When PopMatters last caught up with Jon Lindsay, the power pop aficionado was prepping the follow-up to his debut LP, Escape from Plaza-Midwood, one of 2010’s hidden gems. The Charlotte-based singer-songwriter worked at a breakneck pace this past year, putting finishing touches on his new album Summer Wilderness Program (which is set for a spring release) when he wasn’t on tour, and releasing a new album with his side project The Catch Fire. Lindsay also dropped a mostly holiday-themed EP, Could It Be Christmas?, on November 29. You can download “Partner”, a track off the EP, here.
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Veterans of two well-liked Toronto indie bands have come together for a new venture, Eight and a Half. At the helm is Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff. Guitarist/vocalist Dave Hamelin and keyboardist Liam O’Neil, late of the Stills, are also in the lineup. Arts & Crafts releases Eight and a Half’s self-titled album on February 7. Here you can check out the video for ultra-moody lead single “Scissors” and download the track plus a couple remixes.
“We’re really not known for winning anything except sports, so we have to fight for everything we earn.” Lamar Jordan lives in Chicago. His sense of context, his self-awareness, is hard-won. A young man in process, Lamar introduces himself in Louder Than a Bomb using his nickname, “The Truth,” and then he tells it. “When I was growing up,” says this 19-year-old, “I was a bit of a troublemaker and I did some things I regret.” Now, in 2008, he’s a member of Steinmetz High School’s slam poetry team, in Chicago. And now he has a new truth to tell. Lamar’s story is one of several told in Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel’s film, which premieres on Oprah’s OWN Documentary Club on 5 January.
The film shows how hard the young poets work, their investments and their choices, their different roads to the slam called Louder Than a Bomb. It also shows that the contestants are well aware of the contradiction in what they do. Though poems are immeasurable, they are also subject to judgments: each performance earns points, like Olympic dives, cards held up by judges numbered one through 10. “It’s an outrageous thing, it’s a stupid thing, giving scores and numbers to poems,” admits Kevin Coval, LTAB’s co-founder. Slams are a means more than an end, a means of “learning about new people and understanding new people and really feeling inspired by people who are very different than you,” says Adam Gottlieb, from Northside College Prep. “I would like to say that that’s changing the world. And if not, it’s definitely coming much, much closer.”
See PopMatters’ review.
What an odd tipple “Dance 4 Me”, Prince’s new single, is. I say new, yet the track has been lurking around for a couple of years, having originally surfaced as part of the post-squiggle-Purple One’s three-album 2009 project, Lotusflow3r. Finally receiving an official global single release this past month—a slow but nevertheless worthy response to the track’s success as a club dance track, remixed by Icon—back-story, year of creation or reason for release aside, “Dance 4 Me” is one tasty peach.
Prince is – and has been for at least a decade—in that odd, altogether tricky position where everything he does is instantly cross-referenced backwards to some other phase of his supposedly bygone majesty. No doubt because once Purple Rain secured his monarchy, Prince went on to prove so relentlessly prolific, with each subsequent album seeing him (effortlessly) evolve through concentric style changes, that audiences can be forgiven for having come to accept that, at least part of his appeal – not unlike Bowie, but more in line with his then-chart rival, Madonna – was actually about change itself.
When you really think about it, many things have changed since 1984. Despite the fact that we still celebrate the holiday season in the same ways as we did 30 years ago, most of the songs played on the radio this time of year are recent additions to Christmas playlists. Though many modern artists still decide to cover classics like “White Christmas” and “Sleigh Ride”, new songs from every genre have been added to the Holiday music annals.
These ten songs from the past 30 years are notable for being gifts that keep on giving.
1. Mariah Carey - “All I Want For Christmas Is You”
Mariah holds the record for the most No.1 singles by a female artist, but this song is possibly the crowning achievement of her career. It’s the 19th best-selling digital single of all time, has inspired countless covers (including two remakes by Carey herself), and was recently reported by NBC Nightly News to be popular among homesick US troops overseas.