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Now Hear This!
With the vast net of media -- radio, television, magazines, newspapers, and everything from yesterday's webrings to today's music blogs on the Internet -- cast out over the cultural landscape, it's hard to imagine that any musical act that was even marginally trying could truly pass "under the radar". But the fact remains that the critical eye (or ear) can only take in so much, and while much of the media is focused in one direction, plenty of other noteworthy acts pass us by.

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!

Tuesday, July 11 2006

Kelley Polar

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

Dada Swing

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

Amel Larrieux

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

Silversun Pickups

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

The Creeping Nobodies

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

Granola Funk Express

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.


Friday, February 24 2006

Tiny Dancers

While the press spotlight might be on Sheffield for more simian reasons, the often-overlooked city has more than one reason to be proud. And if the magic of budding promise can be maintained, Tiny Dancers just might steal the show.


Wednesday, February 1 2006

The Oranges Band

Roman Kuebler doesn't want to shake the foundations of music. After years of working to support Baltimore's local scene, he's content to make the music he likes. It just so happens that said music has become something globally transcendent.


Thursday, January 26 2006

Eyes Like Knives

Call it ambition, passion, or what you will. In an age of taut, chapbook-like albums, Eyes Like Knives aren't afraid to make feedback-drenched opuses.


Wednesday, November 30 2005

The Living Blue

The Living Blue are not your typical musical adventure using the punk attitude of garage rock as a jumping-off point. Really!


Wednesday, November 23 2005

Future 86

After winning the attention of a crowded and revitalized New York scene, Future 86 stands poised to take the party out of town.


Thursday, November 3 2005

K’naan

This is K'naan. A rebel calling for change, a rapper battling international injustices. This is for real.


Thursday, October 27 2005

The Pathways

Taking the slow route to being the hot new thing has only worked in the Pathways' favor -- and now it's time for them to work in yours.


Thursday, October 20 2005

Rahim

Connecting the dots between the post-punk past and the contemporary underground, Rahim manages to capture an older aesthetic while sounding firmly up to date.


Thursday, October 13 2005

The Deadly Snakes

The scourge of Toronto serves up the best album of the year (that nobody was waiting for).


Thursday, October 6 2005

They Shoot Horses Don’t They

This band is better than every other band on earth, even if you combined all the other bands on earth into one gigantic band -- this band would still be better than that band.' Yet another Canadian collective claims a young writer's heart.


Thursday, September 29 2005

Soft

Defying both the myth of club life and New York City's grueling scene, these Madchester revivalists are setting their sights on the stars, one methodical, careful step at a time.


Thursday, September 22 2005

20goto10

Mixing organic synthesizers with lush vocals and lyrical depth, 20goto10 is producing passionate pop music that is far removed from the sterile stereotype.


Tuesday, September 6 2005

Ponies in the Surf

These powerfully quiet traditionalists perform folk songs with a pan-American touch. It's only a shame that music this delicate and warm doesn't garner more notice.


Tuesday, August 16 2005

VOY

Percolating beneath the current crop of retro retreads and bland noisemakers is an art punk band that looks back to the past for inspiration to reclaim the gallery space for music.


Wednesday, August 3 2005

Goldspot

Goldspot proves that an international background in pop can combine to create a formula that's ripe for commercial success without compromise.


Wednesday, July 20 2005

Moonbabies

Joining the host of superb pop bands coming out of Northern Europe over the last several years, Moonbabies do it their way, from start to finish, with astoundingly assured results.


Tuesday, July 12 2005

The Ladies and Gentlemen

With light and airy electronic melodies forming a rich, warmly organic sound, this one-man show stands out from the pack of recent Canadian collectives.


Wednesday, June 29 2005

The Gun Shys

Casually confident and ready to rock, the Gun Shys are quickly ascending the ladder of the Los Angeles scene.


Friday, June 17 2005

Jackdaw4

Sticking within the pop tradition, and claiming all the usual influences, Jackdaw4 manage to turn out intricate and unique songs that concentrate on craft, placing them in the company of the best the genre has to offer.


Thursday, May 26 2005

Groundation

Do you like your reggae planted firmly in its roots? Can you accept that real reggae can come from California and not the Caribbean? Then you just might be ready for Groundation.


Thursday, May 19 2005

Eluvium

Eluvium's lambent ambient goes straight to the heart and the mind, weaving a mysterious and captivating sound into the landscapes of internal emotion, making him one of the most intriguing and successful ambient composers currently working.


Thursday, May 12 2005

The V.Cs

Bizarre, brash, powerful, compelling, surprisingly good, and thoroughly unique, it's the sci-fi future of yesterday... today!. Robots and rockers, it's the V.Cs!


Wednesday, May 4 2005

Akron/Family

Akron/Family creates a world of sonic pastiche so carefully crafted that the band had to develop their own philosophy/creed just to categorize it for themselves, and the result is a gorgeous and complicated exploration of song and sound.


Wednesday, April 27 2005

Rose Hill Drive

A rock band in a sea of jam bands, Boulder's Rose Hill Drive has captured the heart of their typically hippie hometown for their skill as much as their style, and they've turned heads across the country by building their reputation one touring stop at a time.


Tuesday, April 19 2005

Introduction

Some may be fresh new faces on the scene, others might have toiled in 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. So listen up.


The Gentlemen

One listen to Brass City Band and you'll want the band in your living room, now.


Thursday, January 1 2004

Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Now Hear This 2004

Can't figure out what to listen to? Listen to us. Once again, PopMatters' music team presents a highly opinionated, undoubtedly superlative but ultimately revelatory examination of 18 artists that demand your attention. NOW.


Wednesday, June 11 2003

Saturday Looks Good to Me

Frontman Thomas and his gaggle of musicians are masters of the AM sounds of the '60s, with a penchant for psychedelica; indeed, Thomas often seems a direct disciple from that musical era, as if frozen by prescient scientists to offset the catastrophic downfall of pop music brought on in the new millennium.


RACEBANNON


LOMAX


THE KING OF FRANCE


CAROLINE HERRING


GULLIVER


GOAPELE


The Darkness


22-20S


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