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by PopMatters Staff

26 Jan 2012


Two Dark Birds frontman Steve Koester left the 24/7 lights of New York City well behind him and forged a new life deep in the Catskills recently. The move has given him a fresh musical lease on life and infused the band’s latest album, Songs For The New, with a new vibrancy. Or as Koester says, “this whole album is, in a sense, about being born… or being reborn.” The music draws from a vast wellspring of influences and sounds, including folk, Americana, R&B, and pysch rock, as well as employing a broad range of instrumentation, of which horns and strings are prominent.

Keeping with that theme, the new Scott Kawczynski-directed video for “Black Blessed Night” depicts the flight of a bird from the confines of the city to the freedom of nature in the mountains. Obviously, Koester is super pleased with his new residence. The song itself is described as being “about freedom and about how nature or music can pull you out of yourself.”


by Joseph Fisher

25 Jan 2012


I went to Disney World for the first time in my life in November 2011. At that time, I saw, in person, the Joy Division Mickey Mouse T-Shirt. Since I spent the days after the trip attempting to suppress all memories of dancing and singing animals, copious amounts of fried food, and dancing and singing animals eating copious amounts of fried food, I never wrote anything about the truly bizarre nature of this souvenir. So, of course, Pitchfork scooped me.

No matter. The more press this story gets, the better.

All I can add is that the thought of every roller coaster in the park playing Joy Division music—“It’s getting faster moving faster now… Lights are flashing, cars are crashing…”—is either one of the most horrible or most awesome thoughts ever. As they say in an election year, you decide. Cast your votes in the comments section.

by Cynthia Fuchs

25 Jan 2012


Ayrton Senna was a star. As recounted in Asif Kapadia’s terrific documentary, the Formula One driver was not only skilled and daring, but also charismatic and thoughtful. The film begins as he arrives from Brazil for the first time in Europe to compete in goo-kart races, and immediately draws attention, from other racers as well as media. “It was pure driving, pure racing,” he says in an interview at the time, 1978. “There wasn’t any politics involved in it, no money involved either. Like it was real racing.” The film goes on to consider the many ways that politics manifest in Formula One racing, the ways that teams make money, hire drivers, and contract with media, even as it also conveys what’s thrilling about the driving, from a driver’s perspective, for the most part. Using remarkable footage from inside drivers’ cockpits. As Senna, his chief competitor and teammate Alain Prost, and a range of number of international commentators and journalists discuss what’s at stake, for national, corporate and individual identities, the film leads inevitably to Senna’s death in 1994, following a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy. Less celebratory than contemplative, more nuanced than definitive, the documentary articulates risks and also allows the drivers to describe their nearly ecstatic experiences. Senna is a heady mix of material, psychic, and emotional elements, unresolved.

by Cynthia Fuchs

24 Jan 2012


“It masks pain from head to toe.” And, Andrea Kremer continues, “It’s a part of the game that the public’s not really supposed to see.” “It” is Toradol and the game is football, together the focus of the lead story on the latest Real Sports, premiering on HBO 24 January. As Kremer’s disturbing report reveals, this non-narcotic “wonder drug” has been used by players for years, but it’s only recently—in part because of a lawsuit brought by an increasing number of former players against the NFL, alleging a conspiracy to conceal information about concussions. The suit includes language pointing to the blood-thinning effects of Toradol as one of the exacerbating elements in some concussions. These are also associated with other consequences, according to Real Sports’ interviews with former team doctors and other experts, including gastro intestinal bleeding and liver and kidney disease. When Kremer reveals this information to the Chicago Bears’ Brian Urlacher, he sounds surprised, but he insists he’ll continue to take Toradol. “We love football,” he explains. “We want to be on the football field as much as possible.” When an NFL rep suggests that he sees her report as an “opportunity” for players and fans to “get this information,” she makes exactly the right point: “But they’re getting it through us, they’re not getting it through you.”

by PopMatters Staff

24 Jan 2012


Soso is a rising Swedish singer with true pop star potential and if she plays her cards right, she could be the next heartthrob diva. She’s already drawing praise from Interview Magazine and RCRD LBL, who said “Soso is Swedish superpower composed of Monica Belluci’s face, Robyn’s voice and Adele’s heartbreak.” Her debut album, That Time I Dug So Deep I Ended Up in China will release this coming May 1st and “Who’s Gonna Love Me” is the catchy first single, which you can check out below. The first remix of the tune was produced by Ghost and today we present the premiere of the second remix by Helium Robots, which presents a more mellow vibe with a dreamy and cloudy haze over the song.

Here’s the original track and an additional remix…

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Stone Dead: Murder and Myth in 'Medousa'

// Short Ends and Leader

"A wry tale which takes in Greek mythology, punk rock and influences of American suspense-drama, this is an effective and curious thriller about myth and obsession.

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