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

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Tuesday, Jun 6, 2006
by PopMatters Staff

Ladyhawk’s core is bracing rock. Neil Young’s Tonight’s The Night is the hailstorm on the hood of The Replacements Let It Be, while distorted guitars invoke the thread and swerve of Silkworm and Dinosaur Jr. Helped along the way by Amber Webber (vocals) and Josh Wells (percussion, organ, singing) of Black Mountain, it will be hard to find a more hauntingly beautiful set of rock music than this debut.
“The Dugout” [MP3]

Ships, Danielson’s newest full-length, sees Daniel Smith opening his arms wider than ever. Daniel made a long list of artists who have worked with Danielson over the years and other folks who planned to work together at some point. This list led to working with family, making new friends, and keeping the old. All joined together—both the well-known (Deerhoof, Sufjan Stevens, Why?) and not as well-known artists (Sereena Maneesh, Leopulde, Half-handed Cloud)—each bringing his or her own skills and ideas to Daniel’s songs and voice, resulting in this crowning achievement.
“Did I Step on Your Trumpet?” [MP3]

The Boredoms
“Seadrum” [MP3]

I Am Robot and Proud
“The Electricity in Your House Wants to Sing” [MP3]

“Soundwave Sound” [MP3]

The Court and Spark
“Fireworks” [MP3]

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Friday, Jun 2, 2006
by PopMatters Staff

The Dr. Octagon Chronicles

Cassettes Won’t Listen “Aliens” -  Hearing Aid Remix [MP3]

Chapter 5: Cassettes Won’t Listen “Aliens” -  Hearing Aid Remix

OCD International HQ

A red light blinks on the machine. As play is pressed, a frantic message comes over sound system.

"I just got chased by a freakin’ gorilla in a pick up truck. What’s going on? Doesn’t feel right. I’m coming to L.A. to get to the bottom of this. Sonic out.”

The staff at OCD Headquarters had heard rumors that something was happening on the east coast and they had sent out a crack team of experts to investigate. Entrusted with the cure provided by The Money Fight, they knew they could be of great assistance. Gray Kid and Mike Relm were all but recovered and ready to get back to deciphering the strange messages received from Dr. Octagon.

There had been some changes to the original package they received. It had begun to blink "06272006" repeatedly and to the dismay of their hackers, they had not been able to figure out this new level to the mystery. Things were stable, yet not moving forward. Frustrated, the lead hacker sat down over the monitors to give it one more try.

While working through algorithms, polyrhythms and audiological historical charts, the monitor began to shimmy, shake and worm out of focus. The screen flashed "Cassettes Won’t Listen" over and over till it went blank. When it came back, a bearded man in glasses had replaced the charts in front of him.  As the man began to speak, it seemed like the voice was coming from inside the hacker’s head.

I am Cassettes Won’t Listen. I have hacked into your system and have been following your progress on The Return Dr. Octagon.  I waited to reveal myself until I knew you were good people and could be trusted. I know you are trying to decipher what he sent you and I think I may be of some assistance.

About 8 years ago, along with 5 friends, I was abducted. We were tortured, cloned and kept in isolation. Of the 6 of us, two survived. The other survivor, Travis Walten, was killed by one of the clones because of what we knew. I have since gone underground as a One Man Army to fight these imposters. The fact that I survived is not important. What is important is who I found on that ship.

Dr. Octagon was kept in the cell next to me. The aliens had abducted him as a prime candidate to study all things regarding grills, pills and bills. He had been cloned, and his clones had been sent out to destroy the universe. That’s who visited the planet of The Money Fight people. That’s who have been causing havoc all over the universe.

What I am trying to say is that Dr. Octagon is alive.

I was able to record a conversation with him before we were released using a makeshift recording device of duct tape and space age technology, which I am uploading now. You know everything I know. I will rendezvous with your team when they get to New York City and explain the situation. We will fight the good fight and continue to search out these clones and destroy them. These imitators must be stopped at all costs. Cassettes Won’t Listen ...out.

As the bearded man faded from the screen, a green button appeared. The hacker hesitated, shook his head and pressed the flashing icon. The hacker listened in awe as the history of Dr. Octagon began to reveal itself. As he ran to inform his superiors, a van screeched to a halt outside hq…

Cassettes Won’t Listen “Aliens” -  Hearing Aid Remix [MP3]

Previous Chapters:
A Gorilla Driving a Pick-Up Truck -  Rob Sonic Road Rage Remix [MP3]
The Gray Kid Al Greezy remix [MP3]
Al Green: The Gray Kid Al Greezy remix [MP3]
Mike Relm 20-minute Return of Dr Octagon megamix [MP3]

The Return of Dr Octagon hits stores June 27th.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006
by PopMatters Staff

