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by PopMatters Staff

30 Sep 2011


Rex Riddem and Mustafa Akbar are the duo at the heart of performance wunderkinds Nappy Riddem. They seamlessly blend hip-hop, soul, Afrobeat, funk and reggae into a cohesive whole aimed at packed dancefloors. Next week their debut album One World Sovereignty releases via Fort Knox Recordings, the Washington DC renegade funk ‘n’ soul label. It’s a perfect home for genre-mashers like Nappy Riddem, who joyfully respect no boundaries, instead drawing from virtually every genre of the African Diaspora. To celebrate the new album, Nappy Riddem has graciously given us a truly bangin’ mixtape with their funked of versions of classic tunes by Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Zap Mama, Kanye West, and more, as well as their own song “Angle It”. It’s a perfect collection of warm sounds that’ll heat up our rapidly cooling autumn days. The full tracklist after the jump, while you can now pre-order One World Sovereignty.

by PopMatters Staff

29 Sep 2011


Synthpop legends Erasure return this fall with a new album, Tomorrow’s World, releasing 3 October in the UK and 10 October in the US. By way of introducing their new tunes, Vince Clarke and Andy Bell present this 15-minute mini-film wherein they discuss their latest music, as well as discuss their artistic legacy.

Erasure has just released the first single “When I Start To (Break It All Down)” and you can find a rehearsal video for that below the jump. Frankmusik heads up the production on Tomorrow’s World, giving the album a thoroughly contemporary dance-pop sheen, such as he has perfected in previous work with Lady Gaga, Pet Shop Boys, and Ellie Goulding. But then, it’s pretty hard to imagine much of today’s electropop without the likes of Erasure, Yaz (Vince Clarke’s previous group with Alison Moyet), and Depeche Mode (Vince Clarke’s first major group). OK, let’s give it up for Vince Clarke, who is virtually the architect of the hook-filled pop melody driven by warm and dancey synths. It’s a 180 from the earlier cooler sounds of Kraftwerk and the rawer guitar/synth/bass mixture of New Order.

by John Garratt

28 Sep 2011


This is what happens when three producers are allowed to look over a band’s shoulder. To describe the build of Coldplay’s new song “Paradise” as ‘formulaic’ is putting it mildly and politely. At the 35 second mark, the carefully measured introduction gives way to an urbanized synth bass line that functions as a supporting act for the sterilized and incredibly unimaginatively arranged strings. If any Coldplay devotees were disappointed by their previous single “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”, they should count their blessings that it at least didn’t feel so very forced. “Paradise” is about a female who takes mental vacations, dreaming of para-para-paradise. What, you may ask, was making life so hard for her? “Life goes on, it gets so heavy / the wheel breaks the butterfly / every tear a waterfall.” Hey, now hold on just a minute there, guys!

by Cynthia Fuchs

27 Sep 2011


“I’m a New Yorker from Brooklyn. I’m not a community activist, I’m not an Islamic academic. This isn’t something I’ve been studying. I’m a New Yorker who is a real estate junkie who has ambition…” Sharif El-Gamal pauses. “That’s who I am.” Premiering on 27 September,, Frontline: The Man Behind the Mosque considers who that might be, as well as how his plans to build at Park51 became a symbol of across the United States and beyond. Called the “Ground Zero mosque,” the project at Park Place was supposed to provide space for prayer and community activities, and make El-Gamal some money too. But when blogger Pamela Geller raised an alarm on her website and her and Robert Spencer’s group, “Stop the Islamization of America,” began to protest the falsely named “Victory Mosque,” the controversy “caught fire,” says El-Gamal. Frontline briefly notes the famous people who jumped on this fast-rolling bandwagon, from Newt Gingrich to Sean Hannity, but it stays mostly focused on El-Gamal’s professions of surprise, his tearful concerns for his own children as the focus of strangers’ fear and hate, and his increasing tensions with his mentor and, for a time, Park51’s Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf. The mix of personalities and interests is, of course, much more complex than the Fox News debates or the NYC tabs presented them. Frontline makes that much clear.

by Sachyn Mital

27 Sep 2011


Earlier this year, PopMatters premiered Anika’s video for “I Go to Sleep” just as she set out on a number of Stateside DJ appearances. Now shes back to the States for a full tour in live performance mode. Her stops along both coasts include a visit to Toronto and a stop at this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties event in Asbury Park, NJ.

To celebrate, we’re presenting a stream for her track “No One’s There” from her debut album along with a remix edit from Ratman and a bonus track “He Needs Me”. Check it out and catch her on tour soon.

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