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by Dominic Umile

14 Sep 2009

There isn’t much that makes sense about UK act Golau Glau (said “Goll Eye Gly”).

For one, they’ve only just formed this summer, and they’re already on to some seriously next level experimentation. Secondly, they’ve taken a fairly pristine track from techno ambient masters worriedaboutsatan and added a whole slew of Scuba-like atmospherics and clobbering sub-bass to it. Sheesh.

Finally, I’m unable to effectively communicate why I like “Heartland Half Seizure”, which is available here for free at new net label Odd Net. Spiraling glassy synths, half-time dubby beats, and randomly doubled female vocals seemingly concerning a 1930s-era anti-fascist riot in a Welsh coastal town—actually, it’s all quite nice. Golau Glau’s Last.fm profile also offers “Heartland Half Seizure” (and many more songs) for free download.

by PopMatters Staff

14 Sep 2009

Estella Hung isn’t too keen on Muse’s new album The Resistance, but she did like the lead track, which the band played last night on the VMAs. “‘Uprising’, easily the best track on the album, is a terrific hacking away at the theme from Dr Who by a Glitter stomp powered by quasars galore. Like the faintly Beck-like ‘Supermassive Black Holes’ on Blackholes and Revelations, it’s the album’s one pleasant surprise.”

by Tyler Gould

14 Sep 2009

Here’s a bespectacled Luke LaLonde of Born Ruffians sitting at a bar with an acoustic guitar, playing Bruce Springsteen’s steamy 1985 single, “I’m on Fire”. LaLonde, with his mild mannerisms and bipolar vocals, is plaintive where Springsteen is assertive. The original version is insistent, as though the Boss doth protest too much, and this cover almost seems to lament his entranced desire. Check out the video below.

by Stuart Henderson

14 Sep 2009

The Toronto International Film Festival, now in its 34th year, is a massive media gongshow that takes place in my hometown, right around the corner from my house. I get to bike to my first screening in the morning. I take lunch breaks and meet my wife and son for little walks between movies. I don’t have to sleep in some weird sterile hotel room, staying up late because I get to watch TV in bed which, for some reason, I always seem compelled to do. I don’t have to eat every meal at fast food joints (which means I don’t yet feel like a bag of dump, though all I have done for three full days now is sit in a dark room). And, finally, I can share in the whole, admittedly intoxicating, irrepressible thrill of seeing stars as they walk down my streets, the streets I’ve been walking along past nobodies and whocareses for my whole life. I mean, if I saw a celeb in New York, would that be weird? But, when George Clooney or Jennifer Connolly comes sliding by, all graceful and elegant and not-quite-human, I dunno. It just feels, electrifying. Is that lame? Probably.

Truth is: I haven’t actually seen celeb one this year. (Last year, I did way better. I even chatted with Tim Robbins. Well, the truth is that I actually had an astoundingly unnecessary conversation with him since the poor guy was just trying to get a drink and I accosted him, all 5’8” of me, and he, who is much closer to 18 or 19 feet tall, had to lean down so far he was basically assuming “the position” and looking for all the world like a big storky bird bending over to pluck up a teeny worm (me), and all so that he could be polite to this random dude who felt the unstoppable urge to waylay him. Also, I bumped into a guy I recognized from a car commercial.)  Instead of star-annoying, I have actually been watching films this year. As I sat down to write this, your first instalment of a five-part series of reviews and randomness from your humble(ish) correspondent, I had already sat through 12. By the end of the ten day festival I will have seen about 30. Dear God.

by PC Muñoz

14 Sep 2009

Eminem - “White America”
Written by Marshall Mathers, Jeff Bass, L. Resto, and Steve King
From The Eminem Show (Aftermath, 2002)

I’ll just say it right out front: I didn’t learn to appreciate Eminem until 2002, a-thousand-in-hip-hop years after his commercial breakthrough. It would be dishonest to state or imply that I “slept” on him at first. The fact is, I actively avoided Eminem’s work from the beginning. I figured that I, a funkafied, culturally-savvy mixed-race Californian musician old enough to have original Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five 12-inch singles in the crates, needn’t pay heed to this perceived imposter from the heartland who, as far as I knew, was just party-crashing the most important musical development of the late 20th century. I had also heard horrible things about his rampant homophobia and other questionable philosophical positions. I changed the channel when his videos came on TV,  and closed my ears when folks tried to tell me he possessed skills. Then one day, shortly after the release of The Eminem Show, I heard “White America”, and had to take a closer look.

Songs that deal with race and racism in American pop music can usually be traced to a handful of specific traditions. There’s a protest/socially conscious tradition, which typically laments the current race relations climate, and sets eyes on a future where things will be better for all (e.g.,  Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, Janis Ian’s “Society’s Child”). There’s a more confrontational tradition, which aims for revealing uncomfortable and previously unexpressed truths about race relations, often addressing institutional power (e.g. Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam”, the work of Gil Scott-Heron, Public Enemy, and Oakland hip-hop artist Paris). There is also a more observational and/or metaphorical tradition, which aims to teach about the perils of racism through a story, observation, or ironic narration (e.g., Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is”, Kid Creole’s “Consequently”. Lastly, there’s a kind of transcendent tradition, which aims to transcend racial (and other societal) barriers by refusing to acknowledge or believe in the barriers in the first place (e.g., Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”, Prince’s “Uptown”, any song with the phrase “black, white, red, yellow, or brown” in it).

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