeles, but a band with a sound this big can't be kept secret for long. Silversun Pickups are ascending artists of raucous splendor and inspiring vitality.
Thursday, April 20 2006
Doing it all for the love of the music, Toronto-based band the Creeping Nobodies keeps the romantic dream alive while diligently slogging through the dirty work, finding themselves on the cusp of expanding both their territory and their audience's horizons.
Thursday, April 13 2006
Few would think to look for hip-hop explorers in the hills of North Carolina, but this collective has been mining beats and crafting thoughtful rhymes for almost a decade. Meet Granola Funk Express, the new children of a revolution.