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by Arnold Pan

20 Apr 2012


While the easiest way to describe Chicago’s Cains & Abels is to call ‘em a ‘70s folk-rock revival act, there’s something more contemporary to their music than that tag captures. Certainly, mainman David Sampson’s handiwork has an affinity for singer-songwriters of yesteryear, but the Cains & Abels sound has a current feel to it. PopMatters is premiering the video for the band’s single “Stay Home Tonight” from their recently released album My Life Is Easy, and it’s hard not to notice how its poignant twang, touches of reverb, and off-kilter vocals recall a more contemplative version of an early Band of Horses song.

Cains & Abels will be releasing a limited edition 7” single of “Stay Home Tonight” this Saturday, April 21, exclusively for Record Store Day, which they are marking with an in-store performance at Chicago’s Saki Store (Carrot Top Distribution). The 7” features the title track A-side and a rendition of Harry Nilsson’s “Turn on Your Radio” on the flip side.

by Cynthia Fuchs

20 Apr 2012


“I’m sick and tired of worrying about gas prices every six months, I’m sick and tired of these failed wars in the Middle East,” says Gavin Newsom. “I’m sick and tired of breathing the air that we’re breathing.” One of the several celebrity talking heads in Revenge of the Electric Car, Chris Paine’s follow-up to Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006), the California Lieutenant Governor lays out the most obvious reasons electric cars are a good idea. Taking such rationale as pretty much self-evident (Danny DeVito on his now-extinct EV1: “I wasn’t gunking up the air, it was a fantastic ride”), the new documentary follows independent entrepreneurs like Gadget Abbott (who refits a gas-fueled Triumph Spitfire and a GT6 to take electricity) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk (whom Jon Favreau describes as “The closest you’re going to get in real life to Tony Stark”), as well as mainstream bosses like GM’s Bob Lutz (who presses for the Chevy Volt) and Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn (the Leaf). They all want to make the world better and also make money. Narrator Tim Robbins introduces turns in the story with colorful, if simplifying, phrases (“Elon’s coup was just what Bob needed to drag GM back into the race”), and the film briefly recalls the 2008 auto hearings (with a shot of a corporate jet to emphasize the Big Three automakers’ tone-deafness) as well as the subsequent bailout. These efforts to bring back electric cars help to structure a seemingly linear adventure, as the documentary accepts and even celebrates the ways that money drives the process of revolution. Where the first film railed against conspiring corporations and government, this one insists they need to be part of the solution.

Revenge of the Electric Car premieres this week on Independent Lens.

by PopMatters Staff

20 Apr 2012


You loved our last Anathema premiere so much—it was the most popular MP3 premiere on PopMatters ever—that we’re pleased to bring you another new Anathema tune, “The Storm Before the Calm”. Anathema has a long musical history dating back all the way to 1990 when the band emerged from Liverpool as a figurehead in the death/doom metal genre. Evolving over time, Anathema is now more of a modern progressive rock ensemble, producing far more challenging music than at its origin.

Weather Systems is the new record, releasing next Tuesday (24 April), and Anathema counts it as their most musically ambitious effort to date. Daniel Cavanagh explains, “it feels like we are at a creative peak right now, and this album reflects that. Everything from the production to the writing to the performances are a step up from our last album. This is not background music for parties. The music is written to deeply move the listener, to uplift or take the listener to the coldest depths of the soul.” “The Storm Before the Calm” typifies that shoot-for-the-stars approach, as it plays rather like a mini rock symphony, chock full of leitmotivs and dramatic movement.

Read our review of Weather Systems.

by PopMatters Staff

19 Apr 2012


by PopMatters Staff

19 Apr 2012


A Place to Bury Strangers tour Europe until May 13, ending up in Leeds, before kicking off a Western US round of dates in Austin and ending in gorgeous Vancouver, after which they stamp an exclamation point on their gigs with a show in the home of Boardwalk Empire. Dates below the jump.


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