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Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014
PopMatters caught up with Mecca Normal's Jean Smith on the Vancouver duo's upcoming album Empathy for the Evil. The video for album track "Between Livermore & Tracy" premieres here.

Going on 30 years together now, underground provocateurs Mecca Normal are still at it pushing buttons with their art-minded and politically charged music. But those more familiar with the searing, rough-hewn sound of Mecca Normal’s best-known works might be surprised to the hear the layered melodies and expansive compositions of Empathy for the Evil, the Vancouver duo’s first full-length effort in eight years. What’s a constant here, though, is the intellectual depth and socially engaged intensity that Jean Smith and David Lester have been known for across numerous artistic media. PopMatters caught up with Smith to find out more about the concepts behind Empathy for the Evil and how her and Lester’s work in writing and visual arts relate to their music. Empathy for the Evil is releasing on September 30 via M’lady’s Records and Mecca Normal embark on a new tour this week (see the dates below). Their new video for the album track “Between Livermore & Tracy” premieres here on PopMatters.


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Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

“My father told me, this is a dark organization, don’t go there.” Gonen Ben Itzhak sets up the moment when he decided to join Shin Bet, the Israeli secret security service, with his reaction to the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. “I was shocked like everybody else,” he says, “I felt I needed to do something for my country.” His belief that joining Shin Bet appeared to be that something initiates the unresolved, perhaps irresolvable, conundrum at the center of The Green Prince, open in theaters 12 September. That conundrum begins with definitions and expectations, of self and nation, individual and community, morality, vengeance, and survival. The Palestinians were enemies, even the idea of Palestine was an existential threat to Israel, and so Itzhak embraced his work as a handler of double agents for Shin Bet, believing that the lines were clearly drawn. They were not. As it tells the story of Itzhak’s complicated relationship with one of these, Mosab Hassan Yousef, also known as “Son of Hamas,” Nadav Schirman’s film blurs lines as well, between drama and documentary, truth and desire, intersecting stories framed by smart edits between reenactments, archival footage, and interviews. 


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Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
Anyone on the market for some unadulterated vintage rock and roll should give Trigger Hippy's self-titled LP a spin as fast as possible.

Trigger Hippy is a tour de force collaboration of established rock heroes. The group was created by Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman, who is joined by Joan Osborne and Jackie Greene on dual vocals, Tom Bukovac on guitars, and Nick Govrik on bass. Trigger Hippy, the quintet’s full-length, self-titled debut, has the homey feel of a great classic rock record.


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Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014
The myriad sounds of world music and the creative impulses of the electronic remix come together in the eclectic hodgepodge Psychedelic Planet, out now through Six Degrees records.

The record label Six Degrees has taken on an ambitious task with Psychedelic Planet, its latest compilation. Dubbing the project “globetronica”, the album brings together remixes of tunes Bombay Dub Orchestra, Jeff Stott, and Vieux Farka Touré into a cohesive and creative collection of world music re-imagined by today’s leading electronic artists, including Bassnectar.


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Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014
Brazilian dream-pop artist SILVA's latest album, Ocean View, offers the listener an inviting collection of dreamy, beach-worthy tunes.

Those who like their dream pop with real substance—that is to say, dream pop that doesn’t get obsessed with its own dreaminess—ought to jump right on the latest LP by the Brazilian artist SILVA, entitled Ocean View. From the subtle pulse of “Okinawa” to the full-on ‘80s saxophone blast of “Janeiro”, SILVA has crafted a batch of songs that are equally fun as they are beautiful. The music has all the familiar dream pop traits, but most importantly it’s unafraid to emphasize the latter of the two words in that genre designation.


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