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Thursday, Nov 3, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
Guitarist extraordinaire Keb Mo has made a bit of a shift in his career of late, taking up residence in Nashville and becoming celebrated on the Americana circuit. Today, we have the premiere of his Christmas tune, "We Call It Christmas".

Guitarist extraordinaire Keb Mo has made a bit of a shift in his career of late, taking up residence in Nashville and becoming celebrated on the Americana circuit. It’s truly a good home for him and offers up a wealth of new musical possibilities to the Compton born musician, steeped in the traditions of the Delta Blues. His recent performance at the Americana Music Festival brought the house down and was a breath of fresh air, breathing some blues grooves into the Americana mix. What Mo is up to at the moment is putting out a brand new Christmas record as a digital EP. We Call It Christmas is available now on iTunes and we’re pleased to present the online premiere of the title tune “We Call It Christmas” today to get you in the early holiday spirit.



Tagged as: keb mo, premieres
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Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
Nigerian multi-instrumentalist Joni Haastrup may not be the household name Fela Kuti is, but he is as indelible a part of Afro-beat and Nigerian music as the Black President is.

Earlier this week in a review of the three new Joni Haastrup/MonoMono re-issues, PopMattersMatthew Fiander said, “Nigerian multi-instrumentalist Joni Haastrup may not be the household name Fela Kuti is, but he is as indelible a part of Afro-beat and Nigerian music as the Black President is.”


Late last month, Soundway and Tummy Touch and re-released Haastrup’s solo album, as well as two albums of his band MonoMono. Fiander describes the batch of three records as “brief—each clocks in under 40 minutes—but they show a heavier soul mix in Haastrup’s vision of Afro-funk and rock music. If James Brown was a huge influence on Afro-beat in general, then Haastrup is his closest musical student. These are tighter compositions than Kuti’s, but they still manage a similar dichotomy: they are dynamic and shifting and yet build tension and inertia on insistent repetition.”


Those three classic Afro-beat albums are all worth checking out. To celebrate their release, Soundway and Tummy Touch have provided us with an exclusive MP3 of “Adele” in the original 7-inch version to share with our readers. This tune was “cleaned up” for the vinyl re-release, but here you can enjoy the tune in its original glory with no modern varnishes applied.



Tagged as: joni haastrup
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Thursday, Oct 20, 2011
In promotion of his recently released third album, Life Teachings, VP Records offers up a video to shed some light on exactly what I-Wayne means to his home country of Jamaica.

I-Wayne is one of those classic reggae personalities that feels wise beyond his years no matter what his actual age is. To most, he’s simply the guy behind “Can’t Satisfy Her”, a song about prostitution and general sexual promiscuity among women who struggle to find meaning in life outside of their bed sheets. But, as is often the case with most one-hit wonders of the reggae world, Wayne is a much more talented, soulful person than most have found the time to understand. In promotion of his recently released third album, Life Teachings, VP Records offers up this video to shed some light on exactly what I-Wayne means to his home country of Jamaica.


For a deeper taste of I Wayne, follow the jump for links to “Can’t Satisfy Her” as well as selected cuts from Life Teachings and further background on the thinking behind his latest batch of recordings reminiscent of pioneers like Burning Spear.


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Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
Singer-songwriter Katie Herzig falls in love with samples and digital recording on her new album, The Waking Sleep, and shares a new remix with PopMatters.

Singer-songwriter Katie Herzig recently released The Waking Sleep and has described how she was “trying new things, getting outside of what I would normally do as an artist. It was really fun and invigorating to use samples and build tracks digitally. I loved creating like that, and it really allowed me more freedom, because I was doing something less personal, and creating for something else.” It’s a unique approach for a singer-songwriter, especially one based out of twang-loving Nashville. But then Herzig’s career has always been pretty rich and varied as she followed up 2008’s Apple Tree with a healthy spate of film and TV music work.


In recent years, Herzig has rediscovered her love of the band format. “I just love bands, and I found myself making a record that felt like that. I was listening to lots of Coldplay, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend…” Meanwhile The Waking Sleep was developed over the course of a full year while Herzig toured. “I recorded whenever I was home, and each time it felt like it was a different season of the record.” Today we present the premiere of RAC’s remix of one of those new tunes, “Free My Mind”, which could well describe her fresh approach to her music.



Tagged as: katie herzig
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Thursday, Oct 6, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
Despite the wide-ranging musical curiosity and joyful adaptation of classic musical forms (soul, doo-wop, pop/punk, indie-folk), Sleeping in the Aviary remains at their heart, a pop band, offering up instantly catchy and memorable tunes.

Minneapolis’ Sleeping in the Aviary recently released their fourth album, You and Me, Ghost and are currently out on a U.S. tour, while today they are premiering two brand new videos directed by Christopher Heubach with PopMatters. The band has been mining the classic sounds of the ‘50s and ‘60s and painting a contemporary sheen on them since day one. They began with the poppy-punk of Oh, This Old Thing? (2007), began exploring indie-folk on Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel (2008), and expanded into a bit of soul on Great Vacation (2010). This time around they add some doo-wop flourishes to their pop. Is this the year for the doo-wop comeback or what? Despite the wide-ranging musical curiosity and joyful adaptation of classic musical forms, Sleeping in the Aviary remains at their heart, a pop band, offering up instantly catchy and memorable tunes.


Check out the new videos below, as well as a few MP3s and the band’s upcoming tour dates.


Now we’re going to let the band’s frontman, Elliot Kozel, tell you a bit about these two new tunes from You and Me, Ghost...


“‘Talking Out of Turn’ was shot in our old practice space. Little trivia factoid. The song was written for a friend of mine the night before we started recording his album. I was trying to write him a song that sounds like Weezer. He ended up having enough of his own songs for that album so I got use it for ours. Its about a girl who I had a huge crush on that works at a grocery store and trying to get her to talk to me because she was very shy. ‘So Lonely’, Kyle Sobczak wrote in the park one day. Once or twice a week when the weather is nice me and most of the band go to the park and force each other to write a song in less than an hour. This is one of those songs. The demo version is drugged out and twice as slow. The girl sitting next to kyle on the beach is his girlfriend from ‘Karen You’re an Angel’ fame.”


 


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