CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

 
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Monday, Jan 19, 2015
Those interested in the American Sniper controversy ought to check out Dan Krauss' documentary The Kill Team, which similarly explores the dehumanization of war.

While American Sniper generates debate over its protagonist’s patriotism as well as remarkable box office returns, here’s another film that considers the dire effects of war on its soldiers. on PBS’ Independent Lens, Dan Krauss’ The Kill Team focuses on the Maywand District murders, committed by US soldiers in 2010, a case made notorious by a Rolling Stone article that included photos of the soldiers posing with corpses.


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Monday, Jan 19, 2015
The newest outing by the New Jersey singer/songwriter Ryan Hobler is a welcoming potpourri of folk stylings.

Folk music is one big tent in terms of stylistic diversity, a fact encapsulated nicely by the latest LP by the singer/songwriter Ryan Hobler. Produced by Andy Baldwin (Bjork, Saint Lucia, Wakey! Wakey!), The Elusive Yes runs the gamut of folk styles in 12 tracks. Hobler himself lists Paul Simon, Elliott Smith, and Nick Drake as formative influences on his music, but even more can be heard throughout this album, which you can stream exclusively below. “Bob vs. Jack vs. The World” takes Hobler’s affable tenor and marries it to a tune that wouldn’t sound out of place in a barn hoedown. The indie-friendly “Holding On With All Their Might” brings to mind the music of Sufjan Stevens. Best of all is the subtly brooding “See What You’re Doing to Me”, which adds a nice dash of noir to the variegated experimentation of The Elusive Yes. All in all, anyone that’s a fan of indie folk or the increasingly popular trend in acoustic music writ large will find something to like in this not-so-elusive album.


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Friday, Jan 16, 2015
With herky-jerky drums and layered pad synths, Bjørn Torske's "Eight Years" is an example of the early Norwegian disco scene that spawned artists like Todd Terje.

At the end of January, two works by the pioneering Norwegian electronic musician Bjørn Torske, Nedi Myra and Trøbbel, will be reissued on CD and vinyl. This will be the first such treatment received by each record; both saw small releases in 1998 and 2001, respectively. Torske’s work is notable for its importance in the lineage of electronic music in his home country.  Fellow Norwegian electronic musician Todd Terje, whose 2014 LP It’s Album Time! is ranked 34th on PopMatters’ Best Albums of 2014, says of Torske, “Nedi Myra was one of the first house albums I bought, or at least that´s what I THOUGHT it was. Weird futuro-bossa and foggy disco-not-really-disco was more like it. And for years I actually thought that was Bjørn on the cover, and that he lived out in the woods with his guitar… tsk tsk.”


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Friday, Jan 16, 2015
With a cool percussive pattern and plinked notes juxtaposed against a windy, beautiful violin, "Miles of Skyline" is an instrumentally sophisticated number by the promising folk outfit River Whyless.

One wouldn’t be wrong in grouping the North Carolina quartet River Whyless in with many of the other so-called “folk revival” groups at the moment, but these musicians are distinctive in several key ways. Rather than focus on layered vocal harmonies (Fleet Foxes) or rousing calls to camaraderie and sentimentalism (Mumford and Sons), this group brings interesting and sophisticated musical technique to the forefront. On “Miles of Skyline”, drummer Alex McWalters lays down a knotty rhythmic foundation upon which Ryan O’Keefe plucks a pizzicato-esque guitar pattern in tandem with Halli Anderson’s rustic violin. Best of all, none of these nuanced arrangements ever get too assertive, allowing Anderson and bassist Daniel Shearin’s vocals room to breathe. In a genre that’s getting increasingly oversaturated by the day, the unique compositional style of River Whyless is a breath of fresh air.


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Friday, Jan 16, 2015
David Strange once said that “reality is inherently psychedelic." One listen to his track "Lion Tattoo" and you'll be able to see why.

On the surface, the tune “Lion Tattoo”, the closing number off of David Strange’s forthcoming self-titled EP, sounds nothing more like a graceful lullaby on fingerpicked guitar. If one listens closely, however, to both the subtle production technique and the lyrics (there’s talk of a boy with tentacles at one point), it’s easy to tell that Strange is, well, an artist that more than lives up to his name. Then again, one was probably already clued into that fact by one gander at the EP cover art—thank the heavens for strategically placed fish. Below you can stream this weird and delightful little song, which encapsulates an epigram of Strange’s: “Reality is inherently psychedelic.”


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