Latest Blog Posts

by Brice Ezell

2 Jun 2015

In a short feature on American Songwriter, the North Carolina septet Songs of Water were asked what their turn-ons and turn-offs are. Their answer was simple:

Turn-Offs: false pretense

Turn-Ons: authenticity

These folks aren’t joking. One listen to Stars and Dust, the group’s gorgeous new LP, and you’ll find nary a hint of the former and the plenty of the latter. With a lush, emotional musical landscape that more often than not evokes the feel of a film score, Stars and Dust is a complex journey from beginning to end. From the piano-driven beauty of album highlight “She’s Only Sleeping” to the wide-eyed wonderment of closer “Chiaroscuro”, you’re bound to get lost in the many paths Songs of Water take. Stars and Dust is an apt title; by the time the album reaches its conclusion, you’ll have journeyed to the stars from the dust, and then back again.

by Michael Barrett

2 Jun 2015

With arresting use of slow-motion and freeze-frames, the opening credits of Blind Woman’s Curse present a beautiful clash between one gang and a rival group whose tattoos form one dragon on their backs, and who are led by the daughter (cult icon Meiko Kaji) of the late boss. This gives us the impression that we’re seeing a samurai movie, but the scene turns out be the heroine’s dream (yet also a flashback) experienced while in a women’s prison. Contemporary audiences didn’t know it, but the beautiful and self-possessed Kaji would soon become famous in a series of films about Female Convict Scorpion, which now gives the scene an extra frisson.

by Brice Ezell

2 Jun 2015

The Jacksonville, Florida band Sea Cycles is an interesting case as far as music that’s been called “synth-pop” goes. Whereas the regular practitioners of that style typically place vocals at the center—albeit usually through a gamut of vocal processors and effects—this quartet’s music is primarily instrumental, evoking the stylistics of post-rock. Both “Your Mind is a Sundial” and “Fiber Optic Cables To Antarctica” are close sonic kin to the music of Mogwai, the former sounding like a potential B-side to 2001’s Rock Action. Introspective in disposition and pensive in mood, Ground & Air is an instrumental set that conjures up vivid mental landscapes, as the best instrumental music is in wont to do.

by Sloane Spencer

2 Jun 2015

Great Peacock blew me away during a live taping of their song, “Take Me to the Mountain”, nearly 18 months ago. I’ve been anxiously awaiting their debut full-length album, Making Ghosts, ever since. Recently released on This Is American Music, Great Peacock continues with the roots-based anthems and sing-along choruses, more Southern indie than Americana.

by Sarah Zupko

1 Jun 2015

Stapleton left the group a few years ago to pursue his own solo career and the result is this year’s excellent country/Americana album, Traveller, which debuted at #2 on the country charts. Today, Stapleton has released a new video for “15 Years of Traveller”.

//Mixed media

'Staircase' Is Gay in a Melancholy Way

// Short Ends and Leader

"Unfairly cast aside as tasteless during its time for its depiction of homosexuality, Staircase is a serious film in need of a second critical appraisal.

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