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by Cynthia Fuchs

31 May 2011

“I was born on the Cambodian New Year in a refugee camp,” narrates Socheata Poeuv. “But my parents never told me much more than that, only that I was the lucky one.” As she goes on to explain in her remarkable documentary, New Year Baby—airing this week as part of Global Voices—her mother and father, along with her sisters and brother Scott, survived the Khmer Rouge genocide, escaped Cambodia, and moved to Texas while she was still an infant. Socheata’s childhood memories were shaped by her parents’ efforts to give “us a normal American life”: family photos show the children celebrating birthdays and smiling in amusement park rides.

Her family’s experience is good for everyone to remember during the Memorial Day holiday. Poeuv’s film is punctuated throughout by provocative, assured images, asking viewers to consider their own relationships to this difficult history and the future that stretches before us. While the film doesn’t probe the complicated and frankly shameful U.S. part in that history—including so-called “secret” bombings in Cambodia and Laos—it does reveal, quietly and insistently, the ongoing effects of war trauma. While it is wretchedly familiar in its broad outlines, the story here is both devastating and detailed, personal and resonant.

See PopMattersreview. Also see the schedule for the film’s airing on WGBH

by Jane Jansen Seymour

27 May 2011

Peter Bjorn and John

Here’s a playlist of tunes to keep the idea that hope springs eternal into the transition of summer. Every week in May seemed to bring another solid release into the music stream and new tunes were ripe for the picking. Enjoy!

1. Toro y Moi/Still Sound
Chazwick Bundick is the mastermind of Toro y Moi (which loosely translates to “Bull and Me”), creating electronic pop that became an integral part of the chillwave movement. (He is a good buddy of like-minded artist Ernest Greene of Washed Out from days at the University of South Carolina). This bouncy tune “Still Sound,” is off his second release, Underneath the Pine.

by John Bergstrom

27 May 2011

The Wild Swans are one of those bands whose legend is several times bigger than its discography.

In 1982 the Liverpudlian band, led by singer Paul Simpson, released “Revolutionary Spirit”, which has been called one of the best British indie singles ever. The lineup fragmented, and the band didn’t reappear until they released the wide-eyed cult favorite Bringing Home the Ashes in 1988.

Again, there were lineup changes, with Simpson teaming up with the Lightning Seeds’ Ian Broudie for the psychedelic pop of Space Flower in 1990.

by Jane Jansen Seymour

27 May 2011

What a year it’s been for Fitz and the Tantrums. Since the PopMatters interview last Memorial Day weekend in the basement of a small venue in New York City, the band has toured non-stop with a full schedule ahead—now they’re on the bill at Sasquatch. Their music has found placements on television and they were called upon to remake “Arthur’s Theme Song” (maybe the movie didn’t do so well, but still!) VH-1 also honored the band as an “Artist on the Rise” in the “You Oughta Know” series in April, and as of this week’s Top Twenty Countdown, “Money Grabber” is at number 14. Whether this song was on your playlist last summer or not, it’s a fun rock-out tune to kick off the season.

by Joseph Fisher

26 May 2011

Explosions in the Sky will be spending much of the summer touring the festival circuit, as their website makes clear.  Then, in the fall, they will be launching their first North American tour in roughly four years. The dates are listed below, as well as on the homepage of their website, which could be updated with additional dates in the near future. Be still, my trembling hands.

Trembling Hands by Explosions in the Sky

//Mixed media

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

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