Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Thursday, May 3, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Betty Davis
Anti Love Song [MP3]
     


He Was a Big Freak [MP3]
     


Buy at iTunes Music Store


“For the first time, Betty’s critically adored first two albums are being lovingly re-mastered from the original master tapes by Light In The Attic Records to sound as ferocious and revolutionary as they did when they first sprung on an unsuspecting world in the early ‘70s. In recent years, rappers from Ice Cube to Talib Kweli to Ludacris have rhymed over the intensely strong but sensual funk of Betty Davis. One can hardly imagine the genre busting, culture-crossing musical magic of Outkast, Prince, Erykah Badu, Rick James, The Roots, or even the early Red Hot Chili Peppers without the influence of this R&B pioneer. Ms. Davis’s unique story is unlike any other in popular music. Betty wrote the song “Uptown” for the Chambers Brothers before marrying Miles Davis in the late ‘60s, influencing him with psychedelic rock, and introducing him to Jimi Hendrix—personally inspiring the classic jazz-rock fusion album ‘Bitches Brew.’ Betty not only wrote every song she ever recorded and produced every album after her first, but the young woman penned the tunes that got The Commodores signed to Motown. The Detroit label soon came calling, pitching a Motown songwriting deal, which Betty turned down. Motown wanted to own everything. Heading to the UK, Marc Bolan of T. Rex urged the creative dynamo to start writing for herself.”—Light in the Attic Records [releasing 15 May 2007 in the U.S.]


Get Him Eat Him
2x2 [MP3]
     


The Old Soul
Nectar of the Nitwit [MP3]
     


The Race
Feathers [MP3]
     


Walls [MP3]
     


Cary Brothers
Who You Are [MP3]
     


Dan Deacon
The Crystal Cat [MP3]
     



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Sunday, Apr 29, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Elliott Smith
High Times [MP3]
     


Buy at Kill Rock Stars Pre-order


New Moon contains 24 songs recorded 1994-1997, a prolific time in Smith’s career, when he recorded his self-titled album and Either/Or (both also released by Kill Rock Stars). Arguably the most gifted song-writer of his generation, Elliott Smith produced a large body of work that includes five solo albums, as well as From a Basement on the Hill (2004), a collection of songs completed before his death in 2003. Like his other work, New Moon reflects the power of Smith’s ability to integrate rich, melodic music with poetic, multi-layered lyrics.”—Kill Rock Stars [releasing 8 May 2007]


The Saturday Knights
45 [MP3]
     


Buy at iTunes Music Store


“The Saturday Knights are a culmination of four freaks, a jaw-jacking combination of performing personalities: Storyteller and entertainer Tilson, who can tickle any lady’s funny bone; low-income yarn spinner and urban graffiti poet Barfly; indie rock and hip-hop mutli-instrumentalist B-Web, who brought together those genres on his joints for Olympia, Washington label K Records; and pumped up by the big beats and psychedelic turntable-art of DJ Suspence.”—Light in the Attic Records


Tarwater
A Marriage in Belmont [MP3]
     


St. Vincent
Now. Now. [MP3]
     


Shannon Wright
Everybody’s Got Their Own Part to Play [MP3]
     


 


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Friday, Apr 27, 2007

Perhaps the greatest cellist of the 20th century and surely one of the finest musicians of our times or of any age, Mstislav Rostropovich has died at the age of 80 in a Moscow cancer hospital.  Rostropovich inspired countless composers to develop works for the cello, Shostakovich and Britten among them, and he made the instrument synonymous with his name.  Born in 1927 in Baku, Azerbaijan, the son of a musical family, Rostropovich studied at the Moscow Conservatory with famed Russian composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev.  He went on to early fame and was a major influence on all the young cellists following in his wake.  Rostropovich was also a voice of dissendence and a champion of cultural freedom during the Cold War era, resulting in the loss of his Soviet citizenship in 1978.  Rostropovich was a true musical giant and we remember him here with some video highlights, including Bach, Haydn and a six-part rendition of the work most associated with him, Dvořák’s B minor cello concerto.—Sarah Zupko


Rostropovich - Dvořák Cello Concerto - Part 1


Rostropovich - Dvořák Cello Concerto - Part 2


Rostropovich - Dvořák Cello Concerto - Part 3


Rostropovich - Dvořák Cello Concerto - Part 4


Rostropovich - Dvořák Cello Concerto - Part 5


Rostropovich - Dvořák Cello Concerto - Part 6


Rostropovich - Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1


Rostropovich - Bach’s Bourree - Suite No 3


Rostropovich - Haydn Cello Concerto [1981]


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Thursday, Apr 26, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Elk City
Cherries in the Snow [MP3]
     


Los Cruzados [MP3]
     


You Got Me [MP3]
     


Buy at iTunes Music Store


“Lead-singer of Elk City and firebrand, Renée LoBue brings you on what feels like a free-wheeling make-out session right after your worst break-up.”—Friendly Fire Recordings


CéU
ave cruz [MP3]
     


Buy at Six Degrees Records


“Just when you think that Brazil must surely have exhausted its supply of irresistibly jazzy, funky, sexy, soulful electro-pop singer-songwriters, someone like CéU comes along and irresistibly mixes samba, reggae, dub, electronica and soul music and makes you think that maybe that particular well is bottomless after all.”—Six Degrees Records


Elliott Smith
Between the Bars [MP3]
     


Buy at iTunes Music Store


“Drink up baby / Stay up all night / With the things you could do / You won’t but you might / The potential you’ll be / That you’ll never see / The promises you’ll only make”. So starts “Between The Bars”, from Elliott Smith’s third solo album either/or. It’s as good a statement as any to describe the mood of this collection of songs about drug abuse, failed relationships and the pitfalls of stardom. Not that Elliott Smith the songwriter or performer isn’t making the most of his own potential here. It’s the downfall of his characters. Over the course of his first two solo outings, Roman Candle (Cavity Search) and his self-titled second effort (Kill Rock Stars), his fans are left to wonder if he isn’t writing entirely autobiographically. It would be hard to imagine that the majority of his lyrics, so sincere and detailed, could be a work of fiction. With his admitted past drug use and problems with relationships (both family and otherwise), it seems clear these songs are him, raw and unedited. >> read full PopMatters review


Dungen
Familj [e-card with downloadable MP3]


Shearwater
Red Sea, Black Sea [MP3]
     


Rock Plaza Central
My Children, Be Joyful [MP3]
     



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Thursday, Apr 19, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Patrick Wolf
The Magic Position (promo mix) [MP3]
     


Arctic Monkeys
Brianstorm


Jay-Z + Biggie
Allure (Ratatat remix) [MP3]
     


Black Moth Super Rainbow
Sun Lips [MP3]
     


Drippy Eye (Octopus Project remix) [MP3]
     


The Boggs
Arm in Arm [MP3]
     



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