Cold War Kids says this California indie band is “sure to be a future flavor of the month”.
“Hospital Beds” [MP3]
“Tell Me in the Morning” [MP3]
“The Soloist in the Living Room” [MP3]
“Heavy Boots” [MP3]
multiple songs: [MySpace]

Kazumasa Hashimoto
“Monochrome Prome” [MP3]

“The Way You Were” [MP3]

Apollo Sunshine
“Eyes” [MP3]

Daara J
“Boomerang” [MP3]

The Planet The
“You Absorb My Vision” [MP3]

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Friday, May 26, 2006
by PopMatters Staff

The Dr. Octagon Chronicles

“A Gorilla Driving a Pick-Up Truck” -  Rob Sonic Road Rage Remix [MP3]

Chapter 4: Rob Sonic’ Vs.“A Gorilla Driving a Pick-Up Truck”

The Setting:
3 AM, a wet, but warm late night, or should we say early morn, in the Bronx. Def Jukie Rob Sonic finds himself, as he has many times, at his favorite joint, The Telicatessen. His head in his hands, elbows on the table, over a cup of the blackest cup of Joe this side of 110th Street, he recounts the events to the evening.

Earlier That Night:
A blowout party downtown was taking place in the honor of slain sucker MCs. Rob’s place at the bar was firmly in place when a hand drops on his left shoulder. As he turns to find no one there he returns face forward to a small box on the bar. “What the ... ”

The box reads “For your eyes only.” He expects it’s a joke played on him and decides to pause on the opening.

Back at The Telicatessen:

A strange headache has descended on Rob by this point and the short stack with sausage hasn’t helped the cause. A solid stroke of the cloth napkin to clean his lips and leaves his staring back at the mysterious box. “Screw it, ...” he mumbles to himself as he grabs the knife beside him, gives the box a shake and digs in. The contents reveal two things; a CD burn labeled “Dr Octagon” with a Sharpie and a note from OCD saying:

“This is what I wanted you to hear.”

“What ever…” He says to himself as he drops two Lincolns on the table face down and nods to the cute waitress behind the counter.

As Rob looks up and heads to the door he swears he sees from the corner of his eye two beady eyes glowing green through the window. But it’s late and he plays it off to exhaustion.

On the way to the car an eerie feeling of being followed consumes him. Nothing but shadows behind him yet still the feeling persists. His pace quickens… Movement to his right… Shuffles heard to the left ... and a strange musty smell floats in the air. He darts to the car and locks the door with a feeling of momentary safety.

The disc still in hand, he slips it in the player and kicks on the ignition. The track begins, the gas pedal descends and he pulls off. Soon after Rob feels a sharp shock as his car is bumped from behind. Looking in the rearview mirrors, he sees a green pick up truck, just inches behind him. A large, dark, muscle-bound figure is behind the wheels. The pickup drops back and smashes them again. This time, a taillight is broken off. Rob expels expletives “What the f#@k!”

Rob accelerates, pushing 70 mph, trying to escape this madman insisting on a dangerous high-speed chase. The truck changes left, then right, then back again trying to overtake Rob’s vehicle. Rob glances at the gas tank gauge on his dashboard - It’s getting close to empty. Rob is surprised; he distinctly remembers filling up just earlier that day. Rob searches for a truck stop but there doesn’t seem to be any in sight. Bam! The truck hits him again.

He turns back…

“What the ...!? Is that a gorilla?”

The rest unfolds such.

“A Gorilla Driving a Pick-Up Truck” -  Rob Sonic Road Rage Remix [MP3]

Previous Chapters:
The Gray Kid Al Greezy remix [MP3]
Al Green: The Gray Kid Al Greezy remix [MP3]
Mike Relm 20-minute Return of Dr Octagon megamix [MP3]

The Return of Dr Octagon hits stores June 27th.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006
by PopMatters Staff


Electronica / Dub / Hip Hop from Berlin, Germany “After two brilliant 12-inches, berlin dub magicians Tolcha release their first longplayer Gestalt. Put out by Shir Khans and Tolchas new digi-hop label Meta Polyp, this album is going to be something like dark electronica, mixed with smokey dub and grimey post hip-hop.”—Meta Polyp Records

18-minute album sample: [MP3]
multiple tracks [official site]
more tracks [MySpace]

Stephen Fretwell

PopMatters review: “Magpie is indeed a stripped down, acoustic affair, packed with lovelorn melodies and bruised lyrics, but there is something else brooding here also. The album is shot through with a world-weariness and scruffy charisma that lends some of the songs a devastatingly understated emotional punch. And if at times, it fizzes more with promise than anything else, Stephen Fretwell is definitely a singer who could easily find his way into a tiny corner of your heart.”

“New York” (video) [windows | real]
“Emily” [windows | real]
“New York” [windows | real]

Amadou & Mariam
“Senegal Fast Food” [MP3]

Electric Soft Parade
“Cold World” [MP3]

John Ralston
“I Believe In Ghosts” [MP3]

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