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Friday, Feb 20, 2015
This documentary about a New Jersey "free school" is as adventurous and experimental as its subject.

“I’m not the weak one,” says Lucy. One time, she goes on, she “pinned down a boy.” A student at the Terry McArdle Free School, eight-year-old Lucy is doing her best to establish a place, a voice, and some respect among her fellow students and also her teachers. As Approaching the Elephant, Amanda Rose Wilder’s remarkable new film reveals, this is an ideal fostered at the school, founded by Alex Khost and modeled after the experiment started in Barcelona in 1901, a protest against the “reading, writing, and arithmetic model of education that came from the industrial revolution’s need for factory workers.” The participants at Terry McArdle, students and staff. Work together to craft structure, to discover independence, and to build community.


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Friday, Feb 20, 2015
Blur's big comeback single turns out to be a weird little number that will appeal to only hardcore fans. Thank goodness.

The best part about “Go Out”, the lead single from Blur’s first full-length album in 12 years, is that a lot of people probably won’t like it.


Its side-stepping bassline and timid backbeat set the stage, but “Go Out” is, like all great Blur tracks, all about Damon Albarn’s stretched-out vocal phrasings interacting with Graham Coxon’s lyrical, expressive guitar work. The two collide and build upon each other to reach a climax that isn’t really that much of a climax, typical of the band’s mid- and late-period phases. Albarn finds an obtuse way to speak about isolation, dancing with himself, and then going out to the local (and sometimes, the lo-o-o-cal) on his ownsome, all while Coxon unleashes all the distortion he can out of his cheap pedal before trying to wrestle all of it to the ground in spectacular fashion, our ears caught up more in the struggle than the result. When you get down to it, this is a weird-ass little ditty, and therein lies its charm.


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Thursday, Feb 19, 2015
The sarcastic wit of Bomb the Music Industry! meets the catchiness of Green Day in the newest tune by the Boston folk-punk outfit Drunken Logic.

When you hear a poppy punk tune that’s laced with mandolin, you’d be right in guessing that song was probably written in or near Boston. While there’s no scientific way to test that rule, that guess is correct in the case of the Boston folk-punk outfit Drunken Logic. In another tip of the hat to Boston tropes, they’ve titled their new album Long Day’s Journey to the Middle, which has the benefit of referencing both a fine play by Eugene O’Neill and evoking the worn out barroom aesthetic that is so common in the band’s native city.


To get a sense of what’s coming on the album, below you can stream lead single “(The Good News Is) No One Gives a Damn”, an energetic number that should prove perfect in helping shake off the winter doldrums currently plaguing New England.


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Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015
Los Angeles producer GDNA teams up with beatmaker Jo Def for the airy and synth-led "Reasons".

The Los Angeles-based musician and producer GDNA describes himself as “the melodic apothecary peddling medicine for the melancholic.” You can confirm his alliterate appellation by downloading the track “Reasons”, his collaboration with beatmaker and lyricist Jo Def, which you can do exclusively here at PopMatters. Citing influences such as Flying Lotus and Dwele, The LA Times says of the tune, “‘Reasons’ is nothing if not of the moment.”


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Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015
Part four of PopMatters' six week series on the new album by the up-and-coming UK sibling trio the Rua focuses on the track "Follow".

The all-sibling trio called the Rua, comprised of 22-year old Roseanna Brown (voice and guitar), 24-year old Alanna Brown (piano and backing vocals) and 19-year old Jonathan Brown (violin, guitar, vocals and backing vocals), has already caused a splash in its native United Kingdom with its debut album, Essence. With that LP about to see its United States release, the Rua are offering listeners a chance to go behind the scenes of the making of the music on a track-by-track basis. The Rua’s knack for gripping melodies, in addition to their background in classical training, make them a rising talent to keep an eye out for.


This week marks the fourth issue of PopMatters’ six-week series on Essence. This time the band breaks down the track “Follow”, which the trio describes as one of the “rock-ier” moments on the record.


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