Last fall, PopMatters premiered “On Aging”, a unique tune that brings together the spoken word of the late, great Maya Angelou with hip-hop and funk instrumentation. That track is one of many on an album called Caged Bird Songs. In a continuation of this unique project that pays tribute to the powerful legacy Angelou left the world, a lyric video has been made for the Caged Bird Songs number “Pow Pow”, which finds Angelou’s thought-provoking words and playful delivery met by a spare hip-hop beat and electric guitars whose tone brings Nile Rodgers to mind.
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The easy-going vibes of Tightropes may hearken back to the ‘70s, but those golden tones are just the starting point for what’s a vibrant and current effort by Los Angeles’ Tall Tales and the Silver Lining. As frontman Trevor Beld Jimenez describes Tightropes, “It’s not a concept album by any means, but its themes are about an everyday person’s struggles and triumphs. Musically, it’s a nod to the stuff I grew up on: Jackson Browne, Carole King, Neil Young, and also bands that I discovered on my own like Felt and the Smiths.”
Kin Cayo, meaning “family of small islands”, more than live up to their name. Both in rhythm and in melody they evoke an idyllic island environment, where one can put on the tunes with nothing to worry about other than keeping the piña coladas coming along. Such is true for this South Florida band’s newest track, “Wrong Guy”, which features reverbbed vocals a la Animal Collective and a swaying bass rhythm. As the song reaches its climax and the rhythm picks up, a strummed acoustic guitar enters, reinforcing the tropical vibes that emit from Kin Cayo’s songwriting.
The Nashville-based quintet Fable Cry identifies its music as “theatrical-scamp-rock”. Like many genre names these days, it’s a head-scratcher, to be sure, but one look at the colorful music and costuming of these musicians is more than enough to give substance to the phrase. Looking like they rolled out of an alternate version of Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus reimagined by Tim Burton, Fable Cry spin inventive, cabaret-ready yarns that are given life by their palpable musical energy. Such is certainly the case for “Onion Grin”, the band’s newest tune, which tells a time-worn tale from an unfamiliar angle.
Maximalist, the 2014 album by Megafauna, is a distinct step forward forward for this Austin, Texas trio. The record’s prog inclinations never hinder the preponderance of catchy hooks and riffs from coming through; on cuts like “Hug From a Robot”, frontwoman Dani Neff’s guitar playing is both impressive from a technical angle and conducive to getting the body moving—the perfect mix of brainy and brawny.
Below you can view the new video for the Maximalist cut “This Town”, which features a similarly cool riff and a healthy dose of body paint.