CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

 

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Thursday, Jan 29, 2015
Largely due to its small size and independence from the primary game, First Light is simply better than Second Son, even while it owes its existence to it.

Last week here on PopMatters, Scott Juster described Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker as a “micro-machine”, one of those curious little dioramas that seemed popular when he and I were kids. It is precisely the minute scale but high-quality systems of the game that lets us toss it into the category of games we recently called “Big Small games”. While Captain Toad is a great game, perhaps inFamous First Light is a better example of the experimental value of these impressive, albeit smaller, diversions from the triple A game space.


Like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, inFamous First Light is also an offshoot of a traditional full title. First Light, technically, is actually a piece of DLC for 2014’s inFamous Second Son. However, the game is also a completely stand-alone experience. Players do not need to own or have played the first game to dive into the experience. In this way, First Light is an interesting consumer product. Generally, I always consider DLC as a way for developers to incentivize newcomers and keep devotees busy playing a core game experience. The ultimate goal is to prevent people from selling your game back to Gamestop and into the hands of other players without ever receiving a cut of the profit. Our brave new world of “games as a service” seems built as a futile salvo against the used game market.


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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
Need some sonic rays of sunshine to cut through the winter doldrums? The joyous "In the Sun" by the Australian singer Vassy will do just the trick.

Although it’s winter in the United States right now, you might be transported to the summer months by the disposition of the Australian singer Vassy, whose latest single “In the Sun” is the kind of summer jam that’s designed to be blasted out of hatchback car radios and beach boomboxes. Of course, it’s summertime in Vassy’s native Australia, but this buoyant pop jam is enough to make it feel as if the season is spreading all around the world.


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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
"Fight for What's Right" begins a six week long behind the scenes exclusive look at the new album by the rising UK sibling trio the Rua.

Having already picked up some attention in their native United Kingdom, the all-sibling trio the Rua, comprised of 22-year old Roseanna Brown (voice and guitar), 24-year old Alanna Brown (piano and backing vocals) and 19-year old Jonathan Brown (violin, guitar, vocals and backing vocals), is preparing to bring their music across the pond. The classically trained trio’s debut LP Essence is being prepared for a spring 2015 release in the States. Already, the Rua have earned comparisons to the likes of Fleetwood Mac from publications like Q Magazine, and the association is certainly not off. Emotionally resonant and harmonically arresting, these siblings have put their best foot forward with their debut LP.


While you wait for Essence‘s release date, tune into PopMatters over the next six weeks for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the writing and recording of the music. Each week, we’ll premiere a video that features the band explaining a particular song on the album. By the end of this series, you’ll have a pretty strong picture of this preternaturally talented young trio. While certain famous UK sibling acts gained their fame through public rivalries, these three use their familial rapport in the service of writing beautiful songs, with nary a hint of sibling competitiveness to be heard.


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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
Portland, Oregon neo-americana act Drunken Prayer pays tribute to the Band with the tender and curiously psychedelic duet "Evangeline".

The Band are one of the great rock acts of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although that time is also associated with the rise of psychedelia, the music of the Band is anchored in the roots rock tradition—put simply, their music will never bring to mind any skies with diamonds. However, that doesn’t mean contemporary artists can’t take the music of that essential Band and throw in some psychedelic flourishes, just as the Portland, Oregon outfit Drunken Prayer has done with their cover of “Evangeline”, featuring Freakwater’s Janet Beveridge Bean on supporting vocals. The video to “Evangeline” features distinct washes of psychedelic color, an appropriately quirky, Pacific Northwest touch to this classic tune. For a slightly off-kilter take on America as only Portland can bring it, Drunken Prayer will do just the trick.


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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
Arizona singer-songwriter decker pays tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ol' Dirty Bastard with his latest tune, the charming desert gospel of "O.D.B".

Sedona, Arizona doesn’t sound like the kind of place where one would expect to find an homage to the Wu-Tang Clan. However, the singer-songwriter Brandon Decker, whose musical calling card is the all-lowercase decker, isn’t exactly keen on fitting into basic expectations. On his newest LP, Patsy, decker pays homage to the late Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ol’ Dirty Bastard with the tune “O.D.B”, the video of which you can exclusively watch below. In the video, decker and a choir decked out in red sing ebullient harmonies in the desert, line dance, and circle around in the woods. As a tribute to ODB’s spirit, it’s definitely an atypical one, but it’s also charmingly and uniquely decker, straight from the heart.


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