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by PopMatters Staff

28 Feb 2017


Photo: RETO STERCHI

Mike Schiller: Well, a thing doesn’t always have to be subtle to be beautiful, does it? Fresh off his Grammy win and a surprise appearance in the “Album of the Year” category comes the video for the song he played at that particular ceremony. Just in case we weren’t sure of Simpson’s stance on our current president, he makes it very clear here. In the video, a child—and, one is to assume, all the purity of heart and mind that child is meant to represent—gives an iron-fisted Trump the what-for, smashes a heart-shaped hole in a tremendous wall, and rids the world of war machines. It’s comforting to see these sorts of messages come out of the heartland and at a time when Simpson’s audience is as broad as it has ever been. For its part, the song itself is as beautiful and appropriate as it could be. It’s a tale of perseverance and strength and love in 6/8 country-gospel style, complete with a few brilliant Dap-Kings horns to bring it all home. Just lovely. [9/10]

by PopMatters Staff

28 Feb 2017


Paul Carr: One-half of Fuck Buttons returns with this taster from his forthcoming third album World Eater. On “Please”, Benjamin John Power demonstrates a lightness of touch as he manages to combine the ambiance of his early solo work with the heavier beats and more danceable rhythms of previous album Dumb Flesh. It’s a testament to his mastery of manipulating the space between notes to build a euphonious yet dizzying sound. It saunters to the edge of a cliff before dropping, chased by harder, edgier beats. Blanck Mass stops it from hitting the ground by cushioning the beats with bright, airy synths and looping, distorted vocals. Excellent. [9/10]

by Sarah Zupko

28 Feb 2017


Lost in Stars is the nom de plume of the British-born composer, writer, and poet Dylan Willoughby who now finds his inspiration in the stars of Hollywood rather than the green gardens of England. Willoughby took some time away from music to work on an MFA and focus on his writing, but music is a passionate siren, and it can easily lure the creative soul back to its beckoning waters. Willoughby may have been classically trained, but it’s electronic music that has always been his prime inspiration and on this new song “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” one can hear his warm musical style and fine pop sense. Partnering often with singer Kid Moxie, Willoughby again uses her ethereal and dreamy voice to great effect on his new single.

by Jonathan Frahm

28 Feb 2017


With the guitar and vocals of Matthew Zeltzer and Maria Maita-Keppler at their sound’s forefront, together with bassist Will Haas and drummer, Benjamin Nathan O’Brien, the American West concoct an authentic dust bowl vibe. The lead single from their upcoming album, The Soot Will Bring Us Back Again, “Roadsick Blues”, paints a desert rock soundscape. Featuring imagery redolent of a literal and figurative desolate road, it’s a captivating song of heartbreak that feels like true, blue Americana.

by PopMatters Staff

27 Feb 2017


Adriane Pontecorvo: Lana Del Rey is more than the sum of her parts. Her voice is good, her lyrics are relatable, and her melodies are pleasant. That’s a good enough start, but it’s not what makes her special. Her hook, the reason she has such a die-hard fanbase and continues to sell album after album, is glamour. It’s in her name, her style, her videos, her music: a haunting blend of romance and tragedy, velvet and starlight, the open spaces of America and the smoky darkness of an old-fashioned jazz lounge. None of this is to take away from her raw talents, singing and writing, which are above average even in a song about such oft-repeated subjects as young love and looking back. But, as with any real star, it’s her delivery, the melancholy with which she sings that “it’s enough just to make you go crazy, crazy, crazy,” that entrances. “Love” is another wistful chapter in Lana Del Rey’s songbook, nostalgic, bittersweet, and benefiting from Del Rey’s affinity for all things heartbreaking. [8/10]

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