Latest Blog Posts

by PopMatters Staff

29 Jun 2017


Tristan Kneschke: Increasingly, directors are placing a layer of noise or grain over the top of their videos to simulate vintage film stocks. The absurd thing is that video hosting services will then compensate for the added noise when compressing the signal, often eliminating it. It’s unclear if that’s what’s happening on Ariel Pink’s “Another Weekend”, or if the director has inverted the stylistic cue by intentionally blurring the entire frame. The result emphasizes Pink’s latest bizarro creation, placing him inside a seedy Mexican lounge complete with his own backing band, the edges of objects frustratingly unclarified and murky. Believe it or not, it services the lyrics that pine about lost time on the weekends, which can ring true for many of us during the bacchanalian summer days. [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

28 Jun 2017


Kevin Korber: I can understand why Radiohead left this off of OK Computer when it came out; while it shares the album’s sense of techno-paranoia, it’s far closer to a straightforward rock song than Radiohead probably would’ve liked. The song also has a dramatic ebb and flow that fits right in with the “saviors of rock” tag slapped onto the band in 1997. Despite this, “Man of War” is still excellent; it’s the sort of straightforward rock song that only Radiohead could pull off convincingly. Moreover, it has a decidedly organic element to its arrangement and to Thom Yorke’s vocal performance, as if it were the hint of a beating heart inside the computer. [8/10]

by A Noah Harrison

28 Jun 2017


Photo: Scott MacDonald

Terror Pigeon! (formerly The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt!) is Nashvillian Neil Fridd’s vehicle for spilling his heart all over the place, in the style of “funcore” or “affirmationcore”.

Funcore is defined by dense and danceable synth music that underpins mantras of undying positivity, often echoed by the audience during performances. These dynamic live shows heavily involve fans in the form of games and props—designed to foster an inclusive and, well, fun environment. (Dan Deacon is a good reference point.)

by PopMatters Staff

27 Jun 2017


Paul Carr: Built on the repetitive chime of synth bell Kubikov creates a panoramic soundscape full of whispered, ambient murmurs and groans. The song has been perfectly constructed to echo the feeling of a chilly wind weaving amongst the snowy, tree-lined landscape. It flits and drifts before picking up momentum and gliding off completely. A beautiful track but one that will make you want to snuggle up by the fire with a warm, milky drink. [7/10]

by Jonathan Frahm

27 Jun 2017


Photo courtesy of artist

Whether it’s across the flatlands of his hometown of Stillwater, OK or through the hustle and bustle of Austin, TX, Johnny Dango has been a hard-working modern troubadour anywhere the world has taken him. Having played alongside the likes of Stoney LaRue and beside such artists as Billy Joe Shaver and Jerry Jeff Walker, Dango has put in his dues with the best of them as a country bluesman before pursuing a solo venture along the lines of psychedelic folk rock.

His latest single, “I Was Wrong”, plays along the lines of the legends he’s played along with, but with a cosmic overlay that all feels like a reflective honky-tonk in outer space. Dango says of the track:

“‘I Was Wrong’ says that even a cynical, jaded bastard such as myself can have his whole world turned upside down by a woman. So, it’s about admitting I was wrong about a lot of things in the context of relationships. A straightforward country song seemed to be a trusty & reliable vehicle for expressing it simply, while also asking the important questions—why do people cling to fairy tale notions of love? Why do so many girls go for scumbags? Why do I always feel like I end up getting burned by love, especially when I can admit I was wrong and my ladyfriend was right? Unfortunately, I still don’t have many answers and thus remain a cynical, jaded bastard.

I have a pal who’s bound and determined to write a string of absolutely gut-wrenchingly god-awful, horrible, terrible and incredibly catchy country songs so he can sell them to the Toby Keiths of the world and get stupidly rich off of people’s poor taste. ‘I Was Wrong’ really started as my answer to a few of his finer numbers, like ‘God & Delta Airlines’, ‘Beer Thirty’, ‘Whiskey Christmas’, and ‘The Rambling Mesothelioma Blues’. Once I started writing the lyrics, though, some actual honest feelings about my ladyfriend crept in, because I hadn’t been in a serious relationship in quite a while and didn’t really want to be in one, either, and then it had just sort of happened. So the song became a lot less of a joke, even though that rhyme of loyalty/royalty manages to keep it somewhat comedic for me. And the relationship ultimately crashed and burned, and that’s just hilarious, too. When I got around to playing it for people, a few of them told me it was a nice song, and I should record it. Otherwise, it might have remained a backyard neighborhood jam.

As far as recording ‘I Was Wrong’ goes, I just wanted to live in that world of 1970s smooth AM country gold for a little while. I think I sometimes subconsciously write in rhythms and sounds I’d like to hear while driving long distances. To me, the tune is rather formulaic, but then I also happen to think that the formula is a pretty good one, and I’d personally rather hear this kind of country music than the swill Nashville is currently churning out. But, I guess it’s easier to sell hick hop songs about trucks and tractors and rivers and parties to the bedazzled jean zombies. Maybe the MXR Phase 90 is the ultimate bedazzled zombie weapon. I don’t know. It’s done a good enough job of keeping them away from my shows.”

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