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by PopMatters Staff

26 Apr 2011


We have some very sad news out of the UK to report this morning. Former X-Ray Spex frontwoman and punk pioneer Poly Styrene (Marianne Elliott-Said) has passed away at the age of 53 after a bout with cancer. This comes just one day before the US release of her thrilling new album, Generation Indigo, which proved she’d never lost a step or a beat during her storied musical career.

Yesterday, Maria Schurr wrote of Generation Indigo: “With Poly Styrene’s first solo album since 2004’s Flower Aeroplane, she has taken the Spex blueprint and modified it to perfectly fit the foibles of today’s generation, the end result sounding a bit like M.I.A. minus the sometimes petty forays into provocation.  In short, Styrene has reinvented herself as an elder perfectly attuned to and capable of commenting on youth culture.”

She always was the incisive cultural chronicler and commentator from the very beginning. X-Ray Spex’s 1978 album Germ Free Adolescents was an iconic punk release, anticipating and influencing greatly the future riot girl movement as well as being one of punk’s and late ‘70s Britain’s most important records. Poly Styrene’s music was always smart and fun in equal doses, making listeners think about gender politics, while shaking their booty and enjoying her marvelous wit. One of the great women of popular music has passed and will be greatly missed.

by Timothy Gabriele

25 Apr 2011


New Age Outlaw Dylan Ettinger has a new 7” single out on “it” label Not Not Fun (which is spotlighted in the cover story from this month’s issue of The Wire). His lurching, dark synth piece has that faint hint of anamorphic blues that lingered in the backdrop of the LA Vampires and Zola Jesus collaboration. The visuals, on the other hand, are vapor trails and closeups that’d make Carl Dreyer salivate, HD and clear-focused, without a hint of nostalgia.

by Timothy Gabriele

25 Apr 2011


A transient video that’s abstract and fluid, centering around a mountain made of magick and infested with sperm or surrounded by tentacles that eventually turn into neon fish exoskeletons. Okay, it’s essentially a hi-tech screen saver, but it’s pretty to look at nonetheless. The computer animation is crisp and specific, even if it doesn’t show us anything relatable at a larger-than-cellular level. Without the images, the music would suffice- melancholy piano, ethereal wall-of-sound strings, and scatting sampled chanteuses are all the right ingredients.

by Josh Antonuccio

25 Apr 2011


Reuters is reporting that Apple has completed work on it’s online cloud service ahead of Google music. There has been long speculation about what Apple has been up to these past few years, after a flurry of activity which has included buying Lala.com, building data farms, and engaging in closed door talks with Sony, EMI, UMG, and WMG. 

The implications of this can be massive, as Google is still spinning it’s wheels trying to get a similar deal worked out with the four majors and will not be able to provide a rival service on their Android device. To date, those talks have not produced a deal, and by many accounts, they are not going to have an agreement in the near future. 

An iTunes locker/sharing service between multiple Apple devices will be a major step forward for the development of “cloud-based” music, bringing them far ahead of Amazon own 5GB locker service and even closer towards the music lover’s fantasy of a celestial jukebox.

by Cynthia Fuchs

25 Apr 2011


On 20 April, Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed in Libya.

Both were veteran and brilliant photojournalists: see Hetherington’s work here and Hondros’ here.

On 25 April, National Geographic Channel will re-air Restrepo, the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary that Hetherington co-directed with Sebastian Junger. See PopMattersreview.

Hetherington talks about the film and his photography in a recent PBS interview.

And Hondros discusses his ninth trip to Iraq, in a 2007 NPR interview.

Trailer for Restrepo:

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Tibet House's 30th Anniversary Benefit Concert Celebrated Philip Glass' 80th

// Notes from the Road

"Philip Glass, the artistic director of the Tibet House benefits, celebrated his 80th birthday at this year's annual benefit with performances from Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Brittany Howard, Sufjan Stevens and more.

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