In their first video, Detroit hip-hop group Large Extra Large (stylized LXL) chronicle economic woes and frustrations through a distinctly Midwestern lens. Amid their rhyme spitting in “Mung Bean Chutney”, the group samples clips from the preeminent working-class sitcom, Roseanne, to bolster the tension, the disgust with right-wing rationalizers, and underscore the malaise.
Latest Blog Posts
Dutch minimalist composer Jozef Van Wissem moves away from contemporary classical music and towards experimental folk on his new album When Shall This Bright Day Begin. It’s a gorgeous, haunting, mesmerizing twist that pays big dividends on his new single “Ruins”, which features the incomparable Zola Jesus. Meanwhile Van Wissem’s lute playing is seductive and virtuosic, as its warmness pulls the listener deep into the music only to be slayed again by Zola Jesus’ ethereal vocals. In addition, the video for “Ruins” is a beautiful, artistic film short.
London indie folk ensemble Passport to Stockholm knows their way around a hook. The group creates memorable, pristine, addictive folk pop. Chris “Barney” Barnard and Tom Piggott have been playing music together since they were teenagers and they formed Passport to Stockholm and promptly added percussionist Henri Grimes and classically-trained cellist Mariona De Lamo. These four musicians belong together as you’ll hear on their new single “Better Days”, which is underpinned with gorgeous cello lines below crystal clear harmonies and a chorus that Bastille would kill for.
Canadian rock band Sulfur City‘s new album features frontwoman Lori Paradis enjoying a bit of musical ecstasy, an image that evokes a Janis Joplin LP cover. It’s a clever strategy in making that connection as it highlight the band’s greatest asset, their superlative lead vocalist. Thing is, Sulfur City really are a rawk band, not blues/soul band, so Grace Slick is really a better comparison point as Paradis shares Slick’s graceful enunciation and more restrained sense of energy and drama. Did I mention this is a serious rock ‘n’ roll record, something that’s vanishing faster than bees these days? Sulfur City is a really honest to goodness working class rock band, the kind you can unwind to with beers and pool games at the local pub. Paradis even possesses the requisite career history as she’s been a construction worker, house painter and trucker. Those are careers that make you tough and give you the right rock ‘n’ roll mindset.
Sitar master Anoushka Shankar, who was trained on the instrument from an early age by her father Ravi Shankar, has created a protest album of sorts with her latest release, Land of Gold. Deeply concerned about the plight of the world’s refugees, Shankar felt she needed to make an artistic and political stand against the shameful injustice of poor people fleeing violence and finding no home. She says, “the seeds of Land of Gold originated in the context of the humanitarian plight of refugees, it coincided with the time when I had recently given birth to my second child. I was deeply troubled by the intense contrast between my ability to provide for my baby, and others who desperately wanted to provide the same security for their children but were unable to do so.”