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by PopMatters Staff

25 Oct 2016

Photo: Denise Siegel

Last Friday, Grant-Lee Phillips released a digital-only deluxe edition of The Narrows, which we gave an eight and named a PopMatters Pick back in March when the record came out. The new edition includes four previously unreleased demos and to celebrate Phillips is releasing a new video for album highlight “Smoke and Sparks”, a track that we called the album’s bread and butter, an “introspective, memorable, slow-tempo ballad”. Indeed, it’s that and Phillips shows music shows a renewed confidence following his family’s move from the Los Angeles area to Nashville. “Smoke and Sparks” is a stunner, a truly gorgeous, spare song with a beautiful video that suits the music to a tee.

by PopMatters Staff

25 Oct 2016

San Diego’s Rafter, otherwise known as Rafter Roberts, concocts little, brilliant nuggets of off-kilter pop with an experimental spirit. No two songs on Rafter’s new album XYZ sound alike and ideas aren’t repeated as the album exhibits a real flash of originality blending Beatles, XTC and Queen influences with electro pop and really inventive rhythms and texture. Tossing a bit of R&B into the mix as well, XYZ is a super fun album that should be a true delight to all pop fans who appreciate out-of-the box thinking.

by Jedd Beaudoin

25 Oct 2016

There’s a well-worn adage which states that great art can be born from pain. That’s certainly the case with Solas, the latest from the Answer. Coming off a 2015 tour, the band returned to Northern Ireland to face dire circumstances. The members faced dire emotional and financial circumstances that drove the collective to the precipice, wondering if there would ever be new Answer music again. Eventually, the collective returned to what it had done for the previous 15 years, making music. Determined to come back with a stronger effort than ever before the quartet set about making Solas. Taking its name from the Gaelic word for light, the LP shows a markedly improved and mature band examining both the light and the darkness that light has to offer.

by Sarah Zupko

24 Oct 2016

Tim Easton said of Texas singer-songwriter Adam Carroll, “Adam Carroll is East Texas’ own Shakespeare of song…. His songs belong in Texan and Bayou anthropology courses, but mostly they should belong to your car stereo speakers.” We couldn’t agree more as Carroll’s songs are genuine, poetic, literary and relatable tales of life in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

This coming Friday, October 28th Austin-based Eight 30 Records is releasing a tribute to the influential Carroll entitled Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll, which includes takes on Carroll’s music by leading Americana luminaries like the Band of Heathens, Hayes Carll, Tim Easton, James McMurtry, and Slaid Cleaves.

by Sarah Zupko

20 Oct 2016

Photo: Jesse Kitt

Honey-voiced singer Lizz Wright is equally at home in jazz and soul and she brings those two traditions together in her video tribute to jazz vocal legend Ella Fitzgerald as her centennial birthday arrives in April 2017. Wright has chosen Hoagy Carmichael’s 1938 classic “Nearness of You”, which found it’s biggest success with the Glenn Miller Band’s rendition in 1940. Wright‘s phrasing on the tune is phenomenal as she digs into the song’s meanings to deliver a new version of the well-known tune for modern times.

//Mixed media

Supernatural: Season 12, Episode 2 - "Mamma Mia"

// Channel Surfing

"A can't-miss episode completes the start of the new season.

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