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by PopMatters Staff

18 May 2017


Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins

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 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.

by Sarah Zupko

16 May 2017


Stax Records and Sun Records stand as two of the most culturally significant record labels in popular music history, and they are both Memphis labels. There’s obviously something special in the Mississippi River, as so much of American popular music stems from close to either side of those waters. Stax was the home of Southern soul, sporting a roster that is a who’s who of important soul artists: Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd and more. Sam Phillips’ Sun Records, on the other hand, was the home of early rock ‘n’ roll with Elvis Presley, Ray Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. Sun also had an enormous influence in the country music world, launching the career of Johnny Cash.

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