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by PopMatters Staff

18 May 2017

Steve Horowitz: This simple song has a deep heart. Justin Townes Earle celebrates that we all have miracles in are lives every day that we take for granted: the love of another, the warmth of a friend, or whatever the wonders may be. The song shows us how to relax and enjoy the calm. Today could be the one you remember years from now as a happy time. Savor it. Earle doesn’t preach. He shows you how it’s done as the words and lyrics invite gentle reflection. [9/10]

by PopMatters Staff

18 May 2017

Morgan Y. Evans: The in studio style performance video works for personalizing and lending more immediacy to the song. It also is to the band’s credit that Danielle also manages to make the rather straightforward words affecting anyway through the affluence of feeling in her voice. I like the contrast between her and Este’s vocals. I was watching the Jarmusch Iggy documentary recently where Iggy was talking about how in Stooges songs early on he tried to keep it to under 25 words. It makes you think how sometimes, not to knock the lyrics here too hard, how delivery makes all the difference. Compelling artists know the importance of passion whether you are Hey Violet, Globelamp, Björk or friggin Rammstein. Haim’s energy here takes this song to the next level and makes you want more, proving pop is best when it retains some human elements. [7/10]

by Jordan Blum

18 May 2017

Last month, Canadian quintet Cartoon Lizard released their debut EP, Not Punk Not Raw, a joyous sequence of bright psychedelic pop that evokes the quirky shades and melodic buoyancy of stylistic siblings and/or inspirations like the Shins, Sufjan Stevens, Midlake, Perfect Beings, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear, and of course, the Beach Boys and the Beatles. Arguably its most instantly appealing track is “All in the Cards”, a simultaneously nuanced and extravagant tune decorated with warm harmonies, enticing riffs, and fun percussion, all of which are enhanced by bizarrely charming visual storytelling in its official video.

by Paul Carr

17 May 2017

It’s a rare thing to make a living from music these days.

As traditional revenue streams dry up the majority of musicians are under no illusion that there is no money in music anymore. Just to eke out a living is hard enough with bands ever more reliant on crowdfunding and frugal self-management. Romanticized notions of Lear jets, bountiful supplies of drugs, and extravagant spending seem like distant ideas from a bygone era. However, by the law of averages, some artists do make it. Some bands do manage to build a career on a scale that is totally out of reach of the majority of musicians. No.1 albums, huge festival appearances, and a fervent and dedicated fanbase. That is exactly the position that Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro find themselves in.

Having conquered the charts in the UK and Europe with their latest album Elipsis, and with a huge arena tour, including an all-conquering Reading festival appearance, things couldn’t be rosier for the band. Over the course of seven albums, the band has steadily built the type of following that many bands dream of with a fervent fan base stretching from Chile to Slovakia. However, What happens when a band achieves everything they ever hoped for? How does a group keep those fires burning and retain that passion? In Biffy Clyro’s case, the answer is, rather surprisingly, to become a small band again. The kind of band with nothing to lose who has to convince people all over again. Just them, the music and the stage. What better place to take that giant stride backward than America.

by Sarah Zupko

17 May 2017

Folk rock band the Builders and the Butchers spent 2007-2012 touring heavily and they built a stellar reputation as high-energy, consummate live performers, playing festivals like Sasquatch and Lollapalooza. Since then the group has been slowly crafting a new set of songs, with their latest album taking five years to write as the members carefully labored over the material. Now, at last, the world gets a new Builders and the Butchers LP this Friday entitled The Spark.

//Mixed media
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