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by Will Rivitz

20 Jul 2016

Edison’s “Open Road” is an upbeat piece of acoustically-inclined folk, all harmonicas and handclaps and good cheer. It’s stylistically similar to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, especially their smash hit “Home”. You’ve got the obvious—“home is wherever our feet go” vs. “home is wherever I’m with you”; the invocation of the South, Edison’s Phoenix and Tennessee contrasted with the Zeros’ Alabama and Arkansas—but the main similarity is the tone of the two pieces. They’re both unbreakably positive, male-female harmonies heartily extolling the virtues of the open road, all peace and friendship and the power of wandering. And if we lose that sort of enthusiastic idealism in our music, then where will we be?

by Will Rivitz

20 Jul 2016

Need a quick boost for a slow Wednesday morning? Check out the Strike’s “Eye for an Eye”, a block of low-poly funk aimed squarely at the dancefloor. Synth squelches and a bulky bassline prop up lead singer Chris Crabb’s pop-punky belt, horns flourishing in the crevices and steady drums carrying the band through. The bridge drops out everything but simple bass and drums alongside the vocals, as smooth a breakdown as there ever was — and then synth, horns, and guitar add in one by one until the climactic final chorus. If you’ve ever said, “Man, do I wish Maroon 5’s pop was good,” this’ll tickle your fancy.

by Will Rivitz

20 Jul 2016

Sadler Vaden‘s “Chameleon” is a stoic, powerful track, moving remarkably slowly given that it lasts only three minutes and 15 seconds. In its slowness, it captures a lot of the leverage perfected during the latter days of what we traditionally consider classic rock. Elements are added sparingly, piano dropping in carefully a minute in and ripping distorted guitar only entering two-thirds of the way through. This ensures that everything hits with as much force as possible, laying the groundwork for a bona fide slow-jam anthem.

by Will Rivitz

20 Jul 2016

Evening Bell make hard-nosed country with a classic-rock kick, male and female vocals sharing the spotlight under a haze of piano and guitar. “Dead End Friends & Fair Weather Lovers” is all Spaghetti Western, dust swirling around distorted amps and muted slide guitar. It’s a morose song, complaining about misguided romance under honky-tonk piano and splashy drums. It could have come out in the ‘70s, and it could have come out in the early aughts, but its roots-rockin’ sound will always be welcome.

by Will Rivitz

20 Jul 2016

Be Calm Honcho‘s “Kid Go Hard” is a jangly splash of indie pop, cascading forth on waves of guitar and piano. It’s steady, metered; a whimsical yet deeply grounded track. There are the airy verses, floating on high synths, but they nosedive into stomping drums and handclaps as the chorus begins to roar and the guitars begin to wail. The song flows freely and yet is rhythmically precise all at once, a trick of the light that makes it freer or more solid than you might expect. The fact that I can’t tell which way the trick is leaning is a positive for the song, proof of its songwriting excellence.

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Call For Papers: Celebrating Star Trek's 50th Anniversary

// Announcements

"To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the hit franchise, PopMatters seeks submissions about Star Trek, including: the TV series, from The Original Series (TOS) to the highly anticipated 2017 new installment; the films, both the originals and the J.J. Abrams reboot; and ancillary materials such as novelizations, comic books, videogames, etc.

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