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by Sarah Zupko

4 May 2017


Comprised of three young New York City brothers (Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met), AJR came blasting out of the gate with the massive hit single “I’m Ready”, which got them TV appearances as well as a Platinum certification. The group has risen to fame in a manner that could only happen in this age of social media. AJR started by busking around NYC, and one day the group tweeted a link to their latest song to 80 celebrities, including the marvelous Sia. She liked the tune so much that she passed it along to her label and the rest is history.

by Sarah Zupko

3 May 2017


Photo: Jody Fausett

Bret Busch has been a vital part of the Atlanta music scene for more than 25 years as a member of various local bands, including Parlour, Pardner, and Ramada and the Hollidays. On his upcoming Pills Lace & Confetti LP releasing July 14th, Busch goes solo blending pop and a bit of soul while working with musicians from Merge Records as well as Janelle Monae’s backing band. Oh, and when this prolific fellow isn’t working on his music, Busch is the lead singer of beloved Smiths tribute band Smithsonian.

by Jordan Blum

3 May 2017


Photo: Kari Terzino

Naming themselves after “the inevitable hibernation” that befalls inhabitants of their hometown every winter, Hiber is a Chicago quintet led by singer/songwriter Danny Surico (The Future Laureates). Although a newcomer to the indie/pop/rock scene, they’re quickly proving how well they measure up to genre contemporaries (and/or influences) like Guster, Walk the Moon, the Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball, and Ben Gibbard. Take their newest single (and title track from their upcoming debut EP), “What You Wanted”, for instance. A catchy rocker highlighted by warm guitar strums, punky riffs (that, oddly enough, evoke Ozzy Osbourne’s seminal “Crazy Train”), upbeat rhythms, and summery yet slightly antagonistic vocals and lyrics, it’s a great introduction to the Hiber sound.

by Evan Sawdey

2 May 2017


Mack Keane’s upbeat and feel-good can be directly traced to a lineage of soul-pop crooners who were themselves influenced by a whole separate generation of notable soul-pop crooners. Inspiration begets inspiration. While pop music can at times be extremely whim- or trend-driven, soul music is part of a tradition, and one that the 20-year-old Keane felt the need to subscribe to.

Once the irresistible earworm of that staccato key pattern comes in during “I Would”, one of the many dance-ready burners off Keane’s debut 2107 EP, it’s impossible not to hear a touch of Jamie Lidell and Bruno Mars mixed up into his sound. It’s proudly traditional and also undeniably contemporary.

by Maria Schurr

28 Apr 2017

Mark Fernyhough photographed exclusively for PopMatters by
Heike Schneider-Matzigkeit

Those with an interest in particularly dorky pop cultural titles may be aware that the time of predicting 2017’s “Summer Anthem” is fast approaching. British-born, Berlin-based artist Mark Fernyhough’s new single “Steal My Love” is by no means the sort of song one would normally see in the running, nor is it marketed as such. Yet it feels more in line with the true feelings of summer than whatever lowest common denominator radio fodder will inevitably be awarded the ubiquitous summer anthem title. “Steal My Love” is certainly anthemic in the British pop sense, with big, hooky verses and even bigger, hookier, more blinding choruses, but it’s also beguilingly wistful, a sumptuously warm and sunny day belying a doomed summer romance. Luckily, “Steal My Love”’s hooks are gripping enough to outlive any direct pigeonholing, seasonal or otherwise.

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