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by Jane Jansen Seymour

3 Aug 2010

NPR’s Exclusive First Listen has opened up the gates for a preview of the highly anticipated third release from Canada’s indie sensation Arcade Fire, released August 3rd. Between that and the opportunity to see the band play live at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, August 5th on their Youtube channel (10 pm EST/7 pm PST), fans have an opportunity to weigh in on the new offering for themselves.

The Suburbs opens with the title track meandering along with images of kids running through yards. It’s a glimpse into frontman Win Butler’s childhood near Houston, Texas, as appropriately enough the band is his vision – with his brother Will and wife Reginé Chassagne beside him to round out a solid group of seven, plus additional musicians as needed. Things pick up by the second track, “Ready to Start” which along with “Empty Room” could be the instant classic “Keep the Car Running” was for their last CD, Neon Bible. The other tracks present a cohesive whole with Win Butler’s distinctive voice riding the instrumental wave behind him, never overpowering and always in synch with the rest of the band. Some surprises include the hard rollicking sound of “Month of May” and the brazen synths of “The Sprawl II”. Mellower moments are presented during the stripped down “Wasted Hours” and the lovely symphonic end piece, “The Suburbs (continued)”. 

If I could pick any time and place to see Arcade Fire it would have been during their early days when they played New York City’s Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, that shrine to early modern dance. The vast space of Madison Square Garden holds little appeal but sitting in front of a computer screen, I’ll gladly submit to the vision of director Terry Gilliam. It’s online community at its best.

by PopMatters Staff

2 Aug 2010

Dive Index works in true 21st century creative fashion, tapping into talent around the world by collaborating over the Internet. Frontman Will Thomas developed the musical concepts in New York and then emailed his geographically scattered vocalists and they exchanged parts of the music online. The music is diverse and not easily classified, but one hears a deep urban aesthetic across the varied grooves. While so much of this sounds polished, it does venture into the lo-fi end of things as one session took place in the changing room of a London boutique. The album from which this song “Cut” derives is titled The Surface We Divide and will be released 12 October via Neutral Music. Guest artists include Joseph Arthur, Mark Gardener (Ride), Cat Martino and Patrick Cooper. “Cut” is the dreamy and soulful debut single featuring Joseph Arthur.

by Benjamin Aspray

30 Jul 2010

As the economy gasps for breath and turns a generation of college graduates into under-employed, over-dependent man-children, there’s nothing more gangster than learning to take care of yourself. In the world of New York rappers Buckwheat Groats (producer/hype-man Lil Dinky, and MC Penis Bailey the Bailey), cooking a simple, nutritious dinner of chicken, rice pilaf, minestrone, and broccoli, with special attention paid to hygiene (“if you think it’s undercooked, you’re wildin’ fella / Buckwheat Groats don’t get down with no salmonella”) and economy (“shove the rest up in some Tupperware ‘cause I’m a frugal motherfucker”), is as much a display of urban machismo as wealth and gun murder, and accordingly, it “keeps the chicas going loca.” 

If you haven’t grasped it by now, comedy is this duo’s game. But make no mistake: the spare, spacey beats, courtesy of Lil Dinky and Fatty Eisenhower, are a spot-on throwback to the Oakland flatlands of the ‘90s, where the laid-back electro of Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” prevailed over the meatier, bouncier G-funk coming out of LA and New York. Also, Penis Bailey the Bailey has a hell of a flow, and is savvy enough to know that his (very funny) lyrics could only work when delivered with a straight face. Their next single? They’re keeping mum about it, but rumor has it’s about hitting on teenagers at the shopping mall. I’m betting there’ll be a lot of jokes about Urban Outfitters and MySpace. So basically, Ninjasonik, but with laughs, instead of hollow hipster signifiers.

by Joseph Fisher

30 Jul 2010

It’s okay. You can admit that you never thought Vanilla Ice would ever hold any kind of influence over any developments in any area of the music industry. You’d be in good company.  Unfortunately, you’d also be wrong.

Here’s Vanilla Ice with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in 1991:

Now, here’s Vanilla Ice in 1998:

And below are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 2007. Just please, if you’re anywhere in public, turn off the volume on this clip, as Raphael’s signature sarcasm seems to have matured into some righteous, profane anger over the years:

Would Master Splinter advise some kind of supergroup tour?

by J.M. Suarez

30 Jul 2010

Travis frontman Fran Healy is set to release his first solo album, Wreckorder, on October 5th. The first single, “Buttercups”, is now available for streaming on Healy’s website. The new album boasts some impressive guests such as Neko Case who duets with Healy on “Sing Me to Sleep”, as well as Paul McCartney playing bass on “As It Comes”.


//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article