Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Friday, Jan 26, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Anaïs Mitchell —"Your Fonder Heart" From The Brightness on Righteous Babe Records Anais Mitchell is an artist who grew up on a sheep farm. She makes small-sounding, big-thinking folk albums that play like a front-porch serenade. If she feels in a bit of a time warp, you can’t blame her.


The Broken West —"Down in the Valley" From I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On on Merge Records The Broken West formed in Los Angeles in the summer of 2004, a group of friends from all across the country, coming together based on their mutual love of music. Originally known as The Brokedown, the band changed their name in the fall of 2006 in response to concerns from another band out of Chicago with a similar name. Names may change, but great music still remains.
Rob Crow—"I Hate You, Rob Crow (Single Version)" From Living Well on Temporary Residence Ltd. Rob Crow is the frontman for the incredibly popular indie rock band Pinback. This is the story of how he casually made the best record of his career, and why it’s called Living Well.  Not only is Living Well Crow’s finest solo album by a country mile, it also transcends many of Pinback’s most canonic moments. It has the hooks and heart that he is famous for, with a refined focus not seen in Crow’s other projects.


David Kilgour —"BBC World" From The Far Now on Merge Records David Kilgour’s been changing his mind for a long time, and who can argue with the results? His first band The Clean changed the face of rock music when they kick-started New Zealand’s pop underground in the early 80s. His records — The Far Now is album number six — are monuments to good old-fashioned song craft tinged with a becoming modesty. If you hunger for gorgeous melodies that’ll never make you sick, singing that puts across an emotion without hitting you over the head with it, and guitar playing whose effortless eloquence and virtuosity doesn’t make you want to fine him for playing too many notes, Kilgour’s your man.


Rickie Lee Jones —"Elvis Cadillac" From The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard on New West Records This new album is a beauty—soul-satisfying and sonically unique. Rickie Lee sounds completely tapped in, alive and vital, heading down some mighty interesting roads and discovering new magical essences. Lots of creative sparks here—plenty of them. She sounds like she’s going through a transformation throughout the album in a way that’s reminiscent of Van Morrison’s performances on his classic album Astral Weeks.


Donato—"Move Your Body" From Liberacion: The Songs Of The New Cuban Underground on Petrol Records After managing the rock band INXS to global superstardom, Petrol’s founder, Chris Murphy, launched the Australian-based record label in 2000 to share his global vision with music fans around the world. Murphy envisioned Petrol as a cultural beacon to shine on the world’s best music, delivered direct to fans to enjoy with no passport required. Since its inception, Petrol has been at the forefront of the digital music business around the world, with a record of consistent international iTunes chart successes and a focused ethos and mission that has evolved into a trusted Petrol brand signature. 2007 promises more cutting-edge, quality releases from Petrol/EMI, beginning with the February 6 release of Liberacion: The Songs Of The New Cuban Underground, a DVD that captures the artists leading Cuba’s most cutting-edge music scene.


Samuel L. Jackson —"Stackolee" From Music from the Motion Picture Black Snake Moan on New West Records A darkly modern tale of love, betrayal, sex, and salvation set in the Deep South: Such is Craig Brewer’s Black Snake Moan, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, and Justin Timberlake, set for release by Paramount Vantage on February 16th, 2007. Constructing the movie’s musical scenes, Scott Bomar, the film’s music supervisor (he also scored Hustle & Flow), paired Jackson’s voice with musicianship from players like Alvin Youngblood Hart, Kenny Brown, Big Jack Johnson, and Jason Freeman, parlaying blues classics like the raucously vulgar “Stack-O-Lee” and, of course, “Black Snake Moan,” into sinister, 21st century laments.


Tagged as: the broken west
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Tuesday, Jan 23, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

IntifaxaDownload “Fazisi” (mp3)
from “Intifaxa”
by Muslimgauze
Extreme


“A contemporary vision of world music where western and Arabic rhythms create a chilling seductive state.”—Extreme


Lon Gisland EPDownload “Elephant Gun” (mp3)
from “Lon Gisland EP”
by Beirut
Ba Da Bing!


“The first Beirut release with Zach Condon and his full 12-piece orkestar, Lon Gisland is a must-listen for fans of Neutral Milk Hotel, Islands, Belle and Sebastian and the Magnetic Fields.”—Ba Da Bing!


