Latest Blog Posts

by Brice Ezell

2 Jun 2015


In writing about John Newman for PopMatters’ “Best New and Emerging Artists 2013”, Colin McGuire claims, “If 2013 was the year… Newman broke through into a good bit of Europe’s broken hearts, 2014 ought to be the year the western world takes notice. The guy is a master at writing songs that beg to be played in arenas, and [debut album] Tribute, if nothing else, proves that the artist behind them is certainly worthy of the stage.” If you haven’t discovered Newman’s anthemic and infectious music—“Love Me Again” truly is the definition of the latter—then there’s no time better than the present, as Newman has just dropped a new single, “Come and Get It”. Unsurprisingly for the young (soon to turn 25) musician, the chorus is positively huge, and catchy in a near undeniable way.

by Brice Ezell

2 Jun 2015


Photo: Justin Hackworth

In August 2015, the Provo, Utah band the National Parks will release their sophomore LP Until I Live. As the lyric video for album cut “Monsters of the North” reveals, however, this seven-piece outfit has already readied itself for the summer months. With elegant typeface laid atop a string of beautifully photographed nature imagery, “Monsters of the North”‘s lyric video feels like a whole summer rolled up into three minutes and 52 seconds. Combine that with a chorus that’s perfect for road-trip singalongs and you’ve got a fine aural/video pairing.

by Brice Ezell

2 Jun 2015


Photo: Jessica Scarane

Teen Men take their name from a Playboy advert dating back to the ‘60s. The opening tune of their new, self-titled LP, “Hiding Records (So Dangerous)”, begins with a phrase that sounds like an alternate take on the Rugrats theme. From this, one can reasonably infer that “playful” is among the adjectives one can pin on the Delaware-based quartet. Yet this slightly goofy creativity exists not merely for the purpose of giggle-inducing; rather, it’s another dimension to Teen Men’s multi-colored sonic canvas. To hear these colors in play, you can stream Teen Men in full below.

by Brice Ezell

2 Jun 2015


In a short feature on American Songwriter, the North Carolina septet Songs of Water were asked what their turn-ons and turn-offs are. Their answer was simple:

Turn-Offs: false pretense

Turn-Ons: authenticity

These folks aren’t joking. One listen to Stars and Dust, the group’s gorgeous new LP, and you’ll find nary a hint of the former and the plenty of the latter. With a lush, emotional musical landscape that more often than not evokes the feel of a film score, Stars and Dust is a complex journey from beginning to end. From the piano-driven beauty of album highlight “She’s Only Sleeping” to the wide-eyed wonderment of closer “Chiaroscuro”, you’re bound to get lost in the many paths Songs of Water take. Stars and Dust is an apt title; by the time the album reaches its conclusion, you’ll have journeyed to the stars from the dust, and then back again.

by Brice Ezell

2 Jun 2015


The Jacksonville, Florida band Sea Cycles is an interesting case as far as music that’s been called “synth-pop” goes. Whereas the regular practitioners of that style typically place vocals at the center—albeit usually through a gamut of vocal processors and effects—this quartet’s music is primarily instrumental, evoking the stylistics of post-rock. Both “Your Mind is a Sundial” and “Fiber Optic Cables To Antarctica” are close sonic kin to the music of Mogwai, the former sounding like a potential B-side to 2001’s Rock Action. Introspective in disposition and pensive in mood, Ground & Air is an instrumental set that conjures up vivid mental landscapes, as the best instrumental music is in wont to do.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Pop Unmuted Podcast: Resilience, Melancholy, and Rihanna's "American Oxygen" with Dr. Robin James

// Sound Affects

"Pop Unmuted talks to Dr. Robin James about her book Resilience and Melancholy: Pop Music, Feminism, Neoliberalism and Rihanna's latest hit "American Oxygen".

READ the article