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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
This is, simply put, one of the best Afro-pop collaborations you are likely to hear, rivaling the elder Toure’s 1994 effort with Ry Cooder, Talking Tuimbuktu.

PopMatters’ David Maine recently raved about the collaboration between Afrobeat’s Vieux Farka Toure and Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel, saying “it would be an understatement to say that The Tel Aviv Session is a good record, or even a great one. This is, simply put, one of the best Afro-pop collaborations you are likely to hear, rivaling the elder Toure’s 1994 effort with Ry Cooder, Talking Tuimbuktu.” The album is one of those genre-mashing blends that we at PopMatters can never resist. If our praise hasn’t been enough, then check out the mini documentary on the project below, featuring interviews with the musicians and just see if you can resist the power of this music. Admit it, you can’t.




 


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
Seattle's Lindsay Fuller can belt a tune and make you really feel the lyrics too, which matters a hell of a lot when you sing a songs about the many people of Libby, Montana suffering from lung disease.

Seattle’s Lindsay Fuller was raised in Alabama, a state that births more soulful singers per capita than anyplace else in the country. So, yeah, the woman can belt a tune and make you really feel the lyrics too, which matters a hell of a lot when you pen lines as heartfelt as “Oh libby, you take my breath away / Lure me to my grave / But our history remains.” Fuller’s latest album, You, Anniversary, released back in March and her music has been praised by both the Indigo Girls and Dave Matthews, but her sound belongs more in the Southern Gothic camp of artists as diverse as Gillian Welch and Nick Cave. “Libby” is the record’s latest single and the tune is a haunting number about the many people of Libby, Montana suffering from lung disease as a result of asbestos poisoning from vermiculite mining in the area. The music is dark and, yes, the subject is death, but Fuller manages to infuse passion for living in every nook of the song.



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Monday, May 21, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
James Apollo includes Built to Spill's "Big Dipper" on his latest EP Little War, Little Less.

James Apollo’s upcoming June 5th EP release, Little War, Little Less, features six tunes based on themes of the American West and was produced by none other than Damien Jurado. The album has an immediacy meant to capture the energy of Apollo’s live shows, so they recorded the songs in one to two takes in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Meanwhile the songs themselves were penned out in the Utah Canyons to achieve that authentic Western feel. “Big Dipper” is actually a tune by Built to Spill, but Apollo felt it fit so perfectly with the tone of Little War, Little Less that it’s covered on the album. Below, you can the actual live recording of “Big Dipper” from album sessions.



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Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Shirli McAllen captures that coy but sexy, sophisticated but rather saucy style of the '20s/'30s chanteuses, while contemporizing the approach enough to make her a possible indie poster girl.

Last year PopMatters’ Chris Conaton said of LA’s Leftover Cuties, “If you’re bored with Adele’s retro soul and Mumford and Sons’ take on Americana, Leftover Cuties may have the next throwback sound you’re looking for: 1930s vocal jazz. And like those acts, they do their thing quite well.” Well, I’m a sucker for ‘20s and ‘30s music and vocal jazz and, in fact, it might be just about my favorite era for popular music, so this band hits all my sweet spots. Lead singer Shirli McAllen captures that coy but sexy, sophisticated but a rather saucy style of the ‘20s/‘30s chanteuses, while contemporizing the approach enough to make her a possible indie poster girl.


Following last year’s Places to Go, Leftover Cuties have just released a covers EP, Departures featuring takes on tunes by Etta James, Coldplay, Lady Gaga and more. On the video, we are premiering today, the band performs Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”, which is also available on the EP.


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Tuesday, May 8, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
The former frontman of Austin’s Lions, Matt Drenik aka Battleme, just recently released his self-titled debut album, highlighting his rekindled love for the music of the Flaming Lips, Beck and the Stones.

The former frontman of Austin’s Lions, Matt Drenik aka Battleme, just recently released his self-titled debut album on Trashy Moped Recordings. Back in 2009, Drenik was diagnosed with uvetis, an autoimmune disease of the eye and he lived in Portland for a while and recorded more than 40 tunes in his girlfriend’s basement and got medical help at a renowned eye clinic in the area.


The illness made him re-evaluate his life and music and, as a result, he fell back in love with old favorites, such as the Flaming Lips’ “Clouds Taste Metallic”, Beck’s “Mellow Gold”, and the Rolling Stone’s “Sticky Fingers”. That in turn influenced his songwriting and he decided to work under the new name Battleme to celebrate his new artistic direction. Today we have the pleasure of presenting the online premiere of “Shoot the Noise, Man”, which you can stream below and, as a bonus, we have the download of “touch” for you as well, along with the video.



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