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by PopMatters Staff

6 Dec 2011


Photo: Patti Perret

Florence Reece, the wife of Harlan County, Kentucky union organizer Sam Reece, penned the classic protest tune “Which Side Are You On?” back in 1931 and it’s never lost a touch of relevance in all the ensuing years and likely never will given the state of human nature. Pete Seeger recorded the most famous version, which you can sample on his greatest hits album from 1967, and now contemporary folkie Ani DiFranco updates the tune in a bit of perfect timing to coalesce with the Occupy Movement. It’s a rousing version with marchlike beats, punchy horns and DiFranco’s pleading vocals for people to join the fight for justice. It’s also an inclusive call to arms, reaching out to everyone as DiFranco chants, “come on people of privilege… it’s time to join the fight.” “¿Which Side Are You On?” is also the title of DiFranco’s upcoming album, releasing this coming 17 January on Righteous Babe Records.

 

by John Bergstrom

6 Dec 2011


The signature 4AD band Dead Can Dance are gearing up for a reunion album and world tour in 2012. As a teaser, they are offering a four-track live EP, Live Happenings - Part 1, on their official website. You just need to turn over your email address.

by Ian Mathers

5 Dec 2011


76. A$AP Rocky
“Purple Swag”


There’s plenty of music about getting stoned, and plenty more that sounds like its makers were imparied, but “Purple Swag” might actually get you high. Everything from the md-track irruption of a screwed-down chunk of A$AP Rocky’s “Peso” to the cool, emphatic control of his flow to the queasy lean of the production to the vaguely dream-like video makes your head swim a little. It’s the kind of song where the first time you listen to it you feel like might wake up a few days later in a “FUCK SWAG” t-shirt. Everything will be purple.

by Corey Beasley

5 Dec 2011


cover art

Drake

Review [5.May.2016]
Review [7.Oct.2015]

77. Drake
“Marvin’s Room”


If you think Drake spends too much time moping, “Marvin’s Room” may not be the track for you… or, maybe it will. Yes, it details Drake’s late night, drunk-texting loneliness, but it does so over one of the most indelible sonic atmospheres of the year, all downcast synths and from-the-next-room bass hits. Drake’s performance here manages to sum up his entire ethos in a single track, lamenting his ironic inability to make a real, human connection while surrounding by fawning admirers. If you don’t buy his complaints by themselves, the music will sell you the whole package. At once lush and minimal, “Marvin’s Room” sees producer Noah “40” Shebib turn in the best production job of the year.

by Steve Leftridge

5 Dec 2011


78. The Belle Brigade
“Losers”


The lead single from the Belle Brigade’s thoroughly engaging eponymous debut begins with a mellow acoustic guitar cuff but builds into a slamming tension-and-release anthem that serves as a refreshing denunciation of conformity and competition, threaded to this bro-sis duo’s tribute to ‘70 California pop. With their Everlys-meet-the-the-Chipmunks family harmonies, the Brigade updates There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, but instead of rejecting all the crap they learned in high school, Barbara and Ethan Gruska catalogue all the shit they don’t care about anymore, like being smooth with women, going out on Fridays, being the life of parties, being harder, being daddy’s favorite, etc. What the Belle Brigade achieve most, though, is a sort of irony. In disregarding winning, they’ve made a single that crushed the competition.

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