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by G E Light

23 Jul 2009

For my money the most interesting new band going is the West Vancouver duo, Japandroids, who recently released their debut, Post-Nothing. I know it’s trendy to talk about the new wave of art rock and/or grungy lo-fi blues two pieces from New York and the Upper Midwest. But as we shall see Japandroids spring from their own noble and older left coast tradition. First to the band and the disc. Their instrumentation is spare guitar and drums. Formed at the University of Victoria in 2006 the band features Ben [E.] King on the former and David {No Not Darth Vader] Prowse on the latter. Originally thought about being a trio but settled on duo format and shared vocal duties. To early self-released EPs appeared -- All Lies (2007) and Lullaby Death Jams (2008) -- before they signed to the Canadian indie Unfamiliar Records and released Post-Nothing.

They probably will make you forget fellow Canucks Death from Above 1979 with their… fill in the blank. The single getting all the buzz is "Young Hearts Spark Fire" and it is a doozy; here's the video:

by PopMatters Staff

23 Jul 2009

Japandroids recently played a live set at Pianos in NYC and the proceedings were caught on film by Noisemakers on Noisevox. The band runs through four of their tunes here: “Heart Sweats”, “Rockers East Vancouver”, “Young Hearts Spark Fire”, and “No Allegiance to the Queen”.

by Thomas Hauner

23 Jul 2009

The SummerStage double bill of Matisyahu and Umphrey’s McGee made for a wildly diverse spectrum of fans from hippie to orthodox Jew, both young and old. It’s because listening to jam bands (and the pre-requisite toke) are a definitive rite-of-passage for today’s youth—and an equally enduring nostalgia trip. Studying the counterculture legacy of their parents, they understand that jam bands are the gateway dancing music for white adolescent males. But it takes time. Naturally Umphrey’s McGee played through several numbers, like “Higgins”, which was too enmeshed with dense arpeggiating guitars, before its sound ever loosened and opened up. The same applied to the dancers in the crowd. With two prolific lead guitarists—Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger—carrying the majority of melodies and solos, their finger-twisting riffs required some etude-like passages to get their blood flowing. By “Turn and Run”, however, the group was practically on cruise control, undulating on the same wavelength and improvising with charted efficiency. They ended their set with a cover, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”—which made relative sense being the longest real song the Beatles composed.

After dismantling McGee’s enormous stage set up to clear space for Matisyahu and his gyrating hops and twists, his five-piece backing ensemble sonically slid into a soft jam before the man himself emerged. Perhaps no reputation precedes any other rising artist more than Matisyahu’s: A degenerate Deadhead turned Hasidic Jew turned international reggae and hip-hop success story. Donning a weathered red trucker hat, his vocals also took a few songs before they were entirely aligned with the band. As Matisyahu sang the incredibly catchy “Time of Your Song” he quickly brought out Nosson Zand who dropped a number of exuberant rhymes before ceding the stage to his mentor. Before Matisyahu’s performance I’d never seen a Hasidic Jew dance or spin as much to such heavy cadences. Throughout the night his band kept a precise but flexible groove, and incorporated a phenomenal conga player midway through. Hits like “King Without a Crown” and “Jerusalem” got wild cheers, but nothing compared to the response Matisyahu’s impressively huge stage dive received near the end. Matisyahu himself was equally pleased saying, “My grandpa would be proud.” So were all the young hippies.

by PopMatters Staff

22 Jul 2009

Six Organs of Admittance
Luminous Night
(Drag City)
Releasing: 18 August (US)

01 Actaeon’s Fall (Against the Hounds)
02 Anesthesia
03 Bar-Nasha
04 Cover Your Wounds with the Sky
05 Ursa Minor
06 River of Heaven
07 The Ballad of Charlie Harper
08 Enemies Before the Light

Six Organs of Admittance
“The Ballad of Charley Harper” [MP3]

by Diepiriye Kuku

22 Jul 2009

Michael Jackson left us—all of us—the harmonies, melodies and complex beats to which he popped, dropped and locked it like a Dogon dancer in the plains and cliffs of Mali. One imagines that the little brown boy that visited Senegal with his folks in the early seventies left with more than artificial antiques. No sooner than he could debark from the plane, Michael danced with the people who assembled to sing and dance to welcome the Jackson 5 on their first trip to The Continent.

Yet, we fear this power and far too often demonize power out of fear. We fear the creativity and genius necessary to penetrate through a world where, for example, it really, really matters if you’re black or white.

All the children of the world should be
Lovin’ each other wholeheartedly!
Yes it’s alright,
Take my message to your brother and tell him twice.
Take the news to the marchin’ men
Who are killin’ their brothers, when death won’t do.
Yes, we’re all the same:
Yes the blood inside my veins is inside of you.

//Mixed media

Tricks or Treats? Ten Halloween Blu-rays That May Disrupt Your Life

// Short Ends and Leader

"The best of this stuff'll kill you.

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