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by Brice Ezell

12 Jun 2015


Last year, HBO aired the eight-part documentary miniseries Sonic Highways, which features Foo Fighters traveling around the country, recording music in eight different cities as part of a grand “love letter to the history of American music”. The band also released a companion album of the same name, which contains the songs they wrote on their eight-city adventure.

Foo Fighters weren’t the only ones making music for Sonic Highways, however. Bryan Lee Brown, a friend of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, wrote a score for the HBO miniseries. Brown was certainly up to the task, given his background in ambient music under the name Dark Brown. The soundtrack to Sonic Highways will see its proper release next week, but before then, you can stream the track “Many Branches” below.

by Brice Ezell

12 Jun 2015


Major and the Monbacks played together as a band for seven years prior to the release of their self-titled debut, which is out now. However, if you listen to any of the tunes on Major and the Monbacks, you’d be forgiven for thinking that these chaps only just discovered their passion for music; the energy is high, and the joy is infectious. It’s a testament to this Norfolk, Virginia outfit’s verve and tenacity that after being together for so long, it sounds like they’re reveling in the music anew even still. For a fine case in point, watch the video to the soul-drenched “I Do” below, which is a lungful of fresh air in a world where passionless indie rock is increasingly the norm.

by Brice Ezell

11 Jun 2015


Photo: Jessica Scarane

Last week, PopMatters premiered the self-titled album by the Delaware outfit Teen Men; you can still stream the entire thing here on the site. Although that LP is plenty colorful on its own, now there is some additional visual accompaniment to bring the music even more to life, in the form of the new music video for the Teen Men number “Kids Being Kids”. Whether you’re bobbing your head along to the bassline or tracking along the side-scrolling videogame, there’s definitely plenty that is interesting for the ears and eyes.

by Brice Ezell

11 Jun 2015


Photo: Lindsey Byrnes

As fun as the yearly “summer jams” can be, all too often their elated optimism can come off as more posture than positive. Is Pharrell really that happy? And, really, just how lucky did we all get during summer 2013?

Cooper, the debut full-length LP by Brisbane, Australia-born Kate Cooper, has an upbeat pace and mood to it that, on the surface, makes it seem like an ideal bedfellow for the “Get Luckys” and “Happys” on summer playlists. And, indeed, much of Cooper does fit that bill. What separates Cooper from the rest of that ilk, however, is that the tunes on her record—full of hooks and layered vocals that beg to be sung along with—actually feel genuine, rather than being peppy for peppy’s sake. The ethos of Cooper can be summed up in the chorus lyric to lead single “This Year”: “This year has been the best and the worst year”. For songs that capture both the highs and the lows of summer, Cooper is a sure-fire bet.

by Brice Ezell

11 Jun 2015


Although Portland, Oregon is a hotbed for numerous varietals of folk—most of which undoubtedly fall under that increasingly meaningless “indie” label—the city is not particularly known for its country music scene, even though the many farming towns not far from the city of sloe gin fizz are big on country culture. Yet even in a comparatively small music scene, some voices can stand out: enter Pete Krebs and Leslie Beia, who go by the name the Earnest Lovers when performing as a duo. Debuting at Oregon’s Pickathon Festival in 2014, the Earnest Lovers display a knack for all of country music’s requisite traits, as can be clearly heard on their debut EP, Sing Sad Songs. (If ever there was a title that captures country music’s general lyrical ethos, it’s that one.) Below you can stream the EP cut “San Andreas’ Fault”, which is chock full of harmonizing, both between Krebs and Beia’s vocals and the dueling electric/steel guitars, which are ripe with twang.

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In Motion: On the Emptiness of Progress

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"Nils Pihl calls it, "Newtonian engagement", that is, when "an engaged player will remain engaged until acted upon by an outside force". That's "progress".

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