Yes Yes To YouDownload “Left At the Party” (mp3)
from “Yes Yes To You”
by The Affair
Absolutely Kosher




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Sunday, Jan 21, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

El Perro Del Mar
God Knows [MP3]
Party [MP3]


El Perro Del Mar—God Knows


Macromantics
Scorch [MP3]


Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
The Sons of Cain [MP3]


Lusine
Still Frame (Lusine remix) [MP3]


Youth Group
Sorry [MP3]


Efterklang
Swarming (Antenne Version) [MP3]


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Thursday, Jan 18, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

The View - Wasted Little DJs


“Musically, the history of Dundee, Scotland isn’t exactly littered with success stories. Indeed, the city has only two notable additions to the pop canon: The Associates and The Average White Band. But all that is about to change with the advent of The View, the city’s newest and greatest white hopes. Four alarmingly young (average age: 18) friends from the same housing estate, The View are comprised of Kyle, Keiren, Peter and Steve and formed from the ashes of an old covers band they formed at school, playing everything from Squeeze to The Sex Pistols. After deciding just over a year ago that their ambitions stretched considerably further than hawking “Up The Junction” around the pubs and clubs of Dundee, they began writing and rehearsing their own songs in the backroom of their local, The Bayview Bar (hence the band’s name). They soon settled into a “Monkees-like existence” of playing and writing together to the exclusion of much else. The last gang in town spirit comes across in their brilliantly bombastic debut album Hats Off to the Buskers—14 songs bursting with scrappy, swaggering teen spirit—to be released on 1965/Columbia Records on March 13th. Produced by Owen Morris (producer of the Verve’s Northern Soul and Oasis’ Definitely Maybe) it was recorded in rural Yorkshire in two weeks in May of 2006.”—Columbia Records

Pharoahe Monch - Gun Draws


“Pharoahe Monch debuts an internet-only video for his new single “Gun Draws,” which addresses the topic of gun violence. In this song, Pharoahe expresses his views from the standpoint of a bullet. In his refusal to edit the video’s “too graphic” content for television video outlets, the decision was to put this video on the internet.”—SRC Records

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Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007
by Mark Caro [The Chicago Tribune]

A whole bunch of movies you’ve never heard of will be debuting at the Sundance Film Festival, which runs for 10 days in Park City, Utah. A year from now, some of them may be among your favorites for 2007.


Here’s how a sampling of last year’s Sundance premieres fared:


Little Miss Sunshine. This was the rare Sundance comedy loved equally in and away from the mountain air. After its rousing premiere, Fox Searchlight paid a reported $10.5 million for it (a Sundance record), and it has gone on to gross close to $60 million in North America while racking up so many end-of-the-year kudos that it’s a probable Oscar best picture nominee. PopMatters review


An Inconvenient Truth. The Al Gore global warming movie, picked up by Paramount Vantage (nee Classics), became the year’s most popular documentary ($23.8 million gross)—as well as the most honored and talked-about. PopMatters review


The Illusionist. This Edward Norton-starring magician movie was pooh-poohed at its Sundance premiere, and its primary financier, Bob Yari, wound up releasing it under his own banner. Nice move: It became one of the year’s sleepers, grossing close to $40 million. PopMatters review


Wordplay. This crossword puzzle documentary was warmly received at the festival and beyond, drumming up a decent $3 million for IFC Films.


Half Nelson. Respected by festivalgoers though ignored by the awards jury, this drama about a crack-addicted schoolteacher grossed a modest $2.7 million for ThinkFilm. But Ryan Gosling’s performance has received much end-of-the-year recognition and could be Oscar nominated. PopMatters review


Quinceanera. The festival jury and audience gave top honors to this ensemble drama about the mostly Mexican-American and gay residents of a changing Los Angeles neighborhood. Back in the real world, reviewers liked it while art-house audiences nudged the box office up to $1.7 million.


God Grew Tired of Us. Winning the top jury and audience documentary awards was this emotionally potent depiction of Sudanese “lost boys” who wind up in the U.S. It opens, finally, Friday.


The Science of Sleep. Director Michel Gondry’s dreamlike follow-up to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind never broke out, grossing $4.7 million after Warner Independent paid a reported $6 million to $7 million for the rights to English-speaking territories. PopMatters review


Sherrybaby. This drama about a recovering drug addict mother made a measly $199,000 but did earn Maggie Gyllenhaal a Golden Globe best-actress nomination.


A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. Despite mostly positive reviews, a couple of Sundance awards and a cast topped by Robert Downey Jr. and Rosario Dawson, this New York mean-streets drama barely cracked $500,000 at the box office.


Right at Your Door. This much-hyped, post-9/11, dirty-bombs-in-L.A. thriller didn’t kill ‘em at Sundance but nonetheless reportedly fetched almost $3 million from Lionsgate. The distributor has yet to give it a U.S. opening date despite releasing it in the UK last September.



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