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

 
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Thursday, Jul 19, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Spoon —"The Underdog"
From Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga on Merge
With a history of stellar, no-filler records, Spoon has somehow topped themselves with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, a consistently thrilling album recorded throughout 2006 in Austin by the band and Mike McCarthy (except “The Underdog,” recorded in Los Angeles with Jon Brion). Spoon have been together over a decade, with one of the most unusual trajectories of any band in recent memory-and one of the best and most unique songwriters in the world.


The Blow —"Hock It"
From Poor Aim: Love Songs on K
Khaela Maricich is a pop musician, visual artist, and performer. She works in the cracks between pop music and performance art, bouncing between the genres to suck out the juicier parts of either world. She creates operatic performance pieces using the conversational style of popular music. Jona Bechtolt is a technological multi talent. His sound and video production can be found generously scattered throughout the internet, and in numerous popular live incarnations. With his project, YACHT, he makes textural dance-based compositions and performances, described by some as a “positive energy rainbow dome music from a next-generation west coast healer.”


The Chemical Brothers —"All Rights Reserved"
From We Are The Night on Astralwerks
After five albums, we know what to expect from a Chemical Brothers record. And Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons know how best to make them. “We’ve very much found our way of working,” says Tom. “And that’s having our own studio and experimenting for months and months, then collaborating with people when we have something that excites us. We still get a lot of enjoyment out of going into the studio. We still see it as a wondrous place where something magical can happen.”


Tied + Tickled Trio —"Aelita"
From Aelita on Morr Music
On Aelita the Tied & Tickled Trio are Caspar Brandner, Andreas Gerth, Markus and Micha Acher and Carl Oesterhelt. A band that listens very carefully to what their sounds do. A band that permits them to be surprised by themselves. This might be the very last space-metaphor of this album: the Tied & Tickled Trio and the orbit of its possibilities.


Bad Brains —"Give Thanks And Praises"
From Build a Nation on Megaforce
Mention the name Bad Brains to anyone today and you will likely get an eye-opening and overwhelmingly positive response. Considered by some to be the “holy grail” of punk rock, Bad Brains have a pure and quintessential attitude that most artists only aspire to achieve—they are simply one of the most important and influential American bands still working today. Like all great bands, light bulbs go off and charisma enters a room just by the band merely standing in it. For the Bad Brains, they go one step further and supply the electricity to charisma. Sometimes reactionary, but always volatile, Bad Brains are one of the definitive punk groups who garner the same respect as the Sex Pistols, Black Flag, The Clash and The Ramones.


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Thursday, Jul 19, 2007

Alternative rock legends The Smashing Pumpkins have intrigued audiences for years. Their distinct brand of music, combining elements of almost every kind of rock, has achieved critical acclaim and garnered them success. By 2000, the band broke up, leaving little hope for a reunion. Fortunately, in 2006, the band officially announced their reunion and their goal to record a new album. Zeitgeist was released July 10, 2007.


Tarantula from Zeitgeist:



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Tuesday, Jul 17, 2007

Originating in 1979, the Beastie Boys are still turning out new and great music to this day. Combining rock and punk with rap, the Beastie Boys achieved fame, reaching Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” at #77. On June 26th, they released their latest album, The Mix-Up, an album of only instrumental songs.


Off The Grid from The Mix-Up:


An earlier hit, Sabotage:



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Monday, Jul 16, 2007

Rush has become one of the most prominent Canadian rock bands today, awarded many Juno Awards and inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Beginning in 1968, Rush consisted of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and John Rutsey, playing blues-rock music. Later Rutsey was dropped and Neil Peart joined, eventually establishing them as the legendary progressive rock band that they are today. Recently, Rush released Snakes & Arrows and is currently on a North American and European tour.



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Friday, Jul 13, 2007

Comedian Bill Maher continues to captivate audiences with his witty jabs at both the American government and American culture. Previously, Bill Maher hosted the political talk show, Politically Incorrect, but after a comment about the 9/11 attacks six days later, ABC cancelled his show. To ensure this does not happen again, Maher moved to HBO to host Real Time with Bill Maher, a show lacking censorship and commercial breaks.  Currently, while his show is on hiatus, Bill Maher performs stand-up comedy, bringing the same politically edgy attitude he has always brought.


His “New Rules” segment from March 15th:



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