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Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014
Having just released her self-titled EP, Milán (Maria Neckam) has already got people remixing her tunes, including "DK6", here taken on by Stafford in a bouncy reinterpretation.

In early November, PopMatters premiered the self-titled EP of Milán, the latest project by the Brooklyn-based musician Maria Neckham. With these tunes still fresh out of the recording studio, Milán’s music has already attracted artists looking to remix her work. Below you can hear Stafford’s remix of the Milán EP cut “DK6”, here given a sprightly rendition driven by bouncy synth notes.


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Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014
The first season of Telltale's The Walking Dead earned widespread critical praise, mainstream public appreciation, and a bevy of game of the year awards in 2012. Two years later, The Walking Dead Season Two has received a somewhat more muted reception.

The first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead earned widespread critical praise, mainstream public appreciation, and a bevy of game of the year awards in 2012. Come two years later, the direct follow up, The Walking Dead Season Two, has received, shall we say, a somewhat more muted reception. Between the first and second seasons, there was a change in The Walking Dead. While there are many obvious changes one could point to—a new playable character, a greater focus on action, etc—the particular change I thought had the most impact was the loss of that certain je ne sais quoi that sunk the first season’s talons deep into our collective psyches. Every other obvious change to the series seemed to have some interesting possibilities to it, whereas the “feel” of the game was off in its second season.


There are quite a few possible explanations for this. The writing team behind the episodes changed significantly between the two seasons. There were three writers that worked on Season One, one of which wrote three of the episodes by himself. Season Two had a total of eight writers, who ended up working in pairs for over half the season. It could be that the narrative opportunities for the game shrank with by changing the protagonist into a young character that couldn’t have the social influence of her older predecessor. Maybe it was the shift in structure from the more episodic, single issue storytelling of the first season to episodes more clearly geared towards advancing a single narrative arc over the course of the season. However, I like to pin the fault on something much more basic. The episodes in Season Two were an hour shorter than their counterparts in Season One.


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Monday, Dec 15, 2014
Legendary folk singer/songwriter Kath Bloom's latest tune, "Criminal Side", aims its sights at corporate greed, with emotive seventh chords emphasizing the song's impassioned pleas.

In his review of the 2009 tribute album Loving Takes This Course: A Tribute to the Songs of Kath Bloom, Matthew Fiander wrote, “Kath Bloom has been around writing beautiful songs for a long time—long enough that she should be known by more people, and should already be remembered for more than just her appearance on the Before Sunset soundtrack.” Bloom continues to prove that sentence right by sticking to the craft she’s been honing since the late ‘70s. If her ninth studio effort Pass Through Here is any indication, none of the passion has faded from her career. Below you can stream the Pass Through Here tune “Criminal Side”, which finds Bloom’s sharp lyrics met by some tastefully played seventh chords on acoustic guitar.


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Monday, Dec 15, 2014
The nasty little piece of work that is the Broken EP ends with Trent Reznor bringing a previous side-project collaboration fully under the Nine Inch Nails umbrella.

After nearly a half-hour of industrial intensity (as well as a fake ending), Nine Inch Nails’ Broken EP finally closes with a drastic reworking of “Suck”. Unlike Adam and the Antz’s “Physical (You’re So)”, it’s not quite accurate to call this take on the song a cover. NIN’s Trent Reznor actually recorded the original version of “Suck” with industrial collab Pigface for its 1991 album Gub.


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Monday, Dec 15, 2014
Ryan Adams released one of my favorite albums of the year and it was thrilling to hear the new material at his New York show.

When I caught Ryan Adams headlining set on the Friday evening at Newport Folk Festival earlier this year, I was stunned by his opening track “Gimme Something Good”. The song may have already been released as the lead single from his 2014 self-titled album, but I hadn’t heard it before that point. The song, with it’s garage rock, Petty-ish vibe, was a perfect gateway drug. When the album came out later in the summer, I quickly put it on regular rotation—so much so that it would be amongst my top three most-listened to albums this year (the other two would be First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold and The Gloaming’s self-titled debut). When it was announced he would be performing four shows in NYC, two acoustic nights at Carnegie Hall plus two full-band shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom, I of course had to check it out, even if I’m not very familiar with a lot of his older material.


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