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Tuesday, Jul 3, 2007

Seventy-eight years ago, Belle Miriam Silverman was born in Brooklyn, New York. By the age of seven, she already acquired a singing career, winning a “Miss Beautiful Baby” contest, performing on the radio show, Rainbow House, and singing in Uncle Sol Solves It. By 1939, the former Silverman changed her name to Beverly Sills, and became a frequent guest on Capital Family Hour. In 1947, Sills performed Frasquita in Bizet’s opera, Carmen, launching her long-lasting operatic career.  By 1958, she performed as Helon of Troy in Mefistofele, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and the title role in The Ballad of Baby Doe. On November 17th, 1956, Sills married Peter Greenough, journalist for The Plain Dealer.


In 1966, Sill’s performed as Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, earning her international fame. She soon began to record her operas: Giulio Cesare, Roberto Devereux, Manon, Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Tales of Hoffman. Sills then won praise singing Grossmachtige Prinzessin in 1969. Later that year, she debuted as Pamira in The Siege of Corinth, placing her on the cover of Newsweek. In 1971, Time magazine put Sills on the cover, describing her as “America’s Queen of Opera.” In 1975, Sills debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in The Siege of Corinth, leading to her future performances in Thais, La Traviata, Don Pasquale, and Lucia di Lammermoor. Later, Sills began to publicize opera, appearing on talk shows and becoming a recitalist.


Sills retired as a singer on October 27, 1980 at the New York City Opera, soon becoming its general director. In 2002, she became the chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, keeping the position until 2005 because of family problems. Her husband, Greenough, died on September 6, 2006. Less than a year later, Sills was diagnosed with lung cancer, leading to her death on July 2nd, 2007, at the age of 78.



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Monday, Jul 2, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Through The Sparks —"Mexico (Every Last Buffalo)" From Lazarus Beach on Skybucket Records Upon the realization that they were sitting on a library of songs and ideas, and with multiple songwriters in the band, Through the Sparks pooled their pile of beat-up pianos and organs, 8-tracks and a Protools rig, and formed Alamalibu Studios, the band’s heavily fortified, though often transient, music-making space in Birmingham, Alabama. The band released an EP titled Coin Toss and a limited edition collection of early recordings, AudioIotas, during the first year and a half of its existence, both released on Skybucket Records. They’ve recently completed their first full-length release for Skybucket, while playing as many shows as the recording schedule allowed.


The Ladybug Transistor —"Three Days From Now" From Can’t Wait Another Day on Merge Records The album features spirited contributions from members of Aislers Set, Architecture in Helsinki, The Clientele, Jens Lekman, Kevin Barker (Currituck Co., Vetiver), Heather McIntosh (Circulatory System, Instruments) Roy Nathanson (Lounge Lizards/Jazz Passengers) and others. The first fruits of these sessions were heard on 2006’s Here Comes The Rain EP.


Nadir—"Slave (Distorted Soul Album Version)" From Slave: The Remixtape on Bikiniwax Church-trained, Southern bred, reborn urban dread, Nadir (meaning “rare and unique”) is a clear and resonant voice of cultural change. Singer/songwriter, producer and activist Jonah Nadir Omowale brings us an undeniable musical message, steeped in both tradition and innovation. His music, called Distorted Soul, is a revolutionary soul music hybrid that incorporates elements of funk, electronica, r&b, soul, house, rock, jazz, folk and hip-hop “in such a delectable manner that his musical renditions are certain to satisfy and musical palate.”


The Foundry Field Recordings —"Transistor Kids" From Fallout Stations EP on Emergency Umbrella Records Fallout Stations is the limited edition, companion EP to The Foundry Field Recordings debut full-length Prompts/Miscues. It contains new songs, rarities, and highlights directly relating back to the concept album.


Rasputina—"Cage In A Cave" From Oh Perilous World! on Filthy Bonnet Recording Co.
Oh Perilous World! the sixth full length album from chamber-rock trio Rasputina was performed by the band’s creator Melora Creager and drummer Jonathon TeBeest with second chair Sarah Bowman contributing additional vocals. Creager wrote the songs featured on Oh Perilous World! over the last two years after deciding current world events were more bizarre than anything she could scrounge up from the distant past. She obsessively read daily news on the Internet, copying words, phrases and whole stories that especially intrigued her. She compiled a vast notebook of this material from which the Oh Perilous World! lyrics are culled.


Shout Out Louds —"Tonight I Have to Leave It" From Tonight I Have to Leave It on Merge Records
“Tonight I Have to Leave It” is the first single from Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds upcoming Merge full-length, Our Ill Wills [Sept. 11, 2007]. With a video for the title track, two remixes and two non-LP “b-sides” this is a great reintroduction to a Swedish band whose extraordinary 2005 debut, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff (Capitol) garnered worldwide critical acclaim and placed them squarely in the middle of the current Swedish pop explosion.


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Saturday, Jun 30, 2007

Revered film director, Martin Scorsese produces provocative and innovative films for contemporary cinema. Unlike the uplifting tales of Spielberg, Scorsese’s films depict bleak settings and morally depraved characters. Because of this degeneration, his films leave audiences guessing where the film will go next, but at the same time his movies contain a tight narrative/structure, used to create more tumult in his fictional worlds. Scorsese’s striking style earns him honor and praise from critics and keeps audiences wanting more. 


Interview with SILVERDOCS:



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Friday, Jun 29, 2007

Formerly New Zealand’s fourth most popular parody duo, Flight of the Conchords has been rising to stardom in the United States. Previously, the band members individually broke into the American mainstream media: in The Lord of the Rings movies, Bret McKenzie achieved fame as “figwit,” and in 2006, Jemaine Clement appeared in several Outback Steakhouse commercials. Currently, the duo has achieved American recognition, working on a 12-part series for HBO titled Flight of the Conchords.


In 2004, Flight of the Conchords was featured on the Australian television program, Stand Up!
The Humans Are Dead:


In 2005, Flight of the Conchords began their relationship with HBO, performing their half-hour special on One Night Stand.
Jenny:


 


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Thursday, Jun 14, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Life can be a bitch at times, and in those moments of angst, you just want to throw it up ‘cause you’re totally f*&ked anyway, right? Love, sex, parents, authority—the teenage years are the pinnacle of undeniable passions, first loves, lasting regrets, and uncontrollable emotions.


PopMatters.com and Spring Awakening want to know your #1 song from your teenage years.  What tune hit that right chord and spoke true to your every emotion? 


Submit the artist and track name with a brief explanation of why this tune rocked your teenage years and you will be eligible to win a Spring Awakening cast album with music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater and a voucher for two tickets to the Broadway production.


Simply post your choice here in the comments, include your e-mail address (it won’t be displayed to readers, we simply need it to contact the winner), and tell us about the songs that soundtracked your teenage life and you’ll be eligible to win.


Here’s a few examples:
Aerosmith: “Cryin’”
Nirvana: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Boyz II Men: “I’ll Make Love to You”
Beck: “Loser”
Blind Melon: “No Rain”


PopMatters feature on Spring Awakening


“Bitch of Living”



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