Earlier this year, Bullett wrote of the New Orleans musician Boyfriend, “Teacher by day, cabaret rapper by night, we watched the 25-year-old striptease, gyrate, and motorboat on Monday night at Baby’s All Right [in Brooklyn].” As far as descriptions go, that one is as enticing as it gets, a fact reflected in the music of Boyfriend herself. The gender-bending nature of her performance name is also indicative of her satirical streak; in her words, her music “straddles the line between satire and straight-up music.”
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Going on 30 years together now, underground provocateurs Mecca Normal are still at it pushing buttons with their art-minded and politically charged music. But those more familiar with the searing, rough-hewn sound of Mecca Normal’s best-known works might be surprised to the hear the layered melodies and expansive compositions of Empathy for the Evil, the Vancouver duo’s first full-length effort in eight years. What’s a constant here, though, is the intellectual depth and socially engaged intensity that Jean Smith and David Lester have been known for across numerous artistic media. PopMatters caught up with Smith to find out more about the concepts behind Empathy for the Evil and how her and Lester’s work in writing and visual arts relate to their music. Empathy for the Evil is releasing on September 30 via M’lady’s Records and Mecca Normal embark on a new tour this week (see the dates below). Their new video for the album track “Between Livermore & Tracy” premieres here on PopMatters.
Trigger Hippy is a tour de force collaboration of established rock heroes. The group was created by Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman, who is joined by Joan Osborne and Jackie Greene on dual vocals, Tom Bukovac on guitars, and Nick Govrik on bass. Trigger Hippy, the quintet’s full-length, self-titled debut, has the homey feel of a great classic rock record.
The record label Six Degrees has taken on an ambitious task with Psychedelic Planet, its latest compilation. Dubbing the project “globetronica”, the album brings together remixes of tunes Bombay Dub Orchestra, Jeff Stott, and Vieux Farka Touré into a cohesive and creative collection of world music re-imagined by today’s leading electronic artists, including Bassnectar.
Those who like their dream pop with real substance—that is to say, dream pop that doesn’t get obsessed with its own dreaminess—ought to jump right on the latest LP by the Brazilian artist SILVA, entitled Ocean View. From the subtle pulse of “Okinawa” to the full-on ‘80s saxophone blast of “Janeiro”, SILVA has crafted a batch of songs that are equally fun as they are beautiful. The music has all the familiar dream pop traits, but most importantly it’s unafraid to emphasize the latter of the two words in that genre designation.