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by Desirae Embree

24 Aug 2015

Unplanned America’s premise is reality TV distilled to its most basic elements. Three Australian friends set out on a cross-country US road trip with nothing but a camera and a desire to explore America’s cultural underbelly. From the get-go, the show has everything that one wants from mindless entertainment: foreign takes on local culture, sensationalism, and a visual style that, despite our rational faculties, still makes us think we’re watching objective reporting. 

Yet Unplanned America offers something else as well. The show bills itself as a “gonzo television documentary”, drawing on the memory of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who thought the best kind of reporting was the kind that found the reporter right in the action, partaking of the local flavor. While the show has definite appeal for the casual TV viewer unfamiliar with Thompson or his “buy the ticket, take the ride” philosophy, the subcultures it focuses on are definitely chosen with a literary audience in mind.

by PopMatters Staff

24 Aug 2015

John M. Tryneski: I finally caught Courtney Barnett live at the Pitchfork Music Festival last month and it changed the way I saw her music. On record she generally sounds like a singer-songwriter at heart with a solid, if unspectacular, backing band. Live, the band comes alive, as does Barnett, with both taking pretty big (and often successful) swings at the fences of squalling rock ‘n’ roll grandeur erected by Cobain and Company. So I was a little disappointed that the “live” music video for “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party” was a relatively sedate lip-synced run-through of the song on the London streets that captured none of group’s ragged charm. The song itself is probably the most straightforward rock track on Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit but that’s by no means a problem, given its unshakable hook and universally-relatable chorus. So even while it can’t reach the lofty heights of “Depreston” and the video could be so much more, “Nobody Cares” is still an awfully solid third single from an album with all sorts of legs. [7/10]

by Adrien Begrand

24 Aug 2015

Having traded in her conventional singer-songwriter fare for something a little more adventurous, Los Angeles based/Oklahoma raised Sunday Lane has been slowly unveiling her modest makeover this year in anticipation of her upcoming new EP Future Tense(s). Her arrangements now have more variety, embracing electronic sounds more, but her biggest step forward so far is her new single “Go”, which dives headfirst into sparkling electropop. And as it turns out, it’s a perfect fit.

by PopMatters Staff

24 Aug 2015

Timothy Gabriele: Animal Collective’s Centipede Hz was a bit unfairly maligned. Production-wise, the album was possessed of a unique artistry that still sounds unlike everything else. The first few songs rival anything the band ever did, but the best tracks completely frontloaded the album. “No Man’s Land” sounds the closest to Centipede Hz’s singular dynamic that I’ve heard from any of the band members since that album’s release, but it sounds like a drifting, irresolute B-side that got cut from the album’s back end. The densely layered creaking fourth world squeals and hypnotic rhythms possess multitudes that you could fall into, but the vocal feels at best half-hearted. If you’re looking for bonus Panda Bear material, you’d be better off checking Danny L. Harle’s remix of “Come to Your Senses”. It’s one of the best things released in 2015. [6/10]

by Adrien Begrand

24 Aug 2015

Formerly from Victoria, British Columbia, the garage rock trio Babysitter now calls Montreal home, and now have a new self-titled album coming out next week. As per usual, the band cranks out the heavy guitar jams that sound reminiscent of Crazy Horse and the Stooges at the same time, the riffs massive, grating, threatening to drown out the rest of the band. “Envy” is a great example, which you can listen to below.

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Call for Papers: Do You Believe in Life After Auto-Tune?

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"Which is better, Cher’s voice before or after Auto-Tune?

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