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by Jane Jansen Seymour

14 Jun 2010


For months now I’ve been lusting after a new song by Hot Hot Heat. Never a big fan of the Vancouver group, I didn’t even know what band was playing when I first heard it on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. “21@12” instantly caught my attention as I reached over to crank the volume and bask in the redemptive quality of discovering a really good tune. When I checked the playlist online I was disappointed to find out it was an advance copy, privy only to DJs to play on demand. I went on to request the song on other new music radio shows and searched the web for an MP3 just to be able to hear it again.

“21@12” opens by sounding an alarm of synths before the band kicks in with a roller coaster of pop rock. The blistering vocals provoke and cajole, espousing the virtues of not being virtuous late into the night.  Then the musicians drop out to catch a breath during a descending swirl, before the drums kick things back in for the catchy hook in every chorus.

KCRW has the entire CD Future Breeds available as part of their Album Preview program through June 29th. The write up says this latest release is a “return to roots” for the band after venturing into indie rock, back to the noisy synths during the genesis of the group in 1999. Not sure how these opportunities for a free listen are affecting sales but I welcome every one, digging into the whole thing like a kid with candy. Although this time, the preview just reinforced my assumption that “21@12” is a hit destined as a solo pick for my next playlist.

When Future Breeds finally came out June 8th, I happily purchased “21@12” online and look forward to many a listen – until the next new favorite tune catches my ear.

by Jonathan Simrin

14 Jun 2010


Regardless of how brilliant or cop-out-esque the Lost series finale was, it seems like every network is trying to grab a piece of the island’s market. NBC is working the airplane angle with its mysterious fall series, The Event, while FOX is hoping the fans who are still trying to figure out the deal with that polar bear will tune in for the dinosaurs on the Steven Spielberg-produced Terra Nova.

Now enters AMC’s Rubicon, a show that has been shrouded in mystery up until now. The series stars James Badge Dale (The Pacific, 24) as an analyst working for a New York think tank. He soon finds himself caught up in a tangled web of conspiracy theories, national intelligence, and four-leaf clovers. The show seems to be in the right hands, with Henry Bromell (Homicide, Chicago Hope, Brotherhood) as showrunner and Allen Coulter (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie, Damages) set to direct the pilot. Although Rubicon will not officially premiere until August 1, AMC is showed the first episode in its entirety June 13.

by Sean McCarthy

11 Jun 2010


S&M getups - check. Homoerotic dancing routines - check. A more than slight Madonna homage midway though - check. Outrageous outfits - actually, this one actually has Lady Gaga exercising some subtlety in the costume department. Lady Gaga may have detractors, but it’s doubtful anyone would argue she may be the only artist out right now where the release of a video is treated as a media event.

Editor Note: Most likely, this video is not suited for work, unless you work at a truly awesome place.

by Dean Blumberg

11 Jun 2010


Sue Storm, the Fantastic Four's Invisible Woman

Sue Storm, the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Woman

I always just assumed an invisibility cloak was something relegated to Marvel Comic’s The Hood, the Fantastic Four’s Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman or some Tony Stark Iron Man development. Apparently the technology of comic books is not so far from scientific developments in today’s real world.

Anil Ananthaswamy posted a piece on the New Scientist website this week about advancements in what innovators term “optical camouflage technology”. Researchers at Duke, UC Berkeley and University of St. Andrews are hard at work are using “metamaterials”, or materials with strong electromagnetic properties with a negative refraction index. From what I’ve read in the linked reports on the New Scientist piece, light does not reflect or refract but instead bends around these materials rendering them “invisible” to our visible spectrum. Wait a second, this sound like something from TV’s Lost!

However, we are still far from Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four. Today’s cloaking technology works primarily on 2D objects. As Ananthaswamy explains, “[the] first cloak could only hide two-dimensional objects viewed from specific directions – and only if they were ‘viewed using one particular microwave frequency. Producing a cloak to hide objects from visible light, which has a wavelength several orders of magnitude smaller than microwaves – let alone cloaking objects when viewed from any direction – seemed a more remote possibility”.

As New Scientist reports, 3D cloaking is currently the project that scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany are working on. If comic books are any indication of scientific advancements of the future, I expect Pym Particles that allow humans to radically alter their size to be developed by 2020.

by Sarah Zupko

10 Jun 2010


Here at PopMatters, we’ve been Katzenjammer fans since well back to 2008 when Adrien Begrand had the good fortune of catching their show at by:Larm 2008 in Oslo, Norway. He was smitten with the Norwegian four-piece band, who he likened to a Scandinavian Dixie Chicks. Well, that sold me as an unrepentant Dixie Chicks lover. Begrand picked up a copy of Le Pop in Norway that year and we thought highly enough of it to place it on the 2008 edition of Slipped Discs.

Just to reiterate, here’s what Begrand had to say back then: “Loaded with sea shanties, Balkan gypsy folk music, bluegrass, blues, German cabaret, twee orchestral pop, and delivered with the reckless abandon of punk rock, there’s a lot to digest on the manic debut album by Norwegian foursome Katzenjammer, but the charisma of these four talented ladies always wins us over. With each member a lead singer and multi-instrumentalist, the band’s versatility is remarkable a live setting and especially on record, as Le Pop veers from raucous (“A Bar in Amsterdam”, “Hey Ho on the Devil’s Back”) to tender (Wading in Deeper”), each song boasting plenty of gorgeous, rich four-part vocal harmonies.”

Now, finally, in 2010, Katzenjammer is hitting US shores with Le Pop releasing 29 June on Nettwerk Records. They were here back in 2009 after David Byrne became a fan and had them play his 2009 curated stage at Bonnaroo. This year, they’re on a short US tour before hitting the circuit with the musical women on the Lilith Fair tour revival (dates after the jump).

In the meantime, we have the pleasure today of premiering this live video of “A Bar in Amsterdam” shot at the Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway. Enjoy… it’s impossible not to really.

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