Alternative rock legends The Smashing Pumpkins have intrigued audiences for years. Their distinct brand of music, combining elements of almost every kind of rock, has achieved critical acclaim and garnered them success. By 2000, the band broke up, leaving little hope for a reunion. Fortunately, in 2006, the band officially announced their reunion and their goal to record a new album. Zeitgeist was released July 10, 2007.
Originating in 1979, the Beastie Boys are still turning out new and great music to this day. Combining rock and punk with rap, the Beastie Boys achieved fame, reaching Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” at #77. On June 26th, they released their latest album, The Mix-Up, an album of only instrumental songs.
Rush has become one of the most prominent Canadian rock bands today, awarded many Juno Awards and inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Beginning in 1968, Rush consisted of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and John Rutsey, playing blues-rock music. Later Rutsey was dropped and Neil Peart joined, eventually establishing them as the legendary progressive rock band that they are today. Recently, Rush released Snakes & Arrows and is currently on a North American and European tour.
Comedian Bill Maher continues to captivate audiences with his witty jabs at both the American government and American culture. Previously, Bill Maher hosted the political talk show, Politically Incorrect, but after a comment about the 9/11 attacks six days later, ABC cancelled his show. To ensure this does not happen again, Maher moved to HBO to host Real Time with Bill Maher, a show lacking censorship and commercial breaks. Currently, while his show is on hiatus, Bill Maher performs stand-up comedy, bringing the same politically edgy attitude he has always brought.
“As the mainstream dance artists of yesteryear become more and more involved with making “important” music, the throne of Dance Floor Dominance lies wide open (with Justice and Simian Mobile Disco both making triumphant runs for the crown). In the end, Justice has the stronger record over Simian Mobile Disco, but such a statement is dangerously close to splitting hairs: both albums are fantastic, but their individual achievements are undermined by what these artists are representing: a complete overhaul of modern dance music that’s taking Big Beat back to its roots.”—Evan Sawdey, PopMatters review [8/10]
“Blitzen Trapper, you romance my senses. Your mélange of homespun ballads and raucous anthems amuses and delights. It is as though you’ve written the soundtrack to some vivid western picaresque. We traipse merrily from snowboarding exhibition to drug-induced hallucination. Here, an excursion with a brash country maiden. There, a slow wagon-ride to Paw Trapper’s lodge. What joyful adventures! Though I may not understand you, I pay homage to your musical wit. Good show.”—Tyler Womack, PopMatters review [7/10]
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has released Virginia Roots as a digital-only compilation in conjunction with the 41st annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The compilation highlights artists from Virginia this year as it’s the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Virginia settlement. Watch for an upcoming review of this intruiging collection by Justin Cober-Lake on PopMatters very soon. In the meantime, check out the classic bluegrass of the Stanley Brothers. Buy at: URGE or Zune.
The Summer Song” (feat. Claire L. Evans) [MP3]