CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

 
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Thursday, Jan 29, 2015
PopMatters predicts a night of newcomers, huge sweeps, and some love for two theme songs from 2013.

When the nominations for the 57th annual Grammy awards were announced several months ago, the most shocking thing was exactly how unsurprising it all was. The vast majority of the honorees were the most critically acclaimed artists of the year, nominated for the songs and albums that landed on most “Best of 2014” lists. Despite the predictability of it all, one can expect this year’s telecast to focus on a fresher crop of superstars, with newcomers like Sam Smith, Meghan Trainor, and Iggy Azalea stealing the spotlight away from established household names like Usher and Taylor Swift.


The following are some educated guesses as to what will happen in a dozen major categories. As always, though, we’ll have to wait until Sunday 8 February to see how right (or wrong) we are.


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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
Need some sonic rays of sunshine to cut through the winter doldrums? The joyous "In the Sun" by the Australian singer Vassy will do just the trick.

Although it’s winter in the United States right now, you might be transported to the summer months by the disposition of the Australian singer Vassy, whose latest single “In the Sun” is the kind of summer jam that’s designed to be blasted out of hatchback car radios and beach boomboxes. Of course, it’s summertime in Vassy’s native Australia, but this buoyant pop jam is enough to make it feel as if the season is spreading all around the world.


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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
"Fight for What's Right" begins a six week long behind the scenes exclusive look at the new album by the rising UK sibling trio the Rua.

Having already picked up some attention in their native United Kingdom, the all-sibling trio 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), is preparing to bring their music across the pond. The classically trained trio’s debut LP Essence is being prepared for a spring 2015 release in the States. Already, the Rua have earned comparisons to the likes of Fleetwood Mac from publications like Q Magazine, and the association is certainly not off. Emotionally resonant and harmonically arresting, these siblings have put their best foot forward with their debut LP.


While you wait for Essence‘s release date, tune into PopMatters over the next six weeks for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the writing and recording of the music. Each week, we’ll premiere a video that features the band explaining a particular song on the album. By the end of this series, you’ll have a pretty strong picture of this preternaturally talented young trio. While certain famous UK sibling acts gained their fame through public rivalries, these three use their familial rapport in the service of writing beautiful songs, with nary a hint of sibling competitiveness to be heard.


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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
Portland, Oregon neo-americana act Drunken Prayer pays tribute to the Band with the tender and curiously psychedelic duet "Evangeline".

The Band are one of the great rock acts of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although that time is also associated with the rise of psychedelia, the music of the Band is anchored in the roots rock tradition—put simply, their music will never bring to mind any skies with diamonds. However, that doesn’t mean contemporary artists can’t take the music of that essential Band and throw in some psychedelic flourishes, just as the Portland, Oregon outfit Drunken Prayer has done with their cover of “Evangeline”, featuring Freakwater’s Janet Beveridge Bean on supporting vocals. The video to “Evangeline” features distinct washes of psychedelic color, an appropriately quirky, Pacific Northwest touch to this classic tune. For a slightly off-kilter take on America as only Portland can bring it, Drunken Prayer will do just the trick.


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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015
Arizona singer-songwriter decker pays tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ol' Dirty Bastard with his latest tune, the charming desert gospel of "O.D.B".

Sedona, Arizona doesn’t sound like the kind of place where one would expect to find an homage to the Wu-Tang Clan. However, the singer-songwriter Brandon Decker, whose musical calling card is the all-lowercase decker, isn’t exactly keen on fitting into basic expectations. On his newest LP, Patsy, decker pays homage to the late Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ol’ Dirty Bastard with the tune “O.D.B”, the video of which you can exclusively watch below. In the video, decker and a choir decked out in red sing ebullient harmonies in the desert, line dance, and circle around in the woods. As a tribute to ODB’s spirit, it’s definitely an atypical one, but it’s also charmingly and uniquely decker, straight from the heart.


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