CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 4 Feb / 19 Feb]

 
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Friday, Jul 3, 2009
by PopMatters Staff

Last Night in Montreal
by Emily St. John Mandel
(Unbridled Books)
Released: 2 June 2009 (US)


LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL follows the intersecting lives of four people: Lilia, a twenty-something who mysteriously disappeared during childhood; Eli, who tries to hold on to her and then tries to let her go; Christopher, the private detective who remains obsessed with Lilia’s case; and Michaela, the detective’s daughter, who is as rootless as Lilia—and who knows the answers Lilia seeks. A beautifully written, almost poetic tale of loss and love, of sacrifice and abandonment, and of finding a way home, this novel is an hypnotic read, one that casts a spell.



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Thursday, Jul 2, 2009

Dan Gubbins’ Silent Paper Radios project is a departure from his past work as a DJ and hip-hop/electronic music producer. Gubbins says that the inspiration for Silent Paper Radios was the “Weird Folk” movement of recent years, but his sound is less showy and more traditional than much of what that trend produced.


New Silent Paper Radios album Reborn As a Wind Chime is one of this year’s most pleasant surprises, and the unsigned Gubbins has decided to offer the album as a free download for a limited time. On a MySpace blog entry, he instructs listeners to “Download my album free for a month and spread the silent word!”


Silent Paper Radios
Reborn As a Wind Chime [MP3]


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Wednesday, Jul 1, 2009

Meryl Streep’s devilish turn as a high-fashion editor has got nothing on the real thing: Vogue’s Anna Wintour guides us through just what it takes to produce the magazine’s famed September issue, from which the film takes its title.



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Tuesday, Jun 30, 2009

San Francisco and Oakland gansta artists put their beefs aside for 19 tracks as rappers Quincy Brooks IV (aka San Quinn) and Charles Bowens (aka Keak Da Sneak) team up for Welcome to Scokland. Led by rapper Keak Da Sneak’s scruffy flow over a bouncing, synth-based hyphy sonic—the same one that gave Bay Area hip-hop a renaissance in the early 2000’s—the two stalwarts craft an album rooted in west coast rap and drenched in layers of g-funk rhythms and beats.


With a lot filler mixed in between solid tracks, the Scokland collaboration mashes chopped and screwed, southern crunk, dirty south, and hyphy click machines.  The weaknesses show up when the catchy hooks fall flat and lack originality to stand alone amongst the silly pimp rhymes that tout the usual strippers, dealers, and dismissible street slang.


But the brighter moments stand out when Bowen and Brooks try their best to qualm the tensions between the rival Bay cities. On the heartfelt hometown R&B and soul anthem “Back to Life”, they both have their shining moments and flex their emotional vulnerability, showing their capability to tell compelling and honest street stories that manage to overpower the trite rhymes that came before it.


A classic Pink Floyd track gets an inner city re-skinning on ghetto ballad “Comfortably Numb”.  Keak Da Sneak tells a sad street story full of struggles with race wars and poverty. He lets you feel the pain and see his tears flowing down, beautifully breaking down the wall of gangster posturing present elsewhere on an album that’s decent but unbalanced.


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Tuesday, Jun 30, 2009
by PopMatters Staff

On “Stillness Is the Move”—maybe the best song in the Dirty Projectors’ catalog, period—Dave Longstreth laces the track with his intricate spider web of guitar notes, while Amber Coffman turns in some stunning vocals, and paints herself as a rangy torch singer.—Matthew Fiander



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