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by PopMatters Staff

23 Apr 2014


Pigeon John grew up listening to pop as much as hip-hop and he brings that broad sensibility to his work, creating songs that are fiercely independent of any genre expectations. That musical exploration and curiosity always renders Pigeon John’s records as intriguing listens.

by PopMatters Staff

22 Apr 2014


Having risked it all searching for success as an indie folk artist only to come up cold, Noyes decided to start with a completely fresh canvas and a new palette. His songwriting gift has never been in question as Noyes can write a great tune in any genre, but with his new Handsome Ghost project, he has really found his unique voice. Warm electronic beats and textures underpin gorgeous dreamy vocals that just seem to lift higher in every measure. This music feels organic, like it emerged fully formed into instantly memorable tunes.

by PopMatters Staff

16 Apr 2014


Each year, 60,000 people from around the globe gather in a dusty windswept Nevada desert to build a temporary city, collaborating on a large-scale art and partying for a week before burning a giant effigy in a ritual frenzy. Rooted in principles of self-expression, self-reliance and community effort, Burning Man has grown famous for stirring ordinary people to shed their nine-to-five existence and act on their dreams. Spark takes us behind the curtain with Burning Man organizers and participants, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth. When ideals of a new world based on freedom and inclusion collide with realities of the “default world”, we wonder which dreams can survive.

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Spark

Each year, 60,000 people from around the globe gather in a dusty windswept Nevada desert to build a temporary city, collaborating on a large-scale art and partying for a week before burning a giant effigy in a ritual frenzy. Rooted in principles of self-expression, self-reliance and community effort, Burning Man has grown famous for stirring ordinary people to shed their nine-to-five existence and act on their dreams. Spark takes us behind the curtain with Burning Man organizers and participants, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth. When ideals of a new world based on freedom and inclusion collide with realities of the “default world”, we wonder which dreams can survive.

 

by PopMatters Staff

16 Apr 2014


Between 2012 and now, Britain’s Smoke Fairies have gone back to the drawing board, re-assessing their writing techniques. “We scrapped lyrics right from the start if they were too flowery,” says Jessica Davies. “Unless the lyric really got to the point and said something, it got cut.” Katherine Blamire concurs: “As songwriters, I feel we’re really starting to sum things up properly, to nail them down. For me, it was a testament to how long we’ve been together that we could just say to each other ‘that’s shit.’ There really was no ego on this record.”

by Matthew Fiander

11 Apr 2014


Farmer’s Corner, the upcoming record from James Jackson Toth’s project Wooden Wand, is also the first self-produced record in the Wooden Wand catalog. No wonder, then, Toth sounds so much at home, so much like himself on this record. Nowhere is that clearer than on excellent album opener “Alpha Dawn”. It’s a guitar-and-voice number, built around dusty acoustic and the sweet croak of Toth’s voice, but it’s also surrounded by melting textures, stringed instruments and atmospheric hues that spread this lonesome sound out into something larger than it seems. The song, and the record as a whole, is sparer than recent Wooden Wand records like Blood Oaths of the New Blues and Wooden Wand & the World War IV, but it’s got a similar bittersweet expansion to it. For an artist always fitfully changing, Toth seems to have found a sonic home on these past few records, and that uneasy comfort is clear on “Alpha Dawn”. And yet, even when he finds home, Toth is still restless and wandering in fruitful ways.

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