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by John Garratt

28 Sep 2011


This is what happens when three producers are allowed to look over a band’s shoulder. To describe the build of Coldplay’s new song “Paradise” as ‘formulaic’ is putting it mildly and politely. At the 35 second mark, the carefully measured introduction gives way to an urbanized synth bass line that functions as a supporting act for the sterilized and incredibly unimaginatively arranged strings. If any Coldplay devotees were disappointed by their previous single “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”, they should count their blessings that it at least didn’t feel so very forced. “Paradise” is about a female who takes mental vacations, dreaming of para-para-paradise. What, you may ask, was making life so hard for her? “Life goes on, it gets so heavy / the wheel breaks the butterfly / every tear a waterfall.” Hey, now hold on just a minute there, guys!

by Cynthia Fuchs

27 Sep 2011


“I’m a New Yorker from Brooklyn. I’m not a community activist, I’m not an Islamic academic. This isn’t something I’ve been studying. I’m a New Yorker who is a real estate junkie who has ambition…” Sharif El-Gamal pauses. “That’s who I am.” Premiering on 27 September,, Frontline: The Man Behind the Mosque considers who that might be, as well as how his plans to build at Park51 became a symbol of across the United States and beyond. Called the “Ground Zero mosque,” the project at Park Place was supposed to provide space for prayer and community activities, and make El-Gamal some money too. But when blogger Pamela Geller raised an alarm on her website and her and Robert Spencer’s group, “Stop the Islamization of America,” began to protest the falsely named “Victory Mosque,” the controversy “caught fire,” says El-Gamal. Frontline briefly notes the famous people who jumped on this fast-rolling bandwagon, from Newt Gingrich to Sean Hannity, but it stays mostly focused on El-Gamal’s professions of surprise, his tearful concerns for his own children as the focus of strangers’ fear and hate, and his increasing tensions with his mentor and, for a time, Park51’s Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf. The mix of personalities and interests is, of course, much more complex than the Fox News debates or the NYC tabs presented them. Frontline makes that much clear.

by Sachyn Mital

27 Sep 2011


Earlier this year, PopMatters premiered Anika’s video for “I Go to Sleep” just as she set out on a number of Stateside DJ appearances. Now shes back to the States for a full tour in live performance mode. Her stops along both coasts include a visit to Toronto and a stop at this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties event in Asbury Park, NJ.

To celebrate, we’re presenting a stream for her track “No One’s There” from her debut album along with a remix edit from Ratman and a bonus track “He Needs Me”. Check it out and catch her on tour soon.

by Cynthia Fuchs

27 Sep 2011


“When we are home, we won’t even know what to say to the kids.” As Chen Suqin imagines the holiday visit she and her husband Zhang Changhua will make in a few days, she’s hardly happy. Some 16 years ago, the couple left Huilong Village, Sichuan Province to find work in the city. As they head home, along with some 130 million other migrant workers during the Chinese New Year, they ponder their decision. “We were very poor when we left,” Suqin remembers. “My mother held our baby when I left. Qin was only one year old. I was crying when I left.”

by Gem Wheeler

26 Sep 2011


During the heady days of the electro revival a few years back, Anita Blay—aka CocknBullKid—looked set to make her mark. I saw her in Sheffield in 2008, where she won over a fractious crowd with nervous charm and a distinctive brand of stomping, instantly catchy electro. An appearance on British music show Later… With Jools Holland happened at around the same time, along with several nods to her talent in end-of-year ‘ones to watch’ lists. Then - nothing. 

Luckily for us, she’d gone nowhere. Taking time out to rethink her sound and sign to Moshi Moshi, she burst back on to the scene with an impressive debut album, Adulthood, in April this year. With her brutally honest, self-deprecating lyrics, quirky visual style and sense of fun, she’s a cut above the usual pop-electro hybrids. The video for single “One Eye Closed” says it all—brilliant and bonkers. Watch and love.

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