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by PopMatters Staff

31 Jul 2015

Our writers offer  up the skinny on the first single, "Pressure Off", from synthpop vets Duran Duran's upcoming new album, Paper Gods, which releases September 18th via via Warner Bros.

If 2010’s glitzy All You Need Is Now was a time travellin’ Rio successor, Duran are now seemingly redialing their DeLoreans towards 1986’s Notorious. A ‘Get the funk out’ rumpshaker with Co-Pilot Nile “Goldfinger” Rodgers (back! Back! BACK!) again sprinkling a soupçon of Chic magnifique. Le Bon struts around hollering about “The Future!” with such fizzy abandon you suspect it was recorded the day Duran signed their new swanky ‘Daddy Warbucks - Champagne Breakfast - Enormodomes ‘Ere We Come’ deal with Warner Bros. Sure it’s all a bit daft, slightly “Duran dumbed down” for “The Kidz” but we’re promised forthcoming album Paper Gods will honour their “Dark, weird experimental side” so it’s worth sticking around. Le Bon’s got rid of his dodgy Captain Birdseye beard too which is a bonus.—MATT JAMES (6/10)

by Adrien Begrand

31 Jul 2015

The North Dakota-raised  singer-songwriter finds heart in the sparse arrangement on her endearing new track.

Having grown up in a North Dakota town of 50 people, Ana Egge‘s music is seemingly spare at times, which makes you wonder if that geographical vastness has influenced the similar sparseness of her music. If you’ve ever spent time in a tiny town on the Plains, though, you’ll know there’s a lot of heart underneath such seeming harshness and isolation, and you feel it in the title track for Egge’s latest album, a song that’s also very near and dear to her as well.

by Greg M. Schwartz

31 Jul 2015

You know Corgan  isn’t just going to play a greatest hits set and that’s to his credit, for a formidable catalog of deep cuts the Smashing Pumpkins have.

Photo: Debi Del Grande

It was a beautiful night in the summer of 2015, but the harmonic convergences taking place had some feeling like it could have been the mid-’90s. Both the Smashing Pumpkins and Veruca Salt were launching summer tours in the Golden State during the week, lending 2015 an appealing retro vibe harkening back to the alt-rock glory days of the late 20th century.

Smashing Pumpkins bandleader Billy Corgan even had old pal Jimmy Chamberlin back in the mix on drums, leading to a renewed anticipation for the sonic power of the Pumpkins in their prime. The mercurial Corgan may not have made all the right moves over the years, but he always seems to make up for any missteps. Breaking up the Pumpkins in 2000 was an extremely disappointing move. But putting the band back together in 2007 even with only 50 percent of the original lineup was a great move for rock ‘n’ roll, as was mending fences to get Chamberlin back on board this year.

by Nick Dinicola

31 Jul 2015

While Godzilla  is not a good game, it does highlight the central concern in making a good Godzilla game, jazzing up Godzilla's fighting style.

People have said that it’s hard to make a Superman game because he’s just too strong. How do you make fun combat or create any tension or excitement when your hero is literally invincible? In many of the reviews for the recent Godzilla game, I’ve been surprised by the assumption that making a Godzilla game should be easy. Fight a giant monster here, blow up a building there, and presto. Fun! Right?

by Adrien Begrand

31 Jul 2015

In 1975, with lawyers  in the studio and a financial empire crumbling, Black Sabbath fought back with their last classic album of the decade.

The original idea for the cover of Black Sabbath’s sixth album was a great one. The four members of the band were going to be dressed all in black suits, standing in front of full-length mirrors in a big, creepy corridor of an old castle with stained glass windows. According to drummer Bill Ward’s assistant Graham Wright, the image would be “reversed like a Magritte, so it was their image being sabotaged.” Something classy, foreboding, iconic. The cover photo that resulted was something completely, bizarrely, hilariously different.

When it comes to stories of drug-addled excess and lunacy, there is no shortage when it comes to Black Sabbath, from Geezer Butler being held back from leaping out a hotel window after someone spiked his drink with acid, to Tony Iommi standing in a recording studio naked banging his cross necklace on a guitar and putting it on Vol. 4 as the instrumental “F/X”. However, the Sabotage album cover story is a personal favorite.

//Mixed media

Smashing Pumpkins Rock for Revolution at Irvine Meadows

// Notes from the Road

"You know Corgan isn’t just going to play a greatest hits set and that’s to his credit, for a formidable catalog of deep cuts the Smashing Pumpkins have.

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