In an upcoming review of Mahjongg’s The Long Shadow of the Paper Tiger later this week, PopMatters’ Scott Branson says the record is “noisy and repetitive, without neglecting pop hooks. Mahjongg incorporates interesting elements of pop music without confining the songs to a typical structure. The result is an uncompromising sound in which harsh verges on sweet.” That intriguing mixture is on full display in their new single “Whoop”, which we have the pleasure of premiering today. The Chicago band is clearly indebted to ‘80s new wave with their pop friendly electronic beats, but the sound is also more spare and the songs less traditionally structured than that earlier musical form and is completely contemporary as a result. The group coined a term for their artistic approach, “Chicagotronics”, which they describe as “a wall of sound command center with drums and humans”. Dig into the fractured beats and rather discoey vocals of “Whoop” and check them out at an upcoming show (dates after the jump).
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The nominations for the UK’s coveted Mercury Prize have been announced and include a couple PopMatters favorites like the xx, Foals, I Am Kloot, and Paul Weller. Below is the full list along with our ratings, reviews and videos for each release. We’re betting that London’s the xx is going to nab the ultimate honor, but UK bookmakers William Hill are declaring even odds between the xx and Dizzee Rascal. It just doesn’t feel like Dizzee Rascal’s year, as all the momentum has been with the xx and they’ve got far more critical acclaim behind their self-titled debut than Dizzee’s recent effort.
FunnyorDie.com pulls one over on the dedicated karaoke crowd at the Gas Lite by placing singer Jewel under disguise to sing a few of her songs as reluctant businesswoman Karen.
The promo trailer for Gary Shteyngart’s new novel Super Sad True Love Story features an interesting cast that includes actor James Franco as well as literary notables Edmund White, Mary Gaitskill, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Jay McInerney. The Russian Jewish immigrant has the famous guest stars humorously point out Shteyngart’s failings and general ignorance. What it has to do with the book is never clear, but hey, he comes off a as a fun guy who just wants to win readers through his associations with others. This makes more sense than a book blurb these days, and is more fun to watch.
First Film: The Untouchables (Brian De Palma, 1987) as Elliot Ness’ wife Catherine
Must-see: High Art (Lisa Cholodenko, 1998); Pieces of April (Peter Hedges, 2003); Dogville (Lars von Trier, 2004)
Star Turn: The Station Agent (Thomas McCarthy, 2003)
Underrated: The Dying Gaul (Craig Lucas, 2006)
Upcoming, Current and/or Recent: Clarkson, the consummate supporting actress of our time, has recently stolen scenes in the films of Woody Allen (2008’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona and 2009’s Whatever Works) and Martin Scorsese on this year’s Shutter Island. Clarkson will next be seen in in IFC’s Cairo Time, in a romantic, leading lady turn.